Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sat Chandi Mahayajna 2009

Sat Chandi Mahayajna 2009
Swami Satyasangananda

Many things happen in this earthly life which give us pain and sorrow. This distress can be remedied by the divine grace of Devi, the Cosmic Shakti. That is the purpose of this Sat Chandi Mahayajna. Swami Satyananda
These are amazing times: telecommunications linking the world, scientific discoveries, spiritual revival and unimaginable technological advancements. However, despite the many so-called developments and advancements, these are still challenging times, of wars, famine, disease, pollution, terrorism and financial crisis. The times may have changed, but man is still the same, driven by anger, greed, lust and passion, ridden with unknown fears and insecurities, uncertain, unsure and uneasy about the future.

Despite the giant leap of mankind, we continue to face failure and despondency in our personal and professional lives, and are engaged in a constant struggle to attain balance and harmony in our emotional lives. What can be done in the face of these seemingly insurmountable obstacles when all we seek is peace and happiness? To come out of this turmoil there is one universal remedy for one and all, and that is to invoke the grace and blessings of our benevolent Universal Mother, the Cosmic Shakti, without whom our very existence would be denied. The Cosmic Shakti epitomizes beauty, strength, compassion and grace.

A mere glance from her can make the lame walk, the blind see, the deaf hear and the dumb speak. By her grace our misfortunes can be turned into opportunities and our losses transformed into gains. Her grace is the one panacea for all ills, the one remedy that is perfect for all, and the one prescription that is guaranteed to relieve all hardship. With her grace there is nothing we cannot achieve and nothing we cannot overcome. The grace of the Universal Mother restores balance, peace and harmony, not just within the lives of individuals, but on a global scale.

Sat Chandi Mahayajna enables us to reconnect with the truth that we are all children of the one Cosmic Mother. This is an opportunity to take us closer to the divine power of the Supreme Shakti and establish an unbreakable connection with her, so that her compassion and grace descends on us and removes our physical, mental and spiritual ailments.

This most sacred Mahayajna, extolled from the ancient Vedic era, is an opportunity for all to experience the presence of a powerful energy as well as partake of Swami Satyananda’s central teaching and mantra for spiritual upliftment, “Give, give and give.” From the very first session until the final moments of the Sat Chandi Mahayajna, prasad is distributed in a continuous flow which represents the ceaseless love and compassion of the Cosmic Mother for her children.

Prasad is an essential ingredient for the success of the yajna, which propagates the simple equation of generation, distribution and consumption. This is also the basis of society and a good, vibrant economy. Thus, by following these principles to the hilt, the Sat Chandi Mahayajna at Rikhiapeeth bestows not only spiritual benefits to all in the vicinity of the yajna, but material benefits as well.

Spirit and matter are two sides of the same coin. It is wrong to separate one from the other, or deny one at the cost of the other. They are two complementary components of our lives. Overemphasis of one against the other destroys the balance and harmony of society and thereby of the individual. The Vedic way of life upheld this view and we can easily imagine how the society must have flourished in those times when prosperity was coupled with innate wisdom, so that one could glorify the other.
It is to restore this social, economic, ecological and spiritual balance that Sat Chandi Mahayajna is held each year at Rikhiapeeth. During the five days of the yajna, the pure, unadulterated divine energy of Devi, the root matrix of creation, is invoked through powerful mantras, yantras and mandalas, which are the basic tools utilized in a tantric yajna to manifest the divine power. This rare phenomenon is witnessed and experienced by all and they receive Devi’s spiritual and material grace to restore peace, plenty and prosperity in every sphere of their lives.

It does not matter whether you believe or have faith in this process or not. Of course, if your vishwas, or belief, and shraddha, or faith, is strong then you have an advantage over those who do not have it. Nevertheless, each and every one is touched; the believer and the disbeliever. It is like entering a highly charged energy field that uplifts and transforms everything that comes within its range.

The prasad of Devi, which has been blessed by her, is then generously distributed to thousands of families from Rikhia and its surrounding panchayats, who receive her grace via the medium of much needed basic necessities such as blankets, rajais, new clothes, buckets, grains and cooking utensils. Prasad is also offered to the thousands of participants of the yajna. Each and every one, king or pauper, old or young, known or unknown, receives the prasad of Devi. Last year the deserving kanyas and batuks were even presented laptop computers, digital cameras and CD players so that they may utilize technology to further their education. This generous offering of prasad was fitting for the magnitude of this yajna and an appropriate way to honour our chief guest, the Cosmic Mother.

The distribution of yajna prasad, which began on the first day of Sat Chandi Mahayajna 2008, continued daily at Rikhiapeeth for well over two months – beginning in November 2008 and concluding in February 2009! Yajna prasad was distributed more extensively than ever before, reaching the most needy and underprivileged within our society in over 200 surrounding villages, which constituted over 50,000 families. This unprecedented scale of prasad offering was made possible by your stupendous support throughout the years.

A profound transformation has occurred in Rikhia panchayat since the first Sat Chandi Mahayajna in 1995. What was once an obscure, deprived panchayat is now a dynamic epicentre of activity that attracts people again and again. With each consecutive year the spiritual energy and the divine vibrations that emanate become more profound, and greater numbers of people from all religions, castes, creeds and nationalities converge in this sacred place, with the common purpose to worship and honour the Supreme Shakti and to receive her grace.

Many people cannot explain why they come here year after year, but all claim that there is a divine force, a connection that pulls them despite the fact that Rikhia is by no means an easy place to reach. Nor does it have any of the facilities which are easily available in towns and cities. Situated in one of the most remote and backward areas of India, this obscure village of Rikhia becomes an epicentre of attraction during the yajna. Regardless of personal and professional commitments or financial restraints, somehow the obstacles clear, and by the grace of guru and the Divine Mother they return again and again to Rikhiapeeth. This is testimony to the power generated by a yajna of this kind.

 All the scriptures sing the glory of guru, for he alone can tell us the address of God and lead us to His doorstep. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that guru is God in human form, for he is divinity incarnate. No one has seen God, but His messenger in the form of guru is physically present amongst us. He holds the master key for our evolution. This Sat Chandi Mahayajna is most special because during these five days we get a chance to have the darshan of Swami Satyananda.

During the five days of Sat Chandi Mahayajna 2008, participants were blessed with the constant darshan of Sri Swamiji, who was present for each and every session of the event. It is said that just a glimpse of the sadguru can transform our lives, so to be in his presence continuously for five full days was an immense blessing for all present! His words, his look, his presence, his smile resonated deeply within all who were lucky to be present at that time. More precious than all the gifts that were showered on everyone was the wisdom, insight and encouragement he gave to all present.

Another important feature of the Sat Chandi Mahayajna are the kanyas whom Swami Satyananda has chosen as the medium of Devi. They are not Devi but they are her medium, and it is through them that the grace is conveyed to each and every one. In 2008, these little kanyas, who come from the most deprived and rejected strata of society, enthralled audiences with their spellbinding daily Mangal Nritya in the traditional Bharatnatyam and Odissi style. Truly they looked like devis descended to grace the occasion. Many had tears of joy when they remembered how hopeless these children were just a few years ago before Sri Swamiji arrived in Rikhia. Their soul stirring bhajans, their precise chanting of difficult Vedic stotras and their foot tapping kirtans were simply astounding.

The grace, poise and professionalism of these young girls was a perfect example of true expansion of mind and a fitting tribute to the sankalpa of Swami Satyananda which is being fulfilled at Rikhiapeeth, to work towards the upliftment of those who are the most neglected of our society. After these breathtaking performances, we can only wait to witness what surprises the kanyas and batuks have in store for this year’s yajna.

These children are innocent and pure; they are the perfect medium to invoke the grace and blessings of Devi Ma. When they call out to her with their extensive range of kirtans, bhajans and prayers, they are calling out on behalf of all of us. When we witness the innocence of these children, we too can reconnect with the child within and call out to Devi Ma with open hearts. In 2009 the fourteenth Sat Chandi Mahayajna, which is an ongoing feature of Rikhiapeeth, will be conducted from 17th to 21st November.

So, once again, I invite you all to partake in this historic event, to be a part of this yajna and to invite the grace of the Cosmic Shakti into your life, so that you too can experience her presence and encapsulate her blessings within you.

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