Religious festivals

Navaratri is a nine day festival during which various aspects of the Divine Mother are worshipped every day. To read more about this festival please go to, ‘Archives > religious festivals.’

“Mother’s grace is boundless and her mercy limitless. Use this Navaratri time to obtain her loving grace. May the Divine Mother transform you into a vessel of her peace, wisdom and glory. Om Shakti Om.” Swami Premananda

In the following satsang, Swamiji talks about how to pray to the Divine Mother, especially during this auspicious festival period.

“Why should you be afraid? You should not be afraid of anything or anyone. I am always reminding you that the Divine lives within you. The Divine Mother is the sole, yet omnipresent, primordial force that activates all of us and all that lives. The more you remember the Divine, the more the grace and protection of the Divine Mother will fill your heart. The Divine Mother always protects all living beings, including those who are ignorant of her. The Divine Mother is in everything and knows everything…”

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– Swamiji talks about women in spirituality –
A large part of Swamiji’s mission is about the uplift of women not just in society but in their role in spirituality too. Swami often spoke about the fact that women can advance in spirituality very quickly once they choose to follow the spiritual path. He said, “I would like to tell you something. There is nothing that ladies can’t do. They can attain enlightenment! They can come to a higher state and do everything! But you should surrender attachment to the maya that is within you. Maya is residing within you, without your knowledge.” He also said, “I feel that ladies should develop in spirituality. I want them to develop, mature and be accepted as great spiritual people. I like to teach them and show the world how great they are, but it is a very difficult task. They must have more self-confidence and less attachment.”

He wholeheartedly encouraged the ladies in the Ashram not only to take an active part in the running of the Ashram but also to perform the daily worship. This has continued since Swamiji’s samadhi and ladies are performing the temple worship to Swamiji’s samadhi lingam and performing abhishekam to the puja hall deities on a daily basis.

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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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