Akshata (rice) is used in all Hindu rituals. What is the significance of Akshata in rituals?
Hindu pooja has its own significance. The pooja articles are arranged in 5 layers, usually most of the people these days don't do such things as many don't know about it. It is arranged according to the five layers of the cosmic elements.
They layer follow as:
- First layer consists of plate for offerings (naivedya) and another for puja, which is for earth and water elements.
- The second layer consists of Kaalash (water pot),related to aaptattva or absolute water principle.
- Third layer contains the articles related to absolute fire element or tejtattva.
- The Fourth layer is related to absolute air principle or Vayutattva
- The Fifth layer is related to akshtattva or absolute ether principle.
Akshata basically consists of uncooked un-broken pieces of rice which is mixed with turmeric. It is sometimes used to bless bride and groom during weddings. Akshata is also sprinkled during other auspicious ceremonies. Symbolically, Akshata represents prosperity, fertility and bounty. When Akshata is offered to a deity, it is believed to be the finest offering that a devotee can make. Akshata is believed to be equal to offering clothes, jewelry, food, or any other offering. Akshata is usually thrown over the head of the devotees during pujas and during functions like marriage and other auspicious events. After the puja and ceremony, Akshata is cleaned from the floor and is deposited in a seperate place where people will not step on it.
The akshata attract the subtle frequencies of five principal deity namely Shiv, Shakti, Shri Ram, Shri Krishna and Shri Ganesh. Akshata is the central point of puja plate. If the rice grains used for preparing Akshatas are broken then their capacity to attract the principles of higher deities is automatically reduced. When the akshtas are offered to a deity the energy of the deity is transferred in it and favourable vibrations are generated in akshatas.
Akshata is also used in Upasana in which a Deity or Parmeshwara is worshipped using 3 actions those are
- Manasika (concentrating on the Linga)
- Vachika (worship or service by reciting deities mantras)
- Kayika (worship or service of the Linga)
kayika is where the akshata is used with other things like Bhasma, Gandha, Pushpa, Bilwapatra, Dhoopa, Deepa Samarpana and performing Pradakshina and Namaskara.
Further reading can be done here on how to perform pooja