Guru: The supreme light
On the occasion of Parama Pujya Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swami’s 73rd birth day celebrations, we convey our heartfelt wishes to him and seek His blessings for world peace and harmony. Birth of Sadguru was a gift for the world. “Gukarasyandhakaro Hi Rukarasteja Uchyathe Agnanagrasakam Brahma Gurureva Na Samshayaha” The above couplet from the holy Guru Gita says that the syllable “Gu” represents darkness (symbolic of ignorance) and the syllable “Ru” represents light (symbolic of knowledge).
There is no doubt that Guru is indeed the Supreme Knowledge (light) that dispels (darkness ) ignorance. Just this couplet gives us deep insight into the significance of Sadguru in our lives and hence the importance of His birthday.
Swamiji says that His birthday is indeed our birthday and so the celebrations are held for us. The ultimate birth of a soul, the enlightenment of the soul can happen only with the guidance of Sadguru and hence the celebration of His appearance on earth.
Beginning May 24, the Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Ashrama, Mysore, decked in festive attire is the center of attraction not just for the residents of Mysore, but also for all devotees who have come to Mysore from far and wide. This week celebrates the 16th Brahmotsava of Sri Datta Venkateswara Kshetra, 17th Anniversary of Nada Mantapa, a unique open-air auditorium with exceptional acoustic infrastructure and most importantly, the 73rd birthday of Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji on May 29 (Jyeshtha Suddha Ekadasi).
Preceding the grand week-long birthday celebrations of Sri Swamiji was the gifting of a temple of ‘Devi Patladamma’ to the civic workers colony, also as part of the birthday celebrations. Marking the consecration of this temple, mass marriages for 25 couples were performed by Datta Peetham. The grand feast after the weddings served a whopping 5000 on May 20. Sri Swamiji blessed all the couples with golden mangalasutra and the entire wedding attire thus in every sense, performing their marriage. Sri Swamiji advised the newlyweds to lead a life of mutual understanding and happiness.
Avadhoota Datta Peetham has performed several such temple consecrations and mass marriage events in ashramas and at other venues. A proponent of Sanatana Dharma, Sri Swamiji strongly believes in the institution of marriage and that respect and devotion for elders help build strong societies. It is seen that youth who have been associated with ashram since childhood and are now married have exemplary marriages which, despite diversity of thought or culture are strong as rock. These young adults, rightly so, give the entire credit to their parents and Sri Swamiji – a nearly ending tradition unique to our culture.
Chalisa Maha Yagna
It is well-known that the large Indian diaspora in the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago migrated from India decades ago. Despite the drastic culture shock and social conditions unconducive to sustenance of their religion, the devout Hindus strived to keep their culture and beliefs intact. Many of the current citizens of Indian origin are Hindus and have staunch faith in Lord Hanuman.
Through the past decades they have considered Lord Hanuman as their savior. On May 23, as part of Sri Swamiji’s Hanuman Chalisa Maha Yagna, several local Bhakti singers, Pandits and celebrities participated in the epic Hanuman Chalisa parayana commemorating 170 years of Indo-Trinidadian and Tobagonian heritage. Around 10000 people attended this parayana and Sri Swamiji blessed all of them with a video message. The 85 foot tall Hanuman statue in the island installed by Sri Swamiji stands testimony to their fervent devotion and love for Lord Hanuman.
Just as ancient sages preserved precious texts by burying them under the ground, in the age of technology, Sri Swamiji has announced that the chanting of Hanuman Chalisa by lakhs of devotees shall be preserved via space, that is, through internet. In addition to the 700 crore chanting of Chalisa, a record of videos of devotees chanting the Chalisa will also be kept. The present count of Hanuman Chalisa has crossed tens of crores and devotees across the globe are urged to participate in this chanting yagna for world peace and harmony.
Hence, it does not come as a surprise that the grand birthday celebrations commenced with Akhanda Hanuman Chalisa Parayana early May 24. Despite the busy schedule, Chalisa parayana continues in Mysore ashrama and in other centers of Avadhoota Datta Peetham.
Datta Venkateshwara Brahmotsavams
May 24 marked the commencement of Brahmotsavas of Datta Venkata Swamy. This year, May 24 also being Jyeshta Shukla Shasti, Ashlesha Bali, Subrahmanya Kavadi & Subrahmanya Pujas were performed by Sri Datta Vijayananda Teertha Swamiji in Sri Datta Venkateshwara Kshetra of ashrama. From the Universal Prayer Hall to the temple, Sri Datta Vijayananda Teertha Swamiji proceeded in a colorful and lively procession.
A delightful view, this procession set the mood for the upcoming exciting and joyous events. Later Sri Swamiji graced the occasion and blessed the devotees with His benedictory address on the importance of Ashlesha Bali. Every day of Brahmotsavas, the temple and deities are decorated beautifully and worshipped elaborately. Follow this weekly section for details of upcoming events.
There is rarely an event of substantial proportions to be organised in SGS ashramas that does not include cultural programmes, especially in music.
Nada Brahma Swamiji has dedicated to his service towards the revival and prolific implementation of the ancient Raga Ragini Vidya, an esoteric science used to cure illnesses with music.
Music, thus, is an integral part of celebrations at any Datta Kshetra. Stalwarts and celebrity musicians consider it a privilege to perform in the magnificent Nada Mantapa. On May 24, the first day of the weeklong celebrations, Sri Swamiji treated the audience to a nectarine session of Divyanama Sankeertana, a session that every devotee eagerly looks forward to.
The ‘Grand Four Violin Special Concert’ was organised on May 25. Vidwan Mysore Nagaraj, Dr. Mysore Manjunath, Vidwan Ganesh and Vidwan Kumaresh, surpassing their own standards gave a scintillating performance. A feeling of surrealism sets in when one sits in the Nada Mantapa with Swamiji in the audience and listened to fine, borderline divine music. This was just the beginning! On May 26, the birth day of Swamiji according to Gregorian calendar, “Journey in Harmony,” an instrumental ensemble led on Harmonium by Vidwan Ravindra Gururaj Katoti gave a performance par excellence. On May 27, Malladi brothers, Malladi Sriram Prasad & Malladi Ravi Kumar gave a performance in Carnatic classical music.
Swamiji says, “Music has no language. Music is my language”. A celebration of this magnitude in ashrama is a conglomeration of different styles of music through varied instruments performed by artists from various parts of the world.
Compiled by - Madhuri Dasagrandhi, Nagamani Vasantha Rao