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Chinmaya Prabha rejoices in a unique dual celebration

Photos by Jayesh Mistry and Rajesh Thatte

by Padmashree Rao

SUGAR LAND – The Hindu way of life is marked by the constant remembrance of the ever present Divine through meaningful rituals such as japa, puja, and homa. Hindu Dharma infuses the celebration of every stage of life with inspired prayers and incessant gratitude. With that as the thematic backdrop, the huge Chinmaya family of Houston came together on the weekend of November 12 -13, 2016, to invoke the auspicious and cherish the revered in a unique dual celebration.
The rare Sata Sahasra Rudraksa Puja that reverberated in the hall of Chinmaya Smriti will be etched in the memories of the almost thousand devotees who came on November 12 which marked Shani Trayodasi of the holy Karthika month in the Hindu calendar. After the Ganapati puja and kalasha sthapana, the abhisekam to the special idol of Lord Siva amid the chanting of Sri Rudram mesmerized everyone. Then it was time to do the japa, “Om Namah Sivaya” with the special Japa malas received for the occasion. To witness the hundreds of devotees chant with the japa malas in their hands, eyes closed and minds harnessed, was an unforgettable moment. Almost 200 children did their own japa of “Om Namah Sivaya,” holding ever so preciously their own little japa malas with earnest reverence. After the intense japa, all the almost 2000 japa malas adorned the idol of Lord Siva as the devotees chanted the Siva Sahasranamavali in harmonious unison. The japa malas were left overnight on the main Sivalinga in Saumyakasi Sivalaya, to accrue more auspiciousness.

On the next morning of Nov.13th (Sunday), the huge Chinmaya family gathered again to specially conduct the Bhima Ratha Santi homam for the 70th birthday milestone of their beloved Acaryas – Sri Gaurangbhai and Smt. Darshanaben Nanavaty – as celebrated in the traditional Hindu way. Invoking God’s Grace and the blessings of the Chinmaya Guru Parampara, several homas were performed in the very space that had been specially sanctified by the glorious Rudraksa puja done the previous day. Sri Ganeshji , the priest of Saumyakasi Sivalaya, and Sri Raghuram Bhatt of Sri Krishna Vrundavana masterfully led the rituals. As the homas concluded and the holy waters from the kalashas were sprinkled on the Acaryas, adored as Gaurang Uncle and Darshana Aunty, prayers were offered for their well-being in their years ahead together.

Devotees performing the Siva Sastra Naam Puja at Chinmaya Mission.

Devotees performing the Siva Sastra Naam Puja at Chinmaya Mission.

What followed after the homas was a delightful ceremony where Uncle and Aunty were showered with joyful affection by their huge Chinmaya family. It was evident that their life together had touched hundreds of hearts in Houston. So, even when Chinmaya Smriti overflowed with music, dance, and all expressions of love for the Acaryas, it could still not express fully the gratitude and appreciation for their thirty-three years of dedication to Chinmaya Mission Houston. The ceremony was a touching thanksgiving offered for the decades of the guiding companionship of the Acaryas. Accepting that, Uncle and Aunty credited everything to the Grace and blessings of Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda and the good fortune of tireless team of Chinmaya volunteers.
For more information on Chinmaya Mission Houston and its activities visit www.chinmayahouston.org or Jay Deshmukh 832-541-0059 or Bharati Sutaria 281-933-0233.

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