Grand Mahasivarathri Celebrations at MTS


By M.K.Sriram & Anu Mahesh

PEARLAND: It was a Grand Mahasivarathri Day celebration at Sri Meenakshi Temple on Monday, March 7.  Devotees started streaming in soon after the doors opened in the morning and swelled to a large gathering when the puja started at twilight. The weather was beautiful and more than 1,000 devotees thronged the temple. The Honorable Indian Consul General P. Harish and his wife Nandita Harish were present among devotees. The decorations were stunningly beautiful, especially the heavenly “Kailas” mountain that was created by the very talented temple artisans.   The puja started with the traditional Ganesh puja, followed by Punyahavachanam (purification), invocation of the 108 conches, then by a Homam (offering to Agni) to the chant of the most divine Vedic mantra Sri Rudram. It was followed by the offering of Purnahuthi and Abhishekam, when Lord Sundareswara in the form of the sacred Siva Lingam was bathed in milk, honey, fruit juice, yogurt and many other ingredients, and finally with the sanctified water from the 108 conches. The Lord then was adorned with Alankaram and when the sanctum doors opened, there was a spontaneous and collective cry by the devotees – “Om Nama Shivaya”.  A special Archana was performed with gold Bilva leaves with the devotees repeated the sacred mantras led by the priests,  The evening puja concluded with the Maha Aarthi and Athma Lingam puja where all devotees lined up to perform their own milk abhishekam to the Siva Lingam. Devotees cherish it as a moment when they are closest to God who is invoked in their own hearts and souls.


A wonderful cultural program organized by Mala Gopal started with a welcome speech by Chairman Narayanan followed by Adhi Gopal, a Vedic Heritage Society (VHS) student singing a prayer and beautifully explaining the significance of Maha Sivarathri with a short story of Lord Shiva.

“Aangikam bhuvanam yasya, vachikam sarva vaangmayam Aahaaryam chandra thaaraadi, tam namah saathwikam Shivamâ” (To whom the whole world is the movement of His body, all sound His speech, the Moon and the Stars His ornaments, Him the Almighty being Shiva, the embodiments of divine serenity, I salute Natya Shashtra.)

The 2 hour long program constituted performances by many of Houston’s dance schools including Anjali Center for Performing Arts, Silambam, Sreepadam School of Dance, Abhinaya School of Dance and Sunanda Nair’s School of Dance. All the dances were beautifully choreographed and revolved around the theme of Lord Shiva and His Cosmic dance. What is a better place than Meenakshi Temple, on Sivarathri, for a classical dancer to converse with the Lord of Dance, for dance itself is their language of communication!


More than a 100 devotees stayed up all night chanting the Sivanama for Chatur Kala Pujas (Abhishekam & puja with Vedic chanting and bhajans) at mid night, 1:30AM, 3:00AM and 4:30AM.  The temple provided light refreshments which was supplemented by prasadams from devotees. The priests performed the abhishekams and pujas with utmost sincerity and dedication, filling the entire temple with bhakti and spirituality. Overall, it was a very blissful and fulfilling Sivarathri at MTS.  More than a thousand devotees came to the temple on this most auspicious day and night even though it was on a weekday, showing the very uniqueness and authenticity of the temple.  The Mahasivarathri function went very well thanks to all the hard work and dedication of the priests, volunteers, board and council members, coordinators Sheila Sriram, Dr. Vadugunathan, RAC members, Chair Narayanan and Vice Chair Padmini Nathan, temple staff, and most importantly due to the bhakti of the devotees. It was coordinated by Sheila Sriram