Saturday, September 8, 2012

Origin of Darbha's Function as a Purifying Agent On Par With Water

Indra once hurled his vajraayudha at vritraasura. But the weapon had no impact on him.

Sri Brahma saw this and took the weapon and dipped it in his kamandalu and gave it to Indra and asked him to use it after that. When Indra used the weapon against vritraasura this time, the weapon was very powerful and wounded him in several ways and was cutting his various limbs and organs of the body.

Seeing that his end was near, he wanted to take his revenge before his death. He thought that the pure water in which Sri Brahma had dipped the weapon was the real power behind the weapon. So he decided to pollute all the waters in the entire world. So he ran to all the waters sources and dipped his bleeding body in them and thus defiling them to ensure that there was no pure water anywhere.

Sri Brahma saw this and in order to prevent him from defiling all water sources, he transformed the remaining pure water bodies into darbha grass. This is the reason for the darbha grass being treated on par with water as a purifying agent.

There are situations where water cannot be used for purifying. Under such circumstances darbha is used instead of water.

Ex: When performing homa or yajna, the ghee that is to be offered is to be purified. Obviously ghee cannot be washed with water. Instead, two darbha grasses are taken and passed through the ghee and this purifies the ghee as much as water would purify.

Another example: during eclipse we are supposed to not cook and whatever is in the home should be washed. Items like furniture, floor and bed can be washed with water. But long term food items like pickles, ghee, sugar, salt etc cannot be washed by water. Hence is the practice of putting two pieces of darbha grass in all the food stuffs and here again, darbha is believed to act as a purifier. pavitram [the adornment of the ring finger during rituals] that is prepared from darbha grass is considered important for completing the samkalpa without hindrance.

Source "kurai onrum illai' by Sri Mukkoor Lakshmi Narasimhacharya