Chicago IL: The Maharudram Committee of The Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago, Lemont, IL organized part four of the prelude series titled “Rudra: Who Really is He?” on Sunday, June 1st, 2015. Devotees gathered at the Sama Rathi auditorium with enthusiasm in spite of the heavy rains Sunday morning.
This was the prelude program to the main “Maharudram and Navachandi Mahayagnam” coming up on June 12th, 13th, and 14th being conducted for universal peace, welfare, and prosperity.
Salient features of this mahayagna include more than one-thousand women reciting the Lalitha Sahasranamam, invoking the Divine Mother with Her 1,008 names. Hundreds of Vedic Scholars from all over the country would gather and chant Sri Rudram, the most ancient Vedic prayer for Lord Shiva. The Navachandi Mahayagnam on Sunday is planned in such a way that everybody can participate in offering oblations into the sacred fire. Ṣaints and Satgurus have accepted the invitation to grace the occasion, which is likely to be attended by over five-thousand devotees over the three-day span.
The Prelude program commenced sharply at 10:30 AM with a prayer to the Lord by Sri Krishnarajan, distinguished priest of the Temple.
Revered Swamiji Advayatmananda Saraswati, Dharmaatma Dr. Yegnasubramanian and Congressman Danny Davis were welcomed to the stage and honored with garlands by Sri Lakshman Agadi, Chairman of Maharudram committee and Sri Bhima Reddy, President of HTGC. Swami Advayatmananda then inaugurated the program for the day with the traditional Lighting of the Lamp Ceremony with the assistance of Smt. Radha Ramanathan.
In his speech, Congressman Danny Davis declared that if the five-billion people in the world who belong to various religious faiths interact with each other they will only realize that all religions are preaching the same universal truth and this would lead to a more peaceful and tolerant world which is the most urgent need in today’s world.
Swami Advayatmananda’s speech, titled “Yagna: Expression of our infinite Love for the Limitless Lord” gave wonderful insights into the Vedantic concept of Ishwara and the true nature and oneness of individuals. Swamiji said the more we bring Iswara into our life, the closer we are to the reality.Inviting the Lord into our lives and expressing devotion through various forms of prayer recognizes the concept called Deivam, the supreme power beyond our control. Everything we have, including our own body, intellect and belongings, were generously bestowed upon us by Iswara and therefore we need to accept them gracefully. Swamiji advised that continued prayer with the attitude that all our actions are our offering to Ishwara radically changes our approach to life.
Dharmaatma Dr. Yegnasubramanian delivered a speech titled “Sanatana Dharma”. He started by quoting Sri Adi Sankaracharya from Viveka Choodamani, stating that there are things that are considered very rare. The first one is to be born as a human being, next is to have a craving desire to attain liberation from bondage and the third is to get association with great souls. Merely learning the scriptures makes one a scholarly person but only when one attains the knowledge of the Supreme Being he or she is called a Brahmin. Regardless of caste, creed, religion or anything a person who is aware of the Supreme Being and realizes the self is called a Brahmin. He lucidly explained the difference between a Karmi and Karma Yogi. While both perform the same karma, the attitude with which they perform is making the difference. A karmi performs action with a desire in mind, whereas the karma yogi performs the actions with a sense of duty and offering to the Lord. While doing so, the karmayogi attains pure mind, which is a prerequisite to learn higher goals.
Dr. Yegnasubramanian quoted Bhagavad Gita where Lord Krishna explains four types of devotees. The first type is the one that prays to God only when there is a problem just to get rid of the troubles. The second one realizes that God’s grace is needed for material benefits and hence prays to God. The third category prays to God for the sake of devotion and love towards God. Though this type of devotee does not ask for material benefits, there is a small amount of selfishness in the form of seeking peace of mind through prayer. The fourth category is the one with supreme devotion which purports the knowledge that Lord is not different from the devotee and has the attitude of oneness with Lord. Mahayagnas are supposed to be performed not for seeking material benefits but for the universal welfare and peace of mind collectively.
The lectures were followed by a wonderful concert by Sands Around Infinity, who presented a fusion of Indian devotional bhajans and western music with a twist of Jazz.
Dr.Paul Erhard is professor at the University of Colorado college of music with a doctoral degree from Juilliard and a full bright scholar from 2013-2015. Dr.Erhard has adjudicated many prestigious double bass competitions in the USA and has studied both Carnatic and Hindustani classical music with master Indian musicians. Jeffrey and Robert Erhard, his sons, are not only known for their academic brilliance but have also received many years of training in Indian music during their study in India through daily singing of Bhajans and chanting of Vedas. In October 2014, Jeffrey and Robert recited Sri Rudram as an invocation for a multi cultural conference. Their program today included selections from their new CD, “Of Infinite Light” and included such compositions as “Hey Shyam Sundara”, “Chal Re Mann”,” Chitta Chora”. The wide variety of rhythms and expressive elements enveloped the listeners in rich colors and moods. On the whole, it was a very divine and blissful evening.
The Erhard family of artists was honored by Sri. Srinivas Sarma, Prashant Sarma and Sanjeev Sarma.
The emcee for the program was Dr. Sangita Rangala and Mr. Vikram Rangala.
Source: Asian Media USA
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