| Anujnaam – |
This is the ritual through which a site is deemed appropriate for use for yajnam. The site where Yajnam is to be performed is examined closely for its suitableness for the powerful ritual. Permission is requested by the Puujaari from the authorities that own the space, and the many Devas. There are many devas that help natural places, communities, cities, temples, houses, people, animals etc. The permission of all these is requested, and through meditation it is intuitively deduced wether their permission is granted. Swamiji is very pleased and honored to be offered the opportunity to perform Yajnam at the Sai Amrita Temple because the sacred energies of that place are very sacred and conducive to Yajnam.
| Sankalpam – |
In this ritual, the nature of the Yajna being preformed is announced and described in Sanskrit along with the place it will be performed and for who and why. The syllables of the sacred Sanskrita language generate spiritual light that can been seen in the inner planes by the Devas. The vibrations of the Sanskrita syllables bathe the auras of the devotees who hear the sacred mantras with healing light. For the devotees to affirm their offerings, and to inform the many inner plane helpers who will bless the event; sankalpam is performed. Once the sankalpam is made, the ritual described must be successfully completed.
| Ganapati Pujam – |
Is the worship of the beloved elephant-headed MahaDeva Ganesha. Though there is only one formless Absolute (Brahman), there are many Devas (Angels) who act as His representatives and servants. We as humans, come to know that Formless One through their loving guidance. Ganapati (Vighna-nayaka) is always worshipped first to remove obstacles. His worship (puja) gives us the wisdom that leads to attainment and success. The Ganapati Upanishat Says “Muulaadhaarastitosi Nityam.” Ganapati is seated at the muulaadhaara chakra. Ganapati balances our intellectual and emotional minds, allowing us to stabilize the spiritual energies in the Sushumna Nadi of spiritual awakening. He alone prepares the devotees to meet the other Devas. Without his blessings no success is possible. AUM gaM gaNapataye namaH!
| Punyahavachanam – |
“Punya” means merit (punyaha means auspiciousness) and “Vachana” means expressing. This is the ritual purification of the yajnashala (the place of the fire sacrife). Lord Varuna is invoked into kalsha images (water pot placed on raw rice and filled with pure water) and worshiped. Then Visarjanam is performed to deconsecrate the image and the blessed water is then sprinkling around the place. Water from this ritual is kept and used to purify all items used in the Yajnam. Water is sprinkled on and drunk by devotees also to purify them for participation in the rituals.
| Kalasha sthaapanam – |
Lord Varuna and the Sapta Sindhu (Seven Rivers) are invoked into special water pot images. For this YajnaM there will be 16 kalashas placed (a number sacred to the Devi because it relates to the mind and the lunar tithes). Kalashas are simple an-iconic images of God. They are said to resemble the human form and to symbolize the divinity within the Divine aatma. They are used to add power and auspiciousness to rituals. Water filled kalashas are very important during Yajnams to cool and tame the otherwise fiery energies of the Yajnam. Because Swamiji’s Yajnams are far too powerful to contain the energies in one place, after the rituals, the water from the kalashas is poured into a river to spread the blessings throughout the world
| Kalasha Utthapanam and Parikramam – |
In this ritual the kalashas are lifted and carried on the heads of devotees wearing colorful cloths tied around the head. The devotees proceed with kalshas to circumambulate the place of Puujaa and all sacred images there.
| Dhuupa Aaratim – |
At Sai Baba Temples there are four daily aaratis. This is the evening aarati. Aarati comes from the words “aa” meaning toward and “raati” meaning Grace or Love of the Lord. Light is offered symbolizing Divine illumination, and then blessings from the Devas are received through the light, which is received through the finger tips and touched to the three eyes. Sai Ram.
Talk by Swamiji on Maha Yajnam –
|Raksha Bandhanan –|
is the ritual of tying threads called rakhis on the wrists of the devotees. Generally red, yellow, or white threads are tied on the right wrists of males and left wrists of females. It is possible to tie on the ankle of devotees who perform occupations requiring their wrists to be clean (like surgeons); this should be left ankle for men etc. These rakhis remind people of the ever present grace of the Lord. They are energized to allow the devotees to carry the blessings of the puujaa, physically and visibly with them. They are thought to have strong protective qualities. If the rakhi falls off or when the devotee desires to take it off, it should be treated with great respect because it is imbued with the shakti of the Lord. It is traditional to keep such sacred items at an altar, on a picture of the Guru who gave it, or to discard them with reverence by immersing in flowing water, burying in a natural place, or by burning in a sacred fire
Kalasha Puujaam –
|Lalitaa Sahasranaama Paaraayanam – |
The Lalitaa Sahasranaama Stotram is a sacred and popular hymn to the Devi (Goddess). The Divine feminine holds power. As women hold the power to give birth, the Goddess hold the power of creation. She is said to have three powers; iccha shakti (power of will), kriya shakti (power of action), and jnaana shakti (power of knowledge). The Gods embody being and each has His Shakti or power that enables Him to act. Lalita Sahasranaam honors this Divine Power by offering 1008 names or praises of Goddess Lalitaa. Throughout
|Shej Aaratim – |
This is the Evening Aarati offering at Temples of Shirdi Sai Baba.
|Mahaa Aaratim – |
The Aaraati is the
| Mantra Pushpam – |
This is prayer with flowers, symbolizing the flowering of spiritual consciousness. It is a well known offering to all Hindus presnted with the famous hymn from the Taittiriya Aranyaka of the Krishna Yajur-Veda
|Veda Paaraayanam - |
This is the chanting from the four Vedas. The first mantra from from all four Vedas is chanted along with special other mantras. At auspicious events like Yajnam saamagana mantrams from the musical saama veda are chanted. It is said these mantras are the favorite of the Devas and are unparalleled for their power.
|Aashiirvaadam – |
Prasadam is the blessed gift from God. Specifically it is the blessed substances offered during the ritual. These will be distributed by Swamiji to all devotees present. They can save the healing treats to give to people they know, or take them for healing. Ashirvadam is blessing, it is common for the priest or Swami to offer his blessings to the devotees after a ritual like this because the presence of the deity is strong in him at that time. It is traditional for the devotees to bow to a priest after a puja (families approach and bow together) and him to bless the devotees by throwing akshatas or flower petals over their heads. Pranamam (bowing) is practiced because it helps the devotees train the mind to see the Divinity in all things and it humbles the ego, enabling the devotee to receive greater benefit.
|Anna Dhanam – |
Anna Dhanam is said to be an important part of any Vedic Ritual. There is always a Naivedya or food offering in every puujaa, and the blessed foods are then served to people. This food is vegetarian and sattvic (pure) in quality. The food serves as a physical vehicle to carry blessings to the devotees. Delicacies donated by local merchants will be offered for a donation to help pay for the event.
|Umaamaheshwara Puujaam – |
Umaamaheshwara Puujaam is the worship of Goddess Paarvati (Umaa) and Lord Shiva (Maheshwara). At elaborate rituals like Kumbhabhishekams and at auspicious times throughout the year Kalyaanotsavam is performed (this is the ritual “wedding” of the Lord to His Shakti). This puujaa is like an abbreviated version of Kalyaanam. This ritual balances the Divine masculine and feminine within as it unites the kundalini shakti (power of spiritual awakening / Uma) with the Sahasrara chakra (the highest state of awareness / Mahesha). It is very powerful toward spiritual awakening, self-sufficiency, balaned life, harmony in relationships, brahmacharya for brahmacharis, and marital happiness for grihastas.
|Pushpa Aaropanam - |
Planting of plants or trees is an important part of many puujaa rituals. It is a way to give back to Mother Nature who gives so much in the way of herbs and flowers etc for puujaas. It is a way to give back to the place where puujaa is performed. It beautifies the place and provides resources for future rituals. It symbolizes the spiritual seeds that are sown by the spiritual saadhana that will bear spiritual fruit or flowers for the devotees in the future by the grace of the lord. For this Yajnam, 16 rose plants have been donated by Swamiji to the Sri Sai Amrita Narayana Sarveshwara Aalayam as a token of gratitude for the use of their space.
|Ganapati Yantra Pratishthaapanam – |
A Yantram is a mystical diagram. It is a meditation form for the Devataa it represents. It is said to be the visible form of the mantra viewed with the mystical third eye. The yantrams of different Devataas have different shapes and colors. Meditation on their form is said to bring the Shakti of that Deva to the meditater. Swamiji makes yantras using raw rice colored with natural dyes. Many of the mantrams and yantrams he uses were revealed to him by the lord for the benefit of the three worlds. * Each part of the yantram has corresponding biija (seed) mantras. These mantras are intoned along with muula (root) mantras of the Devataa and mantras for invocation in the ritual of pratisthaapanam (a ritual of invoking / placing the energies of the Deva into the sacred yantra). By this ritual the yantra is imbued with the Prana (Life force) of the Devataa and consecrated for use in worship. This process is a powerful meditative practice that brings the consciousness of the devotee close to the Devataa of the yantram. * The three yantrams made for this ritual will be of Ganapati, Durgaa, and Shakti-samyukta Ganapati. Worship of Ganapati and Durgaa are described above.
|Shakti Samyukta Ganapati – |
Shakti Samyukta Ganapati is a special form of Lord Ganapati unique to the Trimuurti Ganapati Devamandira Swamiji is working to build in
|Mahaa Durgaabhishekam – |
Because the Yantrams will be energized on Durgaashtami, Durgaa Maataa’s Yantra Puujaa is being extended to include all the traditional offerings and Mahaabhishekam. The tradition puujaa includes 16 or more offerings. The Lord is worshiped by offering specially prescribed substances to the Lord with appropriate mantras, mudras, and meditations. The procedure mimics the processes of welcoming and honoring a geust, by offering seat, drink, food, bath, cloths, tilak etc.
|Abhishekam - |
means anointing, or consecrating. It is a ritual by which consecrated images are energized by pouring special sattvic liquids. The devotees meditate that they are bathing the Lord. It is said to be very purifying to bathe the Lord while chanting (or hearing) the Vedic Mantras. Swamiji always uses waters from various sacred rivers, waters blessed by Gurus or at sacred
|Nava Graha Yantra Sthaapanam – |
The Nava Graha are the Nine Planets of the Vedic system of Astronomy; Suurya (Sun), Chandra (Moon), Mangala (Mars), Budha (Mercury), Brihaspati (Jupiter), Shukra (Venus), Shanaishchara (Saturn), Raahu (the Northern Lunar Node), and Ketu (the Southern Lunar Node). The planets each represent a part of consciousness and the world. The Nine planets together contain all the various energies possible throughout the universe. It is said that the prarabhdha karma (karmas from the past lives bearing fruit in this life time) can be predicted by the placement of the planets when a person is born. For this reason it is important to be careful when reciting the mantras or doing the meditations of any one planet, that that planet be place auspiciously in the person’s natal chart. The worship of the Nine Planets is said to be safe for all; it helps with the effects of all planets, giving all people general prosperity, health, and welfare.
|Vishnu Sahasranaama Paarayanam - |
Vishnu Sahasranaama is a popular Puranic hymn praising Lord Vishnu. It is chanted every day in most Vaishnava Temples. Vishnu gives Divine illumination / Realization, Realization of the Transcendental Lord, All-pervasiveness, Support, Stability, Strength, Balance, Wisdom, Jnaana, and Patience.
|Yajna Kunda Shudhi / Yajnam Kunda Pratishthaam – |
The Yanjna Kunda is the sacred fire altar where Lord Agni is invoked to carry offerings to the Devas in the Devaloka. Yajna Kunda Shudhi is the ritual purification of the fire altar. Yajna Kunda Pratishtham is the process of invoking divinity into the Homa kunda and preparing it for worship. The Kunda is decorated inside and out with kolams and other mystical diagrams. A simple yantram is contructed inside the base of the Kunda and Devas are invoked with mantras. The Yajna Kunda Pratishthaam helps to ensure that the effects of the rituals are powerful and that the healing energies radiate for hundreds of miles.
Swasti Vaachanam –
|Samidhaa Cayanam – |
This is the ritual of placing the sacred woods into the Homa Kunda. There are certain woods that are suitable by their nature for Homam and others that are prohibited due to their rajasic and tamasic qualities. Natural plant based oils and resins are used for igniting the fire. This is done with mantras honoring the Mother Earth. Like the samidhas of wood are the basis of the sacred fire; Mother Bhuu is the basis and support for all life.
|Agni Pradiipanam / agni samidhanam / Agni Puujaanam – |
Agni is the name of the sacred Fire. The fire is a symbol of the divine power of transformation, transmutation, digestion and consumption. The fire is the spiritual fire of awareness burning at the third eye, and it is the fire of spiritual austerity that burns away our faults and impurities. Divine consciousness pervades the universe. The Vedas teach to literally worship God in natural things throughout the universe as a means bringing consciousness into union with the divine. From worship of what we experience, consciousness is draw into deeper mystical experiences. God is invoked into the fire after rituals of purification and consecration of the agni kunda (the fire altar). God in the fire, consumes the offerings , carrying their subtle essences to the inner worlds where the offerings are received by the devas (angels). These offerings are restructured by the angels and used to fill the atmosphere of the yajna shala (place of yajna) with Divine shakti (power / energy). Agni pradiipanam is kindling of the fire; or awakening of the Divine fire, Lord Agni. Samidhana means faning, but “Sami” means coming together; and “dhana” means wealth. Samidhana could also be taken to mean “increasing the vision or wealth of the Lord.” This gives power and auspiciousness to the sacred fire, honoring Lord Vayu in this way helps to keep the Fire burning throughout the ritual. Agnis is then worshiped with offerings and sacred hymns. He is the fire of spiritual awakening that enables us to connect with the other Devas.
|Praanaa Pratishthaam / Netronmiilanam (for Agni Kunda and devotees) – |
Praanaa Pratishthaa is the ritual of invoking the “life” or breath of the Lord into an image. Praanaa is the breath; and it is the life force; and the cosmic power of movement throughout the universe. The Lord is the Life or life. From our breath we invoke the life of the Lord into the sacred fire before ahutis (offerings) are made to the sacred fire. This ritual is done for all vigrahams in
Maha-Ganapati Homam –
|Pradhaana Homam / Shakti-Samyukta - Shata Durgaa Suukta Yajnam / Dravyaahutim~ |
Pradhaana Homam is the primary offering of the Yajnam. In this case this offering will be made by chanting the mantras of Shakti-Samyukta and the Vedic Hymn to Goddess Durga (Durgaa Suuktam) 108 times. Dravyaahuti – Is the offering of herbs and other substances to the sacred fire. Hundreds of powerful Ayurvedic herbs have been specially prepared for this ritual. Also many local herbs have been selected and gathered to help connect this ritual to the natural surroundings. The Swami has used his extensive knowledge of Herbs and Ayurveda to prepare thousands of dollars worth of medical quality botanicals. The devas have guided him at every step, so that he may choose only those herbs best for this ritual and the people participating. These herbs help immensely to empower the offerings made and are powerful to effect the participants for months before and after the ritual is actually performed.
|Maadhyana Aaratim – |
This is the midday Aaraati offered at Shirdi Sai Baba Temples.
|Other Homams – At Swamiji’s Maha-Yajnams, there are many other offerings or ahutis made to various forms of Divinity. After the principal offering, homams are performed to honor Gaayatri, Navagraha, Sarpa, Paarvati, Lakshmi, Sarasvati, Medha / Dakshinamurti, Vishnu, Rudra / Shiva, and Vishva Devas. Though there is not space to describe the individual significance of these offerings in detail, it is possible to describe their relation to the granthis and chakras. The first three offerings: Gayatri, Navagraha, and Sarpaahutis, relate to the Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra Granthis respectively. These “Granthis” are energetic knots along the path of the rising kundalini (the energy of spiritual awakening). These “knots” represent points in the spiritual unfoldment that are particularly difficult for the devotees as their consciousness sperates from the limited ego-identity and begins to associate with its Divine qualities. The next seven offerings (beginning with Parvati above) relate to the Mulaadhaara, Svadhishthana, Manipura, Anahaata, Vishudha, Ajna, and Sahasrara Chakra respectively. These offerings help raise the kundalini and help devotees at all point on the spiritual path. It may be interesting to note that certain of these homams are said to cause rain. This does not always happen at Maha-Yajnam, because these offerings are made to support and balance the energies of the Pradhaana Yajnam.|
|Virajaa Homam – |
Viraja means “free from passion” or pure. Virajaa Homam is an offering from the Krishna Yaajur Veda of black and white sesame seeds. Virajaa Homam is offered to purify faults in life and worship and to transfer the Divine qualities to the devotees. This offering is commonly used as a purifying rite during the diikshaa (ordination) of Sannyasis (Monks).
Svistakrita may mean be taken to mean “well done.” It is an offering made to Agni in all big Homams to ensure the Homam goes well. It is common to offer plain rice mixed with ghee. Swamiji offers a complete meal composed of a dish of each of the six tastes. Other special offerings may be made for specific Devataas like limes for Durga or Coconuts for Ganapati. Swamiji has very strict requirements for the foods used in Puujaa and Yajnam, and does not allow people who have not been properly instructed and purified with rituals to help prepare these. This ensures the purity of the offering and the power of the ritual.
|Tridosham Diipanam / Saamanam – |
This offering is made after the foods are offered to the fire to encourage proper digestion and health for the devotees. Ayurveda teaches that health or disease is based upon how well one digests and eliminates the foods they eat. This offering is made to stimulate proper digestion for each of the three Ayurvedic Doshas (The balance of these causes health or disease); Vata, Pitta, and Kapha and to balance these for the health of the devotees and for the absorption of the spiritual energies of the ritual.
|Soma Yajnam – |
The Soma Yajnam Swamiji performs was developed by the Devas and is based upon the Vedic Soma Yajna. Some say that there was a Vedic Soma Plant, but there is much debate about the identity of this. Mystically Soma is the power of bliss and eternal life. It is a physical substance within the body described by the Ayurveda Shastras. It is strengthened by brahmachariya, deep meditative practices, and prolonged spiritual austerities. It relates to the Soma chakra just above the Ajna Chakra (Third Eye), and is the fountain of youth of Western mystical traditions. When kundalini rises to this point, in rare saints, their presence bestows strength and healing on all. There is a substance in all plants nourished by the Lord Soma (Moon). It gives life and strength and leads people to spiritual bliss. This “soma” substance is present in some plants more than others. Swamiji uses various specific plants in differing combinations to create a Soma beverage for use in Yajnam. He boils and aerates various liquids, and then “ferments” them into a non-alcoholic beverage. This process was taught to Swamiji by the plants while he was wandering through the forests for months. When received as prasadam, this Soma rejuvenates the body and mind, enlivens spiritual life, and can bestow sensations of Divine bliss.
|Vasodhaara - |
The stream of excellence” ritual is done for feeding the fire after (or sometimes before) the purnahuti. It helps to ensure that all the offerings are completely incinerated by the fire. A stream of ghee is poured into the fire while chanting the Chamakam of the Vedic Rudra hymn. Swamiji likes to also use sesame, coconut, and mustard oil to honor the Trimuurti (Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshvara). The chaamakam is a prayer for the fruits of yajna (sacrifice). This ritual increases the benefits of the homam, by helping the devotees who meditate on the lulling stream of ghee to absorb the maximum benefit. Purnaahutim The purnahuti is the final offering made in all yajnas. It is made after all the other offerings have been successfully completed. The Swami will not make the purnahuti until the other offerings have been made to the satisfaction of the Devas. This ensures that the best results possible are achieved. Those who have done puja or yajna with the Swamiji before know that the effects are powerful, and that he does not have any hesitation to continue throughout the night or even for several days, if he feels it is necessary. Swamiji once continued a Yajnam for 8 months until he received the blessings of the Devas to offer purnahuti. He expects that the yajna will be fulfilled by the timing listed, but will listen to the inner guidance of His Guru and Devas to make any useful adjustments to this schedule. * The purnaahuti is the pinnacle of the homam. It is very auspicious to be present when this offering is made. The only way to ensure best personal gain, though is to participate in the Yajnam as completely as possible. When the saadhaka (spiritual seeker) completely surrenders the ego and offers all the desires of the separate self into the sacred fire the highest benefit will be had. That saadhaka / sadhika verily becomes the God he / or she worships. Purna means fullness, and the Swamiji humbly prays that the fullness of the Lord blesses all.
|Guru Vandanam / Samarpanam – |
Swamiji lives and breaths and practices only by the over-flowing grace of his Gurujis. All strength and goodness comes (only) through him from Them. May thanks and praise be to them alone. It is his tradition to offer to them all benefits incurred from the performance of yajnam. After every practice, he bows to them and offers to them what has come from them. This is in tradition with the ancient Vedic Yajnam mantras Svaahaa “I offer to you Lord” and “Idam na mama “it is not mine.” We must give to receive, and what we give in the world, to the Lord, will multiply and follow us eternally. Praise and thanks be to Goddess Durgaa, Lord Dakshinamurti, Shri Sai Baba, Shri Shridhar Guruji, Satguru Subramuniyaswami, Mata Amritanandamayidevi (whose Jayanti is celebrated on Maha-navami), Mahamandaleshwara Paramananda Giriji, Shankaracharya Bharati Tirtha and all the other Saints living in and out of body who have blessed us with great success. Jai MATADI!