Durva(Agrostis linearis) is a special type of sacred grass. The word Durva is derived from the words duhu and avam. Duhuavam means that which is far away and means that which brings closer.
Durva has greater capacity of attracting and constantly enhancing principles of three deities namely AadiShiv, AadiShakti and AadiGanesh. Generally tender shoots of durva are used in puja ritual of a deity. These tender shoots have highest capacity to absorb principles of deities present in the dew drops fallen on their leaves. This benefits the worshipper. If durva bear flowers, they are not used in puja ritual. Flowering plant denotes the ripeness. Ripening causes decrease in the vitality of the plant. This further reduces its capacity to attract the frequencies of deity principle.
LORD GANESHA & DURVA:
Once there was an Asura (demon) named Analasura. He was so terrible that the earth would tremble by his voice and his eyes used to emit fire. So everybody was very scared of him. Even the Gods were terrified. So all the gods prayed to Ganesha so he would rescue them from the clutches of Analasura. Ganesha became into a child and assured all the Gods that they would be saved from Analasura. Ganesha started “Sarvkasha” war. Analasura’s powerful eyes oozess out fireballs and destroyed surroundings of Ganesha. At the end Analasura tried to gulp Ganesha but Ganesha himself showed his “virat “ roop and gulp Analasura to destroy but due to increased heat in body Ganesha could not even lie down. He was restless. He applied sandal paste all over the body even though the body’s heat was unbearable. At this moment all Gods decided to make a foundation of the moon on his head and Ganesha is also known as “Bhalachandra. Lord Vishnu gave his lotus therefore Ganesha is also known as “Padmapani”. Lord Shankara removed a cobra from his neck and tied it to Ganesha’s hip. Lord Varuna, Rain God showered plenty of water, heat was not subsided. Some of sages who came there with bunch of 21 Durvas and put on his head and a miracle happened. Ganesha became all right. Ganesha uttered that most of the Gods tried to help but only ‘Durva’ a simple grass made my agony into normal. With this he announced that whoever with devotion offer me Durva would be pious and get Punya.
Secondly it is said that there was a most beautiful Apsara who devotionally loved and prayed to get married with Ganesha. Ganesha also used to like her. But Parvati, Ghanesha’s mother cursed Apsara to become a simple grass form on the earth where nobody would look at her. But Durva begged for pardon and asked for ushaap.Parvati forgave her and told her that even though she is in the grass form she would be adored by Ganesha.
Thirdly the story of Durva is as follow: Sage Kaundinya was telling the importance of Durva to his wife Ashraya. But Ashraya had a doubt about it. So sage Kaundinya gave a bunch of 21 Durva and told Ashraya to get the gold equivalent to Durva from Lord Indra who is God of all other Gods. She went to Lord Indra and asked about gold. Indra sent her to “Kubera” who is the treasurer of Gods. When Durva was weighing along with Gold more and more gold which resulted in a whole treasure was empty but could not be weighed to Durva. All the other Gods like Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh arrived and sat along with Gold but weighing of Durva was more . Everybody was perplexed. When all Gods went to see sage Kaundinya at his ashrama and confessed the importance of Durva. Kaudinya said that Ganesha is king of all states and there is no one superior to him.
Offer the Durva with three or five leaflets to Sri Ganeshji. They are called durvankur. The middle leaflet of durvankur attracts the Principle of Primal Ganesh and the other two leaflets attract Primal Shiva and Primal Shakti Principles. The minimum number of Durva to be offered to Sri Ganesh ji should be 21. Tie the Durva together and offer them to Sri Ganesh ji after dipping into water. The entire idol of Sri Ganesh ji excluding the face should be covered with Durva. Thus the fragrance of Durva spreads around the idol.Sri Ganesh ji is ritualistically worshipped by offering a Durva with each chant of ‘i’ or with each utterance of the one thousand Names of Sri Ganesh ji. This is called ‘durvarchan’. In this the offering of Durva begins from the Holy Feet of iGanesh idol.
Effects of Durvarchan
The Principle of a Deity is emitted in higher proportion through the Holy Feet of the idol. So the Durva offered in the beginning attracts Ganesh Principle in higher proportion. This Principle is then transferred to the Durva offered later on. This Principle is spread up to the top by the Durva offered in sequence. Due to this the Chaitanya frequencies are emitted from the idol in higher proportion.
As a result of the durvarchan done in this manner, the Ganesh Principle is attracted to the venue of the worship in higher proportion. The Nirgun frequencies of Principles of Deities are attracted in the idol. These frequencies are transformed into Sagun frequencies in Sri Ganesh idol and they are then emitted through the idol because of which the worshipper gets more benefit.
It is thus clear that due to the emission of the Deity’s Principle through the Durva, the adverse influence of the raja-tama-predominant Principles in the environment is reduced. This is the reason why a person suffering from negative energies feels distressed when he comes in contact with the Durva.
Durva in Sanskrit means “which is cut or eaten by animals”. The English name is Bermuda grass. The scientific name is Cynodon dactylon. It belongs to the family of Poaceae. Other names of Durva grass are Bahama Grass, Devil’s grass, Couch Grass, Wire Grass, Indian Doab, Grama, or Scutch Grass. It is known as Doob (Hindi), Garike, Ambate- hullu (Kannada), Garika, Gerike, Harvali (Telugu), Durba (Bengali), Doorva, Haryali (Marathi), Karuka Pulli (Malayalam) and Arugam Pullu in Tamil.
Description of the grass
It is native to East Africa, Australia, Southern Europe and Asia. Durva is a perennial grass which grows in any type of soil. It penetrates about 2 meters in depth in soil and can survive in the toughest conditions. Durva is a creeping grass which spreads along the ground wherever the nodes touch the soil. The blades are greyish green in colour and grows up to 30 cms tall with rough edges. Flowers bloom on the blades with 3-7 fingers like spikes that originate from a single point. Each of the spikes is 1-3 cms long. Seeds are produced in these spikes and are wind pollinated. It grows well under direct sunlight. The spreading nature of the grass could be the reason for Durva to be known as the Devil’s grass.
There is a mention of Durva in the Rig Veda and Atharvana Veda. According to Bhavishya Purana, it is mentioned that Durva emerged from Lord Vishnu’s hair on His hand and thighs while He supported mount Mandara during the Samudra Manthana. (Lord Vishnu was supporting the mountain Mandara as a Turtle). According to Vamana Purana, Durva emerged from Vasuki’s tail- the snake which was used to churn the Ocean during Samudra Manthana.
Another reference is that, there once lived a demon, Analasur who terrified the world and the Devas. All the Devas approached Lord Shiva seeking protection from the demon. Lord Shiva asked all the Devas to approach Ganesha as; He would be able to put an end to the demon. All the Devas approached Ganesha and sought protection from the demon- Analasur.
Lord Ganesha fought a fierce battle with the demon and swallowed him. This caused a lot of agony to Lord Ganesha. Then Lord Indra gave Him the moon to be worn on His forehead, so that He could have a cooling effect. Thus Lord Ganesha is also known as Balachandra. Lord Vishnu gave Him a lotus flower due to which He is also known as Padmapani. Lord Varuna showered rain on Him, but the suffering of Lord Ganesha did not ameliorate. It was then that 88,000 sages performed Archana to Lord Ganesha with 21 Durva grass each and then Lord Ganesha was cured of His stomach ailment. Thus Lord Ganesha is worshipped with 21 Durva Grass on Ganesha Chaturthi day.
In Ramayana, Sita is said to have placed a blade of Durva between Herself and Ravana during her confinement in Ashoka Vana. She had warned Ravana not to cross the grass.
Durva grass is a traditional herb used in the preparation of ayurvedic medicines since time immemorial. Durva grass is a storehouse of healthy nutrients like proteins, calcium, potassium, fibre, phosphorous, carotene, sitosterol. Durva has diuretic, antitoxic antifungal, hypoglycaemic, antilithic, hypotensive, coagulant, antibiotic, anticancer properties. Durva grass has anti microbial and anti viral properties thus used to improve the overall immunity of the body. It also helps the body to fight against various diseases. Durva grass contains cynodon dactylon protein fractions which enhance the immune modulatory activity that helps in optimising the immune system. Durva acts as a general tonic and aphrodisiac.
In Ayurveda, it is used to treat Vata Doshas. Its post digestive flavour is sweet. Its prabhava or special property is to prevent miscarriage.
Preparation of the Durva grass juice
A handful of durva grass washed and cleaned should be made into a fine paste by adding few drops of water. A spoon of the paste in a glass of warm water taken daily will act as an energiser and boost the overall immunity of the body. No food or drink for atleast 3 hours, after consuming the Durva juice.
The grass can be dried and powdered. The dried powder can be mixed with honey and taken or simply taken with water.
Durva is used to effective in the treatment of the following ailments:
- Skin disorders: Durva is rich in anti inflammatory, antiviral and antiseptic properties. It is used to treat various skin ailments like leprosy, scabies, itching, skin rashes and eczema. A paste of the Durva grass mixed with turmeric and applied on the affected area is a remedy for a host of skin related disorders.
- Blood Sugar levels: Durva grass has hypoglycaemic effect, thus used to reduce the blood sugar levels in the body. Regular consumption of the Durva grass along with neem leaves lowers the risk of associated effects of high blood sugar levels in the body.
- Insomnia and fatigue: It is a natural remedy for insomnia and for fatigue. Consumption of durva grass juice regularly relieves stress and strengthens the nervous system.
- Blood Purifier: Durva grass is a natural blood purifier and maintains the alkalinity of blood. Juice of Durva taken every morning on an empty stomach is said to detoxify the body.
- Obesity and Cholestrol: Regular consumption of Durva grass juice helps in reducing weight and the cholesterol levels. It also enhances the cardiac function. It acts as an anti arrhythmic agent.
- Conjunctivitis: A few drops of the juice is dropped in the eyes to treat conjunctivitis.
- Anaemia: Durva contains 65% of chlorophyll, thus is a natural remedy for treating anaemia as it increases the red blood cells which will improve the Haemoglobin levels in the body.
- Digestion: Regular consumption of Durva grass is a natural detoxifier and reduces acidity. It is also effective in treating constipation.
- Women’s problems: A spoon of the Durva grass juice taken along with yoghurt is effective in treating Urinary tract infection and vaginal discharge in women. Durva strengthens the uterus and is highly beneficial for curing abortion. It is a natural remedy for PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome) and boosts production of prolactin hormone thereby aiding in lactation. It is very effective in treating excessive blood loss during menstruation, nosebleed or blood loss during injuries.
- Dental problems and ulcers: Durva grass is rich in flavonoids that helps fight against ulcers. It is effective in treating cold and reduces the phlegm in the lungs. It is used to treat bleeding gums and bad breath.
Durva symbolises purity. It also symbolises rebirth and prosperity, fertility as once the blades of grass are plucked, new grass grows in its place. Rings are made out of the dried grass and worn at the time of commencing any ceremony symbolising purity. The ring made out of the Durva is first sanctified by dipping it in holy water and then worn on the ring finger on the right hand. It is believed that the Durva grass purifies everything that it comes in contact with.
Lord Ganesha is offered 21 blades of the Durva grass while reciting “ Om Gajananaya Namaha, Durva Patram Samarpayami”
Lord Ganesha is offered three or five leaflets of Durva. The middle leaflet is said to please Lord Ganesha while, the other two leaflets please Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva.
Durva is considered sacred as Lord Brahma is said to reside at its roots, Lord Vishnu in the middle and Lord Shiva at the tip.
Growing the grass helps prevent soil erosion.
An annual ceremony known as Durva Ashtami is celebrated during the Bhadra Pada) Krisna Ashtami (8th day of the waning moon in September- October). On this day Durva is offered to the Lord with its tip facing the east. It is believed that by observing this ceremony immortality and blessedness for ten ancestors is secured.