Priest Services

Please contact Balaji Atyam by phone or text at (512) 297-3746 or email with details to balaji_atyam@hotmail.com to schedule your pooja. He will work with the priest to establish a good “muhurtha” (time) for your event.

Abhishekams 2KalyanamsFor outside services, it is customary to pay Priest dakshina directly, including vehicle and travel costs.  Temple payment must be given on the day of or before the service is conducted by the priest.

Why Priest Services?

The rishis, saints and sages identified several problems common to most humans.  These are EDUCATION, HEALTH, FAMILY RELATIONS, AND JOB/MONEY.  We all know that through our own effort we can change our destiny.  Still, sometimes we find two people with similar family, education, resources, etc., have different success.  Why?  The rishis, saints and sages determined that past good and bad karmas also determine our success in life.

To rid the people of bad karmas and troubles, and to awaken the good karmas, the rishis, saints and sages came up with formulas derived from the Vedas to bring  success in life.  The purpose was not only to bring benefits like good job, good spouse, good health, etc., but to free up a person’s time to think of God.  The “yagnas” (sacrifices) were devised so that people might have more time to find God.

Types of Poojas Performed by Temple Priests at the Temple or in Devotee’s Homes

Archana. This is a simple ceremony where the priest makes offering to God on behalf of the devotee.  The 108 names of God are chanted, fruit is offered on behalf of the devotee.  Typically, archana is performed to Sai Baba in the Sai Baba Temple, and to Lord Venkateswara in the Lord Venkateswara Temple.  Devotees can also do archana to any of the other idols in the Temples.

Abhishekam. Abhishekam is performed to all the gods in the Sri Venkateswara and Sai Baba Temple each week.  Water abhishekam is poured as a bath for the idol (which is considered the living god), followed by alankaram (dressing of the idol).  Abhishekam generally includes at least five substances, called panchamritam (five nectars). These are milk, curd (yogurt), sugar, honey, and ghee (clarified butter).  Sometimes juice, holy ash, or other substances are also poured over the deity while sacred mantras are chanted.  The abhishekam and mantras energize the idol, and a breeze of purification enters the room while abhishekam occurs.  Afterwards, the devotees sip the “tirtham” (liquids offered over the idol).  Shiva loves abhishekam, and the Sahasra Lingam receives water abhishekam every morning.

Devotees can sponsor abhishekam at their home or at the temple.  Talk to a priest about how long it will take, etc.

Havan (homa).  Havan is the most powerful type of worship.  In havan, sacred mantras are chanted while ghee (clarified butter) is offered into the sacred fire.  The Sai Temple has a special homa kunda constructed just for this purpose.  Ghee is a form of concentrated solar energy.  What happens is this.  The Sun shines on the Earth.  The grass grows. The cow eats the grass.  The grass is digested and refined into milk.  The milk is refined into butter. The butter is further refined into ghee, a golden substance with the color of the Sun.

When the priest chants a mantra and then says “svaha” (I offer this), the ghee is dropped into the sacred fire.  There is an explosion of solar energy as it hits the fire. This broadcasts the mantra outinto the universe, like a radio tower. The vibration of the mantra, whatever it is, is sent into the cosmos and is reflected back on those participating in the havan.  If Mahalakshmi mantras are chanted, the influence of spiritual and material prosperity is created.  If Gayatri mantra is chanted, it brings the influence of wisdom.  If Mahamritunjaya mantra is chanted, it brings good health.  And so forth.  You can sponsor havans at the Temple or at your home.  Because of the difficulties of having a fire at home, most devotees prefer to do havan at the Temple.

Poojas.  There are poojas to all the the different gods.  Pooja is like you are inviting a guest to your house.  In this case, the guest is God.  When a guest comes, you offer them a chance to wash up, sip water, partake of some fruit, etc.  In the same way, 16 items are offered to God in a typical pooja. The poojas bring the influence of the god worshipped into the room.  People feel a refreshing atmosphere after a pooja.  The poojas can be used to remove negative influences from a home or someone’s life.  Poojas where a whole group of people perform pooja together are called “samuhika” poojas.  In these poojas, the priest guide each person or family through each step of the pooja, like offering light, incense, flowers, etc.   Poojas can be performed at home or in the Temple.  Many devotees perform puja themselves every day at their home alter.

Kalyanams.  The rishis cognized that everything is Brahman, everything is God.  How hard this is to understand!!!  The kalyanams are marriage ceremonies where the male and female aspects of God (purusha and prakriti) are wed.  This creates a wonderful wholeness, the completeness of god.  Many kalyanams are possible, such as Rama-Sita, Shiva – Parvati, etc.  Talk with your priest about performing this ceremony at the Temple or at your home.

Parayanas.  It is considered very auspicious to listen to the Vedas or Puranas recited.  Talk to a priest about having this done for you at the Temple or at your home.  Listening to the Vedas removes negativity in our mind and in our homes.  Popular are Bhagavad Gita parayana, Sundarkand parayana (story of Hanuman in Lanka), Bhagavad Gita parayana, and recitation of sections of the Vedas.

Most Popular Poojas

Anjaneya Worship.  Anjaneya (Hanuman) worship is believed to bring strength and courage.  Devotees can perform Hanuman archana, abhishekam, or havan.  Many devotees enjoy chanting Hanuman Chalisa, 40 verses in praise of Hanuman composed by Saint Tulsidas.

Ganapati Pooja, Abhishekam, or Homa.  In many popular Hindu traditions, Ganapati is invoked before other gods.  This is to remove obstacles.  Ganapati is said to hold both a noose and a goad.  With the influence of Ganapati, if we are going in the wrong direction, he will use the noose to hold us back. If he wants us to move faster in the right direction, he will use his goad to move us forward. It is thought that Ganapati is very close to the human plane and is easily available to help us. We cannot reach the higher energies of the other gods without his blessing.  That is why he is always worshipped first.

Satyanarayana Pooja.  This pooja is performed once a month in the Sri Venkateswara Temple. Devotees will also include the Satyanarayana Pooja along with other events such as house warming in their homes.  In the Satyanarayana Pooja, the priest directs the devotee on how to perform the pooja.  Families like this element of participation.  The Satyanarayana Pooja is said to be good for bringing “wish fulfillment”.  It includes worship of Ganapati, the Navagrahas (nine planets) and Lord Satyanarayana, followed by the reading of stories of Lord Satyanarayana.  Shirdi Sai Baba devotees sometimes perform a variant of this pooja with stories of Sai Baba.

Rudra Abhishekam. Vishnu is said to favor worship by Pooja.  Lord Shiva, in the form of the Shiva lingam, prefers worship with liquids (abhishekam).  This is done while the Vedic hymns Rudra Namakam and Chamakam are chanted.  This can be done at the Temple or in a devotee’s home. Shiva’s favorite number is said to be 11, and it is considered very auspicious to have the priest(s) chant Rudra Namakam in one’s home 11X.  At the same time, the priest or the devotee can worship the lingam by doing abhishekam.  Rudra abhishekam is considered very auspicious and a remedy for all problems.  It is specially good for health.

Ayush Homa.  This is a relatively short homa, making it good for children with short attention spans.  “Ayus” means life, and this homa is thought to bestow long life.

Lakshmi – Kubera Homa. Mahalakshmi is the goddess of spiritual and material wealth. Kubera is the Lord of material wealth. This homa invokes the goddess to bring prosperity.

Gayatri homa. This homa involves chanting of the famous Gayatri mantra.  It brings wisdom and success in learning.

Saraswati pooja.  At the beginning of the school year, the temple usually offers this samuhika puja to students to invoke Saraswati, goddess of learning.  It can also be performed privately at home. When a child is three years old or so, the priest will take a small stick and “write” a letter from the Sanskrit alphabet on the child’s tongue.

Shanti Pooja or Homa.  This puja is performed for peace.

Navagraha Pooja, Abhishekam, or Homa.  The Navagrahas, popularly called the “nine planets” are thought to deliver most of the karma in a person’s life.  During the Navagraha Pooja, abhishekam, or homa all nine planets are propitiated. This is thought to be a remedy for all types of karmic problems.

Chandi Homa. This yagna invokes Goddess Chandi, thought to be the Supreme Force in the Universe.  Like Ganapati yagna, this yagna brings about the removal of obstacles. While Ganapati’s changes are gradual and gentle, this yagna often brings sudden and dramatic changes.  It is a good remedy for family problems and to resolve disputes.

Mahamritunjaya Homa.  Along with Gayatri, Mahamritunjaya is thought to be one of the top mantras in the Veda. It is a prayer to Lord Shiva to separate us from death. It is most often used for good health.

Manyu Homa. In this homa, powerful mantras are used to control anger and disputes. It is used to control terrorism, and to settle legal problems.

Sudarshana Homa. This homa invokes the sudarshana chakra, said to be Vishnu’s weapon.  It is said to bring good health, especially to the eyes.

Vishnu or Rama Homa. This homa is said to bring peace, enlightenment, and help one behave righteously and obtain wealth and fame through righteous means.

Sani Abhishekam and Homa.  This homa to the planet Saturn removes difficulties and slow moving karmas.  Sani is said to be fond of til (sesame) oil.   Devotees can pour til oil over an idol of Sani and circumambulate the idol on Saturday’s next to the Navagraha shrine at the back of the Sai Baba Temple.  (Please do not pour oil on the Sani in the Navagraha Building).

Graha and Nakshatra Yagnas.  Some of the priests are expert jyotishis (astrologers) and diagnose difficulties coming from various grahas.  These are sometimes remedied through the various graha yagnas.  Talk to a priest about this.  In addition to grahas, karmas are also delivered by the 27 nakshatras, for which there are also yagnas.

Varuna Yagna.  This yagna is done to bring rain.

Citra Gupta Yagna.  The Citra Gupta is the Divine Accountant.  Performing this yagna can change our destiny.

Jyoti Yagna. In this yagna, we light 1008 oil lamps.  It emblazes our sins and brings enlightenment.

Putra Kameshthi Yagna.  To bring good progeny.

These are a sampling of the many yagnas available from Temple priests.

 MORE YAGNAS & BENEFITS                                                                 

Name of the Yagnam Presiding Deity Purpose And Result Of The Yagnam
Aditi Yagna Divine Mother of Angels Gratification of food
Aditya Yagna Divine Energy of Sun Good health, inner peace, promotes the feeling of oneness among all, for the Sun rules over the eye
Agni Yagna Divine Energy of Fire Health and spiritual wisdom
Akasa, Bhoomi Yagna Sky and Earth Dignity
Anjaneya Yagna Hanuman Strength, success, and fearlessness
Aswini Devata Yagna Divine Physicians Health and longevity
Bhoomi Yagna Earth Wholesome prosperity (Pushti)
Bhagavadgeetha Yagna Lord Krishna Mental equanimity and liberation
Brahma Yagna Creator: Four-Headed God Spiritual splendor and absolute power
Brihaspati Yagna Jupiter, presides over Intellect Establishes cordiality  and harmony
Budha Yagna Mercury Relieves suffering due to lack of intelligence and IQ and promotes them
Dakshadi Prajapati Yagna Divine Progenitor Develops progeny
Durga Yagna Durga, the Mother Goddess Harmony in family, marriage and relationships; increases potency
Ganesa Yagna Energy of Wisdom Removes obstacles both in the material and spiritual paths
Chandra Yagnam Moon Pleasure, mental peace (eases mental worries and fickle mindedness)
Chitra Gupta Yagnam Divine Accountant Changes the destiny
Gandharva yagnam Energy of Music Beauty
Ganga/ Varuna Yagnam Energy of Water Rain during drought conditions; wealth, progeny, fame and affluence
Gayatri Yagnam Energy of Creativity Brings about radiance, wisdom, creativity, educational success and a nature that befriends the humanity
Indra Yagnam Indra (rules over the hand) Team spirit, sturdiness of senses communion of human labor for the progress of the individual and of the society
Jyothi Yagnam Light 1008 Lamps Emblazes sin, bestows success and liberation by enlightenment.
Kubera Yagnam Energy (for underground minerals ,Oil & Gas) Brings in material success wealth through oil, minerals, and underground resources
Kuja/ angaraka/

Mangala Yagnam

Planet Mars Mitigates all sorts of quarrels including those inflicted by marriage and off springs
Mahalakshmi Yagnam Energy of  Wealth Financial abundance, job security and debt-free life
Mrityunjaya Yagnam Energy of Longevity Prevents untimely death, promotes health, and longer life
Manyu Yagnam Energy to manage Anger & Disputes Settles legal battles and litigations
Manuroopa  Devata Yagnam 1st Couple of Creation To become the king or a ruler

(Satarupa & Kardama prajapathi)

Marudganamula Yagnam 49 Winds Physical and mental vigor; eases global warming
Mandukya Yagnam Energy for the Welfare of Water Kingdom For rain and welfare of frogs, turtles, fish etc. of water kingdom
Nakshatra Yagnam Energy of 27 Stars Beacons of light energy to alter the path of life
Navagraha Yagnam 9 Planets Helps to overcome all kinds of difficulties/obstacles that hinder individual advancement
Om Yagnam Energy of Omnipresent Mental strength and self-realization
Pitrudevata Yagnam Fore – fathers For a heir or offspring
Prachetasa Yagnam Divine Debt Collectors To recover money that’s been given in loan
Putrakameshti Yagnam Energy for Progeny Begets a child to continue heredity and remove the negative effects for conceptions
Raksha  Yagnam Energy of Protection Wards off jealousy
Rudra Yagnam

  -Ekadasa Rudra Yagnam

  -Maha  Rudra Yagnam

  –Ati Rudram Maha Yagnam

Lord Siva

11 Priests  1 day

121 Priests 1 day

121 Priests 11days

For good health; to cure serious ailments like cancer, AIDS etc. Best of all Yagnas. Energy of Peaceful Atoms.  Nuclear Energy.

Cleanses consciousness in all levels of creation.

Sandhya Yagnam Energy of  Twilight Welfare of the nation and its people
Sani Yagnam Energy of Saturn Relieves depression, suicidal tendencies, and negative thoughts and prevents un-timely death
Saraswati Yagnam Energy of Knowledge.

Spiritual & Material sciences

Academic and educational success, spiritual knowledge  Awakens compassion & altruistic love
Siva yagnam Energy of Auspicious Spiritual wisdom
Subrahmanya yagnam Divine Energy to fight Evil Energy Prevents miscarriages, solves conflicts among the children, helps singles get married and relieves ear aches
Sukra Yagnam Venus For material, sensual pleasures
Surabhi /Kamadhenu Yagnam Cow Fulfillment of all wishes, welfare of the animal kingdom
Tulasi yagnam Basil – King of Plants Mental peace, freedom from sin, soul liberation, welfare of the plant kingdom
Uma Yagnam Energy in Wed-lock Domestic bliss, To Find spouses
Urvasi Yagnam Energy of Beauty Conjugal Pleasure
Vanaspati yagnam Energy of Kingdom of Herbs, Plants & Forests Welfare of herbs, plants, trees and forests
Vasu Yagnam Energy of Wealth To secure gold
Varuna Yagnam Energy of Water Rain, Wealth &  Money
Vishnu/Rama/Sai Yagnam Universal Energy for Bliss Acquiring wealth righteously, self-realization enlightenment, fame & prosperity
Vishwa Devata Yagnam Energy of Universal Bankers To become a ruler (president, senator, representative etc.)
Yaksha Yagnam Energy of Genii Provides protection and a sense of security