Somayagam prelude ritual brings people of all walks, community

The country witnessed a rare if not maiden egalitarian congregation today when Hindu men and women of all communities performed a grand Vedic ritual, much to the appreciation of a vast crowd that watched the spectacle held in the run-up to a unique Somayagam next month.

Clad in white ethnic dress, fisher folk, small-time traders and labourers sat in neat rows along with conventionally upper-caste and financial elite sections of society at a festooned 2.5-acre ground in this city, as the Kasyapa Veda Research Foundation (KVRF) which is holding the February 13-19 Somayagam hosted a special agnihotram.

“We expected 1,008 people to perform the ritual, but more than 1,500 took part in it” organisers said Acharya M R Rajesh, who guided the ceremony and is head of the Kozhikode-based KVRF which is holding the week-long Somayagam from February 13. “Their ages ranged between 8 and 82.”

The two-hour forenoon ceremony at under a thatched pandal saw participation from people from Kasargod up north to Thiruvananthapuram down south. Former minister and parliamentarian M P Veerendra Kumar was among the dignitaries who led the scene lit up with 1,500-plus hawan kunds (pots of holy fire).

The Sunday’s event at Karaparamba was another effort by the foundation to blur caste-lines while spreading the spirit of heritage. “We put absolutely no bar on religion, gender, region or age. That is how I have taught them the essence of the four Vedas — Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva,” the Acharya said. “Grasping them doesn’t require any pedigree. All you need is earnestness to learn.”

The participants chanted mantras from Rigveda like Sanghatana sookta, Bhagya sookta (from the Yajur Veda), besides the Punyaha Vachanam, Swasti Vachanam and Shakteekaranam. Also, the participants performed special rituals such as Agni aadhaanam, Samidha daanam and Pancha Grutaahuthi and chant Prabhata-Pradosha mantras.

The venue virtually mirrored society. As he stood not far from eight-year-old Krishna Chandran performing the ritual, retired schoolmaster Balakrishna Kurup, 82, said he felt

gratified having participated in the agnihotram. “These were my most meaning moments in life,” he added, moist-eyed.

As for A K Arunesh, his wife Rooby and son Veda Pranav, being part of today’s ceremony was a red-letter day for the fisher-folk family from PuthiyappaCoast off this city. “The Acharya has inspired not just us, but several others from our community to perform Vedic rituals,” said Arunesh.

Far away from their hamlet, K Jayadharan Nair reached this city all the way from his native Thiruvananthapuram. “I wish my place too got a chance to host this kind of a ceremony,” said the farmer-trader.

Among others who performed the agnihotram were mason-milkman N Subrahmanian from Valamaruthur near Tirur in Malappuram district, quarry owner N Sudhakaran from Puthukad (Thrissur), veterinary surgeon Dr N Prabhakaran from Guruvayur, homemaker K Saraswathi from Tanur, toddy tapper Sajeev Kumar from Varapuzha (Ernakulam) and retired DySP P P Unnikrishnan.

Arun Prabhakaran of the 2006-founded KVRF said the agnihotra was conceived on classical vedic texts of Aswalayana Grihyasootra, Paraskara Grihyasootra and Gobhila Grihyashootra besides Thaitheeriya Aranyaka.

The ceremony started with a Pavitra Mangalya Homam.

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