Sandipani offers the 30th Navratri Anushthaan at Shri Hari’s Lotus feet
The festival of Navratri is a divine occasion when people all over the world pray to Maa Shakti (Mataji) in various ways. This year, in 2011, as per tradition, Sandipani Vidyaniketan in Porbandar celebrated this festival by offering its 30th year of anushthaan at Shri Hari’s lotus feet. The Navratri anushthaan, from 28th September to 6th October, not only consisted of singing the Ram Charit Manas by Shri Goswami Tulsidasji, but also, several medical camps, a divine Shrimad Bhagavat Katha By Shri Radha Krishnaji Maharaj and a Sunderkand yagya, spreading devotion, culture, manav seva (charity work) and Dharma to everyone present during the festival.
The day began at 6.30am when devotees assembled with Sant Shri Radha Krishnaji Maharaj from Jodhpur, Rajasthan, to complete a parikrama (circumambulation) of Shri Hari Mandir along with Hari naam sankirtan (singing God’s name). The circumbulation started at the front of Shri Hari Mandir and stopped midway for a short period of time at the Gau shaala(cowshed). At the Gau shaala, everyone bowed to the cows and some fed them for a few minutes. From this day onwards, every morning as the assembly of devotees approached the Gau shaala singing Shri Hari’s name, the cows would come out of their dens as though they were awaiting this congregation. The circumbulation then continued and ended at the front of Shri Hari Mandir. The devotees would then enter Shri Hari Mandir for the morning aarati.
At 8.30am, all the devotees, guests and Sandipani students gathered in the large pavilion and recited the Hanuman Chalisa several times. At 9am, Pujya Bhaishri and Shri Radha Krishnaji Maharaj arrived at the pavilion, performed a brief poojaand began reciting Shri Ram Charit Manas in different tunes. At about 1pm, the recitation ended and was followed by aaratiand mahaprasad (lunch).
On 5th October, after completing the recitation of Shri Ram Katha, Pujya Bhaishri said, “This anushthaan has successfully taken place for the past 30 years. It took place for the first time at Dwarka when I was 25 years old. Thereafter, it continued for 10 years at Shri Tulsibhai Hathi’s garden. From then on, for the past 20 years since 1992, we have celebrated the Navratri anushthaan in Sandipani. I know of little girls who attended the recitation at Tulsibhai’s garden. These girls took Ramayan as a present with them when they got married. I am delighted to see these same girls, now mothers, attend the anushthaanpresently with their daughters!”
Pujya Bhaishri then affectionately remembered various saints who have graced Sandipani and purified the earth there. He acknowledged Shri Kalyandevji Maharaj, Shri Krishnashankar Shastriji (also known as Pujya Dadaji), Pujya Shri Morari Bapu, Pujya Pramukhswami Maharaj, Pujya Shri Satyamitranand Giriji Maharaj, Pujya Shri Chidanand Saraswatiji (also known as Pujya Muniji), the late great poet and ascetic – Pujya Shri Mamaji, and various saints who have preached Shrimad Bhagavat, Devi Bhagavat, Bhakt Maal and other holy scriptures.
Finally Pujya Bhaishri said that since the inauguration of Shri Hari Mandir, we are proud to say that Porbandar has been developing massively. Several educational complexes, law courts and seva places are being built. In addition, it is very satisfying to see that several devotees are helping and supporting the activities to spread our culture, religion and service via Sandipani.
Continuing the day to day divine programme, after mahaprasad and a small rest, at 3.30pm, Pujya Shri Radha Krishnaji Maharaj graced everyone with his presence in the pavilion and preached the Shrimad Bhagavat Katha. During the katha, Shri Radha Krishnaji Maharaj bowed to the several saints who have attended Sandipani every year and said, “Through the presence of these holy saints Sandipani’s earth is so pure now that we all feel like showering this soil on ourselves.” Shri Radha Krishnaji Maharaj (also called Govatsa) explained in great detail the importance of cows, gau bhakti (devotion to cows), gau seva (service to cows) and thereby emphasised everyone’s duty in protecting cows. He drowned the audience in Shri Krishna devotion with his katha, bhajans and kirtan to the extent that no one would realise it was time to end the katha session.
On 3rd October, after completion of the katha session, Pujya Bhaishri surprised Shri Radha Krishnaji Maharaj by announcing and wishing him a Happy Birthday. Pujya Bhaishri expressed his joy in listening to the katha and said in his speech, “Due to the way Shri Radha Krishnaji Maharaj gets engrossed in Shri Krishna leela and therefore drowns the audience, the devotees have named him Ramakda (meaning: toy) Maharaj. We should all become Shri Baal Krishna’s toy so that we live in this world like we are dancing for him every time Shri Baal Krishna turns the key to the toy.” Pujya Bhaishri then presented some presents to Shri Radha Krishnaji Maharaj.
At 7.30pm, after the katha, everyone would race to Shri Hari Mandir and do darshan of the divine aarati of Shri Hari. This was followed by garba where all the present people, Rishikumars and students of Sandipani, Pujya Bhaishri and Shri Radha Krishna Maharaj participated.
The chief hosts for the entire anushthaan, medical camps and mahaprasad were Shri Ramnikbhai and Shrimati Nainaben Sanghani of USA.
One of the highlights of this festival was that every single evening Shri Karunamayi Maa was dressed elegantly in different clothes and jewellery. Her temple was also decorated magnificently portraying various themes like: Mataji’s continuous abhishek, decoration with marigold flowers, rangoli and annakut. On one evening, Shri Karunamayi Maa was taken outside Shri Hari Mandir in the garden where there exists a stream of water and sailed in a boat. On another evening, the devotees were blessed to do darshan of Mataji rocked gently in an elegant swing made of flowers and leaves in the garden outside Shri Hari Mandir. The boat and swing were created with great hard work and enthusiasm by the Rishikumars.
Alongside the entire programme, various medical camps were efficiently organised and managed by Dr. Bharat Gadhvi and Dr. Suresh Gandhi. The medical camps by Sandipani and Lyons Hospital held this year included: dental, acupressure, eye, ENT, mouth clinic, cardiology, pulmonology, general medical, endocrinology and gynaecology camps. A total of 2500 patients were seen by 25 doctors. All the laboratory tests and medicines for 5 days were provided free of charge.
Like the past 9 years, this year also saw the inauguration of 2 books by Pujya Bhaishri: ‘Ramayan ni ras yatra‘ and ‘Amrutni aaraadhna‘. Pujya Bhaishri expressed his happiness towards Ghanshyambhai Mehta and Shri Tina Chandarana involved in the production of these books and said, “Truth is eternal just like the aatma (soul). When spoken words are presented in the form of letters in a book, these spoken words also become eternal. Whenever a person/preacher plays with words with the intention that this is Shri Krishna’s devotion, then those words become Shri Baal Krishna and the person/preacher Maa Yashoda.” Pujya Bhaishri then blessed Shri Dineshbhai and Shrimati Darshnaben Kapadia , and Shri Arvindbhai and Renuben Patel, who sponsor the books every year.
Several saints graced Sandipani with their presence throughout the anushthaan. They were: Pujya Shri Devprasadji Maharaj, Shri Bharti Bapu from Junagadh, Shri Ganeshanandji Maharaj from Santram Mandir – Nadiyat, Shastri Hariprakashdasji Maharaj from Swaminarayan Gurukul – Porbandar, Ajasranandji Maharaj, Sitaram Bapu and Chaitanyadasji Maharaj.
On the 9th day of Vijaya dashmi, as per tradition, a divine Sunderkand yagya was completed in the morning. In the afternoon, Pujya Bhaishri and many devotees travelled to Dwarka and hoisted the sacred flag on the main temple and had mahaprasad. The celebration at Dwarka was sponsored by Shri Bajranglal Taparia.
To conclude, the recitation of the Ram Charit Manas was not only enjoyed by the people present at Sandipani, but also by people in various parts of the world as it was telecasted live on Sandipani website.