Somayag Series Successfully Completed!
Bruce Johnson, the Somayag Committee and Ed.
For the past ten years, a small group of dedicated people from various countries has held the vision of Shree Vasant Paranjpe of completing a series of seven Maha Somayags on the banks of the Narmada River in Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh, India, for the healing of our
planet. February 12th, 2017 marked the successful completion of the Aptoryam, the seventh and final Somayag in this series. Satsang applauds this achievement, and heartily thanks all who have helped to make this important work possible.
The Somayag releases powerful healing energies into the Earth’s atmosphere and beyond, the effects of which last for up to 100 years. All these Yajnyas are totally non-violent
Vedas are the source of all knowledge. Vedas gift us the science of Yajnya (bio-energy) which has the power to heal much of the horrific effects of man’s inhumanity towards his fellow man and towards Nature, which is now reeling from poisons, pollution, violence and violation of every kind.
What is Somayag?
The ancient science of bio-energy given through Vedas describes certain energy processes which have the power to effect a change in the functioning of PRANA (life-force which pulsates through us and connects us with the cosmos.) These energy processes come under the category of YAJNYA. Somayag is one such Yajnya.
AGNIHOTRA, tuned to the biorhythm of sunrise/sunset, is the basic YAJNYA which any person can perform with only a little effort. Agnihotra is to be performed DAILY at sunrise and sunset to keep the Nature’s cycles in harmony.
There are some special Yajnyas (HOMAS) like SOMAYAG, AGNISHTOMA, JYOTISHTOMA which are to be performed based on astronomic conditions. They are performed for purification of the environment, reducing the burden on the mind, making mind full of LOVE. In such Yajnyas chanting of Mantras and offerings to fire goes on for several days.
At the junction of two seasons there is likelihood of epidemic. Hence, several medicinal HOMAS are prescribed with different sets of Mantras. Then there are special HOMAS for bringing rains, for producing a male child or a female child. This forms part of the science of Biogenetics.
Somayag is one such special Yajnya. This normally lasts for six days. An intelligent young person would take about twelve years to learn this technique with proper Mantra chanting. The person has to follow strict disciplines. This Yajnya is called Somayag because juice from the herb Somavalli is used as the main oblation. Soma is known as the king of medicinal herbs. This special Yajnya provides an extra powerful boost of healing energy for the whole world. Countless positive benefits to a person, family and society are mentioned as an outcome of participating in, conducting and supporting Somayag.
The primary seven Somayags are:
–AGNISHTOMA for the atmosphere
–ATYAGNISHTOMA for water
–JYOTIRUKTHA for food
–SHODASHI for health
–ATIRATRA for longevity of life
–APTORYAM for well-being and prosperity of the whole society
–VAJAPEYA for peace of mind
There are many other Somayags, lasting from 6 days up to 12 years
The beneficial effect of each of these HOMAS lasts for several
decades. The atmosphere becomes medicinal, nutritious and disease-free.
Somayags yield a qualitative and quantitative improvement in
the psyche. By using this supertechnology we can eradicate pollution
factors on a large scale.
The fumes emitted from the burning oblations in Yajnya serve as nucleus of clouds and rains. Smoke from the burning medicinal plants helps in the purification of the atmosphere and many disease-bearing germs are neutralized. Thus, a healthy ecosystem is created through Yajnya process.
The Process of Somayag
The basic procedures of the Maheshwar Somayags are as follows:
1. Bringing the fire from Tretagni Agnihotra.
2. Ishti fire. Ishti means whatever is inside us we offer to God. It is a basic requirement for the other steps of the Somayag.
3. Pravargya for three days. This is preparation for the Soma offering.
4. Soma offering.
5. Wrapping up–final offerings and prayers.
6. Bath in the Narmada River.
The Yajaman for this Aptoryam Somayag was Dikshit Achal Apte. His father, Haribau Apte, was Yajaman for the first four Somayags held in this series of seven at the Homa Therapy Goshala. His grandfather, Sakha Hari Apte was Yajaman for the unparalleled Somayag which took place in Shivapuri, Akkalkot in 1969 under the auspices of Parama Sadguru Shree Gajanan Maharaj for ushering in of the New Age.
The Yajaman represents the element of fire during a Somayag. Only someone who
performs Tretagni Agnihotra regularly can become a Yajaman. He carries this
Tretagni fire to the place where Somayag is to be performed and from this Tretagni
fire the Somayag is started.
The Patni (wife of the Yajaman) is vital to the Somayag. The Yajaman must have a
wife, and she is called upon at various points in the Somayag to be present for
certain activities and often to touch and bless utensils which are used. The Patni is
the only person who is given her own quarters in the Somayag shala.
The Rutvijas (priests)
For every Somayag, four groups of rutvijas are necessary, each well-trained in one of the four Vedas. The training takes at least ten years, and must begin at a young age for the person to be able to master all the mantras. They work as a precision-trained team, chanting for many hours daily and carrying out varied procedures, using an array of special Yajnya implements. They also perform a number of other tasks necessary to the Somayag, such as moving equipment, carrying wood, cleaning implements and helping to build some places needed during the Somayag.
The sixteen consist of four chief priests and their assistants.
–The hotri is the reciter of invocations and litanies drawn from the Rigveda. As each phase of the ritual required an invocation, the hotri had a leading or presiding role.
–The adhvaryu is in charge of the physical details of Somayag The adhvaryu has to measure the ground, to build the altar, to prepare the sacrificial vessels, to fetch wood and water, to light the fire, among other duties. Each action is accompanied by mantras, drawn from the Yajurveda.
–The udgatri is a chanter of hymns set to melodies (saman) drawn from the Samaveda. This is a specialized role in the Somayag.
–The brahma is the reciter of hymns from the Atharvaveda and is largely silent, only observing the procedures. His role is to use mantras to ‘heal’ if and when mistakes are made.
Creating Pure Fire Energy
Vedas state that Agni-Tatva (source of fire) is present in Ashwatth (peepal) tree (Ficus religiosa) and Agni is created from two pieces of Ashwatth tree by friction. For Somayag we need pure fire energy, which is created through a special process. The Yajaman brings one block of this special wood which carries the energy of the Tretagni Agnihotra which he performs at home. A wooden stick is pressed into a notch in the block of wood and rotated backwards and forwards by means of a rope wrapped around the stick until friction creates fire. This is quite hard work. One person stands, pressing this stick on the block of wood while the second person turns it rapidly, in a pulley-type fashion, creating the friction. This important procedure of creating “fresh” fire is performed at several points during the Somayag in order to add new energy.
Pravargya in Somayag
The Pravargya ritual is an integral component of the Somayag and takes place several times during the six days. While performing the Pravargya ritual, the vessel used is called Mahavir, a three-partitioned earthen pot which is used to boil the cow’s ghee. In Vedas, the procedure for creating and curing the Mahavir earthen pot is prescribed in great detail. Once constructed, the Mahavir is extremely strong–strong enough to sustain the extremely high temperature and pressure of the boiling cow’s ghee. In the process of Pravargya, fresh cow’s ghee is poured into the Mahavir pot and boiled on fire. Simultaneously, Rigveda, Samveda and Yajurveda mantras are chanted in deep solemn voice till the cow’s ghee reaches its boiling point. Boiling time is observed through timely chanting of Mantras. All aspects of the Mantras are very strictly observed, including the lengthened syllable ‘Om’ at the end of every mantra. When the cow’s ghee has reached its boiling point, fresh milk is taken from a cow and a goat at the Yajnya place, and oblation of cow’s milk/goat milk is given to the boiling cow’s ghee. Instantly, with very great intensity, the flame shoots up into the atmosphere about 10 metres.
TO BE CONTINUED
From Abhay Paranjpe on Somayag
(Abhay Paranjpe is the president of Fivefold Path Mission, which hosted this series of Somayags. He is the son of Shree Vasant Paranjpe who spent decades teaching Agnihotra, Fivefold Path and Homa Therapy all over the world.-Ed.)
Shree Vasant said that possibly we shall perform all the seven Somayags in Maheshwar Goshala, and this lone wish was enough for all the devotees to gather together and have them performed. That itself was amazing. There is no known place in history that all the Somayags were performed at one place. So the Somayags in Maheshwar Goshala indeed were an historic event.
Shree’s whole life, He practiced and shared the message of Agnihotra, one of the smallest Yajnyas which can be practiced by anyone and anywhere. And through Somayag, it was as if HE wanted to show that one of the biggest Yajnyas can be accomplished by any group with one united effort. That was also a way to show that Vedic Yajnyas, large and small, can and need to be practiced to heal the atmosphere.
(Thanks to the following for their Somayag photo contributions:
Girish Patil: Cover photo and #s 6-12.
Patricia Powers: #13.
Parvati Rosen-Bizberg: #s 2, 5.
Reiner Szcypior: #s 3, 4.)