This story was updated at 1030 pm (NZT) on Saturday, November 14, 2020
A first for New Zealand, three-day Yagna with Chandi Padalgal
Lord Murugan, the Main Deity at Thiru Subramaniyar Aalayam, Mangere, Auckland
Thiru Subramaniyar Aalayam, the abode of Lord Muruga in the South Auckland suburb of Mangere will perform the Chandi Yagam, early next month, achieving the first such for New Zealand.
The three-day event will be held from 8 am on Friday, December 4, 2020 and conclude on Sunday, December 6, 2020, during which a host of Poojas, Abhishekams, Aartis and other pious events will be held to the chanting of Mantras, some of which will be heard in New Zealand for the first time.
Commencing at 7 am on December 4, 2020, the daily programme comprises morning and evening Prayers, Homam and other rites.
Papakura (South Auckland) Sri Ganesh Temple Chief Priest Parameswaran (Chandru) will conduct the religious proceedings along with a number of their priests.
The Programme in detail, can be accessed on the Temple’s website: www.aalayam.co.nz
The Executive Committee of the New Zealand Hindu Temple Society, which owns and manages the Temple, has been making expansive plans to conduct the Chandi Yagam and all that it incorporates seeking the blessings of the Almighty to protect all the beings of the Universe.
The Main Deity on the inaugural day of the Temple- May 3, 2015
Thiru Subramaniyar Aalayam, inaugurated on May 3, 2015, will witness the biggest event in its five-year history at the present site (the Temple was earlier located at 41 Stanhope in Ellerslie, Auckland). The event has also been a heart-felt desire of this reporter.
Ferocious Divine Mother
Society President RajaGuru Rajamanickam said that ‘Chandi’ is the ferocious form of the Divine Mother who has the power of thunder and lightning.
“Goddess Chandi rules the creation, sustenance, and destruction of the entire Universe. She has three eyes and possesses powerful weapons given to her by celestial beings. She is the Supreme striking force against evil and will not tolerate evildoers. We invite you to invoke a divine invincible protective shield against negative energies in your life by connecting with Goddess Chandi,” he said.
Amman or Durga at the Temple
Citing in Markandeya Puranam
Chandi Yagam has been prescribed in ‘Markandeya Purana,’ stated to be one of the oldest texts of Hinduism, written by Sage Markandeya. It contains the oldest treatise on Divine Mother, worshipped as Durga, Parvathi, Mother Earth and other forms.
Markandeya Puranam devotes a chapter to Chandi (also known as Devi Mahatmya). She declares her pre-eminence thus:
I resemble in the form of Brahman
From me emanates the world
Which has the Spirit of Prakriti (Woman) and Purusha (Man)
I am empty and not empty
I am delight and non-delight
I am knowledge and ignorance
I am Brahman and not Brahman
Mr Rajamanickam said that Maa Durga in the form of Devi Chandi is the Prime Deity of this Yagam and Her blessings are bound to clear all obstacles and hurdles in the path to success and glory.
“Performance of a Maha Chandi Yagam sets a person free from all kind of obstacles, negative energies, evil deeds against oneself and the person is blessed with a long-lasting health, wealth and prosperity,” he said.
The purpose of Chandi Path
Society Secretary Charanya Mohanakrishnan said that Chandi Path, also called Durga Saptasati, comprises 13 Chapters of the Markandeya Purana.
“If all the 700 sacred verses of the Chandi Path are recited with concentration and utmost devotion, goodness emerges, overcomes negativities and evil and blesses its participants and through them the communities, the country and the world,” she said.
Ms Mohanakrishnan said that Goddess Durga is worshipped as a Kanya (young girl of ten years or less) and hence girls from the same age group are worshipped during this Pooja and Yagam.
“All the other Incarnations of Devi Durga are also worshipped,” she said.
Benefits of Chandi Yagam
Society Treasurer and Former President Ilango Krishnamoorthy said that Chandi Yagam accrues immense benefits to individuals, families, communities and countries.
“By performing the Chandi Yagam, the sufferings that are caused by hostile elements are eradicated. Sufferings resulting from poison, sorcery, thieves and so on, may be removed by performing this Yagam. It is also performed to attain better health, prosperity, longevity, food, wealth, progeny, fame, success and strength. It helps to eradicate fear, danger and cure ailments, in addition to avoiding defeat in the hands of adversaries,” he said.
Chandi Yagam Rites
Chandi Yagam is an extraordinary Yagam and its benefits are optimised when performed by qualified priests with substantial experience in conducting it.
Ganapathy Pooja: Worshipping Lord Ganesha clears all the obstacles and paves the way for one’s success. So, before beginning any venture, Lord Ganesha is first invoked with Pooja and prayers.
Kanya Pooja: Kanya Pooja is a ritual of worshipping girls aged between six and 10), extolling Kanya Kumari in the form of Goddess Chandi or Durga. This ritual is specially performed to recognise the Divine Feminine Power vested in the girlchild.
Anugna Sankalpam: Seeking the consent of the Goddess to perform the Yagam which is a sacred ritual, which specifies for whom, where and when the Yagam is performed.
Punyahavachanam: Purifying the mind, body and place, this rite is performed before the Chandi Yagam is performed. Holy water is sprinkled with mango leaves around the place with the chanting of Mantras.
Kalasa Sthapanam: Kalasa means a pot. It is made of metal and is filled with water and placed with Mango leaves immersed in water. Pooja is performed to this Kalasa, invoking the blessings of Goddess Chandi.
Saptasati Parayanam: Chanting of Durga Saptasati Slokas while worshipping the various forms of the Goddess. Bhairava Bhali (offering): After the chanting of Slokas, offering is made to Lord Bhairava (an incarnation of Lord Shiva) to signify the ritual.
Punyahavachanam: Pooja and Mantras are chanted to purify the place and people who are performing the Yagam.
Gho Pooja: ‘Gho’ is a Sanskrit word, meaning Cow. In Hinduism, the cow is considered to be ‘Khamadhenu,’ a Holy animal embodied with Divine qualities. Pooja and prayers are offered to the cow before the Yagam, seeking her blessings for prosperity.
Suhashini Pooja: Offering Pooja to an elderly married woman (whose husband is alive) and performing Pada Pooja to that person (traditional foot-washing ceremony) to invoke Her blessings.
Dhampathi Pooja: Dhampathi means couple. Prayers are offered to an elderly couple with Padha Pooja.
Brahmachari Pooja: A Brahmachari is an unmarried man. He is held in high esteem in Vedas and Puranas for several reasons. Padha Pooja and prayers are offered to a Brahmachari seeking his blessings.
Chandi Yagam: The fire ritual is performed with the chanting of Mantras and Slokas.
Sumangala Dravyaahuti: Auspicious materials such as sarees, turmeric, sandalwood powder and kumkum (vermillion) are offered to the Goddess invoked in fire.
Purnaahuti: Chandi Yagam becomes complete only when this ritual is performed. Betel leaves, betel nuts, coconut, kumkum, turmeric, flowers, fruits, a coin and a small bag of herbs are put together in a silk cloth and tied. The bag is dropped into the fire seeking the blessings of the Almighty.
Maha Deeparadhanai: This is a ritual to honour Goddess Chandi. Lights are lit using camphor to glorify the Goddess. It is also called Aarthi and is performed at the end of Chandika Yagam.
Some Questions and Answers
Who should perform Chandi Yagam?
All of us come across problems or inconveniences in life, despite our best efforts. When we are not able to tackle such tough situations, we look for some Divine Intervention. At this point, Chandi Yagam is a much-favoured Pooja or Yagam. Just as significance of Rudra-Abhishekam holds for Lord Shiva, Chandi Yagam holds for Devi Durga. This is an exceptional Yagam, performed to assuage and look for Blessings of Goddess Durga. One may be blessed with great wellbeing and cheerful family life by performing this Yagam. While it can be performed at home, it is ideally held in a place of worship, like Thiru Subramaniyar Aalayam Temple, located at 69 Tidal Road, Mangere, South Auckland.
What is the difference between Homam and Yagam?
If Agni (fire) sacrifice is done in one kala (one sitting), it is called Homam. If it takes more than one kalam, it is called Yagam, Yag or Yagna. The amount of Ahuthi (offerings) to Agni and the size of Agni also determines if the rites performed corresponds to Homam or Yagam.
Can Chandi Yagam be performed at home?
Although Chandi Yagam can be performed at home, it is not advisable since it entails strict adherence to rules. Yagam requires the following: Recitation of 700 slokas from 13 chapters of Markandeya Puranam and offering of Ahuthi (offerings per Priest sitting in the Yagna), 13 Purnahuthis and the size of fire to digest all these offerings. For example, if 11 Priests sit in the Yagam, there will be 7700 Ahuthi and 13 Puranhuthis to be offered. The availability of Priests and the cost involved make it impractical for performance of Yagam at home.
Further, a Temple sets the right environment for Yagam and allows larger number of people to attend, participate and sponsor various aspects of the Programme. Blessings are therefore available to the entire community and country if a Yagam is performed at a Temple.
Can I be part of this Chandi Yagam?
You are welcome to be a part of the Chandi Yagam being held at Thiru Subramaniyar Aalayam in Mangere, Auckland from December 4 to December 6, 2020. However, it is essential to register, receive a book and recite the Durga Saptasati.
How much will it cost?
While attendance at the Yagam and chanting the slokas are free, the Temple Trustees and Priests will be grateful for Sponsors. Those sponsoring the Yagam with their monetary contributions will help in meeting costs of preparing the venue for the most significant event of our times. There are costs for renting marquees, chairs, tables, flowers, garlands, prasadam, Dakshina for pandits and several other expenses.
The Executive Committee suggests the following amounts: $101, $251, $501, $1001, $3001, $5001 and $10,001. Donations can be either by cash or its equivalent in kind.
Please contact Ilango Krishnamoorthy on 021-739879.
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