Sunday, May 4, 2014

Varuna Japam, April 28, 2014

Varuna japam and yagam at Arunachaleswarar Temple was performed on April 28, 2014. The rendition of Varuna Japa whilst immersed in the Arunachaleswarar tank, is a ritual meant to propitiate the rain god (Varuna) to bestow copious rain and banish famine, is also aimed at appeasing the Almighty to ensure common good and world peace.

Homam to propitate the rain Gods

Priests at Temple Tank
Immersion whilst performing Japam

Darshan of Arunachala whilst chanting

Varuna Japa comprises many rituals. Some scholars stand for hours in chest deep water in a Temple tank whilst chanting the Varuna mantra or other mantras. Some perform abhisheka to the Lord's processional deities, others conduct homam to propitiate the rain Gods, do japa or recite the Vedas and sanstras. 

God Varuna 

Varuna in the Vedas is a powerful God. He is the guardian of cosmic order (rta=rhythm=ruth=truth) and in charge of the oceans, water sources and rains. He is worshipped by seagoing people and fishermen. His vahana (vehicle) is shark fish or crocodile. Tamils have always believed in his control over rains and worshipped him for rains. In this respect one of the oldest Tamil book “Tolkappiam” says he is the God of littoral areas/Neithal. 

Lord Varuna with crocodile vahana (vehicle)

On another level Varuna is in charge of West direction, (Lord Indra controls East). Mitra and Varuna are paired in Vedic hymns which to the belief of interpreting them as Day and Night, Sun and Moon, Light and Dark, and Positive and Negative energy. The Tamil saint Agastya (who made a grammar of the Tamil Language) is considered to be the son of Varuna and Urvasi. 

In Valluvar’s Tirukkural, it is said: 

Couplet 18 "If rains fail, festivals of the year and the daily worship of the gods will cease". 

Couplet 19: "Charity and devotional practices will not be observed in the world unless rain falls." 

Extract from article by London Swaminathan 


Below is an audio of the proper chanting of Varuna Japam.

Amurya upa surye
Yabhirva surya saha
Ta no hinvantvadhvaram

Apo devirupa hvaye
Yatra ghava pibanti na
Sindubhya kartva havi

May waters gathered near the Sun, and those wherewith the Sun is joined, speed forth this sacrifice of ours. I call the Waters, Goddesses, wherein our cattle quench their thirst; oblations to the Streams to be given.

Tat tva yami brahmaa
Vandamanastada saste
Yajamano havirbhi

Ahe amano varueha
Bodhyurusasa ma na
Ayupra moi

I ask this of thee with my prayer adoring; thy worshipper craves this with his oblation. Varuna, stay thou here and be not angry; steal not our life from us, O thou world-ruler.


The Science of Mantra

Below is an extract from an illuminating and fascinating exposition on the physics and metaphysics of sound (mantras) by the late Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi. 

"If the divisions of labour on a hereditary basis is good for all society, what specifically is the benefit gained from the vocation of Brahmins, that is preserving the Vedas?" is a question frequently asked. 

The potter makes pots for you; the washerman launders your clothes; the weaver weaves clothes for you to wear; the cowherd brings you your milk; the peasant tills the land to grow rice for you to cook and eat. Everyone does some work or other essential in the life of everybody else. The rice (or wheat ) grown by the tiller sustains us all. The cloth woven by the weaver is indispensable to our modesty, it is also needed to keep us warm in the cold season. We drink the milk brought by the cowherd and also use it to make buttermilk; we cook our food in the pot made by the potter. We find that all jatis provide commodities useful for the society. What is the Brahmin's contribution in this context? What vocation is assigned to him by the Sastras which are the basis of varna dharma? 

To read more of this narrative go to this link here.

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