Friday, March 5, 2010

Bhagavath Sevai

"Bhagavathi Sevai" is a special type of Puja and is based on Tantrik rituals and Agama  Principles of worship.This pooja held in our home on poornima day. Past ten years we are celebrating this pooja.Bhagavathy Sevai is for worship of Devi Durga. 
This Puja is done in temples and in homes as well. This is done in the evenings. the preparation of this  pooja starts in the early evening itself. 

The Padmam

                    It starts with the drawing of a padmam in Which the devi would be invoked.This chakra also has the asanas for other gods and goddesses namely the ashta dik baalakas (Indra, Agni, Yama, Niruruthi, Vayu,Varuna,Kubera and Eeshana) and the various forms of devis  that include Braahmi ,Maaheswari, Kaumari, Vaishnavi, Vaarahi, Mahendri, Chaamundi, Mahalakshmi.

There are two more Padmams drawn : one for Lord Ganesha and the other for the Kuladevatha.

The priest draws a special kolam design (Sri Chakram) drawn on a clean floor using Rice Powder, Turmeric Powder(Manjal Podi) and Raktha Choornam (Red Kumkumam). On the floor and fills with colour powders.(Black is avoided). This is named as Padmam, which is the main kolam. On either side of the Padmam two smaller Kolam/padmam is made and filled with color powder.
After finishing with the Padmam, he took the tall Nilavilakku, and started decorating it with flowers garland and a silk pavadai. It is believevd  that when Devi has to be invoked, she has to be propitiated in her favourite colours and ornaments.  .  Finally, he applied red coloured kumkumam, on the narayam of the Vilakku, All this work had taken him the better part of two hours, and  he left for his bathing ritual.  After tying the special panchakacham, and applying  the vibhuthi he came down and took his seat before the Nilavilakku.
The Puja starts with lighting of the lamps of Three Kithhuvilakku by the priest and puja begins - One Big and two smaller ones are readied. They are well polished and filled with Til oil, and cotton wicks (Thiri) are placed in the lamps in five directions (anju mukham) for the Main Big Vilakku. This Big Kuthhuvilakku is placed on the Padmam. The other smaller Kuthuvillakkus are placed on kolams on either side of the Padmam. They contain only 2-directional thiris (rendu mukham). About the smaller lamps - one represents Lord Ganesha and the other is for Kula devatha.The Lord Ganesha, Devi Durga and Kula Devathai are invoked in the Kuthuvilakkus. First Puja is done for LordGanesha and Naivedya Vetrillai(Pan) Pakku (Supari) Banana  Kela, Coconuts, Panchamurthamis offered. Next Kuladevatha is worshipped. The Naivedyam offered is Vetrillai(Pan) Pakku (Supari) Banana, Payasam ,Coconuts

Then Devi Bhagavathi is worshipped. This is done a bit elaborately as compared to the other two deities. The priest recites Devi Mahatmyam. Then he recites the Lalitha Sahasranamam using a lot of fragrant flowers for the archanai. Then he does Kumkum archanai reciting the Lalitha Astothram and then later on he recites the Lalitha Trishathi.A series of Namaskarams are offered by the assembled devotees, to the deities, interspersed with different sukthams ,mantram,slokams in praise of Devi.
Then the Neivedyam is offered which is very special- the Nei Payasam to the Bhagavathy. the time comes for the Neivedhyam to be offered to the Devi it is divided into three parts,   This Payasam has a very unique taste and it cannot be described in words. 

At lastPanga Arathi, Kalpoora Harthi  is done. Small cubes of kalpooram is placed like a circle surrounding the Kuthuvilakkus and they are all lit together. So a beauthiful ring of fire with the Kuthuvilkkus in the middle is made. The Medhu Vadai also becomes a part of the Neivedhyam.
 This  Pooja has to be performed with utmost devotion and concentration, and when  we performed this pooja  properly, we can feel her presence through the exciting atmosphere in the Pooja. Devi is requested to return to her abode with the "yathasthanam and keeping milk in vilaku pooja ends.Then for Ladies I gave vetrilai pakku  kumkum, haldi, blouse piece etc.) We distributed Nei Payasam, vadais. Along with wonderful dinner.each and every year my family enjoy this pooja and having devi’s Blessings