Day after tomorrow at 10:00 AM - Sunder Kand Reading
On 12/15/2013 at 9:45 AM - Lord Murugan, Sri Valli & Sri Devayani Abhishekam
On 12/15/2013 at 7:30 PM - Vishnu Sahasranama Parayanam
Sunder Kand Reading
|9:00am - 10:00am
||Suprabhatam & Nitya Aradhana|
|10:00am - 11:30am
||Sunder Kand Reading|
|11:30am - 11:45am
||Bhog, Aarti & Prasad|
|12:00pm - 1:00pm
||Mahaprasad (lunch- downstairs hall)|
4th Sunday HostPuja was introduced about 3 years ago and the community has shown tremendous interest in hosting every month. Starting this year, the members of the community will be able to host the Sunder Kand reading at the Temple. This will be done on the Second Saturday of every month (except in cases when a festival occurs on the same day, it might be changed to another convenient date). If you are interested in hosting the Sunder Kand Reading, please contact Lakshmi Rao @ 585-442-3552 for more details.
If you wish to host this puja; you may bring fruits, flowers, coconut and prasad.
Sunderkand, a chapter in the 'Ram-Charit-Maanas', penned by Goswami Tulsidas is considered to be as auspicious to read, as it is to recite the 'Hanuman Chalisa'. In the Sunder-kand, Hanumanji is reminded by Jambavan about the fact that Hanumanji has great powers that the latter has no memory of. In this case Hanumanji is reminded about the fact that he is capable of flying. Jambavan exhorted Hanuman to undertake the crossing of the mighty ocean. Hanumanji's flight was necessary to search for Seeta who had been abducted by Raavan.
Seeta is symbolic of Bhakti or devotion. To reach her one has to don the wings of prayer and love.
Hanumanji is now all ready to take the leap. Let us take the flight with him in search of Love incarnate. Come and join us in the Sunderkand reading.
"Jai Sri Ram"
Lord Murugan, Sri Valli & Sri Devayani Abhishekam
If you wish to host this puja; you may bring fruits, flowers, coconut and prasad.
Abhishekam is a ceremony of ablutions and symbolic offerings. The meaning of the word abhishekam, is 'to make one wet all around', so an abhishekam is the process of bathing the deity. It may be simple by just using water or elaborate when milk, curds, honey, ghee, sugar, coconut water, sandal paste, fruit juice to name a few in addition to water are poured in a steady stream over a murti, or divine figurine.. Mantras are chanted during this activity and the temple bell is sounded. The ablutions symbolize spiritual purification and each of the offerings represents fulfillment on every level. Throughout the abhishekam deity specific mantras are chanted to invoke blessings that uplift, protect and spiritually benefit us.
Lord Murugan: Kali Yuga, the age indicating the period of darkness and degeneration commenced about 3100 BC. Many Hindus believe that the presiding deity of this yugam [period] is Lord Murugan[Kali Yuga Varathan], whose "Vel" that symbolises the spear of victory, will eventually restore peace and harmony, destroying arrogance, violence and injustice. The worship of Lord Murugan goes back to the pre-Christian era, and forms an important facet in the religious life of Hindus.
Lord Murugan, although regarded as the second son of Siva, and the younger brother of Ganesha, is infact an Avatara of Lord Siva. All incarnations are manifestations of the One Supreme Lord. Lord Subrahmanya and Lord Krishna are one. Lord Krishna says in the Gita, "Senaninam Aharn Skandah,Of the Generals, I am Skanda". The Lord manifests Himself from time to time in various names and forms for establishing Dharma and punishing the wicked. Lord Subrahmanya is a ray born of the Chaitanya of Lord Siva. He is the energy of Lord Siva. Valli and Deivayani are His two Divine consorts. They represent the Iccha Shakti and the Kriya Shakti of the Lord. He is a Pratyaksha Devata in this Kali Yuga, like Hanuman. He bestows on His devotees material and spiritual prosperity and success in all their undertakings, even at the slightest devotion shown to Him. He is worshipped much in South India and Sri Lanka. Guha, Muruga, Kumaresa, Karttikeya, Shanmukha (he who has six faces), Subrahmanya, Skanda, Velayudha (he who wears the Spear), Saravanabhava are synonymous terms.
In the above picture, Lord-Subrahmanya holds the Vel or Spear in His hand, just as Lord Siva holds the Trident or Trisula. The Vel is an emblem of Power, and indicates that He is the ruler of this Universe. Devotees of Lord Subrahmanya do obeisance to the Vel. His vehicle or Vahana is the peacock: this is by way of representation that he has entirely conquered pride, egoism, vanity. There is a cobra under His Feet: this is to indicate that He is absolutely fearless, immortal and wise. Valli is on His one side, Deivayanai is on the other. Sometimes He stands alone with the Vel. He is then called by the name of Dandapani. This represents His Nirguna aspect which is free from Maya.
The six heads represent the six rays or the six attributes viz. Jnana (wisdom), Vairagya (dispassion), Bala (strength), Kirti (fame), Sree (wealth) and Aishvarya (divine powers). They indicate that He is the source for the four Vedas, Vedangas and the six schools of philosophy; that He has controlled the five Jnana Indriyas and the mind. They denote that He is the Virat Purusha with countless heads. They signify that His head is turned everywhere (Visvatomukha): He is all-pervading. They indicate that He is omnipotent and that He can multiply and assume forms at His will.
Worship Of Lord Murugan: The Tamils have named Shanmukha as Murugan. Just as the God of Winds is Vayu, the God of Waters Varuna, the Tamil term for the Lord of Nature is Murugan. The term Murugan, in Tamil, denotes the Deity possessed of undecaying beauty, everlasting youth and Godliness. Any Deity who is endowed with the above attributes is truly Murugan. Hence the worship of Skanda or Murugan does not pertain to any sect or creed. Perhaps it is the outcome of an inherent desire of man to express his gratitude for an unknown and hidden Power, which bestows upon him every good and removes all his sufferings. Worship of Lord Murugan is tantamount to the worship of Nature. As Nature abounds with soul-stirring and inspiring landscapes and is the source and support of all living beings on earth, the ancients have thought it right to glorify Nature.
To lead a natural life is to live with Nature. This is the life in consonance with the Divine Will. Control of the senses, anger and lust is the way to achieve the higher life. And the most important form of worship that a human being can offer unto the Lord is by not hurting others either by thought or word or deed. Only then life in nature becomes smooth and happy. It is this kind of worship and life that the Skanda Purana teaches us through the worship of the Saguna form of Lord Skanda. Indeed it is the counsel of Christ: “Treat thy neighbour as thy own Self” and “Do unto others as thou wishest to be done by.” And the Essence of all religions is only to abstain from inflicting injury on anyone,—Ahimsa Paramodharmah.
Hence, whenever we worship Lord Murugan, we should have the Bhava ‘I pray unto Him, who is the All-Pervading Beautiful One, the Indweller of all, in the Form of Lord Subrahmanya or Murugan.’ This Saguna form of the Lord is only to give a hold and grasp for the mind to understand the Immortal, the Omnipotent and the Omniscient attributes of the Almighty, who is at once Infinite and the Indweller of every heart.
As in the worship of other Deities, in the Saguna worship of Lord Skanda also, there are some Vratas, or observances. There was once a king, Muchukunda by name. He was a staunch Saivite. He approached Sage Vasishtha to advise him on the importance and methods of observing some Vrata by which he could gain personal success, peace and prosperity. Vasishtha indicated the Vratas of Lord Skanda and detailed their significances.
One of them is the Vrata observed on every Friday. By observing this Vrata of Friday for 3 years, Bhagiratha overcame his enemy Gora. On Friday, after a clean bath, one should do Puja and Archana for the Lord with extreme devotion. He who does this is bound to achieve success in all his undertakings.
Another Vrata is the Karttikai Vrata. On every Karttikai (3rd constellation of the 27 stars) day, this Vrata is to be observed with faith and devotion, and with external purification by a bath, before the Puja, etc. This Vrata was observed by Narada Rishi as per the advice of Lord Ganesa. After a period of 12 years, Narada gained his ambition, viz., the supreme position among the great Sapta Rishis.
The most important of all the Vratas of Lord Shanmukha is the Skanda Shashthi Vrata. It is to be commenced on the Prathama Tithi (the day immediately following Dipavali) of the Sukla Paksha (bright fortnight) in the month of Aippasi (October-November). A complete fast should be observed and the devotee should engage himself solely in the Puja of the Lord, in reading and learning of the glories of Lord Skanda, Bhajan, meditation, etc. If fasting for six days continuously is likely to prove too much of a strain, he may have one meal per day and fast completely on the last day, i.e. the Shashthi Day. This is the day to commemorate the victory of Lord Shanmukha over the Asura king, Surapadman. Persons who observe this Vrata achieve success in all their undertakings and in the end attain Liberation.
Lord Murugan Avataram: The Skanda Purana deals with the Avatara and Lilas of Lord Skanda, the spiritual son of Lord Siva. Two Skanda Puranas are available one divided into Khandas, and the other divided into Samhitas. The former gives only a brief account of Lord Skanda’s Avatara and the destruction of Tarakasura at His hands. The latter, however, contains a detailed account of the divine advent and the glorious deeds of Lord Skanda the need for the Lord’s advent, His auspicious Avatara, His Bala Lilas, the commanding of the Deva army against the Asuras and their destruction, His marriage with Valli and Deivayanai, etc. There is a work called Kanda Puranam in Tamil, composed by Saint Kachiyappa Sivachariar, in verses, based on the Samhita-divided Skanda Purana and under the orders of Lord Shanmukha Who also gave the first line for the work.
The advent of the Lord was for the purpose of punishing the wicked and protecting the good. The great Asura Surapadma was tyrannising the Devas. He was defeated in battle by the Lord and the Devas were released from his control. This happened on the eve of the sixth day after Dipavali, which is the day of Skanda Shashthi. This day is celebrated in a grand manner in all temples of Lord Skanda. To devotees and spiritual seekers, the period of six days of Skanda Shashthi is an occasion for observance of strict Vratas, performance of grand worships and communion with the Lord in the Self within. Glory to Lord Skanda, the bestower of Divine Wisdom.
In order to save the good [Devas] from wicked [Asuras], Lord Murugan was originated from the Holy Sparks of Lord Siva's third eye. The story goes that the sparks which flashed forth from the third eye of Siva rushed through space, which Vayu and Agni carried and dropped into the river Ganga. By the grace of the Lord, the sparks were carried by holy Ganga to Saravanappoihai. On arriving at the tank, the sparks assumed the form of six children of unparalleled beauty. Each baby was lying on a lotus and was being lulled to sleep by the Devis of the Karttikai (the 3rd constellation of the 27 Stars). To witness this Avatara of the Saviour, all the Devas hastened to the tank along with Lord Siva and Parvati. Parvati, out of the extreme fondness of a mother, took up the babes together and called them Skanda. Instead of them remaining as six separate individual babes, there arose the form of one Deity with six faces and twelve hands. Hence he was known as Lord Arumugaswamy or Shanmukha, the Lord with six faces. As he was nursed by the six Devis of the Karttikai Star, he was known also as Karttik Swami, or Karttikeyan. Thus, to the great joy of the persecuted Devas, the Lord Himself appeared in the form of Shanmukha to protect the good and to punish the wicked. As the form of Lord Shanmukha originated in a tank of shrubs, he was known as Saravanabhava.
There is thus a combination of the ether, air, fire, water and earth principles in the depositing of the Tejas or energy of Siva in the world. The cumulative force which combined the forms of the five elements impregnated with the divine power of Siva (Divya-Tejas) manifested itself as a sixfold divinity with six faces (Shanmukha), including both the unmanifest and manifest elements in a single being. This is the child of Siva, of mysterious birth, mysterious bringing up, under mysterious circumstances, for a mysterious purpose which the Gods alone knew. The third eye represents the principle of intelligence and Skanda, thus, as a revelation through the third eye of Siva, is said to stand for an incarnation of Divine Knowledge.
What Lord Murugan represents: A normal human being goes through three experiences waking, dream and deep-sleep states of consciousness. Waking state is the state of consciousness, which man experiences when he is awake. The dream is the state of consciousness, which he experiences when he is dreaming. The deep-sleep is dreamless sleep when he experiences a realm of nothingness. Beyond these three states is the state of God-consciousness. That is the fourth state, called turiya. Man is hardly aware of this state much less does he experience it. Nevertheless, that is man's original and real state, the core of his personality, his essential and infinite being. When you transcend the limitations of the waking, dream and deep-sleep you reach that state. This is the state symbolised by Subramanya. Subramanya holds a sakti spear in his hand. Most of the Hindu gods wield weapons of destruction. Siva holds the trident, insula or Trisula. Visnu carries a discus, Chakra. Rama carries a bow. These weapons are meant to attack, to destroy vasanas, desires within oneself, It is only by the destruction of vtisantis, desires that you attain your divine state. Your vasanas, desires are the impurities covering the Godhead within you. Man minus desires is God. God plus vasanas is man. Holding a spear, Subrarnanya proclaims the destruction of all his vasanas. You, too by destroying your vasanas, can attain your supreme Stature.
The peacock is the enemy of the serpent. It is seen clutching the serpent with its claws. The serpent is not killed but held in captivity. This symbolises complete control over the ego. The serpent represents the ego. The ego carries the poisonous mind. It is interesting to note that the poison in the fangs of the snake does not kill the snake, It is harmful only when it is directed outside. Similarly, the mind is harmless as long as it is contained within. The moment it is directed outside, used extrovertedly it assumes the vanity of I-ness and my-ness. It becomes poisonous. It generates desires and destroys peace and tranquillity. The infinite Atman becomes the limited individual. But when the ego is held firm and the desires are kept under perfect control, man gains mastery over the mind and reaches perfection under the feet of the Lord.
Vishnu Sahasranama Parayanam
Vishnu Sahasranama is read in the temple every Sunday from 7:30 - 8:00 pm.
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