NAVAAKSHARI AND TRIPURASUNDARI HOMAS
(DISCOURSE BY N.R. SRINIVASAN—2011)
Navachandi Homam as well as Navaakshari Homam is performed to remove all obstacles or blocks in growth--both internally and externally for all participants. It is aimed at promoting universal peace, harmony and the well being of all the people irrespective of their sex, caste, or creed or faith. This homam can be performed alone or in a group. The latter is preferable because there is focus, power and beauty in doing this activity in a group.
Homam or sacrifice is an auspicious Vedic way of accessing the divinity within us and manifesting it externally. Worshipping Agni, the fire God and Indra, the God of Power and Ruler of devas, is the same as worshipping Goddess Durga, for she is responsible for the strength manifested in them; also worshipping Vishnu is equal to worshipping Her, as revealed in Durgaasookta.
The core of the Homam Ceremony involves a recitation of the Durga Saptashati, 700 verses in praise of goddess Durga. With the recitation of each verse, offerings are made to the sacrificial fire invoking the goddess Durga. The Durga Saptashati is a narration of thirteen chapters from Maarkandeya Purana attributed to the Rishi Maarkandeya. The verses demonstrate how Goddess Chandi vanquishes and annihilates the two demons Shumba (or pride) and Nishumba (or shame), in a work-book like fascinating and allegoric way, slaying the negativities of Indulgence and Denial, restoring the equilibrium for perfection.
The words para-para-ati
rahasya (or extremely secret) are repeatedly used along with the worship of Devi. Why secret? The meaning of Rahasya in these rituals is that a major part of the ritual or ceremony is internally infinite. The external ceremony is often coupled with internal visualization garnering our resources within, making the ritual powerful and meaningful.
The true purpose of Chandi Homam is therefore to provide a blue-print for balancing our Passion and Dispassion, Indulgence and Denial, manifesting our true divine self that unites Selfishness and Selflessness.
Chandi Homam and Devi Paaraayanam should be done keeping in mind that both Brahmavidya and Srividya are the same. Truth that is revealed in Vedanta is brought to practicality in Srividya. Sankaracarya states in Prapanchasaara that the Supreme is being addressed as "Om" in Brahmavidya and as "Hreem'' in Srividya. 'Hreem' is considered as Bhuwaneshwari seed or 'the Seed of Maaya'. Just as the root, stem, branches, flower, fruit etc., come from the seed, Mahaa Kaali, Mahaa Lakshmi and Mahaa Saraswati sprout out of Bhuwaneswari seed.
Even though the terrifying look and angry face of Chandi appears with horror, terrorizing the evil minded, it appeals as protective composure to the worshippers, says Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. The sufferings she inflicts on us helps to straighten out crookedness of our minds, ward off misdeeds and heaps of sins. The evil (avidya) that has accumulated in us over thousands of yugas (Hindu world cycle) is destroyed in a second with her anger.
Rahasya Traya (3 secrets)
Saapoeddhaaraha-Liberation from curses.
"Om, Hreem, Kleem, Sreem, Kraam, Kreem—Chandikaa devi shaapaanugraham kuru kuru swaahaa. (Repeat three times with concentration on Devi closing your eyes)
"OM-Rum-Sum-Om-Eim-Hreem-Kleem-Chaamundaayai vichche-Rum-Ksham-Om" (repeat seven times as before)
Utkeelanam—(Removal of Ignorance)
"Om-Sreem-Kleem-Hreem—Saptashati Chandike utkeelanam kuru kuru swaaha"-- (Repeat 21 times as before)
"Kaatyaayanaaya vidmahe dheemahi tannoe Kanyaakumaari Durgihi prachoedayaat"
We meditate upon Durga who belongs to Katyaayana gotra and who is the resplendent maiden. May that
Durga prompt us (to follow righteous path and attain salvation)!
The mantra for Chandidevi is called Navaakshari and the Homa is called Nava Chandi Homam or Navvaakshari Homam.
(Note-the mantra contain nine syllables in Sanskrit language. Durga, Kaali, Chandi, Devi etc. are synonymous)
Aim—Vakbeeja sound seed of Saraswati
Hreem—Maayaabeeja sound of Lakshmi
Kleem—Kaamabeeja sound of Mahaa Kaali
"Yaa devi sarvabhooteshu shaktiroopena samsthita
Namastasyai namastasyai namastasyai namoh namaha"
Salutations to Devi, who manifests herself as Energy, in all of creations.
BAALAA TRIPURA SUNDARI HOMAM
Premordial Energy (Sakti) is worshipped in the yantra form (Sri Yantra). In Bala Tripura Sundari Homam she is worshipped as nine years' old girl. Tripura Sundari means the Beauty of three worlds. The State of Tripura in India is named after her. For the Homam the Mantra "Aum kleem sauh baalaayai namah", the eight syllables mantra is chanted while offering oblation to Agni. Panchadasaaksaree (15 syllables) Mantra of Sri Lalita "ka ae ee la hreem ha sa ka ha la hreem sa ka la hreem" is also used in these homas.
In Lalita Sahasranamam the 965th Naamaavali is "Baalaayai Namah" and 966th Naamaavali is "Leelaa Vinodinyai Namah" referring to child's (Sakti's) amusement. Sri Baalaa's (Sri Lalita's as a child) story is described in Lalitoepaakhyaanam of Brahmaanda Puraana where she is described as a youthful princess of a kingdom as an ever-green nine years' old girl. In mythology Baalaa is considered to be the daughter of Lalita and always nine years old; she is said to have destroyed thirty sons of Bhandaasura. She is an aspect of Parvati.
Hindus worship Krishna, Ganesha, Subhramanya, Venkateshwara (Vishnu), Naaraayana incarnations as children namely, Baalakrishna, Baala Ganapati, Baala Subhramanya (Murugan), Baalaaji, Vatapatrasaayee etc. Devotees feel it is easy to please a child than a matured adult. Hence this child worship assumes importance believing that their prayers will be heard easily.
SRI BAALAA'S MOOLAMANTRAM
AIYM KLEEM SOW
SOW KLEEM AIYM
AIYM KLEEM SOW
[AIYM=Saraswathi; KLEEM=Mahaa Kaali; SOW=Lalitaa Parameswari]
Brahmendra Rudra harichandra sahasra rasmi skanda dwipaanana hutaasana vanditaayai |
Vageeswaree Tribhuvaneswaree visvamaataa antarbhaischa krita samasthitaayai namste ||
[Salutations to Thee, whom the creator Brahma; The Lord of Heaven, Indra: the Annihilator, Rudra; the Preserver, Vishnu; Chandra, the Moon God; Agni, the God of Fire; and Vinaayaka, the Remover of all Obstacles, all worship. Obeisance to Thee! Goddess of all Knowledge (Vidya), the Queen of the Three Worlds, and the Universal Mother in whom all are!]
Vrittatrayam cha dharanee-sadana-trayam cha Srichakrameta-duditam paradevataayaah ||
[Srichakra of Supreme Goddess (paradevata) constitutes a dot, a triangle, an octagon, two decagons, tetra kais decagon, eight petals, sixteen petals, three circles and three lined earth square pattern with mid-outlets on all four sides]. The dot represents the combination of Siva and Sakti. Srichakra is her geometrical abode and worshiped as Yantra with mantras.
[Srichakra sloka describes the geometric pattern of above description of Srichkra as you see in Tantric Presentations. It is believed Hindu art of Kolam (Rangoli) had its origin from Srichakra. In South India it is customary to put Kolam in front of the house to welcome the procession of the deity as it by passes homes. Nobody would also trample upon it. There are also other legends in which Kolam is described as of divine origin]
Agnideva's consort is Swaha. Agnideva ordained that the person who performs the sacrifice should repeat each time the word Swaha
at the end of the Mantra before pouring the oblation to the fire.
Otherwise he will not carry the oblation to the desired deity.
Who is Lalita?
Lalitoepaakhyaana of Brahmaanda Purraana says that Lalitaa devi manifested herself in the midst of a disc of extreme brilliance, that arose from the sacrificial pit when Indra performed a sacrifice honoring her. At the request of Devas assembled there, she chose to marry Kaamesvara (Lord Siva). She destroyed the demon Bhandaasura and destroyed his city, Sonitapura. Viswakarma, the divine architect, built a gorgeous city "Sripura" on the mount Meru, for her. She resides there with her spouse Siva eternally. The Srichakra represents the Devi in this Sripura.