Walnuts and Shiva Ratri

alnuts as it is called Doon in Kashmiri language is an integral part of the Vedic injunction in the Kashmiri Pandit religious ethos. Walnut in any Homa is essential ingredient of the Samagri.

Why? Kashmiri Pandit Puja consists of three integrated streams of the Vedic, Puranic and Agamic systems. It has been so, as to make the Puja Yogic in spirit, mystic in theme and ritualistic in pattern.

Who taught us this methodology of Anushthhana system? It was the great LAUGAKSHSI Rishi of Kashmir, who gave the popular Paddati, with regard to Homa/ Yagnya, Pakshayagya and Anushthhans.

In every Kashmiri Pandit Religious Anushthana, we need to invoke the Kalasha Purusha, with mystic diagrams to be drawn by the Rice flour. The Yantras differ from one deliberation to another. The Kalasha are of two types.

    • The First is the Brahma Kalasha and the other is
    • The Indra Kalasha.

Brahma Kalasha is purely the Hiranya garbha, which needs to be invoked through the Atharva Vedic Ganapati Avahan, followed by the Panchayatan Deva Vedic Suktas of Ganesha, Surya Vishnu, Shiva and Devi.

The Puranic Mantras are also recited during invocation, followe by the Tantric Bijaksharas. You know it well, that Kalash Doon is highly revered and is the First Naivedya after the Hasta Phalam/ Athi Phol’u is offered and Shanti Mantras are recited. This is known as the Achhidra of the Deliberationa/Anushthhanam. The walnuts are offered to the Kalasha Purusha, because Walnut is the Ritu Phalam of Kashmir, which are easily available in the whole cycle of the year. Offering of Ritu Phalam is purely Puranik in substance, as it is the fifth step in the Panch Upchara Puja.

Rituphalam is Kalash Doon

The emphasis is on Rituphalam. It means the fruit of the season, and the Ritupati is the Narayana, whose abode is the Ksheer Sagar/ milk ocean. Narayana is Purusha, who is for the sustenance of the universe, and the water is the important element for survival, both physical and cosmic. Therefore, Laugakshya taught us to invoke water with the Vedic Sukta, which runs as:


A -imam Ambitame Naditame Devitame Saraswati
Aprashata Iva smasi Prashastim Amba namaskridhi ”

The translation of this famous mantra gives a clear picture of the Kalasha, which is the Hiranyagarbha/cosmic egg, where the water element, is the Mother, is the River, is the Divine Mother and is the fountainhead of all knowledge and bliss.

Lingobhava/ the origin of the Shiva Lingam opens with the saying: No universe as we see was there, only water and water everywhere, and there was no direction as well. There was starless night of the lifeless interval between merger/ dissolution and the creation. All the seeds were in that infinite ocean, with all potentialities, of the forthcoming evolution rested in the dormant stage of undifferentiation which is static in its inherent Svaroopa. This is also the identical approach of the Laugakshi Rishi, with respect to the Kalasha and Akshota/ walnut/ doon.

The Laughaksha Paddati also says that the water source, which is in this Kalasha is from the Ganga Prayag, Gaya, Naimish, Pushkar and other Tirthas, which virtually are taking the devotee from the physical consciousness to the higher consciousness of Vatuka Raja Bhairava. The Bhairava is the Supreme spirit of the SHIVA, which is filled with the triadic power of creation, preservation and absorbtion/merger, but not destruction.

The Watuka Raja Bhairava likes the AKSHOTA, which means Doon in Kashmiri. Doon is the dried edible fruit at the time of Shivaratri, and it needs to be soaked for further cultivation, just after the Tila Ashtami. It is being soaked in water and sanctified by the Watuka Raj Mantra for eleven days to commence from the Shivaratri to the Tilashtami. It receives the power to regenerate from the botanical point of considerations. It used to be the sacred act to give the soaked walnuts to the peasants of Kashmir, which in turn would cultivate in on the banks of streams, as it needs water nearby. The devotees would sow these walnuts around the Tirathas at Kashmir, preferabally at Tullamula.

Philosophically, a walnut is the composite unit seed of four equal quadrants, in the shell, which graphically can be represented as under in the circular and the elliptical shape. Generally the shape of the walnut is either, circular or elliptical. Walnut is of four cells, with a smooth, irregularly dehiscent husk that separates easily from the nut. It is the most common nut of Kashmir. All the four sections are of equal dimension. The shell is roughly wrinkled or furrowed but thin. In Kashmir, we have approximately the one inch diameter of the walnut. It contains of two kernels separated by a thin, plate extending from the inner layer of the shell. The first quadrant represents the Rigveda, the second quadrant is Yajurveda, the third quadrant is Samaveda and the fourth quadrant is the Atharvaveda. All the four Vedas are equally important within the spirit and meaning of the Sat -Chit- Ananda and Svaroopa. Satchitananda is the Upanishadic concept and the Svaroopa is the Shaivistic concept. The walnut is therefore, a symbol and the SEED theory of the Shiva in manifestation.

The elliptical Lingam is the eternal seed of the Absolute Shiva, and walnut is one manifestation of that seed.

The Vedas speak of the four fold Ashrams within the human birth, which are the four cells, in two lobed seed of the walnut. Each lobe consists of Purusha and Prakriti.

The Brahma has spoken the Vedas through his four mouths, and the four mouths represent the synthesis of the Vedas.

Shri Krishna says in the Gita : “Me as the Supreme person is the creator of the Chaturvarnas/ four categories according to the Guna –Karma/ inherent quality and attitude to life”. The four Avasthas/ stages of life are brahmacharya-grihastha-vanaparastha and sannyasa. In the Tantras, the Bhupura is fourfold and is the outer extended layer of the Bindu.

In the figure no 2 the origin O/ origin is the Mula Bindu, which is the source energy of the universe. Each quadrant is the equal to the 1/4th of the circle, which is the Parama -tattva in the Shaiva Darshana., symbolic to the walnut.

It is the Bijakshara of the four syllabled Mother Shri Raj Rajeshvari. The Mantra is Shri Chakra Priya Bindu Tarpana Para Shri Raja Rajeshvari of Shri Sharika Bhagavati. This Mantra, which is the quintessence of the Nishkala manifested into Sakala in the form of walnut. Keeping such virtues in the set of Four fold seed within the Unit of shell is inspiring, strength giving and making us realize that the Seed needs to be soaked with the water substance of Love for giving to the Mother Earth back for future tree to grow in her lap of soil, for the generations to come.

1 Kashmiri Sandhya
2 Mantratma Karma Kandaah Tritiya Compiled and edited by Pandit Keshav Bhat Jyotishi, Printed and Published by Nirnaya Sagar Press, Mumbai 1936
3 Nitya Karma Puja Prakash
4 Shakti Ank Published by the Gita press Gorakh pur.
5 Shrimad Bhagvadgita

*Dr. Chaman Lal Raina
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