Puja Ekakshi Nariyal: The coconut occupies a place of importance in Hindu Puja rituals. There are due reasons for the coconut occupying a place of importance. The Sanskrit word for coconut is ‘Sriphala’ and is used to symbolize the almighty.
Its important virtue is that the coconut tree takes in salty water and gives sweet and nutritious water through the fruit. Similarly, man is inspired to mould himself by eradicating his ‘Salty Nature’ and to become sweet within.
Hindu religious rituals have a lot symbolic import. Breaking of the coconut represents the breaking of ego, which is a prerequisite for the attainment of wisdom. Breaking of the ego results in your mind become as white as the broken coconut and the water within is the nectar of Divine Knowledge.
The coconut alone is also used to symbolize ‘God’. In India one of the most common offerings in a temple is a coconut. Coconut plays a vital role in all Puja rituals. The Puja Ekakshi Nariyal is a Satvik fruit. Puja Ekakshi Nariyal is sacred, pure, clean, and health giving, endowed with several properties.
Puja Ekakshi Nariyal is also offered on occasions like weddings, festivals, the use of a new vehicle, bridge, house etc. Puja Ekakshi Nariyal is offered in the sacrificial fire whilst performing Havan. The coconut is broken and placed before the Lord. It is later distributed as Dainty. The marks on the coconut(Puja Ekakshi Nariyal) are even thought to represent the three-eyed Lord Shiva and therefore Puja Ekakshi Nariyal is considered to be a means to fulfil our desires.
The Puja Ekakshi Nariyal resembles the human head in many ways – the coir outside resembles the human’s tuft of hair, the hard nut the skull, the water inside the blood and the kernel is akin to the mental space. Another interpretation equated the outer shell to the human being’s gross physical body and the kernel to the subtle body.
Eons ago, human heads were smashed in Puja rituals as an offering to the gods. However, to save innocent humans being sacrificed, coconuts replaced human heads. Puja Ekakshi Nariyal has a unique symbolic representation too, which is one of the main reasons why it is offered to the Gods.
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