Hanumanji was a central deity for our indentured ancestors when they landed in Trinidad in 1845. Swami Ganapathy must have deciphered this truism and hence the construction of an 85-foot Hanuman Murti that stands majestically at the Dattatreya Yoga Center at Carapichaima, Trinidad.
David Balroop, a devotee of Swamiji, said that while the sugar industry has collapsed, Hanumanji remained to look after the welfare of the devotees and the community. Hindus agreed that Hanumanji is the most popular deity worshipped in pujas in Trinidad not only during indentureship but to this day.
On Wednesday 05th April the Datta Ashram at Carapichaima would begin Hanuman Jayanthi celebrations at 6 am with the chanting of Sundar Kand of the Ramayana until 8 am. This would be followed by the chanting of the Hanuman Chalisa continuously until 6 p.m.
Swami Ganapathy arrived in Trinidad on March 29 with Swami Vijayananda and an entourage of priests and other devotees from other parts of the world including India and the USA. The devotion began with the celebration of Ramnawmi or birth anniversary celebration of Lord Ram on the March 30. On Saturday morning the Maha Rudra Yagya started at 5 am and went all day and continued onto Sunday until midday.
Specially trained priests from India conducted the havan with the chanting of mantras and the pouring of oblations into the fire. Several havan kunds were established for these special rituals which aimed at removing all negative qualities in the atmosphere and replacing them with a culture of peace and prosperity. Every citizen would agree that this timely intervention of Swamiji is most welcomed to arrest the daily deterioration of our social norms and values.
Gyan Ramlogan reminded us that Swamiji first came to Trinidad in 1976 but it was during the 2nd visit in 1986 that the activities of Swamiji began developing. “It was in 1986 I joined the Datta organization,” said Gyan.
Gyan was no stranger to Hindu Dharma. His family were active members of the Trinidad Sevahram Sangh where the performance of havaan was a central ritual. In the early 1980s Gyan was active in the Youth Camps sponsored by the Hindu Seva Sangh. It was while working with the Seva Sangh that Swamiji arrived in 1986 and several youths of the Seva Sangh including Gyan joined the Datta organization.
After the construction of the Hanuman murthi, Gyan strived to fulfil a mandate of Swami to spread Hanuman Chalisa across the country.
To fulfil this mission Gyan joined hands with leaders of other mandirs to have weekly chanting of Hanuman Chalisa across the country but mainly in central Trinidad. This weekly chanting of Hanuman Chalisa for several months integrated Hanumanji and the Hanuman Chalisa in the hearts of thousands of devotees.
I recalled a couple of years ago mandirs joined in a motorcade yatra starting at the Divali Nagar and culminating at the Hanuman statue at Carapichaima. This project was undertaken by mainly youths and was a resounding success.
The presence of Swamiji would fan the embers of devotion in the hearts of devotees, renewing their confidence that their devotion is right and authentic. The presence of hundreds of devotees at Carapichaima to join in devotion is proof that the message of Swamiji has taken roots in Trinidad.
Several devotees from the USA who have accompanied Swamiji to Trinidad are happy to see so many Hindus actively participating in their devotion to Sri Hanuman.