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Non-stop Reading Of Scriptures In Hinduism – Akhand Path Benefits – Why It Is Performed?

The non-stop reading of scriptures or uninterrupted recitation of a sacred text is known as Akhand Path or Akhandapatha in Hinduism. Portions of the Vedas are learnt by a large number of people and recited from memory. The main benefit through this continuous recitation is that one acquires punya (merit). Other benefits of the not stop reading of scriptures as per Mahabharata include peace, prosperity, fame and moksha while living on earth.

Why Is Akhand Path Performed?

Apart from enabling continuous meditation on the meaning of the hymns, it is also a mechanism for the preservation of texts from one generation to the next. There is thus a practical, a spiritual as well as a psychological dimension of uninterrupted recitation.

The concept of akhanda, uninterrupted or unbroken, is the core concept. With the advent of the Bhakti movement in the medieval period, the unbroken repetition of the names of the chosen deity came into vogue. This is called akhanda kirtana. This kirtana (a devotional singing) is without a break from one fixed day to another. When the sacred texts are recited without any break for a certain period it is called Akhand Path. Adi Parva (Chapter I verse 270 – 271) of the Mahabharata describes the merit of the patha (in relation to the Mahabharata) itself as it assures longevity, fame and a good afterlife.

There is also the practice of reciting the Ramayana and the Bhagavata Purana without a break. In the case of the earliest epic, the Ramayana, the recitation is done for nine days. It is known as Navanha Parayana. Normally, recitation comes to an end with Yuddha Kanda, with the pattabhisheka (coronation) of Rama at Ayodhya. Uttara Khanda , the seventh chapter of the epic, is not taken up for the recitation since it abounds in many tragic events and also ends on a tragic note.

Bhagavata Purana is recited completely for seven days, during what is known as the Bhagavata Saptaha. It is in the tradition of Sage Suka narrating the Purana to king Parikshit, son of Abhimanyu and grandson of Arjuna. The saptah parayan is very popular nowadays.

Akhand Path of Guru Granth Sahib is a very important part of Sikhism.