What is a Kanikyam?
A kanikyam, also called a kanikkai, refers to a reverential offering made to a deity. Here, Initial Kanikyam stands for the worshipful offerings that are made to different deities as a prelude to the various Betel Leaf remedies that are performed subsequently, in order to seek their blessings for the successful conduct of those remedies.
Following are some of the Initial Kanikyams done:
Ghee Lamp and Archana (light and sound ceremony)
It is customary to begin any ritual with the worship of Lord Ganapati, who is the remover of obstacles and a harbinger of success. The Betel Leaf remedies too are begun with prayers to this Lord, with the lighting of the ghee lamp and performance of an archana, the Light and Sound ceremony, in his praise.
Pal Payasam (milk porridge) – 1/4 liter
Lord Vishnu, the universal protector and the God of preservation, is propitiated in this ritual. A quarter liter of Pal Payasam, the sweet porridge made principally of milk, is offered ceremonially to him in this worship, and prayers are done to the Lord for his blessings and protection.
Pushpanjali (flower offering) and Thirumudi Mala
Here, pushpanjali worship (that is, paying obeisance to the deity with flowers) is done for Lord Vishnu. Further, the deity’s head and crown are also decorated with garlands, which is known as the Thirumudi Mala worship.
“Haram” is another word for garland, and “charthal” means “adorning the deity with.” This offering is made for Lord Ayyappa, who is adorned with garlands and worshipped for the successful completion of the remedies.
Ashtottara Archana (light and sound ceremony chanting 108 names of the deity)
Ashtottara represents the 108 names, qualities or attributes of Gods or Goddesses. This Ashtottara Archana worship, the Light and Sound ceremony, is done for Goddess Bhagavati, who combines in her divine self-supreme power and motherly compassion. This ritual consists of the ceremonial chanting of her divine names and offering of prayers to her.
Raktha Pushpanjali - Bhagavati Pushpanjali (red flower offering to Goddess Bhagavati)
“Raktha” literally means “blood,” and pushpanjali is paying obeisance with flowers. But here it stands only for the bright red color of the blood. As this worship is done for Goddess Bhagavati, it is also called Bhagavati Pushpanjali, and it involves applying red sandal paste to her idol and offering prayers to her with flowers.
Lord Hanuman is a unique God who remains a rare combination of many contrasting qualities like strength, scholarship, intelligence and humility. He is worshipped in this ritual with the ceremonial lighting of the ghee lamp.
Pushpanjali (flower offering)
This worship involves paying obeisance with flowers and is done for Lord Shiva, the God of destruction. Shiva destroys, only to transform and elevate souls, and his blessings are sought for by praying to him in this ritual.
“Pin” is the word which means “to the back of,” and “vilakku” is a lamp. A pin vilakku is thus the lamp that is lit in the back side. Shiva is the presiding deity of this worship, and the specialty of this ritual is that the lamp is lit at the back of the Shiva Lingam.
Navagraha (9 Planets) Pooja
The navagrahas are the 9 planets, which wield a tremendous influence on our lives and even exercise considerable control over our destinies. Hence, it is essential to please them and seek their goodwill before starting any new activity. The Navagraha Pooja is a worship done for propitiating the powerful navagrahas, getting their blessings for the unhindered conduct of the remedies and achieving their purpose.