Team Blitz India
Pran Pratishtha is the ritual through which an idol is installed in a temple and transformed into deity. Saints and priests perform the rituals wherein life force (Pran) is established (Pratishtha) in the idol. This is the consecration ceremony invoking life force in the idol.
Before the ceremony, there is a ‘shobha yatra’ – a procession – where the idol may be taken around the neighbourhood before installation in the temple. For the Sri Ram idol in Ayodhya, the Shobha Yatra was held on January 17.
Once the idol is placed in the sanctum sanctorum (‘mandapam’), several steps of ‘adhivaas’ are conducted. The idol is kept in water (‘jaladhivaas’). It is submerged in grain (‘dhanyadhivaas’). The ceremony also may include bathing the idol in milk and applying fragrances.
Time for awakening
Now comes the time for the ‘awakening’. Amidst the chanting of mantras, various gods are invoked to come and animate various parts — Soorya the eyes, Vayu the ears, Chandra the mind, and so on.
The final step is considered to be the opening of the idol’s eyes. Anjan, or kohl, is put around the deity’s eyes with a gold needle but the process is carried out from behind. It is believed that if one looks into God’s eyes the moment they open, their brilliance can hurt mortals.
After the process of Pran Pratishtha, the idol is considered worthy of being worshipped. It is believed that the rituals infuse life into the idol and bring the divine presence of the deity in the temple.
Once an idol is consecrated, it is said that it will remain for eternity. However, worshipping idols with all rituals is necessary every day after invocation of life. In the case of Sri Ram temple in Ayodhya, the process will culminate on January 22.