Sri Maha Nava Chandi Yagnam
Sri Maha Nava Chandi Yagnam is conducted with the chanting of the Durga Sapthasathi Mantra(Devi Mahatmayam) also known as Chandi Path.More details on the Saptashati can be found here. The Maha Nava Chandi Yagnam is generally conducted during Sharada Navarathri/Durga Puja/Dussehraand Vasantha Navarathri on the Maha Navami day. It is a practice in our Guru Parampara to perform this Yagna in the evenings.
The major rituals and procedures of the chandi Homam are:
Punyahavachanam - It is a purification ritual which involves invoking Lord Varuna for purifying the place of Yagna, people associated, pooja materials with vedic mantras such as Varuna Sukhtam, Pavamana Sukhtam.
Maha Ganapathy Pooja - As with any pooja, the Yagna commences with Maha Ganapathy Pooja to remove all obstacles.
Maha Sankalpam - Sankalpam is a vow or a prayer. In our Chandi Yagnam, Maha Sankalpam is the done as a Loka Kshema Sankalpam. It is an over all Prarthana for Global well being and Universal peace.
Mandapa Puja - Seventy seven kalasas of various Parivara Devatas of Goddess Chandika Parameshwari are kept around the Mandapa in which the homam is to be done. The Devatas are invoked in their respective kalasas.In addition, Stamba Pooja is performed for the four entrances and eight directions.
Sri Chandika Parameshwari Avahanam - Goddess Chandika Parameshwari in invoked in the Main Kalasa. Surrounding it at the eight kalasas representing Ashta Bhairavas( Asitanga Bhairava, Ruru Bhairava, Chanda Bhairava, Krodha Bhairava, Unmatta bhairava , Kapala Bhairava, Bhishana Bhairava and Samhara Bhairava) and Ashta Dik Balas(Indra, Agni, Yama, Niruthi, Varuna,Vayu, Kubera, Isana) .Sri Maha Ganapathy is invoked in another Kalasa. The Navagrahas(Surya,Chandra,Mangal,Budha,Brihaspati, Sukra, Shani, Rahu and Ketu) are invoked in nine kalasas which are positioned as per shastras. Special herbs are added to the water in these kalasas.
After the Dhyana mantras are chanted, Avahana is peformed using Prana Pradishta and Avahana Mantras. Purusha Sukhta and Sri Sukhta Vedic Hymns are used to do Shodasha Upachara Pooja. Archana is done starting with Maha Ganapathy, Navagrahas and to Goddess Chandika parameswari with Lalitha Sahasranama or Lalitha Trishati.
Agni Mathanam & Agni Pradhistai - Agni mathanam is getting the holy fire for the Yagna by rubbing wood pieces of Peepul Tree and the spark generated is built into a big fire after which Vedokta Agni Pradhista (Invoking Agni) is performed. Such an Agni generated is considered to be very auspicious and pure. This practise is done in major temples, Ashrams on all major occasions like Maha Samprokshanam/Kumbabhishekam, Athi Rudra Homam, Maha Sudarshana Homam etc. In our Parampara it is done during all Chandi yagnams.
NavaVarna Yantra Pooja and Navavarna Homam - Pooja is done to the Sri Chandi Navavarna Yantra while simultaneously Navavarna Homam is done. It is called Navavarna since it contains nine sheats(avarnas) or layers and the Para Bramham, Goddess Chandika sits on the Bindu at the center of the yantra.
Poojas are offered for the various deities residing in each of the nine Avarnas of the Yantra with the final pooja being done for Goddess Chandi.
Ganapathy and NavaGraha Homas - Sri Maha Ganapathy Homam is done with the Maha Ganpathy moola mantras. It is followed by the Navagraha Homam with Vedic Navagraha Mantras.
Chanting of Navangam of Devi Mahatmyam - The nine Purvanga Mantras of the Devi Mahatmayam and vedic Ratri Sukhtam are chanted. Navakashari Moola mantra homam is done and the Nyasas of Durga Saptashati are chanted.
Chandi Homam - Chandi Homam is performed by chanting every verse of the Durga Sapthasathi Mantra and doing an offering into the sacrificial fire. Each chapter has a presiding deity and the offering is made by mentioning the name of the deity and with the sacred Swaha mantra like "Om Maha Kalyai Nama Swaha".The offering is Sweet Pongal for most of the chapters and for some of them it Ksheerannam (milk pudding). Panchamrutam made of several fruits, Dry Fruits and Honey is offered for verses with a "Uvacha".
Poornahuti is offered the end of every chapter of the Durga Sapthasathi Mantra with specific fruits. The specific fruits are as ordained by Goddess Chandika Parameshwari to our Guruji H.H Venkatesa Battachar Swamigal.
Chanting of Devi Sukhtam: Vaidik Devi Sukhta Mantra is chanted by vedic priests.
Navakshari Moola Mantra Homam : The nine lettered Navakshari maha mantra is known by various names such as Chamunda mantra, Navavarna Mantra,Navarna Mantra and Chandi Mantra. Various sweets are offered into the sacrificial fire along with the chanting of this mantra.
Suvasini Puja - This Puja is performed to a married women(Sumangali) treating her as Goddess. In our Parampara, this Pooja is done to young Married Women since the Divine mother is considered as Nitya Sumangali and Yuvathi ( Ever in her youth).
Kanya Pooja - This Pooja is done to a girl child treating her as Goddess. She is presented gifts as per the child's wish.
Vaduka Bhairava Pooja - This Pooja is done to a Bramhachari boy treating him as Lord Kala Bhairava.
Ashta Dikbala Bali - The Ashta Dik Balas are Indra, Agni, Yama, Niruthi, Varuna, Vayu, Kubera, Isana. Offering of rice balls with mixed Honey, Ghee and Curd are offered to these deities.
Maha Bhairava Bali - Offering of rice balls with mixed Honey, Ghee and Curd is offered to the deities Anantha, Bramha, Vishnu, Ksetra balaka and finally to Kala Bhairav.
Maha Yogini Pooja - The divine mother is considered to have an army of 64(640 million) crore warriors. So she is referred as "Maha Chatusshasti Koti Yogini Gana Sevitha", in the Lalitha Sahasranama. This entire army is headed by 64 captains. Yogini Pooja is done to these 64 captains. A single Pumpkin is cut into 64 pieces as a representative of 64 yoginis and Pooja is done with Mangala Theertam.
Maha Poornahuti - Maha Poornahuti with offering of Mangala Drayvas (Sacred offerings) which include Fruits, Herbs, Kumkum, Sandal Paste, Dry Fruits, Dry Coconut. Silk Saree and Blouse are offered as Vastras. A huge Garland is offered along with the chanting of Vedic Mantra Pushpam. Tamboolam (Karpoora Veetika) is also offered into the Agni.
Vasodhara Homam - Vasodhara is the offering of Ghee (Clarified butter) into the sacrificial fire along with the chanting of the Vedic Rudram Chamakam Mantra. The chanting of Chamakam is a request to the Lord to fulfill all the genuine desires/wants of his devotee. It is followed by the Jayadhii Homam and Agni upasthanam.
Maha Naivedyam - It is the offering of cooked food along with fruits to the Goddess. The Shastras stipulate the minimum amount to be offered. This prasad is later distributed as visesha Annadanam.
Shodasa Upachara and Avatarikai - Various upacharas like Chatram (Umbrella), Samaram, Vyajanam, Mirror,Geetham (Singing of devotional songs),Vadhyam etc are offered to the Divine Mother. It is followed by the Maha deeparadhana or Aarthi. Chaturveda parayanam is performed as a part of the avatarikai.
Sri Chandika Parameshwari Abhishekam with holy Kalasa water - After kalasha Yadhastanam, Abhishekam is done to the Goddess with the the holy Kalasa water.
Guru Samarpanam - The Fruits of the Yagna are offered to the Lotus Feet of the Guru and Ambaal who in turn blesses us back with all the benefits of the Yagna. It is followed by Pradakshina and Namaskaram. The teertha prasadam is then distrbuted among devotees.
The Significance or benefits of a Chandi Homam are immense:
1. It is an Anugraha(complete blessing) for all of those attending the Yagna
2. Repeated conducting of Chandi Homam brings about a positive transformation in society
3. It wards off ill effects of evil forces
4. This Homam removes the malefic effects of all planets, especially Rahu & Ketu
5. Chanting the Devi Mahatmyam and participating in a Chandi Yagnam by a person who is regular in his daily poojas (Nithya Karma) helps him to attain Devata Siddhi, Ishta Siddhi, Karya Siddhi , Mantra Siddhi. This is a secret disclosed by Guruji with the intention that this message should reach humanity
6. This Yagna satisfies all genuine wants of a devotee and finally grants salvation (Moksha).