Blogs about Ekatvam's current activities, pujas, programs, travels etc.
Sri Maha Pratyangira Devi Homam starts off Swamiji & Amma's USA Yatra
14-Sep-2013: The day began early with preparations for what was to be a continuous all-day and evening gala of festivities with the highest honours and exclusive center stage awarded to our most beloved form of Divine Mother, Sri Maha Pratyangira Devi. While this Divine Mother’s vibratory nature has found it’s most unique expression in Amma & Swamiji--two masters who have, over many years of spiritual sadhana, shown signs of visibly embodying the subtly perceptible energies of the great-void-bliss mother Pratyangira. She is the formless unlimited potential at the center of the fiery void, who may freely emanate or come into existence or form, doing so at Her own will, and if Her divine energies choose to dance and play with us in Her lila or play, it is the greatest of blessings. And this was our task for the day, to invoke the Divine Mother to play with us--with these two great masters at the helm of the ship, guiding all devotees, divine souls, earnest voyagers and witnesses; those who had joined together in the intimate space of a sacred temple--where a murti or idol of Her has been consecrated, at the Sri Maha Kaleshwar Mandir in Santa Clara, CA.
The morning was aglow in the main temple space, where Sri Maha Pratyangira Devi was the star along with Her entourage looking out towards a large fire pit, which sat in the middle of that great room, patiently awaiting our devotional offerings that would be given to the element of fire to be received, assimilated and turned to its base element of ash. The pit, where the fire would be erected, had special kinds of woods that were placed within, chosen for their healing, cleansing or medicinal properties. This kind of special ceremony is known as a homa or havan.
As Divine Mother Pratyangira sat observing the space upon Her lion mount, dressed in a striking lime green sari, drawn by four fierce lions, aspects of Goddess that destroy intolerance, ignorance, selfishness and limitation; She is surrounded with deities Sarabeshwara, Sulini Durga and Sri Varahi. This is how She appears at the Maha Kaleshwar Mandir today, and is the murti or idol that was made according to specific specifications by Amma & Swamiji years ago and graced their Singapore temple, before they donated Her to Maha Kaleshwar, and how She came to live in Santa Clara.
Amma spoke to all participants, before beginning the homa, revealing the royal meaning and deeper knowledge of this most ancient fire ritual. She explained that when one understands the internal wisdom of the homa, that the external variant of it escalates to a different level of experience. The homam that includes various representations of elements found in nature, such as earth, air, water, fire and ether or sky, are also found within our own being, and this wisdom is imparted through an internalized fire offering. She also said that for such knowledge to be truly understood, it can only be imparted by the master, saying “without beloved Saravana (Lord Muruga, or Mahavatar Babaji), nothing moves in me.” Shedding light on the deeper meaning of worship, which is pure bhakti, or ultimate surrender and love.
And with that, Swamiji blew the sacred conch three times, and honoured the several ton granite Jyotirlingam of monumental stillness that graces the temple, as the participants chanted the sacred sound Aum. The flame within lighting the flame without, the homa commenced, with Amma & Swamiji offering ghee, fruits, flowers and sacred herbs to increase the flames and smoke, the later being highly regarded for cleansing, clearing and purification.
Homa intentions were set through the use of focus and sound, by all those who attended, and by the grace of the gods and ascended masters. Prayers were chanted aloud to manifest the overall well-being for all beings; to dissolve or remove malefic planetary alignments and dosha deficiencies; to resolve and dissolve karmas; to cut through negativities which exist within and are reflected outwardly, so abundance may flow; and to fulfill the four pillars of life: dharma, artha, kama, moksha. The revered energies of the Guru, as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and Supreme Self, and of Divine Mother Sri Lalita Devi and Maha Pratyangira Devi were invited in the homa through heartfelt devotion and mantra chanting.
With Divine Mother’s energies alit, Mother Pratyangira sat within the idol and graced us joyously with Her presence. As Amma had eluded to earlier, the Mother had the intense desire or yearning, in the warmth and joy of complete darkness, to be with Her children in oneness through the flame or Jyoti. The children called with fervor and longing for freedom and the Mother came, born of bliss, as the homa burned away all negativities and left only the purest white ash, the residual left in the fire pit after all offerings had been consumed by fire. The homa concluded with blowing of the sacred conch three more times.
Shortly after the homa concluded, Amma treated us to an impromtu teaching on the numerological explanation of existence/consciousness, and how a soul comes into being and soul evolution. It illuminated and viscerally explained the hidden number play manifest within our own bodies. The question was presented as the journey and the means, as well as cause and effect, sacred numbers concealed and revealed within and without, the microcosm and macrocosm and how to transcend the limitations of these apparent boundaries, in the seemingly ceaseless existence of birth, death and rebirth. A more in-depth and personal account of Mother Pratyangira was also given.
As the sun set on the horizon, the power of the flame to light the darkness became ever more clear. Many new and devoted followers of Mother Pratyangira emerged at the temple. The evening Abhisekham or bathing of the deities was about to begin. Mother Pratyangira Devi, along with Her entourage, and Sri Kalikambal Devi and Ganapati were set upon their bathing altars. Swamiji began by offering pure ganga water to all of the deities from a kalash or vessel that represents Mother’s womb. Many other offerings followed including milk, cream, honey, yogurt, fruit, tumeric paste, red kukum, sandlewood paste, and basma, with frequent and alternating bathings of more pure ganga water. All who came to the puja were able to participate in bathing the deities in pure milk and cream.
After bathing, the deities were secluded behind a curtain for a short rest period to emerge dressed in brilliant magenta saris. When the veils parted once more to continue the puja, Divine Mother was adorned in the most splendid garlands of red flowers and limes, a favourite of Divine Mother Pratyangira. Rose petals infused with devotional hymns and mantras were sung and offered by all participants, along with aarthi, or the waving of lights before the murtis.
As the night grew late, the unlit candle or lamp sought to catch a spark from the enlightened, the true masters, Amma & Swamiji, who were the ever-shining vessels, sharing with us all Divine Mother Pratyangira’s blessings. Jai Maa!
(Thanks to Dawn for this beautiful writeup)