One of the finest aspects of Hindu Mythology is the moral, traditional and earthly values that embody thousands of incorporated tales. As well as describing the life over time, these tales carry with them the ideals, principles and practices that should be followed to enrich human hearts and homes.
Lessons to Humanity
While Ramayana and Mahabharata abound in guidelines for the human race, they also carry lessons that are relevant to almost every walk of life, including occupations. Ramayana comprises duty towards parents, the need to honour one’s word, conjugal fidelity and good governance. Mahabharata outlines the need for dispassionate discernment of right from the wrong even if it involves one’s extended family, fairness towards all and most importantly, why and how a warrior should perform his duty at the battlefield irrespective of the consequences. It brings out the theme that is common to all religions: “Avoid conflict but if evil continuously raises its ugly head and threatens the safety of the human race, cut it with all your mite.”
Apart from such codes of conduct, Hinduism also relishes in celebrating the “Divine Weddings” with the same passion as those of the mortals. Millions of devotees derive pleasure and satisfaction in organising and watching marriages between the various forms of Lord Shiva and his Consort Parvati and between Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi. These occasions are still observed in some of the major Temples in India.
The global spread of the Diaspora has brought these Marriage Festivals to most countries of the West where Hindus reside and of these, ‘Srinivasa Kalyanam’ is by far the most elaborate and colourful, invoking piety among its participants. There is a certain inexplicable passion with which Hindu devotees celebrate the Marriage of their Lord Vishnu (known in this form as Venkateswara, Balaji, Srinivasa and Tirupathi Venkataramana) to Goddess Lakshmi (known in this form as Padmavati).
The Temple at Tirupathi, atop the Seven Hills in Andhra Pradesh, is the abode of Srinivasa and hence witnesses ‘Srinivasa Kalyanam’ performed by priests to the delight of devotees.
The Lord’s Wedding
Auckland based Shirdi Saibaba Temple of NZ Inc deserves credit for having organised a similar event at the Mt Eden War Memorial Hall (on Dominion Road) on November 28.
More than 1000 devotees representing a cross-section of the Indian community participated in the event, including 150 men, women and children as the main ‘sevaks.’
It was a rare opportunity for the Diaspora to witness one of the most colourful festivals that enlivens the spirit of Godliness, goodwill, understanding and happiness that are inherent in all weddings.
Says Shirdi Saibaba Temple of NZ Inc Secretary Ravi Chittajallu: “All the Deities, including those of Lord Srinivasa, Goddess Padmavati, and Alamelu Manga were brought from India and decorated here with appropriate dresses, ornaments, a variety of ‘real’ flowers and aromatic plant ‘Tulsi.’ A special Mandap was erected to serve as sanctum sanctorum for the Festival.”
The devotees were in a trance as the Papakura Ganesha Temple Chief Priest Parameswaran (Chandru) recited the Sanskrit verses.
Dhoop Arati for Shirdi Saibaba, Sahasra Deepalankara Seva (1000 lamps) and Ekanta Seva (lullaby for the Lord) formed part of the evening’s programme.
For more information and pictures, visit www.saibabatemple.org.nz or call Mr Chittajallu on (09 8453239). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictures by Gopikrishna Chagarlamudi.