Rig Veda Yagya – First Day

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Our May program in Kanchipuram is beginning and it will be an interesting 10 days. The Rig Veda is the oldest and longest of the Vedas and it contains many of the most important yagya rituals. So this program will be like having all the big yagyas performed all at once.

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This month is also the time for Jupiter to change signs. Here you see the traditional arrangement of colored cloth, grain, and flowers for each of the nine planets. The yellow square in the second row represents Jupiter. The Sun is in the middle and next to him is Mars – both in red. The front row is, from the left, the Moon, Venus (white) and Mercury in green. The back row has Saturn in the center flanked by Rahu and Ketu. Rahu is the dark cloth and Ketu the multi colored.

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The Shiva lingam is also nicely decorated because the Ati rudra program and daily yagyas continue throughout the month.

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What yagya would be complete without vast quantities of fresh flowers. It is still jasmine season, so they are very fragrant.

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And of course everything begins with Ganesha.

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The Rig Veda yagya program requires special Rig Veda priests. We are very fortunate to have the most senior Rig Veda pundit from the Shankar Mutt in Kanchipuram. His knowledge of this Veda is nothing short of amazing and he is deeply respected by everyone.

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Seetharam is one of the few priests that I know of who is proficient in both Yajur Veda and Rig Veda. So his organization and participation in this yagya is an honor for us.

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Yagyas are fun and enjoyable to perform. Everyone is in a good mood.

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The main focus of this ritual is the offering of ghee into the sacred yagya fire after every few lines of text. Here the priests start the yagya fire for the first time. It will be kept burning continuously for the next 10 days.

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The yagya begins…

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This is sumer time in Kanchipuram and the daily temperatures are generally in the 104-110 range, so the fire is understandably kept on the small side.

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The more junior pundits use their books so they don’t loose their place. The senior pundit doesn’t need to. He is really quite something to watch. But all of them can recite the entire text from memory.