Sri Swami Vishwananda performed the first Bhu Devi Yagna, at Shree Peetha Nilaya, in May 2009, to send positive vibrations to the overburdened Mother Earth, due to mankind's negativity. He conducted the Bhu Devi Yagna for four more consecutive years, and in 2014, he decided to rename this event as Mahalakshmi Yagna. Last weekend we have just had the opportunity to participate for the second time in a Mahalakshmi Yagna at Shree Peetha Nilaya.
At the opening of Mahalakshmi Yagna in 2014, Sri Swami Vishwananda explained:
“In the Hindu calendar, the month of May is considered very auspicious for Mahalakshmi. As you know very well, Shree Peetha Nilaya is Mahalakshmi's place. Every year, since 2009, we have celebrated Bhu Devi, but actually, there is no much difference between Bhu Devi and Sri Devi. They are just two forms of the same Mahalakshmi.”
“Mahalakshmi came out of the Churning of the Milky Ocean. What is the symbolism of the Churning of the Milky Ocean? When the mind and the heart are churned, then the spiritual wealth awakens. That spiritual wealth is Mahalakshmi, and when She awakes, She brings all the spiritual qualities with Her.”
Last Saturday, at the beginning of the Mahalakshmi Yagna, Sri Swami Vishwananda gave a speech about Mahalakshmi and emphasised the importance of this event for Mother Earth. Please see below the highlights of this speech.
The two forms of Mahalakshmi: Bhu Devi and Shree Devi
“Mahalakshmi is the Goddess of material and spiritual wealth. She gives prosperity, wisdom, fortune, fertility, generosity, courage and many other gifts. She is also the Goddess of beauty, charm, grace and in the Vaishnava tradition She is a mediator between Lord Narayana and the people.
Every time Mahavishnu has incarnated on Earth, She has also incarnated either fully as Mahalakshmi or in the two forms of Bhu Devi and Shree Devi. In the case of Venkateshwara, both aspects were manifested, Apara Shakti and Para Shakti. Apara Shakti is Mahalakshmi in the form of Bhu Devi; Apara symbolises the creation, everything which is material. Para Shakti is the manifestation of all the spiritual qualities. Both of them are in the chest of Mahavishnu.”
The Churning of the Milky Ocean and the purification on the spiritual path
“What does the Churning of the Milky Ocean stand for? When you start your spiritual path, what first arises in the mind is always the poison, which is all the pride, arrogance, guilt, all the negativity which is deep inside of you; you don't want to see it, nevertheless it is there. On the spiritual path you have to cleanse yourself, you have to purify yourself in order to approach Lord Narayana. If you are not purified it's very difficult.
Lord Shiva drunk the poison because He has the quality which destroy all these negative aspects inside of oneself. However this is not the ultimate aim. The ultimate aim is to attain something greater and this means to move always forward. Very often when people go on the spiritual path, once they perceive some positiveness inside of them, they feel, ‘Ah, yes! I have reached there already. There is nothing else to do.’ You are happy. Of course, it's good, because then you build up a certain reality for yourself, but you have to move forward. There are deeper things, greater things to achieve. Until you have not attained the vision of Lord Narayana you have to keep going on your path, you have to earn that Grace. Actually, Grace is something which is already inside of you and it is waiting to come out. And this is the amrit.”
The sixteen gifts of Mahalakshmi and the ultimate aim
“Mahalakshmi is the One who gives the sixteen gifts like fame, knowledge, courage and strength, victory, good children, wealth, abundance of food, happiness and so on. But at the same time, She is also the One who deludes the ones who receive the gifts. By attaining a certain gift on the spiritual path, you advance, you grow, but it doesn't mean that you are free. This is not the ultimate aim. Do you remember the story of the woodcutter? (JL2; Deep Diamonds, Darshan, Steffenshof, Germany, May 4 2008; p. 27).
The story ends when he reached a cave which was full of diamonds. After entering it, he came out fully satisfied and as he looked around there was no other way to go deeper into the forest. Then inside himself, he felt what the sage meant by saying, ‘I will tell you a secret. In that forest there is a greater treasure. Go deeper into that forest and you shall receive that gift.’
This story is not just about the material gain. The diamonds stand for the Ultimate Himself. So, Mahalakshmi represents all these gifts but She also represents the Mother who cares for her children. That's why it is said that whoever surrenders to Lord Narayana should not worry, because She will look after, She will take care of everything; even if She has to leave heaven to come and manifest Herself on Earth.”
Offering the punya of the prayers to Mother Earth
“As nowadays you perceive great changes happening in the world, so offer your prayers to Mother Earth. When you are doing the yagna, offer that vibration to Her. Don't think only about yourself saying, ‘Oh, I have come here, I have to profit from it. I have to take everything for myself.’ She will give you enough so that you can even distribute. Of course, it's not something material that you can say, ‘Yes, I take this and I'm giving it now. Done!’ No! It is through your sadhana, through the mantra you are chanting that you receive and distribute.
Let this prayer rise and go around the world. May everybody profit from that and may everybody have peace. May peace truly be in the heart of each person. Let Goddess Mahalakshmi which we are praising today, give true wisdom to people so that they remind themselves that they are human beings and shouldn't act like animals. People do nasty things because they are not at peace with themselves. They don't love nor trust themselves; they don't trust their inner feeling. So, they can't trust others. They can't trust in God.
So, let's offer this prayer to Mother Earth, because then She will intensify it and give it to everybody. And when I say everybody, includes not only the people who are here, participating in this event, but also the people who are not here. And also the people who have passed away will profit from that, because they understand the vibration better than people who are physically present.”
At the end of this event, Sri Swami Vishwananda led everybody present, in a guided meditation to offer the punya of these two days' prayers to Mother Earth, to the needy, to the sick, to our relatives, friends, people who love us or don't love us... to humanity at large.