Athirathram yagam in Kesaragutta
By Express News Service | Published: 13th July 2012 09:06 AM |
Thatwika Hyndava Achara Pracharaka Samithy (THAPAS) in association with the Andhra Pradesh Government and other Malayali associations from the city will be conducting the Athirathram Yagnam, from April 13, 2013 to April 24th 2013 at the Sri Rama Lingeswara Swamy Devasthanam, Kessaragutta. Predominantly consisting of homas and vedic chanting, the 12-day long ritual is considered as the ultimate invocation of Vedic scriptures for universal harmony.
Having attended all the Athirathrams and Somayagam from 1990 onwards, Dr Sivakaran Namboothiri, of the traditional Samaveda family, briefed about the yagam that will be held next year at a press conference in the city. Recently held at Yetapaka, Bhadrachalam in April 2012 mainly marked for the arrival of rains, this time the yagam is exclusively being performed for solidarity, prosperity and spiritual enlightenment, which perhaps, stands relevant today. It is also believed that the ritual will help cleanse the atmosphere; purify the soul and mind of all participants and visitors at the event.
Being practised for over 4000 years now, the yagam went into oblivion in most parts of the country, and the Namboothiri Brahmins of Kerala have kept the srauta tradition alive till today. The head priest called as the Yajamani, will perform the yagam along with over 100 rithwiks (assistants to the priests) and on the last day of the yagam, the whole space of the ritual is set on fire.
Sivakaran Namboothiri, also the co-ordinator of Athirathram 2011 in Panjal and the ritual co-ordinator of Bhadrachalam Athirathram in 2012 says, “This time we are conducting the yagam on a 45 acre land in Kesaragutta. The yajamani this time will be Somayajulu Vallabhan, who is also from the Samaveda family.” He then added, “There are only a handful of people in the country who are eligible to perform the Athirathram and only those who have performed Agnishtomam is eligible to perform this Supreme Srauta Somayajam ” Scholars say that an early reference to the yagam can be found in Valmiki’s Ramayana. In the 14th sarga of Balakanda, it is mentioned that King Dasaratha performed the yagam.
The 12-day ritual has its first three days meant for Deekshaahassu, the next six days for Upassaddinangal and the remaining three days for the most important part, the Suthyam.
Suthyam days would commence in the morning of the10th day which will continue till the end of the Athirathram, uninterrupted.
Adding more on the ritual and activities, the organisers mentioned that annadaanam will he held on all the 12 days of the rituals. “We are expecting over one lakh devotees everyday and everybody has to be offered food. One cannot say no to any devotee. And on the last day, there might be about 6 lakh devotess this time.”