BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE
Atlanta, GA, September 6, 2018: Shri Krishna Vrundavana temple (SKV) in Cumming performed a unique Ashlesha Bali with Mandala pooja on August 15, 2018 on the occasion of Naga Panchami. Naga Panchami is a traditional worship of the serpents observed by Hindus residing in India, Nepal and across the world.
The festival gets its name from the fact that the Snake-God (Naga) is celebrated on the fifth day (Panchami) of the moonlit fortnight of the Hindu month of Shravan (July /August). The serpent deity made of silver, stone wood or the painting of snakes are bathed in milk and water and offered milk, sweets, flowers, and lamps. Many legends in mythology are associated to the festival including Agni Purana, Skanda Purana, Narada Purana and Mahabharata.
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Snakes are believed to be powerful in Hindu mythology. The Ashlesha Bali is a special pooja performed by devotees to ward off Naaga / Sarpa Dosha. “Ashlesha is the Vedic name of Naga. Agama Granthas mention this pooja as a remedy for Naaga / Sarpa Dosha (which is sometimes indicated in the horoscope) and to please God Almighty Naaga-Antaryaami,” said Gokul Venkatesh, a devotee.
A striking, spectacular Mandala of Naaga including 72 squares and a Padma with the exact signs of Naagas was painted on the floor. The mandala was painted with 5 colors to signify the pancha (Five) Tatvas that are required for creation. Along with Sankarshana Pooja, priest Jayaprasad (JP) Aachar invoked the 8 Naaga Kulaadhipati’s and 72 Parivaara Naagas by chanting each name of Naaga Devata as described by Sri Vedavyasa in Mahaa Bhaarata. The ‘Kalpokta Pooja’ was then performed in detail along with Panchamruta Abhisheka followed by chanting of mantras. While chanting specific ‘Matras’ the Bali (Naivedya) was offered to each ‘Naaga Devata’ separately.
Several devotees took part in the pooja and received the blessings. “We were awestruck by the grandeur of the Mandala and the pooja,” said Venkatesh.
SKV Atlanta is among the six branches of Puthige Matha in USA. Pooja is offered daily to Udupi Shri Krishna, Shri Mukhyapraana Devaru and Shri Raghavendra Swamy. In addition to pooja, the priest also provides astrological and religious services at the temple or homes. Shri Shri 1008 Sugunendra Theertha Swamiji is the 29th Pointiff of Udupi Shri Puthige.
The temple celebrated Poorva, Madhya and Uttara Aaradhana on 27, 28 and 29th of August. Priest JP Aachar extended an open invitation to everyone for a grand all- day celebration on September 15th on the occasion of 347th Aaradhana Mahotsava of Shri Raghavendra Swamy at the S Convention Center in Cumming. You may check https://skvatlanta.org/ for details.