Sri Vasavi Agni Pravesam and Thai Sukravara Deepa Puja Celebrations at Sri Meenakshi Temple

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By M.K. Sriram & Seshagiti Pabbisetty

PEARLAND: Sri Meenakshi Temple celebrated Sri Vasavi Agni Pravesam on Wednesday February 10, and Thai Sukravara Deepa puja on Friday, February 12, in a grand manner.  Both pujas were celebrated with the participation of several ardent devotees and their families and friends.

Vasavi Agni Pravesham: MTS is perhaps the only temple in North America where a deity of Sri Kanyaka Parameswari, an avatar of Goddess Parvathy has been consecrated for worship. The event is held to spread her message of the three core values, Dharmam, Seelam (Chastity) and Ahimsa (Non-violence). She was born into a royal family that ruled a kingdom including the city of Penugonda on the banks of the river Godavari and was named Vasavamba, but later became known as Sri Vasavi Kanyaka Parameswari or Sri Vasavi in short.  She decided to dedicate her life to Lord Siva by remaining unmarried as “Gowrabalika (Virgin)” and refused King Vishnu Vardhana’s marriage offer even under the threat of war and destruction. To prevent massive bloodshed and uphold the dignity and honor of the woman, she decided to end her Avatar and re-unite with Parvati by offering herself to the God of Fire, Agni.  The puranas say that 102 gotra couples who were her staunchest devotees also plunged into the fire and ultimately gained Moksha along with her. This event was celebrated at MTS beginning with Ganesha homam and ending with sanctifications of Sri Vasavi Devi as Adiparasakthi and Ashtothra Namavali.  Worship of Goddess Kanyaka Parameswari instills the qualities of courage, strong adherence to Dharma, spirit of sacrifice and compassion to all.  May we all join in the prayers and elevate ourselves spiritually.

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Thai Sukravara Deepa Puja:  The last Friday of the month “Thai” during Utharayana  (when the Sun moves to the Northern hemisphere), is considered very auspicious for Devi Sri Meenakshi.  Three beautifully decorated traditional lamps symbolizing Goddesses Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathy were lit by the priests invoking Sri Meenakshi in the three forms.  This puja is very unique because it is performed by the individual sponsor family, who are given the opportunity to perform the puja themselves under the guidance of the priests. MTS provided the lamps and all the puja materials. The individual lighting of the lamps symbolizes the invoking of the Goddess in our hearts and signifies that the Light of bhakti, peace, knowledge and prosperity engulfs us and destroys the darkness of ignorance and weakness. Ladies clad in colorful sarees were seated in neatly laid out rows in the newly renovated and expanded Main Temple, where they performed the puja with great devotion. The highlight of the puja was the kumkum archana with the chanting of Sri Lalitha Sahasranama Naamavali, followed by Devi Stuthi and the Meenakshi Pancharathna composed by Adi Shankara.  The large gathering of devotees were absolutely enthralled to witness the grand finale event of Deepa Aradhana.  The priests thrilled the audience by reciting melodious verses in both Sanskit and Tamil. Overall, it was a very well organized event, performed most authentically and was well attended and well appreciated. The wonderfully organized events were coordinated by Vinay Kumar, Sheila Sriram, Nachal Sethuraman and led by the MTS Chair, Narayanan and Vice Chair, Dr. Padmini Nathan.