Archive for February, 2007

  • Starting the Yagya fire.

    Starting the Yagya fire.

    After many years of organizing, participating in, and performing yagyas, it was interesting to see that for the Shiva yagya which was performed at the start of the Shivaratri series, the yagya fire was started by entirely natural means. Nothing a little friction to generate heat! By rotating the wood, embers are produced which are […]

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  • Food – an essential part of every yagya

    Food – an essential part of every yagya

    In the vedic tradition, it is an essential part of every yagya that the sponsors feed the priests who perform the yagya. In our Kanchipuram location, we have a cook for the entire 10-14 day yagya series. In the photo you can see additional food that was prepared to feed the poor as a part […]

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  • Shivaratri in Varanasi

    Shivaratri in Varanasi

    There was a conversation that I had once with a priest when I asked why the abishekam ritual always consisted of pouring milk over the deity.  There were a number of explanations.  first of all, the cow is a very central image in the vedic tradition.  It is symbolically wealth, food, a representaive of Mother, […]

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  • A few photos from the night of Shivaratri

    A few photos from the night of Shivaratri

    During the morning, our priests in Kanchipuram finished the 11 day Maharudra series with a large homam (fire yagya). Here you see them chanting the last mantras from the Yajur Veda (called Chamakam) while ghee is poured into the fire in an unbroken stream using the long woodent implement called a vasodhara. Later that evening, […]

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  • The Yagya begins

    The Yagya begins

    Even though there are countless variations on the structure of a yagya, in general they being with Ganesha puja (to remove obstacles to the successful conculsion of the yagya), then the kalasha puja (to bless and purify the water contained in the water pot), and then a series of pujas, the specifics of which will […]

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  • Sunrise


    Whenever a large group of priests gather for the performance of a yagya, there is always a wonderful sense of anticipation in the air just before the first mantras begin.  People are talking, final preparations are being made, and then there is that silence when all is ready.  With the first hymns, the silence suddenly […]

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  • Early morning

    Early morning

    In all, 11 clay lingams were carefully prepared for this yagya. I am not sure that either the above or below scene would look any different 100 or even 1000 years ago!

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  • Back to work!

    Back to work!

    It has been a whirlwind few weeks getting ready for Shivaratri with an 11 day Maharudra yagya to organize in Kanchipuram and a huge 1 day event in Varanasi.  I always underestimate the amount of time that it will take and unfortunately this blog suffered the consequences!  But I am determined to be back on […]

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