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Sacha Havan: A Universal Prayer

This ritual is presented first in its traditional form using Sanskrit, and then in a Westernized for using English. The latter can be used to train one in the meaning of the former, or can be used as-is.

Sacha Havan

A Universal Prayer

 

The havan or fire ceremony is an ancient ritual where prayers are offered into the fire which is considered the mouth of God. It is used as a symbol for complete transformation of the material into ether. This version of the Sacha Havan has been adapted for westerners by ShantiMayi from the more traditional Hindu ceremony. This is a prayer for the self realization of all beings. Let everyone realize their enlightenment, receiving the grace of God.

 

Items Needed

 

  • A havan kund which is made of copper, widely square shaped on top, narrowing in size towards the bottom, and is the vessel that contains the fire. If not available, one may create a container by building a brick base enclosed on four sides by several rows of bricks in a cleared space outdoors. (This can be sealed with cow dung or mud). Some other appropriate container, e.g. a new iron or stainless steel wok or hibachi, can also be used and should be purified first (sprinkled with Ganga water*). Make sure that there is good ventilation if the kund is used indoors. Raise the kund off the ground on bricks or flat rocks. This honors the sacredness of the kund, and also makes it easier to reach and work with the fire. Never place the kund directly on carpet or other material as that may burn and start a fire.
  • In Sacha Dham Ashram we use sacred cow dung as the fuel. It is taken from our cows, which are considered holy, and mixed with straw and prayers, patted into a large, flat pancake shape, then dried in the sun. Some places in the west also have access to cow dung used for havans. If not possible use small pieces of wood.
  • Camphor, ghee- amount depends on the length of the ceremony and fire size. Amounts needed may range from over 8 ounces and up (always have more than less ghee available). Small twigs, matches.
  • Appropriate size bowl for ghee, teaspoon for ghee. (If it’s a very large fire the teaspoon may be attached to a long stick)
  • Bricks, flat rocks or whatever is available to raise the ghee bowl and puja tray off the ground.
  • Not mandatory but helps to evoke a sacred environment is setting up an altar or puja area with pictures of ShantiMayi, Maharajji, the Sacha lineage, statues of deities: e.g. Ganesh, Medicine Buddha etc. Whatever objects are felt to be sacred can be brought here. Flowers and candles may adorn and honor the altar.
  • Sandalwood paste made by rubbing in a circular motion a piece of the wood on a flat stone wetted with Ganga water. Sandalwood powder diluted with the water can also be used. If not available sandalwood oil may be used. Amount needed depends on the number of people attending. A little goes a long way.
  • Puja tray placed within easy reach holding lights and offerings.
  • Offerings: 1. Small container and small spoon (in India these are usually copper or brass) for holding Ganga water. *If Ganga water is not available use accessible water and visualize drawing water out of the Ganges and placing it in your container. 2. Four flower heads. 3. Tiny bowl of sandalwood paste. 4. One or more sticks of incense and incense holder. 5. Small light made from cotton and ghee, or a small candle. 6. A bell.  7. Ghee lamp for the Arati with five lights, or a larger regular candle. 8. Small dish with sweets- possible mixture of sugar, rice, raisins, cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon.
  • A small thin stick for moving and rearranging the fire.
  • A hand towel, this can get messy sometimes.
  • A mala for counting recitations of mantras.
  • Prasad (divine gift of food, usually sweets) can be distributed after the ceremony if wished.

 

 

Preparing  for the Havan

 

Before performing any puja/ sacred ceremony you need to be bathed and dressed in clean clothes. The site of the havan should be cleaned and made inviting for guests who might join. All implements used should also be cleaned and purified prior to the ceremony.

 

Place the kund in a central location, easy to be seen by participants. Place your cushion or seat close enough so that it is easy to reach and work with the fire. Place around your seat in a way that is most convenient for you: a basket or some kind of container for the cow dung broken into pieces or a supply of wood, matches, the puja tray filled with the offerings and lights, the mala, a hand towel, and prasad ( always kept off the ground and covered for protection from ants if outside). Next to the kund place the bowl of ghee and the spoon. The ghee can either be melted before the havan on a stove or once the fire begins quickly place the bowl over it melting the ghee. Also have handy the thin stick for working with the fire. In the bottom of the kund you may build up the small twigs, scattering among them small pieces of camphor and wooden matches. If the ghee has already been melted, a few pieces of cow dung may be stood up surrounding the twigs, coating them with a few spoonfuls of ghee.

 

Introducing the Havan

 

When all the above mentioned has been put into place and the participants, if any, have  arrived, you may wish to explain the meaning of the havan to newcomers and have them look at the text in English. If the havan is being performed with a particular prayer in mind, e.g. the long Medicine Buddha Mantra for healing on all levels, you might wish to guide them in a brief meditation where they can become clear on their intention, or what blessing they wish. Names of people needing healing or prayers for them may be written on small slips of paper and folded. These may be collected in a bowl and when the long Medicine Buddha Mantra is chanted one paper is placed in the fire on each “SWAHA”. As you are already adding ghee at this time and holding the mala counting, you might ask someone else to sit close to the kund and place the papers in the fire. Explain that unless otherwise mentioned the following mantras are performed alone by the havan pujari.

 

Tending the Fire

 

The fire can now be lit, with the matches and camphor igniting the wood. This initial fire will then ignite the ghee which will then set off the cow dung or wood, whichever is used. During the havan whenever the syllables Swaha are chanted (usually at the end of a prayer or blessing) a few drops of ghee must be then added to the fire. This is feeding the fire. Swaha means “let it be” or that our prayer has been offered and is now relinquished to existence to manifest as it will. It is offering the prayer with an open hand, not grasping for results. There are many “Swahas” throughout the course of the havan, each Swaha receives a small spoonful of ghee. Guests also chant together with you for each “Swaha”. While adding ghee keeps the fire going you must also be aware of when it becomes necessary to add on fresh pieces of dung or wood. Sometimes more oxygen is required and pieces need to be moved around to open up the fire. If it appears to be going out fanning the embers can bring it back to life, but NEVER blow into the fire. Adding more ghee and lit matches also can help in those moments. With practice you can become adept at spooning ghee and feeding and arranging the fire with your right hand and counting mantra recitations on your mala with your left hand. By the time the Arati is finished the fire is no longer fed until the havan has concluded and all remaining ghee lights, incense and sweets are placed in the fire left to burn to ash.

 

 

1.  Purification Mantras

 

During the chanting, small spoonfuls of water are gently tossed out into the different directions around the havan site as an appeal to purify the area. On the last line, during the word 'suchi' empty one spoonful over your own head.

 

OM

APAVITRAHA

PAVITRO-VA

SARVA AVASTANGATO PI-VA

YAHA SMRET

PUNDARI KAMGACHAHA:

SA BAHYA-BYANTRAH

SUCHI

…………………………….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Sipping of water for inner purification, a spoon of water is in the right hand)

 

2.  OM KESHWAYA NAMAHA:

(sip)

OM MADHWAYA NAMAHA:

(sip)

OM NARAYANAYA NAMAHA:

 

                (sip)       

OM HRISHIKESHAYA NAMAHA:

(wash hands)

……………………………….

 

(Establishing the deities in the fire)

 

3.  OM AGNIM LAXMI NARAYANAYA ESTHAP’YAMI

(5 repetitions)

…………………………………..

 

Offering Mantras

 

Each of the following may be chanted 1, 3 or 5 times. Offerings should be made with the right hand, with the left hand touching the right hand or arm.

 

(Offerings to the fire and the deities)

 

4. OM SNANAM SAMARP’YAMI

(Cleansing and relaxing bath for the fire, a few drops sprinkled into the fire)

 

OM PUSHPAM SAMARP’YAMI

(Offer of flowers, place around the kund)

 

OM CHANDANAM SAMARP’YAMI

(Offer of sandalwood, tilak, flicking motion into the fire)

 

OM DOOPAM SAMARP’YAMI

(Offer of incense, gently wave around the fire)

 

OM DEEPAM DARSYAMI

(Offer of light, wave small light clockwise around the fire) 

 

Ring the bell with the right hand. This signifies a calling for all allies and guides to give support, and for all to Awaken.

 

  1. Ganesha Mantra

 

Om Parvati Pataye’

Hara hara hara Mahadev

Gajananam butam

Ganadi sevatam

Kapitha jambhu

Phalacharu bhakshanam

Uma sutam shoka

Vinasha karakam

Namami vigneshvara

Pada pankajam

 

6.  Sankulp

(Chant call and response while holding a spoonful of water in the right hand, or directly cupping the water in the palm of the right hand, the left hand is touching the right arm. After the last line release the water to the ground.)

 

He’ Paramatma apni jan kari

Tatha bhakti ka prakash karo

Avarandosh vikar ka ant karo

Annapurna Laxmi roopa ho kar

Sahej swa bhavik prakash karo

Tatha varanashram vedic

kramanusar

Strishti roop se vivashtitho

Iss prakar dhukantak khel ka anta

Sukantak khel ka prakash

Sarva sarvatra roop me ho kar

Sarva sarvatra roop ho kar karo

Apna Sankulp ap purna karo

Apna prakash ap karo

 

7.  OM SRI GANESHAYA NAMAHA SWAHA

(Offer oblation to Ganesh, 5 repetitions)

OM SRI GURUVE NAMAHA SWAHA

(Offer oblation to Guru, 5 repetitions)

 

8. OM AMBE’ AMBIKE’ AMBALIKE’

NAMANAYATI KASHCHANAHA

SASTYSWAKAHA SUBHADRIKAM KAMPEEL VASHNEEM SWAHA

(5 repetitions)

 

Everyone chants the mantras #9 through #12 together. 

 

9.  Gayatri Mantra  108x

OM BHUR BHUVAH SWAH

TAT SAVITUR VARENYAM BHARGO

DEVASYA DHEEMAHI DHIYO YONAH

PRACHODAYAAT SWAHA

 (Swaha is added at the end only during the havan)

 

*If this is a Medicine Buddha havan, chant the Gayatri 9x, then the long version of the

  Medicine Buddha Mantra 98x

 

OM NAMO BHAGAVATE BHAISHAJYA GURU VAIDURYA PRABHA RAJAYA TATHAGATAYA  ARHATE SAMYAKSAM BUDDHAYA TAYATA OM BEKHAJYE BEKHAJYE MAHA BEKHAJYE BEKHAJYE RAJAYA SAMUNGATE SVAHA

 

10.  TAYATA OM BEKANDZE BEKANDZE

MAHABEKANDZE RADZA SAMUDGATE’ SOHA

(14 repetitions)

 

If there are participants you can explain that you will first alone inwardly chant the Guru Mantra and then outwardly “SWAHA”. They will come in following you chanting inwardly the Guru Mantra (or OM SACHA if they wish) and then outwardly “SWAHA”. It moves very quickly and fluidly as a dance “SWAHA”, “SWAHA”, and so on with almost no gap between them. You are quickly adding ghee with your right hand almost continuously while counting on the mala with your left.

 

 

11. SEED Beej (Guru Mantra) 108x or OM SACHA - inwardly

 

12. GATE’ GATE’ PARAGATE’ PARASAMGATE’ BODHISWAHA (9 repetitions)

 

13.  OM TAT PURUSHAYA VIDMAHI

MAHA DEWAYA DEMAHI

TANO RUDRAH 

PRACHODAYAAT SWAHA:

(5 repetitions)

 

14.  OM JOONG SAHSWAHA

(5 repetitions)

 

15.    Arati

(The waving of the lights clockwise around the fire. Chanted call and response)

 

ARATI SRI SACHA SWAROOPA KI

APA ROOPA ADA BHODA

SWAROOPA KI

NIJA  BHODA ROOPA BHODA

SWAROOPA KI

PRAKRITI BHOOPA

PRARABDHA BHOOPA KI

PURUSHART BHOOPA

PURUSHART ROOPA KI

SWAYAM SWAROOPA KI

ARATI SRI SACHA SWAROOPA KI

ARATI NIJA SATYA SWAROOPA KI

ARATI SRI SACHA SWAROOPA KI

 

All chant #16 and #17 together

 

 

16.  OM SARBE BHAWANTU

SUKINAHA:

SARBE SANTU NIRAMAYA

SARBE BHADRANI PASHANTU

MAHA KASHID DUKHA

BHAG BHAVAET

 

17.  OM POORNAM IDAHA

POORNAM IDAM

POORNATH POORNAM

UDACHYATE

POORNASYA POORNAM

ADAYA

POORNAM EYVAVA

SHESHATE’

 

 

 

 

You chant the first parts of #18 alone and all come in with each “Jay Ho” or “Prakash Ho”

 

18.  OM SRI SACHA MAHA PREBHU KI    JAY HO

PARAMATMA KI   JAY HO

PARAMATMA KA

PRAKASH HO

ANNAPURNA LAXMI KA

PRAKASH HO

AGNIM LAXMI NARAYANAYA KI

JAY HO

AGNIM SWAROOPA KI

JAY HO

GURUDEV BHAGWAN KI

JAY HO

SRI SACHA MAHA PREBHU KI

JAY HO

 

You chant #19 alone. All chant #20

 

(Offerings to please Narayan and Laxmi. Gently toss small amounts of the sweets: sugar, rice etc. into the fire on each repetition)

19.  OM NARAYANA PAN MASTU

(5 repetitions)

 

20. OM SHANTI SHANTI SHANTI

 

Inwardly, a universal prayer for awakening humanity

 

With the ring finger of the right hand place a tiny amount of sandalwood paste on each person’s third eye (including yours). Prasad may then be distributed (with your right hand). Place the following in the fire: ghee lights, remaining incense, flowers, sweets. Allow the fire to burn down completely turning all to ash. When the ashes have cooled, those who wish may take them as a sacred remembrance of the havan, or the ashes may be sprinkled over a garden or in a body of water.  

 

 

 

 

 

*******************************

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.  All are blessed when remembering the lotus-eyed Vishnu, one becomes purified and fit to perform puja.

 

 

2.  We bow to Lord Vishnu in the form of Keshwa.

We bow to Lord Vishnu who killed the demon Madhu.

We bow to Lord Vishnu who reclines on a bed of Naga.

We bow to Lord Vishnu who is victorious over the senses.

 

 

3.  We request and establish Goddess Laxmi and Lord Narayanin, the form of Agnim by reciting this mantra.

 

 

4.  We offer the fire this gift of a cleansing and relaxing bath.

We offer the fire this gift of flowers.

We offer the fire this gift of

sandalwood paste.

We offer the fire incense for scent and purification of the atmosphere.

We offer the light as a medium between our heart, the fire and the heart of

all beings.

 

 

5.  Ganesha Mantra

 

O elephant-faced god, Ganesha

You are served by the attendants of Shiva and you eat forest apples and blackberries. You are Uma’s son, the destroyer of sorrows.

I bow to the lotus feet of

the remover of obstacles.

 

 

 

 

 

6.  Sankulp

 

Oh Lord wake up, shine your light of love and wisdom upon the Universe.

Remove ignorance, evil, and the

veil of illusion.

As goddess Laxmi, provide the

 food and plenty.

Fulfill the world with prosperity everywhere.

Establish harmony in society

according to the Vedas.

Withdraw the play of pain and

ignorance, and bring forth the joy of unity and understanding

among humanity,

within and without.

 

7.  I pour oblation for Sri Ganesh,

the Lord of Obstacles.

I pour oblation for the Blessing of the Guru upon this puja.

 

8.  Ambe’, Ambike’, Ambalike’ (three matrika shaktis), bless this havan.

Lift our prayers into Brahma Lok,

permeating consciousness

without hindrance.

We make offering to them.

 

9.  Gayatri Mantra

Throughout all realms of experience

‘That’ essential nature illuminating existence is the Adorable ONE.

May all beings perceive through subtle and meditative intellect,

the magnificent  brilliance of enlightened awareness.

 

Long version of the Medicine Buddha Mantra

Auspicious one! I prostrate to you, King of lapis lazuli, who has conquered the cycle of birth, aging, sickness and death, who has gone to the state of the Buddhas, the supreme physician, who is perfectly awakened, the enlightened One, Medicine Buddha, King of all physicians.

 

10. It is like this…do away with illness, do away with illness, do away with the great illness…ignorance of “Truth” Medicine Buddha, King beyond the highest, this prayer is relinquished to you

 

11. Seed Beej (Guru Mantra or Om Sacha)

 

12.  Go! Go! Beyond, beyond  the highest. Beyond the highest Reality,

Beyond the highest degrees of enlightenment.

 

13.  We pay respects to Rudrah

(the great god Shiva)

who appears as the cosmic man.

May the world receive his

benevolent blessing.

May he preserve in maintenance

God‘s light in the hearts of men,

and protect us.

 

14.  May we transcend death through divine understanding.

 

15.  Arati

 

I wave the light to the divine form of the venerable truth.

You are within all forms as the

divine form.

May our link never be broken.

The great truth is Self-realization, and is to be realized.

It is the master of nature. It is the master of all that is past and present in our lives.

It is the master of all activity.

The truth is all-encompassing and

everywhere at all times.

Let us wave the light to that truth.

Let us wave the light that we may realize God within ourselves.

 

16.  May all beings be happy

May existence supply their needs

May all find God from within.

 

17.  This is perfect   That is perfect

From the perfect springs the perfect

Take the perfect from the perfect

And only the perfect remains. (Perfect also means whole, complete, absolute)

 

 

18.  The Line of Victory

 

(We recognize and revere all who support our great work)

Victory to the great Truth,

God within you.

Victory to ‘That’ which is

beyond all limits.

 

19.  Offering of sweets for Narayan

and Laxmi

 

20.  In your life may there be

peace, peace, peace

 

 

 

 

*****************************

OM GAM Ganapatiye Namaha! OM DUM Durgaye Namaha!

Devi Spring, author and compiling editor. Copyright Devi Spring 2006.