OVER the last 13 years in Brisbane, Sri Lalithasahasranaama Stothra-Patana (Lalithasahasranaama chanting) has been conducted during Navarathri celebrations in devotees’ houses under the guidance of Pandith Dr Krishna Murthy Bhat. This has brought the community together to seek Sri Devi-Lalitha’s blessing.

This year’s celebration continued for 10 days from 21st September to 1st October in 13 different host devotees ‘houses. Around 100 to 200 devotees attended each Pooja. After a brief introduction to the ‘Significance of Navarathri’ and ‘Sri Lalithasahasranaama’ (below), Dr Bhat performed Nava-Durga Pooja accompanied by the host family. All invited guests participated in the chanting of Sri Lalithasahasranaama Stothra followed by Bhajans sung by the devotees. Kumkum-Archana to Sri Maha-Lakshmi was performed by the host family. All the gathered devotees took part in Maha-Mangala-Aarathi.  Delicious vegetarian dinner/lunch was served by the host family.  For all the 10 days everybody enjoyed the electrifying atmosphere of the festive season.

It is also a tradition that during the 10 days of Navarathri, Devi-Durga in her 10 different forms (Nava-Durga) wears different coloured Silk-Saris specified for that particular day. This year the Navarathri celebration had an added attraction, as the ladies adopted the ritual of wearing the same coloured Silk-Saris specified for that day. The effect was spectacular, and everybody is looking forward to next year’s celebrations.

Navarathri also known as Dasara is one of the most significant Hindu festivals celebrated by Hindus all over the world. According to Hindu Scripture, ‘Devi-Mahathmya’, during the 10 days of Navarathri, Mother Goddess Durga slayed several of the most powerful & vicious Demons to protect the pious people and bring peace to this world. The Goddess Durga also promised that whenever, and whoever seeks her help, she will protect them. It is strongly believed that during Navarathri, Mother Durga is quick to response to Her devotee’s prayers. Seeking Devi’s blessings, Hindus perform Durga Pooja, especially during Navarathri with devotion. On the 10th day, Vijaya-Dashami (Victorious Tenth day), Hindus perform Pooja to Sri Rama (Seventh Incarnation of Lord Vishnu) and celebrate the victory of Sri Rama over Ten-Headed-Demon Ravana.

Lalithasahasranaama Stothra, appears in ‘Bhramanda-Purana’ as a conversation between Lord Hayagreeva (Horse-headed Incarnation of Lord Vishnu) and the Sage Agasthya. It is one of the most beautifully constructed Prayers in Sanskrit language. Once the Earth & the Heaven (Deva-Looka) was terrorised by a very powerful demon called ‘Bhandaasura’, powered by a Boon (wish) from Lord Brahma that ‘no Gods and no Animals born from a mother’s womb would ever kill him’.  His rain of tyranny troubled the whole Universe. Seeking help from ‘Devi’, all the Gods and Sages gathered together and performed a huge ‘Yajna’. Devi possessing the Power of all the Gods emerged from the ‘Burning Yajna-Kunda’ (Chidagni-Kunda-Sambutha), in form of a ‘Beautiful Lady’ (Maha-Tripura-Sundari).  They called her ‘LALITHA’ (means Pleasant and Playful). Devi-Lalitha destroyed Bhandaasura at the request of all the Gods. She then told ‘Vag-Devi’ (Goddess Saraswathi) to construct a ‘Stothra’ (Prayer) narrating Her Speciality & Greatness in one thousand words (Sahasranaama) Vag-Devi accordingly constructed Thousand Speciality Names of Devi-Lalitha called ‘Lalithasahasranaama Stothra’ and placed it at the Lotus-Feet of Devi-Lalitha. Very pleased with this Stothra, Devi-Lalitha in the presence all the Gods and Sages, gave them the Lalithasahasranaama Stothra and instructed them that they should spread this Prayer all around the Universe including Earth for the benefit of Her devotees. Devi-Lalitha also promised that ‘wherever, whenever, and whomever chant Lalithasahasranaama Stothra with Devotion, She will be with them, protecting and taking care of them’. With this conviction in their mind, devotees chant Lalithasahasranaama Stothra with devotion during Navarathri seeking Devi-Lalitha’s Blessings.

OOM SHANTHI SHANTHI SHANTHIHE

Pandith Dr Krishna Murthy Bhat, drkmbhat@gmail.com

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