Grand Ashwamedh Yagya, near Mumbai, Signifies a Sacred Journey of Spiritual Renewal

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By Vasundhara Sanger

For the first time, in mid-February, a month after the pran pratishtha ceremony of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, the 47th Ashwamedh Yagya was organised by the Haridwar-based Akhil Vishwa Gayatri Pariwar at the sprawling corporate ground at Kharghar, Navi Mumbai in Maharashtra.

The atmosphere of reverence, spirituality and divine connection

Continuously, for five days, millions of people gathered to chant the gayatri mantra and offer oblations to the invoked, mantra-infused Yagya-agni – the fire altar, intending to unite people in the spirit of vasudhaiva kutumbakam, recognising their shared identity as a single family in this world. Throughout the Yagya, vedic hymns and verses were chanted rhythmically and harmoniously. The Yagya whipped up positivity, reflecting peace and prosperity for the nation.

The atmosphere during the Yagya was characterised by deep devotion, concentration, and reverence. Participants closed their eyes and meditated on the divine presence invoked through the ritual. The scent of incense, the crackling of the sacred fire, and the melodic chanting create a serene and spiritually charged ambience.

After the Yagna ended, the participants did a barefoot parikrama or circumambulation of the sacred yagshala (where the Yagna was performed). Afterwards, at designated areas, devotees gathered to partake in the consecrated offerings, known as “prasad“, distributed among the participants as a token of divine blessings and grace.

In the evening, “Deep Daan”, or lighting of the lamps by thousands of devotees, burned away all the negativities.

In essence, the Yagya was not merely a ritualistic performance but a sacred journey of spiritual communion, uniting individuals in devotion and invoking blessings for the well-being and prosperity of all.

Preparations and Presence of Leaders

Reportedly budgeted at 100 crore, elaborate preparations were made for the colossal event. A 140-acre tented city featuring yagyashalas, residential tents, and exhibition centres was built on the enormous corporate ground in the suburbs. Around three lakh people participated in the function.

The event was inaugurated by Maharashtra governor Ramesh Bais and Sudhir Mungantiwar, Minister for Forests.

Invites were sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who could not attend in person but registered his presence through an audio-recorded speech, which was played at the venue.

However, BJP national president J P Nadda was there to perform the Yagya on one day. At the same time, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan visited on other days to participate in the Yagya.

State Culture Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar termed the event a happy coincidence, held exactly a month after the eagerly-awaited inauguration of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.

The government of Maharashtra even waived off the Rs 21 lakh fees for the 114-acre land for the period of the Yagya. Besides, the state government ensured water and electricity supply during the event. In all, 1,080 yagna kunds (fire altars) were set up.

Three months before the event, 50,000 volunteers set up tents at the venue and prepared the uneven ground for the massive event. Reportedly, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre even installed air purifiers to see how the smoke emitting from the Yagya’s fire benefitted the people.

Gayatri Pariwar has been organising Ashwamedh Yagyas every four years for the past 27 years to strengthen and foster the spirit of united nationhood and world harmony. The inaugural Mahayagya took place in Jaipur in 1993, and it has never been held twice in one location. It intends to travel all around the world.

Ashwamedh Yagya

In Hinduism, all Yagyas are ritualistic practices rooted in the vedic traditions believed to open portals of subtle positive energy.  Ashwamedh Yagya dates back thousands of years, known even in the times of Mahabharat and Ramayan. The pages of Vedas, Upanishads, Darshans, and Puranas are filled with descriptions of the importance of these Ashwamedh Yagyas.

In ancient times, they were performed to achieve ecological balance, seek God’s grace, unite the nation or secure the kingdom. Lord Ram performed the Ashwamedh Yagya after he returned to Ayodhya from his 14-year exile.

Simply put, Yagyas were needed for inner refining and self-purification. Maha-yagyas were used to purify social life. However, when the necessity for thoroughly regenerating the nation (Rashtra) and the environment became apparent, a worldwide tradition of Ashwamedh Yagya emerged. The same energy continues to motivate followers in modern India.

According to Gayatri Pariwar, one of the important objectives of such large-scale Ashwamedh Yagya is also to awaken the dormant genius of the masses. They believe that man’s inherent intellect makes him different from other living beings. On this basis, he, as a scientist, has explored the secrets of nature and is claiming to be the controller of the fate of all living beings. The miracle performed by the human genius – Medha- formed society and its governance methods and transformed this earth into an elegant and well-developed structure of culture and civilisation.

In today’s scientific age, the Yagyas and mantras are being examined using a variety of scientific parameters, revealing new and exciting viewpoints and slants on their impact on ecology, the environment, and human psychology.

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