With the Grace of Sri Sharadamba and with the Blessings of our Jagadguru, Sri Sri Bharati Teertha Mahaswamigal, the Shankaracharya of Sringeri, the events of February were carried out in the authentic Sringeri tradition. The following events are scheduled for March 2011.
Sri Maha Shivaratri means "The Night of Shiva". The worship typically starts after sunset and goes on into
the early morning of the next day. It stands at the apex of all Pradoshams of the year. It is regarded as the
night when Shiva performed the well known Tandava Nrutya or the dance celestial of primordial creation,
preservation and destruction. It is also held that Shiva married Parvati on this day.
This puja will be performed at the Sri Sharadamba temple for Lord Chandramauleeswara as per detailed
program given in our web site – www.svbf.org. The priests chant Sri Rudram while performing Abhishekam
to Lord Shiva who is said to love Abhishekam. Devotees may wish to join in the recitation. The temple will
be open all night. Devotees are encouraged to attend this sacred event although it happens to be a weekday.
The Panchakshari Mantra “Om Namaha Shivaya” is particularly efficacious on this day and it is said to free
the votary from all sins if the mantra chanted with true devotion. The votary reaches the abode of Shiva and
lives there happily. In India, devotees flock to Shiva temples in large numbers on this day.
“Pradosha” occurs twice a month. It falls on the 13th day of each fortnight of the waxing and waning
moons. “Pradosha” puja is dedicated to Lord Shiva and the puja is done in the evening. This puja will
be performed at the Sri Sharada temple for Lord Chandramouleeswara at 6:30 PM. The priests chant the
Rudram while doing the abhishekam for Lord Shiva and Nandi. The Lord will be taken in procession on his
vahana around the sanctum with devotees following singing bhajans.
As per Shiva Purana, anyone who undertakes a fast on Pradosha day and participates in the puja will be
bestowed with all good things in life (wealth, children, happiness, good health) and will be freed of sins.
Karadayar Nombu is an important Tamil festival celebrated at the time of Meena Sankramanam - ending of
the Tamil month of Maasi and beginning of Panguni. Also known as Savitri Vrat, Karadayar Nombu ritual
is observed by all married women for the well being of their husbands and the prayer that couples should
remain together always. Unmarried women also observe Karadyar Nombu and pray to Goddess Shakti for
good husbands. This year Karadyar Nombu falls on 14th March 2011. The puja starts at 6:03 PM.
Karadyar Nombu is celebrated in honor of Sati Savitri’s unflagging devotion to her husband and for restoring
him back to life from the clutches of Lord Yama. This is why the ritual is also known as Savitri Nombu. A
brief outline of the ritual is indicated herein:
Karadyar Nombu Adai is specially prepared for the Karadyar puja with rice flour, jaggery (brown sugar) and
a red colored dry beans known as Kaaramani. After the Karadyar Adai preparation is ready, it is time to start
the Karadyar puja. All female members in the family will get ready to start the puja. Kolams (rangoli) will
be drawn in front of the puja place and a banana leaf will be placed on each kolam. The women in the family
perform the naivedyam after placing one sweet Karadyar adai, a blob of fresh butter, two bananas, some
flowers, betel leaves and nuts, and the most important Nombu Charada. Nombu Charada is a sacred cotton
thread dipped in turmeric paste and tied in the middle with a flower. The puja starts and the naivedyam is
offered to Goddess Gowri (Kamakshi) or Goddess Shakti. The women chant the mantra while performing
the puja. The Charada is tied by the ladies around their wrists
The story behind the Satyanarayana puja is an interesting one. This puja can be performed any time but it is most efficacious when conducted on the day or evening of the full moon. It is typically performed by families to commemorate a significant event in the family and for general welfare.
This puja is typically performed by the devotees with a priest officiating. It will be held on Thursday, February 17 at 6:30 PM at Stroudsburg with many families participating as a group. Devotees can sponsor and participate in the puja. If one cannot attend due to personal factors the devotee can still sponsor the event, call the temple office and provide all relevant details (Gotram, names, Naksatram and relationship to the sponsor.) The temple will duly mail the prasadam after the puja.
The story behind the puja as narrated in the Skanda Purana follows:
The puja itself is from the Skanda Purana. Sutha, a rishi, narrates the story to a group of rishis who were performing a 1,000 year yajna for the general benefit of mankind. They went to Sutha and asked him how an individual having an ethical life affirming desire, could have that desire fulfilled.
Sutha explained that the same question was asked by Narada, who was a great rishi and son of Brahma the creator. Narada is a great character who pops up all throughout the Vedic mythology mostly as an instigator who sets events in motion. He has a fine sense of cosmic mischief.
In this story it is said that Narada had been traveling all over the universe and its many worlds and finally came to Earth (Bhuloka). Here he found that so many people were suffering as they lived through their own karmas from past actions. He was filled with compassion for their suffering and went to find Lord Vishnu to ask him what could be done.
Lord Vishna explained that there is a special puja called Satyanarayana that can be performed by anyone. It can be done any time and in any place. The results of which are material comfort and spiritual success. Usually the children take turns reading thefive Satyanarayana stories chapter by chapter. It is fun and adds to the family celebration feeling of the puja.
Devotees are requested to visit the SVBF web site www.svbf.org to get more detailed and timings for the events in February.
Holi is celebrated in various regions of India. Originally a festival to celebrate good harvests and fertility
of the land; Holi is now a symbolic commemoration of a legend from Hindu Mythology. The story centers
around an arrogant king who resents his son Prahlada worshipping Lord Vishnu. He attempts to kill his
son but fails each time. Finally, the king's sister Holika who is said to be immune to burns, sits with the
boy in a huge fire. Ironically, the prince Prahlada emerges unscathed, while his aunt burns to death. Holi
commemorates this event, and huge bonfires are lit on the eve of Holi symbolically.
This exuberant festival is also associated with the immortal love of Krishna and Radha. Holi is also regarded
as the day Manmatha was reduced to ashes by Lord Shiva for disturbing his penance. Socially, it is a day full
of mirth and celebration as people revel spraying each other with brightly colored powders and liquids as
mark of the arrival of spring.
Panguni Uttaram is a day of importance to Tamil Hindus. It falls on the day the moon transits in the asterism
(or Nakshatram) of Uttara-phalguni or Uttaram in the twelfth month of the Tamil solar calendar i.e. Panguni
(March-April). It is the full moon of the month of Panguni.
This month is special because the Uttaram Nakshatram coincides with the full moon. This full moon
signifies the marriage of Parvati with Parameswara (Lord Shiva), and Murugan with Devasena. The day
is intended to underline the glory of gruhasta dharma (or the married life of a householder). On Panguni
Uttaram, it is a tradition for devotees to fulfill their vows by carrying the Kavadi to the Lord Subrahmanya
temple and offer their puja.
Devotees are requested to visit the SVBF web site www.svbf.org to get more detailed and timings for the
events in February.