20130413 – Significance of the Hindu custom of breaking the coconut


On May 31st, Baba explained the meaning behind the Indian custom of offering a coconut to saints and holy personalities:

The coconut can be divided into four parts, three coverings and the water inside. Β Each represents something different. The outermost, fibrous hair symbolizes the gross body. The hard husk or shell symbolizes the subtle body. The kernel or white portion inside symbolizes the mind. The water inside symbolizes God-Realization.

There are three steps in taking the water out of the coconut. The first is to remove the fibers, the second is to crack the shell, and the third is to open the kernel. People usually resort to such ordinary, slow, successive actions when opening a coconut; but at the time of complete offering, when the water is spilled in worship, the whole coconut is smashed to bits in one stroke.

All these customs have spiritual significance. The act of taking the fibers off the coconut can be compared to the act of discarding the body and its gross sanskaras. However, with the elimination of the gross body, the subtle body becomes active. The subtle body is like the hard coconut shell that is then smashed.

With the removal of the gross and subtle bodies (the fibers and the shell), the mind (the kernel) is left. Finally, with the annihilation of the mind, God (the water) is found.

Removing every coconut fiber is like obliterating or removing the individual qualities of Maya one by one. But even after removing all the fibers, eliminating the whole body and the gross sanskaras, Maya remains in the form of the subtle body (the shell) and the mental body (the kernel).

Even after smashing the shell, thereby effacing the subtle body, the kernel remains, meaning the mind continues to experience creation. By removing the mind, only the water – God-Realization – remains.

To attain God-Realization, successive elimination of the three coverings – gross, subtle and mental – is necessary, which means total annihilation of all three types of sanskaras. This successive termination takes place in the ordinary course of involution, over not just ages and ages, but eons and eons.

Only the Sadguru has the power to make a person God-Realized. Only he can smash the whole coconut at one stroke and annihilate the mind and Maya. So there is purpose in offering coconuts to a Sadguru; such an offering means one surrenders body, mind and soul completely to him.


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