Ekadasa Rudra Yagna for World Peace & Prosperity
It was 5am, the sacred hour of Brahma Muhurtam. The Sai Youths (Ritwiks as they would be called here, for their Vedic chanting endeavour) started the day at the Sri Muda Maha Mariammam Temple, Shah Alam with Omkar, Suprabhatam, followed a compilation of soulful bhajans, further encapsulating the divine morning with a majestic scent of our Dear Sai.
The Sai Youths of Central Region have meticulously planned and carried out an elaborate Ekadasa Rudra Yagna, and Rudra Abhiseka for Loka Kalyana (well-being of the people) and Loka Ksema (protection of the world) on the 30th March 2014. Spannning over half a day (12 hours), the Chief Priest for this ceremony, Sri Gopal Gurukal had personally supervised the setup and arrangement of the entire program; wanting all participants, devotees, and the world at large to enormously benefit from this selfless prayer ritual. From hour to hour, each detail of the ritual preparation was looked into in detail, including the Vedic chants involved, the divine offerings and the hierarchy of rituals.
At 6am, the prayer ritual commenced with Ganapati prarthana and puja; an offering almost uncompromisable in the Hindu tradition, as Lord Ganapati is the remover of obstacles. Our sincere wish was for Lord Ganapati to guide and direct us throughout this day without much hiss and glitch. Sai devotees and others at large started gathering at the temple vicinity to witness this auspicious event, and perhaps to take home with them, a fraction of whatever bliss and blessing derived.
At 8am, the ‘sacred tread ceremony’ or ‘Upanayana’ took place . Some of the Sai Youths who had earlier adorned the ‘tread’, were guided by the Chief Priest to replace their ‘tread’ , just to serve as a reminder about the holy responsibility they are about the partake, and the ultimate ‘dharma’ (spiritual responsibility) to lead closer and closer to Brahman (perceived broadly as the Creator, Sustainer, Destroyer of the creation).
At 10am, the Mahanyasa, a sacred Vedic chant was chanted. The Mahanyasa was chanted to invoke respective Devathas (God heads) and to prepare the Priest and Ritwiks to be eligible to perform the Rudra Yagna. Mahanyasa was codified by the great sage Bodhayana, and in it, it is mentioned that, “Na Rudro Rudra Marchayet”, wherein, one should become Rudra himself before worshipping Lord Rudra. Thus, Mahanyasa is chanted to attract upon oneself, all attributes or qualities of Lord Siva. The Mahanyasa grants exactly this; a very powerful and significant chant which requires up to an hour.
Mahanyasa was immediately superseded by the ‘Ekadasa Rudra Parayana”, or the chanting of Sri Rudram for 11 rounds (ekadasa). The Sri Rudram comprises of 2 complimenting Vedic mantras – Namaka & Chamaka; each respectively further divided into 11 segments, called ‘Anuvaka’. In the ‘Ekadasa Rudra Parayana’, a unique formation of chant is performed, wherein, the chanting of the 1st round is comprised of a full cycle of Namaka (with 11 anuvakas), instantly followed by the 1st Anuvaka of Chamaka. The 2nd round also comprises of a full cycle of Namaka, instantly followed by the 2nd Anuvaka of Chamaka; and this goes on till all the 11 Anuvakas of Chamaka are completed. This formation simply signifies the balance one has to reach, between transcendental and terrestrial pursuits in life. Bhagawan Baba has on numerous occasions propounded on the need for devotees to learn and chant the Sri Rudram, simple to raise their spiritual awareness and achieve ‘Buddhi and Siddhi’ (intellect and purity). Some of the great benefits of Sri Rudram include the attainment of a purified mind, relief from physical diseases, mental and emotional prosperity, long and healthy life, removal of poverty and evil effects and recalibration with the inner Self.
The ‘Ekadasa Rudra Parayana’ requires up to 2 ½ hours of continuous chanting. No one would feel more blessed to be chanting it, other than the Ritwiks themselves. It was a really scintillating and harmonious togetherness in chanting. While the Parayana (chanting) was being performed, the ‘Rudra Abhiseka’ (bathing of the Shivalinga) was performed concurrently. In the Abhiseka, the Shivalinga was showered with various items including milk, ghee, fruits, curd, sugarcane juice and honey. While others perceive the process of Abhiseka as simply a means to please Lord Rudra, the deeper aspect signifies the process of washing-off our sins and diseases. With sincere and loving offering, the ever merciful Lord is willing to abolish a great extent of a devotee’s ill accumulated karma; thus proclaimed the Vedas.
Upon completion of the Rudra Parayana, the ‘Rudra Yagna’ (fire ritual) commenced, approximately at 2pm. Since this event was designed to be elaborate, the Rudra Yagna (or ‘Homa’) was coupled with Ayusha & Mrutyamjayam mantras to bestow longevity in life, and foster a world of unity and harmony. During this yagna, various items were offered into the ‘Agni’ (Agni Deva is known as fire god who devours all that is offered to him). Items offered into the fire like wood, sandal paste, fruits, etc, are but all the good and evil tendencies in us, which we are willing to sacrifice, to earn a place in Brahma Loka [the abode of Lord]). Preceeded after the yagna were other chants and rituals, including Sri Rudra Trishathi, Archana Namavali, Mantras for Pradakshinam and Namaskaram, Mantras for Prokshanam and Swaha-karas.
The Purna Ahuti, or culmination of the yagna was performed at approximately 5pm. Together with ghee, silk cloth and the remainder of other offerings are completely poured into the ‘Homa Kunda’ (fire pit). This is but a ‘complete offering away of oneself’. Aarathi was offered to Bhagawan after the Purna Ahuti, and all devotees thereafter were given opportunity to light ghee lamps and circumambulate around the Lord.
It was almost 6pm, and the entire proceedings completed successfully. We had been around for over 12 hours. Though physically drained, the joy derived by participating, or simple witnessing this event, will be irreplaceable! We thank our Beloved Swami for granting us this opportunity to raise ourselves closer to His realm!
Jai Sai Ram