Shashti Abda Poorthi is a Hindu ceremony that is celebrated to commemorate the 60th birthday of a person. From the Western perspective, it is close to the sliver-wedding anniversary. As per the Hindu culture, the age sixty is of great significance because it is considered as a turning point in a man’s life for at this age one has usually fulfilled his commitments to family and home and so he can turn his mind to spirituality. We can say that, the period before he reached sixty is defined by materialistic pursuits and thereafter it is to be defined by his strive towards spiritualism.
The Rituals Involved even before commencing the ceremony, the morning rituals like bath and sandhya vandhanam are carried out to purify the body. Ganapathi Pooja is done as in all the Hindu rituals, followed by Sankalpam, Graha Preethi Dhana and Vaishna Sradham are conducted at this stage.
‘Abyuthaya Sradham’ or ‘Nandee Sradham’ is performed to seek the blessings of the ancestors.
Punyaham is done so as to sanctify the venue. It is also symbolic of purifying one’s body and mind.
In the ceremony, the couple who is celebrating the ritual repeats their marriage vows; they perform the wedding rituals like malai marral (exchange of garlands), Mangalya Dharanam (tying of the mangalyam) and taking Manthra Snanam with the water blessed with the udhaka sayana manthras. The Vedas are recited for about four days and discourses on the epic Ramayana are conducted to remind people of the Vedic way of life.
Kalasha Sthapana and Kalasha Pooja is then performed.
The worship of Gowri and Lord Vishnu too form an integral part of the ritual. This is called the Paratpara Puja. Prayers and pujas to Samvathsara devatas- the gods of the sixty Tamil/Sanskrit years, the Nakshathra devatas- the gods for all the stars, Thithi Devatas- the gods for the phases of the moon and Dikpalakas the gods for the eight cardinal directions. The deities are invoked in the Mandalam or Kumbhams.
Chanting of various Vedic mantras including Varuna Sookhtha, Purusha Sooktha, Nakshatra Sookhta and Dik Palaka Mantras are done and concluding with the performance of Dosha Shaanthi.
Homas: The following are the set of Homas that are included.
Ayush Homam, Navagraha Homa, Dhanvanthri Homa, Maha Mruthyunjaya Homa, Jayaathi Homa
After this, Mangala Snana or ceremonial bathhas to be conducted on the couple.
Mangal Snana is followed by the Kalasha Abhisekha on the couple by the rituals and elderly scholarly people. The cloth used in this ceremony is then given to purohits in charity.
The ceremony of Shashtiabthapoorthi would be incomplete without the “Dhanam” or charity. Various Dhana are performed by the couple for blessings and prosperity.