Naga Pratishtha & Ashlesha Bali

9, 10 & 11 November 2009 - Avadhoota Datta Peetham, Mysore

Jaya Guru Datta

A Naga (serpent) idol was installed in Mysore Ashrama on 11th November 2009. Two days of rituals preceded the installation. It is a well known fact that way back in 1966 when Parama Pujya Sri Swamiji started the Ashrama, Sri Swamiji had personally planted 300 coconut plants. In those days, serpents were all over Ashrama. Sri Swamiji used to play with them and even carried some around his neck. In those times, there existed a snake pit near the coconut grove. Sri Swamiji used to frequent that place and meditate. In the course of time, the snake pit vanished, caused by rain and such natural forces. In the early nineties, a facility for devotees to install Naga idols was made near that erstwhile snake pit place. About three years ago, all the Naga idols were relocated to Sri Datta Venkateswara temple area to facilitate public worship.

This September, Sri Swamiji made Sankalpa to rebuild a Naga shrine in the coconut grove. Sri Swamiji invited Sri. Sagri Gopala Krishna Samaka, a renowned Naga Puja pundit to Mysore Ashrama to discuss the Sankalpa. After detailed deliberations, it was decided to build a stone shrine for Naga Devata in the coconut grove, exactly where the earlier Naga statues were consecrated. It was also decided to build the Naga Shrine in "Chitrakoota" style. This style envisages a large stone hollow box. The box would have two holes on the right side. These holes would facilitate a live snake to live inside. Sri. Satish, a president medal winner stone sculptor from Mangalore city was chosen to build the shrine.

The temple was sculpted in one month and the Naga idol installation ceremonies took place from 9th to 11th November 2009 at Mysore Ashrama.

On 9th November evening, Ganapathy Puja and Sankalpa were performed.

On 10th morning at 6 AM, Sri Swamiji fixed the idol (not yet consecrated) of Naga Devata in the shrine. The early sun light, pipers playing soulful morning Ragas, a slight drizzle added to the aura of Naga vibrations. Later Homas were performed. In the evening, Ashlesha Bali programme was held. On the stage at "Gandluru Poundareeka Ranga Sthala" near universal prayer hall. An elaborate, intricate and beautiful hand drawn "Vasuki" was made on the ground. The use of color powder and the beautiful design was evocative. Ashlesha Bali program took place there. After the Bali program, Sri Swamiji and the priests went to the idol and offered prayers.

On 11th Morning, Karteeka Dashami day, After final Pujas and Homas, Sri Swamiji and priests carried the main Homa Kalasha in a procession to the Naga Shrine. There the Main Kalasha Abhisheka took place, thus consecrating the Naga idol with Mantra powers. Abhisheka, Archana, Puja and Maha Mangalarati took place. Sri. Gopalakrishna invoked serpent powers onto himself and pronounced that the "Naga" Devata is happy with the installation and will Bless Datta devotees at large.

Then, Sri Swamiji mentioned that in a vision that night (10th November), A Naga came and asked for the holes in the stone box (pedestal) to be made larger for easy movement. Sri Swamiji instructed accordingly.

At that time, a devotee, Nagaraj, who retired as a senior Bank official remembered an incident from 1966. The summary of the story is - Sri. Nagaraj had completed education in 1966 and was desperate for a good job. He had applied in many banks which were turned down. His desperation grew. After a few days, he applied for a position in a Bank and asked his father, late Sri T.S. Narayana Rao to take the job application to Sri Swamiji and get it Blessed. When Narayana Rao came to Ashrama, Sri Swamiji was sitting on Saraswati Peetha (where old Datta temple stood, presently Marakatha Simhasana room). A cobra was around Sri Swamiji's neck. Sri Swamiji summoned Narayana Rao and asked the reason for his visit. After explaining, Sri Swamiji asked the cobra to Bless the application. The cobra slithered from the neck and touched the application with its head and Blessed it. Sri. Nagaraj got his job in a week. After narrating this incident, Sri.Nagaraj grew emotional and thanked Sri Swamiji for installing a Naga Shrine.

Later, Sri Swamiji asked devotees not to touch the shrine or the idol but offer respects and prayers from a distance.

Sri Swamiji planted two neem trees (first on the north side and then on the south side) of the shrine.

With this, the Naga Pratishtha program concluded.

Sri Guru Datta

Ashlesha Bali ritual on 10th November
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Vasuki Naga Devata drawn by hand using color Rangoli powder, turmeric powder and Kumkum
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Sri Swamiji at the Kalasha Puja - 11th Morning
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The Kalasha procession to Naga Devata idol
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Naga shrine in coconut grove. The shrine is under a old Peepul tree.
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The "Chitrakoota" Naga shrine
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Brahma Kalasha Abhisheka as part of consecration rituals of the Naga Devata
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Maha Mangala Arati
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Sri Swamiji worships at the shrine after Pujas
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Sri Swamiji garlands Sri. Sagri Gopala Krishna Samaka, the main priest
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Sri Samaka in a frenzied state of Naga Puja
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After the Pujas, Sri Swamiji was given this small Naga idol as Puja Prasad
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Final Prayers at the shrine
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Neem tree planting by Sri Swamiji
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