: What is the True Meaning of Yajnya? : SECRETS of the 13th MOON : Adhik Maas : All Life is innerYajnya :

TRY THE HANDY TIME ZONE CONVERTER

:week four:

: the 5 Karmic Debts of Gratitude & GRACE :

October 8, 2020

ध्यान मूलं गुरुर मूितर् । पूजा मूलं गुरु पदम् मंत्र मूलं गुरुर वाक्यं। मोक्ष मूलं गुरुर कृप

DHYAN-MULAM GUROR MURTIH – PUJA MULAM GUROH PADAM
MANTRA MULAM GUROR VAKYAM – MOKSHA MULAM GUROH KRIPA

v 3-4 Guru Stotram (Skanda Purana)

The middle verse of this Stotram is not as well known as the first verse. It attempts to begin to describe the devotion one feels when gifted the Mercy or Grace of ‘Guru’, whether that means formlessness or form, this verse allows for both.

I would like to write about the Grace of Maharani & Swamiji here. I would like to go into detail. but i am just overwhelmed by the events of the past week.

Tune in Sunday. i will attempt to speak about it.

This week’s e-Satsang is from the real heart of experience.

: AUM TAT SAT :

SwAr Ashram is experiencing unprecedented hardships due to the nationwide lockdown of India and the particular difficulties of rural isolation. We are a charity based initiative with families depending on us and we have overhead of our own to contend with. We are reaching out to you, offering both free and paid courses including rare teachings online so that we can continue to communicate with the developed world & earn for our charities by sharing the Art & Science of Yoga with you.

༺🔥༻ Blessings fom Amma Niradhara नर्मदे हर NARMADE HAR! ༺🔥༻

༺🔥༻

: Click for the introductory offer for the SwAr Ashram community : join the inner circle :

:week three:

October 1, 2020

Yajnya is something that comes from within, it is self-induced and self-controlled. it springs forth from a desire to help others, out of gratitude for simply being able to be of service. if it is compensated, manipulated, forced or made mandatory in any way, it is no longer Yajnya.

–amma niradhara

In this discussion, we will determine intent. This is the factor which enables Yajnya to repay your Karmic Debt 10 or even 100 fold. if it is not done purely self-lessly, if it is compensated in any way by cash or in kind, if it is manipulated or forced upon you out of guilt or fear, if it is done for prideful egoic gain, sorry to say, you get what you bargain for. a tit for tat business arrangement at best. on the other hand, giving from the heart, with no expectation, will bring surprising returns.

There is nothing ‘wrong’ with a good old work-exchange ethic. nor is there any shame in getting paid for one’s work. this isn’t the point. the concept is beyond those mundane things we all must do to pay our way through life.

Yajnya is a paradigm shift.

It is the realization that no matter how ‘poor’ we are, we each have a gift to share with the world. Finding those gifts and activating them sets off an inner attitude of gratitude on a subtle level. Your vibration increases to the level of Cosmic Crusader. Don’t confuse that with being a martyr.

The Universal Laws of Sanatana Dharm does not expect you to be a martyr. The Universe wants you to thrive and be fully alive. innerYajnya doesn’t start with serving others. it actually starts with self-improvement. Studying the Dharm, deepening our Sadhana, teaching, sharing and learning from the Sacred Texts. We are encouraged to sincerely work on building our character, developing grace & compassion. Not to get more ‘holy’ but to get more human. Of course the best version of you is going to have more to give to others in need.

Helping others less fortunate is surprisingly one of the most humbling and gratifying experiences in the human condition.

There is a simple beginning to self-study and sadhana. That is to wear only simple white, unpatterned, and if possible unstitched cloth. This simple gesture is not simply an act of purity or purification as it is often misunderstood. it is a demonstration to the teacher (also wearing plain cloth) that we are a blank page, ready to receive the teachings and have their imprint be all that is visible. Removing fashion, we also remove a level of egoic pride. if the simple garb is worn for extended periods of time, we also save countless hours and some money too – we are free from choosing, purchasing and maintaining a fashion wardrobe. soon we really appreciate all that extra time and money saved, and we spend it on helping others – or more time to do Sadhana and study.

There is a Path for the Westerner of anyone who was born to a developed society. the fastest track to Enlightenment is to Serve others. no matter how low on the totem pole you are in that society, if you travel or become aware of the conditions in any undeveloped country, the bigger picture becomes clear.

A paradox of Nature is that so many in the developed world have under-developed spiritual lives. Those who have not developed the material world around them, are rich in spiritual life as an integral part of their whole life. Such is the attraction – a thirst – we have for India, for Yoga, for Vedic wisdom.

Both external and innerYajnya, deepens our energetic and psychic balance by activating the neurological and subtle energy roots of the chakras. Each chakra manages a realm of emotion, somatic response, mentation, perception, and personal experience. When we mediate on the hard-wired physical energies and soft-ware imprints of each chakra, we can awaken Shakti or Kundalini energy. These are ancient names for Divine Feminine Energy Manifestations. To embody a liberated state of being, we explore the subconscious and unconcious routines that have been downloaded and imprinted in our chakra energy fields. By samyama meditation, we over-write the ones that create negative emotions, thoughts, behaviors, and self-limitation. coming soon : Agnihotra into Samyama 21 day challenge.

Karma burning can be thought of as a collection of techniques, rituals, meditations, and other processes to attain liberation from the unconscious patterning that controls our lives autonomically, i.e., from your subconscious. Like a crucible, this process can create a certain subtle heat and light which penetrates the psyche thus purifying our mind, emotions, and the somatic record of our past.

This is a very real psychic battle between our core patterns that were imprinted at an early age and our innate desire for freedom. Perseverance and commitment are required to attain a state of relative liberation. We can come up with many reasons for not doing this work: no time, other responsibilities, a feeling of complacency, and an infinite number of excuses. There is only one real reason for investing oneself in this process: to attain true freedom from our past and future trappings, to be Present in the clear light of Self-knowledge. This is Moksha (moksa, mukti) or Nirvana – the attainment of emotional, mental, and spiritual Liberation.

The best techniques of Karma-burning involve a process of remembering and releasing past events – these can be historical, imaginary, and perceptual – all are ‘reality’ in the energy body. Once this history is brought to our conscious mind -soma, and processed through Witness Consciousness, the Karmic patterns (samskara-s, vasana-s) are transmuted, freeing enormous psychic energy and transforming our limitations into a wise and vast Liberation.

the planet is in a collective yajnya – a global sacrifice of sorts, giving up temporal things for the greater good, perhaps for spiritual betterment.

If you are not already a part of the innerCircle – now is the best time to join.

i will share the insights about what is behind the practice of Agnihotra – the ritual of offering small material oblations to a fire, what we are really burning is Karma. this little ritual is a powerful discipline, a Tapasya. this word though often applied to meditation, literally means a discipline that burns off karma. it is integral to a Five Fold Path of :

  • giving gratitude (DAANA),
  • conscious self-discipline (TAPAS),
  • selfless service to others (KARMA YOG),
  • self-inquiry (SVADHYAYA), including learning to forgive ourselves and others
  • and with a practice of agnihotra (YAJNYA)

This is a recipe for this challenging time, an adaptation of the Pancha Maha Yajnya-s for the non-Hindu world to fit into the global culture.

What many people may not know about me is that i am a certified clinical trauma specialist. as well as a Yoga Therapist. and an Interfaith Minister /Spiritual Counselor. I went this route of study to mitigate my own personal experience: besides being initiated into the fire practice 18 years ago, for 47 years i have been on this trajectory:

i was my own first student. although i have had 3 master teachers directly involved in forming my Path. it began with the wildly random synchronistic guidance of a Yoga teacher who had no idea of my traumatic childhood. She was a Vietnam War Vet/ turned Yogini. She thought she was teaching Hatha Yoga & Meditation to high school kids. i was 13 years old dealing with multiple childhood traumas when she was my phys-ed teacher in Catholic School. How she healed her war-wounds resonated with me, i didnt fully understand how at the time, but as a ferral animal or an infant watches parents and older siblings for cues of how to do basic life-skills, this was my guide to model my own healing. i was a wild untamed child – raised by wolves. There was never any talk therapy or intellectualizing of the process. it was purely somatic. physiological changes occurred between the mirroring and the meta.

28 years later, i was very very well mentally, emotionally, spiritually for a very long time. Karma, Samskara, Vasana-s successfully well-burnt. Then, i got a physical ailment. Lyme Erlichiousis and those latent unburnt seeds sprouted as well as a few new ones that blew in with the tick bite. When a homa fire was serendipitously put in front of me as it was ‘my turn’ to be tapani for a group meditation, i became hooked on the healing i got from this Sacred Fire and had to learn everything about it, i was into all the disciplines of the practices, so much that the Master Shree Vasant invited me to India, to assist a major Yajnya project. and so, with this deeper teaching of the practice, the realization that all Life is Yajnya came to be the profoundly simple terminology of how i had overcome so much with just basic Yoga initiated from someone who had healed her own Trauma, and some self-study of Yoga Philosophy, before i even met my first living Master, taking it to the next level.

With a global turmoil and trauma unfolding for 7 billion people at once, i wish to offer my experience in navigating chaos. Healing is always your own work, but is safer and swifter with a guide, someone who has been there before and knows the territory & the tools. What this external Yajnya gave me in terms of defining the innerYajnya – a physical anchor in time and space – during uncertain and unsettling times, it grounded me, while navigating my external relationships / environment and exploring innerspace.

See you on Sunday.

: AUM TAT SAT :

SwAr Ashram is experiencing unprecedented hardships due to the nationwide lockdown of India and the particular difficulties of rural isolation. We are a charity based initiative with families depending on us and we have overhead of our own to contend with. We are reaching out to you, offering both free and paid courses including rare teachings online so that we can continue to communicate with the developed world & earn for our charities by sharing the Art & Science of Yoga with you.

༺🔥༻ Blessings fom Amma Niradhara नर्मदे हर NARMADE HAR! ༺🔥༻

༺🔥༻

: Click for the introductory offer for the SwAr Ashram community : join the inner circle :

:week two:

September 23. 2020

Adhik Maas, the additonal month, when does it get activated?

Why does this ancient concept of an extra month for ‘innerYajnya-s’ matter in our lives today?

How does it fit into our busy schedules?


niradhara amma

:view from Antariksham : outer space is inner Space:

Purushottam Mahina, Mal Mass, Malimmacha, Adhik Maas is unique to the Vedic calendar which is perhaps the oldest Lunar calendar continuously in use. It takes the Moon about 29.53 days to circle the Earth, making a month.  Adding 12 zodiacs of the Moon to make a year, we get 354.36 days only for the year.  The Solar year is approx 365 days.  The basis for Solar calendar is the rotation of the Earth around the Sun. It takes earth approximately 365 ¼ days to complete its rotation around the Sun. The English calendar that most of us use today divides the 365 days of earth’s period of rotation around the Sun in twelve months. The leap year, which occurs once every four years, accounts for ¼ day per year. 

To reconcile the lunar to the solar, the 11 ‘missing’ days per year accumulate until they equal an additional month – Adhik Maas. This happens approx.every 2.8 years.  The exact calculation is : the extra lunar month occurs after every 32 months, 16 days and 8 ghadi-s (a ghadi is a period of 24 minutes and 60 ghadi-s equal 24 hours). Adding the 13th month of the Lunar calender, the Vedic calendar has 13 months approx. every 3rd year.

Adhik simply means ‘additonal’ or ‘extra’ .   Maal means unclean.  Purushottam comes from ‘Purusha’ and ‘uttoma’ means a human who is imbued with all the best ideal qualities. These seeming contradictions are reconciled in this article.

the magik of Sanskriti

Purushottam Grantha is the text explaining the significance of this month.  Purushottam Purana is recited in temples and is believed to be the epitome of dharma.  Shrimad Devi Bhagavatam, Shrimad Bhagavat Puran, Vishnu Puran and Bhavishyottar Puran are also recited in temples and homes. Lord Narayan (Vishnu) rules this month as per legend that no other god would touch it, Vishnu felt pity and blessed it. (ancient tale at the end of this article)

While the Pancha Maha Yajnyas are to be observed all throughout one’s Life, we mostly forget about these observances in our busy lives. When we realize it is Adhik Mass, this is our chance to make up for lost time. These observances get 10x their Karmic benefits during this month.

According to Devi Puran (Bhagavata), The month is devoted to self-development, evaluation, assessment and reflection aka svadhyaya (retrospection and introspection). This is considered a fulfillment of Rishi Yajnya also called Veda Yajnya. A time for one’s own soul to catch up on and complete its pending spiritual work as well as care to physical health.  Practicing Yoga in all its 8forms is beneficial. In fact, strengthening physical, mental, emotional and spiritual life are all encouraged in Adhik Maas. If you are reading this page, you are already doing this.

Charity, good deeds to the environment, helping all beings including animals will get extra good results burning off Karma in this month as outlined in the first week of this series, Bhuta Yajnya, caring for the Earth and Her inhabitants.  Daana is intended to propitiate since committed intentionally or unknowingly in this or prior lives.  If you give your valuables or cash to someone needy do it without hesitation and do it secretly to get the best results.  Anna Daan, food distribution, and Vastra Daan, giving clothes, give higher regards in this month. One good deed begets another. We all know how it feels and what boomerangs back to us when we pay it forward. Sure we have to find time for the big things, but small random acts of kindness go a long way.

This month, any dasha or dosha in your astrological chart can be remedied with Yajnya this month at the rate of 10x proficiency as it is a form of Deva Yajnya.  Agnihotra takes a bit of concentrated time to gather its tools & offerings and to learn at first, then to develop the habit of its timing, but once established in practice is one of the simplest and shortest amounts of time you can spend on a sadhana to get the maximum spiritual benefits. It can be done in as little as 20 minutes a day, twice a day.

Remembering our ancestors and the ones who paved the way before us with a heartfelt sense of gratitude is especially important on this Adhik Mass following the Sharad Amavasya. This is the Pitru Yajnya. Visit your elders and former teachers – they and you will find a renewed inspiration.

Be on the look out for opportunities to fulfill the most enjoyable of all the Pancha Maha Yajnya-s, Athiti Yajnya. Make friends with a passerby, a foreign tourist, even someone who visits your workplace or social venue for the first time. Take a few moments to make them feel at home. You meet the most interesting people this way.

It is believed that keeping fast of one simple meal per day during this time (an innerYajnya) is equivalent to 100 homa-yajnyas. The purpose of this month is to gain back lost health and wealth, and getting divine help during difficult times.

There are also things that are prohibited this month.   Annaprashan (weaning baby to solid food), Naam Karan (baby naming ceremony), Grah Pravesh (first time entering new home), Shaadh (marriage)i, mundane samskars (rites of passage life ceremonies)  yagyopaveet (a Brahmin boys initiation), buying gold or a buying new home are all prohibited this month.

These prohibited activities are all markers of pride and indicate societal status.  These self-celebratory things take a backseat to spiritual preferences this month. However it is considered beneficial or at least not inauspicious to start a business enterprise this month, supporting one’s family is noble work.

: Adhik Maas or Blue Moon? Mathematics of the Moon :

The concept of the “Adhik maas” (the extra month) is similar to the “Blue Moon” in the West, which occurs almost with the same frequency of 2 ½ years. Blue moon is the second full moon when two full moons occur in the same month. Naturally the blue moon must occur towards the end of month (some where between 29th,30th,or 31st of the month). 

Now when this extra month is inserted between certain Lunar months is as follow –

According to sidereal zodiac system, the Sun enters the first zodiac sign Aries (“Mesh“) on about April 15 of every year. And about 15th of every month Sun enters the next sidereal zodiac sign. For example, as we know, every year on “MakarSankranti” the Sun enters the sidereal zodiac sign Capricorn on about January 14.

While Sun remains in a zodiac sign for approximately one month, the Moon travels through all twelve zodiac signs in about 27 ½ days. As a result, on average, once about every two and half years, the entry of the Moon in the same zodiac sign occurs twice while the Sun remains in the same sign. In other words, when the Sun is traveling through the same zodiac sign, the month during which two New Moons occur, happens once about every 2 ½ years.

The Lunar month corresponding to the period between these two New Moons is treated as the extra month or the “Adhik Maas”. Thus, if the Adhik occurs at the beginning of the Lunar month “Chaitra”, then it’s called as “Adhik Chaitra”, and the following Lunar month would be then the regular or “Neej” lunar month “Chaitra”. 

Normally the entry of Sun in a sidereal zodiac Sign occurs around the middle of the calendar (solar) month (near 15th of the month), thus, the Sun stays in a sidereal zodiac Sign from about 15th of one month to about 15th of the next month.

Since for Adhik Maas to occur, two New Moons must occur during when sun remains in the same zodiac Sign; consequently, those New Moons must occur near 15th of the successive months. As a result, around the time of Adhik Maas, the successive Full Moons are very likely to occur near the beginning and the end of the same month. Thus the occurrence of the Blue Moon usually precedes the Adhik Maas.

Also because the earth’s rotation around the Sun is slightly slower during the months of July-October, the Adhik Maas comes in this period only. Shraavan, Bhaadrapad, Aashwin are the common Adhik Maas months.

: The story of Adhik Maas :

Once upon a time, it so happened that all the 12 months of the year felt very burdened by the sins committed by mankind. So all the “12 months of the year” went to Lord Krishna and complained about it. The 12 months begged the Lord to redeem them of this horrible weight of sins. Lord Vishnu blessed them and said: “I shall create an extra month to carry the burden. This extra month (Adhik Maas) will be known as “Mal Maas” – Mal means “Unclean”. Because of being an unclean month, naturally no festival would take place during this month.”

Hearing this, “Mal Maas” felt very sad and took his plight to Lord Krishna. He cried – “Why only me to carry the burden of all the sins?” Lord Krishna was filled with compassion. He said – “I bless you, O Mal Maas. Henceforth you will be named after me. You will be known as the Month of Purushottam , (means ‘God or the Highest Being), so you will be known as “Purushottam Maas” from today.”

The Lord further stated: “Whosoever shall pray, keep fast, chant, sing, worship during the month of Purushottam, will be specially blessed, and get maximum recognition by me.” Adhik Maas got very happy to hear this and never got sad after that.

Remember, studying sacred texts is recommended in Adhik Maas. To get you started in an entertaining way, watching corney low-budget super-long productions of the Ramayana on TV is a great Indian passtime during holidays for families. Here your e-prasad is a sophisticated animated version made more for the grown-ups but still G-rated so you can watch it with the kids. If you ever wanted to read this epic but don’t have the time, enjoy this wonderful copy-right free gift from Nina Paley, animator and activist from New York, who has her own story entwined in snipets through this ancient tale, to make it more relatable to the westerner as well as to give the fresh perspective of a parallel modern woman’s take on Sita’s plight and cultural context in the story.

: AUM TAT SAT :

༺🔥༻ Blessings fom Amma Niradhara नर्मदे हर NARMADE HAR! ༺🔥༻

Sita Sings the blues starts with a brillant swift retelling of the creation of All That Is featuring Lakshmi AdiShakti and Vishnu Narayan – shown here – who is also the Lord of Adhik Maas

next week three : inner & outer forms of Yajnya. what is that about? READ BELOW the intro lesson:

:week one:

This 4 part series looks at Adhik Maas (the Additional Month) – the 13th Month that reconciles the Vedic Calendar every 2.5ish years similar to how a leap year day works and similar to a Blue Moon… but not exactly… Adhik Maas is steeped in Vedic Culture, the essence of which is Yajnya in the form of the Pancha Maha Yajnya-s. Today is Mahalaya Paksha Amavasya (new moon / climax to the previous fortnight & special day to honor the Ancestors). We have the brilliant intersection of the 13th Month, Adhik Maas beginning just now. an excellent time to reconnect to Pancha Maha Yajnya-s (5 Karmic Debts of Gratitude). Today being special to Ancestors, these Karmic observances are divinely rekindled to be remembered today & all month.

– amma niradhara

The essence of Vedic culture is Yajnya.  What we mean by Yajnya is most instructively given through the Pancha Maha Yajnya-s, the Five Karmic Debts of Gratitude that everyone is born with. Yes, Yajnya is Fire Sacrifice but that is just the outer garment.  The real meaning of Yajnya is an innerYajnya.  A chance to repay Karmic Debts to the Gods, Guru-s and Ancestors as well as living persons whom are meaningful to you. Yajnya means the auspicious offering of one’s egoic lower self – burning off Karma – a sacrifice, an offering – in order to be Lighter, rise above it. Satkarma. Vedasamata Karma. The call to serve & protect humanity & the natural elements fulfills the highest calling. Ask, believe and offer something in good faith, “go higher”. This is the secret of Yajnya.

‘offering Pindadaan to the Ancestor is only the outer layer of how we repay our Karmic Debts of Gratitude while paying it forward to the next Gen.

Veda-s recognize that incarnation comes with 5 categories of Karmic debts (Pancha Maha Yajna-s) which are repaid during each lifetime.  This is not to be viewed as analogous to ‘original sin’ – there is no judgemental inference. These Karmic debts are debts of Gratitude to those who came before us and in some cases literally were the cause of our embodiment. These Karmic Debts are responsibilities that we have because we are born into a body within a larger communal & global body. By implication, we are powerful beings. When a person is powerless, they are not able or expected to perform responsibilities. Those who have any power at all, have a responsibility to themselves and others, to maintain the level of life quality. Seeing how Veda-s view our connection and responsibility in te following ways, we can see why this is the strongest oldest culture in the world, the only one that overthrew the British colonization and did so with an absolute peaceful Satyagraha protest.

Today – with the onset of Adhik Mass falling on the Amavasya for the Pitru – is the perfect time to commit or re-commit to these 5 observances to show gratitude to our Ancestors. This is the definition of re-paying Karmic debt. (i will be updating with scriptural links over the next few hours)

: Rishi Yajnya : Veda Yajnya :

MahaRishis are the sages who gave us the wisdom of the Vedas which are the original writings of Sanatana Dharma, the root of Vedic culture. Reading the Vedas, Puranas, Upanishads, Sutras, and practicing their teachings repays this inherent debt. The human is at the root, a creature bound to the earth-world. Pitar and Guru/Acharya are higher humans, (parents and spiritual teachers).

We can achieve this with self-study (Svadhyaya) and following the Veda-s (Vedpath). These include Hatha Yoga, Kriyas, Meditation and all the Ashtang of Patanjali with all the Yogic disciplines as well as Raja, Bhakti, Karma Yoga-s. An interesting thing is that we can also repay this debt by Teaching the Veda-s and Teaching in culture and ethics in general to our children and to students in general. Our Children are in fact owed a debt as they hold the future of the continuation of the culture and human survival in general. By both learning & teaching, the debt of the sages is re-paid. This debt begins to be paid in the Brahmacharya Ashrama stage of life (student life) and is the root of Svadhyaya in the 5 Fold Path.

: Deva Yajnya : Brahmayajnya :

Above our ancient Sages are the Five Elemental Energies (Pancha Maha Bhuta-s). This is the debt we owe to the Gods, Brahma means God. They are constantly nurturing us in many subtle ways and we appreciate and repay them by chanting mantras, doing pujas and havan.  This Brahma Yajnya is honored by Satsang, performing daily prayer rituals at sunrise and sunset (Sadhyavandan) such as Agnihotra is one also known as Agnihotra Karma. There are many sunrise & sunset ritual involving Sun & Moon, Fire & Water, Earth, Wind & Space.

For Agnihotra, fire is burnt in the havankund or vedi and there is an external representation of what Yajnya really means – a sacrifice. It is also performed with invoking the Vyhruti, Gayatri, MahaMrytunjaya and Devas Surya & Agni. It appears simple, however, there are many disciplines to do it. This pays off the ‘Dev Debt’. Havan is called ‘Devayagya’. In Large Havan,that go on for hours or days, instead of the daily Cow-dung centered Homa, we offer branches the seven holy trees – Mango, Bad, Peepal, Dhaka, Janti, Jamun and Shami. Havan increases purity and positivity. Diseases and grief disappear. This debt usually begins to be paid in the householder’s life and is the root of Yajnya on the 5 Fold Path.

Pitru Yajnya

Now we also have responsibility to honor our ancestors, Pitru Yajnya, paying our debts to them. This can be repaid by remembering them always in daily prayers and performing the throughout the year and especially the rituals during this special fortnight which is kept for them, Mahalaya Pitru Paksha.

This Yajnya is of 2 types: Shraddha & Tarpan, The deeds performed with truth and reverence are Shraddha and the deed that satisfies mother, father and Acharya is Tarna.

Shraddha: That by which Truth is accepted as Faith is called Shraddha. That which is practiced with True Faith is also called Shraddha.

Tarpan: Means service done for one’s living parents and other elders. There are 3 types:

Brahma Tarpan: Learned men and women should be respected, honored and served with respect.

Rishi Tarpan: Serving and honoring Teachers and their lineages.

Pitri Tarpan: In this case, we must thoroughly satisfy the living Pitra-s, by offering them food, clothes, sweets, etc. The pitra-s include parents, grand parents, learned people who promote knowledge, keep peace, ecology and who further the cause of truth and righteousness, among the living. For the close family members to honor the deceased, there are specific times of year including now, the Pitru Paksha fortnight set aside to honor our Ancestors which is ending right now with this Amavasya – the day to honor All the Ancestors.

According to Vedana, this Shraddha-Tarpan is a feeling of respect for our ancestors, parents and Guru/Acharya. This Yajnya is performed by the children or the chela/devotee. This is also called ‘Pitru Debt’. In the Purana-s, performing it is called Shraddha Karma. As the parents usually exit this incarnation after their children are middle-aged, this debt becomes more accessible to be paid in the later years of Vanaprastha Ashrama of Life and is the root of Tapas on the 5 Fold Path.

: Bhuta Yajnya : Vaishvadeva Yajnya :

This is the debt we owe to Nature and everything in it — the soil, the air, the rivers, the water we drink, the plants including those that we consume for food, and every aspect of Nature. We owe a great debt to Nature since our very existence depends on Her. This we repay by looking after the land, the trees, the atmosphere, the rivers, birds and other animals. In the daily routine we incorporate to water a plant, give food and water to the birds and feed some animal before taking one’s own food.  There is honor in offering food to persons who are distressed, disabled and cannot earn their living, as well as to help stray dogs and cows who are distressed and need food.

It is also called Pancha Bhuta Yajnya because there are 5 Elements present in the human body microcosm and in every part of the macrocosm. Understanding compassion and duty towards all beings is integral to our very survival. That is, whatever is prepared for food, some portion of it should be given to the same fire from which the food has been cooked. Then give the leftovers to cows, dogs and crows. All Ashrama-s or stages of Life are active in this debt repayment at all times, even smallest children can learn to return the debt at meal-time, offering food to the fire and to the altar in the home and is the root of Karma on the 5 Fold Path.

: Manushya Yajnya : Athithi Yajnya:

Once our more basic survival debts are paid, comes the debt we owe to humanity. We are a part of the social milieu and we are bound by societal karma-s to give charity, to help as many people as we can at all times. The service to guests not only means to provide food and water to guests in our home. Also help anyone you meet who is less advantaged or in need, ie: the handicapped, women, students, ascetics, doctors and religious Asthetics such as Parikramavasi and Monks. Since ancient days, Sannyasin, virtuous scholarly elders and preachers of the Dharma used to move around preaching knowledge freely for the public. Before days of modern communication, they would visit households without any prior information of the householder. It is the duty of the householder to offer them water, food, clothes, resting place, and to serve them hand and foot, to make them feel comfortable after their journeying and serving large masses of people. The Sannyasi should be one who imparts proper knowledge publicly and offers Jyotish or other good advice to the householder while in the home, for only a short day or 3 before embarking again on the journey.

Today, any foreigner is considered a good catch to offer this practice of Athithi Devo Bhava (the guest is like God). If this happens to you in India, do not take advantage, make sure there is a proper energy exchange by helping their children learn English or whatever you are skilled at. It would not be proper for them to accept money from you and they might get insulted by it. The host family is doing a deed for Spiritual blessings. On the other hand, if they ask for money, be wary of their intents may not be of the Spiritual Path described here, there are also opportunists and scammers in this world.

This debt to serving guests begins to be more important as we reach the Sannyas Ashrama of Life as the householder who is working to support the home may not have time to devote to the hand and foot waiting on an unexpected guest. But this practice can be started at any time that one is of age to be of service, even children can entertain and serve guests. This is the root of Daana on the 5 Fold Path.

In the Purana-s of the above five Yajnas, there are many types and sub-types. Different communities call them by different names and methods of doing them are also different, but mainly these five Yajnyas are considered universal. I have already mentioned how they are the Root of the 5 Fold Path of Agnihotri-s.

Apart from this, the proper category of Agnihotra is that of a Homa or Havan. When we call these extrapolated rituals with fire Yajnya, it is perfunctory compared to the inner-Yajnya of these five Pancha Maha Yajnyas. Apart from doing the Agnihotra Yajnya as it is recommended and written here, it can be just a superficial action and perhaps even egoic. Remember ‘Sacrifice’ is the definition of Yajnya. Although these rituals do have powerful purposeful reasons for doing, the sacrificial part is mainly that of the devotee’s time and resources toward maintaining such a demanding practice with many purification requirements before and after doing the Agnihotra (or any Sandhyavandhanan) as written above in the Deva Yajnya category.

Actually, i began this article because today is the Amavasya of Pitru Paksha known as Mahalaya Paksha Amavasya. Today and through the fortnight previous, we to perform a special ritual for our deceased ancestors on the tithi (Vedic day) of their death as well as every year on the Punyatithi (exact annual lunar day and month on which they died). But we have poor memories and busy lives, so very few care to remember the day on which their parents died. This fortnight is a boon for such people. By doing this ritual on this special day of Mahalaya Paksha Amavasya, one can compensate for the fault of not doing it on the special day on which they died, so most people choose to do it on this day.

-Amma Niradhara

The global business calendar is the Gregorian or English calendar and is primarily a Solar calendar. The basis for a Solar calendar is the rotation of the Earth around the Sun. Though it includes months, its month;s days are arbitrarily counted and not the basis of the calendar. It takes earth approximately 365 ¼ days to complete its rotation around the Sun. The Gregorian calendar divides the 365 days of Earth’s rotation around the Sun into 12 months. The extra day of leap year, which occurs once every four years, accounts for ¼ day per year. 

However globally the business calendar is now accepted, many cultures, particularly Asian and Middle Eastern use their own Lunar calendars to operate Life outside of business. India is one such country heavily relying on its Vedic Lunar calendar for its cultural foundation. The Vedic calendar is believed to be the oldest of all calenders and its complexity is astounding!

The Lunar calendar is based on the Moon’s rotation around the Earth. Each Lunar month is an accurate count of each rotation of the Moon around the Earth. Since this period of rotation of Moon around the Earth varies, the duration of each Lunar month also varies. On average, each Lunar month has 29 ½ days. In addition to the Moon’s rotation around the earth, the Lunar year is based on Earth’s rotation around the Sun. The Vedic calendar resolves the gaps between Lunar and Solar time brilliantly. The average Lunar year has twelve Lunar months of approximately 354 days, thus making it shorter by about 11 days than the Solar year. The Vedic Lunar calendar accounts for this difference by adding an extra Lunar month approx once every 2½ years. This extra Lunar month is known as the “Adhik Maas” among Hindushtani-s. (“Adhik” means extra and the “Maas” means month). The concept of the Adhik Maas (the extra month) is similar but not exactly the same as the “Blue Moon” in the West, which occurs almost with the same frequency of 2 ½ years. Blue moon is the second full moon when two full moons occur in the same month. Naturally the blue moon must occur towards the end of month.  According to the business calendar, Adhik Mass starts mid-month as the Lunar Month always starts on the New Moon.

For Adhik Maas to occur, two New Moons must occur while the Sun remains in the same Zodiac sign. Consequently, those new moons would occur near 15th of the successive months. As a result, around the time of Adhik Maas, the full Moons at this time are very likely to occur near the beginning and the end of the same month. Because their calculations are similar, though their purposes are quite different, the occurrence of the blue moon usually precedes the Adhik Maas.

I will attempt a short explanation of the concept of how/why the extra month is placed, and its meaning next week. Today starts Adhik Maas and the Amavasya itself is today – that is plenty to cover. The Months always begin with the New Moon. 

: aum tat sat :

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