Taking Swamiji on procession
The Ashram celebrates Swamiji’s birthday in a very grand way each year. This will be the second year that we will take the statue of Swamiji out of Swamiji’s samadhi temple to go on procession for his birthday. The statue of Swamiji is placed in a chariot and then everyone gathers in a procession to sing bhajans, chant mantras and to walk together through the Ashram. Rose petals, flowers and other pure offerings are made to Swami as we walk. When we take the statue of Swamiji on procession there are some beautiful deep meanings to it. Firstly, Swamiji’s divine presence inherent in the statue is able to bless all the birds, animals, trees and so on as they are able to have a darshan of him. Secondly, the statue of Swamiji is a representation of our atma, the chariot that he is taken on represents our body and the route that we go on represents our journey through life. By taking the image of our divine Guru on procession we help our own minds to grow in knowledge of that universal Self, which exists everywhere. A statue of the Guru is of particular significance because without the human life of a Guru we cannot progress on the spiritual path.
After the procession is finished, Swamiji is brought back to the temple and a very special milk abhishekam is performed to him. As it would have been Swamiji’s 64th birthday, we are pouring 64 litres of milk over him – a litre for each of his birth years. The reason we perform a milk abhishekam is to purify our body, mind and heart. Milk is white and pure and our minds should also become as immaculate as this gift of the Divine Mother to humanity in her form as the sacred cow, Gomatha. Milk is the base for curd, butter and cheese, yet only if you churn it can you bring out the other aspects of milk. This is symbolic of what you must do to yourself spiritually – then your positive and negative qualities can be separated and dealt with.