'Made snana', result of tragic misunderstanding

'Made snana', result of tragic misunderstanding

Kukke Subrahmanya Temple is one of most spectacular temples of Karnataka. Located in the Dakshina Kannada district, the temple is dedicated to Lord Subrahmanya where he is worshipped as the Lord of all serpents. Legend has it that the divine serpent Vasuki sought the protection of Lord Subramanya when threatened by Garuda.

Important rituals connected with ‘sarpa dosha’ or ‘naga dosha’ are performed in this temple. People belonging to all faiths and creeds perform these rituals and secure relief from their burdens. Recent events concerning a particular ritual where devotees circumambulate the temple over the leftovers of food consumed by Brahmins began to receive negative publicity in the media.

This needless controversy – as is usually the case with most controversies – is the result of a tragic misunderstanding.

The ritual is known as ‘made snana’. It calls for remedial action that is prompted by wisdom and sagacity. According to Srimad Sai Raja Rajeshwari Amma, it is not a good idea to roll over the leftovers of food eaten by others. This is because their karmas will be transferred to those individuals. This will only add to their burdens and not mitigate them. According to the Divine Mother, “by rolling on the plantain leaves containing leftovers of lunch served, the bad karmas of those had partaken food will be added to the karmas of those who roll on it. As a result, the very purpose of the offering – to get rid of diseases or passing comfortably over troubled times gets defeated and the suffering is aggravated several times over.”

What is the solution? The Divine Mother suggests the following: “On days fixed for made snana, the temple must prepare extra ‘naivedyam’. Once the religious functions are completed, the extra portion of ‘naivedyam’ should be spread upon a pre-fixed clean area. Devotees may roll over this ‘naivedyam’ alone to derive real benefit from their offering. The remains must be distributed by offering them to dogs and birds. This is the correct way that ‘made snana’ ought to be performed.”  
The rituals prescribed in our scriptures or embodied in our traditions have deep meaning. They must be performed with understanding, humility and a spirit of surrender. Only a Sadguru can provide a remedy. This is why our scriptures say, when in doubt approach a Sadguru. When the ritual is performed in this dignified manner, the oath taken by devotees is fulfilled and sanctified by Divine Grace.