SRSG houses two Yajnashalas (fire offering huts). The word yajña (यज्ञ), from the Sanskrit verb root “yaj”, means “to sacrifice”, “to offer”; and the Sanskrit word shala or śāla (शाला) means “house”, “abode”, or “home”.
At our small yajnashala, on behalf of our entire global family, the ashramites perform fire offerings everyday in the morning, after our daily prayers and pujas in the Meditation Hall and the Temples. We are currently performing our morning havana with our Sangha mantra, the Ganesha Gayatri Mantra, which was imparted to us by our Ashrama Pramukha Swami Ritavan Bharati on the sacred occasion of the Mahashivaratri 2022. On the Mahashivaratri day, we took a sankalpa (resolve) to undertake this anushthana for one year, until the Mahashivaratri of 2023, when we will receive another sangha mantra practice from Swami Ritavan during the AHYMSIN Sangha Gathering of 2023.
On sacred occasions such as the Navaratri, Guru Poornima, Swami Veda’s Mahasamadhi, AHYMSIN Sangha Gatherings, everyone gathers together as members of the Guru family at the big yajnashala for large sacred observances or anushthana.
These include collective purash-charana of a specific mantra, as guided by the Ashrama Pramukha, with as many as 12 priests presiding the ceremonies.
Swami Veda Bharati explains, “There is a word in the tradition, anushthana, which means a sacred observance. You undertake a certain given anusthana, like the way we do every year for guru purnima. This is an anusthana, an undertaking. It is said that the number of syllables there are in a given mantra, that many hundred thousand, is a given anusthana.
Lucky for those who have only one syllable. Don’t worry, I can make it more complex for you. So one anusthana of gayatri is 2.4 million recitations. This bit we do, seven here, seven there, it’s alright, it’s a good start for a toddler. We are as children in spirituality. We think of ourselves as having risen, but we are as children, we are toddlers, we are just learning to lift our head and turn over, just making those gu-gu sounds. One day we will learn to speak divine language. Let us hope, let us aspire, let us have faith that we can, for so many before us have done so and have reached the final goal.” (Lecture on ‘Gayatri Meaning in Depth’, 1996)
For more information, kindly read:
- Swami Veda Bharati’s book on Yajna, published by AHYMSIN in 2010.
- Swami Veda Bharati’s article on ‘Yajna, Homa or Havana or Agni-Hotra, A Brief Introduction’