Religious festivals

In Sri Premananda Ashram we perform an ancient ritual called abhishekam to the Goddess Bhuvaneshwari every night of the year. During Navaratri however, Her presence is even more powerful and everybody gathers in the puja hall each night to worship Her. Swamiji always talked about the original force in the universe, Adi Shakti. Bhuvaneshwari is often referred to as Adi Shakti. That essence of Adi Shakti is the original, that which came before name and form. Adi Shakti or Bhuvaneshwari is therefore the supreme spirit without form. She also takes a form as Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. Bhuvaneshwari is the formless energy or consort of the formless Shiva. All of the Sri Premananda Centres around the world also have a five metal statue of Goddess Bhuvaneshwari, which they perform regular abhishekams to.

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Swamiji gave many satsangs about the necessity of having a Guru if we want to progress well on the spiritual path, about the Guru-disciple relationship, how we benefit from having a spiritual master, and advised how to celebrate Guru Poornima. Here are some of his golden words.

“Guru Poornima is a day to remember the saints, sages, avatars and spiritual masters who guide us on the spiritual path and who have been born on this earth from the time the world was created.
This day comes once in 365 days. On this day, let us think about those great souls and in our minds chant, “Gurur Brahma, Gurur Vishnu, Gurur Devor Maheshwaraha” and think of the Supreme who is the Guru of Gurus.

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Guru Poornima is celebrated in Sri Premananda Ashram in India and in the Sri Premananda Centres, Groups and Youth Groups around the world.

Typically on Guru Poornima we perform a pada puja, the worship of the feet of a saint or of his/her traditional sandals called padukas. It is understood in the Eastern spiritual tradition that the feet of the sage are to be venerated as symbols representing Divinity. We also present the Guru with a tray of traditional offerings containing fruits, some money, flowers and – particular to Guru Poornima – a set of clothes.

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The lingam is the symbolic form of Lord Shiva. For more than forty years, lingams manifested through Swamiji’s body and emerged from his mouth on the auspicious nights of Mahashivaratri. This phenomenon is known as Lingodbhava. Even after Swamiji left his physical body, he materialized a lingam at this special time when the energy of Lord Shiva is strongly working on earth.

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Swamiji gave many satsangs about the benefits of observing the sacred night of Mahashivaratri. He advocated staying awake all night, fasting and chanting the mantra, Om Namah Shivaya, which means, “I bow down to Shiva.” Shiva is the name for the inner Self which exists in all. Here are twenty-one beautiful quotes from Swamiji together with a selection of photos from Shivaratri nights over the years.

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Since Swamiji’s Samadhi on 21st February 2011, the night of Mahashivaratri has continued to be one on which Swamiji’s divine presence has been so strongly felt by all his devotees and especially in Sri Premananda Ashram. Each year, just as Swamiji manifested lingams on Mahashivaratri night during Lingodbhava when he was still in his physical body, a lingam has manifested at the foot of Sri Premeshvarar lingam or at the feet of the statue of Swamiji that resides in Sri Premeshvarar temple.

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– What is Navaratri? Learn about this ten-day festival dedicated to the Divine Mother
– About the Goddesses Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati
– How to do a Durga Puja – step by step guide

Every year in Sri Premananda Ashram we celebrate a festival in which we worship the feminine or mother aspect of the Divine. This festival is known as, ‘Navaratri’, which means nine nights. During this festival in Sri Premananda Ashram, devotees take part in an ancient ritual to the Divine Mother called abhishekam; although this is performed every evening throughout the year in the Ashram, it is considered to be particularly powerful during this time. Fresh flowers are offered to her as well as pure ingredients such as turmeric, milk and rose water whilst sacred mantras are chanted. It is considered to be a very auspicious time, a time when each person’s personal sadhana can be strengthened and deepened. Swamiji particularly liked to celebrate this festival by worshipping the Divine Mother.

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