Kashi Ashram Annual Pujas
There are 2o pujas held at Kashi every year. Pujas are a ritual prayer done with a specific focus. Some of the pujas celebrate Hindu gods or goddesses and are often scheduled around the lunar calendar and therefore the dates vary from year to year. Other pujas celebrate birthdays or commemorations and are typically held on the closest Saturday to that date. Check the Kashi calendar for specific dates.
Swami Bhagavati Das is Kashi’s head pujari. He has been performing pujas for many years and was taught by Ma Jaya personally. He also takes care of the Kashi temples. There are also other pujaris who lead pujas throughout the year (see below).
Donations and sponsorships
There is a suggested donation of $15 to attend a puja. There is a package price of $25 for dinner and puja (dinner is held at 5 pm at Laxman House). Each puja is also available for sponsorship which is a wonderful way to participate in the puja whether you are able to attend or not. Puja sponsorship is a way to dedicate a specific intention for a puja. Learn more.
What is a fire puja?
The most frequently performed pujas at Kashi are Fire Pujas, or hawans. They focus around a fire pit, or dhuni, which is beautifully decorated with colored sand for each puja. A pujari performs the puja, along with 3 or 4 assistants. During the ritual, the pujari offers a ladle of ghee, or clarified butter, and pours it on the fire, reciting one of the 108 names of the Mother. Everyone then throws in a handful of seeds into the fire as an offering, chanting Swaha, meaning “may it be so”. Thus we are able to throw away that which we no longer need.
Neem Karoli Baba’s Mahasamadhi Fire Puja
Baba or Maharaji is honored for his life and teachings of love and service. “Feed Everyone” are the words he used to express his desires to serve humanity. Neem Karoli Baba is Ma Jaya’s Guru and the Sat Guru of Kashi Ashram. Baba left his body – took his Mahasamadhi – on September 11, 1973. Performed by Swami Bhagavati Das at the Baba Temple.
Durga Puja – Fire Pujas
The annual celebration of the ten days of the Mother represent the goddesses Kali, Laxmi, Saraswati and Mother Durga. This time of Durga Puja is a deepening of one’s path to the heart. On the tenth day, Mother Durga is placed into the holy waters of the Ganga. She dissolves into the Ganga as she takes all that we do not need. The dates for Durga Puja vary from year to year since they are based on the lunar calendar. There is a fire puja for each of the 10 days of Durga Puja. There are several pujaris who lead pujas during this time: Swami Bhagavati Das, Swami Anjani, Swami Narayana, Swami Dhumavati, Vajra Hanuman Shakti and Baba Ram. Held at the Baba Temple.
Diwali Festival of Lights
This joyous holiday signifies the victory of our inner light. We open our lives to Mother Laxmi and create new beginnings for the coming year. This is a special celebration and puja (not a fire puja). Puja performed by Swami Krishnabai. Held at the Kashi Dattatreya Temple (indoors).
New Year’s Eve Fire Puja
We bring in the New Year with a fire puja, offering to the flames our prayers and wishes for the upcoming year. Performed by Swami Bhagavati Das at the Baba Temple.
Shiva Ratri Fire Puja
Celebrating the night of Lord Shiva. This great yogi grants love and protection to all. This night is considered to be one of the holiest nights of the year. Performed by Swami Bhagavati Das at the Baba Temple.
Swami Nityananda’s Birthday Puja
On this night we celebrate the birth of Swami Nityananda, Ma’s first teacher and great Indian Saint. This message of love and heartfelt clarity are available to all of us. Puja led by Swami Madhava at the Nityananda Temple.
Hanuman Jayanti Fire Puja
Lord Hanuman, the god of humility and service is also known as an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Hanuman brings joy and happiness into the hearts of humanity. Performed by Swami Anjani at the Hanuman Temple.
Ma Jaya’s Mahasamadhi Fire Puja
At this time we commemorate the life of Ma Jaya, the founder of Kashi. We celebrate the teachings that she brought us and the community that she nurtured for 36 years. Performed by Swami Bhagavati Das at the Baba Temple.
Ma Jaya’s Birthday Fire Puja
This night is filled with the magic of the Mother. As the evening falls, the dhuni fire sparks the flame of love in our hearts. At this time we honor Ma Jaya’s birth and celebrate with deep gratitude for all that we have been given. Performed by Swami Bhagavati Das at the Baba Temple.
In this Puja we honor the Guru who holds the most essential place in the heart of the devotee. In keeping with the ancient Hindu tradition a puja is done to the feet of the Guru. This is a day of great gratitude and respect. Performed by Swami Bhagavati Das at the Kashi Dattatreya Temple (indoors). To attend this event and/or sponsor this puja, click here.