Pradakshina is an ancient tradition for various reasons. Like the earth revolving around the sun, pradakshina is a religious act undertaken in various rituals. For examle, in the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom takes pradakshina around the Vedi, thereby cementng their vows in taking a 360-degree wals around the fire.
When we use our rosary mala for prayers, we make a mental prakashnina around with the 108 beads.
The Atma pradakshina is a special circumbulation (clockwise) around the atma or the “self ”. It is the turning of the self in a clockwise manner in a full 360-degree turn, centering thoughts on the soul and, like the world rotating and revolving around the superior objects, we rotate, revolve while acknowledging the Atma. In this atma pradakshina we revolve around and make an appeal for the removal of evil that may result from our own past actions, from any direction and from any time (be it this or previous lifetimes).
The great Adi Shankaracharya said that pradakshina is like thousands of universes revolving around the Lord, the unmoving center of all forms.
The Skanda Purana recommended Pradakshina (ch9 v28) “The sins committed by the mind are destroyed by the first step (of pradaksina), the sins committed in speech by the second and the sins perpetrated by the body by the third step…”
[tooltips keyword=”यानि कानि च पापानि जन्मान्तरकृतानि च” content=”Those which, however many sins and wrongdoings committed in various births. यानि those which कानि whatever च and पापा sins, wrongdoing जन्म birth, life अन्तर distant, apart (जन्मान्तर various lifetimes) कृतानि done (by me) च and.”]।
[tooltips keyword=”तानि सर्वाणि नश्यन्ति प्रदक्षिणपदे पदे” content=”let all those sins and wrongdoings be destroyed with each step I take in this prayer circumambulation. तानि those, they सर्वाणि all नश्यन्ति gets destroyed प्रदक्षिण circumambulate पदे पदे step-by-step or with each step”] ॥
[tooltips keyword=”Yaanee kaani cha paapaani
janmaantara-kritaani-cha” content = “Those which, however many sins and wrongdoings committed in various births. Yaani those which kaani whatever cha and paapa sins, wrongdoing janma birth, life antar distant, apart (janma-antar various lifetimes) kritaani done (by me) cha and.”][tooltips keyword=”Taani sarvaaṇi nashyanti
pradakshiṇa-pade pade” content = “let all those sins and wrongdoings be destroyed with each step I take in this prayer circumambulation. Taani those, they sarvaaṇi all nashyanti gets destroyed pradakshiṇa circumambulate pade pade step-by-step or with each step”].
Whatever sins have been committed collectively in all of my various births, may they all be destroyed with every step of this pradakshina.