B'lore: AOL hosts thousands from across the globe for Navratri
The Art of Living Ashram in Bangalore is witness to a wealth of a different kind, as it hosts thousands of people from across 65 countries as meditation, silence, pujas and satsang mark the nine auspicious nights of Navratri.
From Serbia to Kazakhstan, from Iran to China, from Ethiopia to Kosovo, the diverse gathering is soaking in the rich traditions of India, and are being a part of the grand celebration which captures the cultural grandeur of India.
Led by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, thousands of people from all over the world and India, are a part of special yagnas for peace, health, happiness and harmony of humanity.
"The festival of Navratri celebrates the movement from speech to speechlessness, action to knowledge, from narrow mindedness to broad mindedness. Navratri is all about awakening the dormant divine consciousness in each one of us." says Ravi Shankar.
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Image: Thousands gathered at the AOL international centre to be a part of the grand navratri celebrations
'Yagnas create the power to strengthen the consciousness'
The evenings are being marked by the Rudra Puja, led by Ravi Shankar. From the college goers to the householders to the corporate, this varied congregation meditates as the atmosphere reverberates with the sacred chants during the puja.
Speaking on the importance of Yagnas, he says, "The yagnas are very significant as they create the unseen power which elevates and strengthens the consciousness. The energy created by the herbs used in the homas purifies the atmosphere, minds and hearts."
Significance of Rudra Puja: Rudra means Shiva -- the benevolent, the destroyer of evil. Puja means that which is born out of fullness.
This puja, where Lord Shiva is worshiped in His Rudra form, is hailed by all Vedic scriptures as one of the greatest puja to remove all evils, fulfill desires and for prosperity. It brings peace around us and in our mind, body and soul.
The Sri Rudram chants identify 346 desires of human beings to be fulfilled to have a peaceful daily life and invokes Lord Rudra to fulfill all of them.
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Image: AoL founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar performing the Rudra Puja
The different homas
The highlight of the festivities will be a unique cultural evening on October 3, 2011 with Ravi Shankar playing the veena and the harp. The air will be filled with echoes of many other traditional instruments and sacred chants.
Different homas will take place from October 3-5, 2011:
October 3: Maha Ganpathi Homa: Removes obstacles before initiating any new venture followed by the Navgraha Homa: Propitiate and nullify the negative impact of the nine planets. Maha Sudarshana Homa: Removal of ignorance and the beginning of a new life enriched with knowledge. Rudra Homa: Considered to be a great purifier and remedy for all negative energy.
October 4: Chandi Homa: Removes obstacles and bring peace, prosperity, success and strength to the entire mankind. 700 verses in praise of the Goddess Durga are chanted and sufferings caused by hostile elements are eradicated.
October 5: Rishi Homa: To honor the seers and sages of the past, present and future.
Image: Navratri being marked by silence meditation, satsang and puja