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Tapta Mudra Dharana

This ritual of Tapta Mudra Dharana is said to purify the body, cleanse one from his past sins. Also, according to learned opinion, this is said to have a positive effect on the nervous system of a person.


The ritual of Tapta Mudra Dharana is a very important for all Vaishnavas. It is as significant as wearing Yagnopavita. It is customary for all Vaishanvas to to undergo this ritual on the first ekadashi of Ashadha Masa. The Vayu Purana clearly brings out the importance and significance of Tapta Mudra Dharana in the following verse -

उपवीतं शिखां चैव ऊर्ध्वपुण्ड्रं तथैव च ।
चक्रलाञ्छनहीनस्य विप्रस्य विफलं भवेत् ।।


All deeds performed by a Dvija are fruitless if performed without Yagnopavita, Sikha, Urdhva Pundra and Chakra Mudras.

In this short article some of the common questions regarding this ritual are answered quoting the relevant pramanas.

1. Why does it have to be on Ashadha Shuddha Ekadashi?

This is due to scriptural injunction. According to Padma Purana and other puranas, tapta mudra should be obtained from a vaishnava guru at the time of initiation to vaishnava mantras and also during the AShADha shayanI ekAdashiand kArtIka prabodhini ekadashis.

शयन्यां चैव बोधिन्यां चक्रतीर्थे तथैव च।
शङ्खचक्रविधानेन वह्निपूतो भवेन्नरः॥


shayanyAM caiva bodhinyAM cakratIrthe tathaiva ca |
sha~NkhachakravidhAnena vahnipUto bhavennaraH ||


Procedure of tapta mudra:


प्रतप्तं चक्रमादाय मन्त्रेणैव तथा गुरुः।
शङ्खचक्राङ्कनं कुर्यात् ब्राह्मणो बाहुमूलयोः
हुताग्निनैव संतप्य सर्वपापापनुत्तये।
चक्रं वा शङ्खचक्रो वा तथा पञ्चायुधानि वा।
धारयित्वैव विधिवत् ब्रह्मकर्म समारभेत्॥


prataptaM cakramAdAya mantreNaiva tathA guruH |
sha~NkhacakrA~NkanaM kuryAt brAhmaNo bAhumUlayoH
hutAgninaiva saMtapya sarvapApApanuttaye |
cakraM vA sha~Nkhacakro vA tathA pa~ncAyudhAni vA |
dhArayitvaiva vidhivat brahmakarma samArabhet ||


The sha~Nkha amd chakra should be first heated and then worn on the both the shoulders. One can wear chakra or both sha~Nkha or chakra or the 5 weapons of viShNu. One should begin any ritual only after wearing these marks.


अनेन विधिना मन्त्रं योऽधीते वैष्णवाद्गुरोः।
ततः स वैष्णवं याति नान्यथा सुरसत्तम॥


anena vidhinA mantraM yo.adhIte vaiShNavAdguroH |
tataH sa vaiShNavaM yAti nAnyathA surasattama ||


One who learns the mantra strictly adhering to the above mentioned procedure will attain vaiShnavisM and not otherwise.


2. Why should it follow performance of Sudarshana Homa?


As per the procedure ordained in Padma Purana,

तत्र संस्थापयेदग्निं स्वगृहोक्तविधानतः।
तस्मिन् अग्नौ क्षिपेच्चक्रं शङ्खं च द्विजसत्तम॥


tatra saMsthApayedagniM svagR^ihoktavidhAnataH |
tasmin agnau xipeccakraM sha~NkhaM ca dvijasattama ||


A homa should be performed and sha~Nka and chakra should be first offered to the fire. For more, one can refer to Padma Purana Uttara Khanda.

3. Why should the mudras be stamped on certain parts of the body only?


According to vR^iddha hArIta smR^iti, the places where the mudras are to be stamped is given as under

स दहेत् दक्षिणेबाहौ चक्रं शङ्खं च वामतः।
स्तनयोरूर्ध्वतश्चापि स्वेच्छया च तथोदरे।
एवं मुद्रापञ्चकं च मुद्राद्वयमथाऽपि वा॥


sa dahet daxiNebAhau cakraM sha~NkhaM ca vAmataH |
stanayorUrdhvatashchApi svecChayA ca tathodare |
evaM mudrApa~ncakaM ca mudrAdvayamathA.api vA ||


One should be stamped with cakra on the right shoulder and sha~Nka on the left shoulder, on the chest and also on the stomach. Like this one should take either 5 or 2 mudras.


4. From whom should we take mudra?

अकाले चाप्यदेशे च विधिमुल्लंघ्य यो नरः।
लोभाद्युपाधिना वाऽपि यस्मात् कस्माच्च पूरुषात्।
स्वयं वाऽपि दहेत् गात्रं चक्रश्ङ्खादिकैरपि।
सोऽपि व्रजेत निरयं साकं स्वगुरुणा चिरम्।
तस्मात्तु विधिना ब्रह्मन् गृह्णीयात् सद्गुरोरपि॥


akAle cApyadeshe ca vidhimullaMghya yo naraH |
lobhAdyupAdhinA vA.api yasmAt kasmAcca pUruShAt |
svayaM vA.api dahet gAtraM cakrash~NkhAdikairapi |
so.api vrajeta nirayaM sAkaM svaguruNA ciram |
tasmAttu vidhinA brahman gR^ihNIyAt sadgurorapi ||


One should chose proper time, place and obtain the mudra from a sadguru. If one takes the mudra himself or from any other unqualified person due to greed or other reasons, he will go to hell along with his guru.

5. Does this ritual have any scientific rationale?

This ritual is said to purify the body, cleanse one from his past sins. Also, according to learned opinion, this is said to have a positive effect on the nervous system of a person.

6. Is there any other sect (other than the Madhwas)that follows this?


Even Shri Vaishnavas have the custom of getting stamped with heated mudrAs for getting initiated into Vaishnavism. But this is required to be done only once in life time.

Therefore, every person should undergo this important and purifying Vaishnava Deeksha without fail from their respective gurus.   

 
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