Do you know the significance of a Kalash?
A Kalas or Kalash or Kalasha is a metal (brass, copper, gold, etc.) or earthen pot or pitcher or an urn that is used in carrying out rituals during any auspicious occasion. It is believed to be holding a great significance in the Vedic Culture hence it is used in most of the Hindu religious practices. A pot filled with rice or water is known as Purnakumbha. The Kalash can be filled with various items like water, rice, gold or other gems, etc. depending upon the puja purpose. We will discuss the one filled with water that is used in most of the pujas.
Before understanding the significance of a Kalash, let’s know about all its sacred constituents :
- In general, a Kalash is a pot, like we described earlier, which is filled by holy water generally the water of the Indian holy river the Ganges or any other fresh water. A few drops of Ganga Jal is added to the drinking water if you are away from the rivers.
- On top of it is placed a set of 5, 7 or 11 mango or betel leaves; (these numbers are considered auspicious too while mango leaves and mango wood also hold a prominent religious significance in the Hindu culture) with a whole coconut on top of the leaves.
- One should make sure that the inside tip of the leaves should touch the water.
- The neck of the pot is tied with a sacred thread which is mostly red, yellow or orange in color known as Mauli or Kalawa, and a Swastika symbol is drawn with vermillion or turmeric (wet).
- The Kalash is also a symbol of Lord Ganesha, who is Pratham Pujya i.e. the one who is worshipped first; therefore it is established at the beginning of anything suspicious.
You can read about why Ganesha is worshipped first here: Vighnaharta Ganesh – Why lord Ganesha worshipped first before any deity?