This month, an eminent devotee of Ramanashram conducted the Athi Rudra Maha Yagnam in Tiruvannamalai. The venue of the Yagnam was the Oye Mantapam on Tiruvoodal street. Hundreds of talented brahmin priests well versed in vedic procedures and rituals took part in and performed this Athi Rudra yagnam with great devotion and power. A tremendous wave of sacred energy was created resultantly and the Mountain Arunachala and Lord Shiva himself seemed to be present at the chantings and listening to the Rudrams with intense pleasure.
As one is told, the Lord himself is a great fan of the Rudram chantings and this is one sure way to draw his interest and attention. Sage Satapatha in his treatise “Maharnava Karma Vipaka” listed four types of Abhisheka procedures compatible with Vedic and scriptural lore. They are Rudram, Ekadasa Rudram, Maha Rudram and Athi Rudram – each being more potent than the preceding one. Of these, the most potent form of Athi Rudram. It involves 14641 Rudrams (Rudram is a combination of Namakam and Chamakam given in Rudradhyayam in the 5th Prapathakam of the 4th Kanda of Krishna Yajur Veda Samhita). Namaka recited once along with recital of Chamaka once constitutes one Rudram. Recital of 11 Namakas along with one Anuvaka of Chamaka at the end of each Namaka, thus completing one Chamaka constitutes Ekadasa Rudram. Recital of 11 Ekadasa Rudrams is Laghu Rudram or Rudraikadasini. Recital of 11 Laghu Rudrams is one Maha Rudram. Recital of 11 Maha Rudrams is one Athi Rudram. Therefore, in Athi Rudram 14641 Rudrams include 14641 Namakams and 1331 Chamakams.
On the final day, at the culmination of the yagnam, the Pooranahruthi was performed and the sacred waters from the yagnam were transported in pots to the Ramanashram premises. Here an elaborate Abhishekam was performed over the Samadhis of Sri Ramana and his mother with the sacred waters. Devotees were caught in a surge of spiritual energy as the waters came cascading down the Lingams to the accompaniment of the resounding chantings of the Rudrams. This is indeed a rare spectacle and we are fortunate to live in Tiruvannamalai and witness such an ancient and sacred ritual being performed so beautifully according to the vedic tradition and in the holy presence of the Divine Mountain and Bhagavan Ramana.