Using the ancient technology of Vedic Yagyas
to solve modern day problems.
Yagya Friends,

Our three-week-long Shiva Yagya leading up to Shivaratri is now complete! This has been one of our best performances and in this newsletter, you'll see photos from the final 10 days of the yagya in Kanchipuram.

In next week's issue, you'll see the Varanasi Shivaratri and Ganga Yagyas. The photos are wonderful.

Our sincere thanks to everyone who participated in the yagyas. Your continued support and interest make all of this possible.

The upcoming April yagyas will focus on the 10 forms of the Divine Mother (Dasa Maha Vidya) and will begin on April 12th.

Best regards,
Ben Collins
The following photos are from the yagya that was performed throughout the night at a small countryside temple that we have been supporting for many years. The Shiva lingam is quite large and very impressive.
Years ago, when Kanchipuram was much smaller, the Shiva lingam was discovered underneath a huge tree deep in the countryside. The entire temple was built around the lingam and the tree has been carefully preserved.

Years ago, we were given the opportunity to provide materials for the nighttime ritual and to feed the local village on Shivaratri. We've continued our support for many years and the temple has been added to many times making Shivaratri a more crowded event.
The temple tree has a wonderful ancient presence and over the years people have added the nagas (snakes) under it honoring Rahu and Ketu.
When you first arrive, the lingam looks large but it isn't until you get up close that its full size can be appreciated. The priests have to work hard to lift the containers of milk, water, yogurt, sandalwood, turmeric, and honey.
The fluted sides of the lingam are not immediately apparent when water is poured over it, but the contrast when milk or other ingredients are used is very impressive.
Sandalwood looks dramatic and the smell is amazing.
One part of the ritual that always makes me smile is after the offering of vibhuti (sacred ash) the priests draw a face on the lingam. It makes the ritual less solemn and more fun/ I like the idea that Shiva is happy and smiling.
Then the priests decorate the lingam, a time-consuming process that is repeated every two hours throughout the night!
The final aarti concludes the abishekam ritual.
Our daily work toward the completion of the second Maha Rudra Yagya continued with pujas, abishekam, and havan, leading up to the Shivaratri night ritual seen above

Every day begins with Ganesha Puja.
After the Ganesha pujas, Shiva is invoked in a ritual called Nyasam
Then the priests recite Sri Rudram eleven times while the abishekam ritual is performed.
The priests perform their final pujas and mantra repetitions before taking a short break and starting the yagya fire.
For ten days in March, our priests performed their comprehensive program of Rudra abishekam (liquid offerings) and the Rudra Havan (sacred fire ritual).
At the very end of the three-week yagyas, there is a special performance using a long carved wood device called a "vasodhara". The purpose is to maintain a steady stream of ghee into the yagya fire while the vedic hymn called Chammakam is recited.

This portion of Yajur Veda is a listing of everything and anything that a human being could possibly desire. We take advantage of Shiva's presence and in effect say, "While you are here, could you grant us this and this and this and this. It takes 10-15 minutes to recite at the usual speed.