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Thought for the Day:


Paramahamsa Omkarananda Saraswati


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Maha-Shivaratri Celebrations
in Omkarananda Ashram Himalayas,
on 21st February 2020

A beautiful Indian Coral Tree, also called "Mandara Tree", is situated in the Headquarters of Omkarananda Ashram Himalayas. It is regarded as a holy tree, having several medicinal values.
Its first few flowers start usually blooming during the time of the Omkarananda Mahotsava (celebrated every year from 25th December to 31st December). This photo was taken
during the time of Maha-Shivaratri, when one can see maximum number of flowers on this tree.
The big, bright, orange-red flowers add great beauty to the surroundings
of Omkarananda Ashram Himalayas.

This Mandara Tree attracts a lot of different birds, big and small, in various colours.
Very cute tiny birds enjoy drinking the nectar from the flowers of the Mandara Tree.
But it is very difficult to capture those birds with the photo-camera, since they move extremely fast.
On this photo one can see three small, green-coloured birds. One is sitting on a tree-branch,
another one is just flying down towards a big flower and the third one (on the upper right part
of the photo) is half-hidden inside a Mandara flower, drinking its nectar.

This cute, tiny bird was so gracious
to look into the camera for a fraction of a second.

Maha-Shivaratri - the holy night of Lord Shiva - has approached.
Kumari Somashekhari is ready to worship Lord Shiva with devotional Temple-Dances,
since singing and dancing is her favourite way of worshipping the Divine.
She holds in her right hand a Mandara Flower, dear to Lord Shiva, which she had taken
from the tree before sunset. This Mandara Flower will be offered in the Temple
to Gurudev Paramahamsa Omkarananda Saraswati and Lord Shiva,
before the start of the Dance-performance.

There had been fresh snowfall in the nearby, higher Garhwal Himalayan regions, and an
icy-cold wind was blowing through the open Temple Hall of Omkarananda-Kamakshi-Devi Mandir.
In spite of that, Inmates and Priests of Omkarananda Ashram Himalayas, Devotees
and Guests assembled for the evening Arati in the Omkarananda-Kamakshi-Devi Mandir,
which was followed by the special Worship of Lord Shiva.

Devotees from Mumbai receive Divine Blessings in form of Arati and Kumkum
by a Priest of Omkarananda Ashram Himalayas.

Shri Sukumarji, Trustee, Omkarananda Ashram Himalayas, was the Master of Ceremonies
and he heartily welcomed all, who had assembled for the Maha-Shivaratri Celebration.
He explained the significance of Maha-Shivaratri and then invited all the Devotees
and Guests to watch a few Temple-Dances by Kumari Somashekhari on this occasion.

Kumari Somashekhari started her Worship of Lord Shiva on the holy night
of Maha-Shivaratri with a Bharatanatyam Temple-Dance, glorifying Lord Shiva.
It was a splendid performance - full of Divine Power.

The audience, consisting of Omkarananda Ashram Priests and Devotees from
different parts of India and other parts of the world, were keenly watching
the beautiful Dance-Performance by Kumari Somashekhari.

Here Kumari Somashekhari is dancing to a Shiva-Bhajan in the Hindi-Language.
This dance had been choreographed by Somashekhari herself in the Temple-Style
of the North Indian Kathak-Dance, in order to express her
Gratitude and Devotion towards Lord Shiva.

For the audience Kumari Somashekhari shortly explained in English and Hindi
the essence of the meaning of each of her Temple-Dances.

Somashekhari concluded her worship of Lord Shiva with a graceful
Bharatanatyam Temple-Dance to a highly mystical song in ancient Tamil-Language.

Mahant Shri Swami Vishveshwarananda Saraswati, President Omkarananda Ashram Himalayas, blessed the whole audience with his powerful and dynamic speech on the holy occasion
of Maha-Shivaratri. He narrated a beautiful story of Sage Narada, which shows,
that we can and should be absorbed in the Lord, even during daily, so called "mundane" life,
because then only we will receive great Divine Blessings and Divine Protection.

On this occasion Shri Swami Vishveshwaranandaji expressed his heartfelt Thanks
to Shri Suresh Panditji, Chief Priest Omkarananda Ashram Himalayas, and his Team of
other wonderful Priests, for conducting the daily Temple Worship in a very divine and
meticulous manner and for keeping the Temple-Premises very clean, pure and beautiful.
Swamiji also mentioned to the audience, that all Omkarananda Ashram Priests
are going to perform special worship for Lord Shiva inside the different Shiva-Shrines
throughout the night till next morning 4 AM.

A Devotee from Mumbai is expressing his gratitude to Swami Vishveshwaranandaji
for the inspiring Function on the occasion of Maha-Shivaratri Celebrations
in Omkarananda Ashram Himalayas.

Shri Agarwalji (left), a noted international Lawyer by profession, is in happy conversation
with Shri Deepak Randive, a Devotee from Mumbai, who is closely associated
with Omkarananda Ashram Himalayas.

The Manager of Yoga Niketan, Shri Nautiyalji, and all other Devotees and Guests,
are receiving blessed 5-Mukhi Rudrakshas from Kumari Somashekhari.

Professor Dr. Himanshu Aeran, Director and Head of Seema Dental College & Hospital,
Rishikesh, expresses his Thanks to Shri Swami Vishveshwarananda for the nice Celebration.

An extremely joy-giving and kind nature is one of the Main Characteristics of
Mahant Shri Swami Vishveshwarananda, which often expresses itself in his natural and
sweet smile, nicely captured by the photographer during the Maha-Shivaratri Celebration
in Omkarananda Ashram Himalayas.


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