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Why do we do pradakshina (circumambulate) ?

circumambulate hinduism

We cannot draw a circle without a center point. The Lord is the center, source and essence of our lives. Recognizing Him as the focal point in our lives, we go about doing our daily chores. This is the significance of pradakshina.

Also every point on the circumference of a circle is equidistant from the center.

This means that wherever or whoever we may be, we are equally close to the Lord. His grace flows towards us without partiality.

Pradakshina literally means: to the right (Dakshina means right). So in Pradakshina, one goes to the left hand direction to keep the deity around the Sanctum Sanctorum on one’s right side. Pradakshina is one of the customary aspects of going to a temple. Typically, Pradakshina is done after the completion of traditional worship (pooja) and after paying homage to the deity. Pradakshina is supposed to be done with a meditative mood.

According to Adi Sankaracharya, real Pradakshina is the meditation that thousands of universes are revolving around the Great Lord, the unmoving centre of all forms.

It is normal to do Pradakshinam always in a clockwise direction. This is because we assume that Lord is always on our right side. This reminds that we must always lead a righteous life, in the right path called Dharma.

At the end of the pujas , it is a custom to do pradakshinam around ourselves three times & this is called “Atma Pradakshinam”. The proper pradakshina is going round the Self (Atma Pradakshina) or more accurately, to realize that we are the Self and that within us all the countless spheres revolve, going round and round. We bow to the supreme divinity within us, chanting

यानि कानि च पापानि जन्मान्तरकृतानि च
तानि सर्वाणि नश्यन्तु प्रदक्षिणपदे || 

‘yaani kaani cha paapaani janmanthara kruthaani cha
taani taani vinashyanthi pradakshina pade’

May those omissions and commissions done in this life and also in the previous births and the resulting afflictions perish with every pradakshina.