"Kramam", "Jata", "Rathha", "Kottu", "Thrisandhha", "Panchasandhha", etc. are Vedic exercises designed for the growth of the brain and to increase the memory power. The Rigvedam text is memorized forward and backward and chanted using many mathematical styles. Even the very young and the old participate in the above rituals and show their capabilities. They believe that such exercises have even a divine dimension.
Thrisandhha involves chanting of Rigvedam text as well as its "Pada-paattham" and "Krama-paattham", in that order. There will be one Namboothiri to chant the "Varkam", and at least four for repeating it. Pada-paattham and Krama-paattham are more difficult than chanting the text.
The next Varkam is chanted by a different Namboothiri, who replaces the first when his Krama-paattham begins, and would have moved to the left. The first person leaves at the end of the second personís chanting of the text. This arrangement allows continuity for the audience.
With roughly a month needed for one "Ashtakam", the entire Rigvedam (containing 8 Ashtakams) consumes about eight months; and involves a large number of people. It needs at least 20 experts a day which begins around 6 in the morning and goes on till 8 or 10 at night.
Thrisandhha starts at about 6 a m after the morning "Sandhyaavandanam". The first Varkam is to be chanted facing east by the chief (Vaadhyaan) of the host Yogam. Further Varkams are chanted facing west. The Thrisandhha goes on till lunch.
During lunch, "Jata Prayogam" (such mental exercises are termed "Prayogam") is performed by experts, with the two Yogam members sitting in opposite rows to eat. While eating, they check for mistakes in Jata, and evaluate its quality.
Either Yogam can perform Jata. When the guest Yogam makes a mistake, the host Yogam clicks the finger and stops the Jata, and the performers correct themselves and continue on. But if the host makes a mistake the guests do not click their fingers. They correct themselves and continue.
On "Dwaadasi" (click - "Thithhis" in Anadhyaaya Dinangal) day, the Prayogam is usually Rathha instead of Jata, and all the above rules are applicable. But, in the case of Vaaram, if one makes a mistake, he has to leave.
After lunch, Thrisandhha continues into the night except for a break for Sandhyaavandanam. Since mid-Sooktham stoppage is not allowed, Thrisandhha may sometime last till 10 p m if the last Sooktham is a long one, with as many as 12 Varkams. The proceedings-controller usually tries his best to ensure that the last Sooktham is short. Normally it is over by 8, and is followed by dinner accompanied by Rathha Prayogam with the same rules as at lunch.
The person who chants Varkam, sits on the platform ("Padi") between the south and central pillars. But in the Rathha during dinner, the two performers sit between the central and north pillars.
On Ekaadasi days neither lunch nor dinner is served, and Jata and Rathha are not performed. There will be meals served at about 4 p m and "Vaaram Irikkal" at 7 p m. The host Yogam "sits in front" ("Mumpilirikkal"). The guest Yogam may (or may not) perform a second or any number of Vaarams. The day ends with the Vaaram.
The same holidays are observed as those during Vedam studies (click : Anadhyaaya Dinangal) - "Pradosham", "Thrayodasi", "Chathurdasi", "Vaavu", "Prathipadam", "Ashtami", "Sapthami"- 4th leg, etc. The experts can take a break, but usually, the neighbouring Namboothiri families invite them to their homes and have them perform Jata, Rathha, etc. for the benefit of these families.
During Thrisandhha days, "Nivedyam" is prepared and offered to Chamravattathu Ayyappan (Lord Ayyappan of Chamravattam) in the morning and Kumaaranelloor Bhagavathy (Goddess of Kumaaranelloor) in the evening. Since this is a very ancient custom, there will be a space set apart in the "Sadass" (place for audience) for such offerings.
In conclusion, and in the light of proof that Vedam chanting by Namboothiris creates positive impacts in the atmospheric energy levels, the relevance of Vedic exercises and the Prayogams as manifested in Thrisandhhas, can never be over-emphasised. Meanwhile, the common man gets a chance to be part of a collective devotional endeavour.
by : P Vinod Bhattathiripad, Polpaya Mana, Thiruthiyad, Calicut
- 673 004, Tel: 0495-2720522 (R), 94470-60066 (M)
with inputs from Dr. Mannoor Jathavedan Nambudiri (twice winner of "Katannirkkal" test at Katavalloor Anyonyam), Clinical Psychiatrist, Manjery, Malappuram District.