The Establishment and Development
of the Temple
In 1973, in the newly built house at Anton-Graff-Strasse 41 in Winterthur, a powerful Vedic temple, a Sarva Devata Temple for all forms of the Deity, beyond all religions, beliefs and dogmas, was established.
In autumn 1973, the first worship ceremony (Puja) was celebrated in the presence of Sri Swami Omkarananda, and in March 1974 the first fire ceremony (Yajna) was performed by an Indian Rig Vedic scholar and priest Vasant Vishnu Shastri Panshikar (Pandit Abaji).
Later on, the Omkarananda Order of Sannyasa was established, and the Akhanda Havana, the 24-hour prayer in front of the holy fire was initiated.
In June 1975, on the ground floor of the house, another temple, the Veda Mandir, was built with two large Havana Kundas. Special Pujas, Havanas as well as Bhajans and Kirtans are regularly performed in this Temple. For many years, the Akhanda Mahamrityunjaya Mantra was continuously repeated here for the benefit of all mankind.
On 16th February 1976, an Indian Priest conducted the instalment rites for the first Shivalingam, named Omkareshwar. Since then, daily Abhisheka (worship ceremony) is performed here.
Gradually, individual shrines for Ganesha, Devi, Shiva, Radha and Krishna, Vedamata Gayatri, Ram-Parivar, Venkateshvara and Padmavati, Murugan, Shirdi Sai Baba, Dattatreya and more have been introduced. At the entrance, visitors are welcomed by Buddha and Mary.
In the year 2000, the Veda Mandir also became the Mahasamadhi shrine of our Gurudev Sri Swami Omkarananda, the founder of the ashram. The Veda Mandir is a place of deep inspiration and of silent, unbroken communication with God and Guru.
With time, more statues were donated by devotees and installed in the temple:
2006: Lord Shiva, Vedamata Gayatri and Jalaram Bapa
2007: Shirdi Sai Baba and Dattatreya
2009: Radha-Krishna and Ramparivar
2010: Lord Sri Jagannath, Sri Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Sudarshan Cakra – all inspired, donated and installed by Sri Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Debji, King of Puri (Orissa)
On 1st January 2010, a big Gayatri Homa was celebrated for the first time. Since then, it has become an ashram tradition to usher in the New Year with this Homa.
Since 2016, Sanskrit lessons for beginners and advanced students have been offered at the temple.
In July 2019, Sri Yogindra Bhat from Sri Krishna Vrindavan (USA) celebrated the Srinivasa (Balaji) Kalyanam for the first in Switzerland – in the lecture hall of Omkarananda Ashram.
In the Temple and also at your home, all traditional pujas and ceremonies can be celebrated on request: Grihapravesha (house initiation), Grihashanti (Ganesha, Lakshmi, Navagraha), Ayushya Homa, Satyanarayana Puja, and many more.
The meaning of yagna
Yagna is one of the most powerful and effective forms of adoration of the Divine. For thousands of years yagna has been practiced by the great saints and sages of India. An essential element of the yagna is the ritual fire – the divine Agni – into which oblations are poured, accompanied by the chanting of Vedic Mantras. Everything that is offered into the fire is believed to reach God immediately.
Swamiji describes yagna in his own words:
"The entire ritual is a non-physical, non-mental, supra-occult, mystical ritual. The uninitiated and the general public live under the illusion that it is just a physical act. The initiated person knows what it is, this yagna, this havana. It is a perpetual establishment of the inner consciousness in the infinite and the eternal, the timeless and the spaceless Reality called Maha-Tripurasundari. The very first condition for performance of this yagna is to go beyond the mind, to surrender the mind to the Divine Mother, the omnipresent, omniscient, transcendental Reality whose form is of the colour of the golden fire.
The devotee, with every mantra enters into a state of consciousness where the mind is not.
The physical fire has a subtle body, even as you have a subtle body. In the subtle body there is a centre of consciousness: Agni Devata. Through our special Vedic mantras we introduce prana into this fire, into this consciousness of the Divine in the fire, and we use the services of the Fire God to transmit our meditation to the Divine Mother’s Heart and finally we experience that the Divine Mother’s heart, our heart and the heart of the fire all are one and the same.
Everyone must be benefited. Every vedic Yagna has a selfless function. There is no selfish interest here. That is the precondition of performance of the yagna. All vedic yagnas are cosmic, universal, selfless, are for the welfare, vishvakalyana, that is welfare of the world, welfare of mankind, welfare of the cosmos, welfare of the stars, welfare of the whole universe, welfare of all universes, welfare of all manifestation. That is the first and primary aim and function of these Yagnas. All the yagnas are Vedic yagnas. Vedic yagnas have this purpose.
That is the meaning of havana."