I have been immersed in the fire of yoga like never before! The main purpose of the sacred fire ceremony (yaj~na) was for the maintenance and protection of Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram. My husband Rudra (more about that later) and I had the honor of being the officiating couple, which meant we were performing the rituals on behalf of the whole group and the Ashram.
I was dressed up in a lovely bright blue and purple silk sari with bangles and jasmine in my hair (which cooled my head.) My husband was in a traditional Indian outfit (red and gold trim) supplied by the priests, who also dressed him. Our role was to perform each small piece of the ritual. The priests chanted while directing us step by step during the whole 6 hours of the yaj~na (with a lunch break).
We performed several pujas in the morning. Their purpose was to clear the space for our afternoon Vishnu fire ceremony. There were 7 priests: 3 on either side of us chanting and one more who was helping us perform the ceremony. Being in the middle of this clear strong powerful ‘surround sound’ of the priests chanting was both beautiful and mesmerizing. This role required that I stay conscious and not drop in (not easy) to perform the rituals with my husband.
The chants were intricate with small snippets of repetition, but most were all new chants through the whole day (in Sanskrit of course). I was in awe of the priest’s dedication and the study and practice it had taken for them to do this. I had no idea what the words of the chants meant and that was a gift which allowed me to experience and feel the clearing of the chanting without my mind being involved. It felt like we were inside the chanting which made it easy to be in consciousness itself.
One part that stood out was during the puja to Vishnu. The small metal statue actually moved from the form to the formless in front of my eyes.
During the yaj~na I had to surrender and let go of my resistance to sitting for long periods of time as my body was aching and there was intense heat by the fire. I had no choice, I just had to sit there and keep going, just like life. I was challenged at times to stay conscious and stay seated so that I could fulfill my role in the puja. I did fulfill it and I am so blessed because of it. And, my surrendering is truly a work in progress.
It was such a joy to share this sacred ceremony with my husband Rudra (Bob). He asked for a Sanskrit name from Swamiji just before the yaj~na began. Rudra is a fine balance for my name, Rudrani. Bob accepting a name brought another level to our marriage relationship of 32 years. The yaj~na provided this new place to be and Bob’s new name is a part of that. Vishnu brings the Divine into our daily lives through supporting the continuing of our ever growing relationship. This whole experience will bring our relationship to another new level of growth.
I am ever grateful for this opportunity to perform this yaj~na seva for Swamiji, our ashram, our Svaroopa® yoga community, my relationship with Rudra and my Self.