SRI SAI DARSHAN TRUST

NEWSLETTER - 1st Quarter 2017

Sai Ram Jai Maruthi Jai Maruthi! Welcome dear Sai brothers and sisters to the first newsletter of the year. Filled with exciting and fun events starting with Pongal, all the way to the splendor of Maa’s birthday celebrations, this quarter was busy and full of celebration and pure happiness! 

The first day of Pongal fell on January 14th this year and is essentially known as the “Happy Pongal!” day, on which people all over Tamil Nadu decorate earthen pots and prepare pongal (a South Indian kichadi) in celebration of the new year’s harvest that God has provided us with. It was traditionally celebrated by farmers, but over time has become reason for celebrate for everyone-especially the children who get excused from going to school for these few days!

Day 2 of the Pongal celebration fell on January 15th and is known as “MattuPongal.” On this day, the mattu (cows) are worshipped and celebrated, as they are essentially the sole reason for the successful new harvest and agriculture, as without the cows, we would not have milk and oxen to plow the fields for crops to grow into. For this reason, the cows are worshipped and honored with great reverence and gusto on this day. The main event of course, was the outdoor cookout. Our own Gurumaa sat under a tree, just outside the Goshala, and with an old fashioned pot placed atop bricks and logs for fuel, Maa cooked an irresistible, mouth-watering “ChakkaraiPongal” (sweet pongal).

February 1st and 2nd were two very auspicious days at the ashram, as we performed a GuhaPreeti Puja for Subramanian. V. MallagiRatna Sharma who is an ardent devotee of Lord Subramanian from Trichy, came to lead and perform the puja. This puja was performed to ensure the goodwill and well being of all the devotees in the ashram and worldwide. 

“Om Namashivaya!” Shivaratri fell on February 24ththis year. We all joined together to worship the destroyer of time, Lord Shiva at our “Atma Lingam,” the shrine dedicated to Him, located in front of the main prayer hall.Rudrabishekam and Puja were performed 4 times throughout, at 6 PM, 9 PM, 12 AM, and 3 AM, respectively. The puja was done with milk curd, honey ghee panchamritham, panchagavyam, lemon juice, chandan, tender coconut, vibhuti, and sugarcane juice.

February 26th marked a special day at the ashram - it was Sri SaiDarshan Trust’s anniversary!  Congratulations to all as S.S.D.T. now completes21 years!  The trustees and office bearers performed aSakalaDevataGayatriHomam in the ashram to commemorate the auspicious day by chanting nine Gayatris for every God in the entire ashram & temple complex. This homam was performed to bring overall prosperity to the ashram.

Next, Maa’snakshatra birthday fell on March 22nd. On this day we did a PratyngaraHomam, which, like the GuhaPreeti Puja, was performed for thewelfare of all the devotees and to bring about prosperousness for all.

One of the main highlights of this quarter was the KotiNamaJapam which was started in early February and culminated on March 31st. The devotees decided to chant “Om ShriSaiNathayaNamaha” until Maa’s birthday on March 31st, out of love and compassion for, and in honor of our beloved Gurumaa. Asankalpa was made that as a whole, we would accumulate 1 crore mantrajapams by the given date. We were so fortunate to have been able to perform this sadhana as a SaiDarshan family. We not only reached our goal, but we surpassed it and reached 1.5 crores! 

March 31st being Maa’s calendar birthday,was celebrated with lots of love and fervor and was attended by 300 devotees! The morning started off with a Laksharchana during which each devotee was given a plate and akshatha in a small bowl. After each mantra japam was chanted, a few grains of theakshatha (rice with haldi)were put in the plate. Next, Sripadha and Krishnapadha conducted a Padha Puja for Maa. While the Padha Puja was being conducted,students of Smt. ManjulaRajagopalan, chanted Maa’sAshtotram, under her guidance, and added some musicality to various parts of the ashtotram. Annadhanamwas also performed after the function. 

In terms of upcoming events, the SahasraChandiHomam is coming up very soon in the next few days on April 6th, and will conclude on the 16th. We look forward to seeing many of the devotees here at the ashram for the event!

This quarter, aside from the events in our ashram, within the areas of service and financial aid, we have once again donated 2 lakhs to a cancer institute for research and treatment. On our trust anniversary day, February 26th, we sponsored six eye surgeries by ShankaraNethralaya, as we do annually on the trust anniversary day. As always, our regular monthly projects continue-including the medical camps, weekly annadhanam,Purnima Puja, and Pradosham Puja.

 

May Baba’s grace and Maa’s blessings be showered on us all.

Jai Sai Ram Jai Maruthi Jai Maruthi!

 

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