Understanding Made Snana

Our country, the land of Bharath, is a land that enjoys a rich culture and heritage. Among cultures, it is pre-eminent and unexcelled.

It is a country that has practiced the virtue of dharma and the doctrine of karma. It stands at the pinnacle of the world. People born in such a country are truly blessed.

When we transcend from one yuga or celestial time-span to another, it is necessary to understand a few subtle aspects. Indians believe in the eternal truth that God incarnates in every yuga. Modes and practices of worship and prayers tend to change from one yuga to another. Yagnas or fire rituals characterized the Treta Yuga, archanas in the Dwapara Yuga and in the Kali Yuga, it is chanting the Lord’s name that ensures deliverance.

Hindus have been following certain ancient rituals with deep faith. These include fulfilling vows, taking oaths, making promises and inflicting pains on the body like piercing needles through the tongue and offering money to the temple hundis.
These practices are in direct proportion to the faith and beliefs of devotees. Elders have also been in agreement with such practices. One such practice is made snana, which has received negative publicity.

In Hindu dharma, we secure the gift of human birth due to merits accumulated in previous lives. All human beings are bound by the law of karma. When devotees experience difficulty, they approach a Sadguru to find an answer. The divine mother Sai Raja Rajeshwari was requested to guide devotees on the question of made snana.

The ritual of made snana has been practiced as a sacred vow. Every person is born with a baggage of past karma. In order to reduce karmic burden through Divine Grace, devotees choose to roll over the dining leaves left after partaking meals by people who are also carrying similar karmic burdens. The value of this ritual is dubious. This is because when we roll over the leftovers of food consumed by others, we also inherit their negative karmas. It defeats the very purpose for which the ritual was instituted in the first place!

The Divine Mother suggests that it is more appropriate to spread the prasadam in the quadrangle of the temple and roll over those sacred offerings. It is important that the food is prepared either by the temple or the leftovers consist of food partaken by saints and yogis.

Once completed, the Divine Mother recommends that the prasadam be distributed to animals and birds. In this way, the sanctity of the ritual is preserved and the seva of rolling over is made even more sacred. The Divine Mother adds that this is Her personal opinion. It is not incumbent on all to follow.

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