Once we have the vision of God (through Paddhathi Bhajan), our philosophical knowledge gets ripened and then we are able to go near God and make friendship by dancing in ecstasy, enacting God’s Leela and be in his company (Deepa Pradakshinam). Once we are fixed thus in our Bhakthi, we forget our worldly self and enjoy full bliss but our Ego does not get annihilated. It only gets converted from Rajasic Ego (based on our materialistic attachments) to Saathwic Ego (possessiveness of God – based on our philosophical attachment). Now God helps us to cast away this Positive Ego also by disappearing for a while to make us realise the importance of His presence. Then when we lament, realising the truth (Gopikaa Geetham), and totally surrender to Him (Saranaagathi song), Lord appears and mingles with us in (Raasa Kreeda songs), whereby he makes us realise that God is present in every human being unattached and unbound and He again shines separately as the center of activity. Finally we try to merge with God (Dolothsavam).The process prescribed by our scriptures for attaining this is beautifully brought out by the following sloka:
SRAVANAM KEERTHANAM VISHNO:
SMARANAM PAADA SEVANAM
ARCHANAM VANDANAM DAASYAM
The process of repeatedly hearing the deeds of God (SRAVANAM), doing Japam or singing in praise of HIM (KEERTHANAM), dwelling in His Leelaas (SMARANAM) Pouring Bhakthi onto His feet and serving him (PAADA SEVANAM), performing pooja (ARCHANAM), prostrating before him (VANDANAM), Serving him without Ego (DAASYAM), gaining his friendship (SAKHYAM), surrendering totally unto HIM (AATHMA NIVEDANAM) is aimed at the culmination of human evolution (Mukthi).
While in Paddhathi Bhajan, Bhagavathaas sit and sing the bhajan , in Deepa Pradakshinam, there is also an additional element, where Bhakthaas dance (Nrithya) and enact the leelaas of the Lord (Abhinaya) around the lit Brass lamp (five faceted). In the present day situations, Deepa Pradakshinam is performed on Saturdays, special occasions like Saturdays of Purattasi month, Gokulashtami, Ramanavami etc. The Lord from Sanctum is brought to the lamp in the form of Jyothi (by Aavaahana Manthram). We do Deepa Pooja and place the lamp in the center of the hall and sing in praise of Him. Bhakthaas, along with the songs, enact the leelaas of God by dancing around the Pancha Mukha Deepam (placed in the center of the hall), in tune with the meaning of the song. This is to enable one to concentrate on the theme and forget one’s self during Deepa Pradkshinam and try to tune up with the Godly principle. It is also necessary to precede special Bhajan with Paddhathi Bhajan, which is the basic Paddhathi for all other systems. DEEPA PRADAKSHINAM, compared to Paddhathi Bhajan, gives more chance for participation by one and all either in singing, dancing, abhinaya etc. , wherein we forget ourselves and feel the presence of the Lord amongst us and prepares us to have Samabhaavana as we are able to mix up with other Bhakthaas/Bhagavathaas without ego.
Importance of Panchmukha Deepam:
The lamp (made of brass) used for Deepa Pradakshinam contains a great thathwa. Symbolically the round bowl shaped top portion of the lamp (Agal) represents our Mind, the five facets with five pairs of Wicks represent our Indriyaas (5 Gnaanendriyaas and 5 Karmendriyaas), the Ghee poured in the bowl represents our Bhakthi, the stoopa shaped short portion (Naaraayam) pointing upwards and emanating from the center of the bowl represents Guru. The bowl is supported by a stand with artistic moulds (Body) and this stand gets the support of a big round shaped bottom plate (World), holding the body and the top portion. Guru shows the way UP for salvation. Finally when we light the lamp on all five facets, the Jyothi representing God is considered as the object of meditation. How?
All thoughts are emanating in the mind and the thoughts are generated by the Vishayaas that are brought by Gnaanendriyaas from the world outside. The thought process culminates in directions addressed to the Karmendriyaas, which perform the actions in the world outside. Each action depends on the quality of our thoughts and the results again on the quality of our actions. So if the thoughts are pure and Saathwic, the actions are also Saathwic and vice-a-versa . Our Indriyaas (away from worldly thoughts – vishayaaspathi) are directed inwards and get Knowledge through Bhakthi due to constant vision of God in Jyothi swaroopa. Thus, our mind becomes thoughtless, is purified and is empty to receive the Grace of God.
Origin of Deepa Pradakshinam:
The Deepa Pradakshinam was introduced first by Bhadrachala Raamadaas. There is another story behind it: Thaalappakkam Chinnayya, a devotee of Lord Venkateswara, used to go round the Thirupathi hills on Saturdays and have Darshan of the Lord in the evening after which only he used to take food. Due to old age, he was unable one day to do Giri Pradakshinam and could not climb the hills for the Lord’s Darshan. He lamented and went without food that night. Lord Venkateswara came in his dream and pacified him saying that he need not feel sorry for his inability to do the Giri Pradakshinam and come to the hills for His darsan. The Lord explained further that If he places a Pancha Mukha Deepam (a lamp lit on five sides with Ghee as the fuel) and comes around it, chanting/singing in praise of Him, it amounts to Bhoo Pradakshinam and the Lord would give him Darshan in the Bhaktaa’s house itself. Chinnayya did so on every Saturday and could have Lord’s Darshan there. This happened in Purattasi month. Thus, came the importance of Deepa Pradakshinam Bhajan on Saturdays and particularly on Purattasi month.