Kusha is the most essential item of Puja paraphernalia for Hindus. It is also known as Darbham and Doorva. In English, it is termed Koin while its botanical name is Eragrostis cynosuroides. It is widely used in all religious ceremonies and rituals.
This grass grows naturally on the wet banks of paddy fields. The growing roots of this grass forms a dense mat which bind the soil of banks and prevents soil erosion. It cannot be planted and grown everywhere. The edges of the leaf blades are very sharp. It might hurt your skin with a cut if not handled cautiously.
To make it handy for religious occasions, I tried to cultivate it many times in my kitchen garden but failed. It cannot be harvested on any day. According to Hindu calendar, Bhadra Amvasya is the date for cutting and collecting Kusha. This Amvasya is known as Kushotpatni Amavasya. In Kashmiri, it is commonly called Dharb Mavas. This year, Bhadra Amavasya falls on 25th of August.
Before exodus, Kashmiri Pandits used to cut Kusha while reciting a particular hymn. I remember the hymn my late father used to recite, “Virinchen Sahotpann Parmeshthinisargja; Nad Sarwani Papani Darbh Swasti Karo Bhava”.
Kusha is believed to be pure, germ-free and has the ability to absorb the highly toxic radioactive atoms from the environment. May be this is the reason that many items like Pavither, Upyam, Vishthur, Mounji, Darbhi Hur etc. are used while performing different types of religious rituals and ceremonies by Hindus.
Pavither: This is an essential requisite for a person performing religious rituals. It is a ring made of Kusha called Kusha Angriyem, which is worn on the right hand ring finger known (Anamika).
To make a Pavither, dried Kusha is made wet so that it can be bent and a loop is made which can be slipped into the finger.
Upyam: It is a small bunch of pruned holy Kusha which is placed on right ear by the performer while performing Havan/Kriya.
Vishthur: It is made of one or two blades of Kusha but the grass should not be without its tip portion.
Vishthur is used for Tarpan, sprinkling the sanctified water for Jeevadan and to sanctify every nook and corner of the place where the religious function is going to be held. ‘Pavitrarthey Imey Kusha’ (meaning these leaf blades of Kusha are for sanctification) is recited while sanctifying.
The string of Kusha is also used for hanging Mrigchala (Mrigazal in Kashmiri) around the neck and arm on Yagneopavit ceremony.
Darbhi Hur: A handful of pruned holy Kusha bundled together is called Darbhi Hur in Kashmiri Hindu tradition. It is used as Chamar, especially on the festival of Hyerath and birthday.
The bunch is held in the right hand placing the tip point towards the invoked deity and waved right to left repeatedly while reciting Atibheeshan Katubhashan, Mahimna Stotra, Jai Narayan or any other hymn. The leaf blades of this grass are spread all over the four sides of the Agni-kund. It is also used as Aasan for invoked deities on all religious functions.
|Dr. Jai Kishan Sharma is Ph.D. in Kashmir Shaivism from University of Jammu. He has written research papers and articles for several magazines, journals like Shiraza, Hamara Sahitya, Dharma Marg etc. He devotes his time in reading, researching and writing.|
Very good article in simple language. My request is kindly elaborate the use of number of leaves (strands) of kusha for making the pavither, or vishthur etc for different types of puja perform such as at death, pitra puja, daily puja or any other special type of puja. Thanks
Added By Dr. RL Fotedar
very informative article. can i have phone no of the writer plz.
Added By manju raina
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Added By Nisha Sharma