for Villagers to do Deepa Yajna (festival of lights) and Balamandir every New
Moon and Full Moon
plate, a glass of water, mango / betel preferred leaves, a vessel, a coconut,
turmeric rice, 2 bananas, flowers of all colors, 1.5 ft wool thread; a mud
container for oil, 2 cotton wicks and matches and Rs 5 (10 cents) to be brought
by each family.
(DEEPA YAJNA = festival of lights)
By whatever name you call, only one Godhead answers. His Power is also one with Him and Supreme. People of all religions worship Godhead through songs. The basic set of musical notes is the word of God, called Om. Does Godhead have a form? Yes. It is not visible, but it is similar to light. This light is actually life, which no one can see, but is the light through which everything is seen. So light is used by all as a symbol of God's form. When people forget their differences and gather to do good to all, it is called a Yajna.
Yajna is a set of good actions. To get auspicious thoughts and to protect against disturbances disrupting our actions, let us welcome God by saying Om five times. Each time before saying Om, take a really deep breath, release the breath slowly saying a full throated Om. Pull up your back straight. Keep your hands loose and facing up in your lap. Close your eyes. Listen carefully. (Start Sruti) Merge your voices into Tanpura. Say,
Om Om Om Om Om (Sruti continues for 30 seconds)
Open your eyes slowly.
Yajna is sacred action. Sprinkle water, symbol of life on to your neighbor's heads and your own heads.
My mind is now pure. My speech is now pure. My actions are now pure. May this purity in thought, word and deed lead us to the highway to God, open up our vision, and bring peace to the world.
Listen: Sun gives us light and life, like God. We can breathe the Sun's life into our lungs to enhance our life power. Close your eyes. Take a really deep breath and hold it. Say,
See the sun passing through white clouds. In every one of my hair follicles, the light and life of Sun is spreading. My mind, and heart are filled with light. I am full of life, happy and contended here and now.
Slowly release your breath.
Useless thinking and feeling unwanted emotions makes our minds hot. To cool it down, we need the cool touch and vision of God always between our eyebrows. This removes our hot thoughts or emotions. For this purpose, we wet a little bit of mud, or sandal paste and kumkum and then place it in between eyebrows.
Focus on the coolness there. Say,
May my mind become calm. May useless emotions and excitements not even enter my mind. May my head be proud and held high. May my intelligence be clear.
Listen: These are difficult days. Miseries pile up like mountains, caused by our own unthinking actions. They are also caused by unscrupulous people exploiting our weaknesses or poverty. They make us feel powerless and angry. We do need to ask for help from our Creator who is almighty. We ask for protection
through what is is called Samkalp Sootra or Raksha Bandhan, tied to the wrist. Adult women please hold in your left hands, the rest of you in right hands. Hold it up high to make these promises. Say,
I will obey the commands of my Creator. I will not do undesirable acts. I accept Godhead's blessings as my fortune, happily. I will share my abundance with everyone.
Listen: Tie the Samkalp Sootra at the wrist to the person next to you. They will tie it to you. Keep it till the next yajna.
The round vessel is a symbol of the world. The coconut on top of it is a symbol for head, and the waters in it for life. Decorate the vessel with turmeric and kumkum. Arrange betel or mango leaves like a lotus on the vessel. Place the coconut on top of it. Say,
My dearest God, unite all of us in doing good to our village. Give us the strengths of will, knowledge and power to act.
Not only God, but also all his powers must manifest into the coconut. The powers of God move us from poverty to abundance, ignorance to knowing and darkness to light. The first of such powers is our teacher who lights up our path to acquire the remaining powers. Other powers achieve synergy like a chain reaction. Let us call, offer seats and worship these powers to get their blessings. Keep offering turmeric rice on the coconut.
Hail, ye teachers who channel God's will to guide the world.
Hail, earth, waters, fire, wind and sky; ye sustain us.
Hail, ye great ones who sacrificed themselves for our welfare.
Hail, ye social reformers, visionaries, and soft-spoken sages.
Hail, ye who made us victorious over violent and cruel forces.
Hail, ye like sun lead us to light and sacredness.
Hail to all great knowledge giving paradigms.
Hail ye ladies who shower love, care and affection on the world.
Hail, ye temples and sacred places who inspire perfumed actions.
Hail, ye divine mother, who alone can change course of destiny.
All ye powers, enter the coconut, and accept our five offerings.
Sarva Devata Poojanam
Perform the actions suggested.
My dearest God and all ye powers!
Taste our devotion as waters we sprinkle.
Feel the cool touch on your foreheads our sacred acts
and unswerving actions as sandalwood paste.
Decorate your hair with our enjoyments as flowers.
Smell the vapors of lust, anger, possessiveness,
delusion, pride and jealousies leaving our bodies and minds as incense.
See our devotion to you as the lighted tip of incense stick.
Please accept a little part of the riches you yourselves have given us.
Prayer : Hail God, who is unending, who is in all:
thus has 1000 forms, 1000 feet, 1000 eyes, 1000
heads, 1000 thighs, 1000 hands, 1000 names, eternal
time lasting for 1000s of crores of yugas.
Oh God, fill us with your light. Give us power to change tendencies to cause misery in us and in others.
May we also spread perfumed actions and light to others like you.
Deepa Yajna: Lighting lamps.
Listen: When we light a lamp, our deservedness is the mud container, devotion is the oil, God and me are the two wicks. They unite to generate light which destroys darkness, and fills the universe with light. This keeps on going as a Yajna automatically. Whenever we do this together, a great divine power descends on earth. People get attracted to do good paths, light, knowledge, and good actions. This is the essence of Deepa Yajna, to motivate people to get together to do good to them and to society. If we perform this Yajna on every full moon day, you will get abundance; on every new moon day, your poverty, misery, fear, and apathy will be destroyed. Like a flood, enthusiasm and excitement flow to regenerate desire to live better, know how to, and to act in coordination to reach goals you set. The very faces of your villages change, making them better places to live than urban areas in every way.
We are now going to light all the lamps; so please be silent. To focus our awareness, let us all recite Om 5 times after taking deep breaths. Keep your spine erect. (Start Sruti) Take a deep breath. Say,
Om Om Om Om Om
Listen: To give peace of mind to those in misery, let us keep silent for ½ minute. (Sruti ends after ½ minute)
Now light the lamps taking care not to burn yourselves, or the sarees or hair of the ladies in front of you. Keep the wicks separate in oil, but united where they emit light.
We are about to start poornahuti. This means that we are going to merge our will into the will of God. It also means that we are promising to make necessary sacrifices to achieve the good of our village. Say,
Om Poornam adah poornam idam, poornaat poornam udachyate.
Poornasya poornam aadaaya, pooram eva avasishyate,
Offer turmeric rice to coconut.
Listen again: There are disruptive forces in us and in the village in the form of bad habits which destroy our health or wealth. Let us throw them out by saying Svaha 3 times forcefully. Say after me,
Svaaha. Svaahaa. Svaahaa.
Listen: In every village this Deepa Yajnam and Baala mandir is going on at this very moment on every new moon and full moon days. News is spreading about the benefits of these community actions to other villages, mandals, districts, rashtras, our entire country; all are being empowered and enriched this very moment.
7 Promises to give to enrich our village with fire as witness:
Listen: Raise the lighted lamp with your both hands under it carefully to be level with your eyes. Be careful not to spill the oil on the ground, or set fire to your neighbors' sarees. Keep your attention on the light, not the container while saying the promises. Say,
I (say your name, gotram in your mind) am making these promises with fire as witness, merging myself into God and so my will is the will of God:
I will give Health: My body is a temple fit for God to live in. I will keep it clean and healthy and nourished. I will get rid of my bad habits. Similarly, I will protect the health of others. I will dispose of garbage in specified places to recycle or convert into fertilizer. I will not release bad water on to roads, but into soak pits.
I will give flowers and fruits: I will earn money by productive activities appropriate to the village such as raising fruits and flowers, or vegetables, or stitching clothes, making eco- friendly paper bags etc. If I think that I save what remains after my expenses, it never happens. So I will think of savings as my first expense, and save.
I will give to God: I offer what I have earned or saved first to God and then use them as appropriate for myself or for village.
I will give Devotion: To prevent bad thoughts, I will pray and sing to God everyday for at least ½ hour with soulful absorption so that, others who see will with devotion. My well being is included in the well being of all. So I will do everything possible to help the society in anyway.
I will give Work: To throw away apathy and laziness, I will work for the village at least one hour every week.
I will give Education: I will teach at least one person to study. I will give any kind of help to any school in the village.
I promise to meet here every new moon and full moon day and to perform this deepa yajna. We will abide by what we in our village committee decide to give the offerings on the 2 weeks following each yajna.
We accept God's grace in fulfilling His will. May all be happy.
Om, Peace, Peace, Peace.
This completes the Deepa Yajna, to be followed immediately by Baala Mandir street show by children in age group 10-13 both boys and girls. It explains the concepts of poverties of seven kinds, and what villagers do to eliminate each of them. The substance is elaborated in the seven kinds of giving promised in the Deepa Yajna.
Each Deepa Yajna sustains enthusiasm for 14 days, to be reinforced by the next.