Bhīmaratha-śānti

(‘propitiatory rite [to counter the effects of] Bhīmarathī’)

Śāntis are propitiatory rites performed with a view to countering the evil effects of malevolent spirits, unlucky stars, ill-omens including bad dreams or un-favourable deities.

When a person reaches the age of 77 years, 7 months and 7 days, that particular night is called ‘Bhīmarathī’ since it is said to be terrible (bhīma = terrible) and difficult to survive. The rite to be performed to offset its effects is called ‘Bhīmaratha-śānti,’ or ‘Bhimarathī-śānti’.

It may be performed on the completion of the seventieth year itself. Its object is to protect his life as also the lives and properties of all his children and grand-children.

The rite involves several acts like nāndīśrāddha (See ĀBHYUDAYIKA-ŚRĀDDHA.), kalaśasthāpana (ceremonially establishing the holy water pot), worship of deities like Bhīma-mṛtyuñjaya, Durgā, Gaṇapati and Viṣṇu as also the Navagrahas (the nine planets), chanting of Vedic hymns like the Rudra and the Camaka, the Śrīsūkta and the Bhūsūkta, homas (offering oblations into duly consecrated fires), the main homa being the Mṛtyuñjaya-homa with the well-known hymn, ‘tryambakaṁ yajāmane’ as also an abhiṣeka (ceremonial sprinkling of consecrated waters) to the Yajamāna, the performer. He should then give gifts to the prescribed persons, and get the blessings of the priests and the other brāhmaṇas involved in the rite.