The Prayer Hall is the most sacred place at Santhigiri Ashram where devotees can pray and chant the ‘Akhanda Naamam’ round the clock. The timings of worship (aradhana) correspond to eight ‘yamasandhi’ (turns of day). These are: 3 a.m., 6 a.m. (varies according to sunrise), 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m., 6 p.m. (varies according to sunset), 9 p.m. and midnight. There are two additional prayers at 5 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Group singing of hymns is held before the 6 a.m. and after the 6 p.m. prayers. Circumambulating the Prayer Hall (Pradakshinam) during prayers is elevating and beneficial. The ‘camphor flame’ lit at the time of worship (Deepam), sanctified water (Theertham), sacred ash (Bhasmam) and sanctified food (‘Prasadam’) given after the ‘aradhana’ are helpful in physical and mental healing.
‘Yama’ Prayer (‘Yama Prarthana’) on three-hourly ‘Yama’ periods is performed on all Thursdays. Thursdays are considered very auspicious for all activities in the Ashram. Special floral offerings are made to Guru on all Thursdays after the morning worship.
Devotees can observe ‘vratam’ (fasting) on Mondays and Thursdays to pray for the ‘Parampara’.
Area-wise prayers are done in the ashram daily from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. the next day. These are beneficial for bringing development to a particular area, state, region or the country. It is also beneficial for the well being of the extended family. At least 9 people from that area should participate in the ‘Area Prayers’.
'Pournami' The full moon day (Pournami) is a very important day of prayers at the Ashram. It is an apt time to pray for the betterment of oneself, one’s family and the ancestral lineage. Devotees maintain seven days’ ‘vratam’ for ‘Pournami’, observing ‘pancha shuddhi’ (cleanliness of mind, body, clothes, surroundings and words).
‘Deepa Pradakshina’ is held during 3 ‘yama’ periods (6 p.m., midnight and prior to 6 a.m. the next day) on Pournami. Devotees taking part in the Pournami prayers should attend the ‘aradhana’ at all ‘yamams’ from 9 a.m. to 6 a.m. the next day. While 7 days’ ‘vratam’ is required to take ‘deepam’, 11 days’ ‘vratam’ is needed to take ‘kumbham’.
The carrying of ‘kumbham’ (earthen pot filled with sanctified water) serves to remove major ‘karma doshas’ (faults) from oneself and the family. Apart from taking ‘kumbham’ on Pournami (as per Guru’s advice), devotees can carry the ‘kumbham’ during the ‘Poorna’ and ‘Ardha Varshikam Kumbha Mela’ at the Ashram, held to commemorate the ‘Avasthapoorthikaranam’ (completion of spiritual stages) of Guru (Poorna Kumbhamela) and Sishyapoojitha (Ardhavarshika Kumbhamela).
Devotees observe 72 days ‘vratam’ prior to ‘Navaolijyothirdinam – Sarvamangala Sudhinam’ (Guru’s merger in the ‘Adisankalpam), 21 days ‘vratam’ ahead of ‘Navapoojitham’ (Guru’s Birthday), 41 days for ‘Poojithapeeddom Samarpanam (Completion of Sishyapoojitha Janani’s Spiritual Attainment) and 10 days for the ‘Sanyasadeeksha Varshikom’.
'Janmagriham Teerthayathra' A pilgrimage is taken on the day of the ‘Chothi’ star (Malayalam Calendar) every month to the Guru’s birthplace at Chandiroor in Alappuzha district of Kerala from the Ashram. Guru was born under the ‘Chothi’ star in the month of Chingham.
'Prayers at home' Householders should pray at least five times in a day. If preoccupied with work, they should meditate on Guru for one minute during prayer times. However, the morning and evening prayers (between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.) should not be missed at home.
Prior to ‘Navapoojitham’ (Guru’s Birthday), the householders decorate their homes and distribute sweets to neighbours.
Area-wise prayer meetings are organised at devotees’ homes on Saturdays on a rotational basis.
‘Guru Darshan’ is held in the afternoon on all days. Devotees gather at this time to pray and submit their offerings at the feet of Guru and seek Guru’s guidance on personal matters. Discourses on Guru’s teachings and distribution of ‘Guruprasadam’ are regularly done at the ‘Sahakarana Mandiram’. Offerings such as ‘Vastradaanam’ (clothes), ‘Go-daanam’ (cows) or ceremonial parasols can be made at the Guru’s feet. On special days, devotees can offer food to Guru. ‘Thattam’ (ceremonial tray) carrying flowers, fruits, grains, lamp etc. can also be offered to Guru on special days.
The below mentioned ceremonies are performed with the consent of Guru for qualified devotee families:
|SL. No||Name Of Offerings And Ceremonies||Rate|
|01||Pushpanjali||A 'Floral Offering' performed according to a person's birth star. It is done for the removal of 'karma dosha' (ill effects of bad actions) from one's 'jeeva' or life force.||Rs. 10.|
|02||Special Pushpanjali||A special floral offering conducted to remove severe problems in one's life.||Rs. 15.|
|03||Special Pooja/ Akathupooja||A special prayer to resolve major problems and to pray for goodness for oneself and the family.||Rs. 100.|
|04||Aravana Payasam||Sweet Dessert||Rs. 500.|
|05||Katti Payasam||Sweet Dessert for Prasadam||Rs. 400.|
|06||Katti Payasam (Nivedyam)||Sweet Dessert|
|07||Pizhinju Payasam||Sweet Dessert for Lunch||Rs. 3000.|
|08||Katti Payasam||Sweet Dessert for Lunch|
|09||Pal Payasam||Milk Dessert for Prasadam||Rs. 500|
|10||Pal Payasam||Milk Dessert for Lunch||Rs. 5000.|
|11||Panchamratham||Sweet Preparation with honey, ghee, fruit etc.||Rs. 1500.|
|12||Trimadhuram||Sweet Preparation||Rs. 500.|
|13||Special Trimadhuram||(Spl. Sweet Preparation): All these sweet preparations can be offered on special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries or other celebratory occasions.||Rs. 750.|
|14||Haara Samarpanam||Flowers and garlands are offered to Guru on special occasions and to pray for a change in one's luck.||Rs. 400.|
|15||Annadanam||Offering of money for feeding 'sanyasis' and others at the Ashram. 'Annadanam', especially to renunciates, has been designated a 'Mahadanam' (greatest offering).||No fixed amount.|
|16||Noolukettu and Namakaranam||(Thread and Naming Ceremonies): These are performed for newborns after 41 days. The tying of a 'Noolukettu' or a thread around the navel is traditionally considered the first 'ornament' being put on a child. The 'Namakaranam' or naming ceremony is very significant in the Ashram. Guru names the child as per his or her 'jeeva'. The name serves to improve the 'jeeva'.||Rs.100|
|17||Kunjoonu||The first feeding of cereal to an infant is done after six months.||Rs. 100.|
|18||Mudi Edukkal Sankalpam||A special prayer done at the time of the first tonsuring of a child, done on the completion of one year. 'Theertham' and 'Vibhuthi' (holy water and ash) are applied on the head after the tonsuring for the Guru's light to penetrate into the child.||No fixed amount.|
|19||Kaadul Poovadil||Ear piercing ceremony for girls.||Rs. 100.|
|20||Vidhyarambham||Initiation of a child's education done at the age of three years.||Rs. 100.|
|The below mentioned ceremonies are performed only with the consent of Guru.|
|21||Adi Gurupooja||The first 'Gurupooja' or 'shuddhi' (purification) is performed generally one year after the death of a person for cleansing the 'jeeva' of its 'dosham' (faults).||Rs. 20000.|
|22||Adi Gurupooja with Mrishtanna Bhojanam||Food can be offered to 'sanyasis' at the time of 'Gurupooja'.||Rs. 15000.|
|23||Sadhu Maha Mrishtanna Bhojanam||Including Dakshina, Bhakshanam and Vastram: Feeding of sanyasis including offerings and clothes.||Rs. 25000.|
|24||Pithrushuddhi||Cleansing or rehabilitation of ancestral souls (manes).||Rs. 10000.|
|25||Pithrushuddhi and Devashuddhi||Cleansing or rehabilitation of ancestral souls and other negative spiritual influences .||Rs. 25000.|
|26||Pithrushuddhi, Devashuddhi, Kutumba Maranam||Cleansing or rehabilitation of negative ancestral souls and other spiritual influences including family curses.||Rs.75000.|
|27||Poorna Mochanam and Mukthi of Pithrus, Devas, Kutumba Maranam||Complete liberation and salvation of ancestral souls, astral deities and family curses and sins.||Rs. 1,10,000.|
Note: Devotees can make the offerings through DD/Cheque/Money Order or through Bank transfer in the name of General Secretary, Santhigiri Ashram, Thiruvananthapuram-695584, Kerala, India. (Account No. 57045721019, State Bank of Travancore, Pothencode Branch, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala).
Overseas devotees can remit the offerings through F.C.R.A. A/c No. 0273073000000037, South Indian Bank, Meluliyazhthara Branch, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala (Prior intimation is needed to the Ashram to get necessary clearance from the Home Ministry, Govt. of India.)
Donations to Santhigiri Ashram are eligible for Income Tax exemption in India under Section 35 (1) (ii) and 35 (1) (iii), Income Tax Act, 1961.