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Nine Planet Navagraha Yagyas 11/21 to 11/30 ($75)
plus Jupiter changing signs and lunar eclipse yagyas

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Yagya Friends,

This month we are focusing on the Nine Planets (Navagraha) because Jupiter is changing signs and a lunar eclipse takes place on November 30th. This is a time when the influence of the planets is especially sensitive and remedial measures are valuable for our own peace and protection.

I hope you'll join the program this month.

In this newsletter you'll find photos from the October Navaratri Yagyas. As always the priests have done a wonderful job, as you'll see.

I've also included a YouTube video of a couple minutes from the Divali pujas. Beautiful!

Thanks as always for your on-going participation and support!

Best regards,
ben Collins
Divali 2020 - Kanchipuram
Navaratri is an annual festival which honors the goddesses in the form of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. Each goddess is the focus of yagyas for three days. We always add a day of Ganesha at the beginning for extra blessings and to remove all obstacles to the performance of the complete yagya.

The preparations are quite involved and require stacking lots of wood, cleaning and decorating the various vessels, and arrange the yagya area.
The first day is dedicated to Ganesha, to remove any obstacles to the successful completion of the yagya series.
Ganesha is known for his love of sweets and part of the ritual is the offering of 1,000 sweet modaka desserts. They are sweet toasted coconut in a fried dough ball. They are absolutely delicious.
The modaka and other offerings are thrown into the yagya fire. Agni - the god of fire - consumes them and conveys the offerings to Ganesha. Agni eats slowly so the fire burns for a very long time.
The Navaratri yagya starts in the morning with our usual series of pujas and Rudra Abishekam (next photo). It continues with the recitation of Chandi Path, also known as the Durga Saptashati - 700 verses in praise of the goddess and concludes with the yagya fire ritual called havan.
In the image that follows, you can see Lakshmi on the left. She is always holding a lotus in her upper left and right hands.

Durga is in the middle seated in front of a large copper yantra, a mystical items that holds the energy of the goddess. She is always shown with a weapon in one hand.

On the right is Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom. She is shown playing a musical instrument called a veena.
Abishekam is ritual in which the offerings are liquid like milk, sandalwood powder mixed with water, turmeric, honey, and kumkum (a red powder mixed with water. The effect is very peaceful and soothing.
Another part of the Navaratri tradition is an evening program in which women from the community participate in the evening puja and recite the Durga Saptashati text and participate in the pujas. They are treated as the human embodiment of the goddess. Everyone is given a new sari and other gifts. The young girls especially enjoy the program.
The final day of the yagya program is always very elaborate with bushels of ingredients offered into the yagya fire.
The final offering is very elaborate (above) and the final offerings make the yagya fire flare up beautifully (below).
We conclude with some nice large photos of each goddess that you can use as a wallpaper on your computer or to print out and frame.

Many many thanks to all who participated and supported this wonderful yagya performance.