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Love and Light

Region 3 - Rudram Ekadashi Programme

6th of September 2014

Aum Sri Sai Ram

With Swami’s Divine grace and abundant blessings, the Sri Sathya Sai Centre of Central London had the privilege to host the Rudram Ekadashi Programme on 5th of October 2014. Around 100 participants from various centres from Region 3 of the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation of UK attended this event.

Swami says, “Chanting Rudra Namakam and Chamakam with sincere devotion to Lord Shiva will be highly helpful to restore the Nature’s rhythm of natural seasons, reducing environmental pollution and damage, fighting evil forces, preserving the natural equilibrium; and providing welfare of humanity and world peace”(Divine Discourse, August 2006).

Ekadashi is the 11th Lunar day of a Lunar month. Rudra Ekadashini refers to the chanting of the first eleven Anuvakas of Namakam, followed by the Anuvakam of Chamakam, starting with the first Anuvakam in the first round and then the second Anuvakam in the second round and continuing. Thus, in the second round, the 11 Anuvakas of Namakam is followed by the second Anuvaka of Chamakam and in the third round the 11 Anuvakas of Namakam is followed by the third Anuvaka of the Chamakam and so on. This process is repeated 11 times until the 11 Anuvaka of Namakam followed by full chanting of Chamakam is completed.

Preparations for this auspicious day started in the early hours of the morning and by 7.30 am guests started arriving. The priest who presided over the function arrived soon afterwards and got busy with the setting up of the puja/abhishekam. Various condiments required for the Abishekam were arranged aesthetically on the makeshift altar (banana leaves covered in thick layer of rice and same adorned by several kalash. Coconuts were prepared – ready to be offered). Fresh fragrant flowers garlanded Swami’s pictures and His Holy Chair. The puja started once all the preparations were completed.

For this event, as per the priest’s instructions, husband and wife couples from centres of region 3 participated in the puja. Once the auspicious time began, the priests called upon each couple that had pre-registered to take part in the Abhishekam to come forward and take their seats at the altar while he chanted incantations and instructed them to follow simple Hindu rituals. This was followed by the chanting of the Rudra Namakam while the priests performed the Abhishekam on the Lingam. A group of very talented people, young and old, chanted the Rudra Namankam and Chamakam with great vigor and passion. Together they created heavenly mood and vibrations in the hall. This uplifted the spirits of all the participants.

A number of condiments were used for performing the actual Abhishekam. Each of these has a special significance. For example, Panchamrith for wealth, ghee for moksha, cow’s milk for longevity of life, honey for enhancement of musical talents, sugarcane juice for ever bliss etc. For each round of Abhishekam that was completed, Aarthi was offered and Prasad was distributed to the couples. This holy ritual went on for 30 couples. Towards the end, the volunteers and youth also got an opportunity to participate in the puja.

The Purnahuti – meaning “the complete offering away of oneself”, marked the end of the Rudram Ekadashi Homam/Abhishekam. Final offerings in the form of milk were given to the Lord Shiva. Swami describes Purnahuti as “total sacrifice” – it is the moment when one must give up ego and worldly passions and surrender to the Lord himself (Source: Sathya Sai with Students). Bhajans in praise of Lord Shiva and Sathya Sai Baba were sung. The programme concluded at 2.00 pm. Holy water was sprinkled on all the devotees as blessings. As per custom, Prasad (holy food), which included the Panchamirth used in the Abhiskeham, savouries and sweets, were offered to Swami and to all the devotees present.

The meticulous and holy rituals of performing the Abhishekam whilst simultaneously chanting the Rudra Namakam brought the hall to life, echoed divine vibrations throughout and lifted everyone’s spirits. The positive vibrations in the Centre on that day surely stayed on with everyone who attended. It was truly an experience of a lifetime.

We are eternally grateful to Swami for making this event possible and for gracing us with His Divine and loving presence. Central London Sai Centre Youth team.