Navadhanya signifies the nine grains (where ‘Nava’ means nine and ‘Dhanya’ means grains) that are an important part of an Indian’s staple food.
They are offered to the Navgrahas (9 planets). They are also part of other Hindu pujas and rituals. The Navadanya includes Bengal Gram, Wheat, Horse Gram, Green Gram, Rice, White beans, Black Seasame seeds, Chic Peas, Black Gram.
Usage of Navadhanya as a Hindu pooja item is a ritual followed during specific occasions such as the Grahapravesam or house warming ceremony and also during the Navaratri festival.
Use of Navadhanya for Grahapravesam:
The Grahapravesam or house warming ceremony is a ritual performed before someone starts living in a new house. Sometimes, a Grahapravesam may also be performed if the house or a portion of the house has been rebuilt, or if someone is coming back to live in the house after being away in a different place for a long number of years.
The objective of performing this ritual is to invoke the blessing of the gods to grant happiness, peace, prosperity and longevity to the people who are going to live in the house. During this ritual, the Navadhanya is one of the essential Hindu pooja items. These nine grains are placed in a pot filled with water along with a one rupee coin and a coconut is then placed on top of the pot. The priest then performs the pooja ritual after which this pot is taken inside the house and placed near the homam fire.
Use of Navadhanya during Navarathri festival:
Navadhanya is also an important part of the Navarathri festival which is celebrated for nine continuous days in worship of the Hindu goddesses. “Kolu” is a significant aspect of this festival where different idols are arranged such that they signify different stories from the various epics in the Hindu religion. Pooja will be performed for the idols placed in the Kolu every evening and neighbors will be invited to visit the Kolu and sign hymns in praise of the gods.
Each evening one of the Navadhanya will be cooked and offered to the deity and visitors in the form of “Sundal”. The Kolu custom and evening pooja is incomplete without a sundal made from one of the Navadhanyas. Apart from the spiritual or religious beliefs of well being when using a Navadhanya, intake of these grains has excellent health benefits.
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