Chicago IL: Popular Carnatic Vocalist Unnikrishnan immersed the audience in a devotional outpouring of songs in his delectable style, immersing the audience in a huge wave of spiritual exuberance. The concert was held on Saturday, May 9th 2015 to a packed audience at HTGC Sama Rathi Auditorium organized by the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago, 10915 Lemont Rd., Lemont, IL . The Rudra Committee team led by Mr. Lakshman Agadi as chair and Mr Bhima Reddy President of HTGC Temple and Dr. Vijaya Sarma and Gopalkrishnan as co-chair, Subramanian Sundaram Finance Committee chair, Dr. Sangita Rangala, physician and director of Anand Dance Academy was the Master of Ceremonies and Mr. Sivaraman Sivasubramanian as fund raising and who organized this event.
Previously The Maharudram Committee of The Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago organized two events and today’s event is the third event. First event was Saturday Jan 31, 2015 “Rudra: Who Really is He?” Second event was Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 “Rudra: Who Really is He? Part 2 All Day Shiva Event”. This is the prelude program to the main event “Maharudram and Navachandi Mahayagnam” on June 12, 13, and 14. The prelude is comprised of a series of enlightening discourses and cultural presentations bringing out the spiritual symbolism of Mahayagnas and their contribution to universal peace, welfare and prosperity.
The program started sharply at 5:30 PM with Vedic Chant “Om Bhadram Karnebhih Shrinuyama Devah “by Sri Sathyagopal who is the priest of the temple which was followed by Dr. Muthuswamy, giving a brief speech to welcome the artistes. Mrs. and Dr. Muthusamy were the chief guest for the Maharudram event.
Sri Unnikrishnan is a Carnatic vocalist and a national award winning playback singer. He started the evening with a brisk varnam “Sarasijanabha Maampaahi” in Nattai followed by “Siva Siva Enaraada” in Pantuvarali raga replete with alapana neraval and swaras. This was at once absorbing and melodious with scholarly repartees from B Raghavendra Rao on violin. This krithi, not to mention the entire event organized by HTGC, was an appropriate curtainraiser for the main Rudra Homam that will happen on June 12, 13, and 14.
An immediate change from Pantuvarali to Mayamalavagowla came as a surprise as they are close yet farther apart in their raga swaroopa. Unnikrishnan brought out the varied moods of these two ragas skillfully with enchanting meandering raga phrases at the very start of the alap. A lively entertainer in “bantureeti kolu” had fast yet uplifting neraval in “Rama Nama maney”. What followed next was one of the most soulful alaps of the evening in Saaramathi for Thyagaraja’s spiritual “Mokshamu Galada” The soft sancharas around daivatham and nishadam, janti prayogams, sudden glides between octaves truly transported the listener to another dimension. Saveri raga was compassionately ecstatic for “Sabesan Sevadi” composed by the genius the Late Dr. S Ramanathan. The kalpana swaras had such an upbeat quality, with delightfully embellishing korvais by Thiruvarur Vaidyanathan on Mridangam and Guruprasad on Ghatam, sending the audience into a dancing trance! After a short Malayamarutham for “Karpaga Manohara”, an expansive and detailed Thodi raga was taken up for the epic “Karthikeya Gangeya Gowri Thanaya”. The lightning fast thri-sthayi sancharas were breathtaking. Many audience favorites later, Unnikrishnan concluded with the crowd-favorite krithi “Thandanana” of Annamayya and a Shiva Bhajan.
The evening’s recital was attractive, divine, passionate, soulful, touching yet scholarly all at once. Unnikrishnan and his team of stalwarts transported us to timelessness. Chicago will relive these moments many times over.
“Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago, which started as a place of worship three decades ago has transformed into a monumental institution upholding the traditional cultural, religious, and spiritual values that India holds dear” said by Mr Bhima Reddy President of HTGC Temple.
Unnikrishnan was honored by Mr Bhima Reddy President of Temple and his team was honored by Mr. Lakshman Agadi, chairman of The Rudra Committee. Mr. Sivaraman Sivasubramanian was honored by Mr Bhima Reddy President of HTGC Temple for organizing today’s event, his dedication and devotion. “I am taking this Shwal in behalf of you. This Shwal belong to you” said by Mr. Sivaraman Sivasubramanian.
“As you know this is third series of Who is Rudra? First series Gyan Yoga by Swamiji Sarvapriyananda, Second series Karma Yoga by Swamiji Ishatmananda and now (Third series) by Bhakti Yoga by Sri Unnikrishnan and June 6, 2015 Forth series Raj Yoga by Sri. Steve Burdick and Sri. Jeffrey Erhard” said by Mr. Lakshman Agadi, chairman of The Rudra Committee.
This event was organized as a fundraiser for the MahaRudram event happening on June 12, 13 and 14. The event is expected to draw a huge crowd of about 10000 from all over the country. Additionally, close to 300 priests from across the US are participating in the Vedic Chanting. Another highlight is the recital of Lalita Sahasranamam by 1500 women, and the presence of around 30 notable Religious Heads from all over the world. Such large scale planning and execution is not possible without the help of the HTGC board, the enterprising Rudra Homam committee and over 200 enthusiastic volunteers! The purpose of the Rudra Homam event is to usher in peace, happiness and prosperity to the world. Rudra Homams are conducted regularly across temples in India. But having to organize it in Chicago in such a huge proportion, and the challenge of procuring all authentic materials, printing books, souvenirs, raising funds, volunteers, creating awareness, getting families and kids to participate , providing free food throughout the day – and many such onerous tasks – is indeed highly commendable and noteworthy.
Source: Asian Media USA
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