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Walking Around In A Circle In Temple – Pradakshina Importance Meaning

Walking around in a circle in a Hindu temple is known as Pradakshina. It has numerous symbolic and spiritual meaning. The act of pradakshina is of great importance in Hinduism.

Every point on the circumference of a circle is equidistant from the centre. This means that everywhere one is equally close to the lord. His grace flows towards us without partiality.

Parikrama or Pradakshina refers to circumambulation of sacred places like fire, trees and plants in Hindu tradition. It is walking around in a circle as a form of worship. 

Pradakshina is done around Tulsi plant and Peepal tree also. Parikrama means “the path surrounding something” in Sanskrit and is also known as Pradakshina (“to the right”) representing circumambulation.

Meaning of Pradakshina

The letter “Pra” removes all fears and worries, the letter “Da” blesses with moksha / renunciation, “KSHI” removes all kinds of diseases (Sarva vyadhi nivarana), “NAM” blesses with all round prosperity and wealth.

Pradakshina literally means - to the right (Dakshina means right). So, in Pradakshina, one goes to the left hand direction to keep the deity around the Sanctum Sanctorum on one’s right side.
  • Pradakshina is one of the customary aspects that is to be performed in the temple.
  • Pradakshina is supposed to be done with a meditative mood.
  • It is done in clockwise direction assuming God in the center of our existence.
  • The main principle of Pradakshina is the eternal truth that, God is the center of gravity and the main focus of our existence.
  • It is one among the upacharas in Shodashopachara (16 steps of prayer), it symbolizes complete surrender to the lord and seek his blessings for fulfillment of the truth of life.

How are Pradakshinas Performed?

The Pradakshinas must be started from the Dwajasthambam (flag pole) in clockwise direction. While observing this seva, one must walk or roll slowly chanting the lord’s name (the deity for whom you are offering the seva). Don’t hurry or rush while making pradakshinam. Generally, devotees offer a minimum of 3, 9, 11, 21 or sometimes 108 pradakshinas depending upon their vow for wish fulfillment. While doing these pradakshinas, one must hold both hands together in Namaskar pose.

While doing pradakshinas, our concentration should be mainly on God, thus chant Ashtottara or any short verses on the Deity. It is also advisable to hold Haldi stick or Betel nut or flowers (When making 108 pradakshinas, hold 108 flowers or any auspicious materials) for easy remembrance of the count. Otherwise, thoughts go around counting the pradakshinas and there is no result in doing such seva. Dwajasthambam is included in the pradakshinas. After completion of each Pradakshina, Namaskara is made holding both hands together near Dwajasthambam and proceed further. After doing Pradakshinas, enter the temple from the right side of Dwajasthambam and exit in the left side of the Dwajasthambam.

Four Different Types Of Pradakshina

Atma Pradakshina – after completion of vrata or daily puja, atma pradakshinam is to be done. In this type of pradakshina, we go around ourselves. The significance is that the ego which goes round like a whirlwind will be destroyed.

Pada Pradakshina – in this type of pradakshina, devotee must walk around the temple.
Danda Pradakshina – In this type of pradakshina, devotee must take a step to do sashtanga pranama, again take another step and do sashtang pranam (Sa ashta anga means eight parts of the body touching the ground).

Angapradakshinam - In this type of Pradakshina, devotee must lie prostrate and roll around the temple. Generally, this Pradakshina will be done with wet clothes. This is the most powerful pradakshinam for wish fulfillment.

Performing pradakshinam is very physical and practical aspect. Scientifically speaking, every point on the circumference of the circle is equidistant from the centre which means equally close to the Lord. Therefore, when Parikrama around the idol done, one gets charged up with all the positive energies radiating from the idol. It cures many illnesses and rejuvenates the mind.

Source - notes taken from May 2018 edition of Sapthagiri page 19 and 20 - article written by Sri N. Sathyanarayana Babu.