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Sathabhishekam - A celebration in life - How to?

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Gurus here - request your valuable inputs.
sathabhishekam - need to do for my father.

I happen to see the post here https://www.tamilbrahmins.com/showthread.php?t=9235 and it has good information. My appreciation for the valuable information given by the thread owner. I also see that the thread is closed. So i cannot add. Started a new thread here.

some clarifications needed.
* Is there any temple in TN that is specialised for this? I see Thirukadaiyur (TN) is famous for 60th Birthday.
* If my budget permits i can do it in the temple (which if it is outside chennai). Else plan to do this in our chennai home itself or in a temple in chennai.
* Apart from listed in the thread https://www.tamilbrahmins.com/showthread.php?t=9235 what other information (if any) i need to take care without missing anything.
* What will be the budget? (I have still not decided). Any plan like low, mid and high budget - if any of you have already done it? I have very vast relation list, but i suppose i cannot do it in such grand manner. Neverthless, i will try to consider how much does it come, based on the three plans (low, mid, high) given by your inputs and plan accordingly.
* Any Event management firm (in chennai) that takes care? What are their charges? Or is this actually necessary to hire event manager?
* Any other inputs that you can give that will help me plan and execute. (Once in life time - so i don't want to miss anything)
more informations are there in the sticky thread maha ganapathy and navagraha homam from page 2 onwards. In chennai in madambakkam near dhenupureeswarar temple seshadhri swamikal athistanam with sidhar statue temple is there. they are doing there. kindly contact them. vedic ravi and thandamthottam sastrikals are doing in chennai. It is better to do it in your house. Rudhra ekadhasini for 13 sastrikals xRupees two thousand each will cost 26000rupees plus vadhyar dakshinai and dasa dhanam and pancha dhanam plus meals expenses. for sadhabishekam for 9 kalasam ; 9sastrikals plus vadhyar dhakshinai and meals expenses nd other expenses wll come to nearly one lakh rupees.

you can do kooshmaanda homam which is equivalent to rudhra aekaadasini. you can do yourself with one sastrikal. only ghee is required for this homam.
Note of caution re Sathaabhishegam

Dear fellow-Brahmins


Have read with great interest and admiration the exchange of information and views, and wish to offer, in all humility, my comments below.

First of all, in these important rites and rituals, that occur once in a lifetime when one is of mature age and surrounded by adoring grandchildren and respectful children and children-in-law, what is paramount is not what the shaasthrigals tell you, nor even what the textbooks they apparently rely on tell you.

Yes, I have read and understood Shaanthi Kusumaakaram, Shaanthi Rathnaakaram, Homa Vidhaanam, Yajurvedeeka Aapastambha Poorva Prayogam, and other substantive authorities, and have great respect for all of them, and for all the learned and experienced and, no doubt, highly intelligent, and highly respected, shaasthrigals. I have had my own sadaabhishegam, bheema-ratha shaanthi and other milestones properly and satisfactorily celebrated, with eminent purohithars of high distinction in attendance.

What is of supreme importance, over-riding other considerations, is "Kudumba pazhakka-vazhakkam". Tharavaattu sampradaayam. Poorveeka aachaaram. In plain English, hallowed ancestral practices, handed down from generation to generation. It can be as simple as whether you do aachamaneeyam twice or only once at the beginning and at the end of every religious ritual. Or as complex as whether you omit nandee-shobhanam at noothana graha-pravesham and other occasions, or wear or do not wear a third upaveetham when a grandchild is born.

In this connection, I have noticed one or two strange "requirements" (please pardon my boldness).

One is that 60 bricks are needed for homa-kunda construction during shashti-abda poorthy, bheema-ratha shaanthi, and sathaabhishegam. Why? I have found that (besides good, clean riverside or seaside sand), for all hoomams, however holy, I needed only 14 unblemished red bricks: 6 for the two-tier kundam itself, and two more, one on top of the other, on which to rest the aajya-sthalee (pot of sacrificial ghee).

Another is that 11 shaasthrigals chanting rudram 11 times and chanting chamakam once will take 6 whole hours to complete the ekadashini chanting. My cohort of Veda-Braahmanaas take about 10 minutes per aavarthi, without rushing. For 11 aavarthis they take 121 minutes, i.e. one minute over two hours. We do this every month, on the first Mondays. Only ONE-THIRD of the alleged time.

A third is that we have 10 dik paalakaas (guardians of the points of the compass deserving poojas). No: there are only eight, i.e. indran, agni, yaman, niruruthi, varunan , vaayu, soman, and eeshaanan. (By the way, during sandhya, we do namakam to ten entities: prache-disei, dakshinaaye-disei, pradeeche-disei, udeeche-disei, oordhvaa, atharaa, antharakshaa, bhoomi, brahma, vishnu, and yama.)

A fourth is that for each of the navagraha devathaas, you need an 80 cm length of cloth of the appropriate colour and texture. Not so. We have done dozens of navagraha poojas and homams. Cloths some 40 cm square (14 inches square) are amply adequate.

A fifth is the recommendation that "a kooshmaanda homam which requires only a single shaasthrigal" is a valid substitute for the elaborate homams with 11 to 13 shaasthrigals envisaged earlier. The "Shaanthi kusumaakaram" which contains manthrams for this homam does not say this is permissible in lieu of the normal elaborate sathaabhishegam requirement. Nor does any other text I am aware of say so. Nor have I ever heard any other shaasthrigals following this novel practice. (It should be nlted that the kooshmanda homam itself requires TWO DAYS to complete, not just one day. The previous day is taken up performing vichchinnaagni santhaanam, aupaasanam, and so on - see "Shaanthi kusumaakaram, uththara bhaagam," pages 227-231).

The observations above are made purely in good faith, arising out of my own surprise, and mean no disrespect to anyone, much less the learned and practising Brahmins who read and write to this Forum and to their even more learned shaasthrigal-advisers and gurus. No offence is intended, and if any is taken, I apologise profouindly in advance.

Humble namaskaarams to my seniors and equals, and poorna aasheervaathams to my juniors.

S Narayanaswamy Iyer
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இது public forum. some people wants to do 9504 aahoothikaL. and also the Grihasthaas wants to finish this in one hour. we have to appoint more sastrikals to finish it quickly. for which 60 bricks are required. according to the number of aahuuthees the number of bricks will vary;

we have to do aavaahanam for 8 thik palakarkaL and one for kshethra paalakar and one for vaasthu. total is 10. while reciting vedas we should go very fast or very slow. There is no use of doing in a very manner. many nyaasangal are there. all nyaasams must be done. we can do without nyaasam and also we can do with nyaasam. we can do without homam and also we can do with homam.sengalipuram Sri. bapu deekshadar has done in my house in thr 1982 rudhra ekadhasini in hennai and it to 6 hours to finish it. only this will reap fruits. I can also chant rudhram in ten minutes. but there is no use by doing like this.

on every sradham day all are doing vischinna agni hothram and oupasanam and in the oupasanam agni sradha homa is being done. on every sradham many people are there here doing kooshmaanda homam in the oupasana agni and then in the same agni they are doing sradha homam.
hanK you very much Sri Gopalan Sir for all your guide lines in this Sashtiabdhapurthi,
It was a news to me, first time hearing about Khusumandha homam and it is equivalent to Rudra Eakadasi. I read in google quite happy about it and came to know Kartha himself will perform this homam instead of giving power of attorney to Rithviks in performing other homams
-thehoma found in the Vedas-

Wemay classify homas into two broad categories. One may be classifiedas Kaamyartha homa, to derive gain and fulfill certain wishes. Theother one is Prayaschitta homa, to deliver us of the sins of ourundesirable acts of omission and commission.

Kushmandahoma falls in the second category.

Differencebetween Yaga and Homa:

Yagaand Homa are not the same. Yagas are categorized as "srauta"karmas and are performed in "agnihotra"agnis. Homas are categorized as "smarta"karmas and are performed in "aupasana"agni.

AgnihotraAgni:This Agni has the characteristic of being a continuum. Yaga isperformed by highly qualified Vedic scholars, who have to beGrahastas, well-versed in all the prayogas and Sastras as well, foruniversal benefit. Yagas such as Aswamedha, Soma and Vajapeya comeunder this category. Vedas speak about
Yagas,which come under the category of Srauta karmas.

AupasanaAgni:All Grahastas (married persons) have to perform Aupasana every dayboth in the morning and in the evening. Homas like Vastu and Sraaddhaare done in Aupasana Agni. A few more examples of homas would be theGanapati homa, Navagraha homa and Sudarshana homa which are done inlaukika agni. These homas are referred to as Smarta karmas.

Homashave been codified, compiled and given to us by Sages with theirdivine powers. While the Vedas speak about Yagas, they contain noreference to homas - with the exception of one homa, i.e. KushmandaHoma. The details of this powerful homa are found in the Yajur Veda(Second prasnam in Taitreeya Aaranyaka)

Whyis it done?

Thegreat Sengalipuram Anantarama Diskshitar has this to say:"...Further, this homa can be performed as a prelude toauspicious events (mangala karya) like Upanayana, Vivaha, etc. Itgives one the confidence and qualification for the mangala karya. Itis also the practice of some to observe this homa prior to doing theannual Pratyabdika Sraaddha."

Likewise,a person wishing to cleanse himself of a sin he may have unwiittinglycommitted, does this homa and gets cleared. Such is the power ofKushmanda Homa. The mantras in Kushmanda homa speak of certain sinspeople commit, and specifically clears them of the ill-effects ofthese sins upon doing the homa. Some of the sins referred to are:
1.Being casual or arrogant in Deva karmas
2.Lying in the course of day to day activities
3.Speaking ill of others
4.The hardship we cause to our mother during our presence in hergarbha.
5.The mental anguish we cause to our parents with or without ourknowledge.
6.Bad behaviour
7.Using impolite language while speaking to our elders, Purohits orAcharyas.

Themantras also clarify benefits that can accrue to the person doingKushmanda homa. Some of the benefits:
1.If one has got into unmanageable debts, the homa helps to raise one'sstatus and return the debts in one's own lifetime.
2.There are mantras that will give us sound health and a pure heart andmake us better human beings.
3.Crossing the sea -- the only method of foreign travel in olden days-- was considered a sin, and even today some sticklers for ritualperform kushmanda homa after they return, to cleanse themselves.

Howis Kushmanda Homa to be performed?

Kushmandahoma is surprisingly simple in terms of the process, and therefore itdoes not cost much. The number of Ritviks (Purohits) required isminimal. Apart from the Pradhana Acharya, one or two scholars areenough.
Ofcourse one can invite more Purohits if one wishes to do the homa on alarger scale. Even the Homa dravyam, articles used for Homa, are veryfew.

Whilethe material aspects of the homa are easy to observe, the rigours --niyamas -- that have to be followed are quite stiff and demanding.The following aspects have been codified and have to be observed withtotal diligence and faith:

1)Diksha niyama (Ritualistic discipline) (at least for a fortnight)
2)Gayatri japa to the maximum extent (a minimum of 1,008 per day forthe fortnight)
3)A ritualistic bath in line with the advice of the Purohit on the dayof the homa
4)Naandi Sraaddha (this is not needed when the Kushmanda homa is doneas a prelude to Pratyabdika Sraaddha)

No"Power of Attorney":
Thereis one more unique feature in the performance of this homa. In mosthomas, the usual practice is after the Sankalpa, the Purohit receivesthe "Power of Attorney" from the Karta and does the actualjob, with the help of other Purohits present, with the karta a mutespectator.

InKushmanda homa, the karta has to personally perform the Homa in hisAupasana Agni under the guidance of the Sastrigal, and chant all themantras himself. In summary, this homa is one of immense significanceand has
greatvalue. It is a great remedy for absolution of a person's consciousand unconscious sins, if done with devotion and in completeconsonance with the laid down procedure. The benefits that accruefrom Kushmanda homa are many - the most important of which is peaceof mind.

Many thanks to Sri Rajan for his response on 1.4.2017.

Extravagance such as 9504 aahoothis demands a price to be paid, such as 60 bricks and dozens of shaasthrigals for a once-in-a-lifetime function such as 60th, 70th and 80th birthday.

At the other end of the scale is the penny-pinching gruhasthan, the kartha whose family provides NO bricks at all but only a 4-inch deep "truncated inverse pyramid" squarish iron basin whose lips measure one-foot-by-one-foot, plus a cement slab measuring 10 inches by 10 inches, salvaged from some construction site. This for a vastu plus navagraha plus ashta-dik-paalaka homam in a newly-bought palatial flat overlooking a reservoir where the gruhastha was a successful "phoren-returned" young engineer and his pathni was a home-grown successful young bharatha-naatyam dancer and dance teacher.

The norm for a fire-altar in the majority of homes, from my experience, requires only a two-tier structure of 6 red-clay bricks per tier, the priests frequently dispensing with the two-bricks aajya-sthaalee support.

The chanting of the 11-anuvaaka rudram plus one chamaka anuvaakam in 10 minutes in no way diminishes the clarity and integrity of diction nor fulfilling all the other requirements. Any proficient chanter can achieve this without cutting corners or adversely affecting the value and worth of Veda-chanting. Review of on-the-spot recordings of such chants show no defects in pronunciation, enunciation, svara fidelity, etc. The incompetent or unsure ones might well take even 20 minutes to chant one complete namakam.

To get the fullest benefit from chanting manthrams six methods of recitation should be avoided: chanting in a sing-song fashion (except when chanting sama-Vedam when the rules should be followed correctly, and in "ghana-paata" chanting); not adhering strictly to time limits for uttering word-sounds; nodding or shaking head needlessly; reading from written script instead of knowing the manthrams by heart; chanting without understanding the meaning of the manthrams; chanting in a feeble voice or mumbling instead of using a strong and clearly audible voice.

The requirement of 13 shaasthrigals for nandee is apparently not a must. The majority of shashti-apda-poorthi, bheema-ratha shaanthi, and sathaabhishegams I have attended whether as invited spectator/guest or rithvik-participant dispense with the requirement of Veda-Brahmanas to receive traditional daanams such as land, cow, gold, etc.. The officiating shaasthrigal (singular) only asks the gruhasthan to provide a fistful of coins, and places one coin at a time for each daanam, all danams being made via "prathinithi". Learned shaasthrigal of course keeps all the coins, as well as the "kumbha-rathnam" and the kumbham itself, for himself, together with silver pancha-pathram-uddharani, silver chombu, pattu veshti-uttareeyam, vadi, kodai, visiri, paada-rakshai, and so on donated by the gruhasthan's family.

S Narayanaswamy Iyer
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