KT Photos: Ashwani Kumar
Incessant downpours and cold weather could not deter the spirits of devotees who turned out in large numbers for the region’s first ‘yagna for global harmony’, a sacred ritual of making offerings to fire, at the historic BAPS Hindu Mandir ( temple) in Abu. Dabi.
The Vedic ceremony presided over by Mahant Swami Maharaj, the current spiritual guru of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, was held as part of a 12-day “Festival of Harmony”, celebrating the inauguration of the first traditional Hindu stone temple. the region.
The ‘Swaminarayan Vishwa Samvadita Mahayagna’ ritual was held outside the temple in an open area. A steady downpour before the start of the ceremony caused devotees to take shelter in nearby stalls. However, as soon as the announcements were made for the start of the yagna, one by one, the senior citizens started coming out to participate in the ceremony. Younger relatives and children followed. Soon, the designated area was filled with about 980 devotees.
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In a ceremony that lasted almost two hours, there was a downpour of varying intensities and a surprise dip at the time of lighting the fire. Soon all the stoves were burning and the religious fervor reached its peak.
Dubai-based couple Sunita Bhatia and Gopal considered the occasion and the challenging situation as a blessing.
“The downpour even stopped for 30 minutes while we lit the ‘yagna havan kund’, amplifying the auspices and blessings of the event,” said an emotional Sunita, who attended with her family and sister.
Alert volunteers were on hand to help devotees have a smooth ceremony, and often even helped people perform a particular ritual.
Mala and Ramesh praised the support offered by the volunteers assigned to help the devotees.
“By coming together as a family, we appreciate creating lifelong memories. Experiencing the yagna amidst the rain was an enchanting blend of serenity and mysticism, with the gentle patter of raindrops harmonizing with the Vedic mantras and the aroma of the sacred fire enhancing the ambiance,” said Mala.
Doctor couple Ananth Pai and Surekha Kalsank Pai of NMC Royal Hospital, DIP, were delighted to be a part of this historic occasion. “This was an unforgettable experience,” they said.
Ananth Pai and Surekha Kalsank Pai
Meanwhile, Upasana Thaker, who came from Ahmedabad in the Indian state of Gujarat to volunteer during the ‘Festival of Harmony’, was beaming with pride and joy as she watched the successful conclusion of the ceremony. “The rain was unexpected, but we quickly held a team meeting under the leadership of Pujya Brahmaviharidas Swami. [BAPS Mandir project head]. She told us not to worry. And soon the devotees surprised us by defying all odds to participate with all their might and make this ceremony a success.”
The ‘Festival of Harmony’ began on Saturday with ‘Bhakti Tula’, a sacred ceremony that brought together hundreds of devotees and well-wishers to express their devotion to Lord Swaminarayan, the founder of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.
On Wednesday morning, Mahant Swami Maharaj will perform ‘Murti Pratishtha’, the consecration ceremony of the deities. In the afternoon, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will officially inaugurate the first traditional Hindu stone temple in the Middle East.
Thereafter, the festival will be marked with different themes until February 21, including harmony, civilization, peace, gratitude, values and inspiration.
The BAPS management has requested the general public to visit the temple from March. Entry is through prior registration made through the official website or the ‘Festival of Harmony’ app.
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