The day of Navami in the Dussehra calendar began with the Chandika homa. Chandi is the personification of the aspect of anger of Goddess Durga. She killed the demons, Chanda and Munda. This Homa was performed along with the chanting of Durga Saptashathi and the Bheeja Mantra. The Bheeja Mantra has three syllables: Hymm, Hreem, Kleem. Hymm represents creation. Hreem represents sustenance/ protection. Kleem represents the wish fulfilling aspect of the Goddess. The mother creates, sustains and fulfills all our wishes. Thus, Chandika is a form of trinity. In the Padma Purana, it is said that she blesses those whose prayers are for the betterment of the whole world. She protects everybody from epidemics, sufferings and disasters.
The ninth day marks the day when Mahishasura was killed by Goddess Durga and she is worshipped as the Mahishasura Mardhini. Devi is given the ritualistic bath and sixteen varieties of offerings are given to her. The Bengali men prepared the Bhog/feast for the Goddess.
The Rudra Homa took place simultaneously. A Tamil song ‘Eshwaramma eendru yedutha…’ was sung in the divine presence extolling the love of Bhagawan towards all His creation irrespective of caste, creed and race. Nadaswara music in different ragas was offered to appease the Rudra form of Bhagawan. The morning session ended with the Mangala Arati.
The dusk of Navami celebrations began with Shivopasana Mantra chanting by Seventh grade students from Sri Sathya Sai Sathyaniketanam, Hassan campus.
Speech by Cricketer, Padmabhushan Sri Sunil Gavaskar
In the year 1983, India for the first time won the World Cup under the able contributor Padmabhushan Sri Sunil Gavaskar, fondly known as the Little Master. Gavaskar spoke about his lessons from the sport of cricket and about the importance of women. His first lesson for this sport came from his mother who taught him not to flinch and focus on the delivery. He spoke about the great qualities of women without whom we would be nowhere. He said that, in the recent world cup, women played good cricket. Men might have the power but women have the elegance in sport. He insisted on an award for women sports. Sports is an integral part of everyone’s lives. It teaches us to win with humility and lose with grace; reminds us that even champions might bite the dust at some time or the other, gives us the strength to pick ourselves up after a loss, thus making us better individuals, better professionals. Gavaskar said with pride that our current defence minister, Nirmala Sitharaman is a woman. Who can be a better choice for this position than a woman, whose very nature is to defend the people who belong to her. Finally, he said, to find heaven on earth, we must invest on 3Hs: Health, Happiness and Humour.
Speech by Chief priest, Professor Sri Nanjunda Dikshit
After completing his education, he joined the Chirst College in Bangalore in 1969 as a Professor of History. Nevertheless, he had a burning desire to learn about Indian culture and spirituality. So, he pursued the Agama studies in the Maharaja Sanskrit College, Mysore, Govt of Karnataka. He has won several honours such as Agama Ratna by Hampi Vidyaranya Maha Samsthana, Agama Chatura by Kanchi Kama Koti Peetam, Vedabhimani by Malleswaram Veda Poshani Sabha. As on date, he has conducted 200 Kumbhabhishekams and 10 Athi Rudra Maha Yagnas in the Divine presence in several parts of the world like India, USA, Europe, Tokyo, Malaysia, Russia. He spoke about the Agama Sastra, the inner significance of Linga and the Rudra homa. The divine essence of Shiva is seen everywhere. Linga is a symbolic form of Shiva. It is the symbol of the Pancha Bhootas, five elements of the universe. There are Devas, Manavas and Asuras, in the company of Shiva. They are not there due to their strength, might or intelligence, but only because of their devotion. A pure heart is all that is required to reach Shiva. He blesses every one without any discrimination. The 63 Nayanmars belong to different caste and creed. But they could reach Shiva due to their deep and pure devotion. Shiva is auspicious, pure, bright and beautiful. There are 25 avataras of Lord Shiva like Harihara, Sankaranarayana, Ardanareeshwara, Nataraja, Lingodbhava, Dakshinamurthy, etc
Once there was a conversation between Brahma and Vishnu regarding their supremacy. At that time, there appeared a bright spot from Pathala Loka to Aakasha (sky). Vishnu took the form of boar and went down to the earth to trace the feet of the spot. Brahma moved towards sky with the help of swan and searched for the head. They could not trace both the bottom and top. Brahma lied and lost his status of worship. This bright spot became the Lingodbhava/ Linga. Thus, Shiva is worshipped in the form of Linga. The significance of Linga is that it is formless. The message is that we have to move from Akara (something) to Nirakara (nothing). Shaivism is popular in several countries of the world. Kashmiri Shaivism is the oldest in India and is in its pure distinct form. Shiva reminds us to move to the higher level of nothingness. Kailashanatha temple at Ellora is a beautiful Shiva temple. This temple was built from its top and not from its foundation. The entire temple from top to bottom including the main shrine is made out of a single stone. A standing example of the architectural genius of Indians! Ferguson, French architect said, ‘On standing at the temple complex of Kailashanatha, we feel we are in a different world, not in the world of time and space, but in the world of intense spiritual devotion where in our heads, hands and hearts are in unison . This temple is possible only due to spiritual devotion’.
Offering prayers to Shiva has different methods. Athi Rudra Maha Yajna is the highest form of worship to Shiva. During 2006, Dikshit conducted Athi Rudra Maha Yajna at Parthi. He said “Swami, I am not a Pandit.” Swami said “I don’t want your scholarship. I just want your devotion”. Swami guided him at every step during the Yajna. Following this, the yagna was performed at 10 other places: Chennai, Kuala Lampur, Thailand, and recently at Thiruvannamalai also. During this Yajna, Sri Rudram – 11 Aanukas Namakam and Sri Chamakam- 11 Anuvakas Chamakam is chanted by the Vedic Pandits. Namakam is meant to surrender ourselves / our hearts to Shiva. Chamakam is meant to ask him things for our existence. There are totally 360 necessities for human existence. Shiva is ready to give anything if only we have pure devotion for Him. Even Rakshasas could please Him with their devotion. 11 Maha Rudra Yajnas make an Athi Rudra Yajna. Swami also told him the inner significance of Homa: ‘Homa is a practice of the Vedic period. They did not have idols during those times. They offered their prayers to nature/Prakriti. So Yajnas were performed. It is not mere offering of things. It is about sacrificing our anger, egoism, selfishness so that we become pure. Only then these Yajnas turn spiritual from a mere ritual.
Just as the way reflection will not stick to the mirror, lotus leaf will not be wetted by water, sins would not touch a person who is full of devotion. Bharata means people who revel in God. In India, every day is dedicated to some God or the other. 16 Samskaras from birth of a child till its death revolve around God. Four Purusharthas: Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha are also designed in such a way to reach God. Four Ashramas – Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha, Sanyasin are designed to reach God. This culture tells the purpose of life and also teaches us how to reach it. The ultimate purpose is to realise our divinity. All these festivities are just paths leading to God. The first three days of Dussehra is dedicated to Goddess Durga. She represents Tamasic Guna. In the creation of God, everything is good, provided we use it in right limits. Durga teaches us to use the Tamasic qualities in limits and use it for our own good. She kills the demons symbolising the excessive Tamasic qualities. Destruction of Tamas/ inertia leads to Kriya Shakthi. Durga represents the power of action in every being. Next 3 days is dedicated to Goddess Mahalakshmi –Icchha Shakthi/will power. Being good in body and mind is not enough. We need the will power to do the right things. We can be near God, if we become dear to Him. This can happen by developing the will power to always do things that Bhagawan likes and leave the rest behind. The last 3 days is for the worship of Goddess Saraswathi. She represents Gnana Shakti – power of wisdom. Man born in the darkness of ignorance cannot reach his destiny with just scientific knowledge. He needs Spiritual knowledge – knowledge of God. God is everywhere and is in everyone. In order to realise this, one must have a pure and bright intellect. Hands is Kriya Shakthi, Head is Iccha Shakthi and Heart is Gnana Shakthi. All the three has to come together. Shakthi, Yukthi, Mukti needs Bhakti. With Bhakti, everything else follows. There are six qualities needed: Good conduct, good intellect, truthfulness, devotion, discipline, dutifulness. Practice the noble ideals.
A bouquet of Krithis and Keerthanas were offered at the divine lotus feet by 29 students from Muddennahllai campus from sixth grade to graduation. Arjun Sainath & Srinivas Vishwanatha – Alumni of Sri Sathya Sai Mirpuri College of Music, Prashanthi Nilayam were the lead singers.