On Friday, 1st Nov, Swami Vimokshananda left New Jersey for Connecticut. Ranjitda of Moorestown arranged transport. Ms Vellachi Arunachalam accompanied the Swami during the 3-hour travel. The Swami expressed that he was overwhelmed at the charitable nature of Chettinad people who came abroad from India and their contributions in building temples in foreign lands should be etched in golden letters. He told her that he was happy to meet her who belonged to that wonderful community.
The Swami reached the home of his hosts Debashis-Nibedita at Connecticut by late evening. The next day, the Swami was taken to Wilton Hindu Temple where the Skanda Sashti Festival was on.
Swami Balgopal Maharaj, a Vaishnavite sadhu and Incharge of the Temple duly welcomed him. The Swami witnessed the orderly puja done to Lord Muruga in the big size image and also at the utsava vigrahas. The Festival saw surging devotees visiting the temple throughout the puja time. The puja included abhishekams (pouring milk, honey, vibhuti, and sanctified water etc), carrying kavadis on the shoulders, taking the pal kudams (milk pitchers), chanting of powerful bija mantras of Lord Shanmukha through Shatru-samhara trisati archana (floral offerings) using “sha-ra-va-na-bha-va“ in a unique rotational method.
After the noon prasad, Swami Vimokshananda was taken to Hicksville of Long Island to witness the Mata-ki-Chowki function held at Sai Durbar Temple. Thereafter, both the Swamis with accompanying devotees reached the home of Kamal Raj where Swami Balgopal Maharaj performed an hour long puja and hawan.
It was indeed a hectic program-filled travel on that day.
On 3rd and 4th Nov, the Swami was the guest of his sister-disciple Rakhidi at Shelton. The members and others met the Swami at her home and held a Satsang.
The Swami conducted a discussion where he outlined the importance of experience in religious life. The Swami returned to Moorestown in New Jersey on 5th Nov with Debashis-Nibedita, visiting on the way the Vedanta Society of New York. On 6th Nov, Soumen-Sushmita saw off the Swami at the Philadelphia airport for his return journey to Dublin.
For more photos on this event please click here.
Visit to New Jersey – 1
Swami Vimokshananda arrived at Philadelphia from Dublin on 29th Oct 2019. It was late evening. The host Ranjan Das of Moorestown who is the President of the New Jersey Vedanta Centre (NJVC) received him at the airport.
Next day on 30th Oct, a Ramakrishna Puja was performed at his home with a few close devotees joining in. The devotees met the Swami and had some discussions on spiritual life.
In the evening, the Swami was taken to the New Jersey Hindu Temple where the NJVC organised a public meeting. The Swami spoke on the difference between murti and vigraha and explained how the vigrahas become a living being and how they interact with the earnest devotees. It was followed by a Q & A session that saw interesting questions coming up from the audience.
For more photos connected to this event please click this link.
Visit to New Jersey – 2
On Thursday 31st October 2019, Swami Vimokshananda participated in a Satya Sai Baba Satsang. This was held at Moorestown, New Jersey at the home of Sri Ranjit Das. The altar was decorated with pictures of Sri Ramakrishna, Shirdi Sai Baba and Sri Satya Sai Baba.
After the opening prayers, one by one the assembled devotees sang several “namavalis” telling the glory of the Lord’s Holy Name.
At the close of singing, an Arati was performed. Swami Vimokshananda was requested to speak. The Swami expressed his happiness in participating in the Thursday Satsang.
He narrated an unusual story of battle between Lord Sri Ram and His best sevak-das Sri Hanumanji. The interesting story was concluded with the fact that God and God’s name are non-different. The Swami also explained the modus operandi of how the remembering of Name would lead to the feeling of His Presence quoting profusely from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.
The devotees partook of a sumptuous supper arranged by the hosts.
Earlier in the morning hours the Swami gave spiritual counselling to earnest seekers.
For more photos connected to this event, please click this link.
A Short Report
Sri Sri Kali Puja cum Diwali was celebrated with due solemnity at Nivedita House on Sunday, 27th October 2019. 92 people attended the function which began with Sri Ramakrishna Puja followed by Sri Kali Puja. Mother Kali was worshipped with 16 items (Shodasopachar puja).
It was appreciated that during Puja time, the assembled devotees maintained silence and focussed on Puja. Thereafter, the vesper service began and after a short break, Swami Vimokshananda gave a Talk on the Significance of the Kali Puja and Mother Kali’s iconography. During the Puja time, the children were taken to the adjacent Library Room where they were engaged in colouring activities.
Everyone who put his/her time, money and efforts in meeting the deadline for the Puja and assisting the performance of Sri Kali Puja, felt blessed. The Eire Vedanta Society offers deep appreciation and prayers for the well being of all.
It was indeed a joyous occasion! Special thanks to the children whose presence added to the joy! Prasad was distributed to all at the close of the function. This occasion was dedicated to Sister Nivedita whose birthday was on 28th Oct 2019.
A few snaps of the event are given below in a slideshow. For full view of all photos please visit this link page.
A Short Report
Navaratri was celebrated at the Eire Vedanta Society (EVS) in a solemn manner. Swami Madhurananda of Mayavati was the guest monk during Durga Puja period. He spoke on “Mother Worship” at the Centre on Mahashtami night (6th Oct) with good insights!
Swami Vimokshananda and Swami Purnananda spoke on Mahasashti Day (4th Oct) at Limerick function – the very first time Puja organised there, – by the Indian Cultural Association (ICA), Limerick.
At Dublin function, organised by Ireland Durgotsab Committee (IDC), all the three Swamis spoke on the Mahashtami evening (6th Oct). Swami Purnananda conducted a Guided Meditation at the Puja venue on the Mahanavami Day (7th Oct) at the IDC Durga Puja.
At the Centre of course the EVS hosted one evening of Mahasaptami (5th Oct), a Navaratri festival of Sanatana Ireland the members of which performed a devotional program. That included chanting of Lalitha Sahasranamam and a few bhajans. Krish, a young boy rendered a classical Carnatic Concert in a charming style on the same evening.
Earlier, on 28th Sept., Swami Vimokshananda attended a Durga Puja festival organised by Sujon Durgotsab Committee of Dublin. He addressed an audience of 350 devotees assembled there.
May the Divine Mother bestow Her blessings on all of you! Jai Ramakrishna!
||Aum hreem Vighneshwaraya Namaha ||
Prostrations to Vratapati, the Lord of Plenty. Prostrations to Ganapati, the Lord of various groups of Gods. Prostrations to Pramathapati, the Lord of Siva‘s hosts. Prostrations to Lambodara, the full-bellied God with a single tusk, destroyer of obstacles, the Son of Siva, the Bestower of all Blessings.
With the chanting of this auspicious Ganesha mantra, Swami Vimokshananda, the Minister in Charge of the Ramakrishna Vedanta Centre, Dublin began his Discourse at the Vinayaka Chaturthi Festival held at the Limerick town, about 180 kms south-west of Dublin. The Hindu groups of Limerick came together to celebrate the Chaturthi event grandly on Sunday, 15th Sept 2019.
The images of Ganesha and the mother Gauri were brought specially for this purpose from India by Mohan, one of the Limerick residents. He is the principal devotee who gathered the community and arranged this festival that was attended by more than 180 devoted people. The hall was almost full with elders and children in their variety garments indicated the joyous moment.
A recently married young couple from Karnataka was selected to do the puja rituals. Swami Vimokshananda was the tantra-dharaka of this puja, directing them to perform the rituals and chanting the mantras suitable to every act of propitiation. He explained the purport of this puja initially and went on giving an English rendering of the ritual practices. At the close of the Puja, the audience repeated with him the 108 names of Lord Ganesha in one voice. That created a wonderful vibration. The assembled devotees then gave the pushpanjali one by one.
In his Talks, the Swami described the importance of puja in one’s spiritual life and how the puja transforms the concept of God from God outside to God within. Dattareya Valenkar, a close devotee from Bengaluru who was on a visit to Ireland as a guest of the Vedanta Society, Dublin was present. He is a popular Hindustani Classical music vocalist.
He sang Ganesha bhajans in Hindi, Marathi and Kannada languages to the delight of the audience. The vocalist was aptly accompanied on Tabla by Rupak Pandit from Dublin.
The event concluded with sumptuous lunch prasad. The musician and the Tabla player were duly honoured with gifts by the Limerick Hindu community.
(The above is a short Report on the event from a devotee who attended the programme)
We celebrated Sri Krishna Janmashtami in a solemn atmosphere. About 40+ devotees attended.
After the Vesper service of Sri Ramakrishna, there were two Talks one by self and another by Swami Purnananda. I narrated the birth incident of Sri Krishna, tracing the parents’ life and how the Supreme God intervened to ameliorate the sufferings of good people on the earth. Swami Purnananda spoke on the teachings of Sri Krishna which is available to us even this day as Bhagavad Gita. We had chorus singing of Shyam Naam Sankirtan of 9 stanzas and Bhaja Govindam. A few more bhajans were also sung.
For a fledgeling centre, just started a year back, we didn’t expect a good number. But then, 40+ was manageable as devotees brought their own naivedya (offerings) and as prasad the same was shared among us.
Earlier, on Sunday 18th August 2019, Sanatana Ireland, a Charity organisation in Dublin conducted a Workshop for Children on Srimad Bhagavad Gita. We two Swamis participated in the Workshop.
The program began with lighting of lamp called ‘Bhadradeepam’. The children then sang a Keertana on Lord Ganesha, followed by singing the Glory of Guru and chanted the full Gita Dhyanam. The important element was the Workshop where Swami Purnananda explained some Vedantic teachings from Gita. Swami Vimokshananda explained the concept of constant remembrance of Lord through a story of famous Sakkubai, a Maharashtra Saint.
The children presented an admirable Dance-drama on the value of Friendship by depicting the story of Krishna-Sudama eternal love. The children participated enthusiastically in the quiz program on ‘Dashavatharam‘.
The organisers arranged the release of a new Balagokulam Syllabus. Both the Swamis released the volume and presented to the syllabus makers. The interesting program came to a close with chanting of Swasti mantras and arati to Lord Krishna followed by distribution of prasad.