Photo credits - Ravi Sorab
Report by - Smt.Sabita Harite
Shree Mahalaxmi Temple at Bandivade, Ponda, looked all the more beautiful with decorations of colourful flowers, pandals and lights in its premises on May 3, 2012. It was the day of arrival of our Parama Poojya Shrimat Sadyojat Shankarashram Swamiji on invitation from the Temple Committee to grace the occasion of 22nd Vardhanti of Punarpratishthapana of the Deity. There was excitement in the air as the temple management were busy making arrangements for the comfortable stay of His Holiness and Retinue at the premises from 3rd to 5th May, 2012.
P.P. Swamiji and His Retinue arrived at 6 p.m. and were welcomed at the Mahadwar by the Committee members of Shree Mahalaxmi Saunsthan with Purnakumbha Swagat, Jaijaikars and bursting of crackers. The Committee members of Shree Mangesh Saunsthan & Shree Shantadurga Saunsthan were also present to welcome P.P. Swamiji, after which He was escorted for Devi Darshan followed by Paaduka Pujan by the President of the Saunsthan, Dr. Avinash Kamat Dhakankar, and his welcome speech (photo published elsewhere in this issue). P. P. Swamiji in his Upadesha appreciated the Temple Committee for their love and affection with which they offered invitation to Swamiji for the Utsava as also their devotion & dedication towards the Devi. Upadesha concluded with the Bhajan, ‘Vishwamayee Shivashaktimayee…’.
P.P. Swamiji were escorted to Shree Mahalaxmi Sabhagriha for its inauguration consequent to its renovation with airconditioning facility. Swamiji cut the ribbon accompanied by Vedic mantras followed by ‘Deepa Prajwalanam’ (photo published elsewhere in this issue).
Later that night, the devotees had the rare privilege of participating in the Devi Poojan, with Shree Lalita Ashtottarashata Namavali, performed by P. P. Swamiji in his quarters. Poojan was followed by Shankaranarayana Geet and Mangal Pad. The Saunsthan Committee participated with great devotion alongwith members of Goa & Santacruz Local Sabha.
May 4, 2012, was the day of Vardhanti utsava which began with Punyahavachan at 6.30 a.m. by President of the Saunsthan. At 9 a.m. P.P. Swamiji performed Abhisheka of Shree Mahalaxmi Devi (photo published elsewhere in this issue). The atmosphere was vibrant with Nava Chandika Homa in Yajnashala and Stotras & Bhajans by Bhajan Mandali of Santacruz Local Sabha (group photo published elsewhere in this issue). Abhisheka was followed by Paaduka Pujan by Committee members of Shree Mangesh Saunsthan, Shree Shantadurga Saunsthan & Shree Nageshi Saunsthan. The devotees again had the privilege of Satsang with P.P. Swamiji in the airconditioned Hall. Swamiji began with the bhajan, ‘Mana Bhavana Mero…’ and asked Kartik & Kaushal Hattangadi of Prarthana Varga to sing a Bhajan. As they sang, ‘Guru Sharanam…’, Swamiji too repeated after them and made them feel special by mentioning that they are the first devotees to have sung a bhajan in the Hall after renovation.
Devotees then basked in the golden words of Swamiji’s brief Ashirvachan (which He said was only to test the sound system for the evening’s Dharma Sabha in the Hall). He mentioned how the origin of the Universe was thought to be from either ‘Shunya’, ‘Visphot’ or ‘Naada’. But Rishis, through Dhyana Yoga, had Darshan of Parashakti Who is beyond all Guna-s but maintains the Guna-s only for creation. Guru Parampara had made arrangements for Her ‘Aavaahan’ by constructing temples. Swamiji also mentioned about the indications of progress in one’s Sadhana through ascent of Kundalini in the Chakras.
Purnaahuti & Maha Arti took place from 1 p.m. to 1.30 p.m. P.P. Swamiji performed the Maha Arti (photo published elsewhere in this issue) of the beautiful Shree Mahalaxmi.
Devotional songs by Gurudatt Shirali from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. was followed by the much awaited Dharma Sabha & Ashirvachan at the renovated Hall. The Dharma Sabha commenced with welcome to P.P. Swamiji and our Sabha Prarambha Prarthana. President of the Saunsthan, Dr. Avinash Kamat Dhakankar, briefed about the temple activities and various projects. This was followed by briefing of our Math activities and projects by Shri Vinod Yennemadimaam, for the benefit of the devotees of the Saunsthan. P. P. Swamiji’s Ashirvachan stressed upon ‘Shakti Chintanam’ & the need of spiritual orientation in our individual Sadhana. He explained in brief the background story of Durga Saptashati and the ‘Prathama Charitra’ which teaches us to control our negativities, to awaken our spiritual intellect and to put an end to the negativities with the help of the intellect. Vishnu’s Chakra with which he killed Madhu-Kaitabha represents the ‘Yajna Chakra’ through which we learn to connect to the Divine and forget ‘I’ (ego) in performance of our duties. Swamiji also mentioned that Shree Mahalaxmi is Lakshanavati Laxmi who has slain the demon,Mahishaasura. She holds a sword and shield as distinguished from Laxmi or Kamala, who is gentle and seated on a lotus. We should offer our Ahankaar to Devi and take it as Prasad from Her (‘Dadaati-Pratigruhnaati’) and accordingly must do our best Kaarya for the Samaj. We should have the ‘Dhairya’ to say to Devi that I belong to You. By this, we shall attain peace of mind and firm intellect.
The festivities continued with Suvarna Shibika procession at 9.30 p.m. when the beautiful & smiling Devi of gold was placed in the Suvarna Palakhi in the presence of P.P.Swamiji and taken in procession around the temple with accompaniment of Vajantri & magnificent fireworks. The Devi appeared to be lovingly gazing at all the 550-600 devotees and blessing them all. As the procession entered the temple, Aditi Padbidri, Yuvati of Santacruz Sabha, sang the Bhajan, ‘Amba Tu Adhara Devi…’ to the accompaniment of Vajantri. This was followed by Maha Arti & Prasad.
On 5th May 2012, Swamiji met numerous dignitaries and VIPs like Adv. Narendra K. Sawaikar, General Secretary - BJP - Goa Pradesh, Narayan S. Navti, Joint Cheif Electoral Officer & Deputy Collector (North), Mr.Sripad Naik - BJP - MP, and Mr.Santosh Naik - Representative BJP,.
Devi Anushthan, Lalita Sahasranama, Stotra pathan & Bhajans by Santacruz & Goa Sabha members continued in the temple throughout the morning.
Incidentally, P.P. Swamiji had also visited Goa on March 17, 2012, at the invitation of Gomantak Tirupati Balaji Samsthan, for the Brahmakalash Ashtabandha Punarpratishtha Mahakumbhabhishek Mahotsava, at Cuncoliem Mardol, Goa, and for dedication ceremony of the Shankar Mutt Sankool, a large two level auditorium in the Temple campus by Shri Jayendra Teertha Swamigal, Shankaracharya of Kanchi Peetham. Swamiji’s Ashirvachan stressing upon meditation for control upon mind & ‘Aavaahan’ of Devi for ‘Shakti Jaagaran’ & Bhajan, ‘Bhaasura Shree Bhavani…’ was appreciated by all. Earlier, at 9 a.m. on March 17, Swamiji performed Abhisheka of Devi Padmavati in the Balaji Temple premises.
On March 18, Swamiji was invited by members of Mahalaxmi Temple, Colva, and Goa Local Sabha to a Satsang. Prarthana Varga children presented a short skit and sang Bhajans & Stotras. Swamiji’s Ashirvachan dealt upon the need of Saraswati Aradhana to be done by Saraswats and also when even a demon, Mukaasura, can become ‘Shakti-Jaagrut’ due to ‘Samparka’ with Devi, so can we.
An important event during this period was the visit of the newly elected Chief Minister of Goa, Shri Manohar Parrikar to seek blessings from Swamiji on 19th March. He had a very fruitful interaction with Swamiji. He also met with Shri Vinod Yenemmadi and Shri Praveen Kadle who briefed him of the different schemes and projects at the Math. Shri Pravin Kadle also gave suggestions for the development of Goa, especially in the field of education and biotechnology. Mr. Parrikar expressed to Swamiji that he would definitely visit Shirali in the near future.