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Arsha Vidya Satsanga Celebrates Gurupoornima

Devotees immersed in the Gurupoornima celebrations.

By Vivek Shankar Natarajan

HOUSTON: One of the most exalted sages in the Vedic tradition is the sage Veda Vyasa. His birthday is celebrated as Guru Poornima. It is a very auspicious day to offer one’s salutations to Guru Parampara (lineage). It also heralds a seasonal change from the sunny summer to rainy season. Orthodox saints observe Chaturmasya, a disciplinary practice of staying at one place for a period of four months. This period is used for contemplation on the vedic texts and conducting classes.  The citizens of the place deem it a honor to host such saints at their place.  In keeping with such a noble practice, the Arsha Vidya Satsanga celebrated the Guru Poornima in Sugarland, TX.

Arsha Vidya Satsanga is a non-profit organization born of the inspiration derived from the teachings of His Holiness Swami Dayananda Saraswati of Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, one of the foremost visionaries and humanitarians of our time.  The mission of the Arsha Vidya Satsanga is to re-establish the cultural self-identity, and reinstate agency (the capacity of a people to define their world) for Hindus. Ongoing programs of AVS include: Study of Bhagavad Gita including one exclusively for women, Vedic Heritage Classes and Puja for Children,  Vedic Chanting, Puja on selected religious occasions, Meditation & Yoga classes, and Beginner and Intermediate Level Sanskrit classes and Camps and Seva Projects for Bhutanese citizens.  Young students of AVS have gone on to win prizes at Hindu community events, at the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) next-gen essay contests two years in a row, HMEC conference and performed seva projects in India.  Recently, they organized a successful series of talks by Swami Pratyagbodhananda Saraswati of Arsha Vidya Gurukulam.

The day began in the wee hours in the most devoted family of the town just as it must have centuries ago.  One can imagine Hema Chandrasekhar cleaning the kitchen and puja areas chanting prayers, plucking tulasi leaves, making prasad and awaiting the guests.  About 60 devotees joined the puja with flowers, garlands, bilva leaves and prasad.  The formal puja included a ritual prayer to the Guru parampara (Dakshinamurthy – “Shiva, the first teacher”, Sri. Veda Vyasa, Sri Adi Shankaracharya, and the entire Guru lineage). The rituals included the ritual bathing of Shiva Lingam in scented water and milk and archana (offering flowers to the recitation of 108 names of God or Ashtottaram).  The  assembly of devotees chanted Dakshinamurthy Ashtottaram, Veda Vyasa Ashtottaram, and Shankaracharya Ashtottaram. Then, there was the ceremonial Arathi – waving of lamp. The atmosphere reverberated with the deep, resonant, sonorous chants of the Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas by men and boys in training. Then the entire assembly broke into group chanting of Stotras and Bhajans.

Then, the audience was blessed with a live telephonic address by Poojya Swami Dayananda Saraswati from Coimbatore. He was very happy to hear about the celebrations and spoke about the importance of the institution of Guru in Sanathana Dharma/ Hinduism.  The 80th year celebrations for Poojya Swamiji are on currently.

Dr. Subramanian Swamy, visiting Professor of Economics at Harvard and former Union Minister of Law, was kind enough to attend the function. He spoke about the greatness of Indian culture and the need to decolonize the Hindu mind. He reminded us of great sages and visionaries like Vishwamitra and Valmiki and freedom fighters like Shivaji, Kattabomman, Rana Pratap, Rani of Jhansi, Rani Chennamma, and Gandhi ji and reminded us that Hindus should likewise join hands in times of threats.  He saluted Swamiji for bringing more than 200 prominent Hindu acharyas under the banner of Acharya Sabha and attributed several successful court cases such as the stay of Rama Sethu constrution to the foresight of Swamiji.  Dr.Swamy also inaugurated the new web-site for AVS – www.avshouston.org. The function ended with prasada bhojanam.

Arsha Vidya Satsanga plans more such events in the future and seeks support from the community. For, that will mean that our glorious Vedic heritage will be linked to our future in a more secure manner.

For more information, contact Vivek Shankar Natarajan at  817-917-3727 or email nvivekshankar@gmail.com

 

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