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upacāra


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A collective name for the offerings, and attendant rites (or, in the singular, for any one of them) made in a particular pūjā. A standard (although minimally variable) list of sixteen upacāras, sometimes considered the minimum permissible in temple worship, includes: 1) āvāhana—the ‘bidding’, making-present, or awaking of the deity; 2) āsana—the offering of a seat (i.e. the deity's ritual installation); 3) pādya—washing its feet; 4) arghya—offering it water, as part of a formal welcome; 5) ācamanīya—offering it water to rinse the mouth; 6) snāna (abhiṣeka)—bathing it; 7) vastra—dressing it; 8) yajñopavīta—giving it a new sacred thread; 9) gandha—anointing it with (e.g.) sandalwood, and/or a sectarian mark (tilaka); 10) puṣpa—offering it flowers/garlanding it; 11) dhūpa—burning incense before it; 12) dīpa—waving a light before it (= āratī); 13) naivedya—feeding it (i.e. offering it foodstuffs, also referred to as prasāda); 14) namaskāra—paying homage, and/or prostrating to it; 15) pradakṣinā—the circumambulation of the deity in its garbhagṛha; 16) visarjana—the ‘dismissal’ of the deity, formally closing the pūjā.

Subjects: Hinduism.


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