Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prashanti Nilayam.

We are sure you all know about the special Yajna, soon to be performed in Prashanti, a Yajna that has never been performed before here. News about the Yajna has been rapidly spreading, by word of mouth, via SanathanaSatarathi, via newspapers, and of course also via Radio Sai. Understandably there is much excitement and we have received many mails asking us many questions and asking us to do extensive coverage using all the tools at our disposal. We assure you that we would do all we can, via Radio Sai, via H2H and also via a special video documentary.

Now the forthcoming Yajna can be looked at in many ways, that is to say from a ritualistic point of view, from a purely spiritual point of view and also, from a practical point of view as well. In this Sunday Special, we shall focus primarily on the practical aspects, leaving the other aspects for later consideration via H2H, Radio Sai, etc.

You might wonder: “What’s all this about the practical aspect? Could there at all be such a thing?” Our answer is, “Yes of course.” We shall now proceed to explain what exactly we mean. As a prelude we would like to say that the forthcoming Yajna is basically an intense prayer to Lord Siva. God is Formless, without attributes and indeed nameless, but since abstract infinity is difficult to relate to for ordinary mortals, traditional folklore has given this Abstract Formless God many names, one of which is Siva.

Having given a name, form is the next thing that humans like to give and there is for sure a detailed description of Siva, what He wears, what He holds in His hand, what He rides, etc., etc. These descriptions are backed by elaborate explanations of what all these mean. All these have relevance of their own and quite useful in many ways, but we shall not get into all that here. There is only one aspect of this folklore we would like to draw upon for the present and that is the following story.

According to Hindu mythology, long time ago, the Devas and the Asuras [may be you could read it as the good guys and the bad guys!] decided to churn the Cosmic Ocean to bring out Amritha or nectar, that would confer Immortality. So they began this most demanding churn, the Devas on one side and the Asuras on the other. After a while, something emerged from the Cosmic Ocean but it was not the nectar that was sought for; instead, it was something deadly, a poison called Halahala. This unexpected turn of events had both parties worried, whereupon an intense prayer brought Lord Siva to the scene. And you know what Siva did? Being the Compassionate One, He collected the poison floating on the surface of the ocean in the palm of His hand and swallowed it in one gulp. At the same time, He did not allow the poison to go down to His stomach, freezing it as it were in the throat, which turned blue. Thus it is that Siva is also known as the Blue-throated One, or Neelakanta. The story goes on further but we have no need for the rest of the details; our interest stops with the appearance of Lord Siva and His swallowing the deadly poison.

OK, all that is the traditional folklore but is there any deeper significance to it? Yes there is and that is what we shall now turn to. You see, whenever people get together to do something collectively, the first thing that usually happens is that all the negativity locked up in the different individuals surfaces and impedes progress. The deadly poison Halahala symbolises this negativity. The question now arises: “How does one get rid of this negativity, so that the co-operative venture could proceed forward?” This is where the appearance of Lord Siva and His swallowing of Halahala enters the picture. Siva represents the ultimate in purity, and the symbolism of Siva swallowing the poison and all that means that the team members must give purity a chance to prevail and overcome negativity that tends to derail.

Let us now place us all this in today’s context. There are many dangers that humanity faces today, a major one being that due to violence, often extreme and on large scale too. Violence is born in the human mind and has always been there. In a sense this is not surprising since the human species has after all evolved from animals. However, what makes violence in humans so very dreadful is that today, thanks to technology, the scale on which violence can be inflicted and the awesome magnitude it is capable of, make it imperative to do all we can to get rid of violence.

All of us see everyday in the newspapers innumerable headlines about violence, conflict, war, terrorism etc., but one wonders how many appreciate how disastrous all this has been to mankind. A quick search in the net revealed to us that since World War II, about seventy to eighty million people have been killed due to war, genocide, conflict, terrorism and oppression by brutal regimes. This is a mind-boggling number. Just to give you a comparison, about 50 million died in World War II, including due to the atom bombs, holocaust, etc. Killing does not come free and in the year 2005, estimates show that the total military budget of all the governments in the world is about one trillion dollars! True, a lot of this expenditure goes towards salaries and pensions, but the fact remains that a sizable fraction of all military budgets is spent on acquiring deadly weapons. And this expenditure, by the way, does not include the huge amount spent in the arms bazaar by warlords, criminal gangs, terrorists, etc. And don’t forget the devastating trauma caused by violence.

People do not buy weapons to celebrate festivals; they use them to hurt and kill, and that is how so many die due to violence every year. For every one who dies about five to ten are injured and disabled badly; so many children become orphans, and so on. Sorry, but we have to mention this in order to stress how much the culture of violence has become deep-rooted in mankind. The strange thing is that while everyone is frightened to death about the atomic bomb, millions have been successfully killed without the use of a single A-bomb since World War II.

These days, many labour under the false impression that violence can be eliminated with tough action. One might temporarily be able to quell violence with more violence but in the long run, this is as stupid as treating acid wounds by pouring more acid on the wound. If one thinks carefully about all this, one would realise how powerful and pertinent are Swami’s teachings to today’s world.

Speaking about war and its futility, Swami once said:

Alongside the growth in scientific knowledge, ignorance is also growing. How else can we explain the fact that in five thousand years, there have been as many as fifteen thousand wars? Even now, men are not free from the fear of war. It is these wars that have progressively dehumanised mankind and eroded all human values. It is meaningless to aspire for peace in the streets and villages without peace in the home. These days, it has become a fashion to pray for peace. Keeping the atom bomb in the hand, people clamour for peace. Even by journeying to the moon, man cannot get peace. It is better to journey half an inch into the Heart than to travel thousands of miles to the moon!

Yes, politicians cannot secure peace; statesmen cannot bring peace and world bodies of various kinds cannot ensure peace. Peace will reign on earth only when man decides to go beyond the mind, peep into the Heart and listen to the Voce of God. It is to promote that feeling that the Ati Rudra Maha Yajna is being performed here in Prashanti Nilayam. By the way, perceptive military analysts in Western countries are beginning to realise that conventional wars getting replaced with asymmetric conflicts with one side having heavy military power and the other side resorting to innovative and deadly insurgency. And such conflicts, experts are slowly beginning to realise, cannot be won with weapons; an understanding of root causes is essential and a humanitarian approach is needed. So you see even hardcore militarists are beginning to have second thoughts and they need to be nudged with our efforts.

The Ati Rudra Maha Yajna, is an immensely Powerful Prayer for Peace. As Swami often says, Peace is something only God can grant. How do we become eligible for this peace? By praying fervently to the Almighty God. OK, we pray fervently, but is there any chance that God would respond? He would, provided we are on the same wavelength as Him. And what is His frequency? How do we tune to Him? The answer is simple; His wavelength is Purity!

So if we want Peace, we must try hard to become as pure as possible. What exactly does one mean by saying that one must become pure? Swami has answered that one; in fact, there are few questions He has not already given the answers to. Swami says that purity is achieved when there is harmony between thought, word and deed and all are aligned to God.

OK, you there and us here strive to achieve this Inner Purity or TrikaranaSuddhi as Swami describes it. What happens next? Swami has described that also. When an individual achieves Inner Peace, he or she starts radiating Peace; that is to say, people who come into contact with that person become calm and peaceful themselves and in this way, peace spreads. Swami puts it beautifully. He says Inner Peace is like the beauty of a flower. But then, adds Swami, the flower is not only beautiful to look at; it also radiates fragrance, and this fragrance can reach some distance even to a person who cannot directly see the flower. In the same way, concludes Bhagavan Baba, Inner Peace is Shanti; it makes the person be at peace with the world; but this Shanti also reaches out further like the fragrance of the flower, bringing peace in the neighbourhood, and that is Prashanti. In other words, Shanti and Prashanti go hand in hand. Swami Himself demonstrates this constantly. Bhagavan Baba is always at Peace and He also radiates Peace! Thus it is that people that come from New York , or Sydney or Timbuktu , always say, “It is so peaceful here!”

Let us pull all this together. The Ati Rudra Maha Yajna can undoubtedly be interpreted and understood in many different ways, but at the end of it all, the most important aspect it is that it is a Powerful Prayer for Peace. If Peace is really to descend on earth, and we do need Peace badly, then the poison in the human mind must be cleansed. All of us, wherever we are, can facilitate that process by trying to be in resonance with the spirit of the Yajna, that is to say, try, at least during this period, to practice Inner Purity, all the time praying fervently to Swami to help mankind to quell the prevailing negativity. We might also send personal prayers to Swami to help us individually to get rid of the negativity latent in us.

From the North Pole to the South Pole, there are devotees of Baba everywhere. If we all together unleash in a concerted manner the Divine power latent in us in the cause of world peace, surely we can make an impact. To highlight this, we end with an old Upanishadic story. Briefly, a young boy gets angry at the ocean and vows he would drain the ocean dry. He takes two leaves and uses them to collect water from the ocean and throw it on the beach. Someone walking on the beach asks this boy what he is trying to do. The boy explains. The man is stunned and asks, “Son, do you realise how the big ocean is? Do you really believe that you can drain the ocean?” The boy replies, “No, I don’t believe I can do it all by myself. But I am praying to God who is infinitely powerful. What can a finite ocean do before God?”

That might be just a story but it has a big message. If we all together take a step, will not Siva in human form do something to remove the poison? He has experience you know!

Before we end we would like to mention that Radio Sai, in a never-before attempted feature, is trying to do all it can to bring you everyday, the sacred sounds of the forthcoming Yajna. Don’t miss to tune in to the Divine vibrations!

Jai Sai Ram.

With Love and Regards,
"Heart2Heart" Team.