1. SUMANGALI PRARTHANAI (PRAYER) – WHY?
The Vedas in Hinduism bestow the title of “Sumangali” on a married woman and also pray to the Devas to bestow on married women all the good things in life – health, wealth, peace and prosperity. Our Vedas and Sanathana Dharma require our men to follow rituals religiously. The women are also advised to undertake fasts for the well-being of the family.
A number of books and religious scriptures have delineated the procedure for “sumangali pooja” or “suhasini pooja”. It is to be noted that “Sumangali Prarthanai” is not a fast and neither is it a festival. It is a special occasion wherein the married women in a family propitiate the sumangalis in their family (ancestors and generations down the line) who have passed away so that their grace and blessings can be invoked.
1. It is not necessary to conduct sumangali pooja every year.
2. If we are having a family function like wedding or sacred thread ceremony at our home, sumangali pooja can be done either before or after the function.
3. Sumangali pooja is also done on special occasions like children completing their degree or chartered accountancy course successfully or children travelling overseas for further education etc.
4. It is a good idea to consult elders in the family prior to conducting the sumangali pooja so that we can do it as per the accepted and approved norms.
5. Sumangali pooja has to be done with bhakti (devotion), shraddha(commitment) and nambikkai (faith).
6. The practices of sumangali pooja vary from state to state, village to village, one home to another.
7. The younger generation must maintain a written record of all the procedural formalities so that this can be passed on from one generation to another.
8. The practices also vary among the various Tamilian sub sects Vadama, Brahcharanam, Sanketi, Asthasahasrar etc.
How to do Sumangali Prarthanai
1. Look out for an auspicious day. Fridays are most auspicious but Wednesdays and Mondays can also be chosen for conducting the function.
2. Avoid days like Kari Naal, Grahanam days (days of eclipse), amavasai / days when tharpanam has to be performed.
3. One can consult family vadhyar/ priest to perform this pooja.
4. In a family, the sumangali pooja can be done only once. So, consult relatives before doing it. If someone is doing it in March, you can do it in April (as new Tamil year commences from April)
5. Some families do the sumangali pooja after the son is married and the new daughter-in-law is required to attend the function. If daughter gets married, then she can be called to take part in the function.
6. In some families, the sumangali pooja is done considering the suitability of the pooja dates of the daughter. (Daughters are most precious gems for any family, isn’t it?).
7. A few days prior to the pooja, women have to purchase a 9 yard saree and a blouse piece along with a chitthadai (3 gajam) (also called as “cheeti thuni” in tamil).
8. These items have to be purchased just before the pooja. Do not buy it beforehand to avail of bazaar- discounts. Also, if womenfolk in the house are passing through their cycle, it is advisable to buy it when they are in a position to visit the saree shop.
9. Sarees can be any colour except black. For example – green, blue, yellow, purple, peach, brown, dark brown, red etc. Avoid buying sarees that have any shades of black in them. Avoid dark green or dark blue sarees too. Avoid sarees that have black borders. So, while selecting the sarees, please exercise care and caution. Invest time for the same.
10. 9 yard cotton sarees can be purchased. Example – Chungudi sarees, Uraiyoor sarees, Devendra sarees etc. Even the cloth that is being purchased for the kanya-girl (girls who have not yet attained puberty) must not have any shade of black. Such girls are considered equivalent to “kannika parameswari” or “ nav durgas”.
11. Never use blouse pieces or cloth or sarees that are already gifted for this occasion. Whatever you buy for the occasion must be purchased a few days before the function.
12. Even the blouse pieces to be given to sumangalis taking part in the function must not have any shade of black.
13. Betel leaf, areca nut, fruit (banana), coconut, vermilion, turmeric, comb, hand mirror, jasmine flowers – all these must be ready for the function.
(To be continued)