25th December 2008 to 4th January 2009

Omkarananda Jayanti - 25th December 2008

Keeping up its cherished tradition, Omkarananda Ashram Himalayas observed OMKARANANDA MAHOTSAVA from 25th December 2008 to 4th January 2009.

H.D. Gurudev Swami Omkarananda was born on 25th December 1929 in Secunderabad, in Andhra Pradesh. After Gurudev had left his physical body, on 4th January 2000, the 11 days from His Jayanti on 25th December, up to 4th January, took the shape of a special 11 days holy Festival, dedicated to Swami Omkarananda. During these days, special Hawanas, Pujas, Aratis, Kathas and devotional cultural programs are performed in honour of Gurudev Swami Omkarananda.

The Omkarananda Ashram’s small Auditorium, “Omkarananda Vidya Bhawan”, acquired a new look for this year’s OMKARANANDA MAHOTSAVA. It was painted with beautiful soft colours, in white, pink and sky-blue and decorated with shining lights, surrounding Gurudev’s Altar, which looked very appealing.

In this beautiful surrounding Gurudev’s Photo stood shining like a brilliant jewel.

Arati after the completion of Sundarkand Path

Omkarananda Jayanti began with recitations from the Sundarkand Path by Chief Priest Pandit Suresh Ji and his team. They had worked hard most of the week to ensure that everything would go like clockwork – and everything did!

Welcoming the guest for the event, Sangitamaya Kathavyasa Pandit Rajeshwar Maharaj Ji, Swami Vishveshwarananda Ji recalled how moved he had been when he first heard Pandit Ji’s Kirtan and Katha. Pandit Rajeshwar Maharaj then lighted the ceremonial dipa to signal the start of the day’s events.

Swami Vishveshwarananda Ji also extended a warm welcome to Swami Shankarananda Tilak Maharaj, on a visit from Spain with his disciples, and to Swami Rakeshananda Maharaj of Kartikeya Ashram in Rishikesh. Among those present was Swami Narasimhulu Ji, Trustee of this Ashram.

Swamiji and Pandit Rajeshwarji lighting the lamp
Kumari Pinky, Guru-Bhakti Ratna Kumari Somashekhari
and Kumari Neha in a devotional dance
The audience, consisting of Sannyasis, students from
Omkarananda Saraswati Nilayam, Ashram-Devotees and guests

Pandit Rajeshwar Maharaj Ji is a resident of Datia in Madhya Pradesh. His father, Sant Vaidehi Vallabh Sharan Ji Maharaj, has his roots in Ayodhya, while his mother, Shrimati Brij Kumari Devi Ji, belongs to Brindavan—both particularly blessed places, the one associated with Bhagavan Shri Rama, the other with Bhagavan Shri Krishna.

Kumari Pragati, Pandit Ji’s ten-year-old daughter, sang the Ramashila Bhajan with the ease, a seasoned singer might have envied, and added her beautiful voice to his rendering of the Shri Gurudeva Stuti and the Shri Guru Panchashata Jayakara Mantra.

Pandit Ji explained in this context that AUM, the sacred mantra frequently also rendered as OM, represents the four Divinities – Brahma in A, Vishnu in U, and Rudra/Shiva and Jagadamba in M. Pandit Ji had admirable support from his accompanists, Shri Balaram Ji (vocals and harmonium), Shri Mukesh Ji (synthesizer), Shri Talmani Ji (tabla), and Shri Hemant Ji (keyboard).

Kumari Somashekhari and her students
in Omkarananda Vandana
Kumari Parineeta dedicating her tribute
to the lotus feet of our Gurudev

Then followed Guru-Bhakti-Ratna Kumari Somashekhari Ji’s Omkarananda Vandana, a choreographic tribute to Gurudev Ji, to her own vocal accompaniment.

Kumari Somashekhari Ji dedicated her next dance to Radha Rani Ji, whose ceaseless pining for the Lord at last brought the two together, and the one after, to the beloved Divine Prankster, Bhagavan Shri Krishna.

Kumaris Neha and Pinky, her students, lent Kumari Somashekhari Ji valuable support.

Somashekhari’s Devi Dance was in homage to the Divine Mother, our Protector, and the source of all wisdom, love, and mercy.

A monastic disciple of Gurudev Swami Omkarananda Ji Maharaj, Kumari Somashekhari Ji is the Director and principal teacher at Omkarananda Saraswati Natya Kala Academy. She has studied Bharatanatyam, Odissi and Kathak under such eminent teachers as Dr. Yamini Krishnamurti Ji and Dr. Minati Mishra Ji, and has performed before distinguished audiences. Of the many honours conferred on her the one she values most is the title Kalanidhi, received from Gurudev Swami Omkarananda Ji Maharaj Himself.

Twelve-year-old Parineeta Rane, on a short visit from Mumbai with her parents, added her own tribute to Gurudev Maharaj, recalling His words, ‘Who am I? Before I was born, I was. After I die, I will be. …’

Release of the Silver Jubilee issue of the Omkarananda Saraswati Nilayam school magazine, Prayatnasheel

Those assembled had a great gift waiting for them. This was in the shape of a short message in the voice of Shri Gurudev Maharaj on the omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient intelligence of God, which is in every point of space.

Coinciding with the occasion was the completion of a quarter-century by Omkarananda Saraswati Nilayam Inter College, and Col. (Retd) D. L. Sachdeva, the Principal, released the Silver Jubilee issue of the school magazine, Prayatna­sheel.

Swami Vishveshwarananda Ji’s vote of thanks, and the Omkarananda Arati and Pushpanjali, with Kumari Somashekhari Ji, Pandit Suresh Ji, and Pandit Sanjay Ji participating, concluded the day’s events.

Pandit Ganesh Shastri Ji from Omkarananda Dharma Samsthan, Mumbai, had compered the entire programme in his inimitable style.

The Bhandara lovingly provided, delighted everyone.

In a charming way Swami Vishveshwarananda expressed his thanks to all,
who took part in the Omkarananda Jayanti Celebrations.

The Mahant of Bharat Mandir, Rishikesh, Shri Ashok Prapann Sharma,
greets Mahant Shri Swami Vishveshwarananda
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