Mahasivaratri Prayers at Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya

By Mahesh Gupta
Photos by Bharath Rao, Ashutosh Kak and Rajesh Thatte

HOUSTON: On the auspicious festival of Mahasivaratri 2024, Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya of Chinmaya Mission Houston (CMH) organized two different events – Laghunyasa and Mahanyasa Rudrabhisekam followed by Maha Mrtyunjaya Homa, in an electric atmosphere amidst chants of powerful mantras that purified every devotee’s heart. Attended by almost 3000 people, the worship on March 8, 2024, was led by the Saumyakasi Sivalaya priest, Sri Ganesh Satyanarayana, with the aid of other priests in the presence of Acarya Pujya Gaurang Uncle, Bala Vihar teachers, enthusiastic CMH volunteers, and devoted families of Houston.

Orange flags around the huge Sivalinga atop the temple was a sight to behold on such an auspicious night, and it seemed as if omnipresent Bhagavan Siva was present in His formless avatar to bestow His blessings upon all of us.
Pandit Sri Ganeshji conducted the ceremony with utmost devotion and expertise with the mantras and rituals. The entire Rudrabhisekam ceremony in the morning and evening was a sacred, intermittent series of pouring of ghee, milk, turmeric, water, chandan, vibhuti, kumkum, yellow rice, rose petals, bilva leaves, and fragrant oil; it created a divine ambience, and every step of the rituals made us feel closer to Bhagavan Siva with our prayers.

The Sivalinga, adorned with yellow turmeric, red Kumkum, and chandan made a deep impression and conveyed the auspicious vibrant nature of Bhagavan Siva. The powerful chanting of mantras along with constant influx of devotees who entered the Sivalaya with utmost devotion in their eyes showed how each one was immersed, body and soul, in their worship. The arrangements for darshan were well thought out with tents set up in the Sivalaya courtyard. The line of devotees who came from all parts of Houston was long but orderly.

Between the main feature of the Rudrabhisekams, the intermittent chanting of “Om Namah Sivaya” and the energetic bhajans maintained the positive and holy vibrations and echoed through the day and night. The sight of hundreds of diyas lit around the altar of the smiling murti of Bhagavan Siva and the glowing Sivalinga was a sight to behold during the Mahasivaratri evening.On March 9 th morning, the Maha Mrtyunjaya Homa was conducted to purify and protect the world. The Homa is conducted to pray for the wellbeing of devotees, their families, friends,
and in fact seek the blessings for the world. All devotees participated in the Homa offering poha mixed with sesame seeds in a plate inscribed with a special yantra. This offering was offered as Ahuti in the Mrtyunjaya Homa during conclusion as devotees, with folded hands, expressed their gratitude. Pujya Gaurang Uncle’s participation in the Homa added to the significance of the worship.

The special celebrations at Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya during Mahasivaratri is an annual worship that the young and old at Chinmaya Mission Houston await every year.

For more information about 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.