CREDOS : Meditation — I

Aparita Bhandari

Every day, at dawn and dusk, my father sits in front of the small altar in the puja (prayer) room of our home. The altar is made up of images and statuettes of Hindu gods such as Shiva and his wife Uma, their children Ganesh and Kartikeya, Ram, his wife Sita and brother Laxman, and some venerated gurus.

He wears a crisp white cotton dhoti, a sarong-like outfit, having bathed prior to entering the puja room. When he dips a small copper spoon in a small copper vessel full of water to take the achman (three sips of consecrated water), there are three small hollow tinkling sounds. He sprinkles his body and the surrounding area with a few drops of water.

My father then uses both hands to make a series of gestures. One looks like a fish, some others involve interlocking fingers, or tapping the index and forefinger of right hand on his

left palm and snapping them in a circle.

Thereafter, he takes a rosary made up of 108 rudraksha beads in his left hand. (Rudraksh beads are venerated in the Hindu tradition. Rudra is another name for Shiva, and the bead’s name translates to Rudra’s eye. The rudraksh is said to be his most potent manifestation.)

And over the next 30 to 40 minutes, my father sits silently and chants a mantra or God’s name for each rudraksh bead on the rosary. A devout Hindu, my father performs these rituals, which comprise the sandhya puja, without fail. —