The Holy Grass known as Dharbham or Dharbai - Kush Grass, Kusa - Eragrostis cynosuroides
by TRS Iyengar
This article is on one of the practices widely used by Indian Brahmins all over using a Holy Grass named Dharbham or Dharbai. The botonical name is Eragrostis cynosuroides and Hindi they call as Kus or Kusha. Brahmins in general and Srivaishnavites in particular use this Darbai grass in all functions, auspicious or inauspicious, a performing person needs to wear a ring made of this Dharbham. But many have lost the reason of why it is to be used in the first place.
What I learnt from my father is proved to be accurately correct by a Medicine Practitioner. A medical practitioner named Dr. Sadhashiv Rao, once visited my home. When the topic turned to many subjects, I needed to tell him about the Holy Grass named Dharbham. When I told him about the usage and the values, he could not just believe my words. So, he took out a bunch of the Dharbham from me, went straight to the clinic to take an x-ray of his palm, by covering his hand with the Dharbham. To his utter surprise, he found that the grass absorbed about 60% of the (x-ray) radiation!
When the so powerful X-ray radiation can be absorbed by the Holy Grass, why can it not absorb the ill-radiations spread over the atmosphere?
While chanting and reciting some Vedic phrases and versus, one needs to wear a ring made of Dharbham on his right hand ring finger. This is most essential, while performing all the rituals, such as Agni Santhanam, Thiru-Aaradhanam, all sorts of Havans known as Homam etc.
The count of leaves depends upon the function that is held viz.: for some functions related to death only Single leaf Dharbham is used; for Auspicious and daily routine a ring made of two leaves is used; for inauspicious but not death related functions, (i.e. Amavasya Tharppanam,Pithru Pooja etc) a three leaf Dharbham ring is used. And for the Temple Prayer and Pooja, a Four-leaf Dharbham
ring is used. Also, when a fire ritual known as Agni Santhana is performed, these Dharbham are spread all the four sides of the Agni Kundam. Also, during the Eclipse time, these Dharbham are used to cover all food items to protect them from the harmful ultra violet radiation.
Whenever any function is held, firstly they perform a site-cleansing act known as "Sudhhi Punyaahavachanam". While reciting the selective versus, they hold the Dharbham bunch in their hand and
placing the tip point of it over the vessel containing water. Thus the recited vibration values are absorbed by water in the vessel through the Dharbham.
They found that the Holy Grass known as Dharbham has the highest value in conducting the phonetic vibrations through its tip. Later, they sprinkle the Holy water at every nook and corner of the place,where the function is held. A Dharbham without the tip is considered of no value, as the conductor-type value is lost in it.
If dharbam is cut & collected on the Avani Amavasya day (falls during 15th August & 15th Sept) it can be retained for usage for one full year. Also, if cut on the Masi Amavasya day then also one can use it for full year. There is a specific slokha for cutting dharbam (the holy grass) that is to be recited while cutting it; I give below the same for readers to know. If Dharbam is obtained from a Brahmin who doesn't know this slokam or versus, the Dharbam is useless, states the Vedic scripts!
My father, Late Shri Ramabathrachariar of Mukkur, fondly called by everyone as Sriraman, has taught me the immense values of Dharbham and its usage. With Sanskrit phonetic sound and vibration, using the Dharbham increases its value. The usage varies according to the functions. It is really a marvel, that in those days of Vedic Era, the Sages & Saints of Hindu land used to control the Magnetic path disturbances, just by simply using this Dharbham! One more important thing about the Dharbam is, which is not commonly known to many, that one case use the same Dharbam again and again for seven times, provided, it is washed and dried properly before reuse. This is permitted only when/where no fresh Kusa Grass the Dharbai is available for regular usage. However, the Dharbam used for any inauspicious ceremonies viz. Death and karma rituals, should never be used again!
While I was just preparing this article, I received an interesting E-mail from Sri. Vijay Narasimhan, which I give below without editing:
Basically all our Vedas and Upanishads are written in Sanskrit, Which basically is a phonetic based language. So I have a feeling that it is not just the mantras being powerful but mainly due to the effects "Sound" has over a humans body. I feel that our ancestors had mastered the art of sound; phonetics and acoustics as such. So when the Vedas was written and the tone set for its deliverance that had no effect whatsoever on a "Man's" body but it should have definitely had a profound effect on a "Woman's" body that would have been the reason why ladies are not allowed to chant mantra or the Vedas or Upanishads or for that matter any of the slokas that a man recites. When we do Paaraayanam, I feel that the reason why girls are not allowed to do that is basically their physique cannot take the tremendous changes effected due to sustained practice of known as Recital.
This is something that my grandpa's younger brother told me about, when we perform the Kumbabhishekam in a temple, At least 20 learned Vedic scholars would stand near the "kumba jalam" ( holy water kept in the copper or brass vessel) and holding a "Dharbam",one end in their hand and other end in the water would recite all the slokas need or rather do the "Japam" - I think this is because "Dharbam" is a very good conductor of acoustic vibrations - When this happens you can surely find the difference in the water's state before and after such a japam. The reason why i am saying this has reference to my stating that Sanskrit is a phonetic based language and "Sound and Acoustics" does really change things.