The word Panch denotes five and amrutha means nectar of immortality, beverage of the gods in Sanskrit. Panchamrutham abhisheka is a Hindu ritual performed at all homes and temples, where the idols are bathed with Milk, Curds, Honey, Sugar and Ghee /clarified Butter with the chanting of Mantras. Panchamrutham is also called ‘Charnamrutha’ in some parts of India. Often Basil (Tulasi) leaves and dry fruits are also added in Panchamrutham. Basil makes the Panchamrutham even more holy as goddess Laxmi is said to reside in Tulsi plant, and the Basil or Tulsi was one of the 14 gems that was obtained out of the churning of the Milky Way or the Samudra Manthana. During Shravana Maasa, temples all over India worship the Shiva Linga Panchamrutham. Worshipping gods and their idols with Panchamrutham is considered highly auspicious.
Significance of panchamrutham:
• Milk is for the blessing of purity and piousness.
• Yogurt is for prosperity and progeny
• Honey is for sweet speech.
• Ghee is for victory.
• Sugar is for happiness.
• Water is for purity.
When ripe fruits of banana and mangoes are used in the ritual, it is known as ‘PHALA PANCHAMRUTHAM’, here PHALA means fruit. After every ingredient ‘SHUDHODAKA SNANA’ i.e., pure water is poured on the idols. Sometimes, ‘PHALA NEERA’ i.e., tender coconut water is also used to bathe the idols. After the abhisheka the idols are cleaned and beautifully decorated. A MAHA MANGALARATHI is performed. A spoonful of panchamrutham is offered to the devotees.
Note: “Alankarapriyo Vishnuh, Abhishekapriyah Shivah—Lord Vishnu is very fond of Alankara (fine dress, beautiful ornaments, etc.); Shiva is fond of Abhisheka.” Lord Shiva drank the poison that emanated from the ocean and wore the Ganga and moon on His head to cool his head. He has the fiery third eye. Constant Abhisheka cools this eye.
8 Flowers That Please Lord Shiva:-
1. Ahimsa prathamam pushpam – Non-violence is the First Flower
2. Pushpam Indriya Nigraham – Control of the senses is the Second Flower
3. Sarva Bhootha Daya Pushpam – Being Kind towards all the living beings is the Third Flower
4. Kshama Pushpam Visheshataha – Forgiving is the real special Flower – the Fourth Offering
5. Shanthi Pushpam – Peace is the Fifth Flower
6. Tapah Pushpam – Penance is the Sixth Flower
7. Dhyanah Pushpam – Meditation is the Seventh Flower
8. Sathyam Ashta Vidha Pushpam – Truth is the Eighth Flower