Om Gam Ganapathaye Namaha! Om Namo Bhagavate Rudraya! Om Namo Narayanaya!
Sri Sayeeswaraya NamaH, HariH OM!
Ati Rudra Maha Yajna, Thiruvannamalai
July 26 to Aug 6, 2017
Frequently Asked Questions
- Program Overview
ATI RUDRA MAHA YAJNA (ARMY) 2017 IS AN OFFERING IN LOVE COMMEMORATING THE 99TH ARADHANA YEAR OF SHIRDI SAI BHAGAWAN, THE PREVIOUS INCARNATION OF BHAGAWAN SATHYA SAI BABA, FROM JULY 26 TO AUG 6, 2017 AT THE DIVINE ABODE OF ARUNACHALESWARA, THIRUVANNAMALAI, INDIA.
THIS OFFERING IS ORGANIZED BY SAI DEVOTEES COMING TOGETHER FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD AND IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH ANY FORMAL OR REGISTERED ORGANIZATION. ALL ARE INVITED TO PARTICIPATE WITHOUT ANY BARRIER OF CASTE, CREED, RELIGION, FAITH, GENDER, AGE OR ANY OTHER BELIEFS. PURE LOVE FOR SAI WITH DISCIPLINE AND DEVOTION IS THE ONLY CRITERION FOR PARTICIPATION.
- What are the exact dates of the program? How many days? Why is 12-days mentioned in registration? ARMY is a 11-day event entailing homa and eka dasa (11 times) rudram chanting (including abhishekam) by at least 121-individuals + 11 priests. This would be from July 26 to Aug 6. A commitment of 12-days is required to fully participate in the offering as a Ritwik. In addition to chanting Rudra ekadasani (11x rudram), 121 Ritwiks along with 11 priests will offer 1 cycle of Rudram as homam at 11-homa kundas (sacred fire pits) every day for all 11-days. Japa (Chanting), Homa (offering into sacred fire), Abhishekam (offering of holy liquids) completes the Ati Rudra Maha Yajna.
- What is the overall program structure and schedule for the 11-days in the morning and evening? The offering will commence on July 26 with prayers for blessing of Arunachaleswara, entering and worshipiing yajnasala, lighting the lamp, and invocation prayers. Yajna will begin on July 26 and will continue through Aug 5 with morning session (7 AM to 1PM) consisting of aruna parayanam, mahanyasam, ekadasa (11-times) rudra japam along with abhishekam and homam. Everyone can join the chanting of the Rudram. Homam will be led by 11 priests along with 121 ritwiks. Evening program will be from 5 to 8 PM with nithya homa, kramarchana, special progeam and evening homa, cultural events, and special programs. Exact details of the evening programs will be announced later. Sai Maheswara Lingam that is already concreted during Badrinath ARMY in 2015 will be worshipped during this Yajnam. Grand finale will be on day 11, Sunday Aug 6 that will entail the morning program, mahapurnahuti, and expected to conclude by Aug 6 afternoon, followed by Mahaprasadam.
- I only know Rudram Chanting, am I supposed to learn how to do Homam? You do not need to know how do homam. Every homa kundam will have a priest who will be fluent with the procedure and instruct you when to offer into the sacred fire along with “svaha-kara” at the end of each mantra in Namakam and Camakam. We request you to familiarize when the “svaha” comes during Rudram chanting. Please visit http://atirudram.us/#learn.html and find learning tools – pdf and mp3 files.
- What does it mean to be a Ritwik? How is that different from being a chanter, devotees, volunteer? Ritwiks are those that would offer havis into the homa kunda during the Yajna in the mornings. Daily sadhana (see Section IV below) for 121-days prior to the Yajna is mandatory for Ritwiks. Chanters will be given the opportunity to do chanting and also, offer abhishekam to the lingam. Ritwiks and Chanters are expected to be fluent in chanting Rudram and comfortable in doing each cycle in roughly 11 to 13 min per cycle. It is a unique blessing to be part of this event in any capacity. Being a volunteer is also doing Yajna of service. EVERYONE WILL BE UNIQUELY BLESSED!
- I signed up as Ritwik and when will I know if I am confirmed to be a Ritwik? You said 11 homa kundams, how will I know where I would be sitting? Ritwik assignments will be finalized by March 1st week. We are working through the logistics to maximize opportunity for everyone from all corners of globe independent of caste, creed, religion, and gender. Each homakundam will have a specific name and 11 spots for Ritwiks. You will assigned to a specific homakundam and allocated a specific spot. Your registration package will have the details when you arrive.
- Are there any special privileges for Ritwiks like reimbursement for expenses, etc.? No special privileges are offered and all participants including Ritwiks have to pay for their travel and accommodation costs. Devotees are requested to make their own travel and lodging arrangements. List of lodging options and distance from the Yajnasala are provided below. We are planning to provide shuttle service to yajnasala. Pickup and drop off locations will be announced later.
- How much would it cost for travel and accommodation? Travel costs depend on where you are coming from and the mode of transportation. Please review the following sections for planning purposes.
- Can I share my Ritwik assignment with my spouse, family member or friend when they arrive? No. Ritwik privileges are not transferable. You are also required to take your assigned spot every day. Deeksha is given to only 121 individuals.
- What is planned in the evening for all the 11-days? We are planning the evenings for with special pujas, cultural events, as well as distinguished speakers. Details will be announced alter. We will give opportunity to devotees that attending all the 11-days to lead the evening events. However, temperatures at Thiruvannamalai are expected to be very high in the afternoons. The evening programs may be tailored per the weather conditions.
- I would like to help contribute for the event. How can I do it? Please contact Sekhar Boddupalli at email@example.com
- I have general questions which are not addressed in this FAQ. Whom should I contact? Please send email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Do I have to pay for my travel and accommodation? All participants will book their travel and accommodation on their own. Along with this FAQ, please find attached nearby hotels list and also google map showing the hotels and the ARMY location with distances. Kindly book your accommodations at your earliest.
- When should I arrive and when can I depart?
- Thiruvannamalai Arrival Date: July 25. All Ritwiks and chanters are required to be present by no later than late evening of July 25. Ritwiks take up Deeksha on July 26 morning. If you miss Deeksha, you will miss the opportunity to be a Ritwik. It is recommended that you arrive one or two days early so that you can get acclimatized to Indian weather.
- ARMY Starts on Wednesday July 26 and concludes with Mahapurnahuti on Sunday Aug 6.
- Thiruvannamalai Departure Date: Aug 6. Evening departure. On Aug 7th Thiruvannamalai will attract lakhs of devotees due to Full Moon. Kindly create your itinerary based on this information, if you would like to be present with the crowds or not. The temple town will be closed for normal traffic so you will not be able to come in nor leave the town on that day.
- More detailed schedule of the daily events will be provided at a later date.
- What Airport should I book my tickets to? The closest international airport to Thiruvannamalai is Chennai – Chennai International Airport (MAA). You may also fly in and out of Bangalore (BLR).
- What about ground travel? Chennai is the major connection station and you can travel to Thiruvannamalai by car or bus, about 4 – 5 hr journey. Similar distance to Bangalore as well by car.
- How can I know who is else is coming from my area? Is there a plan to communicate within locations / group? We will announce Local Leads for each area. Your Local Lead will be the go to for questions regarding the event and group spiritual activities, etc.
- How is the weather during this period? Late July and early Aug period is end of summer in Arunachalam/Thiruvannamalai. Temperature fluctuates between 25 and 35 degree Celsius (77 F to 95 F). From late July the town gets a great level of precipitation as well. Be prepared accordingly!
III. Accommodation & ARMY Venue
- What are the accommodation options? Please find attached along with this document a spreadsheet listing most accommodation options. Kindly book your own accommodations. Please click on the below google maps to see the locations of the hotels and their addresses and distance from the Venue of ARMY at Devanandal village.
Hotel and ARMY Venue Locations:
Please see hotels and Venue (Devanandal) marked with a ‘STAR’, in the below map:
Hotels to ARMY Venue Route:
Sivananda Ashram / Vishwa Bharathi Sang,
Devanandal Main Road,
Opposite Water Tank,
Name of accommodation
Distance to ARMY Location
Hotel Vijay Park
6 KM / 15 Min
Sri Sarvesha JS Palace
Siva Sakthi Siddhar Peedam
DIRECTIONS to ARMY VENUE:
All the hotels are around the Mt. Arunachala. To go to ARMY location from any hotel, one has to take KANJI – TIRUVANNAMALAI Rd (also called MDR 503 rd) and head North-West on this road. Cross Adayur Bustop and Bethesda Prayer House on your left. Continue travel about 0.75 KM from Bethesda Prayer House take a left (Note: If you have reached Kalarkottai bustop or Sathya Sai Road, then you have gone too far) on to Devanandal Main road. Travel about 1 KM on Devanandal Main Road to reach Sivananda Asharam/Vishwabharati Sang, opposite to water tank to reach the venue. The places will be marked with directions to the AMRY Venue, appropriately.
We are also working on arranging shuttle services from key hotel and pickup points for during the event. Details will be announced later.
- My family is joining me for all the 12 days do I have to register them? All individuals above 5 years of age joining you from your family for all the 12-days, you must register each of them at http://atirudram.us before March 28.
IV. Sadhana – Spiritual Preparation & Practice
WE REQUEST ALL REGISTRANTS, SPECIFICALLY RITWIKS, TO ADHERE TO THE FOLLOWING DAILY SADHANA (MAR 28 TO JUL 26).
- Dedicate 30 min for daily prayers (see below) without multitasking with other activities such as driving, daily chores, etc.
- Daily Prayers are a must. Adhere to a specific time and place as much as possible.
- Practice Ceiling on Desires minimizing sensual distractions and conserving food, money, time, energy, and utmost reverence to the 5 elements of nature.
- Absolutely No Alcohol, No Meat, No Eggs, and No smoking. Minimize distractions of watching television, movies, and even over indulgence in social media apps.
- Observe Spiritual Silence to the extent possible.
Daily Prayer format:
- 3 Oms
- Gananam Tva
- 3 Gayatri
- Sri Rudram
- Durga Suktam
- 3 Sai Gayatri
- Kshama prarthana
- Svasti PrajAbhyaH
If you are able to do the above sadhana for 121 days (Mar 28 to Jul 26), with love, sincerity, and strict discipline, then kindly register as Ritwik. If not, please register as devotee or volunteer. We will finalize Ritwiks by March 1st week.
Please visit http://atirudram.us/index.html click on Register to enter your details.
May All the Beings in All the Worlds have Happiness and Peace!