“Rudra: Who Really is He? Part 2, All Day Shiva”

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Chicago, IL: The Maharudram Committee of The Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago, Lemont, IL organized the “Rudra: Who Really is He? Part 2 All Day Shiva Event” on Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at Sama Rathi Auditorium. Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago is located at 10915 Lemont Road, Lemont, IL . Sama Rathi Auditorium was fully packed with over 500 people. Well over 300 children showcased their talent with great enthusiasm and interest in this event.

Grand inauguration ceremony of the prelude series titled “Rudra: Who Really is He?” was on Jan 31, 2015. This is the prelude program to the main event “Maharudram and Navachandi Mahayagnam” will be on June 12, 13, and 14, 2015 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 All-Day Shiva Event started with the grand Girija Kalyanam, the celestial marriage of Shiva and Parvathi. The devotees enjoyed the sumptuous wedding feast from the Prasadam kitchen and were then treated with a variety of cultural programs presented by the students of various dance and music schools including the members of a dance school who travelled from Iowa.

Young students of renowned Bharatanatyam teachers, including Smt. Sushmita Arunkumar, Smt. Sangita Rangala, Smt. Vanitha Veeravalli, Smt. Pragnya Yogesh, Smt. Vidya Pandikaran, Smt. Hema Rajagopalan, Smt.Sowmya Kumaran, and Smt. Anupama Rajesh, presented various Bharathanatyam performances. The audience was mesmerized seeing the children in authentic costumes presenting with perfect synchronization and confidence.

Students of various music teachers, including Smt. Vasanthi Iyer, Smt. Maragatha Mani Sundaresan, Smt. Vaidehi Sudharshan, Smt. Subadra Ramasami, Smt. Shoba Shankar Jagadeesaiyer, and Smt. Saraswathi Ranganathan, presented various performances including vocal music, instrumental ensemble, and devotional prayers.

There were several thematic competitions including drawing, painting, essay writing and quiz programs for the children. Smt. Savitri Bala, Smt. Sangita Rangala, and Smt. Nagaveni Garimela conducted the final round of quiz on the stage in a very interesting format including visual clues, “lightning” rounds, and slideshow visible to the audience. It was amazing to watch young children answer questions on various topics centered on Hindu spirituality and the concept of the Supreme Consciousness.

Dr. Sangita Rangala, a busy physician and director of Anand Dance Academy was the Master of Ceremonies for the whole day and her enthusiasm was infectious. During the time required for setting up the stage Sangita engaged the audience by teaching them the fundamental steps of Indian classical dance. The entire audience was on their feet and everyone felt so connected and involved. Even the President of the temple, Sri Bhima Reddy, and Maharudram organizers Sri Lakshman Agadi and Dr. Vijaya Sarma were seen taking part. The laughter and fun in the auditorium was a pleasant experience to watch. Sangita posed a few more Quiz trivia questions to the audience as well while waiting for the stage to be set up for Swamiji’s speech in the evening. Children as well as adults competed with each other while answering the questions with a great deal of enthusiasm.

The evening session started with chanting of Sri Rudram by four young children. Revered Swamiji Ishatmanada, senior monk of Sri Ramakrishna order and Minister In-charge, Vivekananda Vedanta Society of Chicago, was the keynote speaker of the evening. Swamiji delivered an excellent speech titled “Shiva: The Great God” and brilliantly explained the concept of Shiva, the auspiciousness. Swamiji gave the spiritual meaning of the famous story of Lord Shiva consuming the poison. The poison of “ego” is all taken by the Lord if we pray sincerely and turn our attention in the direction of God. He explained that once we surrender our ego, we will become one with God.

Teachers and students who presented various performances received the blessings of Swamiji on the stage. Each student was presented with a certificate and a prize. The teachers were honored by Swamiji and the Maharudram organizers.

The speech was followed by a wonderful Bharatanatyam dance concert “Rudra: The One who Purifies” by Sri. Vinay Srinivasan, who studied Bharathanatyam under Smt. Hema Rajagopalan of Natya Dance Theatre for 18 years.

Srinivasan’s dance recital commenced with the Siva Panchakshara Stotram “Nahendra Haraya”, a beautiful prayer to Lord Shiva composed by Sri Adi Sankaracharya. The central piece of his presentation was “Varugalamo Ayya”,(Can I come, Oh Lord?) the portrayal of Nandanar, a lower-caste but ardent devotee of the Lord trying to have Darshan of the Lord at Chidambaram. The grand finale was an Abstract segment called “Jatadhara”, specially choreographed for the event Rudra: Who really is He?

Srinivasan was later honored by the President of the Temple, Shri Bhima Reddy, for such an awe-inspiring performance.

Sri. Lakhshman Agadi, Chair of Maharudram Committee gave the vote of thanks. Fortunately, the weather cooperated with the blessing of the Lord and the program concluded successfully. Of note, the Rathi auditorium was fully packed for the entire duration of the 7-hour program.

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