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Introductory Rite Performed At The Beginning Of An Action In Hinduism

The introductory or preparatory rite performed at the beginning of an action of Vedic significance in Hinduism is known as Purascarana (Literally meaning first step). For example, if one has to conduct the marriage of a son or a daughter, one simple ritual is performed in the beginning so that the function may be completed without any impediment. Lord Ganesha or Vivaksena are generally worshiped for this purpose.

The introductory rite is also performed at the beginning of the study of Vedic mantras.

There is a fivefold way of invoking the deity of the mantra – japa, homa, tarpana, abhisheka and bhuribhojana (distribution of food).

If one wants to have mantra siddhi (getting the fruit of japa), one should repeat the mantras in the mind; if one who wants strength, one should repeat the mantra with a little lip movement. The general convention is that if one does ten japas; after offerings to the fire, one tarpana (offering of water) should be done.

Kularnava tantra prescribes the number of times japa is to be performed in different yugas. It is best does on holy river banks, especially at the confluence of two or three rivers like Ganga and Yamuna, etc. The person who performs this should not depend on others for food because dependence on others for parana (getting alms) will degrade him.

The pravana, Om, should be uttered and deep breathing exercise should be done. Through meditation, the thought process is purified. Ultimately, the introductory rite ensures oneness of thought, speech, and action.