OM Sri Sai Ram.
Pancha Mahaabhuuta Paadukaa Puujaa
in the background of
Ati Rudra Mahaa Yajna
Sri Srinivaasa Chettiar gaaru has been extremely loving and compassionate in his mission of sharing the secrets of paadukaa puujaa with all of us. He is well versed in vedic tradition and can lucidly explain the mantra-yantra-tantra principles behind effective worship of the “form”. This is especially relevant in kali yuga when the grossness of the intellect is so overwhelming that people have no clue how to worship the “form” to get the “best” results. By “best results” we do not mean the narrow minded view of enriching oneself at the cost of fellow human beings resulting in the exploitation of the meek and weak majority by the rich and the powerful. By “best results” we mean the broadminded explanation of enjoying and sharing nature’s bounty in a way which ensures long term happiness for all in the true sense of “lokaaH samastaaH sukhino bhavantu”.
By “effective worship” we mean the worship of the “form” with veda-mantra & aagama-tantra principles. “ALL types of worship are acceptable to God when done with LOVE, why bother with outdated and difficult modes of worship?”…so say the ones who are against traditional methods of worship. This is mere intellectual posturing by those who are steeped in “western materialism” &/or too lazy to bother with learning veda mantras themselves. Let us be honest with ourselves and ask: “How many of us can actually worship with that Universal LOVE”? If it were so, why are we beset with so many natural calamities? Why are we earthlings becoming more and more restless instead of becoming more blissful?
Tsunamis, earthquakes, pestilence, global warming, deforestation… all these are happening with increasing regularity and gaining in destructive intensity. The western culture of “consumption” is prompting us to live beyond our means and far beyond our needs. We are over-fishing the oceans, over-mining our Mother Earth, over-razing ancient forests, over-quarrying mountain ranges. We are merrily over polluting even the very air we breathe, without which we actually cannot live live. We are reaping the results of our own actions in the form of devastating natural calamities as we increasingly pollute the five primordial elements. As you sow, so shall you reap, “yathaa karma tathaa phalam”
Pancha Mahaabhuuta Paadukaa Puujaa
The Puujaa is done at two levels. The obvious way we all know. The worship of thepaadukaas with mantras etc. The other method is not so obvious. It consists of actions which must become a part of our daily lives. This again is two pronged: keeping clean and avoiding misuse/ overuse overuse.
First is keeping the pancha mahaabhuutas pure by clean habits at the individual and the collective level. They are non-polluting actions in our day to day lives. Actions which keep our environment clean. Actions which keep our Planet clean.
Second is by avoiding excessive usage of the five elements. This is mainly applicable to excessive usage of Water, Earth and Fire elements. (we have not yet learnt how to selfishly overuse air and space elements, else we would have been doing it)
1. Earth : How many times have we seen a meticulously clean housewife sweep her house clean and dump the dirt right outside on the street? Are there no people on the streets? Has she not polluted the street? This is one small example of how we pollute the earth element. Dumping of industrial wastes is another way. Such persons cannot benefit from pancha mahaabhuuta puujaa even if they do it a crore times without improving upon their day to day polluting actions. Excessive mining and usage of Earth begotten materials (food, minerals, petroleum, coal, trees, etc.) also constitutes a kind of “pollution” because we are polluting it with our “greed” and selfishly “stealing” from our children and grand-children their due share.
2. Water: We pollute the water bodies by releasing factory wastes, human wastes, etc. We must strive to keep our community water bodies and rivers as clean as our house water. Both: at the individual, as well as the collective level. Excessive drawal and usage of water due to money power (e.g. bigger pumps) also is selfish and amounts to polluting with “greed”. It is better to have a bath with a bucket & mug than have a “shower” because most showers use up more water. The water from bathroom drainage should be diverted to water gardens and plants rather than just let out.
3. Fire: The external fire that we worship is not easy to pollute because it itself is the grand purifier because it reduces everything to ashes. Indirectly we pollute the air with “fire” when burning toxic wastes. However, there is one fire that we all pollute, which is the vaishvaanara. The fire of digestion in the human body. We pollute it by eating excessively and by eating “wrong” foods. In turn we pollute our thoughts, the very basis of all our actions. In turn, we do “bad” actions as a result of “bad” thoughts. We also “eat” and pollute through our eyes (seeing undesirable things); ears (hearing malicious gossip and such); smells (smelling stale food and other toxic drugs); skin (touching such things that should not be touched). Apart from bad food, the tongue also pollutes by speaking words that cause pain to others. ( most kinds of pain are a form of “fire” )
Adulteration of petrol, and similar fuels amounts to polluting water as well as the subtle “fire” within. The wastage of “fire” element is easy to understand. Excessive usage of electricity, petroleum, firewood, airconditioners, refrigerators, and appliances in general amounts to “greed” in energy use.
4. Air: By massive industrialization, our factories are spewing out toxic acidic smoke which has changed the quality of air on the entire Planet Earth. CFC’s inside refrigerators have contributed to widening of the ozone hole over the Earth’s Poles. The vehicles that we drive are adding to air pollution. We must minimize such air polluting actions and eventually eliminate them in future. Direct misuse or overuse of air is not possible as yet. However, massive burning of vast swathes of forests and cutting of trees raises the carbon dioxide levels in the air which reduces the amount of pure air available to everyone. This is a form of “misuse” of air.
5. Space: The pollution of Space is a fairly recent phenomenon. Spacecraft have left behind so much waste and debris that each of these individual pieces have to be monitored all the time at a great expense to distinguish between man made debris and natural debris (meteorites)
Subtle pollution of space is again very common. This is done by speaking unpleasant and painful words. Sound is a characteristic of space. Every kind of noise pollution amounts to polluting space. Even singing bhajans, religious songs etc with loud amplification and in a manner that it disturbs the entire community or school or hospital nearby amounts to space pollution. It is also a direct form of violence or himsaa.
Overuse of space in a selfish manner is quite common. From the poorest to the mightiest. Many will build a wall or fence in such a way that some of the neighbour’s property wrongly gets covered to one’s own benefit. There are so many who will not shift just a little bit and give space to sit in public transport like buses and trains.
Within the same house, not allowing enough and equal space for other family members amounts to overuse &/or misuse of space.
Although it is a very subtle concept, it is even more relevant: the denial of mental space. This happens when a boss denies the correct and valid ideas of employees, when a mother-in-law does not accept the valid ideas of her daughter-in-law. Or when a husband or wife constantly badgers the spouse with questions like “where had you been”. Such instances of denial of mental space are most common but hardly understood. In short, all these above are just a few examples of “polluting” the pancha mahaabhuutas or the five primordial elements.
Importance of paadukaas
Sri Srinivasa Chettiar gaaru explained the significance of the paadukaas from the Raamaayana. On the occasion of Raama’s departure for vana vaasa, when Bharata asked his kula guru maharshi Vasishtha as to what should he ask from Raama , the guru advised to ask for the paadukaas. Raama gave his paadukaas to Bharata, who installed them on the throne and ruled the kingdom in Raama’s name. Chettiar gaaru said that the period of paadukaa raajya was even better than that of Raama raajya. He said that the paadukaas of the Lord are even greater than the Lord Himself.
Svaami’s permission granted
Sri Srinivasa Chettiar gaaru obtained permission on 26-10-2006 personally from Svaami to perform paadukaa puujaa. Bhagavaan also Graced the paadukaas by physically wearing them and blessed the proposed paadukaa puujaa.
Important question regarding Ati Rudra Mahaa yajna
Sri Srinivasa Chettiar gaaru asked Bhagavaan duing the same occasion: “Svaami, why have you performed the Ati Rudra Mahaa Yajna after waiting for 80 years? I want the real answer from you”
Bhagavaan’s answer regarding Ati Rudra Mahaa yajna
Chettiar gaaru narrated Svaami’s answer thus:
“Bangaaru, I am very happy that you have raised such an important question. The purpose of Ati Rudra Mahaa Yajna is to enable oneself to gradually cut off the many desires that keep cropping up. We are beset with so many desires. They keep on increasing. If you remember, we had initiated a programme called “Ceiling on Desires” some time back.
Unfortunately, people have not responded whole-heartedly to the programme. For the same reason, I have performed the Ati Rudra Mahaa Yajna. Every mantra therein exhorts us to cut off some specific desire. At the end of the yajna, one becomes free from too many desires haunting the mind. Too many desires compel one to strive to fulfil the same. In doing so, excessive exploitation of the pancha mahaabhuutas take place. As a consequence of this mindless exploitation, we also pollute the pancha mahaabhuutas beyond our capacity… (to purify them). The pancha mahaabhuutas have the capacity to restore themselves to their original purity. But the pollution is so severe that this self restoration process must be done more frequently. This in turn results in various natural calamities and unknown diseases with increasing frequency.
“The Ati Rudra Mahaa Yajna strikes at the root of this entire cycle. Cut off the root in the form of excessive desires and the pancha mahaabhuutas will not be so severely polluted.
Be happy with what God has given you and the circumstances in which He has placed you; because He alone knows what is best for you. Even before asking God for anything, question yourself whether you deserve it; have the ability or capacity to receive it and take good care of it ?
A small story to explain this: Once a beggar went to beg from a rich man famous for his acts of charity. The rich man treated him well and took him to his backyard. The rich man showed him a very big portion of land and told him: All this is yours. You may do with it as you please. The beggar was beside himself with joy. He could not believe what he had just received. The rich man went on: There are 2000 elephants also on the land. They are yours too. Now the beggar was mentally disturbed. He thought to himself, I cannot feed this one belly of mine everyday; how am I going to feed 2000 elephants ? “The Lord alone knows when to give, how much to give and whom to give. Cut off all excessive desires and put complete trust in the Lord. Pray to God to help you to cut off excessive desires. The Ati Rudra Mahaa Yajna is the same prayer but collectively rendered and formally and publicly performed as per the detailed instructions from the Veda.”
We must thank Svaami for this simple and meaningful answer and also thank Sri Srinivasa Chettiar for drawing it out of the Srimukha itself. Thank you Svaami. ! Thank you Chettiar gaaru !!
Ati Rudra Mahaa Yajna
The Yajurveda contains the chanting chapters titled rudra-prashnaH and the chamaka prashnaH containing eleven paragraphs each. Why eleven? Because it addresses rudra and there are eleven rudras described in the Vedas. Who or which are these eleven rudras? Svaami says that the five karmendriyas plus the five jnaanendriyas plus the mind… these are the eleven rudras. (page 190 SSS Veda Vani). Svaami also says that when man completely masters and controls these eleven rudras inside him, he becomes the supreme Rudra, Eashvara Himself ! (page 165). There are many derivations of the word rudra, "roditi rudraH". The one who causes to cry is rudra. Most scholars have taken the negative meaning that rudra causes everyone to cry tears of terror and sorrow. Svaami alone gives us the positive meaning that the one who causes tears of happiness is rudra. Another derivation: "ruddraavayati iti rudraH". The one who dissolves (draavayati) the tears (rud = samsaara) is rudra. The rudra prashnaH is also referred to as the namaka. This is because the word namo occurs most frequently in it. When broken up it reads as “na maH”. This means “not mine” Even though not spoken aloud but equally well meant is: “not mine ( it is yours, my Lord )”. The chamaka is so named because of the repeated words “cha me”.
This means “and also (may be given) for me”. Since there are eleven rudras the namaka is chanted ten times representing each individual indriya and the final eleventh time represents the entire mind.
One para. from the chamaka is chanted in between. So we have this sequence:
1. eleven namaka para.s plus 1st chamaka para; 2. eleven namaka para.s plus 2nd chamaka para; 3. eleven namaka para.s plus 3rd chamaka para and so on upto…… 11. eleven namaka para.s plus 11th chamaka para.
Why chant namaka eleven times and chamaka only once ? It is a subtle way of saying that “give, give, give, give up eleven times and take only once. “Giving” is emphasized repeatedly whereas “taking” is mentioned only once in a while. What should one give up? One’s excessive desires, one’s animal qualities subtly present inside as one’s six inner enemies (kaama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada, matsara meaning desire, anger, greed, attachment, arrogance, jealousy). What should one take? Only the necessities for life and living.
This sequence of 11 namakas plus one chamaka is known as eka rudra paaraayana (one rudra) Eleven rudras chanted are termed ekaadasha rudra (11 X 11 = 121) .
Eleven of these are termed one mahaa rudra (11 X 11 X 11 = 1331). Eleven of these are termed one ati rudra ( 11 X 11 X 11 X 11 = 14641). Even though a single person can chant 11 times one day and complete the ati rudra in 1331 days, in actual practice it is more common for 121 priests to chant 11 times in a single day constituting one mahaa rudra (1331 times). One mahaa rudra is performed for eleven consecutive days by these 121 priests constituting one ati rudra. The twelfth day is reserved exclusively for “havan” in the ceremonially lit eleven sacrificial fires. One can also perform a havan every single day but this is more difficult as the purity of the fires in the agni kundas cannot easily be maintained for eleven consecutive days. However, Svaami chose the more difficult option and performed a havan every single day during the 2006 ati rudra mahaa yajna.
The word yajna comes from the root “yaj” which has many meanings. The most relevant one for us is “to sacrifice”. Sacrifice what? The food items like ghee, rice, etc?
These are not ours to begin with. They belong to God who ensured the timely rains and proper crop. As such we cannot give that which is not “ours” in the first place, because it already belongs to God. However we do “give” up these food items in the sacrificial fire, don’t we? Yes, they are merely the external representatives of the internal enemies that we must give up (animal qualities like jealousy, arrogance, greed, etc). Hence the word yajna means “worshipful sacrifice of the excessive desires, inner enemies” Ati means the same thing many times over. Mahaa indicates the active participation of many thousands of people as volunteers and many more in the audience. The word mahaa should only be used if the purpose of the yajna is “World” Peace or “Universal” Peace and no lesser.
To summarize, one may state that any puujaa or Vedic yajna must be performed first internally and only then it may be performed externally. To perform such yajnas without some internal purity will result in a waste of food and actually backfire on the “performer”. All others who wish to perform yajnas may note that the practical nitty gritties cannot be ignored and dispensed with casually. The source of the funds must not be dubious or criminal. All priests and paid servants must be treated with respect and paid promptly and adequately. The priests themselves must be chosen with due diligence because sincere and dedicated priests are few and far between. The ground for the yajna must be as per vaastu. It should be convenient to reach in terms of transportation. It should be large enough to be able to accommodate the thousands of people in the audience. Feeding all the comers on all days is obligatory and not optional. The law of the land must not be violated and necessary legal permissions must be obtained in advance. The dates should be as per muhuurta shaastra and the season should be conducive to travel. Everyone should participate in a joyful frame of mind without any resentment.
Even though it may not be the rainy season, it should rain at the puurnaahuti. Proper rain on the final day is a sign of a “properly” conducted yajna. God literally “certifies” it at the end.
Jai Sai Ram !!!