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Jyotish Star of the Month
By Vachaspati Christina Collins
|Christina Collins: Please tell us, Pandit Samavedula, about your childhood and your beginnings in the Study of the Veda in South India? We understand that you are a 6th generation Sama Veda pandit and that you began your studies at the age of seven. Was your father your first teacher?|
So, that was my childhood and then I started Vedic studies from there, in Sanskrit and I used to study my normal studies also, I continued and did not give up other studies such as 1st grade, 2nd grade up to 10th grade, I did continue along with my Vedic studies, also.
Yes, and as you asked me about 6th generation, yes, because the Sama Vedic studies are coming in my family since many generations, so my father, my grandfather, my great grandfather, like that. My father also is my teacher, not in the Vedic studies but in the mantra Shastra, in Shri Vidya tradition. My grandfather was a teacher in my Vedic studies and my father was a teacher in mantra shastra and the Shri Vidya tradition.
Christina: When you perform Vedic ceremonies, and you define or explain it to students or clients, what do you tell them? Would you please explain to our reading public exactly what a yagya or vedic ceremony consists of, where they are performed, and how long they last?
Pt Samavedula: Yes, whenever we do perform Vedic ceremonies, we explain to our students and clients about the yagya fully, and we will answer every single question, whatever they have. Either me directly, I answer myself or my staff Mrs. Bhavani answers most of the questions directly to my clients. If she does not know the answer, she asks me to make sure she is delivering the right message to the client.
So explaining about the yagyas and ceremonies, first of all Ė all of these yagyas are performed in India, at my center in Vijayawada. I have a beautiful Vedic center there, a team of pandits there and if needed, we can get in a weekís time Ė three or four hundred pandits easily. So we have all those resources there. About explaining about the ceremony, the ceremonies are totally divine ceremonies and God driven ceremonies. Itís not something that Iím doing it or my staff is doing it, of course, we are all instruments to get things done, but I believe that every ceremony happens with the will of God.
And, even the client, paying money to get these yagyas done, everything connects with his karma, so I totally believe this yagya system totally works with the personís karma. However, to explain and to have a better understanding about these ceremonies, yagya the Sanskrit word, when you explain this word yagya. Yagya, many people think means only fire ceremonies, but itís not true.
Yagya consists of four steps which is Japa, Tarpana, Homa, and Dhana. And we add Abhisheka, sometimes during the process of the yagyas. And these yagyas have anywhere between one, two, four and maybe five pundits, it depends on the yagya needs Ė we use those pundits, and again, it also depends upon the number of days, how many days the person needs. That is also according to ashtakavarga, how many bindus are in the astrology Ė we calculate, and then we say, ďokay -- Saturn yagya, you may need this many cycles of the yagya, or this many cycles of other graha yagya. So every yagya is a different number of days. But any yagya we do, these yagyas are anywhere between two hours and eight hours. Almost a day long yagyas, sometimes, with a number of pundits also.
And my explanation about the yagya is: Yagya works like an umbrella in the rain. You cannot stop the rain, but you can stop getting wet yourself. That means, you cannot change the destiny whatever is written by the God, but you can change the impact of the destiny, whenever you are reaching to the destiny. For an example, if you are driving a car on the road and the weather report says, like an astrologer, how we warn to others, ďhey, this period is bad, this period is good Ė so you know, be very cautious.Ē So if they take our caution, they will take precautions, and they will be saved. If they donít take Ė itís their karma.
But, if letís say, it works like a weather report Ė weather reports says, ďhey, donít drive 100 mph speed on the highways, even though the speed limit is there, because the weather is bad. If we listen, we go 10 miles an hour, but if in our destiny, we need to meet in an accident, no one can save us from that accident. But, having an accident going 100 mph, and having an accident at 10 mph, has a big impact. A yagya will increase the strength, and it cuts down on the impact of whatever is happening. The outcome.
So yagya really helps, I say it many times, that a yagya is like a divine insurance, which we can get. And, that is the reason I offer many different kinds of yagyas services. One is daily yagyas, one is a custom yagyas, and another one is, we use a daily rudra, and rudra, Chandi yagyas. There are different programs for different categories of clients. You know, everybody is supposed to get help. No one should back off because of their financial situation, because everyone has the right to get the divine help. So, Iím trying to help as much as I can, Iíll try to help people. But again, Iím also a normal human, I need to live my life, so whatever I can help within my legitimate expenses, definitely Iíll try to do.
And, I will try to work with the client or student, with their own pricing also.
Christina: How old were you when you performed your first yagya?
Pt Samavedula: Well, this is another very important question in my life because I started my first yagya while I was a student Ė going with my teachers. So, I learned a lot at the time, meeting with many other of my teacherís friends and so on, so it gave me a lot of exposure. Because that is what in the Vedic system we learn, not just only study, but we study along with a practical experience. When we study along with the teacher, we go out to these yagyas, so we watch. So that is the one great thing, I started my first yagya, I joined with my teacher, as a student when I was eight or nine years old. In this picture with all the pandits, I am the smallest boy in the picture. That was my first yagya.
So after I completed my studies, I began leading myself, not just joining in the yagya, but leading myself in the yagya, in 1994, I believe, I performed a small yagya. But, real, big international yagya exposure came to me in July 1995, in Toronto, Canada. I did an inauguration of the Vishnu temple in Toronto. So that was my first kumbabishekam, ever.
Christina: Thank you! We understand that you currently are pioneering the building of a Hindu temple in California, how is that going?
Pt Samavedula: Well Christina, it is my dream project. Hopefully it will come true quickly, still we are fighting a lot about the building, because I donít want to compromise about the Vaastu of the building, and even though certain areas, we have to compromise, but in many areas I cannot. Number one is we are finding some buildings are either too expensive, or more than my budget, or the owners of the buildings are not willing to either leave themselves for the temple. So, still Iím struggling, I have not given up yet, so hopefully I will find the building soon and will share that happy news with you!
Christina: I understand that one of the ways that you raise funds for this great project is to do a series of yagyas to the different Goddesses, beginning every year in January. Could you tell us more about this, the sequence and how we can enroll to have personal yagyas done on a monthly basis?
Pt Samavedula: First of all Christina, yes I do the yagyas of course on an ongoing basis, but recently we started a new series of yagyas called the Dasha Mahavidya yagyas, and it was a great successful new series. It still is going on, we started around last March or April of this year, and then it will be concluding around March of next year. We will be starting again, the same series we will be renewing again, not in January, but in April which is the Vedic New Year. It is called Vasant Navaratri timing. [Editorís note the next Vasant Navaratri falls on April 8 2016]
And yes, to answer your questions, yes, this is the way I help my Vedic school. I am running a Vedic school in India, and so itís a great help to donate some money for the yagya, so that money can go for the yagya as well as to help the Vedic students. This month on October 26th 2015 is the next and more on the website www.vedicyagya.com where you can go to upcoming yagyas. There are very affordable prices. Around $97 an month or preferable you can go to the website and pay for a year at once and get an extra month when you pay annually. You can also order daily personal, business yagyas and more which you can see on my website.
Christina: I personally find the yagyas you very valuable both from my own experience with them, and with the reported experiences of my clients who I recommend to you. What is your opinion on other upayas or Vedic remedies, for example; individuals chanting mantras, or the wearing of gemstones?
Pt Samavedula: well, my opinion on these yagyas Christina, is that they are really helpful, definitely. I recommend them, and even though they do the yagya, definitely they need to do the mantra, chanting, or meditation, at least 20 minutes a day or twice a day, and wearing a gemstone is always helpful, as an additional to the yagya. However, donít forget, the yagya is the ultimate remedy. The remedy of the gemstone and the remedy of the mantra, will give you success. But, what kind of mantras, normally can people do? Prana mantras and bija mantras, but not the Vedic mantras Ė for those you need a special training. For that, you need to hire pandits. Regardless.
So, when I do a yagya for a client or a student, I involve them in such a way so that all the days, or number of days of yagyas, they are also involved indirectly from a distance. For example, when I am doing a yagya for someone, before the yagya I send them audio files, some chanting, with the instructions so they can learn the chant, and so they can listen to the chanting during the yagyas, and if needed, sometimes we give them very intensive mantras so these clients can chant either eleven times or 27 times . . . you know, I donít recommend doing a number of times, I just recommend going with the time, go 20 minutes. Because your mind wonít be on the mantra, your mind will be on the counting and you donít concentrate enough. So timing is always better. Even if they donít do 20 minutes, and they do 10 minutes also, constantly, thatís better. All of our yagyas work with the proper paperwork, so we send the paperwork to them. So, there is one other thing that I recommend people to do, and the mantras and audio file sending is my assistant Bharani will send and they have to follow instructions.
Of course the mantras will help, to answer your question, and gemstones, I also recommend to people. People should wear the right gemstones, and certified gemstones only. Donít just wear the gemstones for the sake of wearing gemstones. Wear the gemstone that works for you.
Christina: Thank you! You also perform Vedic ceremonies all over the world, please tell us some of the places you have visited?
Pt Samavedula: Itís a very stressful job when I travel, because travelling is one stress, and adjusting to the new atmosphere, and performing the yagya. Because when I perform the yagyas, it is elaborate work. I work with my mind and soul, so itís a lot of energy. Adjusting with the system over there, it takes a lot of time and a lot of my own energy. Well Iíve visited more than 30 countries so far, I believe. I lost count after some time because Iíve changed a lot of passports. Latvia, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Viet Nam, Qatar and some middle east countries, Bahrain, Guadalupe, Ireland, UK, France, you know and even more countries, even New Zealand, Australia.
You know, itís great to travel, but now I am really thinking I should show everything live from the US. That is another reason that I want to open another center and temple in California. So where I can sit one place and do things, and if people really have need, they can fly here. Unless it is really very important, I want to cut down my travelling, and concentrate and do my own sadhana also. Anyway, I really like travelling and everywhere I go, I really have a great welcome, and people are very great in every country, they take care of me very well. So thanks to every country, clients, whoever supported all along these years to me.
Christina: Yes, of course, and with todayís internet more and more we can all be connected without spending so much time travelling! Tell us, do you have children who will follow in your footsteps, or have begun training in your lineage?
Christina: Yes, I agree. My teacher Maharishi Mahesh Yogi used to say ďnature knows best how to organizeĒ and I try to live by ďlet go and let GodĒ myself. Now, you will be performing a Navagraha puja at the opening ceremonies of the Sedona Vedic Astrology Conference in Sedona, Arizona on the evening of November 20th. Then on Saturday morning you will be teaching the mantras of the 27 nakshatras of the moon. What all will you be covering in that lecture?
[Editorís note: Nakshatra, Lunar Mansion, Constellation are all synonymous.]
Pt Samavedula: Yes, Christina Iím doing a Navagraha puja at the opening ceremony of the Sedona Vedic Astrology Conference, I will be doing the total Nava Graha invocations in the puja and I will be explaining the meaning of each graha also. Sometimes we think these grahas are very far from us, but of course these grahas are every day in our life, so during the process of the puja I will be explaining a little bit about the puja and the next day I will be teaching the nakshatra workshop on the 27 nakshatras. What is the nakshatraís sign, what is the quality, along with the nakshatra mantras also. The Purana and the Vedic mantras. I will be teaching both mantras.
Christina: Sounds like a really interesting class! Thank you Panditji for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions today, as you prepare to travel to Japan! We are looking forward to meeting you at the conference!
Pt Samavedula: Thank you Christina, I really appreciate you and your interview, I am really looking forward to meeting you in the conference.
Pandit Sharma Samavedula Biography:
Pandit Sharma Samavedula was born in 1971 into a family of South Indian Brahmans. He is a 6th generation Sama Veda pandit who was trained in the Vedas beginning at age 7. He attended the Shri Sarva Raya Veda Patha Shala School in South India, and after 12 years of study, received his Masterís Degree in Vedic Studies (Ganapati Pandit).
From 1991 to 1995, he was a professor of Sama Veda at Maharishi Veda Vigyana Vishwa Vidya Peeth charitable trust, which trains Vedic Pandits throughout India.
From 1995 to 2001, he was a Vedic priest at temples in Toronto and Montreal, Canada and Cleveland, Ohio.
In 2002, he founded the Vedic Yagya Center located in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India and Fairfield, Iowa, which employs a core group of over 20 expert Vedic Pandits representing all 4 branches of the Vedas. His Center offers to individuals, organizations and businesses Vedic yagyas (sacred ceremonies), homams (ancient fire ceremonies), and pujas as prescribed in the Vedas and Shastras, the holy Indian scriptures. By utilizing the sound vibrations of specific Sanskrit mantras, these performances can help alleviate many problems of modern times.
In 2002, he and his father founded the Vydic Foundation of India, which is a charitable trust and school located in Kanchikacherla, Andhra Pradesh, India that trains Vedic Pandits. This school now has 40 students and 9 faculty (Vedic Acharyas). The Vedic Yagya Center supports the Vydic Foundation of India, which, besides operating the pandit training school, is also actively involved in feeding the poor.
For more information Pandit Samavedula can be reached through his website: http://vedicyagyacenter.com/about-us/ https://www.facebook.com/punditsamavedulaa?ref=hl
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