What is the significance of Akshata in rituals?

The word Akshata has been derived from Sanskrit word ‘Akshat’ which means ‘whole”. Akshata means whole grain rice. It is usually mixed with Kumkum and other colour powders and then used in puja rituals. In every Hindu puja, Akshata plays an important role. It is believed that, Akshata has the ability to attract the vibrations of five prime deities namely Goddess Durga, Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha, Lord Shri Krishna and Sri Ram. Akshata retain the Shakti and Chaitanya of the puja ritual. When offered to deities or yantras they absorb the frequency of the idol, mantra and yantra and all other Sattvic principals present during the ritual. Use Akshata in following ways:

• Apply on the forehead along with Kumkum or sandal paste
• Offer to Diety idols and Yantras
• Use Akshata for preparing Swastika, Om, Navagraha, 16 matrikas and other diety idols and auspicious symbols during puja rituals
• Keep below the Oil lamp, on the Aarti plate and below the Kalash
• Keep in palm during sankalpa and then keep in front of deity for sankalpa fulfillment
• Offer during Puja rituals for substituting for any offering not present, like sweet offerings(prasad), fruits, deity clothes or money
• Keep a bowl full of Akshata (uncoloured ones) in front of the Idols and mix this energised rice in form of prasad with regular rice of the kitchen for consumption

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