Dandvat Pranam symbolizes Humility and has great significance in spiritual circles.
Humility in Santana Dharma
The goal of Sanatana Dharma is to help living entities attain freedom from their compulsive thought and action patterns and attain liberation.
Sanatana Dharma recommends greatly, the attainment of humility in the heart as the number one step.
Even Attaining Humility at heart can qualify one sufficiently to get to liberation.
Expression of humility happens in two ways.
One is through action and the other through a thought or a feeling in the heart.
Dandvat Pranam can make our hearts soft
Spiritual rigor, recommended by Shastra, is a step towards this goal, to make the heart soft.
The outward representation of humility is to bow down, to prostrate.
Prostration is the recognition of our smallness when compared to the vast expanse of the rest of Creation.
Sanatana Dharma uses the technical term Dandvat Pranamto represent such Prostration.
Wise men of Bharath say that physical action even when done mindlessly, in the long run, can result in a change of heart, in alignment with the action.
Offering Dandvat Pranam to All ?
For example, if someone is hard-hearted, elders following the Dharma recommend to the person performance of Dandvat Pranam to each and every individual the person meets.
This is the way to express humility.
Initially, we may do an activity with detest.
But if the activity is pure and genuine and we continue the practice, over a period of time it becomes a great habit.
Automatically, over time, the heart of the person performing Dandvat starts melting and the person becomes humble in due course.
3 Occasions when Sashtang Dandvat Pranams is Offered
There are many occasions when we offer Sashtang Dandvat.
This is part of the tradition or culture within Santana Dharma.
We shall discuss some of the occasions when someone offers Sashtang Dandavat as part of the tradition, and the goal of such practices.
People follow some of the practices even today.
1) Prostrating Before the Deity, In Temples
The Deity is the symbolic representation of the Creator himself.
That is where all the constructive forces of the universe lie untapped and concentrated.
It is very sad that, in these modern times, people forget this fact.
When there is a deity in the house or in the temple, the master of the household serves and looks after the deity according to Scriptural injunctions.
When we offer such service, it awakens the potency of the Creator in the deity.
Offering obeisances or Sashang Dandvat to the deity at home or in the temple is a powerful practice that can prove transformative.
Deity is the symbol of the Universe’s Creative Force
Whenever people prostrate or offer Dandvat pranams to Deities, the effect is almost immediate.
The priest of a temple looks after the deity at a temple while the master of the house serves the deity at home.
Automatically the care-takers are connected with the source of Creation.
They offer their prostratitions to the deity.
Positive energies flow from the feet of the deity into the Sahasra Chakra of the one who offers Dandvat Pranams.
If one is offering Sashtang Dandvat consciously, understanding the science behind such prostration, the results can be phenomenal.
Vandanam is the process where one offers Dandvat to deities and represents one of the nine Scripturally documented processes of Bhakti Yoga.
Therefore, as a rule, if someone wants to transform positively, one should offer Dandvat Pranam to the deity.
This is the best methodology.
2) Dandvat Pranams to Elders
Some people of Bharath, especially in the villages follow this process to this day.
In the olden days, elders and older people were people of Knowledge, people who had surrendered to the Lord.
These were people who only wished well for others and had an open heart and never saw differences between their own children and the neighbor’s child.
Such people were role models for the next generations.
They were living ideals and housed within their persona a wealth of positive qualities.
What could be a better way to imbibe their qualities than to offer them Dandvat Pranams?
Dandvat Pranams to elders is an ancient practice
So, in ancient India, it was customary for the young of the family to prostrate all the elders, one by one.
When people visited their older relatives they did this.
When older people visited them, the young would immediately offer them Pranams.
This transmitted positivity and a sense of love and respect within the entire neighborhood.
People considered offering Dandvat Pranams was as a practice that glued families together, where there was no scope of enmity or partisan.
However, offering Pranams in Indian households has become a rare sight.
The world is fast-changing and western influence has been corroding the Indian value system.
More than that elders are no more the same.
They have become greedy and selfish and manipulative. They are no more the ideal role models that Dharma speaks of.
Many of them are sad and forlorn.
There is nothing within them that they can offer or share.
What shall one get, offering Dandvat Pranams to such elders?
If we follow a practice, it should not be a mere ritual, it should be done with absolute spirit.
Therefore offering Sashtang Dandavat to elders is a fast receding practice, in current times.
Alternately, it is better to continue offering Dandvat Pranams to well-served Deities, who never recede in their potency.
3) Sashtang Dandavat at Marriages in Sanatana Dharma
This has always been a powerful practice whenever a couple ties the knot of wedlock, following the rules of Sanatana Dharma.
The Saptapadi Ritual is exclusively done in honor of Agni Bhagawan.
The Dharma expects us to follow certain conditions in order to establish a legitimate relationship between man and wife.
There are several considerations that go up to make a proper marriage ceremony, in line with Sanatana Dharma.
Only under these circumstances, does it make sense to discuss the holy process of offering Dandavat by the couple to the rest of Creation.
When a wedding takes place in agreement with the considerations of the Dharma, two diverse souls, integrate through covenance.
The couple offers Dandavt Pranams to the priest who is making the marriage possible with the utterance of the mantra.
The priest is considered as the direct representative of God, officiating on His behalf, at the marriage.
The couple offers Dandvat to Agni Deva who is witness to the wedlock.
The couple offers Dandvat Pranams to several deities installed through invocation, participating in the marriage ceremony.
Finally, the couple offers Pranams to both their parents.
Of course, then there is a series of Dandvat Pranams offered to Elders of both households.
When the couple offers Pranams, there are starting their married life on the right note.
They have accepted the good wishes of the entire universe by offering Prostrations and have abided by the laws of Shastra.
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