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Consecration Of New Deities At The Hindu Temple Of New Hampshire

K. Arvinda
01/24/2017

Consecration of New Deities
at the
Hindu Temple of New Hampshire

The Hindu Temple of New Hampshire, Nashua, NH is pleased to announce the completion of a major expansion of the Temple resulting in the addition of magnificent new shrines (sannidhis) for various revered deities - Sri Medha Dakshinamoorti, the Navagrahas, and Sri Kanchi Paramacharya. The specially commissioned beautiful vigrahas for these deities not only inspire serene devotion, but are also breath-taking, one-of-a-kind, and distinctive among Hindu Temples in North America. With the grace of the Almighty and the blessings of Sri Paramacharya, the Temple will celebrate a grand consecration function for the new deities on Sunday, February 5th 2017, 7:30 AM-8:15 AM, and invites all devotees to participate in the event and receive darshan and blessings of the deities.

TEMPLE EXPANSION

The Hindu Temple of New Hampshire, whose mission is to serve the religious and cultural needs of the Hindu community in the Greater Nashua, Greater Boston and New England areas, commenced operations about 9 years ago, and acquired its own premises about 4 years ago. The new deities, Sri Kanchi Paramacharya, Sri Medha Dakshinamoorti, and the Navagrahas, expand the family of deities already enshrined in the Temple, including Lord Shiva in the form of Sri Meenakshi Sundareswara with his divine concert Sri Meenakshi, Lord Vishnu in the form of Sri Srinivasa along with his divine consorts Sri Sridevi and Sri Bhoodevi, Sri Ganesha, Sri Subrahmanya with his divine consorts Sri Valli and Sri Devasena, Sri Ram Parivar, Sri Krishna, Sri Hanumanji, and Sri Ayyappa. About two years ago, the Temple embarked on its first major expansion to add shrines for the new deities as well as for installing a homa kunda for performing homam/havan. The homa kunda was installed with the required civic approvals in the second half of 2015, and the expansion project has now been completed with the arrival of the new deities. The new vigrahas weighing more than a ton arrived at the end of December from India by ship, after securing clearance from the Archaeological Survey of India and various customs departments (all made possible with Sri Eswar Subramaniam’s steady and unflinching support in dealing with shipping, handling and delivery). A team of enthusiastic volunteers (including youngsters Aravind Sathappan, Nitin Sathappan, and Bharadwaj Munugoor) helped unload and unpack the crates, and move the enormously heavy vigrahas into the Temple.

THE VIGRAHAS

The vigrahas (sculptural embodiment of deities) for the newly installed deities were specially commissioned for the Temple and were sculpted by Sri Radhakrishna Sthapathi, the award-winning sculptor and master craftsman from Tamil Nadu, India, whose work adorns the Vellore Golden Temple and Skandashramam in Tamil Nadu. The beautiful “Sri Ram Parivar” vigrahas in the Hindu Temple of New Hampshire, which were consecrated in 2013, were also sculpted by Sri Radhakrishna Sthapathi. 

Sri Kanchi Paramacharya

The shrine for the great sage Sri Kanchi Paramacharya, who is revered as the very incarnation of divinity by devotees, and who is the guiding spiritual Guru and the source of divine inspiration for the establishment and operation of the Hindu Temple of New Hampshire, was not part of the initial expansion plan. The shrine for Sri Paramacharya was added to the plan later, in response to inner inspirational guidance felt by Sri Veeramani, founder of the Temple. Once the decision was made to install the shrine, Sri Veeramani recalls how a series of providential events occurred. These included an audience with the senior and junior Shankaracharyas of Kanchi Jagadguru Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swamiji and Jagadguru Sri Vijayendra Saraswati Swamiji, who provided their concurrence and blessings for the establishment of the sannidhi. The Swamijis also offered their advice and guidance to model the vigraha of Sri Paramacharya after the vigraha at the Sri Mahaperiyava Adhishtanam in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu. Sculptor Sri Radhakrishna Sthapathi personally visited the Adhishtanam and took the time to study the vigraha of Sri Paramacharya installed there, and modeled the vigraha at the Hindu Temple of New Hampshire after this. The vigraha at the Hindu Temple of New Hampshire, made of Panchaloka, a 5-metal alloy that is traditionally used to make idols for Hindu Temples, is beautifully carved, with Sri Paramacharya raising his hand in the reassuring abhaya hasta mudra (protective gesture), his face radiating serenity and peace. The meticulous alankara performed by the Temple priest Sri Balakrishna Sastry, adorning Sri Paramacharya with saffron robes, rudraksha garlands, and vibhuti (sacred ash) on his forehead, adds to a feeling of his presence. A darshan of Sri Kanchi Paramacharya at his shrine at the Hindu Temple of New Hampshire, probably the first Temple in North America to house a sanctum for Sri Paramacharya, will certainly be a spiritually fulfilling experience for a devotee. An interesting piece of information to note is that the vigraha of Sri Paramacharya unexpectedly arrived just a day before the Aradhana function for Sri Paramacharya which is observed every year in December.

Sri Medha Dakshninamoorti

Sri Medha Dakshinamoorti is Lord Shiva in the form of the ultimate teacher who embodies pure knowledge, and who silently imparts the intelligence or wisdom (medha) which dispels ignorance and delusion (मौनव्याख्याप्रकटितपरब्रह्ममतत्वं). The south-facing vigraha of Sri Medha Dakshninamoorti installed at the Hindu Temple of New Hampshire, is an awe-inspiring sculpture based on the iconography described in the well-known hymn “Sri Dakshninamoorti Stotram” composed by Sri Adi Shankaracharya (see excellent book written by Sri Mangesh Dhruva Bhise):

मौनव्याख्याप्रकटितपरब्रःमतत्वं युवानं वर्षिष्ठान्ते वसद्रुषिगणैरावृतं ब्रह्मनिष्ठै: |
आचार्येन्द्रं करकलितचिन्मुद्रमानन्दरूपं स्वात्मारामं मुदितवदनं दक्षिनामूर्तिमेडे ||
वटविटपिसमीपे भूमिभागे निषण्णं  सकलमुनिजनानां ज्ञानदातारमारात् |

This hymn describes Lord Sri Daskshinamoorti as the smiling (mudita vadanam - मुदितवदनं), youthful (yuvaanam - युवानं) teacher of teachers (aachaaryendraआचार्येन्द्र), seated near a banyan tree (vatavitapi sameepe - वटविटपिसमीपे) and imparting through his silence (mauna vyaakhyaa prakatita - मौनव्याख्याप्रकटित) the ultimately vedantic wisdom (parabrahma tatva) to rishi disciples who are much older (varsishta - वर्षिष्ठ) than him, through his symbolic hand gesture of chin mudra (करकलितचिन्मुद्रम्). The sculptor Sri Radhakrishna Sthapathi has beautifully captured this description in the vigraha of Sri Medha Dakshninamoorti installed at the Hindu Temple of New Hampshire. The heavy vigraha made of the panchaloha alloy includes a banyan tree (with fine details including arboreal creatures), a serene smiling Sri Dakshninamoorti seated on Nandi (the vehicle of Lord Shiva) with the four sanaka rishis (symbolizing the four vedas) seated at his feet, and his right foot repressing Apasmara, the daemon representing ignorance.  Sri Dakshninamoorti appears with four hands, the rear left hand holding the sacred fire, the rear right hand holding a drum with a snake (symbolizing shakti or power) coiled around it, the front left hand holding the vedas (representing knowledge), the front right hand gesturing the ultimate truth (tat-tvam-asi) using the chin mudra gesture (forefinger touching the thumb), and with the Ganges and a crescent moon adorning his head. Sri Dakshinamoorti is portrayed as rishabaaruda (riding a bull), as in the Temple at Arsha Vidya Gurukulam in Saylorsburg, PA. Sri Radhakrishna Sthapathi visited and studied the vigraha of Sri Medha Dakshinamoorti at the Ashram of Sri Dayananda Saraswati (who is an inspiration for Bharati Vidyashram, the cultural school associated with the Hindu Temple of New Hampshire) in Anaikatti, Tamil Nadu, as a reference model for the vigraha at the Hindu Temple of New Hampshire. It is said that by worshipping Sri Dakshninamoorti as Guru, even one without a spiritual guide will eventually be blessed with a self-realized Guru in human form.

Navagrahas

The Navagraha devatas form an important part of Hindu worship, as these deities are regarded as influencing various aspects of life. The Navagraha shrine represents an important and unique addition to the Hindu Temple of New Hampshire. Unlike most Hindu Temples where the Navagraha devatas appear by themselves, each of the Navagraha devatas in the Hindu Temple of New Hampshire, appear with their consorts as well as vaahanas (vehicles). For example, Aditya or Surya Devata (the Sun) appears with his consorts riding a chariot of seven horses, Soma (the Moon) appears with his two consorts. Each of the Navagrahas face a particular direction specific to them in the shrine, and devotees typically offer prayers by circumambulating the shrine, while chanting the Navagraha Stotram praying for various values in life. The vigrahas of the nine planetary deities, their consorts and vahanas are again the product of the fine and devoted craftsmanship of Sri Radhakrishna Sthapathi, and are one-of-a-kind, the like of which most devotees would not have seen anywhere else.

The Navagraha Devatas include Guru (described in the puranas as Lord Bruhaspati), and in combination with the Guru of Gurus Sri Dakshninamoorti and Sri Kanchi Paramacharya it seems the Hindu Temple of New Hampshire is acquiring the aura of a Guru Sthala!

CONSECRATION FUNCTION

The preliminary poojas relating to the consecration of the new shrines started at the Temple on Sunday, January 26th and will run through Friday, February 3rd, with the chanting of Medha Dakshninamurthy Moola Mantra every evening. Special poojas start on Saturday, February 4th, and will be conducted by Shivacharyar Sri Bhairavasundaram of the Boston Sri Kalikambal Shiva Temple at Bellingham, MA, and Sri Balakrishna Sastry of the Hindu Temple of New Hampshire. The kumbhabhishekam will conclude with pranapratishta and other poojas on Sunday, February 5th 6:00 AM-10:30 AM. Please visit the Temple web site for more details. The Temple invites devotees in the Greater Nashua and Greater Boston area to participate in the function and receive darshan and blessings of Sri Kanchi Paramacharya, Sri Medha Dakshinamoorti, the Navagrahas and all the deities at the Temple. Please contact Sri Veeramani (hindutempleofnh@gmail.com) for more information.

सूर्यः शौर्यं अर्थ इन्दुः उच्च पदवीं सन्मङ्गलं मङ्गलः
सद्बुद्धिं च बुधो गुरुश्च गुरुतान् शुक्रः सुखं शं शनि |
राहुः बाहु बलं करोतु विपुलं केतु: कुलस्य उन्नतिं |
नित्यं प्रीतिकरा भवन्तु भवतां सर्वे प्रसन्ना ग्रहाः ||

आदित्यादि नवग्रह देवताभ्यो नमः

May Surya bless us with prowess, Indu with a high position, Mangala with auspiciousness,
Budha with good intellect, Guru with dignity, Shukra with happiness, Sani with prosperity,
May Rahu bless us with strength, and Ketu bless us with great progress for all in the family.
May the beneficent Grahas always create joy for all. Salutations to the Navagraha Devatas |
(Navagraha Stotram)



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