Srimad Valmiki Ramayanam
Balakandam Sarga 16

”The discourse between Lord Vishnu and the Gods; the nectar: When the all pervading Vishnu made the promise; he sought from the Gods the form he has to resort to deracinate the thorn in the flesh of the Rsis.

The Gods for their part replied, “The Ravana practiced severe austerities, pleased with his efforts Brahma conferred on that ogre a boon to the effect that he would have no fear for his life from all created beings other than the man born to a woman. For this reason death is ordained to that ogre at the hands of man.

Emboldened by the boon the ogre is oppressing all the three worlds and is violating the womenfolk”. At that very moment even as emperor Dasaratha was watching the sacred rites, there arose from the sacred fire a form of awful might, of matchless splendor and dark complexioned with a ruddy countenance, the face suffused with rosy glow and had soft hair like a huge lion’s mane invested with auspicious marks on his body and decked with divine ornaments, whose arms held a draught of nectar in a vase of gold covered with a silver lid.

He spoke to Dasaratha, “Know me as the messenger of the protector of men; Vishnu. The Gods have accepted your worship, they give you this heavenly nectar which is capable of not only procuring sons for you it is also conducive to promote your wealth and health too. Emperor Dasaratha accepted the nectar delightfully with his head bent low and went round him clockwise. To walk around an object keeping the right side towards it is a mark of great respect.

The Sanskrit word for the observance is PRADAKSHNA from pra meaning pro and dakshina meaning right, to walk around an object keeping the right side towards it is a mark of great respect. Having done the duty of handing over the nectar to the king, that most effulgent being of wonderful appearance then vanished into the fire itself.

Dasaratha next proceeded to the ladies bower and gave one half of the nectar to his eldest wife queen Kausalya; he gave one half of the other half to Sumitra, again half of the rest to Kaikeyi. Reflecting a while the emperor gave the portion yet remaining once more to Sumitra Soon with ecstasy and with pride the three queens conceived and the emperor who had attained his desired object was adored by Indra, the ruler of gods and the hosts of Siddhas and Rshis.

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Source:Sridharan Lakshmanan

Vedic Society of Victoria