sages and the rishis of lore have acknowledged the sanctity of the sixtieth year in
ones life and have drawn out elaborate rituals to mark this special event. They
looked at it as rebirth and suggested the repetition of those rituals performed at
ones birth. Hence this celebration at this point of life is a sacred part of the
hallowed vedic culture.
Shastipoorthi-The Tradition & Significance
The term Shasti in
numerology denotes sixty (60). In an individuals life, the completion of sixty years
is referred to as Shastipoorthi. This term is derived from Sanskrit. Which means ShastiSixty;
abdacompletion. The sixtieth year in everyones life is a significant
milestone. A memorable turning point. A touching reminder of the rich, mellowed life that
would unfold in the years to come.
Dr. Vinjamuri Viswanadhamaiah
The Shastipoorthi celebrations
in modern times have two important aspects 1. Shanti and 2. Kranthi. The
rituals in the former go by the norms prescribed in the shastras, while the latter
is purely conventional in nature.
The rituals carved out as
part of Shanti are also referred to as Ugraradha Shanti. Ugraradha is
nothing but the harsh natured time. In a hundred-year time scale of mans life,
pre-sixty is a period of materialistic pursuit while the postsixty span is slated
for spiritual endeavour. The Ugraradha Shanti is a prayer sent to the heavens to make the
postsixty span a spiritually fulfilling experience.
Three different ways are chiseled to
carry out the Shanti aspect. They are
The basic elements of these three ways
remain the same, though the contents vary marginally. Of all, Shaivaagamokta Santi is very
elaborate and ritualladen. Given its exhaustive scope of rituals, only a limited few
like the kings and the emperors can follow it in toto, though it is not entirely ruled out
for devout householders.
Varshe is the Shaunakokthi. Going by this, Shanti has to be performed in the
Sixtieth year and we have the following quote to substantiate it.
Janmarshe chaiva kartavyaa shanti rugrarathaahvayaa
Devaalaye nadeeteere swagruhe vaa shubhasthale
The Shanti should be
performed in the same year, month and on the same day of the birth according to the Indian
Zodiac.This is considered to be the best option. This is considered to be the best
option.In case it is not possible to time it exactly on the same day, allowance is given
to perform it on a convenient day during and before the completion of sixtieth year.The
choice of the place to carry out this programme could be a pilgrim town, a temple, a river
bank or even a householders residence.
sthapana, pratima sthapana and archana form a very important part of the programme.
Similarly the deities of ganapathi Durga and vishnu are to be worshipped.This consitutes
The seas, the rivers, the
presiding deities of the Directions (Dikpalakas), navagrahas are involved into the Holy
Kalasas and the respective gods are worshipped. Through this worhsip is offered to God
who presides over every element in nature.
Similarly all the gods
who govern each year of the Telugu Calendar (60 years) each Ayana (Uttara, Dakshina), each
season, (six rithis) each month (12 months), each fortnight, (Shukla and Krishna) each
tithi (15) each day of the week (seven) each star (27 stars). Each, yoga, each karana and
each raasi are duly worshipped.
Through it, a humble
prayer is sent to the mighty god who weaves every moment in the vast tapestry of time.
The almighty who is
omnipresent in the celestial universe ranging from Dwadasa Adityas, Ekadasa Rudraas, Dasha
Dishaas, Astavasus, Sapta Vayus, to Pancha brahmas are soulfully worshipped. The powerful
presence of the paramaatma who lords over the whole universe is fervently acknowledged in
All these deities who
preside over every speak of the universe are to be duly worshipped by means of Kalasha
Aaraadhana, Pratima Puja, Japa Tapas etc. All this is to be culminated by Homa. Acharyas
and ritviks take the sanctified water and perform Abhisheka to the householder.
Here, the householder
fulfils his social obligation of offering warm thanks to each and every particle in the
universe, which contributed to his sixty year successful span on this earth. As a humble
token of gratitude, he participates in alms giving much to the satisfaction of everyone in
The Acharyas and ritviks
who conducted the Shanti Yagna should be given "Dasha Daanaas" "Navagraha
daanaas", "Godaana", to mention a few of all the "daanaas",
Annadaana ranks supreme and the host should take care that people belonging to
all walks of life are properly and sumptuously fed. Here the accent is laid on feeding the
poor and the destitute, thus infusing the whole programme with social and democratic
temper. The householder is said to relieved of his social secular spiritual
obligations when he successfully participates in this Shanti programme. He is thus blessed
with a long and blissful life.
After the successful
completion of "Shanti" programme, the Kranthi programme follows in which
"Kalyaanam" is very important "Kranthi" means "to step
ahead" and signifies heading towards a new life.
is a good bridge builder between householders domestic concerns and
Vaanaprastas spiritual yearnings. During Vaanaprastha, the married couple is to
fulfil their lifes mission by staying together through observance of celibacy. The
"Kalyaana Veduka" is a reminder of the unique role they are to play in the years
to come. Marriage in the younger days promises physical proximity, while the one performed
now brings about spiritual affinity.
explains Vaanaprastha dharmas as follows:
To reside in the lap of
nature, to eat fruits, to wear simple dress and to observe celibacy are the duties of
those who choose to become Vaanaprasthas.
Along with that, there
are a few more valuable imperatives to be carried out. Fasting, observance of sitence,
meditation, control over food are considered to be very important. All these go into the
making of "Tapas" an earnest who tread this noble path are sure to realise noble
goals. It is said in Mahabhrata that those who lead a life of abstenence along with the
spouse and live upto the cherished ideals of Vaanaprastha are entitled to gain entry into
the Higher worlds of heaven and are destined to live a life full of boundless bliss.
Thus the Shanti
Kranthi aspects, which run through the "Shastipoorthi" celebrations provide a
fusion of spiritual and social obligations which are the very bed rock the Indian culture.
All the dhramas of life
are poised on Grihastha dharma. One should celebrate Bheemaradha Shanthi at 70th
year, Vijayaradha Shanti at 78th year and perform Shataabhisheka Shanti during
the hundredth year. May lord Srinivasa along with his consort Alimelu Manga bestow on the
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