Guest post by Richard Furlough.
What a gift Maharishi Ayurvedic Hospital in Delhi now provides by sponsoring five Vedic pandits to come daily and chant the Vedas in the more refined and correct way as recommended and taught by Maharishi. They live at the Maharishi ashram in Noida, and generally arrive around 10:30 each morning (except Sundays) to begin a 2-3 hour ceremony of honoring various aspects of creation through symbolic offerings and Sanskrit recitation of the Vedic scriptures.
These five young Brahmin men range in age from 23 to 32 and all began training under Maharishi’s guidance as young boys. (One must be born into the Brahmin caste of India in order to become a pandit and recite the Vedas.) Two of them have spent three years with the group of 600 up to 900 pandits in Maharishi Vedic City, Iowa.
The largest group of Maharishi Vedic pandits numbers in the thousands at the brahmasthan (geographic center) of India south of Jabalpur in the state of Madhya Pradesh where they live and perform daily rudrabhishek in large groups for the welfare of the entire world.
As soon as my morning panchakarma treatment is over at about 10:00, I go back to my room and shower, then I’m off to a nearby park to pick a tray of flowers. Of course, the pandits always bring plenty of flowers for the day’s ceremony, but it makes me feel good to play a small part, and the pandits are always delighted.
During the ceremony, one of the pandits serves as the leader, making the offerings and controlling the tempo of the recitation, while the other four assist in any way they can…it might be arranging trays of flowers and fruit, handing offerings to the leader, or whatever else is needed. The cooperation and respect between all members of the group is readily apparent.
During my first few visits, I was torn between keeping my eyes open to watch what the pandits were doing or closing them and letting the Sanskrit sounds wash over me. Now I prefer to close my eyes most of the time and experience what I call “lively transcendence”. The harmonies and volume rise and fall, ranging from ripples gently lapping the shore to waves crashing against the shore, and I experience bliss. There also seem to be some discordant parts during the recitation that I think are intentional and serve some purpose. When I open my eyes, the world around me is crystalline clear and glowing. Needless to say, I spend as much time as I am able listening to the pandits while they are here each day.
The pandits also perform special ceremonies for auspicious days in the Vedic calendar. We were able to participate in such ceremonies for Guru Purnima on July 22, and also for Shivaratri the first Monday in August (considered the month of Shiva).
How fortunate are these men in fulfilling their true dharma (righteous duty) in life. And how fortunate are we to have the opportunity to experience this fulfillment. Jai Guru Dev.
“The whole physical universe is the expression of Vedic sounds—Total Natural Law reverberates in these sounds. We want to establish and properly maintain in India several groups of 8,000 Vedic Pandits reciting these Vedic sounds to enliven the evolutionary power of Total Natural Law in every grain of creation to soothe our stress-ridden world and bring order to the disorderly state of world consciousness.” —Maharishi, January 22, 2003
Images: Photos courtesy of Richard Furlough.