Pandit Vigyan Dharamdas of the Yoga Vidya Peetham of Garth Road, Williamsville said that Ramnawmi is a rebirth of consciousness, hence it is celebrated on the 9 th day of Navaratri after the removal or destruction of our lower qualities. “The worship of Mother Durga during the first three nights of Navratri represents the destruction of the tamoguna or lower qualities. In the stories on Mother Durga, she is presented as a fierce figure in battle with rakshasas and other dark forces,” said Pandit Vigyan Dharamdass.
It is only after the dark forces are overcome that Mother Lakshmi is going take birth within us. As individuals we can only have Mother Lakshmi in our lives after we have destroyed those negative qualities.
Hindu dharma goes beyond building wealth and urges mankind to strive to reconnect with his divine consciousness. This is represented by the worship of Mother Saraswati or the Goddess of Learning. It is symbolic of the search for the Higher Consciousness. “It is only when we are in the state of satwa guna that Ramnawmi or Rama’s conscious will take birth,” said Pandit Vigyan.
The Yoga Vidya Peetham means an institute for the teaching of Yoga and Knowledge. The original name of the mandir was Yoga Vidya Sanskritic Sanstan when it stated in the mid-1980s with assistance from the Hindu Seva Sangh. However, when Pandit Vigyan went to the Ministry of Legal Affairs to register the name of the mandir, he was told that “someone had already applied for that name.” It was at that time that he chose the name Yoga Vidya Peetham which is not dissimilar to the original name.
Pandit Vigyan was provided with a scholarship to India by Swami Bramadeo Upadya to study Hindi, Sanskrit, Music, and Hindu Philosophy in India. He spent four years in India mainly in the Varanasi district where he pursued classes under the tutelage of several teachers. “Other Trinidadians such as Ravi Bharathi, Sona Mahabir and Mahendra Maharaj (now Swami Maheshvaranand) were also in India pursuing similar studies,” said Pandit Vigyan.
Yoga Vidya Peetham falls under the spiritual guidance of Swami Brahmadeo Upadya who was first brought to Trinidad by the Parsan family of Caratal where he is stationed. Swamiji has also trained Ananda Swami, a relative of the Parsan family who continues to be closely guided by Swamiji.
“Swami Brahmadeo was the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s representative for the Caribbean and was responsible for bringing Ashok Singal, the President of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad to Trinidad and the Caribbean at large and the hosting of the World Hindu Conference in Trinidad in 1996 and Suriname in 2003,” Pandit Vigyan informed.
The next project for the Yoga Vidya Peetham is the celebration of Hanuman Jayanthi on April 06 starting 6 am. “The program will be the continuous chanting of the Hanuman Chalisa 108 times,” said Pandit Vigyan.