NEWSLETTER - 3rd Quarter Newsletter 2017

Dear Sai Brothers and Sisters,

Sai Ram Jai Maruthi Jai Maruthi! We hope that this last quarter has been eventful and full of love and joy! This past quarter was quite busy, starting with Guru Purnima, followed by other pujas and events along the way. We’re looking forward to a festival-filled quarter coming up!

Purnima Puja fell on July 8th this year with Guru Purnima following the day after on July 9th marking two days full of joy and enthusiasm! The Purnima Puja day began with morning Shivaabishekam, while chanting the Rudram & Chamakam, all leading up to a Devi puja in the evening which was done while chanting Lalitha Sahasranama. Both the Shivaabhishekam and the Devi puja are usually performed for the Swayambu Shivashakti Lingam, which is worshipped only once a month during Purnimas. The next day on Guru Purnima, the Vyasa puja was performed in the morning, as it is a tradition that is followed in all ashrams in which all Gurus from all paramparas are invoked. As always, we made our Guru Purnima function complete by performing the Padha Puja for our dear Gurumaa. Also continuing an annual tradition, the bag of rice was changed in order to symbolize great abundance. After Maa performed the Dhuni Puja and changed the sack of rice, noon aarthi and annadhanam followed. The evening consisted of Palki Utsavam (Procession), which brought all the devotees together in song and dance, while Baba’s padukas were carried around the temple. This joyful Palki Procession brings one back to imagine the Chavadi procession that is beautifully illustrated in the Sai Satcharitra. Words cannot describe the fervor of the procession and the enthusiasm of the devotees, all of which left the overall energy in the air extremely positive, vibrant and joyful, and could be felt by all in the air and atmosphere around.

August signified a month full of food, festivals, and happiness. On the 14th, we celebrated Janmashtami, which marks the day of Lord Krishna’s birth, with lots of earnestness and zeal, as always. Janmashtami was celebrated by chanting Vishnu Sahasranamam and Krishna Ashtotram while elaborate prasadams were offered to Lord Krishna at the Panduranga shrine, along with an evening puja. Our devotees sang many bhajans dedicated to Lord Krishna, and the day was full of love and joy! On August 25th, we celebrated Ganesh Chaturti. On this day, we pray to Lord Ganesha so that every new activity that is started is successfully completed without any obstacles. In our ashram, we performed a Ganapati Homam as done in the past, and as always, prasadam such as modakam, appam, vadai, and sundal were prepared and offered. This past August was full of happiness, food, and festivities! 

September began with Navarathri, which was celebrated by performing a Kali puja. Usually Kali in most parts on India is feared for her ferocious nature, but here in the ashram she expresses her all powerful, yet divine motherly love to all who take her darshan. There was a special alankara, abishekam and Sahasranama archana that was performed each day. Everyday during Navarathri a special archana was done for Kali, using a 1.5 lb mixture of haldi, kumkum, chandan, henna powder, and a fragrant powder, concurrently while Lalitha Sahasranama was being chanted. On Vijayadashami, an abhishek made of the same powder mixture mixed in with water, was performed for Kali. We were overwhelmed by Mother Kali’s divine grace and presence!

On the ninth day of Navarathri, ‘Navami,’ Saraswati Puja was done in the morning. Usually on this day, students keep their books in front of Goddess Saraswati during the puja. And on the following morning on Vijayadashami, students read one or two lines from those same books, seeking the blessings of Saraswati for a promising year in their academics. 

On Navami, we also performed Ayudha Puja, which in simple terms, means “worship of instruments.” On this day, all the tools that are used on a daily basis are worshipped. All the tools and instruments used by the staff in the ashram and in the annadhanam hall, were worshipped. This included the worship of our pots and pans, utensils, the car, lawnmower, and so many other items that are used for daily living. Flowers were offered, decorations were made, and sweets were distributed to commemorate this day! 

Every Navarathri is more special for Sai devotees because it culminates with Baba’s Mahasamadhi Day, which falls on Vijayadashami-which this year, fell on September 30th. On this day, around 150 devotees did a special abhishekam for the idol of Shirdi Baba which Maa always keeps in her puja room, otherwise. Bhajans were also sung to commemorate this auspicious day and to honor and worship our beloved Shirdi Sai Baba. This was followed by annadhanam in the afternoon. Vijayadashami is the day that our dear Shri Shirdi Sai Baba left his mortal coil to merge with the macrocosmic universe.  Though Baba is omnipresent, Vijaydashami is the single most celebrated day of the year to receive the grace and worship our Sai Baba. 

With this past quarter coming to a close, we have an exciting event to look forward to in this upcoming quarter-the Kumbabishekam of the Siddher Temple in our ashram and the 27-Nakshatra Homam, which will fall between December 26th-28th. In preparations for the Kumbabishekam of the Siddher Temple in December, a Bhoomi Puja was conducted in the last week of September. During the December function, the Siddher Temple will be installed behind the Kali Temple in our ashram. The 27-Nakshatra Homam that will take place will be conducted by 27 devotees, with 27 different havan kunds-in which each havan kund represents one nakshatra, and one pandit at each havan kund. In the middle of this setup, Maa will be sitting in the middle, meditating while the mantra for the Homam will be chanted by all who are present. The archana for all 27 nakshatras will also be chanted concurrently. Similar to last year, where we all chanted “Om Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha,” this year, we will be chanting the given mantra at least twice a day, starting 27 days before the Homam on the 26th. The mantra and all the details regarding the 27-Nakshatra Puja, will be sent out a month before the program. This mantra names each nakshatra, and we are required to chant it at least twice a day-once in the morning and once in the evening. However, it’s always encouraged to chant as many times as possible throughout the day, as it is for the well-being and prosperity for the ashram and all our devotees. This is a huge event that is not to be missed, and we hope to see you all there! 

The monthly programs, including the medical camp, Purnima Puja, Pradosha Puja, and Thursday annadhanams have been happening without fail. We thank you, all devotees and well wishers, for your continuous support.  Here’s to another fantastic quarter filled with love and happiness!

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

Jai Sai Ram Jai Maruthi Jai Maruthi!