On Thursday, the 11th April 2013, started Vasant-Navaratri,
those special holy days which are dedicated to Divine Mother
Durga during the time of the spring season.
The new Hindu year, called "Paraabhava", according
to the North Indian Calendar, also started on this day.
The governing Planet, or "King", for
the new Hindu-year, which lasts from 11th April 2013 till end of
March 2014, is Jupiter, who represents the Guru. The assisting
Planet, or "Minister", for
this special Hindu year is the powerful Saturn, who represents
Karmic Law and Justice, among many other things.
As always during the Navaratri Celebrations the Priests of
Omkarananda Ashram Himalayas had established a grand and
colourful Altar in the Yajnashala of Omkarananda-Kamakshi-Devi
Mandir, with the lovely Murti of Omkarananda-Shanta-Durga,
smiling sweetly at all Devotees. Omkarananda-Shanta-Durga Maa
was surrounded by a photo of Gurudev Paramahamsa Omkarananda
Saraswati, a picture of Lord Shiva and Utsava Murtis of
Omkarananda-Kamakshi-Devi and other Divinities.
In the morning time special Durga Pujas were conducted at this
place and in the afternoon additional Hawanas were performed by
the Priests. At several occasions Shri Swami Vishveshwarananda
Saraswati, President Omkarananda Ashram, took part in the Pujas
and in the afternoon Yajnas and also offered Purnahuti.
The beginning of Navaratri starts with an excellent Yajna.
Every day of this Durga-Festival was special, but even then
there were some highlights which deserve to be mentioned.
One such highlight was on Sunday, 14th April 2013.
In the evening time, after a wonderful Yajna and special Aratis,
a Temple-dance-performance in honour of the Divine Mother was
announced in the Temple-Hall of Omkarananda-Kamakshi-Devi
Shri Swami Vishveshwarananda heartily welcomed all Devotees to
watch the programme.
Then Guru-Bhakti-Ratna Kumari Somashekhari started her
performance with a pure Temple-Dance item in
Bharatanatyam-Style, "Melaprapti", which
was recently taught to her by the great Bharatanatyam Guru Shri
Deepak Mazumdar from Mumbai.
Kumari Somashekhari explains to the audience the meaning of her
After this dance-item, Swamiji informed the audience, that
Deepak Mazumdar, one of the Stalwarts in the field of Indian
Classical Dance, mainly Bharatanatyam, was surprised to find in
Soma an outstanding talent and had remarked, that it is a joy
for him to teach her.
Somashekhari then continued her performance with devotional
dances to different Devi-Bhajans, solo, and also along with her
student Neha. They concluded their divine presentations with a
Before each dance-item Somashekhari had shortly explained its
essence in Hindi to the audience.
On special request of Shri Swami Vishveshwaranandaji, Acharya
Pranava Joshi, a bright Disciple of the Vedic Scholar and
Kathavachak from Maharashtra, Shri Swami Govinddev Giri Maharaj,
spoke a few words on this occasion.
Melaprapti, a typical Bharatanatyam
Kumari Somashekhari and her student Neha presenting a Devi Dance
in Omkarananda-Kamakshi-Devi Mandir.
Guru-Bhakti-Ratna Kumari Somashekhari shows the Dawning of
divine Wisdom with the Hamsaasya Mudra.
Shri Pranavaji expressed his deep admiration for Omkarananda
Ashram Himalayas and his delight to see its manyfold divine
activities. He said, that it must be the result of doing very
good and pious deeds in his last births, that he got the
opportunity to get in contact with Omkarananda Ashram Himalayas.
Under the capable leadership of its President, Shri Swami
Vishveshwarananda Saraswati, who is an extremely hardworking
Karmayogi, showered immensely with Swami Omkarananda's Grace,
such a heavenly and beautiful Ashram and Temples have come up in
Muni-ki-Reti, Rishikesh. Pranavaji thanked the Priests of
Omkarananda-Kamakshi-Devi Mandir for conducting extraordinary
and wonderful Pujas and Hawanas, and he appreciated the fact,
that even divine dances are performed in this Temple, as a part
of the Puja - called Nrtya Seva - which is necessary for a
complete worship, as prescribed by the Shastras.
Shri Pranavaji remarked, that he feels, that Kumari
Somashekhari's dance was so excellent, that she would deserve
the "Padma Shri
Pranava Joshi inspires the
audience with his divine words.
Acharya Pranava Joshi expressed his deepest Adorations for
Gurudev Paramahamsa Omkarananda Saraswati, who, because of His
astonishing intellectual Genius and overwhelming deep
Spirituality, can be compared only with Shri Adishankaracharya,
being a real Advaita Vedantin and at the same time the greatest
Bhakta, rooted permanently in Para-Bhakti, in the constant
conscious spiritual Union with the Divine Mother Parvati
Acharya Pravana Joshiji's words were received with big clapping
by the audience. Shri Swami Vishveshwaranandaji garlanded
Pranavaji and affectionately thanked him for his brilliant
Then it was time for Shri Swami Vishveshwaranandaji's Vote of
Thanks, which turned out to become an interesting lecture about
the importance of controlling the mind. Swamiji narrated a fable
of wolves, some sort of undomesticated, fear-inducing wild dogs,
roaming in dense forests. The story was about two specific
wolves, having completely different characters and
personalities. One of them was good, kind and pleasant and the
other one was egoistic, ferocious, harmful and always eager to
attack others. Now the question was: "Who
among those two wolves would get the upper hand?" The
answer was: "The
one, who is fed ! ! !"
The story got an interesting twist, when Swamiji continued, that
the two wolves are actually sitting in our own mind. The bad
wolf stands for envy, greed, hatred, passion, etc. and the other
one stands for control of one's senses, for harmony, peace,
kindness, etc. Swamiji reminded everyone how important it is,
not to be overpowered by the tricky mind and its bad tendencies,
thereby feeding the"bad wolf" in oneself.
Swami Vishveshwarananda Saraswati, President Omkarananda Ashram,
offers Vote of Thanks.
Swamiji's very interesting and wonderful speech, which got a
huge applause, made a lasting impact on the audience. Many
Devotees came to thank Swami Vishveshwarananda for his most
inspiring, valuable and divine lecture on the importance of the
control of the mind.
Surely the Divine Mother Durga must have been pleased about this
wonderful evening in Her Honour, with powerful Pujas and
Hawanas, aesthetically pleasing divine dances and inspiring
speeches, in Omkarananda Ashram Himalayas.
The Navaratri Celebrations continued daily and were concluded on
Saturday, the 20th April 2013, on Vijaya Dashami.
In the morning the final Celebrations started in the Yajnashala
of Omkarananda-Kamakshi-Devi Mandir, with Pujas, Hawana and a
grand Purnahuti, in the presence of Shri Swami
Vishveshwarananda, Swami Satchidananda, Kumari Somashekhari,
Shri Sukumar and several Devotees of Omkarananda Ashram
This event was also attended by three special guests, who had
come from Europe for a few days visit to India, namely Swamini
Vivekananda, General Secretary of Omkarananda Ashram
Switzerland, Shri Nathan and Ganga Devi.
Purnahuti by Kumari Somashekhari
Swami Vivekananda, Omkarananda Ashram Switzerland, offers Arati
to the Deities.
The Hariyali, the sacred wheat grass, which has grown during
is being cut by Kumari Somashekhari on Vijaya Dashami.
From left to right: Swami Vivekananda, Swami Satchidananda,
and Kumari Somashekhari receive Blessings from the Priest.
When Purnahuti was completed, Kumari Somashekhari was requested
to do a small Puja at the Altar of Omkarananda-Shanta-Durga and
cut the green Wheatgrass, the "Hariyali", which
had been nicely growing there during the Navaratri time. The
Hariyali was first distributed to the Deities and then to all
After Arati the Kanya-Puja took place, which is always very much
liked by each and everybody.
9 Kanyas, small girls, below the age of nine, one small boy (as
a Representative for Lord Shiva) and a Suvasini, were seated in
the Temple Hall of Omkarananda-Kamakshi-Devi Mandir.
Kumari Somashekhari, assisted by the Priests, offers Malas and
gifts to the nine Kanyas.
The children are blessed with the Arati, offered by Kumari
With the help of the Priests Kumari Somashekhari performed Puja
for all the nine cute Kanyas and offered beautiful gifts to
them, which they happily received. The same was done with the
small boy and the Suvasini.
All Devotees watched this event in great joy.
After the heart-touching Kanya-Puja was completed, a very
delicious Prasadam was distributed to all.
SHRI OMKARANANDA-SHANTA-DURGA KI JAY !!!
Group photo at the conclusion of Navaratri with the nine happy