Ayuta Chandi Mahayaga at Sringeri

Several Yagas and Homas were conducted in a grand manner at Sringeri beginning from 4th April 2011 – 16th April 2011. Ayuta Chandi Mahayaga, Ati Rudra Mahayaga, Rik-Samhita Yaga, Yajus-Samhita Yaga and Sama-Samhita Yagas were performed as part of the Shashtyabdapurti Vardhanti Mahotsava celebrating the (completion of) 60 years of the Jagadguru Shankaracharya, Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji. Along with Yagas, Mrityunjaya Homa, Lakshamodaka Ganapati Homa, Ugra-ratha homa, Ayushya Homa and Navagraha Homas were also performed during this period. All these Dharmic activities were performed in accordance with the scriptural injunctions.

The Shastras have prescribed parayana of this Durga Saptashati one, ten, hundred or thousand times known as Chandi, Nava-Chandi, Shata Chandi and Sahasra Chandi respectively for the fulfilment of various wishes. Ayuta means ten thousand in Sanskrit. Ten thousand parayanas of Durga Saptashati will be performed in Ayuta Chandi Mahayaga.

Ayuta Chandi Mahayaga was conducted by the Math for the welfare of the world as resolved by Jagadguru Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji. This great Yajna was conducted perhaps for the first time in the known History of Sringeri or even South India. In this Yagna,, over one thousand Ritwijas performed a total of ten thousand parayanas of Durga Saptashati, one crore japas of Chandi-Navakshari Mantra throughout the five days. Kalpokta Avarana Puja, was performed by the Pradhana Acharya to the newly made murti and yantra of Sri Chandika Parameshwari as a part of Purashcharana. Sahasranamarchana, Mahamangalarati and Ashtavadhana Seva and other ceremonies were performed in the evening throughout the five days.

Coconut by Jagadguru Shankaracharya to Chief officiating

Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji graced the Yagashala for the Sankalpa ceremony at around 9:00 A.M on 5th April 2011, and offered Diksha-Vastram, Rudraksha-mala and other atrefacts required for the performance of the Yajna to the officiating preists in the Varunam ceremony.

As a part of the ceremony, the chief priest of the Yajna, Sri-Vidya-Upasana Dhurandhara Veda Brahmasri Narahari Subrahmanya Bhatt, Asthana Archaka of the Math at the temple of Sri Sharadamba performed Kalpokta Avarana Pujas to the newly made murti and yantra of Devi Chandika throught the five days.

Yagas were performed at a specially built Chandi Yagashala at Narasimhavanam. Oblations of Payasa were offered by the thousand officiating priests in one hundred Homa-Kundas blazing with the sacrificial fire on the final sixth day. The Yaga was concluded with the Purnahuti ceremony conducted by the Pradhana-Acharya or the chief officiating priest in the august presence of the Jagadguru Shankaracharya, on completion of the Homa.

Chief priest of the Yagas led the 1,200 odd priests in performing the Yajna and also conducted the Purnahuti ceremony in the august presence of the Jagadguru on the 11th of April 2011.

Ati-Rudra Mahayaga commenced on 5th of April 2011 at around 8:30 AM. 121 ritwijas who have come from all the four states of South India and from Maharashtra to participate in the event, chanted Rudra mantras of the Yajur Veda eleven times every day in the morning followed by Mangalarati at noon for ten days. Rudra-Kramapatha and archana were conducted every evening followed by Mahamangalarati, throughout the ten days. The eleven day long event concluded on the 16th of April 2011 with the Purnahuti ceremony at noon which was also be conducted in the august presence of the Jagadguru.

Samhita Yajna of the three Vedas namely Rigveda, Yajurveda and Samaveda were conducted in three seperately constructed Yagashalas opposite Sri Sacchidananda Vilas in Narasimhavanam.

Officiating priests from South India, the Yajus-Samhita Yaga was performed for three days while the Sama and Rik Samhita Yagas were conducted for five days. In the Rik-samhita Yaga, Mantras comprising the 64 adhyayas of the Samhita of the Shakala school of Rigveda were chanted and oblations of clarified butter (ghee) were poured in the sacrificial fire to the chanting while Mantras of the Taittiriya Samhita belonging to the Krishna Yajur Veda were chanted and oblations of clarified butter were poured to the chanting in the Yajus Samhita Yaga. Mantras of the Kauthuma school of Samaveda were chanted while pouring oblations of ghee in the Scrificial fire.

Purnahuti of the Rik-Samhita yaga and Sama-Samhita yaga were conducted on the 15th of April 2011 while that of the Yajus-Samhita Yaga was conducted on the 12th of April 2011 at noon in the august presence of the Jagadguru.
Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji, worshipped Lord Malahanikareshwara at the hill-top shrine located at the centre of Sringeri on the 8th of April 2011.

It is customary for the Jagadguru Shankaracharya to propitiate Lord Shiva at the hoary shrine of Lord Sri Malahanikareshwara on the eve of Vardhanti. In continuation of this practice, the Jagadguru arrived at the hill top to the accompaniment of Vadya Ghosha at around 11:00 A.M. after having darshanam of Goddess Sri Sharadamba and performing Sankalpa for the Ugra-ratha shanti and other homas conducted in conjunction with the Vardhanti festivities.

The Jagadguru first propitiated Lord Ganesha at the shrine of Sri Stambha Ganapati to the accompaniment of Sri Ganapati Atharvashirsha, Ganapati Sukta and other Vedic Mantras chanted by the Math pandits and students of Sadvidya Sanjeevini Samskrita Mahapathashala. Lord Ganapati was worshipped with Panchamrita ahisheka, archana, Modaka Naivedya and deeparadhana. Thence, the Jagadguru entered the age old shrine of Lord Malahanikareshwara and propiatiated Lord Shiva by offerings of Milk, Panchamrita and Udaka Abhisheka, to the accompaniment of Rudradhyaya and other Vedic mantras by Pandits – of Math and those who had gathered to officiate in various ceremonies from the four corners of the country and students of the Sadvidya Sanjeevini Samskrita Maha-Pathashala. The Jagadguru performed Mahamangalarati to Lord Shiva upon completion of the Puja and thereafter worshipped Goddess Bhavani at the shrine adjacent to the Lord.

The event concluded at around 3:00 P.M. with the distribution of Prasadam to all devotees who had gathered at the temple by the Math authorities.

Shastric basis for Ayuta Chandi Mahayaga
The Shastras proclaim that such happiness can be begotten by worship of the Divine Godhead.

By propitiating Devi, the mother of all creation all misery can be overcome and happiness can be derived. Puja, Japa, Parayana, Homa are aspects of worshipping the Divine mother. The greatness of the Divine mother has been extolled in the Devi Bhagavata, Brahmanda Purana, Skanda Mahapurana, Mahabharata and other scriptures. However the Durga-Saptashati or Devi-Mahatmya occuring in the Markandeya Purana is of paramount importance. The greatness of this text, Sri Durga Saptashati as occuring in the Markandeya Purana has been extolled in Damara Tantra and other tantrik texts. By the parayana of this sacred text, difficulties are over come, diseases are cured and wishes fulfilled.
The Durga Saptashati is comprised of three Charitras, namely Prathama, Madhyama and Uttama in thirteen chapters.

The Prathama Charitra describes the glories of the Divine mother as revealed by a Rishi to a Vaishya and Raja Suratha who prayed to the Rishi to alleviate his problems while roaming about the forest after being abandoned by his kith and kin.

In the second Charitra, the Avatara of Goddess Mahalakshmi, the slaying of Mahishasura along with his entire army of warriors, Eulogy of the Divine mother by the Gods, and granting of boons to Indra and other Gods by the Divine Mother have been described vividly.

The third Charitra describes

  • the slaying of Chanda-Munda and other demons by the Divine mother through her Fiery eye as an answer to the prayer by the Gods who were aggrieved by the pains inflicted by Shumba and other wicked demons
  •  the Avatara of Brahmi, Maheshwari and other divine goddesses from the body of the Divine Mother
  •  the slaying of Raktabija, Nishumbha and Shumba by the Divine Mother
  •  Eulogy of the Divine Mother by the Gods and her granting wishes to them
  •  worship of the Divine Mother by Suratha and Samadhi, and vision of the pleased Divine mother granted to them
  • granting of Kingdom to King Suratha and Divine knowledge to the Vaishya