Date : 14 Feb 2018
Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya, Chinmaya Mission Houston (CMH), once again became the spiritual epicenter for the Mahasivaratri celebrations of the Greater Houston Hindu community on February 13th, 2018. Mahasivaratri, the great celebration of Lord Siva who is the very embodiment of Consciousness and auspiciousness, elevates every spiritual seeker to a higher level of contemplation. So, despite it being a weekday, hundreds of devout devotees streamed into the Sivalaya for a darshan. They also had an opportunity to perform kshirabhisheka (milk offering) to the utsav murti, throughout the day.
The temple priest, Sri Ganesh Satyanarayanaji, led the puja and the atmosphere was replete with continuous, powerful Vedic chanting. The grandeur of the Mahanyasa purvaka Rudrabhiseka performed that Tuesday morning was matched by the glory of the Laghunyasa purvaka Ekadasa Rudrabhiseka conducted in the evening. Watching the different offerings made to the resplendent Sivalinga during the abhisekams was an open passport to all for a soul-stirring spiritual journey. The Sri Rudram – Chamakam and Namakam chanted during the whole day ushered in the aura of the Vedic past. The Sivalaya at Chinmaya Prabha Houston provided the opportunity to the public for personal spiritual interaction through the various pujas.
The cold, mist-filled day seemed a perfect fit to the theme of the mini Kailas set up in the temple basement; as eager devotees lined up to worship with their own chance to do abhiseka at that altar, it felt as though each was teleported to that mystic abode of Lord Siva. Against the horizon, the main Sivalinga- shaped temple was brightly lit to capture the glowing spirit of the day. When the pujas for the day concluded with aarti, the most awaited part of the auspicious evening arrived – an hour of silent meditation that reminded the bhaktas, the true nature of Siva who is above all expression. That silence and bliss and provided a deeper meaning to the daylong events.
The holy celebrations began even a weekend prior when Brahmacarini Shweta Chaitanya inspired the minds of the Chinmaya Mission members by giving an elaborate insight into the significance of Mahasivaratri and the glory of the Siva Manasa Puja. Continuing that trend of spiritual upliftment, the festivities of Sivaratri concluded with the Mahamrtyunjaya Homa at Chinmaya Smriti on Saturday, February 17, when hundreds of people gathered to chant the potent Mrtyunjaya Mantra 108 times for the physical and spiritual well-being of family and friends. Every year, this time of collective prayer leaves all those who participate overwhelmed by the power of those deeply healing spiritual vibrations.
One cannot escape the wonderment of how CMH pulls off such a feat every year – a majestic reminder of the spiritual legacy left by Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayanandaji ably carried on by the resident acharyas – Gaurang and Darshana Nanavaty, fondly known as Uncle and Aunty to all. The magic lies in the dozens of volunteers who eagerly offer themselves for seva. CMH volunteers once again sparkled as they translated the spirit of Sanatana Dharma into practical action on a grand, auspicious scale.
For more information on Chinmaya Mission Houston, Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya and its activities visit www.chinmayahouston.org, www.saumyakasi.org or call temple 281 568 1690 or Jay Deshmukh 832 541 0059 or Bharati Sutaria 281-933-0233
Photos by Rajesh Thatte