Walnuts and Shiva Ratri
by Dr. Chaman Lal Raina
Walnuts as it is called Doon
in Kashmiri language is an integral part of the
Vedic injunction in the Kashmiri Pandit
religious ethos. Walnut in any Homa is essential
ingredient of the Samagri.
Why? Kashmiri Pandit
Puja consists of three integrated streams of the
Vedic, Puranic and Agamic systems. It has been
so, as to make the Puja Yogic in spirit, mystic
in theme and ritualistic in pattern.
Who taught us this
methodology of Anushthhana system? It was
the great LAUGAKSHSI Rishi of Kashmir, who gave
the popular Paddati, with regard to Homa/
Yagnya, Pakshayagya and Anushthhans.
In every Kashmiri Pandit
Religious Anushthana, we need to invoke
the Kalasha Purusha,with mystic
diagrams to be drawn by the Rice flour. The
Yantras differ from one deliberation to another.
The Kalasha are of two types. The First is the Brahma
Kalasha and the other is the Indra
Kalasha. Brahma Kalasha is purely the Hiranya
garbha, which needs to be invoked through
the Atharva Vedic Ganapati Avahan, followed by
the Panchayatan Deva Vedic Suktas of Ganesha,
Surya Vishnu, Shiva and Devi. The
Puranic Mantras are also recited during
invocation, followe by the Tantric Bijaksharas.
You know it well, that Kalash Doon is
highly revered and is the First Naivedya
after the Hasta Phalam/ Athi Phol’u is
offered and Shanti Mantras are recited.
This is known as the Achhidra of the
Deliberationa/Anushthhanam. The walnuts are
offered to the Kalasha Purusha, because Walnut
is the Ritu Phalam of Kashmir, which are
easily available in the whole cycle of the year.
Offering of Ritu Phalam is purely Puranik in
substance, as it is the fifth step in the Panch
Rituphalam is Kalash Doon
The emphasis is on Rituphalam.
It means the fruit of the season, and the Ritupati
is the Narayana, whose abode is the Ksheer
Sagar/ milk ocean. Narayana is Purusha,
who is for the sustenance of the universe, and
the water is the important element for survival,
both physical and cosmic. Therefore, Laugakshya
taught us to invoke water with the Vedic
Sukta, which runs as:
“A -imam Ambitame Naditame
Aprashata Iva smasi
Prashastim Amba namaskridhi ”
The translation of this
famous mantra gives a clear picture of the
Kalasha, which is the Hiranyagarbha/cosmic egg,
where the water element, is the Mother, is the
River, is the Divine Mother and is the
fountainhead of all knowledge and bliss.
Lingobhava/ the origin
of the Shiva Lingam opens with the saying: No
universe as we see was there, only water and
water everywhere, and there was no direction as
well. There was starless night of the lifeless
interval between merger/ dissolution and the
creation. All the seeds were in that infinite
ocean, with all potentialities, of the
forthcoming evolution rested in the dormant
stage of undifferentiation., which is static in
its inherent Svaroopa. This is also the
identical approach of the Laugakshi Rishi, with
respect to the Kalasha and Akshota/ walnut/
The Laughaksha Paddati also
says that the water source, which is in this
Kalasha is from the Ganga,Prayag, Gaya,
Naimish, Pushkar and other Tirthas, which
virtually are taking the devotee from the
physical consciousness to the higher
consciousness of Vatuka Raja Bhairava.
The Bhairava is the Supreme spirit of the SHIVA,
which is filled with the triadic power of
creation, preservation and absorbtion/merger,
but not destruction.
The Watuka Raja Bhairava
likes the AKSHOTA, which means Doon in Kashmiri.
Doon is the dried edible fruit at the time of
Shivaratri, and it needs to be soaked for
further cultivation, just after the Tila
Ashtami. It is being soaked in water and
sanctified by the Watuka Raj Mantra for
eleven days to commence from the Shivaratri to
the Tilashtami.It receives the power to
regenerate from the botanical point of
considerations. It used to be the sacred act to
give the soaked walnuts to the peasants of
Kashmir, which in turn would cultivate in on the
banks of streams, as it needs water nearby. The
devotees would sow these walnuts around the
Tirathas at Kashmir, preferabally at Tullamula.
walnut is the composite unit seed of four equal
quadrants, in the shell, which graphically can
be represented as under in the circular and the
elliptical shape. Generally the shape of the
walnut is either, circular or elliptical. Walnut
is of four cells, with a smooth, irregularly
dehiscent husk that separates easily from the
nut. It is the most common nut of Kashmir. All
the four sections are of equal dimension. The
shell is roughly wrinkled or furrowed but thin.
In Kashmir, we have approximately the one inch
diameter of the walnut. It contains of two
kernels separated by a thin, plate extending
from the inner layer of the shell. The first
quadrant represents the Rigveda, the
second quadrant is Yajurveda, the third
quadrant is Samaveda and the fourth
quadrant is the Atharvaveda. All the four
Vedas are equally important within the spirit
and meaning of the Sat -Chit- Ananda and Svaroopa.
Satchitananda is the Upanishadic concept
and the Svaroopa is the Shaivistic
concept. The walnut is therefore, a symbol and
the SEED theory of the Shiva in
The elliptical Lingam is the
eternal seed of the Absolute Shiva, and walnut
is one manifestation of that seed.
The Vedas speak of the four
fold Ashrams within the human birth, which are
the four cells, in two lobed seed of the walnut.
Each lobe consists of Purusha and Prakriti.
The Brahma has spoken the
Vedas through his four mouths, and the four
mouths represent the synthesis of the Vedas.
Shri Krishna says in the Gita
: “Me as the Supreme person is the
creator of the Chaturvarnas/ four
categories according to the Guna –Karma/
inherent quality and attitude to life”. The
four Avasthas/ stages of life are brahmacharya-grihastha-vanaparastha
and sannyasa. In the Tantras, the Bhupura
is fourfold and is the outer extended layer of
In the figure no 2 the origin
O/ origin is the Mula Bindu, which
is the source energy of the universe. Each
quadrant is the equal to the 1/4th of
the circle, which is the Parama -tattva
in the Shaiva Darshana., symbolic to the walnut.
It is the Bijakshara of the
four syllabled Mother Shri Raj Rajeshvari.
The Mantra is Shri Chakra Priya Bindu Tarpana
Para Shri Raja Rajeshvari of Shri Sharika
Bhagavati. This Mantra, which is the
quintessence of the Nishkala manifested
into Sakala in the form of walnut.
Keeping such virtues in the set of Four
fold seed within the Unit of shell is inspiring,
strength giving and making us realize that the
Seed needs to be soaked with the water substance
of Love for giving to the Mother Earth
back for future tree to grow in her lap of soil,
for the generations to come.
1 Kashmiri Sandhya
2 Mantratma Karma Kandaah
Tritiya Compiled and edited by Pandit Keshav
Bhat Jyotishi, Printed and
Published by Nirnaya Sagar Press, Mumbai 1936
3 Nitya Karma Puja Prakash
4 Shakti Ank Published by the
Gita press Gorakh pur.
5 Shrimad Bhagvadgita