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Gayathri Parivar Celebrates Vasant Panchami

Sanjay Saxena

Over 300 devotees flocked the Satsang Center of Woburn, to participate in a soul enthralling celebration of "Vasant Panchami" on February 15th, 2003. Vasant Panchami is celebrated as the "Avatarn Divas" of Devi Sarasvati, the divine mother of art and knowledge. Vasant Panchami also marks the arrival of spring season (Vasant Ritu) in Bharat. There, it appears as if, the whole nature is offering a floral tribute to Devi Sarasvati on her birthday (Avataran Divas). Vasant Panchami is celebrated to affirm the importance of knowledge and continuous learning with renewed vigor. Several devotees from NJ, NY, CT, RI and NH also joined the celebration in Massachusetts.

This chilled but beautiful evening started with traditional chanting of Shriram Stuti and followed by "Pragya Geets" (inspirational bhajans) melodiously rendered by Surendra, Sangeeta and Kumkum. Devotees were captivated with their sweet voices. Master ParamVyom, age 11, enchanted the audience with his skillfull accompaniment on tabla. The ceremony was centered around the "Deep Yagya". This Yagya is a contemporary version of traditional Yagya, conceived and developed by Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya, for popularizing the philosophy of Yagya for the busy lifestyle of modern times. Yagya is an integral part of the life of the practitioners of Hindu Dharma, also known as "Sanatan Dharma". Yagya is one of the cornerstone of the Hindu Darma in conjunction with the Gayatri.

"Deep Yagya" was performed with the lighting of 108 "deepaks" (lamps). All the devotees participated in the "Gayatri Mantra Aahutis". "Mahamrityunjaya Mantra Aahutis" were also offered for the devotees, whose birthday's and wedding anniversaries fell in the current calendar month. The entire celebration was interspersed with the elucidation of the philosophy behind all the rituals performed throughout the evening. Sanjay Saxena, rendered the commentary based on the teaching and philosophy of Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya. Sangeeta, conducted the Yagya/Pujan ceremony based on her training, received at the world head quarters of Gayatri Parivar in Haridwar, Bharat. Congregation, also offered Aahutis for the peace of departed souls of the Columbia Space Shuttle crew, that lost their lives during February 1st re-entry into earth's atmosphere.

During "Dev-Dakshina-Purnahuti" of Yagya, all participants took vows to give up one bad habit and inculcate one good habit for the continued progress and refinement of their lives. According to Acharyaji, vows taken during an spiritually rich environment like a yagya, prove to be very effective and the participants receive divine energy to uphold their vows. The evening concluded with "Aarti" and "Mantra Pushpanjali" followed by "Mahaprasad". The celebration was a huge success with the active participation of Satsang Center volunteers. Devchanda Patel and his team prepared the Mahaprasad with great love and cherished all. Manju Sehgal and Jayshree Patel helped in decorating the puja vedi (altar) and assisting the ceremony with their artistic insight. Dharmishthaben and Ghanshyambhai performed the pujan as a representative of the devotees.

Gayatri Parivar celebrates Vasant Panchami as a "spiritual birthday" (Atma Bodha Divas) of its founder Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya. Acharyaji, pioneered the revival of spirituality through creative integration of modern science and ancient Dharmic Traditions relevant for challenging circumstances of modern times. He devoted 24 years of his prime youth in practicing and mastering the highest sadhana (spiritual discipline). He attained "supreme knowledge of philosophy and science of Gayatri", which he has documented in an encyclopedic book titled "Gayatri Mahavigyan". Acharya Sharma (1911 - 1990) is a harmonious blend of a saint, yogi, philosopher, writer, eminent scholar and visionary. According to him, the "perversion of thoughts" is the root cause of the crisis in individual, familiy, social and world affairs in contemporary times. The only way out of this desperate situation is "total thought revolution", which he termed as "Vichar Kranti". "Gayatri Sadhana and Yagya", as a prime enabler of "Vichar Kranti", are the most effective techniques or technology for helping the humanity out of this current crisis.

Volunteers of Gayatri Parivar of Massachusetts, are actively providing services to facilitate and perform much sought after family ceremonies (Sanskars) which are integral part of Hindu tradition. These ceremonies include all phases of life beginning from pre-natal ceremony known as "Punsavan". Other important ceremonies are Naam-karan, Anna-prashan, Vidya-arambha, Sacred thread, Mantra Diksha, wedding. Acharyaji has included the birthdays, anniversaries also in the list of family ceremonies keeping in tune with the needs of contemporary Hindu family and society. In addition, Vaastu Puja, Satyanarayan Katha and Gayatri Yagya are also performed frequently by the volunteers of Gayatri Parivar.

(Sanjay Saxena is a member of the Gayathri Parivar and is the media contact for the Massachusetts wing of this organization. Please call 781-863-8886 or send email to gayathri@gayathri.info for further information. )

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Sangeeta Saxena, Kumkum Dilwali & Surendra

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