The Purtassi 2020 fasting season for Hindus commences 17 September until 16 October and that too under the lockdown. During this special religious period, Hindu followers observe Saturday prayer during the fasting where prayers are dedicated to Lord Vishnu. According to tradition, the Purtassi prayer has to be done late in the afternoon, so that the fast may be broken at sundown. This weekend prayer culminates in the breaking of the fast with vegetarian delicacies.
This weekend prayer culminates in the breaking of the fast with vegetarian dishes. Devotees prepare Indian delicacies such as payasam, sweet rice, vadas, woorandai and kozhu kattai for naivedyam (offerings). You can also offer vegetarian dishes along with these items.
The sacred mark of Lord Venkateswara
A significant amount of preparation goes into this prayer. In the absence of a picture of Lord Rama or Vishnu or Krishna, a drawing is made of the Namam. The Namam is in the form of a ‘V’. This is drawn with special white chalk referred to as the Nama Katti. To complete the drawing a red line is drawn down the middle. The Namam is also drawn on the foreheads of the men and children present. A red dot is made on the women’s forehead.
A banana leaf is placed on the altar on which the various dishes prepared are offered to Lord Vishnu. A ‘Theertham’ is made with milk, sugar and tulsi leaves.
The prayer begins outside the house or temple, as this is the propitiation of the sun. A vessel of water is placed, the camphor is lit and a coconut is broken. The worshippers then move into the house/temple chanting the Garuda Patthu.
Each verse ends with the devotees chanting Govinda! Govinda! Govinda!
In the house, the main prayer continues with the turning of camphor, burning of incense, praise singing, the ringing of bells and the blowing of the shankh (conch). The Thiru Nama Pathakkam is chanted, the theertham is then handed around to all present. The right hand is cupped over the left, a tulsi leaf is placed in the ‘cup’ with some milk. The milk is sipped and the tulsi leaf is eaten. Finally, the blessed food prasadam is offered to all present.
Requirements for the Purtassi Saturday prayer
- 3 coconuts
- 1 bottle rosewater
- Turmeric Powder
- 5 betel leaves and nuts
- Flowers for garland and petals
- Incense Sticks
- 1 packet of Namakatti (white chalk stick)
- Red or orange powder (tirusanaum)
- Tulsi leaves
- Sugar candy
- Avaal kadaly
Preparations for the Purtassi prayer
Another special aspect of the Purtassi Saturday prayer is the playing of the Venkateswara Suprabhātam. This is a Sanskrit poem of the Suprabhātakāvya genre which is a collection of hymns or verses recited early morning to awaken the deity in Hinduism.
- The entire house should be cleansed (the day before prayer).
- One should wash their lamp and dot it with namam and tirusanaum (the day before prayer).
- A kolam should be made at the front entrance of the house using either rice flour or mealie meal (before commencing prayer).
- A garland should be made using fresh flowers and tulsi leaves.
- The garland must be hung on the door (before commencing prayer).
- The prayer should be observed once all prasadam has been made.
Simple procedure on how to perform the Pooja
- First, construct a Lord Ganesha Take some turmeric powder mix water or rose water to form a thick paste. Mould into a mountain-like shape thereafter a kumkum dot should be placed in front and sprinkle Kadam-podi over Vinayagar. A piece of grass having 1 stem and 3 blades of grass (Arum pul) favorite offering to Vinayagar placing it on top of the head.
- If you would like to mould the Lord Ganesha you can make two ears and a trunk in the centre, kumkum may be placed on the trunk and between the ear and the trunk to form eyes. The grass (Arum pul) favourite offering to Vinayagar may be placed on the bottom of the trunk.
- If you have a brass, copper or wooden murti it may also be used for the prayer.
- Offer sugar candy avaal kadaly to Vinayagar.
- A photo of Lord Vishnu or Venkateshwara, a mirror or a piece of wood may be placed in the centre whereby a Namam may be drawn on.
- Place a flower, tulsi and vadaa garland around the item that is going to be used.
- Place all prasadam in front of the Namam with betel leaf, betel nut, flower and a coin.
- Namam should be applied on each person’s forehead. The men a white “V” like shape with the vertical red line in the centre and the women a white horizontal line with a vertical red line in the centre.
- Once everything has been set up inside take Vinayagar and proceed outside. Vinayagar will be placed outside with prasadam (facing east).
- Vinayagar should be invoked first by lighting incense sticks and offering flower petals and chanting the mantra of Ganesha (Aum gam Ganesha ye Namaha) or (Aum gam Ganesha potri) can be chanted 18 or 27 times.
- Three pieces of camphor must be lit in front of Vinayagar; the 1st coconut must be turned around Vinayagar and the Sun thereafter breaking the coconut and turn camphor.
- Sprinkle water 3 times over the prasadam.
- Camphor’s would be lit leading to the front entrance by chanting (Govinda! Govinda! Govinda)). Govinda means – we call out the Lord’s name in praise from who we seek protection.
- At the front entrance, 3 camphor must be lit and the second coconut would be smashed on the ground to welcome the Lord into the house by chanting (Govinda! Govinda! Govinda!).
- Proceed to the prayer where everything has been placed.
- Light incense sticks and burn charcoal and sambrani. Take flower petals and offer at the feet of the Lord by chanting “Om Venkateshwara ye Namaha or potri.
- Turn coconut clockwise 3 times and break. Place 2 halves on either side of Venkateshwara.
- Turn camphor
- Sprinkle water over prasadam.
- Kneel down and pray.
- A song or a prayer can be sung in praise of Venkateswara.
- You should leave the prayer place for at least 5 minutes without any disturbance
Mantras you will recite to Lord Venkateswara
Om Venkateswara Namaha – means I offer unto the supreme God who destroys the sins of the people in this material world.
Om Venkateswara Potri – means -salutation unto the supreme God who destroys the sins of the people in this material world.
The Venkateswara Gayatri Mantra
OM NAMO NARAYNA VIDMAHAE, VASUDEVAYA DHIMAHI, TANNO VISHNUM PRACHODADAYAT
May we realize this Narayana the in dwelling being who is the spirit of all. May we meditate upon your manifested Vishnu aspect and thus become illumined ones.
Song For Venkateswara during Purtassi
Hari Naa-raa-ya-naa Govindhaa Jaya Naa-raa-ya-naa Govindhaa (Hari)
Naa-raa-ya-naa Govindhaa Mugundhaa Atchu-dhaa Paramaa-nandhaa (Hari)
Nandha Nandha-naa Govin-haa Hari Naa-raa-ya-naa Govindhaa
Nava Nitha Choraa Govindhaa Hari Naaraa-ya-naa Govindhaa (Hari)
Venu Vilolaa Govindhaa Viajaya Gopaa-laa Govindhaa
Vedhaantha Sara Govindhaa Hari Naa-raa-ya-na Govindhaa (Hari).
Oh hail Lord Naaraayanaa Oh Govindhaa, Victorious Lord incarnate of Vishnu, Oh eternal bliss Oh Govindhaa With the flute you are the essence of the philosophy of the Vedas.
Oh hail Naaraa-ya-naa
To view more resources for Purtassi tap here
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