Ever-loving, ever-compassionate, all-pervading – Swamiji. Embodying it all in His magnificent glory, He welcomed devotees to the most divine Shivratri event with a spectacular welcome gift.
The Divine Gathering, The Beginning: The Wedding Eve
The Heavens opened up for those at the Ashram on the 17th of February as to everyone’s awe, Swamiji shared how Sri Hari placed Himself as a swaddling infant in His arms each time He reverentially sang Jaya Ambe Jaya Devaki Nandana, during the Aarti. Before the crowd could fathom this revelation, He sprung yet another surprise by gently asking everyone present to write a wish on a piece of paper and place it in the temple’s donation box before the evening Aarti.
While He assured the fulfilment of all wishes, He forewarned that it could bind oneself to lifetimes, and hence one ought to be smart in making the wish. But ultimately, He said, it was more important to be one’s natural self.
The Heavenly vault was thus thrown open, leaving guests (the beloved ashram devotees) of the Divine Wedding party to pick from the bountiful treasures!
The Morn of the Wedding Day: “Bless the Mother Who Blesses Us”
Divine Praises (Aarti) on the morning of D-Day was followed by the wedding banquet with Sadhvi Vrinda Om’s meditation session. In a one-of-its-kind meditation session, each devotee not only stood witness to The Grand Wedding but also got to be anyone they wished to be – The Divine Mother’s attendants helping Her with ornaments, flower bearers or even Shiva’s Ganas merry-making at the wedding procession.
The immaculate setting of the Sri Hari Temple formed the ideal backdrop to partake in this holy spiritual matrimony. On that day, the ever-smiling Sri Hari, resplendent in garments of red and white and gold, laden with the choicest flowers and bilva leaves, stood magnificently as the Royal Groom with His Radiant Bride.
Mehndi: Letting the Hues of Mother’s Grace Tint Our Consciousness
As Swami Prabhavananda Om mellifluously chanted the Lalita Sahasranama in the early evening, Divine Mother’s Grace seemed to cascade down gently, colouring everyone in Her gentleness, grace and prayerfulness
Devotees decorated the temple courtyard in Rangolis that celebrated the elaborate wedding theme: a floral 3.5 feet bow, an arrow with five brightly-hued heads, multiple vibrant 2-feet bows, a 3-feet slithering snake, a 5-feet blue hand holding a dazzling Trishul and a Damaru – they all added to the glory of the spiritually charged night.
The Grand Wedding: Shiva Weds Parvati
Over three hundred devotees took their places at the temple, eager for the first glimpse of the living Divinity, Swamiji, who, dressed in black robes, was their magnificent Lord Shiva that night. Appearing at 6:30 PM, He announced the start of the Abhishekam, the Shubh Muhurat (Auspicious Time) that heralded the grand wedding celebrations.
The immensely gifted father and son duo, Prasad Parasuraman and Keertan Mani Prasad, accompanied the
Abhishekam with their soulful rendition of the Sri Rudram and Chamakam. Young Keertan also played the Mridangam
As Swamiji invoked Bhagavan Mahadeva and commenced the Abhishekam, mesmerized devotees witnessed something amazing – Bhasma (Ash), Kum Kum (Vermilion), Haldi (Turmeric Powder), and innumerable Rudrakshas transformed the benevolent Sri Hari into the fierce, magnificent Rudranath – the Destroyer, the Lord, Shiva.
Two Weddings and a Funeral
And the breathtaking night still wasn’t complete. After the glorious Aarti, Swamiji jubilantly regaled the devotees with humorous anecdotes about Lord Shiva’s wedding, followed by a divine medley of hymns.
And then, from His spiritual cup overflowed the words of wisdom which would set everyone on course for a renewed life – an opportunity to free oneself from the shackles of regret, guilt and shame.
The Regret Funeral, as indicated in His os.me post.
He assured everyone of His promise to pray for them that night and subtly urged His devotees into reflection and repentance.
The ashram did not witness lights out that night. Everyone stayed awake, praying for the Lord to appear and take on their burdens, grief, and endless regrets. While many tearfully prayed and burnt their guilt in the privacy of their rooms, a few chose to light a bonfire on the Ashram grounds.
And for these blessed few, this night would forever be etched in their minds. Swamiji made a surprise appearance at 23:55, the time of the funeral, still dressed in black, His divine countenance glowing with the light of a thousand moons. He chanted mantras, received the regret notes and with His own holy hands, cast them into the blazing fire.
All around the world, devotees came to terms with themselves in those magical four minutes before the clock struck 12:00 AM.
The Divine Wedding was a true marriage of acceptance and self-reconciliation that was a lifetime coming.
And thus ended the most Divine of nights.
The hazy haloed moon stood silent witness to the sheer miracle that had just unfolded.
The multitude of stars twinkled in glee, and then,
there was silence within.
O Beloved Sweet Lord, Swamiji – Thank You.