A BRIEF REPORT ON 158th Birthday tithi puja of Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi
On Monday, 27th December, 2010
The Ramakrishna Mission, New Delhi, celebrated the 158th Birthday Tithi Puja of Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi on Monday, the 27th December 2010, in the Mission premises.
The day began with Mangalarati and Vedic Chanting in the Temple at 5.30 a.m. followed by Sarada Suprabhatam and reading from ‘Sarada Devi ki Vani’. The sanctum sanctorum of the Temple was decorated with garlands and also flowers with stems such as Rajnigandha, Gladioli etc. placed in flower vases. The decoration in the Garbha Mandir (Sanctum Sanctorum) was gorgeous and elegant. It created the necessary spiritual atmosphere for the devotees in the Temple.
The Mother’s portrait in the Garbha Mandir on the left side of Sri Sri Thakur’s idol was specially decorated with a beautiful saree and a shawl donated by the proprietor of Nelli. Similarly, Sri Sri Thakur’s idol was decorated with a beautiful dhoti.
As a large number of devotees were expected to participate in the puja celebration on this day, a pandal was erected on the lawn in front of the Temple. A life-size portrait of the Holy Mother, decorated with garlands and flowers was placed there. A closed-circuit TV set was also kept on one side so that the devotees who could not find place in the Temple could conveniently sit in front of Holy Mother’s portrait and watch the entire puja including the Havan etc. going on in the Temple.
In spite of inclement weather in the morning hours, devotees started pouring in from 8.00 a.m. onwards. By Noon the Temple was full with devotees and many more devotees who came late sat in the covered lawn and witnessed the puja through the closed-circuit TV.
The Puja in the Temple started at 7.30 a.m. Simultaneously Chandi Path was done at the Shayan Ghar of Sri Sri Thakur and Ma in the Temple. During the course of the Puja, at about 8.00 a.m. devotional songs were rendered by Swami Gunashrayanandaji and Revered Secretary Maharaj besides Shri Champak Chatterjee, accompanied by Shri Ashok Brahmachari and Shri Ratendu Batabyae on tabla and Shri Madhu Murari on sitar. The Temple was almost full by 10.00 a.m.
Puja was over by 10.00 a.m. and homa started at 10.10 a.m. and was over by 10.55 a.m. Pushpanjali to Sri Sri Thakur, Ma and Swamiji started at 11.02 a.m. and it was administered by Swami Bhaktirasanandaji. After Pushpanjali, bhoga started at 11.24 a.m. and it was over by 11.38 a.m.
Revered Secretary Maharaj participated in the puja ceremony throughout and during the bhoga time when the sanctum sanctorum was closed, he spoke to the devotees mainly about how Holy Mother revealed herself as the Divine Mother on one or two occasions.
Arati started at 11.45 a.m. and was over by 12.05 p.m. Then the devotees in the Temple and those waiting outside offered pranams to Sri Sri Thakur, Holy Mother and Swamiji. They were served Havan Tilak and Charanamrit outside on the lawns. The Temple was closed at 12.45 p.m.
Shri Sadhan Mandal gave money towards the purchase of flowers and garlands for decoration of Garbha Mandir and garlanding the direct disciples of Sri Sri Thakur, and also Swamiji’s statue in front of the Mission and Mother’s portrait in the pandal.
As mentioned above, a closed-circuit TV system was also arranged by the courtesy of Salora TV, for the benefit of those devotees who could not find place in the Temple.
About 2100 devotees attended the puja celebration in the morning and they were all given prasad, cut-fruits and sweets as prasad. Also about 150 persons including monastics, volunteers and devotees took prasad sitting in the dining hall. Later on, about 450 people were served kichuri prasad at the main gate outside.
The evening Arati began at 5.50 p.m. as usual. This was followed by Special Bhajan for about 45 minutes. All those who attended the evening Arati (about 450 in number) were served with prasad. About 50 volunteers, monastics and employees took prasad in the dining hall.
The total donations collected from the table outside in the lawns came to Rs. 1,21,225/- (as against Rs. 1,08,175/- last year) plus Rs. 12,702/- (as against Rs. 10,000/- last year) by way of cheques. In the pranami box in the temple the donations amounted to Rs. 33,210/-. Collection through book sales amounted to Rs. 60,069/- (as against Rs. 49,927/- last year).
Thus the Holy Mother’s birthday celebration was a great success.