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Love and Light

Rudra Ekaadhashini Homam

In the fringes of Tividale (Birmingham), quietly tucked away from the busy roads and the chaos of daily living is located the Shri Venkateswara (Balaji) Temple, a place of immense sanctity and spiritual ambiance that was chosen for our annual Rudra Ekaadashini Homam, the ceremonial ritual which was conducted as a prayer for the prosperity and welfare of our fellow beings wrapped up in disharmony and pain around the globe.

This popular event attracts hundreds of devotees drawn from different cultural background from around the UK. It was a fitting occasion performed as part of our National Gurupoornima Celebrations, to salute, remember and pay homage to our Divine Master and Teacher, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

The morning of Saturday the 12th was foreshadowed with mist that soon dissipated filling the skies with the brilliance of the sun that remained with us for the whole day and the radiance of its rays felt like the blessings of the angels was upon us. Devotees flocked from all over the UK who were joined by the many visitors to the Temple.

The focal point of the altar was set with a beautiful photograph of our beloved Swami, smiling in His own captivating way, uncanny where Swami’s eyes seemed to follow you here and everywhere you went!

At the centre was an altar made of bricks where the sacred fire was lit using specific type of wood and straw and then pouring oblations such as clarified butter, food grains, sesame seeds and water to the accompaniment of sacred verses from the Vedas.

Close to it was sited a large lingham where abhishekam was performed by offering items such as milk, yogurt, clarified butter, honey, rosewater and sandalwood paste to the accompaniment of sacred chants of Rudram. Lot of devotees had been practising the Rudra chants to actively participate and thereby benefit by doing so.

Devotees who wanted were also provided with linghams specially procured from India to allow them to do abhishekam. They were then asked to take them back to their respective homes with the proviso that they would perform Pooja everyday with water thus continuing the spread of the purifying vibrations not only within the body but also in the home and surrounding areas as declared in the Rudram verses.

The event commenced with uplifting bhajans that created the right vibrations, ready to welcome the procession that followed and prayers. As a westerner who prior to 2006 had no experience of such an occasion chanting the Rudram, this was indeed an electrifying experience.

Seeing a large group of both young and not so young to be chanting in unison such sacred words, is an experience that is difficult to describe and I would thoroughly recommend for everyone to experience as often as possible. The Vedas are the foundation of the Universe, the breath of God. It isn’t easy to learn the Rudram, however, perseverance is essential. It is worth the effort! It was truly a sight to witness watching the priests at work and by the end of the morning, the rituals were complete.

It is fair to say that everyone was feeling good, full of smiles and full of energy that couldn’t be described!

Swami has stated (Sanantha Sarathi, Sept 2006):

"We should not neglect the Vedas. The secret of the entire creation is contained in them. They reveal to us the goal and purpose of life. The Vedas are replete with divine mysteries and deep spiritual truths. Rudram forms a very important section of Krishna Yajur Vedas, viz., Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharvana Veda. Another important feature of Rudram is the Ekatwa (unity) between its two parts, Namaka and Chamaka. Namaka lays stress on Vikrati (detachment) whereas Chamaka dwells on desires for this and that. What is to be discarded and what is to be desired? That which is evil is to be discarded and all that is good is to be desired. Understanding of both these aspects is essential for man.”

Following a hearty lunch, an alumni from the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Prem Anosh talked about his experiences with Swami. His talk about the Guru aspect of Swami was apt for the occasion. Brother Prem narrated several experiences with Swami reminding all of us how Swami was taking care of his devotees all the time.

Everyone was then enthralled and entertained by an amazing professional singer, Sairam Iyer, who was visiting the UK from Mumbai, India. Sairam first performed at the age of 8 years in front of Swami at Dharmakshetra in Mumbai and has performed for Swami many times after that as well as performing in more than 1500 concerts all over the world. The unusual thing about Sairam’s voice is his dual voice singing ability, singing with a female voice as well as a male voice! And to show us just how it was done he performed a duet. Sairam also sung bhajans including one he sung for Swami as a young boy. He encouraged everyone to join in with him thus ending a fabulous day.

It would be remiss not to mention the many silent workers who were engaged in all of the seva before the Homam as well as those who remained afterwards to clear up. Everyone worked hard but with a smile. Teamwork that Swami has always promoted was certainly in view and that added to the recipe for unity, making the event complete! And most important of all is to thank Swami for His inspiration, love and patience and allowing us to chant the Rudram. If you were not able to come then please do come next time and in the meantime enrol for Rudram classes, it really is a good investment of your time.

Jai Sai Ram
Jenni Robson
Region 4 Spiritual Co-ordinator.