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Naimittika In Hinduism Meaning

Naimittika in Hinduism is a term relating to religious rituals. The meaning of Naimittika in Hindu religion is the rituals performed on occasions as demanded by some context or reason such as a bath after an eclipse.

In Hinduism, rituals are of three types:
  • Nitya or obligatory (example Sandhya Vandana)
  • Kamya or intentional (like putershti for a child)
  • Naimittika

However, the very word nimitta also conveys a technical sense, which is associated with Shanti. In connection with Shants three words must be understood adbhuta, nimitta and utpata.

Adbhuta is generally understood and applied to some gods in the sense of wonderful; however, in some contexts it means future. Utpala is defined as the reverse of the usual natural order, and sometimes adbhuta and utpata are used in synonyms.

According to Amarakosha, nimitta means a cause or prognostic sign (nimittam hetulakshamoh).

Nimitta may be auspicious or inauspicious. It is often restricted to the throbbing of a person’s limbs, through here and there it is used in a wider sense, as in the Bhagavad Gita (nimittani cha pashyami viparitani keshava 1.31).

Among the unfavorable signs are terrible dreams, meteors, she jackals howling towards the south, fierce and dry wind with shower of sand, earthquakes, eclipses and unusual times, and flashes of lightning without clouds.

Auspicious nimittas are clear skies without clouds, birds and animals going on man’s right side, shower of flowers, auspicious birds like casa, krauncha, and peacock chirping to one’s right.

Mention may be made here that there are three kinds of utpatas or nimittas, namely, earthly, atmospheric, and planetary, which lead to the welfare of the subjects. It is the rulers duty to arrange for Shantis in his kingdom for counteracting the consequences of inauspicious portents.

Bibliography

Brihatsamhita (1982) N R Bhatt – Motilal Banarsidass Chapter 86 – 97
History of Dharmashastra Volume V Part II (1962) P V Kane - Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute Pune
Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume VII page 326