Summary of the article
This is an article giving details as to why the Durva (
(doob, karuka, arugam or garike)grass is used as a special offering to the Lord Ganapathi (Ganesha, Vigghneswara, Vinayaka, Lambodara......) propitiating him, its origin, medicinal use and use in planetary bad effects.
Durva or doob grass (karuka pullu, arugampul, garike hullu)
The Durva grass is an auspicious grass used in the worship of the Lord Ganesha who is the god who removes the obstacles form the path of his devotees. For any worship, pooja or ritual for Hindus has to start with the worship of Lord Ganesha. The other names of the Durva grass are Arugampul (Tamil-India), Bahama Grass, Bermuda Grass (U S), Couch Grass (Australia), Devil’s Grass, Dog’s Tooth Grass, Doob (name in Hindi, India) , Garike hullu (in Kannada, India), Grama, Indian Doab, Kabuta (Fiji), Karuka (in Malayalam, India), Quick grass (South Africa), Scutch Grass and Cynodon dactylon (Poaceae) in Latin.
The Durva or doob grass (karuka, arugampul, garike hullu) is very strongly connected with the worship of Lord Ganapathi (Ganesha. Vinayaka, Vigghneswara ….). There are two legends pointing o the reason for the association. Both the legends are more or less similar with only slight variation which may have crept in with the passage of time and locations.
According to the first legend the Lord Ganesha swallowed the demon Anala (Analasura) who was creating problems in the world. Since the demon had the ability to create fire, Lord Ganapathi had terrible burning sensation in the stomach and became extremely restless. At that time saint Kasyapa (Kasyapa Maharishi) offered Durva grass to Lord Vinayaka to quell the burning feeling of the lord. The lord ate the grass and was relieved of the burning sensation of the stomach. From that time the practice of offering the Durva (doob) grass to Lord Ganapathi started.
The other legend is that Analasura a demon (ogre) by name Anala was tormenting the Devas (gods). The gods went to Lord Ganapathi for solution to their problem created by Analasura. Lord Ganesha and his fighting force (Ganas) engaged the demon Anala in fight. Analasura destroyed the ganaas by the fire he breathed through his mouth on them. Lord Ganesha became angry and just swallowed Analasura. Analasura (anala means fire and asura means demon or ogre) produced fire while in the stomach of the lord who felt his stomach and body burning terribly. The lord became so restless that he had run and jump and could not be quiet. The Devas (gods) and Munis (Maharishis - saints) brought pots and pots of cool water and poured over the lord. This had no effect on the burning sensation of the lord. Then one of the saints (probably the Kasyapa muni) brought the Durva (doob) grass and kept the same on the head of the lord. Immediately the lord got relief from the burning sensation and the Analasura was digested by the lord. Lord Ganapathi was extremely happy to be relieved of the burning problem and the gods and saints for the solution of their problems from Analasura. All of them and the lord declared that the devotees who worship Lord Ganapathi with the Durva (doob) grass will get the blessings of the Lord Vinayaka. From that time the devotees started offering Durva (doob) grass in their worship of the Lord Ganapathi.
Durva grass is easily grow able and is a perennial one in most conditions and with less maintenance. For this reason it is a grass used all over the warms parts of the world for lawns and in sports field. Its growth is dense and will be like a mat in the lawns and fields. Since the roots of this grass go deeply in the earth it cannot be destroyed easily. When the conditions are not suitable for the grass it become like dried grass but the moment the conditions change it sprouts and springs to life and full vigor. The color of the grass leaves is grayish green. It can survive the heavy grazing of the cattle and fire or flood. In fact it is a very good means to stop soil erosion.
Durva (doob, karuka, arugam, garike) grass as medicine
As per Ayurvedic scriptures the entire plant of Durva (doob) grass is having medicinal properties. Medicines are made out of this grass for both internal and external uses. If the extract of the grass is taken internally, it gives relief in troubles crated by phlegm (condition by inflammation of mucus membranes) and excessive bile juice. It is supposed to have the power to stop bleeding, to increase the secretion of urine and to check dysentery. It can also cure some of the skin diseases, diabetes, urinary tract infections, blood disorders, prostate enlargements and syphilitic problems. As per Siddha Vaidya system it has the property of detoxification. The Durva grass also mitigates the problems of excessive thirst and burning sensation of the body. It has also action as anti microbial and antiviral properties. It is supposed to be palatable, nutritious and cool so in some parts of the country the people drink the juice made out of the Durva grass
There is no concrete information as to its origin. But the prominent view is that the grass originated in India. In the Hindu philosophy it is customary to consider any natural item as auspicious or sacred especially if the item is useful for the human being in any way. So they are offered to gods and used in prayers. Durva is one of them. Some tribes use the Durva grass on the occasions of the child births and weddings. The grass is considered synonymous with simplicity, fertility, prosperity and purity hence the same is given in some communities along with other wedding gifts to the bride when she leaves the parents cares to join the house of husband. After some inauspicious circumstance when cleansing of the house and the items in the house is required holy water is sprinkled using bunches of the Durva (doob) grass in the corners and other strategic places of the houses.
Durva grass and planets
It is also a remedy prescribed in certain conditions where the shadow planet Rahu is affecting the lives of people. There is a recommendation to use the Durva (doob, karuka, arugam or garike) grass in homaas (sacred fire to propitiate gods) to reduce the bad effects of Rahu (Rahu Dosha) and use the Durva Bhasma (sacred ash). For Navagraha Homa 9 plant items are used for to offer in the holy fire. The plant item used for pleasing the shaow graha Rahu and to reduce the bad effects of Rahu due to its planetary position is Durva (doob, karuka, arugam or garike) grass.
The problem from Durva (doob, karuka, arugam or garike) grass
Since it is very difficult to eliminate the grass the agriculturists have to de-weed their land frequently so that the nutrition of the land is not siphoned off by the Durva grass at the cost of the crops.