9 May 2015

Narasimha Chaturthi Celebrations Around the World

Narasimha Chaturthi - the anniversary of the appearance of Lord Narasimha - was celebrated on May 2nd this year. Bhakti Marga celebrated it around the world in many groups and temples. In this post, we'll show you pictures from seven different countries.

Check out the full set of photos here at our Flickr account.

Sri Swami Vishwananda went to South Africa, as mentioned in the previous post, to Durban and to Johannesburg, where he gave satsangs and darshans. Anantaananda, a brahmachari from Shree Peetha Nilaya, went with him, and talked a bit about how the trip went.

Sri Swami Vishwananda with Shanta Narasimha

Anantaananda in the center
Check out the whole post to see pics from the Narasimha Chaturthi celebrations from around the world, as well as stories from both the Bhakti Lakshmi Narasimha temple in the UK and from Shree Peetha Nilaya.

Here's Anantaananda:

So, the trips to South Africa with Swami are always very special.

It's a very personal trip with Swami and devotees there; the devotees only see Swami once a year. So, all the love they have pours out in just that one week visit with Him and they try to arrange as much as possible.




We have two temples in SA. The first temple is in Johannesburg, it's the Maha Jwala Narasimhadev temple. Maha Jwala means the Super Effulgent Lord Narasimhadev and He is power. When you're standing in front of Him you know that the temple is His. He is very very beautiful. That's in Johannesburg.



In Durban, where Swami Chakradharananda stays they have the Maha Shanta Narasimhadev temple. That is the Shanta. He is very peaceful and much like Chakradharananda. [laughing] Kind of like a big teddy bear, He is very cute.


Prayers in front of Maha Shanta Narasimhadev
In both areas they are supporting... there is a lot of underprivileged kids, abandoned kids. There is a big AIDS epidemic in SA and lots of the parents died, so the kids end up in orphanages. And, I know in Durban, while we were there with Swami, they went to go and feed them. They fed about a hundred kids. Some of these kids, that's the only meal they get in one week.

And it's the same in Johannesburg, they were supporting an AIDS home where people with HIV live and they don't have much. They don't have much in their lives. It's like... they think people forgot about them. I remember Swami was there last time and he said, “Just remember, people may have forgotten about you, but God has never forgotten about you.” And he built a small chapel for them to go and pray in Johannesburg.

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In the Bhakti Lakshmi Narasimha temple in the UK, they also celebrated Narasimha Chaturthi, as well as invited Rishi Nikhilananda to give a satsang on Swamiji's teachings of the Guru Gita.

Here's Shez to tell about how the celebration went:

On the first weekend of May, Bhakti Marga UK welcomed Rishi Nikhilananda from Shree Peetha Nilaya, as he joined us to celebrate Narasimha Chaturthi and gave a Guru Gita Satsang.

Narasimha Chaturthi

The Bhakti Marga temple in London hosts the largest Narasimha deity in Western Europe, making Narasimha Chaturthi one of the biggest days in the year for devotees.



Proceedings began with Guru Puja, Kalash Puja and a yagna.




Rishi Nikhilananda then went onto explain the story of how Lord Narsimha burst out of a pillar to kill the demon Hiranyakashipu, to protect his dear devotee Prahlad. Rishi Nikhilananda said that although Lord Narsimha was only present on earth for 6 hours, it was the best 6 hours that this earth had known!



Shortly after, we then had darshan of Lord Narasimha in his almighty form of ‘Ugra’ Narasimha – the form he took to kill the demon Hiranyakashipu.



Following another session of singing- the Maha Abhishekam on Lord Narasimha took place. The crowd was transfixed by the beauty and power emanating from the deity at this time.

Before the third and final Darshan, Rishi Nikhilananda gave a fascinating talk, where he drew comparisons about the symbolism behind the incarnation of Lord Narasimha, and our own spiritual path with our beloved Guru - Sri Swami Vishwananda. His talk was so enriching that we requested him to go on for extra thirty minutes!

By the time he finished, one could feel that the temple room was infused with Guruji’s Love and Grace.  With the final kirtan, various names of Narayana were being sung ecstatically by the crowd, as we reached the glorious climax to the evening - the final Darshan of Sri Bhakti Laskhmi Naraimsha. Once the curtain opened, He was adorned in garlands, jewellery and perfume.



Once again, through Guruji’s Grace, devotees experienced yet another one of those magical nights, where we thank God for giving us the chance to celebrate Him and that He chose us to be on the spiritual path.

Guru Gita Satsang

On Monday, the 4th of May, Rishi Nikilananda delivered one of his captivating Guru Gita Satsangs. He managed to speak continuously about Guruji for over 3 hours without pause. Time flew by as not a single person in the room wanted him to even pause for a break.



Besides the content itself, what makes any talk by Rishi Nikhilananda worth listening to is that he is completely open and honest about his many experiences with Guruji. It is due to having such an authentic approach that he is able to genuinely share with those listening, the lessons he has learnt and the knowledge gained from his experiences with Guruji.


It is always a pleasure to have one of Guruji’s representatives visit Bhakti Marga UK, and we look forward to receiving Rishi Nikhilananda again in the future.

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Swami Keshava went to Warsaw Poland, to celebrate Narasimha Chaturthi with Vara Lakshmi Narasimha.







Russian devotees put on a dramatic reenactment of Lord Narasimha's appearance before giving Him an abishekam:






 In Varanasi, India, devotees sang bhajans and did puja together:



...as did devotees in Kenya:





And last but not least, Shree Peetha Nilaya also celebrated.

The pujaries started with a Guru puja, and then a invoked Narasimha into a kalash. Everything started very "shanti shanti"...






And then the "heat" started to turn up, as the first prayer began for Sri Narasimha in his Ugra (or "fierce") form:

video






All the devotees danced and sang kirtan for hours and hours. After receiving Darshan of Narasimha in His Ugra form, the final abishekam and arati was performed. Then all devotees went outside with a huge effigy and sang while walking in procession.








Do you see what Pramod is holding in his hand in that last photo? Look closer!

Guruji!
Sri Swami Vishwananda called in by video chat to say hello and to allow us to see that he was celebrating with us. :)

Make sure you see the photos on Flickr of Narasimha Chaturthi around the world - they include a visit Sri Swami Vishwananda took to the UK temple to do a special abishekam, just after his trip to South Africa!


Sri Swami Vishwananda, on Lord Narasimha (from the book Just Love 3)

"You see, the form of Nrshinga or Narasimha, most of the time is very terrifying. It's terrifying for us, because similarly, whatever negativity we have inside of us, is also terrifying for the soul. It's a danger for the soul. The form of Nrshinga is more than terrifying in itself.

"When all this negativity which is inside of us says, “Look, I am great!” what does the Lord show? He says, “Okay, you are great, but I am the greater One!” He shows His more powerful form and this Ugra form – Ugra, meaning the form of anger − that He expresses is to kill the anger, pride, egoism inside of us, showing that He is above all this. If somebody focuses on Him, He will remove, He will strip all this negativity out of him, but only if one surrenders. If you don’t surrender, it’s difficult.

"You see, if you want to do something in life, you give yourself completely to it, but if you just touch this or touch that a little bit, it will never work. If you want to go to a destination and there is a direct bus to your destination and there is one bus that stops everywhere, which one would you take? You'd take the express one, wouldn't you? How would you take the express one? Only by surrendering to God."



Narasimhadev Ki Jai!!!