Kalsam- How important is it important in Hindu Weddings
A common sight in any Hindu wedding, religious or auspicious occasion is the ‘Kalasam for pooja’ or ‘Kalash’ as it is known in the northern parts of India. Essentially it refers to a brass or mud pot that is filled with water or rice [ as the function demands] the mouth of which is decorated with mango leaves that are held in place by a coconut placed over it [see picture]. At times a yellow or white thread is tied all around the pot in an intricate criss – crossing pattern. It is also adorned with sandal paste and kumkum.
It is also known as ‘Poornakumbham’ when it is used in the ceremonial welcome accorded to Saints and Religious Leaders as a mark of respect to their stature and greatness. The ‘kalash’ also forms the most important part in the consecration of temples when waters from the holy rivers are brought in to cleanse and sanctify the gopuram or temple tower.
The fact that the kalasam occupies place of prime importance as the center piece in any puja or traditional function is due to the deep significance of the components that make a ‘kalasam’.The essential elements of a kalasam are – the pot, water, mango leaves, coconut, rice & thread. On a more elaborate note one may also add flowers & kurcham can be added.
The Pot – The human body is said to be made of 80 % water. The pot represents the body – as in the container holding the water. There are five metals that are ideal material for the pot to be made of – Clay, Silver, Brass , Copper & Gold – and they are said to be capable of warding off negativity and magnetic fields present around. The shape of the pot too denotes various Gods. The neck is supposed to symbolize Rudra and the base is Brahma. The central part is said to contain all of the earth, seas, maatrugunaas and the four Vedas.
The Thread – White cotton thread is usually wound across the pot in a particular pattern that normally consists of 72 lines with 5184 intersections. The lines are said to correspond to the 72,000 nerve endings found in our body. Tying of the thread is also said to ward off any radiation into the water through the metal.
The Water – Water is the source of life and research has shown that it has the capacity to absorb energy and vibrations from the surroundings. When mantras are chanted the vibrations are absorbed by the water energizing it.At times in the kalasam elements like vettiver, elaichi, turmeric, clove, sandal oil etc are added to the water. At the end of the pooja or rituals water from the ‘Kalasam’ is sprayed all around as a form of blessing all with abundance as well as purifying the people [ intake as ‘Theertham’ purifies the body] and things [ ‘Prokshanam’ or sprinkling of water ] around by its goodness, energized through the chanting of mantras and Vedas.
The Mango Leaves – The use of mango leaves in ‘kalasams’ and as thoranams [decorative door hangings] on festival days has deeper significance. These leaves have extensive capacity to absorb carbon di oxide and expend oxygen that freshens the air through better circulation. Plus the medicinal value of the leaves in terms of fighting bacteria and purifying water in the kalasam is an added benefit. The base of the leaves touch the water in the pot there by expending the anti – oxidant properties into the water. Magniferin found in mango leaves is also used in herbal treatment of diabetes.
The Coconut – The coconut that is placed in the kalasam is symbolic of the selfless service – in that every part of the tree is useful in some form or the other – a quality that is desirous of imbibing. The coconut has a unique quality – it does not attract any light or negative energy that is harmful. It is rich in medicinal qualities both in terms of the kernel and the water.
The Kurcham – This is placed on top of the coconut and is made from strands of Dharba grass. Suffice to say that it acts in controlling the temperature near the kalasam from the rest of the surrounding. Researches show that the Dharba grass has several medicinal qua