Tag Archives: philosophy

Rituals & Symbolism: Breaking of Coconut

The coconut when it is brought down from the tree is smooth to the touch and has a very pleasant green look. The fibres just beneath are very rough, hard and brown. When the fibres are all removed, inside is the hard shell with three eyes. When the coconut is broken we arrive at the consumable white, milky part and sweet water inside. We normally take the coconut as an offering to the Lord in the temple or offer it at home also to the Lord during our worship. The ritual performed is the breaking of the coconut into two parts and then offering it to the Lord.

Significance: The coconut represents our individual personality. The smooth outer surface of the coconut is the aspect of our personality which we project to the outside world. Inside are the fibres of our raga and dwesha – our strong likes and dislikes which lead to the gamut of emotions (passion, anger, greed, envy, arrogance etc.) in us. They have to be removed layer by layer, but one single desire for the Higher – the Lord is to be retained. Hence the tuft of fibre covering the three eyes is not removed. The hard-nut or the shell represents our ego. 

When this much of spiritual sadhana has been undertaken, we are ready to reach the Lord’s feet. There in His presence, we have to completely surrender our ego which is represented by the breaking of the coconut. Actually the coconut should be broken in the Lord’s divine presence, near His feet. The white portion represents a highly satwic person and the sweet liquid represents the State of Immortality or Bliss reached by such a seeker.

Once the coconut is broken into two, the tuft of fibre is removed exposing the three eyes. After Realisation or Liberation, there is no desire whatsoever in such a person. Of the two portions of the coconut, the portion with three eyes is left behind in the temple at the feet of the Lord. This represents the transcendence of : the three equipments – body, mind and intellect; the three periods of time – past, present and future; the three states – waking, dream and deep sleep; the three gunas – sattva, rajas and tamas. The front portion of the coconut is all that we bring back home. This represents a spiritual seeker after Realisation, a Jeevanmukta who comes back to live in our midst and helps us also to walk and reach the All-perfect State which he has reached. 

In case we bring back both the portions of the coconut, care is taken to make sure that both the parts are not fitted into each other to constitute one whole. The ego has been destroyed, it should not crystallize again!!

“Rituals are an objective dramatisation of the subjective art of self-perfection” ~ Swami Chinmayananda

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