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Sunday, June 24, 2012
An Exposition Of Coconut Rituals
The word coconut in Sanskrit is called ‘Sriphala’ or “God’s
To an Indian community, the offering of a coconut is the
most common offerings. A coconut plays a vital role in pujas in Hinduism. It is
also offered on occasions such as weddings, festivals, the use of a new
vehicle, bridge, house, obstacle removal rituals etc. It is also offered in the
sacrificial fire ritual where the coconut is broken and placed before the
deity. The marks on the coconut are thought to represent the Shiva’s 3rd
The coconut is also associated with Lord Ganesha. At the
beginning of any auspicious task or a journey, people smash coconuts to
propitiate Ganesha – the remover of all obstacles. They also break coconuts in
temples or in front of idols in fulfillment of their vows.
The association of human fertility cult with coconut is
prominently manifested during wedding rituals across India. The fruit is often
placed in a pot which is a metaphor for the womb, while the nut itself, a
symbol or life, confers fertility on the bridal couple. In Gujarat it is
customary for the bride to present the coconut to the groom at the time of the
marriage. The coconut is then preserved as a precious memento by the husband
throughout his life.
The members of the Prabhu caste of Maharashtra move a
coconut around the head of the bridegroom several times and then throw out its
pieces in all directions. This they believe will ward off evil spirits.
The Nair community of Kerala place a coconut inflorescence
inside a wooden barrel filled with paddy grains as the auspicious centerpiece
in the kalyanamandapam (traditional wedding podium) of the. In Kerala as well
as in the other southern states, during marriages as well as during festivals
such Navarathri, it is considered auspicious to distribute coconuts among
married women as a part of the tambulam. Among the Tamils, the tali (an
important symbol of marriage consisting of a gold ornament stung from a yellow
thread) are initially tied around the coconut before it is tied around the
bride’s neck by the groom. In north India, when a woman wants to conceive she
would go to the temple priest and get coconut.
The Gonds and the Bhils of Rajasthan, Gujarat and M.P., a
ceremony referred to as the ‘Golgothero’ is organised at the time of the Holy
festival. Some jiggery and a coconut is tied on a tree at a good height and all
eligible males and females dance around the tree in two separate circles. Any
boy who tries to break up the inner female ring is resisted by broomstick
beatings. When the boy succeeds in getting the coconut, he is at liberty to
select any girl from the formation.
Fishing communities along the Indian peninsula coasts
believe in appeasing the sea God (Lord Varuna) with offerings of coconut during
the monsoon. On the fifteenth day of the bright fortnight of shravana,
fishermen especially in Maharashtra celebrate the festival of ‘Nariyal
Purnima’. On this day fishermen paint their boats and decorate them with flags.
With much rejoicing they throw coconuts into the sea, with prayers for a
plentiful fish catch.
This festival is an anode to Sea- god, Varun, a Vedic deity.
According to the ritual, coconuts are thrown into the sea as offerings to
Varun. Hence, this day has come to be known as Narial Purnima. On this day
people go to the sea-shores or river-banks and offer coconuts to the Sea-god.
It is believed that with the Varuna's blessings sea-trade will become fruitful
and prosper. Hindu married women gather together, play games, sing and dance
and put kumkum tilak (Vermilion mark) on each other’s forehead as the symbol of
good luck. They eat together, enjoy the festival and then bid farewell to each
other. Fisher-folk welcome this day as the heavy rains finally stop.
The coconut also symbolises selfless service this is because
every part of the tree -the trunk, leaves, fruit, coir etc. All those parts are
used in innumerable ways like thatches, mats, tasty dishes, oil, soap etc. It
takes in even salty water from the earth and converts it into sweet nutritive
water that is especially beneficial to sick people. It is used in the
preparation of many Ayurvedic medicines and in other alternative medicinal
A coconut can attract both benevolent and malevolent
energies. If the negative energy problem is severe then it is preferable
to use a coconut t o cast off the evil eye. The coconut ritual in South East Asia is obviously rooted from India. Let us explore two forms of the coconut rituals:
Ritual 1: One Coconut (Hanuman)
First, strip a coconut as below:
Then perform a prayer to Deity Maruti (Hanuman) mentioning
the name of the victim of black magic while pointing the tail of the coconut at
'O Māruti may my (say full name) distress be absorbed
through the tip of this coconut and may it not cause harm to (say full name of
the person doing the ritual). Please absorb all the black energy in me through
the tip of this coconut and destroy it'.
The victim should sit on a low stool facing East with fixed
knees bent towards the chest while the palms face upwards and both ankles place
on the knees.
The healer should hold the coconut in his cupped palms and
stand in front of the victim with the tail of the coconut facing the victim.
The victim should look at it while the chanting continues.
The coconut should be moved three times in a circle
(clock-wise) from the feet to the head of the affected person. Then the person
performing the ritual should circle the affected person three times in the
After completing the ritual the coconut should be broken at
the junction of three roads or in a temple of Deity Māruti or at any holy place
while chanting 'Bajarangabali Hanuman ki jay'.
If one does not have any of the above places nearby then one
can break it in any holy place or one’s back yard.
Ritual 2: Five
Coconuts (Thai/Malay Magic)
If the black magic attack is very severe, five coconuts need to be
used. In this case the coconut is specifically empowered with special talisman and added
prayers. This ritual will pull everything protected by the ritual. Using this method one can cast off the black magic of
several people at the same time by making them sit for the ritual together.
Possible observations while breaking the coconut
·If the person is affected by distressing energy
the coconut becomes heavy and breaks into pieces and the water from it springs
upwards even up to 1-2 metres.
·At times the coconut turns out to be rotten.
·Sometimes when one has a severe problem the
coconut does not break even when struck forcefully because the distressing
energy inside it does not wish to be annihilated by Deity Mârutî, as per the
prayer made earlier.
·If the distressing energy is very powerful, then
the coconut gets flung and cannot be found. Thus one can judge the amount of
distressing energy absorbed by the coconut.