On 20th April 2018 was the Jayanti of Bhagwan Sri Aadi Sankaracharya – Jyestha Shukla Panchami. The great Acharya was born in Kalady village of Kerala in 509 BC (and not 788 AD) which makes it 2527 years earlier. He literally started the rennaisance of Sanatan Dharma, presented the subtle tenets of Sanatan Dharma very logically, rejuvenated the religious traditions & systems etc. He is no wonder very venerated Mahatma.
At Vedanta Ashram we have a statue of Bhagwan Sankaracharya in our Satsang Hall, and also a Sankaracharya Gate in the E-Sector of Sudama Nagar with his statue. A special program was organized in the evening. After paying obesainces at the feet of the great Acharya in the Ashram, Poojya Guruji along with Ashram Mahatmas and devotees went in a procession to the Sankaracharya Dwar. Using a ladder one of the devotees Sh Vinod Puri of Dashnam Goswami Samaj, went upto the statue and cleaned it, did abhishek, and appropriately decorated it. Later Aarti was done and prasad distributed.
Later after coming back to Ashram, Poojya Guruji gave a short overview of the life of Aadi Sankara. Later poha & tea was organized for all.
On 27th Nov 2017 evening, Poojya Guruji Swami Atmanandaji and P. Swamini Amitanandaji inaugurated the week-long Gita Jayanti Mahotsav at Agrasen Dham (Phooti Kothi). They lighted the lamp amidst the chanting of shlokas. Poojya Guruji also released a book on Gita written by Dr Raja Ram Gupta. Poojya Guruji said that we all should become like Arjun, who choose Bhagwan Sri Krishna instead of power & prosperity. May he become the Saarthi of the chariot of our lives too. Later P. Swaminiji also addressed the gathering.
This year Mahashivratri was on the 24th Feb (2017). The Vedanta Camp concluded the same day – in the afternoon. We had three special Shiv-Puja’s in our Gangeshwar Mahadev Mandir. The first one was by Swamini Amitanandaji, whose Sanyas Deeksha Day was on this day. The day was also the Sanyas Deeksha Day of P. Swamini Poornanandaji, who did the Guru Paduka Puja.
The evening Puja was done by Sh & Smt Manojbhai of Bharuch. After the puja Bhagvan Gangeshwar Mahadev was decorated as described in the shloka – Karpoorgauram – fully white. The jhanki was beautiful. Then we had the Aarti and lots of devotees came for darshan, did Aarti and partook prasad. Thereafter there was the special program of Shiv-Sahasranama Archana. It was a great program.
The day concluded with the final puja at midnight.
On 3rd Feb was the Narmada Jayanti. Every year on the Saptami Tithi in the Shukla Paksh of the month of Magha, is the Narmada Jayanti. This day is also called as the Ratha Saptami day. On this day is suppose to be the Jayanti of Surya devata, and is as auspicious as the Surya Grahan. At Vedanta Ashram, the inmates celebrated the occasion with great devotion.
A special altar of Narmadaji was made inside the Hari-Kuti on the Mandir Terrace, and was decorated appropriately. All the inmates sang bhajans, chanted Narmada Stotram and then had a small feast on the occasion.
The feast was organized on the Terrace Garden, and was simple – Idli & Sambhar, the lovely South Indian dishes. It was made by Swamini Poornanandaji. It was a pious & lovely evening.
On 18th Dec, Sunday, the Ashramites & devotees of Ashram organized a big annual program – the Salil Sandhya to commemorate the birthday of Poojya Guruji. In this Sh Salil Datey, a well-known local artist, presents an hour long Flute Rendition Program. He was accompanied by his three friends, on Tabla, Synthesizer and Drums. This was the fourth year of this program in a row. He organized special mike system for the program.
Later there was a grand bhandara, hosted by Kusumakar family. Chetan Kusumakar, s/o Subhash Kusumakar has just got married sometime back.
It was overall a very nice program.
Diwali was celebrated at Vedanta Ashram in a pious & eco-friendly way.
On 10th Oct was the 29th Sanyas Deeksha Day of Poojya Guruji Swami Atmanandaji. A day before this was the Durga-Ashtami, on which day we do shringar of the Mataji’s statue inside the giant Shiv-Linga on the terrace, and do her puja. We clubbed both these programs together and decided to celebrate on Ashtami, which was also Sunday.
Lovely shringar was done of Mataji and then lots of devotees & ashramites got together to do prayers & bhajans. Later we did aarti of Mataji and everyone got her darshan. Being Navratri there was phalhari prasad for everyone.
On 10th Oct Poojya Guruji did the Paduka Pujan of Padukas which were given to him by his Gurudev Swami Chinmayanandaji.
On 11th Oct the Dasshera day, which is also the Sthapana Diwas of Ashram, we first did the Puja of the giant Shiv-Linga on the terrace. This is done once a year by some youngster. This year also this was done by Angad Kapoor. Later we did Vahan & Instruments puja.
Later in the evening a Cultural Program was organized. After some Bhajans, a Jokes Program was presented by Sh Manohar Agarwal. Later there was prasad for all.
On 25th Aug 2016 was the Sri Krishna Janmashtami. The Vedanta Camp had just concluded, and campers along with Ashramites decorated a beautiful altar of Bhagwan Krishna on the stage of the Sankaracharya Sabhagruh on 2nd floor of Vedanta Ashram. There was the jhoola of Bhagwan in the center and two scenes of Gokul and Raas Leela on sides.
The programs began in the evening with the chanting of Chapter Four of Bhagwad Gita, which as briefly explained also by Poojya Guruji.
Some lovely bhajans followed and at 10 PM started the Vishnu Sahasranama Archana. Around twenty altars (deepak) were prepared and on each 2-4 devotees sat. Poojya Guruji started the chanting of names and all the Ashram Swamiji’s took turns to chant the names. It took more than 90 minutes to complete the elaborate ritual which everyone thoroughly enjoyed.
Later there was a Flute Recital program, presented by Sh Sabhajit Yadav from Lucknow, and thhen the Purusha Sooktam chanting. Later with the song Darshan Do Ghanshyam, sung by P. Guruji everyone welcomed the birth of Bhagwan, and the Maha Aarti was performed.
The Vedanta Camp prior to Janmashtami this year was organized from 20th to 25th Aug 2016 at Vedanta Ashram, Indore. It was full house, and we had campers from Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Nagpur & Mumbai. The subject matter of the discourses were Panchadasi-Chapter-3 (Panchakosha Viveka) by Poojya Guruji and Three Gunas in Gita by P. Swamini Amitanandaji. Apart from these there were Meditation session, Chanting session, (conducted by P. Swamini Samatanandaji) Daily Puja (under the supervision of P. Swamini Poornanandaji), Bhajan, Discussion and Q&A.
In the Panchadasi class, the celebrated author took us from the five layers of our personality to the infinite Self – of the nature of Satyam Gyanam Anantam. In the Gita session was discussed the qualities of every guna discussed in various chapters of Gita. In the Meditation session that which was discussed in Panchadasi was tried to be seen & internalized.
Everyday there were lovely discussions. Some topic was presented to the campers – with two different options and they had to give their views. It was very lively & enlightening.
On the Janmashtami day the last session was the Guru Dakshina & Feedback session. Everyone was called upon to share their experiences, and it was great to see everyone thoroughly enjoying the whole camp.
On 15th Aug 2016 was not only the fourth & last Savan Somvar but also the Independence Day of the country. In the morning the special Rudrabhisheka was done by Sh & Smt Asha & Krishn Rai.
Later all the Ashramites gathered on the Ashram terrace to hoist the National Flag and sing the National Anthem.
Later in the evening a special jhanki of Bhagwan Sri Gangeshwar Mahadev was made in tricolor. Poojya Guruji explained the significance of each color to everyone. The green stands for our respect for prakruti, white stands for Sattva Guna, meaning purity, and the orange color stands for knowledge & tyaga.
4th Savan Somvar