Sat Chandi Maha Yajna 2003

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

This year the Sat Chandi Maha Yajna has taken a different form. You are not my guests nor the guests of Swami Niranjan or Swami Satsangi. This year you are the guests of the Divine Mother's most beautiful form -the kanyas. The kanyas will welcome you when the rituals start tomorrow. I have only come here today to explain a little about the yajna, so that you can gain the maximum spiritual benefit from it.

Kanya means virgin. Man's soul is virgin. That virginity cannot be contaminated. Its pristine beauty and glory are not able to be sullied. But you can't see that virgin soul, you don't know what it is or where it is in you. That purity of soul is the kanya, which is the next form of the Mother. This year you will be the guests of that virgin soul, of that virgin reality whom you don't know, whom nobody knows. When you don't know an object, then you have to form a concept. This time the concept is the kanyas of Rikhia who are sitting here. They are innocent and pure, and they represent your virgin soul, they represent your pure spirit, they represent your inner being, which you cannot and will not see.

In Devi Tantra, the tantric system of the Cosmic Mother, the virgin is considered to be the true replica of the Cosmic Mother. From tomorrow, when the Sat Chandi Maha Yajna begins, you are not the master here, you are only servants. We are all servants of the Cosmic Mother. We are not her husband or her father. We are her children and she is our master. We should remember this and feel this. Neither you nor Swami Niranjan, nor Swami Satsangi, much less Swami Satyananda, is organizing this tantric festival of Sat Chandi. The priest will be a kanya, the caterer will be a kanya, the singer will be a kanya, the controller of every ritual of this yajna will be a kanya. They will be our hosts. This is the most ancient concept of Shakti Tantra.

Awakening of consciousness

I have selected the kanyas to be the hosts of this event, because this is a very important year when you will remember and remind everyone of the day when man jumped out of his animal consciousness and began to remember that he is a man. That was the day when he discovered fire and knew it was fire. Fire is eternal. Fire existed before the advent of man, but man did not know how to use it. Animals did not know how to use it. Nobody understood what fire was.

Fire was the first form of God that man realized. Prior to that he was ignorant of time, he was ignorant of space, he was ignorant of everything. He only knew how to sleep, how to be afraid, how to create progeny, how to eat, nothing beyond that. He had no knowledge, no jnana, through which he could connect himself to the things around him. The first real day was when man connected with something beyond himself, with fire. Thus the day our ancestors connected with fire, agni, millions and millions of years ago, is an immortal and unforgettable day for us. Therefore, the Rig Veda, the most ancient book of the Hindus, begins with the word agni - Agni mide purohitam. The first mantra, the first word, was agni, which means fire.

The second thing that man discovered was grain. Thereafter he became enlightened. Fire and grain are the two eternal principles. The tradition of yajna began from that day. Thank you God for giving us fire! Thank you God for giving us grains! This yajna reminds us of that event which took place many, many millions of years ago, when our forefathers, our ancestors, discovered the uses of fire and grains.

Therefore, this year in the yajna the five grains (wheat, rice, millet, maize and barley) will be offered to Devi, to the Cosmic Mother. We offer those five grains to the Devi through her most beautiful form, which is the virgin, the kanya. When the grain becomes consecrated after being offered to the Cosmic Mother, when it is pure, then it carries the benedictions of the divine. It is not merely food, it is not just grain, not just wheat or rice. It is the consecrated stuff which has been blessed by the Divine Mother, and when I get it, I get its blessings. It is like the offering of bread and wine in the Christian Mass. This is the Mass of the Devi Tantra, the Shakti Tantra, where you are offered grain. Some of you will be given rice. Some of you will be given barley. Of course, you have rice and barley at home. I am not giving you anything in charity, because charity is the mother of poverty. I am not talking of charity! I am talking of prasad, blessings. When a mother gives something to her child she is not being charitable. It is her love, it is her compassion, it is her care.

Prasad of grains will be given to everyone, from the neighbouring villagers to those who have come from far away. For Devi there is no concept of rich and poor, everyone is her child, whether the richest of the rich or the poorest of the poor. If all are children of God, all are children of Devi.

I came here today to explain this to you because it is a most important part of the yajna. You have not come here to see me for blessings or advice. You have come here to receive the blessings of Devi. You need her grace only. Remember this. I'll see you all on the final day, after the poornahuti. Until then I don't want to come between you and Devi. Try to make direct contact with Devi in these five days. I have told you the medium for that - the bal sundaris. Live with this bhava, this feeling, for five days. The organizers of this yajna, the kanyas, will welcome you tomorrow. To sum up, I am not the host, Swami Niranjan is not the host, nor are the sannyasins. We are all servants here. The Cosmic Mother, through her most beautiful form, the kanya, will be your host for the five days of the yajna. Remember this important point.

Worship of the Mother

Worship of the mother is a very ancient culture, which was born with civilization. Worship of the mother was not introduced by any religion, it was not taught by any canon. It is natural for a child to love his mother. You don't have to teach a child to love his mother because it is in the scriptures, because it is in the Gita or the Upanishads or the Bible or the Koran. Love for mother is intrinsic in a child. It is so natural, so spontaneous, so primitive, so total.

From ancient times, right from the beginning of creation, the mother has given birth to the child, not the father. The father has never given birth to a child. Not only in the history of mankind but even in the history of God, in the history of all the universes for billions of years, on any planet, it is the woman who has given birth to the child. Therefore, she was the first person the child knew, not the father. When he was an infant, when he was a child, when he was a boy and when he was a lad, he only knew his mother. Father is a redundant principle, but society has brought him in as a social factor, as a political factor, as an economic factor. The mother is the real friend of the child. Therefore, the worship of mother is as ancient as mankind.

Some religions denounced mother worship, but not the religion of India where worship of the mother is considered to be supreme. A mother can never be cruel. Even if she slaps you, it is out of compassion, out of love, out of affection. A son may betray his mother, a son may forgo his mother, but a mother cannot and should not repeat the folly of her child. In India this worship has been prevalent for many, many thousands of years. We don't call Durga, Kali, Saraswati, Lakshmi, etc. by the name goddess, we always use the word devi. Devi means luminous, illumined, lustrous, the light that is within. You are all Devi. You are all fortunate.

Kanya worship

The concept of the kanya is unparalleled in man's philosophy. The discovery that a young virgin was capable of symbolizing and representing the Cosmic Mother was made by a rishi. Could you ever think of your little daughter as the replica of the Mother? No. The idea did not come to the people, only to those rishis, the great seers who saw very clearly. Just as you see greed in money, passion in a woman, fear in a ghost or tiger, similarly why can't you see the goddess in the kanyas? Why do you need to be convinced? Why should I convince you? It is your daily experience that where there is money, there is greed. Money represents greed. The replica of greed is money. The replica of passion is a woman. The replica of fear is a tiger. The replicas of the goddess are here. You don't have to prove it. It is as simple as that! It is written in the Upanishads that a person who is innocent, who lives like a child, behaves like a fool among fools, like a scholar among scholars, like a young man among girls. Such a person is called an avadhoota. These girls are very simple and innocent. Up to the age when they attain puberty they don't know the jugglery of sensual life. There are many who even after puberty remain virgins mentally and spiritually. Once puberty approaches the whole system changes within the body, within the structure and psychology of the mind, in the emotional actions and reactions. Kanya worship is a most important part of Shakti Tantra. I have been waiting for this moment. I feel very happy and I want you also to feel very happy, because you are being presented with a new concept, you are being initiated into a new philosophy of life where a little girl can be the replica of the goddess.

Rikhia, November 23 & 28, 2003