Maha Sahasra Kalashabhishekam and Samoohika Upanayanam…

Peace is Prasanthi’s very name and every action and every event mooted from this holy land is tagged to attaining Universal and Cosmic Oneness in terms of Love and Peace. These happenings are of utmost relevance at a time when universal brotherhood is slowly blasting out of existence in this God created universe.

Final week of September witnessed two major events, Maha Sahasra Kalashabhishekam on the 26th September followed by Samoohika Upanayana Brahmopadesha Mahotsavam on the next day. Both the functions were organized under the auspices of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations – Karnataka. The Kalashabhishekam was done with water collected from 1108 rivers and rivulets across India.

On the 26th morning the programme commenced at the scheduled hour, 0600 hrs. with a short stint of Vedic chanting by the Youth of Karnataka, SSSSO. Sankalpam, the introductory ritual involving identification of name, gothra, place, object of the ritual etc., followed.

Even as fast paced Vedic chanting reverberated in the venue, the proceedings continued with various ritualistic offering done at a make-shift altar, erected right in front of the Sanctum Sanctorum. The make-shift podium had 1108 Kalashas placed over it, apart from special Kalashas containing sanctified water from major sacred rivers, namely, Gangothri, Yamunothri etc. The offerings included Abhishekam done with Milk, Ghee, Curd, Turmeric Water, Kumkum Water, Rose Water, Coconut Water, etc.

The programme continued with Pranapratishta, infusing life-force into the ‘Deity’, followed by Shodashopachara Puja and Yajnopaveetam before the commencement of the main ritual, the Maha Sahasra Kalashabhishekam.

The Maha Sahasra Kalashabhikam began at 0800 hrs. and lasted two hours. Participants made a beeline, ladies and gents separate, to the makeshift altar making the Abhishekam offering. After the Kalashabhishekam, the Idol of Bhagawan was cleaned and decked up nicely with flower garlands.

Bhajans by the Youth of Bangalore continued before the final phase of the morning’s ritual began just after 1030 hrs. Ashtothara Shata Namavali, 108 Holy Names of Bhagawan and Ashtavadhana Puja followed before Maha Mangala Arathi offering marking the end of the grand ritual.

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Even as Prasadam distribution began, bhajans continued until 1120 am. The session ended with Mangala Arathi.

The venue Sai Kulwant Hall was decked up with a riot of colours all over. A huge cut-out of Mother Gayathri was placed at the centre, hanging from the ceiling, facing the Sanctum Sanctorum. Colourful buntings, especially the ones made of fresh green palm leaves along with flowers of various hues enhanced the beauty of the auspicious morning.

In the evening, Prof Ranganath, an erudite scholar in Sanskrit deliberated on the Importance and Inner Significance of Upanishads and Gayathri Mantra.

Dwelling on the inner significance of Upanayanam and Vedas, chanting bits and pieces demonstrating esoteric significance of all the four Vedas, the Professor presented a rhetoric excellence reminding the young spiritual aspirants of the responsibilities of a Brahmachari.

First and foremost, a Brahmachari has to take an oath that he will be established in firm faith in God; secondly, he should exercise firm control over his mind and finally, a Brahmachari should know and understand that he is verily Brahman…Explaining this facet, the speaker narrated an interesting story that Bhagawan would often repeat in His Divine discourses. Concluding his scholarly exposition Prof Ranganath elucidated, in brief,  on the significance of Gayathri leaving the audience with the privilege to listen to Bhagawan’s own voice, discoursing on Gayathri Mantra.  An audio of Bhagawan’s Divine discourse on Gayathri Mantra delivered in February 2000 in Brindavan played on the loud speaker system for the next ten minutes. As if Greater Heaven is mightily pleased with the day’s proceedings, as Divine discourse was on, heavens opened up bringing in cool showers.

Bhajans by the Bangalore Youth followed before Mangala Arathi offering at 1815 hrs.

Mass Upnayanam and Brahmopadesham

On the 27th September morning Prasanthi witnessed another grand ritual, Samoohika Upanayana Brahmopadesha Mahotsavam, initiating spiritual aspirants into Gayathri Mantra along with investiture of the sacred thread or the “Yagnopavit”. The function was attended by over six hundred aspirants, Vatus, accompanied by parents.

Upanayana is also called the ‘sacred thread ceremony’, as the child is bestowed with the Yajnopavita. The Yajnopavita, or ‘sacred thread’, is made up of three strands of thread, which signifies the three responsibilities that the child takes upon himself: responsibility towards the parents, responsibility towards the knowledge or the Master, and responsibility towards the society.

Upanayana is a sacred ceremony which is traditionally seen as getting a new birth in the spiritual world towards the higher knowledge of the Self. It is an initiation process to learning the sacred chants and mantras according to the Vedic tradition. During the ceremony, the young boy is taught the secret of life through Brahmopadesha (revealing the nature of Brahman, the Ultimate Reality) or the Gayathri Mantra. After this ‘new birth’, one is traditionally called a dvija, or ‘twice-born’. One was then eligible to start his Vedic studies under the guidance of an Acharya (teacher), which would ready him to become a responsible member of society, fit to serve society, and equipped with the knowledge to lead a happy, healthy and successful spiritual oriented life.

The day’s proceedings began at 0800 hrs. with Veda chanting by the Youth from Bangalore, lasted for fifteen minutes. The Samoohika Upanayana Brahmopadesha programme commenced at 0815 hrs. and continued for a long three and a-half-hour ending at 11:45 with Mangala Arathi.

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The ‘Vatus’ along with their parents were seated in different clusters, spreading over in the spacious Sai Kulwant Hall. Ritualistic proceedings included various steps involved in the Upanayanam ceremony, namely,  Ganapathi Pooja, Punayaha Vachanam, Deva Naandi, Navagraha Prarthana, Mathru Sambhojana, Kankana Dharana,  Agni Pratistha, Navagraha Purasara Upanayana Homam, Yagnopaveetha Pooja Dhyanam, Yagnopaveetha Dharana, Brahmopadesham, Bhaashinga Dharana, Bhiksha, Dandakol Pooja and  Maha Mangala Aarathi.

Even as the group of priests, went on guiding the ‘Vatus’ with instructions guiding them into various steps, in English, Telugu and Kannada, ‘Vatus’ along with parents completed the task, lasted for three and a-half-hour. After Poornahuthi offering at the Yajna Kunda, Yajnopaveetam was done to the mass participants. Brahmopadesha, initiation into Gayathri Mantra, was administered subsequently, by Bhagawan Himself, with Gayathri Mantra in His recorded voice resounding all over.

A couple of bhajans and Mangala Arathi followed before all the Vatus along with their parents went round of the Sanctum Sanctorum. All the Vatus went ahead in procession circumambulating the Peepul tree opposite the Ganesh Mandir, offering the Dandakol at the feet of the sacred tree.

A sumptuous feast was arranged in the South Indian canteen, open for all devotees.

Marking the end of the grant festivity, in the evening, there was a Carnatic Music offering by RK Prasanna Kumar and Party. The accomplished artiste regaled the audience for an hour with some of the finest Carnatic compositions, singing paeans to the Divine; his numbers included Brochevarevarura, a special composition by Mysore Maharaja on Mother Gayathri etc.

II Samasta Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu II