Chinmaya Mission Houston was Spiritual Epicenter for Mahashivaratri

By Ujwala Bhat, Photos by Rajesh and Gayatri Thatte

HOUSTON: Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya, Chinmaya Mission Houston (CMH), was once again a spiritual epicenter for the Mahashivaratri celebrations of the Greater Houston Hindu community on Saturday, February 18th, 2023.

Mahashivaratri is a Hindu festival celebrated annually in honor of the deity Shiva. According to Hindu calendar, the festival is observed on Chaturdashi of the lunar month of Phalguna or Magha.

The temple priest, Sri Ganesh ji, led the puja and was joined by several Ritviks in chanting for the Mahanyasa Purvaka Rudrabhisheka in the morning which was followed by Laghunyasa purvaka Ekadasa Rudrabhisheka in the evening. With the Sri Rudram – Chamakam and Namakam chantings done throughout the day, the atmosphere was energized and transported the assembled devotees to one’s own spiritual high point at CMH Saumyakasi Shivalaya.

Along with the puja at the main temple, devotees also had an opportunity to perform Rudrabhisheka at the Smriti Hall. In the orderliness of the place, meditating, listening to Rudra chantings, families performed Rudrabhisheka in their own hands to the Shivalingam, multiple generations immersed in devotion and obtained the blessings of Lord Shiva.

Every year, Chinmaya Mission volunteers put up a theme which not only adds grandeur to the celebration but also celebrates different forms of Shiva. This year Chidambaram Nataraja adorned the courtyards of CMH.

Chidambaram is one among 12 Jyotirling temples in the Southern State of India, Tamil Nadu, where Shiva is worshipped in 3 different forms. At the CMH courtyard, people waitied patiently in lines to take the darshan of Lord Shiva in 3 forms, the full form – Nataraja – “Sakala Thirumeni”, Lingam form- “Sakala Nishkala Thirumeni” and Formless – “Nishkala Thirumeni”. In taking the darshan and offering kshirabhisheka to the Utsava Murti, from young children to aged everyone immersed in devotion. It was a pleasant day and the flow of devotees spread throughout the day peaking in the evening.

The celebration continued in the evening, as one climbed the steps of the brightly lit Shivalinga shaped main temple, they were elevated in their spiritual journey just by being in the atmosphere filled with bhakti – devotion to the Lord. With the puja concluding, devotees took part in an hour-long silent Meditation followed by midnight Aarti which provided a deeper meaning to the day long events and solace to the soul tormented by the daily hustle and bustle of life.

Festivities of Mahashivaratri concluded with the Maha Mrutanjaya Homa on February 25, with the chanting of Mrutyunjaya Mantra 108 times for the physical wellbeing of family and friends. The spiritual vibrations of these powerful chantings   rejuvenated the connections with the higher self among the devotees.

It’s a blissful wonder to witness the grandeur of CMH MahaShivaratri materialized from the countless number of hours put in by volunteers to pull of this majestic event year after year. It is a great reminder of the spiritual legacy left by Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayanandji.

Chinmaya Mission Houston, Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya and its activities please visit, or call temple 281 568 1690 or Jay Deshmukh 832 541 0059 or Bharati Sutaria 281-933-0233