It was a most memorable celebration at Dayaram mandir as the founder, Dayaram (Bhai Ravi) celebrated his 50th birthday and 22nd wedding anniversary (both coinciding)Wednesday evening (Sep 5). It was exceptional, unique, never to forget. Celebrations for birthday and anniversary tend to involve drinking and eating bashes. But Dayaram and dharam patni Nalinee chose to mark the occasions with a katha that coincides with their nine days Maha Yajna. And instead of receiving or accepting gifts, the family choose to hand out gifts for the occasion. In fact, the family handed out a gift to every attendee every evening of the yajna. Their birthday gift was a box of seven murthis (including the Shiva Langham) to every family.
The pandit, Krishna Misir of Hollywood Mandir, Florida, focused his message Wednesday evening on family life and on consecrating (Pran Pratishta) murthis and the importance of Lord Shiva for Hindus. The other days since the katha began on September 1 was a different educational message. The young pandit is very knowledgeable and learned on murthi puja and he is a very good singer. He mesmerizes the congregation.
The yajna concludes on Sunday Sep 9. There are two daily sessions (9 AM to noon & 7:00 PM to 10 PM). Attendees will continue to receive a gift every evening and a large murthi on the final day. The public is invited.
As Dayaram promised, Wednesday was going to be special and urged guests to come at 6:00 P.M. As he promised, it was a celebration “never to forget” and he was right. The evening began with tassa drumming, dancing, and photography of the Dayaram family and extended kinship and guests. Then rituals were performed on the pandit and gifts and aartie performed on him by Dayaram. The pandit was escorted into the mandir accompanied by tassa drumming. Various melodious singers, including Geeta Bisram (no relationship with writer) and the popular Esther John rendered inspirational bhajans. There were also renditions of happy birthday songs. Several congratulations on attaining 50 and well wishes for a prosperous life poured in from many speakers.
In front and inside of the magnificent mandir as well as the compound was beautifully decorated with balloons, streamers, and other party favors. The environment was lit up for a birthday or wedding anniversary bash.
Pandit Krishna praised the Dayaram and Nalinee family for hosting the maha yajna. He stressed the importance of a strong family, good home life and community involvement. Family values need to be nurtured and strengthened around the home so that children can be properly guided in their lifestyle and not be influenced by negative social forces. Pt. Krishna also reminded devotees that a family that prays together stays together. Pt. Krishna notes how Dayaram has been a good family man and a highly spiritual person. He teaches by the example of life he has lived and in his devotion to the lord. He has been kind, loving, and generous and loyally devoted to his mother, wife, and in children and extended family. His behavior is ideal and is to be emulated.
In his pravachan, the pandit discussed the significance of Lord Shva (Shiva Lingam) and why pran pratishta (for new murthis) are conducted. Pran pratishta (consecration) refers to the rite, puja and ceremony (rituals) that gives life to a murthi. Mantras are recited and various oblations and aarti performed to complete the consecration ceremony.
The pandit also explained the importance of a Lord Shiva murthi in a home or temple and their relationship to the other Gods and Goddesses. Shiva is in the trinity that includes Brahma (Creator) and Vishnu (Protector) and is known as the destroyer needed to eliminate all kinds of internal and external enemies. There are references to him in the Bhagavad Gita (Krishna and Arjuna worshipped him) and in the Ramayana (Rawan as well as Shri Ram worshipped him). The pandit related a story in which other murthis did not move until a Shiva murthi was placed among them. The other murthis need Shiva among them to complete a great collection of divine powers.
The formal ritual, pravachan, singing, well wishes, and aarti were followed by Dayaram and Nalinee delivering heart rending emotional speeches and expressing love for one another. Dayaram explained how he got married to his bride and he thanked the match maker. Nalinee told Dayaram she would love him till her last breath. Dayaram told the gathering he wanted no gifts. Their presence was his gift. He and his wife expressed their deep gratitude to the many who assisted in preparation of meals, decorating the mandir, and provided other invaluable assistance. They confessed their love for the mothers and in laws.
Then they presented gifts to families – a box containing seven murthis – after the gift box was opened and murthis blessed by the ground pandit. This was followed by “pan chamrit”, prasad and a late bhojan.
The katha was broadcast live on the internet on swaraag sangeet radio. And there are also daily news highlights with photos on the previous night’s proceedings on www.icdn.today news site. This weekend’s edition of West Indian News will carry a report on the proceedings.