Date: 29 February 2016
Post No. 2585
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‘Pancha’ is a Sanskrit word for number ‘five’. Because of Pancha Pandavas, this word is very familiar to the Hindus. But when it comes to words like panchamrtam or panchangam people struggle to list all the five in that category.
In the olden days everything was taught in verses and so it was easy to remember all the five in a particular order. Here are the traditional verses for these categories:-
What are the five parts of Panchangam?
Panchangam is calendar or ephemeris; it is called so because there are five parts to it; they are
Tithi- Day (a month is divided into two parts with 15 tithis each)
Naksatra- star (moon aligns with a star every day in its orbit)
Yoga- period of conjunction of two stars
Karana – part of lunar day
What is Pancha Amrta?
This nectar or jam or mixed fruit is offered to the god during daily Abishek/anointing/bathing. The five ingredients of pachamrta are:
Dugdham – milk
Sarkara – sugar
Ghrtam – ghee or clarified butter
Dadhi – curd
Madhu – honey
(in some places fruits are mixed)
Dugdham sasarkaranchaiva ghrtam dadhi tathaa madhu
Panchaamrtamidam proktam videyam sarvakarmasu
What is Panchagavyam?
Panchagavyam is five products that are obtained from cow/gau. It is used for purifying a Hindu before any ritual. Brahmins still use this for purification. The five products of cow are:
Gomuutra – cow’s urine
Gomaya – cowdung (fresh)
ksiiram – milk
Dadhi – curd/ yogurt
Sarpi – ghee
Gomuutram gomayam ksiiramdadhisarpisthataiva ca
Gavaam pancha pavitraani punanti sakalam jagat
Another version from Susruta (Uttara) 39-237
Dadhi – curd/yogurt
Muutram – cow’s urine
Ksiiram – milk
Sarpih – ghee
Sardrasa – cowdung
Manu Smrti also prescribes this for redeeming from several sins 11-92,166, 213.
What is Pancha yajnam?
Hindus are expected to do five ‘sacrifices/rituals’ to propitiate five groups every day. They are
Narayyajna – offering food to the poor
Brahmayajna – study of the Vedas
Daivayajna – offering to gods/doing puja
Pitryajna – offering (water and sesame seeds to the departed souls)
Bhutayajna – offering food to animals
Manu also gives this list in 3-68 to 71
Tiruvalluvar has translated these slokas in Tamil in his Tirukkural.