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Spiritual Wing - Rudra Ekaadhashini Homam and Gurupoornima Celebrations

July 1st 2012, The Balaji Temple, Birmingham

"Innumerable superhuman benefits are conferred by God on mankind. Even electricity is an expression of the Divine. From magnetism to electricity, heat and light, all these various forms of energy are considered as different forms of matter. This is not so. God is the source of all energy. If this is not realised, we will be failing to appreciate the true source of the air we breathe, the light we enjoy and the heat that sustains life.

For the power we consume or the water we use, charges have to be paid for their supply. That being the case, do not we owe gratitude to the Divine who has provided the world with air, water and light free? As the beneficiaries of the benefits provided by the five basic elements (ether, air, fire, water and earth), we should show our gratitude to them as manifestations of the Divine. The five elements are the source of five qualities experienced by the five senses: Sound, Touch, Vision, Taste, and Smell. Man makes use of these five elements but shows no gratitude to them. Gratitude should be an essential quality in man." SSS Speaks, Volume 14, chapter 52

Bhagawan Baba, our dear Lord, reminds us that the terms Homam or Yagnam do not just mean the offering of oblations in fire as a mark of our gratitude to God. But the true Yagna or Homa is offering oneself to God, to please God and to become worthy of His love. He further explains that any action that we perform, if we offer the fruit thereof to the Lord, it becomes a Yagna. In other words, a true Yagna involves unity of mind, action and words.

Sri Rudra Ekaadhashini Homam to be performed by the members of the Sai family under the direction of the priests on the 1st July 2012 in the Balaji Temple at Birmingham, is being done as a part of the Gurupoornima Celebrations. This Homam draws its inspiration from the Athi Rudra Maha Yagna that was performed in the Divine Presence of our Lord in Prasanthi Nilayam in August 2006. Swami declared thus at its inauguration:

"This Yagna is being conducted for the welfare of the world. There is a very important aspect of this Yagna. The Athi Rudra Maha Yagna protects and fosters the divine nature in the human beings, while rejecting and diminishing the demonic qualities. Thus, it works for the welfare of humanity."

Thus in concordance with the above Divine Injunction of our Lord Sai, the purpose of this Homam is to pray together selflessly for the welfare of all the beings in the world through the process of self purification, self sacrifice, and self transformation. Many Sai brothers and sisters across the UK, both young and old, have dedicated long hours in learning the sacred Sri Rudram chant over many months with sincere devotion and faith, motivated by a sole but higher desire to offer their gratitude and love to Bhagawan.

The sacred chant Sri Rudram is known for its potency in aiding this process of self purification when chanted with full faith and sincerity. Acclaimed as a great purifier, Sri Rudram when chanted repeatedly with devotion is known to expiate the worst of the sins, and grant freedom from the ills of the world (Mukthi).

Sri Rudram, also known as Rudraprasna, is a hymn devoted to Lord Shiva. It is part of the Krishna Yajur Veda and one of the greatest of the Vedic hymns for all round benefits, and which removes all maladies and obstacles. The Hymn is in two parts. The first part is known as Namakam because of the repeated use of the word "Namo" in it. In this sacred hymn the devotee repeatedly salutes the Lord who pervades the animate and the inanimate, tangible and intangible, visible and invisible aspects of creation. The Namakam concludes with the most potent Mrutyunjaya stotram-

Tryambakam yajamahe sugandhim pushhtivardhanam
Urvarukamiva bandhananmrityormukshiya maamritath

He who has divine fragrance, He who makes men powerful and full of plenty, Him even we worship, the three-eyed Rudra. Like a ripe berry from its stalk, release me from death, and let me not turn away from immortality and enlightenment.

The second part of the Rudram, is known as Chamakam because of the repeated use of the words "Cha me". The devotee prays to the Lord for blessings and benefits both in this world and beyond. The Shanti patha (invocation for peace) in the concluding part of Chamakam begins with, "Idaa devahuurmanu…" meaning:

“Let my pleasant thoughts bring forth pleasant actions and the resultant enjoyable fruits. Let my joyous offerings bear fine and worthy speech and my words please the divine. May men lend their ears to gladden me and may the Gods enlighten me and make my words powerful. May my forefathers feel joyful over this and bless me to perpetuate it.”

The hymns are organised into eleven portions called Anuvakams in both the Namakam and Chamakam. Normally, one chant of the Namakam followed by one Anuvaka of the Chamakam constitutes one Rudram. Recital of 11 Namakas along with one Anuvaka of Chamaka at the end of each Namaka, thus completing one Chamaka constitutes Ekadasa Rudram (11 Rudrams). Recital of 11 Ekadasa Rudrams is Laghu Rudram or Rudra Ekaadhashini (121 Rudrams). In the forthcoming Rudra Ekaadhashini Homam, a minimum of 11 chanters will each chant 11 Rudrams!

There is a long-standing traditional belief that chanting the Rudram confers benefits of various kinds. For example, chanting it a few times grants freedom from disease, worldly difficulties, etc. As the number of the repetition increases, one is supposed to get progressively more and more benefits but at some stage, the benefits switch from being worldly to spiritual, the culmination being becoming one with God.

Bhagawan Baba often speaks of Gurupoornima as the day that is dedicated for thanksgiving to the Guru, the one who removes the faults in vision and destroys the darkness of ignorance; the one who reveals the Aathma to the individual and makes him free. In fact He says that God, the God within, is the Guru of Gurus. His Grace can make the blind see, the lame walk and the dumb speak. By a mere touch, He can demolish the sins of the past and erect the basis for peace and joy. We who owe our existence to the Divinity are duty bound to think of Him constantly and worship Him gratefully for the welfare of all mankind.

Let us all join together as fellow pilgrims on the spiritual journey, and offer our gratitude to the Divine in all His Manifested Forms during this Rudra Ekaadhashini Homam. The Balaji Temple authorities and priests too are keenly waiting to welcome us!

Dr Veeru Mudigonda,
National Spiritual Coordinator