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Special prayers are held to celebrate eight years of worship

Hamilton Balaji Temple celebrates Eight years of devotees coming together as a community (INL Image)

Praneeta Mahajan
Hamilton, March 20, 2023

Anniversaries are an important part of life. They remind us of important events, both personal and cultural. It is a chance to reflect on our cultural identity, and to come together to remember and celebrate a joyous event. It gives us a chance to look back over the years since the event we are marking, and reflect on how it has shaped us.

Sri Balaji Temple Trust (SBTT) was formed in 2009 to build a Hindu temple in Hamilton. It was in March 2015 that the Kumbahishekam and Pratishda were performed at the temple.

At the time, Hamilton was getting busy with several new neighbourhoods setting up and the number of Indian families in Hamilton has grown constantly since then.

This year, to celebrate the eighth anniversary, Sri Balaji Temple did a celebratory four-day programme of prayers and festivities from Thursday, March 9, 2023, to Sunday, March 12, 2023.

Prayers being performed by Priest Gopal Achryulu (Image Supplied)

The Festivities

The festivities to commemorate eight years of devotees coming together to pray and offer their respects started with a special puja for Lord Ganesha, Lord Subramanya and Sri Durga Devi on March 9, 2023, in the evening. Lord  Ganesha is the obstacle remover, and praying to him at the start of any auspicious occasion is said to bless the occasion and remove any obstacles that might arise. Lord Subramanya is said to be ‘the Army general of Devas,’ and he provides protection from all evil entities of the universe. Goddess Durga Devi is said to bless all worshippers with Bravery and courage. As is ceremonial in the puja, there was a Kalasa Aradhana (holy water prayers) Homam, which is the offering to the gods through fire (Agni) also performed. Finally, the kalasa water is used for the abishekam (holy baths to Lord).

On Friday, March 10, 2023, there was Kalasa Aaradhana, homam and abishekam for Lord Siva, who is the evil destroyer and Sri Parvati Devi, the goddess of Courage. Kalasa Aaradhana, Rudra homam and abhishekam were performed in the evening and attended by the community members.

Priest Channa Keshava (Kishore Simha) Bhatter performs the Homam (Image Supplied)

A Scientific Prayer

The third day, March 11, 2023, had a special puja to the main deities Sri Balaji,  along with goddesses Sri Devi, and Bhu Devi. There was Sudharsana Homam, which helps a person participating in the puja destroy negativity, gives him victory over the enemies, and protects against the evil eye. The Homam grants purification and helps in restoring energy and health.

The highlight of the multiple days was the Narayana Homam, performed by placing 108 Kalasa in the prayer area. The meaning and symbolism of this prayer are unique and greatly meaningful.

It is only in recent years that researchers have concluded how water has memory and words spoken near water create a unique pattern, displaying the impact those words have on the water molecules.

In the homam performed last week in Hamilton Balaji Temple, Veda mantras were recited and the holy waters stored in the 108 kalasas were taken by devotees, who did the procession and offered the waters to Lord Balaji.

The water, energised by the reciting of mantras retained the energy of the chants and was offered to lord Balaji by the devotees with great love and reverence.

On March 12, 2023, the fourth and final day of the prayers, there were special pujas to Lord Hanuman and the Navagrahas (the nine planets). There were prayers to Lord Sri Rama, Lord Hanuman and Navagrhas.

Every day, at the end of the puja during alankaram, devotees sang Bhajans or devotional songs. The anniversary function was attended by devotees from Waikato, Auckland and surrounds. On all days Maha Prasadam (Meals) was provided to devotees. Overall, the program was well received by the devotees.

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.

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