Fourth anniversary of the Shree Lakshmi Narayan Temple
This week is the fourth anniversary of the dedication (patotsava) of my local mandir, the Shree Lakshmi Narayan Temple. It doesn’t seem anything like four years since the opening of our mandir!
I attended the evening celebrations and the feeling of having hundreds of people present to worship God and the devas was incredible.
I speak virtually no Hindi, I can respond to greetings and that’s about all. Someone asked me whether it was boring to attend when most of the speech is in Hindi. Continue reading
Shri Lakshmi Narayan Mandir
Today i visited our mandir for the first time in over three weeks. I usually try to attend weekly, but a combination of having the flu, being away for a work related conference, and visiting my father kept me away. I can see why Gurudeva says we should visit the temple on a regular basis. I felt that I was being welcomed by the devas, and spiritually refreshed.
Image is a low resolution copy of image on the Mandir’s site, and considered fair use.
Yesterday I had to attend a conference in London for work. As it started early I traveled down the night before and stayed in a hotel near Kings Cross station. I realised that I was only a few underground stops away from the Highgate Hill Murugan temple. I arrived in London at 6:30 pm and their evening Aarti is at 8:00 pm, so I decided to visit. This is one of the temples that was visited by Gurudeva (Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami), so I was very keen to visit it.
Murugan, also known as Kartikaya, Subrahmanya, Saravaṇa, Kārthikeya, and many other names, is the son of Shiva and brother to Ganesha. He is the lord of Yoga, and guides devotees in meditation. He carries the Vel, or spear, which is long and penetrating, as our knowledge must be as we study the divine. Our Mandir in Bradford has a Murugan Murti, as do many others that I have visited, but the power of Murugan has always been somewhat elusive to me, harder to feel than the divine energies of Lord Shiva or of Lord Ganesha. On entering the temple I went first to Ganesha, and asked for the obstacles to worship to be moved. I then circumnambulated the central shrine, and stood before Murugan. The Aarti ceremony started at then and I followed the priests and devotees as they offered aarti to the deities. When we came to Lord Murugan I could feel the Shakti or power in the atmosphere strongly, the temple had a magical atmosphere. I felt that I am not tuned in to Lord Murugan, but the energy here was so strong that I could feel it easily. The Aarti ceremony continued for a while, probably because Wednesday was Krishna Janmashtami. I had to leave before it finished to get a train back to my hotel, but this was long enough to make it a memorable experience.
Visiting the Murugan temple was a valuable spiritual experience. It is a holy place, and to walk where Gurudeva went makes it well worth going to. I will be interested to see if I am now more aware of Murugan’s Shakti in our own temple, where it is not as strong.
the hindu temple of shri venkateswara (balaji) in tividal, birmingham.
I have been rather lax about posting recently, and it is several weeks since we visited the Venkateswara mandir in Birmingham, UK. This is a very impressive temple, as can be seen in the picture (courtesy of San Sharma, released on the creative commons license). The main temple is fronted by two smaller temples, one dedicated to Shri Ganesha and one to Shri Murugan (Kartikaya). The The main temple has Venkateswara at the centre, and also had other deities including Lakshmi and Hanuman.
Like all the other Mandirs I have visited, we were all made welcome. I mention this again, because I think it important that westerners know that they will be welcomed, many are worried as I was before my first visit to a Hindu temple. We received a blessing and Jal (holy water). Unlike the gulab jal (sweet rose-flavoured water) that I have received in other temples, this jal was spiced with what I thought was a hint of ginger. A commenter has since told me that it was not ginger,but thulasi (tulsi) leaves, cardamom and saffron.
Though Venkateswara is associated with Vishnu as the destroyer of sins, the layout, ambiance and association made me think of Lord Shiva. Continue reading