Navaratri-Celebrations

in Omkarananda Ashram Himalayas,
from 19th to 28th September 2009

Report by Shri I.D. Joshi

The nicely decorated Altar of Omkarananda-Shanta-Durga

Grand Nine Day Celebrations (Navaratri Festival) of Durga Devi were observed with great excitement, exultation and jubilation at Omkarananda-Kamakshi-Devi Mandir, from 19th September 2009 to 28th September 2009.

Great preparations were made for the performances of Sacred Yajna and Saptashati Path (recitation from sacred text) and prayers at the holy Yajnashala, at the Altar, specially designed for this purpose and decorated with beautiful flowers and colourful light illuminations all around, as the Goddess/Divine Mother is the Goddess of Light, Beauty, Wisdom and Purity.

Like on all the other 9 sacred days, on 25th September 2009, the serene and holy atmosphere all around resounded with the recitation of the holy Mantras of the sacred Text in glorification of the Mother Durga and filled the holy surrounding with sacred vibrations everywhere. The devotees, visitors and guests all seemed to be transported to an ecstasy of divine bliss in the Omkarananda Ashram.

The beautifully shining Omkarananda-Kamakshi-Devi Mandir
during Navaratri at day time ...
... and at night

To add to the glory of this celebration, the sweet fragrance of Guggul (herbal scent) and other herbs from the Hawana Kunda, surcharged the whole atmosphere with its healing and delightful effects. Thus the whole Temple premises in the Omkarananda Ashram was filled with healing fragrance coming out in the form of fragrant flames from the Hawana Kunda, and the melodious notes of the divine recitations of the Mantras, Hymns and above all sweetest melodious notes of the music, accompanied by the ecstatic dance performances.

While one’s eyes were feasting on the beauty of the aesthetic performances all around and one’s ears listening to the divine sounds of mantra recitation, hymns, prayers, and one was also smelling the sweet nectarine fragrance from Yajna, one could not help but get lost in an ecstasy of divine bliss.

It was a novel experience. A divine feeling seemed to be running through the breath and nerves of every one.

Purnahuti Arati by Soma

The Pandits chanting and invoking the Vedic texts, singing the divine invocations in chorus, waving the lights (Arati) at the beautifully decorated altar of the Yajnashala and then also in the Main Temple of Goddess Omkarananda-Kamakshi-Devi, need no mention.

The Divinity and Grace of the Goddess seemed to have entered into every heart. These were the moments of divine experience, when one forgets everything and is lost in the spirit of divine experiences. One can hardly express what one feels at this moment.

To the joy of every one, there rose a tall, elegant, graceful lady, dressed as Goddess Divine Mother, danced to the tune of the hymns, songs, waving lights before Divine Mother Omkarananda-Kamakshi-Devi in the Temple, accompanied/joined on both sides by little, pretty, doll like, tiny Deities, dancers, performed the classical dance, glorifying the Divine Mother so exclusively captivating and delighting the audience. She was no other than Kumari Somashekhari, the artist par excellence, now at this holy hour seemed to be Divine Mother Incarnate, from her dress, make up, gestures and expressions as well as body movements, along with her students, dancing in perfect harmony and rhythm and melody. The exalted devotion in her heart expressed itself in her gestures and body movements in harmony, while performing the Indian classical dance.

Devi-Dances by Kumari Somashekhari & her students
Offering the light to the Devi

Thus it was a grand festival of chanting, praying, singing, dancing, full of exultation and transcendental bliss.

H.H. Shri Swami Vishveshwarananda Saraswati, President of the Ashram, the real guiding force behind all these grand successful celebrations, rose amidst great joy to welcome all guests and devotees and said: “The Goddess Durga is the Goddess of Love, Compassion, Beauty and Purity. Let us pray to Her every moment of the day as She is present everywhere, in every moment.”

So we inculcate the divine spirit of the Mother Goddess every moment, every hour, every day in our hearts and inculcate love, beauty, compassion and purity in us, as Swamiji is himself an embodiment of love, compassion and purity – these virtues/ideals manifest outwardly in the Ashram activities and its management. There is no exaggeration to this.

Swamiji further thanked all and blessed everyone present. The artists were garlanded and presented with gifts by honourable guest Shri Venkateshwar Raoji, representing Lord Venkateshwar, a scientist who graced the function and Usha Mataji congratulated and garlanded Somashekhari for her excellent performance in classical dance and Somaji reciprocated by garlanding her too, as the devotees are no less than the artists.

Last but not the least, Swami Satchidanandaji, an unassuming Saint, who managed all the function with light arrangements, photography and decoration, does not need any words, as silence speaks itself more effectively. Ever smiling and working, his actions speak louder than words.
The function concluded with prayers to Goddess Divine Mother and Gurudev H.D. Swami Omkarananda Saraswati by Whose grace we all feel highly blessed, and because of Him the celebration became a grand success.

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