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‘Sri Lalitha Koti Nama Parayana’ Celebrations At HTA
BY MAHADEV DESAI
The Hindu Temple of Atlanta organized the spiritually suffused, ritual-studded Sri Lalitha Koti Nama Parayana celebrations on November 6. Sri Sri Sri Viswayogi Viswamjee Maharaj, who is on a US tour and is currently in Atlanta, graced the celebrations with his august presence and presided over the purnahuti of the Parayana, followed with a spiritually elevating discourse. Thousands of devotees and visitors from all over the Southeast thronged the temple from as early as 6.30 a.m. to offer their prayers, witness the rich spectacle and relish the delicious maha-prasadam.
The idea of Sri Lalitha Koti Nama Parayana was conceived about six months ago. The Parayana was initiated with diligent planning, by forming a network of committed devotees in collaboration with the Hindu Temple of Atlanta. On the evening of September 27, the Siva Temple resonated with Sri Lalitha Sahasranama Parayana by over 300 ardent devotees. During the following forty days Laksh kumkumarchana was offered to Parvaathavardhini at the Temple. From 14th October onwards, Lalitha Sahasranama Homam and Tarpanam were conducted on every Saturday, with the help of priests Sri Srinivas Sarma,Sri Pavan Kumar,Sri Narsimha Murthy and Sri Sunder Group of volunteer priests. The network of organizers of the event, team leaders and devotees kept in constant communication with each other to ensure a spectacular climax on Sunday, November 6.
A huge tent was erected on the temple foreground under which the volunteers set up homa-kundas and imaginative, attractive and colorful display with an artistic blend of fruits, flowers, and other puja accessories. After preliminary puja, Sri Lalitha Sahasranama commenced at nine homa-kundas at 9.20 a.m. The temple’s resident priests, along with about one hundred devotees, assisted by volunteers who continuously replenished the homam offerings, conducted homams four times, chanting Vedic shlokas, in front of the consecrated fires. Simultaneously, tarpanams were conducted in the Yagasala. The homams were concluded with Rudrahomam and Parivar Devtha
At 11.30 a.m. the venerable Sri Sri Sri Viswayogi Viswamjee Maharaj, with a radiant smile was given a rousing reception, with a Purnakumbham, by the temple officers, priests and leading dignitaries.Swamiji was escorted inside the temples where he offered his prayers and also blessed his devotees. He was courteously seated on an ornate seat and greeted with an impressive Guru Puja.
Swamiji is known for his selfless service, compassion and unreserved love for all. Born in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, he is a spiritual humanist, an embodiment of the divine and unconditional love. He spreads the message of universal integration, peace, love and fraternity and in helping the poor and neglected members of the community
Swamiji blessed the Parayana and delivered his brief spiritual discourse, just before purnahuti.He congratulated the organizers for performing the archana and homams. He said that the temples, besides being energy centers where people can come to re-energize themselves through worship and darshan should now become centers to propagate ‘Sanathana Dharma’. “The eternal values of our dharma are universal and everyone, irrespective of their religion or nationality can benefit from them. Mutual love, respect and peaceful co-existence are most essential. ’Mathrudevo bhava’ and ‘Pithrudevo bhava ’are the very first declarations of Sanathana Dharma. All the sadhna and worship will be fruitless and meaningless if we do not respect and take care of our parents. He emphasized that one must keep all five mothers happy-Universal mother. Mother earth, mother nation, biological mother, and mother cow. “Let us make the mother planet an abode of peace. Natural calamities are caused by an imbalance in five elements-earth, water, fire, air and space. So let us strive to prevent pollution of the environment and promote our physical well-being through healthy lifestyle.”
After Maha Purnahuthi, Prakara Utsavam was done around the temple. The devotees carried the kalasams while circumambulating and then carried them inside the temple.Abhishekam was conducted with all the sanctified water from the kalasams.Suvasini Puja,Kanyaka Puja and DampathiPuja were done at the Temple. Maha Mangala Harathi was followed with delicious Teertha Prasadam served to all by the Food Committee team of Geeta Raghu, Ghanshyam Patel, Mrs.Parvathy Kancherla and other volunteers.
The attendees were treated to scintillating solo dances by Atlanta’s well-known Kuchipudi dance expert Sasikala Penumarthi and Anita Bhagavathula respectively.
The day concluded with Uma Maheswara Kalyanam.All who attended received the blessings of Sri Mata. The original plan and commitment was for parayana one crore times. But the final count exceeded to four and half crores.
HTA President Jayasree Moparthy effusively thanked all the participants and commented, “I am very happy that by Mata’s grace, we did it .This pooja sankalpam for world peace was conceived long time ago by Kusuma Kotte and I with other devotees, organized this pooja at HTA as cosponsors. It was spearheaded by Kusuma Kotte, Uma Ponangi,Rajyalakshmi Mohan, Sailaja Golli,Lakshmi Jonnallagadda and executed with the support of the temple executive committee, pooja committee Mrs. shymala Naidu, and of course hundreds of devotees who participated in chanting. The count was targeted at 1 crore, but by the time it finished it was 4.5 crores! My special thanks to
Ravi Ponangi, (India Tribune) , B.K. Mohan and Ravi Penumarthy for media coverage, for photography services and for web-broadcasting of the celebrations for people who couldn’t attend in person. I also wish to thank all the sponsors for their financial support and all the spouses who supported the event with their devotion and patience. Such was the devotional fervor and enthusiasm that they were chanting far late during the nights. That is what I would like to see continue.”
The festivities were truly awe-inspiring. Through such spectacular festivities, the iconic Hindu Temple is undoubtedly enriching the religious diversity and promoting international and multi-cultural image of Georgia.