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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar performs Lakshmi Pooja for devotees

By Suresh & Usha Bodiwala

Chicago IL (Oct 28, 2014): Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (Guruji), a Global Humanitarian and the founder of the Art of living foundation, was in Chicago on Oct 23 to 26, 2014 to conduct a happiness program for the people of Chicago. This event was at Hilton Chicago, 720 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL. For the auspicious occasion of Diwali, there was also Lakshmi Pooja on Oct 24, 2014 - 7 PM onwards, at Hilton Chicago.. The Pooja was open to all and free of charge. It was performed amidst cheering of thousands of people present.

Attendance at the event was house full. There were many dignitaries present from all different professions such as Political, Entertainment, Education, Business, Medical, IT (Information Technology), along with prominent Community Leaders. Extremely good news was lots of students from university and second generation of USA born youngsters also  attendance this event.

Acharya Rohit  Joshi, of Northeastern Illinois University, a Community Leader and a Hindu Priest who also performed religious Pooja accomplished the Lakshmi Pooja in rituals manner, who greeted Guruji and said he had good fortune of doing pooja with a legendary Guru- men behind Art of Living and his followers. He also mentioned that students, staff and community of Northeastern Illinois University is also fortunate to have Darshan of Guru Ji on campus couple of times in past. Nita Virani and Vinesh Virani also met Dean, Murrell J. H. Duster for setting Art of Living courses on campus of NEIU.

Lakshmi Pooja is yet another Hindu prayer which is performed on the third day of Diwali. This is very important pooja which is entirely devoted to worshipping Goddess Lakshmi. It is believed that Lakshmi bestows wealth, prosperity and happiness to all human beings. "It impossible to perform Lakshmi Pooja for such huge crowed. As a symbolic I will do Lakshmi Pooja for all my  devotees" Said by Guruji

Addressing the gathering Guruji said, “Happy Diwali to all and Happy and Prosperous New Year to Gujaratis. Diwali is the festival of Light, Joy and Prosperity.  Diyas are a symbol of real life and life must be enjoyed by removing darkness from your heart. Pooja renews our contract with divinity. Pooja is a process to awaken divinity.”

Acharya Rohit Joshi said that the festival of light known popularly as Deepawali or Diwali. Deep means light and avail means row. We must create the rows of enlightened persons. Let us light the lamp of our life. Body is the Kodiau-earthen pot. Self-faith (Shradha) is the wick. Pure Love is the Ghee (clarified butter). Match stick is the Vivek (Power of Discrimination).

Guru Ji, Sri Sri says each one is supposed to light one lamp. When everyone is enlightened by the glory of their own lamp, the whole environment becomes full of light Dispelling the Darkness – Ignorance.  The spirituality also teaches the same. You light your own lamp – the soul - and dispel the darkness/ignorance from your heart. If each one does that in the world, we can dispel the darkness of violence, corruption, restlessness within no time.

Let it happen now. Light (Prakash) within guide us to understand and realize the self- knowledge within. You, as human being on this divine path have the power to do that. Let us all make a resolution this day that we will all light the lamp of our wisdom, love and compassion and the dawn of hope will awakened. One lighted Lamp can lights up millions & millions lamps.

Lakshmi Pooja was celebrated with devotion and enthusiasm. Tiny divas were lit to drive away the shadows of evil spirits. Bhajans, devotional songs in praise of Goddess Lakshmi, were sung by a group of Musicians and Singers making the whole atmosphere pious.  "Naivedya" of traditional sweets was offered to the Goddess, Annakut comprising of 108 food items was offered and everybody enjoyed divine Darshan. Finally aarti was performed for goddess Lakshmi. Packets of Prasad were distributed and all dispersed cherishing sweet memories of celebration.

A world peace leader and a happiness expert, Sri Sri’s visit marked a unique opportunity for Chicagoans to take the Art of Living Happiness Program and learn meditation to gain deep insights into managing one’s mind and emotions and live a truly happy life. Everybody joyfully praised Acharya Rohit Joshi’s chanting of Mantas, Stotras and Sholkas in Sanskrit.

Sri Sri’s vision of a violence-free and stress-free society has united millions of people around the globe. This trip followed his visit from earlier this year when he launched a multi-city stress-free, violence-free campaign in the US.

As a spiritual teacher, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has rekindled the traditions of yoga and meditation and offered them in a form that is relevant to the 21st century. Beyond reviving ancient wisdom, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has created new techniques for personal and social transformation. These include the Sudarshan Kriya® which has helped millions of people to find relief from stress and discover inner reservoirs of energy and peace in daily life. In a mere 31 years, his programs and initiatives have touched the lives of over 370 million people in 152 countries.

Through his initiatives and addresses, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has consistently emphasized the need for reinforcing human values and recognizing humanity as our highest identity. Fostering interfaith harmony and calling for multi-cultural education as the remedy for fanaticism are significant parts of his efforts to achieve sustainable peace on our planet. His work has touched the lives of millions of people around the world, going beyond the barriers of race, nationality and religion with the message of a "One-World Family"; that inner and outer peace are possible; and that a stress-free, violence-free society can be created through service and the reawakening of human values.

There were people from different countries and communities of the world including lot of Americans, Japanese, Chinese, Mexicans who were not only present, but took part in deliberations and danced to the tunes of Bhajans  in the company of Guruji himself. This was a unique scene to witness.