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I heard that a Bramhachari should do pradakshina (circumambulation) clockwise, a Gruhasthu anti-clockwise and a Sanyasi both clockwise and anti-clockwise not crossing the back of the murthi (deity). Is it true?

This answer says we should only do it clockwise so that God always falls to our right side!

  • A circumambulation always must be done clockwise so that we turn the right side towards persons or things we circumambulate. This is called dakṣiṇam or pradakṣiṇa, ie "to turn towards persons or things so as to place them on one's right", and it is done as a kind of worship and respect. There are many examples of this in the scriptures. I think everybody should do so, it applies for everyone brahmacaris, grihasthas, sannyasis, etc, and even gods do the same thing! – brahma jijnasa Oct 19 '15 at 0:57
  • @brahmajijnasa If you know what scriptures describe this, you should post an answer. – Keshav Srinivasan Oct 26 '15 at 21:36
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Way of pradakshina remains the same in every stage of life in temples. We see many people touching backside of the temple and doing namaskara to it. It is wrong doing namaskar from front is only allowed and not from other sides.

But pradakshina in a Shiva temple is an exception. There is a special way of performing a pradakshina in a Shiva temple according to Shaivagamam.

As you asked in the question there are different ways of performing it for people in different ashramas of life.

  • A grihasthu should go clockwise upto the somasutra (place where the sacred water flows after performing the abhishekam and not cross it because crossing it is considered as a sin) and coming back to chandeeshwara sthaanam in anti-clockwise direction.
  • A brahmachari (an unmarried person) should do a complete revolution and can cross the somasutra. This is like the way you do in other temples.
  • A sanyasi should do the pradakshina anti-clockwise upto the somasutra and come back to the chandeeshwara sthaanam in clockwise direction. Even sanyasis' are not allowed to put foot over the sacred water flown over the Shivalingam.
  • While performing the pradakshina, the noise of our feet must not be heard. It means we should it without making noise of our feet. If it is done without making any noise, Lord becomes very happy.
  • Prasakshina should be done without making any sound and silently.

We think the Lingam inside the core of the temple is the only form of Shiva in a temple. But the Lord will be in 8 forms in a temple. They are :

  1. The compound wall ( To avoid the sin of ill treating the compound wall, kings used to built many walls around the main temple).

  2. The Dhwaja sthambham

  3. Mahaa gopuram

  4. The Gopuram in which Shiva lingam is present.

  5. The priest.

  6. Chandeeshwara swami

  7. Balipeetham

  8. The Shiva Lingam

The above are the forms of Shiva in a Shiva temple. If you do anything wrong with anyone of these, you will be considered as ill treating of Shiva.

A Shiva lingam has five heads like Shiva. They are

  1. Thathpurusha mukham facing towards east. Lord Shiva has mastery over air. This face is responsible for maya (illusion) in our lives. Chant the mantra Om Thatpurusha mukhaya namaha during pradakshina when you reach east.

  2. Aghora mukham facing south. This head is believed to end the worlds during the end of the world. Chant the mantra Om Aghora mukhaya namaha during pradakshina when you reach south.

  3. Saadyojatha mukham facing west. This head has mastery over the earth. Shiva starts the creation of the universe after the destruction using this face. Chant the mantra Om Saadyojaatha mukhaya namaha during pradakshina reaching west.

  4. Vamadeva mukham facing north. This head has the mastery over water. According to shaivagama, this face is believed as the sthithikara, form of Vishnu. Shiva gives us prosperity, good health and all other needs through this face. Chant Om Vamadevamukhaya namaha during pradakshina when you reach north.

  5. Fifth face of Lord Shiva is Ishana mukham facing upwards. This has mastery over the sky. After completing one pradakshina, stand where you are and chant Om Ishana mukhaya namaha. Thus pradakshina is completed.

This is the way of doing a pradakshina in a Shivalayam as prescribed by Shaivagamam. Pradakshina in other temples is starting from dhwajasthambham left side and going complete revolution towards right side (clock-wise).

Answered the question after listening to a discourse of Brahmasri Chaganti Koteshwara Rao.

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Resp.all viewers, Regarding PRADKSHINA, OUR understanding is, we reach at temple, GOD is everywhere,but we prayed & founded there, now on every meet the soul desires to merged & unite to SHIV, AGNI is present, we go around our respctd keeping on our right side, reaching near GAUMUKH we realise our breath is continuing &we are alive, hence our some of the duties or expectation are left undone, & we return to the world to perform as per wish from SHIV, or our most admirable DEV.. that completes why do we do PRADKSHINA starting & returning back....Spiritual understanding, we owe to PP RESP. SHRI PANDURANG SHASHTRI...Pujya DADAJI

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