2013 Ram Navarati in Jadan
Fire Ceremony on Ram Navaratri
On 19th April 2013, a vedic fire ceremony was performed in our ashram to celebrate the ending of Navaratri and Ram Navami – the birthday of Lord Rama. Even the temperatures above 30°C could not disturb the ashram residents, students and visitors in the three-hour long offerings. Seated around the sacred fire, we enjoyed a strong spiritual energy created by the chanting of mantras from Durga Saptah Sati and Sri Shankaracharyaji's Saundarya Lahri.
Navaratri – Nine Nights of the Divine Mother
Navaratri literally means “nine nights” which are dedicated to the Divine Mother. There are 4 Navaratris in a year:
- Ram Navaratri in the early summer, during the Hindu month of Chetra (March/April) that ends with Ram Navami,
- Durga Navaratri in autumn during the Hindu month of Ashvin (September/October) that ends with Dussera,
- the other two Navaratris in months of Magh and Ashad are called “gupt” which means “hidden” as they are not celebrated by all.
During these nine days and nights the Divine Mother is worshipped in Her three main aspects. The first three days are dedicated to goddess Durga who removes tamas from our body and mind. The second three days are dedicated to Lakshmi - goddess of wealth and prosperity. Lakshmi does not only mean material wealth but also the inner wealth – our good qualities that help us proceed on our spiritual path. Then, after defeating tamas with the help of mother Durga and developing inner richness with the blessings of goddess Lakshmi, the last three days of Navaratri are dedicated to Saraswati – goddess of wisdom – asking Her to bless us with true knowledge.
In Lila Amrit, Sri Mahaprabhuji's explanation of the principle of the Divine Mother is given.
In our ashram, the female divine principle is adored in the form of Sri Mahaprabhuji's mother, Srimati Chandan Deviji. Her photo was installed on the special place during the yagya. For ashram residents mother of our Gurudev, Mataji Sadhvi Punyanand Bhartiji has always been an embodiment of divine mother and during nine days of Navaratri many remembered moments spent with her here. Every day devotees pay their respects at her Samadhi place.
Yagya – the sacred fire ceremony
Yagya is a fire cermony based on vedic principles performed in order to:
- purify the atmosphere of the place,
- create divine energy,
- purify our karmas, negative thoughts and samskaras,
- bring harmony to the society and the environment.
According to the ancient tradition, yagyas performed for the welfare of society should be conducted by a married couple, following the example of gods themselves. A married couple is the base of a society. In India a man is considered incomplete without his wife and a woman incomplete without her husband. During a traditional Hindu marriage ceremony, the husband gives 7 vows to his wife out of which one is that he will always perform a yagya accompanied by her, otherwise the ceremony will not be fruitful.
In today's yagya, the principle of the ashram's college, Sri Gajanand Sharma, together with his wife, Srimati Ranjana Sharma, took the role of yajman – the main media of yagya through whom the ahuti is offered. Ahuti is a special mixture of auspicious organic products coming from Mother Nature. At our yagya we were using a mixture of grains like barley, rice, sesame and white mustard, then coconut, sugar, ghur, ghee, cow dung, cloves, cardamom, almonds, cashews, camphor and so on. There were also nine different kinds of wood used as symbols of the nine planets. These were offered more than 900 times with the singing of “Svaha!”
At the end, pandit Madhav Prashadji Shastri explained the importance of the fire ceremony to the ashram students in these words: “From yagya, clouds are created. Clouds give rain which saturates the earth. From the earth, plants develop and provide grains. Grains sustain the mind, the minds of a man and a woman, and from them the whole creation goes on further. This was told by Brahma himself.”