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Understanding Abhishekam

MAHA RUDRA YAGNA --Importance of participating in Abhishekam* for real benefits.

* (a sacred bath to the Deities using sanctified articles of milk, curd, honey, sugar, ghee , coconut water etc. )

SWAMIJI in His message to us on Hanuman Day of Prayer on Rama Jayanti in April, reminded us that He was coming to do Maha Rudra Yagnam next year, upon completion of billions of chants of Shivaaya Rudraaya Namaha mantra by devotees worldwide. In order to prepare ourselves on every level for a Yagna of this magnitude, we should understand the rituals in which we will be involved! Benefit from chanting the Shiva mantra as instructed by our Sadguru, will come in the Rudra Yagna with a proper understanding of the Yagna rituals involved, such as Abhishekam to the Lord!

Here in Trinidad, every Hindu may try to perform worship to the Shiva Lingam at home or in his temple at least once a year on Shivaratri, or offer Jal to Lord Shiva on Mondays during the month of Kartik. However, in India, in many homes and temples, Abhishekam is done every single day to Lord Shiva or the respective deity worshipped!

Sri Swamiji says “The Puja on the first Monday of Kartika Month is like a second Shivaratri, when we observe a nightlong vigil (Jagarana) which is done to make you more alert and keep the senses alive. Abhishekam or the bath is Jala Tattvam, which is dear to the deities, especially Lord Shiva! Between his eyebrows is the Agni (fire), and Jala or water, is thus the other element, since finally Shiva is the PANCHABHUTA (FIVE ELEMENTS). He is Prakriti and thus by worshipping Shiva this way we are worshipping Nature….

…Swamiji blesses you – “May the darkness leave you all and the light of Jnana (knowledge) enter your lives.”

Meaning of Panchamrita Abhisheka

According to Sri Swamiji, “In a puja, milk, curd, honey, sugar and ghee (clarified butter) together are called the panchamrita. When these items are poured on the deity during the puja, it is called abhisheka. Shiva is the abhisheka priya (one who loves abhisheka); He is also called Gangadhara - means one has held Ganga on his head. Vishnu is alankara priya (one who loves decorations) and Pitambara. Pitambara means one who has wrapped the entire akasha (space) around him like a cloth. He is omniscient (sarvantaryami). Brahma blessed us with knowledge. This knowledge is sought by one and all, hence Brahma is Bahujana priya.

There are many special meanings behind the word ‘Abhishekha priya’. It means one who always gives auspiciousness; one who blesses us with endless peace; one who gives Jnana, He who gives Prada (life).

Alankara priya Vishnu protects dharma (righteousness) Shiva is Nada priya (lover of music) and Veda priya (lover of veda). Vedas contain firm conclusions and decisions. They ensure adherence to dharma. Therefore Shiva is Veda priya.

Vishnu is Bhakti priya (lover of devotion.) The essence (tattva) of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are actually one and the same. They appear to be different though they are the same. Let us now understand the meaning behind the abhishekas…

1) Milk abhisheka: In this abhisheka, milk is poured on the deity. This abhisheka is a prayer to the deity to bless us with purity or with the ultimate pure satya (truth).

2) Curd (fermented and thickened milk/yogurt) abhisheka: this abhisheka is a prayer to God to cure us of all types of diseases. This is the essence behind this.

3) Ghee (clarified butter) abhisheka: Here the prayer is - “Let my ‘mind’ be always be awake whenever I do abhisheka. Also help me develop compassion towards other beings (jeevis).

4) Honey abhisheka: It signifies that the beings (jeevis) finally merge in Him and get the nectar, or bliss, symbolized by honey.

5) Sugar abhisheka: This is a prayer to bless all the beings with a pure, energized heart and mind.

These abhishekas are not merely blind belief or rituals. They have a meaning, an essence and significance. It is not a play either. These abhishekas contain the most secretive tattvas.”

sLord Siva drank the poison that emanated from the ocean and wore the Ganga and moon on His head to cool His head. He has the fiery third eye. Constant Abhisheka cools this eye.e up of copper or brass with a hole in the centre is kept hanging over the image or Linga of Siva, and water is falling on the image throughout day and night.

Priests may sometimes perform Abhishekam by simply using holy water or do elaborate bathing with oil, turmeric water, panchamrutham, (milk, curd, ghee, honey, sugar), vibuthi, sandal wood water, coconut water, rose water and ganga- holy Ganges river water.

Without Abhishekam, worship of Shiva is incomplete,

During (Shiva) Abhisheka, Sri Rudram,(Chamakam and Namakam), Purusha Sookta, Mahaa Mrityunjaya Mantra Japa, Panchakshari Mantra etc, are chanted.

Chamakam is divided into eleven sections. Each of these is then combined with Namakam and repeated. This is called Sri Rudra. Eleven such Rudra make one Laghu Rudra. Eleven Laghu Rudra make one Mahaa-Rudra. Thus, we can expect some extraordinary vibrations in the Maha Rudra Yagam here at the Dattatreya Yoga Centre next year, as specially trained Pundits will be coming from India to perform this Yagnam!

Eleven Mahaa-rudra make one Ati-rudra. Sri Swamiji has already performed Ati Rudra Yagna in Mysore in 2010 for the benefit of the world, and will surely do so again when necessary! Sri Rudram (here in Trinidad sometimes called Rudreeya), is to be repeated after performing the initial Sankalp, Puja, Nyasa, Anga, and Dhyana.

Benefits of Abhishekam,

In Ekadasa-Rudra Abhisheka, (sacred bath performed eleven (11) times, Sri Rudra is chanted while distinctive articles for Abhisheka, such as Ganga water, milk, buttermilk, ghee, honey, rose-water, coconut water, sandal paste, scented oil, sugarcane juice and lime juice are used to bathe the deity or Shiva Lingam. After every Abhisheka, pure water is poured over the head of Siva, or Shiva Lingam. When Rudra is repeated once, the different articles of Abhishekam are made use of after every stanza of the Rudra.

The Abhisheka water or other articles used for Abhishekam are considered very sacred and bestow immense benefits on the devotees who take it as the Lord’s Prasad. It purifies the heart and destroys countless sins. It promotes purity of spirit and harmony between families and communities! Negative energies are removed, and positive, strength-giving vibrations infused within pure devotees and in the environment, giving protection from natural calamities also! Such Prasadam must be taken with intense Bhava (pure feeling) and faith.

Abhishekam is purification of our own spirit

With performance of such beautiful, meaningful Abhishekam to Lord Shiva, that will occur during the Maha Rudra Yagna, we owe it to ourselves to witness and participate mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually, even from now, in any Abhishekam taking place in temples, or home! By practicing our devotion with new awareness of the meaning of such a ritual, we can only become more absorbed in the deity, in our True Self, or Atman for our own upliftment! Participating in Abhishekam during Maha Rudra Yagna will give benefit of countless Shivaratri Abhishekam to Lord Shiva! The greatest and the highest Abhisheka is to pour the waters of pure love on the Atma linga of the lotus of the heart!

For more info. On the various benefits of different Abhishekam, click on:

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