Homam and the Homa-kundam (52)

12/01/2012 History of Lord Ayyappa

The spiritual methodology evolved in temple worship involves the application of several practical Thaanthric principles that combine the Vedic rites, Manthra invocation and Yogic contemplation. Both the material and the subtler psychic and spiritual energies are applied in the rituals.

Homa-s integrate the physical energies released from the appropriate materials offered to fire and the spiritual energies activated by the Mantra invocations. This serves to maintain a subtle and harmonious spiritual atmosphere in temples and facilitates the attunement of the worshipper with his powerful spiritual dimensions represented by the idol of the Deity.

(Can there be forms of energy other than what we usually know as physical energy? Scientists are today getting vaguely aware of the possible forms of energy that “show the characteristics of consciousness”. Werner Heisenburg, one of the founding fathers of quantum physics, does not deny this possibility and says that there may be existing “other forms which we cannot match with the mathematical form of modern atomic physics.”)

Fire is the active element of a Homa. According to the ancient sages, fire represents one of the five stages of evolution of the universe from the subtlest form of physical energy called Aakaasa, the physical space. These five stages of evolution are known as the Panchbhootha-s and they, from the subtlest to the grossest, are: Aakaasa (physical space), Vaayu (gaseous stage), Aghni (fire element stage), Apa (liquid stage) and Prithvi (solid stage). (It is said that Aakaasha originates from Chittaakaasha, the space of mental emanations; and the source of Chittaakaasha is Chidaakaasha, the Supreme Space of Consciousness – the Ultimate Reality, Brahman).

Fire is the intermediary stage between the subtle and the gross. It is both subtle and gross, and as such it has the potency to influence both the fields. Fire element is the medium of all chemical actions and reactions, both in the material world and in living beings, giving shape to substances and forms. It can transform the subtle into gross and gross into subtle. The ancients discovered that the fire element can well be used as a medium of such interaction between mind and matter that may bring about transformations in the conditions of life and in the environment. The Homa-s assume importance in this context. Today, modern science is slowly gaining insights into the relationship between mind and matter and the new investigations of scientists may, in due course, result in deeper perception on the significance of such performances prescribed by the Rishi-s. These are subjects to be investigated for a deeper understanding and larger benefit of humanity, not to be blindly ridiculed and denied, as some among our intelligentsia prefer to do.

The nature of the physical energies released by the special substances used and the mental disposition during the invocations may have much relavance in the effect caused by Homa-s. For different results, different objects are offered to the fire along with appropriate invocatory Mantra-s.

Scientists tell us that even a sub-atomic movement has the potency to exert its influence throughout the universe, as the entire universe is a single entity. The dispositions of the human mind can influence the conditions of the world. As the poet John Donne said, man is not an island. Each mind is subtly connected with all other minds. The release of thought energies of one person has the potency to subtly influence the mind of all others and the condition of his own life. That is why the Rig Vedic Rishi-s prayed, “Let noble thoughts come to us from every side”. They advised us to entertain and nurture noble thoughts for the welfare of the whole world. The prevailing conditions of mistrust and enmity among individuals, communities and nations are the reflection of the negative thought patterns of an influential section of humanity caused by a lack of understanding of the above-mentioned fact. Antagonism among nations and the stockpiling of nuclear arms are the result of the accumulation of life-vitiating negative thoughts in the human mind. To a sensible person this is an irrational behaviour pattern cultivated by the wrong disposition of the mind of man who is unaware of the transience of his worldly existence.

On the other hand, every emanation of positive thought emerging from the human mind subtly influences mankind as a whole imparting a sense of harmony, peace and wellbeing. In the Homa-s performed with positive intentions with fire as the all-transforming medium, the spiritual energies released by the invocatory Mantra-s and the material energies from the offered substances together give rise to a powerful positive current of energy that influences the human mind and the environment. That is why in temples and other places where Homa-s are usually performed, most of the people feel a sense of peace and wellbeing.

In the huge Homakundam in Sabarimala, the substances offered are coconut and ghee and both have a mind-soothing and pleasing aroma when burned. And the offering of each piece of coconut is accompanied by the pious disposition and the vibrant energy of prayer. This prayerful act performed by millions will help to set up a positive impact in the whole universe, especially in the mind of people on earth, in tune with the Vedic motto “Lokah samasthaa sukhino bhavanthu”- let the whole universe be maintained in welfare.

The positive energies emanating from the Homakundam also propitiate and reinforce the Divine Powers of Nature that help the evolution of mankind to Divinity.

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