An Invitation: Sat Chandi Mahayajna and Yoga Poornima

Swami Satyasangananda Saraswati

The Sat Chandi Mahayajna is a part of Swami Satyananda's sadhana. In 1995, after six years of long and arduous anushthanas in total seclusion at Rikhia, he commenced this sacred yajna dedicated to the Cosmic Mother.

The only difference was that whereas his earlier sadhanas at Rikhiapeeth, from 1989, were done in total seclusion, the yajna was open to one and all and hundreds and thousands of people were allowed to witness, participate and totally involve themselves in this most powerful and efficacious tantric ritual, which he himself presided over.

Then in 2008 he once again surprised us all, supplementing the Sat Chandi Mahayajna by introducing Yoga Poornima, which became the platform to invoke the cosmic counterpart of Shakti, through the medium of Mahamrityunjaya Homa, dedicated to the Cosmic Father, Shiva.

These two profound tantric yajnas manifested as a result of his love and compassion for humanity, to provide a universal remedy for our material, psychic, emotional and spiritual problems. They offer the rare opportunity for all to witness and partake in the sadhana of a great spiritual luminary and receive the infinite blessings that arise from it. These yajnas form an essential part of his sadhana, sankalpa and mission to bring peace, plenty and prosperity to one and all.

The significant point, however, is that his sadhana and sankalpa did not end when he left his body, but continues with the same intensity and focus even after he took Maha Samadhi. In 2009, during the last Sat Chandi in which he was physically present, his last words were "This Sat Chandi Mahayajna will continue at Rikhiapeeth and if you call me I will come."

And he did come in 2010 for Sat Chandi and Yoga Poornima when thousands gathered at Rikhiapeeth with only one thought in mind, to experience his benevolent presence and receive his abundant blessings. The focus was tremendous; the unified force which emanated from the crowds gathered at Rikhia was a strong call and he kept his word, he did come.

It was as if throughout those magical ten days, Sri Swamiji had expanded himself to include each and everyone present in his loving embrace. Everyone was swept away by the sheer magnitude of his presence. On the last day of Sat Chandi during the kanya bhoj, a powerful tantric ritual which he himself had revealed as the way to manifest the power and presence of Shakti, there was the utmost bliss, joy and contentment on everyone's faces, just as when he used to be physically present. Even the simple village folk of Rikhia were exclaiming, "Who says Sri Swamiji is not here!"

Most of all he proved to one and all that Guru is not just limited to the physical dimension; that the presence of Guru from the non-physical dimension is a more powerful and enduring one. His unqualified presence at the yajnas undoubtedly proved the efficacy of his teachings that the relationship with Guru does not end when he abandons his mortal body. He awakened us all to the fact that his existence is a reality even now.

Now 2011 is here and preparations are underway with the same intensity and purity, holding the belief and sentiment that these yajnas still form a part of his sadhana, which he now monitors from above. For these two tantric yajnas are the seed he sowed for the future evolution and progress of mankind. They are the medium through which we can still connect with him and tune into his presence and receive his grace, for they are a part of his sadhana even now.

As we near the end of 2011, many people are looking towards the year 2012 with trepidation. We hear daily prophesies, predictions and interpretations for the coming year in all arenas of life, whether economic, environmental, social or political. The forecasts range from predictions of a catastrophic doomsday to a mass spiritual renaissance and everything else in between.

No one can decide what the year or for that matter the years ahead hold for us, as individuals and as a human race, but the one thing that is universally accepted is that there will be change! We are going to have to adjust and adapt to changes on a global, national, community and personal level. Change is the one certainty that we all will have to face in our lives. Sometimes it is imperceptible to the naked eye and sometimes so immense that we are awestruck by the limitless power of the cosmic forces.

How to face the inevitable changes with strength, courage and optimism? How to overcome our personal limitations? How to protect ourselves from the potential threats to our environment? How to contribute constructively to our evolving communities? How to find peace, health and prosperity in an unstable and changing world?

Swami Satyananda has said, "Yajna is the cure. Yajna is the remedy." Swami Satyananda established the efficacious rites and rituals of Yajna at Rikhiapeeth as a way to successfully navigate the unknown future of individuals, a wider society and the environment as a whole. Yajna is a tantric legacy he offered to humanity as a means to achieve divine intervention for the fulfillment of man's needs and as a solution to his problems; it was a pointer and a direction for mankind who is today standing at the crossroads. He said, "The true reality is that man needs compassion, he needs blessings, he needs shelter, he needs sympathy, he needs HELP." On whose door should he knock for that? Swami Satyananda has shown us the door where our pleas can be heard and resolved.

Yajna is more than a fire ceremony; it is the crystallization of a universal power, through which peace, prosperity, health and well being is circulated amidst all. If yajnas can achieve this end then it does not matter how ancient the tradition of yajna is, nor does it matter to which race, culture, religion or civilization this tradition belongs. Even though yajna may be shrouded in antiquity, still it is important for us to expose ourselves to yajnas to derive the benefits this ritual offers on many dimensions related to the journey we call life.

Performing yajna reaches out to all that is animate and inanimate, the manifest as well as the unmanifest. It is a powerful way to materialize the hidden cosmic forces abounding in the universe and channeling them to correct the imbalances that occur in our lives on account of which our progress and very evolution is hampered.

Everywhere we turn we see disharmony, discontent and conflict. However ultimately it is each individual who will have to overcome their own problems. No government, no leader, no religion and no social system is equipped to protect individuals from their mental, physical, emotional and spiritual difficulties. In order to develop personal immunity to the problems of life we will have to tap that infinite higher power which is beyond country, religion, caste, creed and gender. That power which lies within each and every one of us, within the very fabric of creation. God is not someone seated in some throne in the stratosphere. God is the consciousness inherent in all beings, moving or non-moving.

According to tantra, Shiva and Shakti are the two eternal principals or dual universal forces which govern our lives as well as the whole of creation. In tantra there is nothing apart from or above Shiva and Shakti. During Sat Chandi Mahayajna we worship and invoke the blessings of Shakti, our Cosmic Mother or Nature, and during Yoga Poornima we awaken the benevolent force of our Cosmic Father, Shiva. Thus together these two events, each unique in its own way, pay homage to the Mother and Father of the universe and create a full circle or totality of experience.

Through this remembrance of the eternal and abiding cosmic principles, we can consecrate our lives and awaken to its true meaning _ understanding ourselves as an integral part of the entire creation. It is a way to give back what we have received and to express love, respect and reverence for the universal forces. In return, the unseen cosmic forces nourish and bring auspiciousness into every aspect of our lives. With the comic forces on our side, we can have happy homes, healthy families, prosperous nations, ecological balance and success in every endeavour. There is really nothing more that we need in life. In the face of such seemingly insurmountable change, the only remedy is to invoke the benevolent forces of the universe, our Cosmic Mother and Father, and seek their compassion for the preservation, prosperity and upliftment of humanity.

Sat Chandi Mahayajna and Yoga Poornima are conducted each year at Rikhiapeeth for five days by eminent pandits from Varanasi. During these grand scale events the pure, unadulterated divine energy of the Universe is invoked through powerful mantras, yantras and mandalas, which are the basic tools utilized in a tantric yajna. This ancient knowledge of yajna provides an opportunity for us to ignite our consciousness and invoke the higher power dormant within us, so that our own innate higher intelligence can be the source by which we protect and heal ourselves.

During Sat Chandi Mahayajna we worship Shakti, the Universal Mother, who is the source of all knowledge, wisdom and power. She has infinite names and forms but she is the Mother of all. She is our Cosmic Mother, the creator as well as creation, who gives us life, nourishes us and loves and cares for us all. In front of the Mother, we are all children and our innate innocence, purity and trust is restored. With her blessings there is nothing we cannot achieve and nothing we cannot overcome.

Mahamrityunjaya Yajna conducted during Yoga Poornima, is the worship and invocation of Shiva, our Cosmic Father. Together with Shakti, Shiva pervades the entire creation. Remembrance of Shiva protects us from difficulties, danger and afflictions of every kind, and grants good health and long life. Yoga Poornima is intended to make us aware of this reality and enable us to experience the power and grace of Lord Shiva in our own lives.

The dance of creation, the interaction of the cosmic forces of Shiva and Shakti, creates all that exists; the galaxies and black holes, the rivers and mountains, the creatures of air, land and sea. Disturbances in the delicate natural balance of the cosmic forces result in tsunamis, earthquakes, cyclones, droughts, flooding, radiation, greenhouse gases and global warming. Yajna is a subtle yet effective means of restoring and maintaining ecological balance, as it is a way to placate the principle forces of existence.

During Sat Chandi Mahayajna and Yoga Poornima we return to the source of Nature in its primordial purity and awaken its benevolent grace. Yajna serves as an antidote to the effects of widespread pollution all around us, whether it is air, water, noise, light and even more subtle forms of pollution such as thought pollution that is invading us from all sides, as Nature has the ability to restore, rejuvenate and recharge itself.

What draws divine grace to us are our actions and attitude. It is not enough to learn about lofty concepts from the scriptures. What really matters is the extent to which we can express them in our lives. More than anything else what makes a person deserving of grace is the compassion he feels and expresses towards those around him. The biggest lesson we have to learn is how to love and serve others.

Sat Chandi Mahayajna and Yoga Poornima also offer us the opportunity to partake in seva or service and thus align ourselves with the cardinal teachings of Param Guru Swami Sivananda, `serve, love and give', which Swami Satyananda systematically and scientifically revealed as a universal remedy to steer us onto the right course in this ever-changing scenario of life. These teachings are the most pertinent need of humanity for the 21st century, as they reveal the way to re-establish our relationship with ourselves and thereby with the rest of humanity.

Swami Satyananda showed that service to humanity is the beginning of spiritual life and is essential for all aspirants who seek personal growth, development, prosperity, accomplishment, as well as evolution. He established bhakti, devotion and pure love, as the most important need of the next generation and declared it to be the `science of life' which can re-establish healthy and balanced individuals and thereby a better society.

A central feature of yajna is giving. Swami Satyananda called it 'giving', not charity. Prasad is generously distributed to thousands of families from Rikhia and its surrounding panchayats. Not just Rikhia panchayat but each and everyone who comes to the yajna, king or pauper, old or young, known or unknown, receives the yajna prasad which has been charged with the blessings of both Guru and Devi.

This year the yajna is even more significant and potent as since 1st January 2011 Chandi Homa has been conducted daily by the sannyasins of Rikhiapeeth as a sankalpa for strengthening the channel with Pujya Gurudev Swami Satyananda. This one year sankalpa of daily havan for Chandi will culminate after Sat Chandi and Yoga Poornima on 31st December 2011.

In addition this year's Yoga Poornima will be most auspicious as the first day of the yajna, 6th of December, marks the date that Swami Satyananda was given Bhu Samadhi here in Rikhiapeeth and his body placed at its final resting place by the panchagni vedi.

So come one and all and be part of this historic event to receive the blessings of Guru tattwa and Shiva-Shakti tattwa.

Jai Gurudev ki · Jai Mata di