The First Ati Rudra Maha Yajna at Prasanthi Nilayam – Part 1 (A Photo Feature)

Wednesday, August 9, 2006 to Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Ati Rudra Maha Yajna at Prasanthi Nilayam
A new dimension was added to the fostering of the Vedas and Vedic lore, when Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba blessed the performance of Ati Rudra Maha Yagna at Prasanthi Nilayam from 9th to 20th August, 2006. Bhagavan blessed the youth of Karnataka Sai Organisation to organize this Maha Yagna under the coordination of Sri Vinay Kumar, Youth organiser of the Yagna and Sri D. Lakshmi Narayana, former Income Tax Commissioner. 
Sri Sathya Sai blessing Vinay Kumar, Chief Organiser of the Ati Rudra Maha Yagna
The Yagna was held in Sai Kulwant Hall. A beautiful Yagna Mandap was set up in the center of the Hall, where 11 Yagna Kundas were made, according to the spiritual injunctions. An altar was also set out in the Mandap, where 138 Kalashas containing water of all the sacred rivers of India, were installed for Kalash Puja (worship of pots containing sacred water). In all, 121 priests participated in the performance of the Yagna in various capacities. Bhagavan Baba graced the occasion by His Divine Presence on all the days of the Yagna, both in the morning and evening and blessed the gathering with His benediction and Divine Discourses. 

Bhagavan was welcomed with Poorna Kumbham into Sai Kulwant Hall by the Chief Priest of the Yagna, at 2.30 pm, on 9th August, 2006, in the afternoon. He was led in a grand procession by Nadaswaram musicians and Vedic chanting priests. Bhagavan inaugurated the programme by lighting the sacred lamp at 2.45 pm amidst Vedic chanting. Sri Vinay Kumar in his introductory speech referred to the performers of this Yagna as a historic event. He expressed his gratitude to Bhagavan for providing this sacred and rare opportunity to devotees to witness and participate in it. Following Sri Vinay Kumar, Sri D. Lakshmi Narayana gave a short speech. He remarked that Bhagavan had showered His grace on the youth by permitting them to organize this Yagna in His Divine Presence. Thereafter, Sri Nanjunda Dixit, the Chief Priest of the Yagna, in his speech acknowledged that the performance of this Yagna in Prasanthi Nilayam was a unique event, because it was being performed in the Divine Presence of Bhagavan Baba, who Himself is the incarnation of Lord Shiva. Then, the learned priest gave out all the details about the Yagna
Sri Sathya Sai blessing Sri Nanjunda Dikshit, Chief Priest of the Yajna

In the end, Bhagavan blessed the devotees with His Divine Discourse. Bhagavan asked two overseas Institute students to chant Vedic Mantras in front of the gathering and said that it was His wish that Veda chanting should be done by the people belonging to all the countries of the world, irrespective of their religion or race. 
Two overseas students of the Sathya Sai Educational Institutions chanting Rudram
After the Discourse of Bhagavan, Abhisheka and Puja of the Linga, that was specially installed in Sai Kulwant Hall was done and Aarati was offered to it. The programme concluded at 6.45 pm with Prasadam distribution. 
Linga Pooja performed by Sri Nanjunda Dikshit on the eve of the commencement of the Yajna
On 10th August, 2006, in the morning, Bhagavan arrived in Sai Kulwant Hall at 6.10 am. He performed the sacred ceremonies of Prana Pratishtha (energising with the Divine life principle), Namakarana (naming ceremony) and Kumbha Abhishekam (bathing) of the Linga at 6.20 am, surcharging it with Divine Power. It was named ‘Sayeeshwara Linga’. Bhagavan also materialised a beautiful jewel, marked with three lines of Vibhuti to resemble the marks on the forehead of Shiva, with a ruby in its center, symbolizing His third eye. The Yagna commenced at 6.30 am. 
Sri Sathya Sai performing the Prana Pratishtha for the Saishwara Lingam
For 11 days from 10th to 20th August, the Yagna was performed with all the prescribed formulas, both in the morning and evening. On 20th morning, the concluding day of Yagna, Bhagavan came to Sai Kulwant Hall amidst Vedic chants and Nadaswaram music at 7.30 am. After all the rituals were completed, Bhagavan blessed the articles to be offered in the Yagna Kundam for Poornahuti. He then blessed the sacred Kalasha water for the Abhishekam of the Linga. 
Sri Sathya Sai offering the Poornahuti for the Yajnam

After Poornahuti and Abhishekam, Aarati was offered to the Linga to mark the conclusion of the Ati Rudra Maha Yagna. Bhagavan went into the rows of the devotees and sprinkled the Yagna Teertha on them. The 11th day concluded with offering of Mangala Aarati to Bhagavan at 9.40 am. Prasadam was distributed to all in the end. 
Bhagavan blessed the devotees with 10 Discourses during the 11 days of Yagna. Many learned speakers blessed by Bhagavan, addressed the devotees prior to Bhagavan’s Discourses on all the days. They were as follows:
10th August, 2006: Sri N. Sreekantha Rao, a learned Telugu Pundit and Sanskrit Scholar from Bangalore
11th August, 2006: Sri Subbaraya Sharma, a learned Vedic Scholar
12th August, 2006: Dr. R. L. Kasyap, Director, Sri Aurovindo Kapali Sastri Institute of Vedic Culture, Bangalore and Sri S. V. Giri, former Vice-Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai University
13th August, 2006: Dr. Gururaj Karjagi, a renowned educationist from Karnataka and Sri V. Srinivasan, All India President, Sri Sathya Sai Organisation
14th August, 2006: Professor N. S. Ramaswamy former Director of Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and at present Chairman, Indian Heritage Academy, Bangalore
15th August, 2006: Dr. Easwaran, Head of the Department of Chemistry, St. Stephen’s College, Delhi
16th August, 2006: Swamy Nirbhayanda Saraswati, President, Ramakrishna Vivekananda Mission, Bangalore. The second speaker was Sri Kishan Bhagawath, an MBBS Student and an alumnus of Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Pre-University College, Alike. The third speaker was Sri Sanjay Mahalingam, a Research Scholar at Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
17th August, 2006: Dr. N. Gopalakrishnan, Director, Indian Institute of Scientific and Cultural Heritage, Thiruvananthapuram and Sri Ajit Popat from London
18th August, 2006: Sri S. V. Giri, former Vice-Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai University and Sri Gunaranjan Pemmaraju from Bangalore. On this same day, Bhagavan blessed two renowned actresses, Smt. Sowcar Janaki and Smt. Anjali Devi to address the gathering.
19th August, 2006: Sri B. N. Narasimhamurthy, Warden, Brindavan Campus of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. The last speaker was Sri Vinay Kumar, Coordinator, Youth wing of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation, Karnataka.
A Bird's Eye-view of the Ati Rudra Maha Yajna in the Sai Kulwant Hall



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