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Shastipoorthi-The Tradition & Significance

The term Shasti in numerology denotes sixty (60). In an individual’s life, the completion of sixty years is referred to as Shastipoorthi. This term is derived from Sanskrit. Which means Shasti–Sixty; abda–completion. The sixtieth year in everyone’s 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 sages and the rishis of lore have acknowledged the sanctity of the sixtieth year in one’s 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 one’s birth. Hence this celebration at this point of life is a sacred part of the hallowed vedic culture.

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 man’s life, pre-sixty is a period of materialistic pursuit while the post–sixty span is slated for spiritual endeavour. The Ugraradha Shanti is a prayer sent to the heavens to make the post–sixty span a spiritually fulfilling experience.

Three different ways are chiseled to carry out the Shanti aspect. They are

  1. Shounakoktam
  2. Bodhaayanoktam
  3. Shaivaagamoktam

The basic elements of these three ways remain the same, though the contents vary marginally. Of all, Shaivaagamokta Santi is very elaborate and ritual–laden. 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.

Janmatah Shastime 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.

Janmaabde, Janmamaasecha Swajanmadivase tathaa
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 householder’s residence.

Mrityinjayadevata Kalasa 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 Paratpara Puja.

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 this method.

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 society.

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.

"Shastipoorthi" is a good bridge – builder between householder’s domestic concerns and Vaanaprasta’s spiritual yearnings. During Vaanaprastha, the married couple is to fulfil their life’s 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.

The Mahabharata 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 Choicest blessings.


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