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Listen to Bhajans:
Chandan Se Ghanashyam


In the Bhagvad Gita Lord Krishna has elaborated on three paths to Godhead; Karma-Yoga - path of action, Bhakti-Yoga - path of loving devotion and Jnan-Yoga - path of knowledge. Of these the scriptures opine that Bhakti excels in pleasing the Lord and is easier for the aspirant, relative to other endeavors.
The Bhakti scriptures also mention nine forms of Bhakti, known as Navdhã Bhakti, of which Archanam is one. This involves the ritual of applying materials such as sandalwood paste, better known as chandan, kumkum - vermilion powder on the Lord's murti or offering rice grains, flowers and leaves of sacred plants such as Tulsi (to Vishnu) Bili (to Shiva) and Ankado (to Hanumanji).
Since Archanam is a direct involvement with the Lord, the devotee experiences a more intimate fervor and spiritual contentment. Therefore people wedded to the path of Bhakti revel in Archanam in their daily worship rituals.
Of the items listed above chandan is by far the most extensively used, probably due to its inherently exquisite fragrance, cooling and other unique qualities. Hence chandan in the Hindu Sanatana Dharma is a cherished puja dravya - material for worship ritual.
Traditionally in the Vaishnava Sampradaya (Pushti Marg) chandan is often smeared in a thick paste on the metallic murtis of the child form of Lord Krishna in some Havelis during the hot summer months.
In many mandirs in South India, chandan is traditionally applied on the murtis throughout the year.
In the Swaminarayan Sampradaya chandan is used in a manner unique only to the Swaminarayan Sampradaya. It is smeared as a thick layer on the metallic murtis (Panch dhatu) during the hottest summer months, of Vaishakh and Jeth. (See photographs and accompanying description for details.)


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© 1999, Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, Swaminarayan Aksharpith