Somayaji Suhota Deepak Apte's memories flash back to his childhood at 11 years of age when he saw his grandfather conduct Som Yag Yadnya for more than 30 minute and soon after he saw rain as an effect of the vibrations.
Som Yag Yadnya is a ritual of offerings accompanied by chanting of Vedic mantras derived from the practice in Vedic times. Somayaji is a title for those who perform the Somayaga srauta ritual, or descendants of such people.
YADNYAS IN GOA
As far as Apte's knowledge is concerned, the first such yadnya in Goa was held in 1995 in Mapusa and the second one in 2017, also in the same city. He is all excited to be part of the yadnya being organised by Sakal Group, again in Mapusa, from February 5 to 10, 2023.
"Prior to 1995 for 200 years or so there is no record of any yadnya being performed in Goa," Apte said. He is among the 17 priests who will take part in the yadnya rituals on all six days near the Bodgeshwar temple in Mapusa. The 17 priests will be accompanied by 17 rutvij (who accompany the priests) to help them perform the rituals.
SHARING HIS EXPERIENCE
Sharing his experience of performing yadnya, he recalled May 2018 in Akkalkot in Solapur, Maharashtra. "It was drizzling when the yadnya started from day one and on the fifth day it started pouring heavily. I had never seen such rain even in the monsoon season in Goa," he narrated.
Is there any scientific correlation between the rain and yadnya? Apte said, "There needs to be a deeper scientific study to understand whether the Vedic chanting makes a difference. Seventy-five per cent of the time when yadnya has been performed, it has rained. This could be true as I have experienced this even with my grandfather."
INFLUENCED BY GRANDFATHER
"I am greatly influenced by my grandfather, Deepak Mahadev Apte (Sakha), whose yadnya even brought rain. I saw it when I was 11 years old," he reminisced.
Who all are qualified to perform yadnyas? According to Apte, one has to undergo studies for 15 years. He has studied at the Shankar Patshala at Kavlem, Ponda, which is the oldest training institute in Goa. One starts studying at the age of 7 and finishes by 22.
Apte said Somyag is like a lifetime achievement award that very few get. "It is not only about the cleansing of the environment, but also the inner being. It is about mind, body and soul," he added.
VERY LIMITED KNOWLEDGE
Apte rued that knowledge about Somyag Yadnya is very limited in Goa. "Yadnya is not about any religion or religious beliefs, it is entirely to do with spirituality. Anyone can attend the yadnya and all are treated equally," he said.
"It is a very serious ritual because those who are tasked with it have to fast prior to the beginning of the cleansing process. For around 6 days, a Somayaji will only have water or lime and no solid food," he informed.
Apte said the ceremony to watch out for is Pravargya which will be held twice a day on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th days. The ghee-induced fire during this ceremony will rise up to 25 to 30 feet, he said.
He remains optimistic that the yadnya to be performed for six days in Mapusa will have a positive impact on the environment and the same will remain for a long time.