Sat Chandi Mahayajna is Swami Satyananda's gift to humanity. His profound compassion and inspired vision led him to conduct this annual worship to invoke the blessings and grace of the Cosmic Mother. This ancient tantric worship was done not merely to shower blessings here in Rikhiapeeth and to transform the lives of all those fortunate to attend, but also to continue an essential vision of Sri Swamiji, of the mass awakening of consciousness and bringing peace, plenty and prosperity to one and all. As a befitting tribute to this vision of the great spiritual luminary Swami Satyananda, the fifteenth Sat Chandi Mahayajna was conducted at Rikhiapeeth from 6th to 10th December. This grand scale event was presided over by Swami Niranjanananda and Swami Satyasangananda, who were present throughout the entire event and whose frequent satsangs were like nourishment to the soul for all fortunate to be present. Thousands of devotees gathered to bask in the divine, uplifting and spiritual vibrations that abound this grand scale event. This year was extra special as this historic program was conducted for the first time since our beloved Swami Satyananda attained Maha Samadhi.
The first day of the celebration began with the abhisheka of Swami Niranjanananda, at the Samadhi Sthal of Swami Satyananda. This most ancient ritual was performed by the renowned pandits from Varanasi and all fortunate to attend were blessed to witness a `once in a life time' event, which coincided with the Golden Jubilee of Swami Niranjanananda. Special prayers, worship, ceremonies and rituals were performed to invoke the blessings of guru. In 1995 Swami Satyananda declared Swami Niranjanananda as his spiritual successor and handed him a crystal lingam to signify this initiation. In 2010 the abhisheka performed on Swami Niranjan completed this initiation and firmly established Swami Niranjan as a living guru in the parampara of our beloved Swami Satyananda, and one who will guide us and bring light into our spiritual lives.
Following the abhisheka, infinite blessings continued to fall on everyone as the Divine Mother performed abhisheka of all present in the form of light rain which continued for two days. The rain did not dampen the spirits of anyone; rather it united all in karma yoga, with the necessity of mopping up mud and puddles! The singing and dancing continued with joy and when the sun finally came out there was a sense of being cleansed, in the true sense, by the showering of rains.
During the five days of this sacred yajna, the divine energy of Devi, the root matrix of creation, was invoked through powerful mantras, yantras and mandalas, the basic tools utilized in tantric yajna. Each day, the mantras chanted by the pandits and the kanyas created a highly charged energy field in which it was possible to connect with Devi Ma and to catch a glimpse of Her divine power. The kanyas of Rikhia have been expertly trained in kirtan and chanting directly by Swami Satyasangananda. They have a well earned reputation as spirited kirtanists with faultless timing and pronunciation. This year their innocence, purity and spontaneity captivated the audience and led them to new depths of devotion.
The kanyas of Rikhia, who come from the most deprived and rejected strata of society, once again enthralled audiences with their spellbinding daily Mangal Nritya in the traditional Bharata Natyam and Odissi style. The grace, poise and professionalism of these young girls was a perfect example of true expansion of mind. The talented kanyas of Rikhiapeeth also impressed the audience with a wide variety of modern dances, including a new modern dance inspired by the renowned culture icon - Michael Jackson and "Waka Waka", which was dedicated to Sri Swamiji.
Sat Chandi Mahayajna is an opportunity for us all to witness and participate in the sankalpa that Swami Satyananda gave to Swami Satyasangananda, the first Peethadhishwari of Rikhiapeeth, to ensure that the three fundamental teachings of Swami Sivananda `serve, love, give', are practised and lived here in Rikhiapeeth.
From the very first session until the final moments, prasad was distributed in a continuous flow which represents the ceaseless love and compassion of the Cosmic Mother for her children. Distribution is performed not as charity but as an aradhana or worship of God in human form and is a central teaching of Swami Satyananda, whose inspiration continues to guide our lives.
On 10th December all present were blessed by the darshan of the life-like pratima or statue of Swami Satyananda! Everyone rose to their feet in stunned silence to pay respects to their beloved Paramahamsaji who entered as the kanyas sang the kirtan of, "Namo Narayan Swamiji". There was absolutely no doubt in anyone's mind that they were having the darshan of Sri Swamiji and all felt his gaze and infinite blessings descend upon them.
The Kanya Bhoj was conducted in the presence of Sri Swamiji, and all present witnessed Devi in the form of the innocent kanyas. Swami Niranjanananda and Swami Satyasangananda ensured the success of this most ancient and sacred pooja by personally attending to every detail of the preparations and execution. They performed all the rituals with faith and devotion, just as Sri Swamiji had in previous years. Swami Satyananda had said, "By feeding and clothing kanyas, the Divine Mother is fed. By adorning kanyas with ornaments, Devi herself is adorned. This is the way to attain peace, plenty and prosperity. You will witness the grandeur and glory of the Cosmic Mother in the kanyas."
This annual five day worship is the legacy of Swami Satyananda to uplift humanity and from the first moment until the last his presence and infinite grace showered on one and all. He has shown us the way to relieve our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual difficulties by invoking the eternal grace of the Cosmic Mother into our lives. He has shown us the way out of suffering, not only for the individual but for the entire humankind. Sat Chandi Mahayajna continues to be a concrete example of grace manifesting, as the presence of our beloved Gurudev was felt as strong as ever throughout the event and beyond.
In balance to the powerful, charged Devi energy of Sat Chandi Mahayajna, Yoga Poornima invoked the fluid, more tranquil energies of guru and Shiva. Started by Swami Satyananda in 2008, this annual celebration allows participants to reach the highest goal of self-realization through worship, kirtan and prayer.
This Mahamrityunjaya Homa, which is a celebration of Yoga Poornima, is a worship of Shiva, the Cosmic Consciousness. Following on from the Sat Chandi Mahayajna which was a five day worship of Devi, the Cosmic Shakti, these two events pay homage to both the Mother and Father of the universe. They combine to create a full circle or totality of experience. On completion of these two grand scale events, one feels satiated, complete and whole.
By worshipping Shiva, the form of auspiciousness, the grace of guru tattwa is invoked. Yoga Poornima, now in its third year, commemorates the birth of Swami Satyananda, which took place on the Poornima of Marga Shirsha in 1923. Mrityunjaya Mahadeva is the ishta devata of Swami Satyananda and accordingly, the Mahamrityunjaya mantra was chanted throughout each day of the event by pandits, kanyas and participants. On account of Sri Swamiji's unparalleled contribution to mankind in the field of yoga, the event is named Yoga Poornima, a tribute to a yogi who has inspired and still inspires millions to live the divine life.
This year's celebration was extra special as it was conducted for the first time since our beloved Swami Satyananda attained Maha Samadhi and became one with the Cosmic Father, Lord Shiva. The constant presence of Swami Niranjanananda and Swami Satyasangananda throughout the event inspired and uplifted all participants, and reminded everyone that the teachings and visions of Swami Satyananda have manifested and have been eternalized through his `two precious flowers'.
People from all over the world and from all the different Indian states attended the program, which was full of chanting of sacred mantras, singing of kirtans and offering devotion to Guru and Shiva.
This event saw each day starting with joyous and inspiring kirtans sung by sannyasins from all over the world, whose abundant devotion permeated the atmosphere and resulted in the entire audience singing, clapping and dancing. On more than one occasion both Swami Niranjan and Swami Satsangi were up on stage, dancing and singing with them and the kanyas and batuks. The energy was electric as all different races, creeds and nationalities unified in dance, worship and remembrance of Sri Swamiji.
Once again, the talented kanyas of Rikhiapeeth led the day's events, and again wowed the audience with their excellent performances of dance, both traditional and modern, kirtans and even acting. Together with the batuks, they displayed their talents in a wonderful short drama performance about Goddess Annapoorna, who like Sri Swamiji has a never-ending capacity to give, give and give. The professionalism of all the children on stage was further testimony to their outstanding development and progression within the ashram. They are a perfect example of self-realization and achievement, and inspired all present to reach for their full potential.
No yajna is complete without the distribution of prasad and amidst the spellbinding trance-like chanting of the pandits, thousands of people over the five day program received the blessings and grace of guru in the form of blankets, household utensils, clothes and tools.
On the culminating day, a recording of Sri Swamiji's last satsang given at Yoga Poornima 2009 was played. His voice and words enraptured the audience; those who remembered him, as well as those hearing him for the first time. His words moved the very core of all present.
To conclude a very special, unifying five days, Swami Satyasangananda inspired participants with some memories of Sri Swamiji, and how his life and behaviour were examples of what it truly means to be a pure disciple. Anecdotal snippets of our beloved guru, along with the sankalpas shared by Swami Niranjanananda _ that of the Annapoorna Kitchen in Rikhiapeeth, the Sannyasa Peeth in Munger, and the vision of the Old Age Centre in Rikhiapeeth, inspired all to renew their resolve to serve, love and give as much as is individually and collectively possible.
A pre-Christmas notice posted on the Rikhiapeeth notice board announced that this annual celebration is filled with pomp and style, and it most certainly was!
On this most auspicious day, the birth of two great yogis and visionaries was celebrated, Swami Satyananda and Jesus Christ. Swami Satyananda's life was a shining example of the true purpose of human existence, as each and every thought, word and action was dedicated to uplifting humanity. He was the true definition of a disciple, bringing light, inspiration, hope and joy into our lives. His teachings are eternal, and he has shown us by his example the way to fulfil our true potentials.
Like Swami Satyananda, Jesus Christ also dedicated his life to serving humanity, and brought the message of love and hope to all. All his actions were focused on uplifting the poor and downtrodden, and he spread the message of peace, love and brotherhood of mankind.
To celebrate this day, the ashram arranged a special Christmas program for residents, guests, kanyas and batuks, who all eagerly gathered by Christ Kutir. Amidst a backdrop adorned by flashing lights and sparkling decorations, the kanyas started the proceedings by singing a kirtan thanking guru for the joy and inspiration he brings into our lives. A procession of baby Jesus from Christ Kutir to the open stage followed, allowing people to remember the meaning of Christmas _ one of peace, joy and happiness. A very auspicious diksha was held during the chanting of the 108 names of Jesus, by both Swami Satyasangananda and Swami Niranjanananda, who initiated spiritual aspirants from around the world.
A special Christmas show was prepared for the kanyas and batuks, which saw participants from various parts of India and from all countries of the world, join together in different costumes, performing a wide variety of song and dance from all over the world. Hosted by a Fairy Godmother and a talking mirror, the show bought much laughter to the whole audience.
Father Jose and the nuns and children from St Francis' Mission in Deoghar were also amongst the honoured guests and performers, and they presented a wonderful collection of joyous Christmas carols. The kanyas and batuks of Rikhia performed a modern dance, dedicated to our beloved Sri Swamiji, to the song `Waka Waka', which topped off the evenings assortment of treats. The kanyas and batuks impressed the audience with lots of new moves that had a real kick and made everyone want to get up and dance.
No Christmas, or any event at Rikhiapeeth for that matter, is complete without the generous distribution of prasad, and all the children and residents alike eagerly waited for their presents from Shakti Claus and her jolly reindeer which contained the abundant blessings and grace of Poojya Gurudev Swami Satyananda.
Swami Satyasangananda and Swami Niranjanananda delighted everyone at the end of the evening by getting up on stage and dancing _ a perfect way to end a very special and most fun-filled day in the presence of two inspiring, blessed people.
Sincere participants from all over India and around the world joined this unique course that offers advanced practical and theoretical classes along with ashram life experience. This comprehensive course initiated participants from all around the world into the kriya yoga practices that have been compiled by Swami Satyananda, based on his vast experiential knowledge of kundalini and chakras.
Offering a systematic and pragmatic approach to the awakening of kundalini, this course reveals the dormant potential available to us all and enables sadhakas to awaken and utilize this immense power in all aspects of material and spiritual life to experience unparalleled benefits and transformation.
The kundalini kriya practices are taught in conjunction with the theoretical and practical aspects of the ancient tantric practice of tattwa shuddhi, or inner purification. Tattwa shuddhi is an advanced technique that transforms and purifies the five basic elements or tattwas within and prepares the practitioner for higher esoteric practices and the highest state of yoga or self-realization.
This comprehensive course featured satsang with Swami Satyasangananda during which she addressed many questions and gave practical ways that the ancient yogic practices can be easily incorporated into daily life to bring physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
From 1st November 2010 until 31st December 2010 the sannyasins at Rikhiapeeth chanted the Sri Vishnu Sahasrara Namavali daily as a sankalpa to create a channel for the transmission of Poojya Gurudev Swami Satyananda's blessings. Each morning, residents and guests joined the sannyasins in what became a daily sankalpa of serenity, stillness, offering and remembrance.
Rikhiapeeth marked one year since the Maha Samadhi of Swami Satyananda on 26th December, according to the lunar calendar. In remembrance of Sri Swamiji, the day began with the Vishnu Sahasranam havan. After Poornahuti the kanyas began the eight hour akhanda kirtan, dedicated to Swami Satyananda, by singing the Maha mantra, Hare Rama Hare Krishna. Throughout the day, sannyasins, residents and devotees took turns in leading the kirtan and ensuring that there was never a break in the mantra and that the high energy was maintained and shared.
A highlight of the day was the constant presence of Peethadhishwari Swami Satyasangananda, who joined the akhanda kirtan, made offerings by the havan kund, played the damaru and conch and danced with everyone. Even Poorna enjoyed the afternoon in the sunshine at the Samadhi Sthal and was lost in remembrance of his beloved master.
All heartfelt prayer and worship was for Swami Satyananda, the continuous light of our lives who is a beacon of hope, light, surrender, inspiration, love and wisdom.