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Love and Light

Region 2 - MahaShivaratri

This year’s Region 2 Maha Shivaratri programme, led by the Greenford Sai centre, brought together a remarkable array of readings, pooja and soul stirring bhajans to warm and spiritually energise devotees and the environment, on what was a very cold March night.

To begin with devotees entering the venue were greeted by a beautiful Shivalingam (outward symbol of the formless being, lord Shiva) and given the opportunity to perform their own heartfelt Abhishekham before sitting down for the evening’s programme, which was kicked off with a short description about the Family of Lord Shiva, read by Brother Suresh Sajnani.

Quoting Swami’s discourse, Brother said the Family of Lord Shiva set an ideal example for us all, because Lord Shiva’s family was filled with animal forms that would usually fight in the material world but who instead chose to live together in love and harmony.

This set the tone for the rest of the evening as a devotee was chosen at random to perform the Shiva-Lingam Pooja. The joy on his face was clear to see and warmed the heart of everyone lucky enough to witness the Pooja, which took place on a shimmering and beautifully designed altar (shown below). After this, every devotee was given the opportunity to partake in Bilva Archana by placing a Bilva leaf on the Shivalingam accompanied by the melodious singing of the Bilva Ashtakam which chants ‘Trijanma Paapa Samharam – Eka Bilvam, Shiva Arpanam’ – meaning, if you offer a single Bilva leaf with devotion to Lord Shiva, it has the potency to eradicate sins for three lifetimes

Maha Shivaratri celebrated on the 14th night of the new moon in the dark fortnight of the month of Phalgun, is when the moon (signifying the mind) only appears as a streak in the night sky, meaning the mind is much easier to control on this night above all others. Swami has also said: “The holy night of Maha Shivaratri is intended to be an opportunity for eradicating the evil tendencies, and turning the mind firmly towards God. When the entire night is dedicated to the chanting of the Lord's name, a person’s mind, speech and senses, all get centred on God”.

Devotees were then treated to two hours of sublime, soul charging bhajans (also led by the Greenford Sai centre), sung by an array of melodious voices and accompanied by some fine musicians. As the midnight hour approached the bhajans gathered pace and devotional fervour, suffusing the air with warm divine vibrations. Soon after, the festivities came to a close with the offering of the Mangala Arati and closing prayers leaving all devotees feeling blessed and spiritually charged on the holiest of nights. In his closing remarks Brother Senthil, Region 2 Chair, thanked the Greenford Sai Centre for leading the event so beautifully and for bringing the region together in Love and Unity.

As if that wasn’t enough, devotees were joined by some unexpected, but well known guests, in the form of Hollywood actress Goldie Hawn and her husband Kurt Russell, as they took the time to mark this important occasion and pay homage to our beloved Lord.

With Love,

Article Submitted by Priya Kotecha & Suresh Sajnani
On Behalf of the Region 2 Spiritual Wing