Panch Kedar Maha Yagya
About Panch Kedar Maha Yagya
Panch Kedar is a Sanskrit word where Panch means five and Kedar is the divine name of Lord Shiva, meaning five Sacred places or forms of Shiva. These temples or places are present in a sequence of pilgrimage beginning with Kedarnath, Tungnath, Rudranath, Madhyam Maheshwar, and Kalpeshwar. Kedarnath is one of the most important and highly visited Shrines of the Hindu religion. The Pandavas after killing their kith and kins during the war of Kurukshetra decided to find Shiva to pray to him to remove their sins of killing their half brothers and Gurus. But Lord Shiva was annoyed and did not appear in front of them. During their journey to search Lord Shiva, Bhima saw a bull grazing on the Hills of Garhwal. He understood that it was Shiva, as he neared, the bull disappeared and appeared at five different places with five of its body parts. The places where these parts of the body of the bull appeared are called the Panch Kedar.
Kedarnath is the principal shrine where the hump of the divine Bull appeared and was consecrated. This shrine is the amalgamation of mystic energies that cannot be felt physically but can be absorbed as knowledge, wisdom, and positivity. Tungnath is where the limbs of the divine Bull appeared. This shrine is the place where Lord Shiva is worshipped along with Adishankara, Kalabhairava and Vyas. One can feel proximity to Lord Shiva here giving purity and unity of soul with the Supreme Lord.
Rudranath is where the face of the divine Bull appeared and is worshipped on the visage of the lord denoting five elements of the absolute power named Ishan, Tatpurusha, Aghore, Vamdev and Sadyojatha representing knowledge, wealth, healing powers, etc respectively.
Madhyam Maheshwara is the shrine where the middle part of the body of the divine Bull appeared. Here the Shivalinga has the shape of a naval. Here a divine pond is also worshipped which is believed to wash away the sins and cure diseases, the effects of Bhrahmhatya and fratricide.
Kalpeshwara is the shrine where Shiva is worshipped in the form of thick tangled hair. This temple is present inside a thick forest with Kalp Vriksh, which can fulfil all the desires of the devotees.
All the divine forms of the Shiva has to be worshipped to get the blessings of Lord Shiva. One can also perform Lord Shiva Puja to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva.
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Details of Maha yagya
Mahayagya is a kind of Pooja that requires a havan kund and continous fire lighting which continues for long duration of days usually ranging from 7 to 21 days that requires the presence of more than one priest. Those taking part in the Mahayagya seeks the blessings of their gods/goddesses. Mahayagya can be performed to get relieved from any kind of problem or to ensure overall prosperity.
Mahayagya Vidhi Vihaan
This is the first step of the Vidhi. In this step, the priests performing the yagna welcomes Lord Ganpati and other Gods and Goddesses through mantra chanting. This is an important part of the yagya as it builds the strength of the yagna and pooja. Avahaan is an attempt to invite the Lords to honour the yagna.
Sthapana is the second step wherein the priests performing the yagna/Yagya, installs the statue or photograph of the deities for whom the Yagya is being perfomed. This step comes once the priests successfully invites the Lords to the Pooja through Mantra Chanting. This step is crucial as the statues installation builds the foundation for the various holy offerings to be performed.
This is an aesthetic step which brings us closer to the yagya. In this procedure, the priests and the attendees offer flowers to the dieties’ statues or photographs. Offering flowers in the feet of the Gods/Goddesses is a kind of showing affection and respect towards them. It is an act of pleasing the deities.
Archana vandana begins after the priests and attendees have offered flowers to the deities. In this step, the priests and attendees offer prayers to the installed deities. They praise the Lord and thank them for all that the almighty have blessed them with and also seeks forgiveness for their sins. They also put forward their wishes and ask the Lords to fulfil them.
Aarti is the next step in the procedure. Aarti takes place in the front of the deities. It can be performed solely by the priests, also the attendees are welcome to take part in it. In this ceremony, the priest has a tray with lighted oil diyas, burning essence, bell, a water vessel, flowers and some offering of food. This step consists of all four elements of which the world is made that is Fire, earth, water and air. The priests and the attendees sing praises of the Lords while doing rounds of the burning diyas and ringing the bell simultaneously.
In this step, the priests offers the deities, some kind of sweets and fruits in the form of Prasad which is distributed among the members participating in the yagya at the end of Pooja/Yagya. Usually Prasad can be in form of ‘chappan bhog’ meaning 56 different kinds of sweet and salty eatables that the deities are known to relish.
Beejmantra Yantra Prathista
In this step, a Yantra is placed near the havan kund and the deities. The priests chant the holy mantras known as Beejmantra to please the Lords. The Beejmantra is chanted with the purpose of energising tha yantra. The yantra, then, can be used to remove any kind of problem for which the Yagya is being performed or to fulfil the wishes at hand.
Yagya Aahuti Mantra Jaap
This is the last and the most crucial step in the Yagya Vidhi Vidhan as it goes on for days. In this step, the priests continuously chant mantras and offer Aahuti in the havan kund with the purpose of praising and pleasing the Lords. Yagya Aahuti Mantra Jaap goes on for long duration.