Report: Rajendra Pejavar

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With the proliferation of various associations right across the Emirates the number of Pooja programs have become a common feature and come weekend you can see a lot of family groups in riotous colours and ethnic costumes trudging along to the various ceremonial halls to attend to these vibrant social / cultural and religious activities.   One such unique program - Shri Kateel Durga Devi - Laksha Kumkumarchane Pooja - an offering of one lakh times of Kumkum to the Goddess Durga Devi by couples - was held at the Karama Center Ceremonial Hall on Friday the 2nd November, 2012.

The Pooja program started with the customary ’Kalasha Pratishtapane’ - the symbolic installation of the Deity at the venue at around 4.00 pm.  Prior to that the specially flown in team of Pundits - experts in the creation of an exact replica of Shri Durga Devi from Kateel, and the decoration style carried us all back home to the Sanctum Sanctorum of the sacred venue.   The beautiful decoration with marigold, jasmine, Sevanthige, Tulasi, mango leaves, etc. were a treat to the eyes… the consecration of the Deity was an artistic piece in itself.   The whole aura and atmosphere that was recreated here brought back nostalgic memories how such events are organized and celebrated back home… The credit for creating such a visually blissful image of Shri Durga Devi by a group of dedicated set of 9 purohits, who have come all the way from India, goes to Shri Ashok Purohit, who has become a household name not only in Mumbai, India but also in the gulf countries like UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman to name just a few countries abroad. 



What followed after the installation of the Deity was a revelation in itself… the Bhajan Keertan program rendered by Shri Ganesh Yermal, a vocalist of repute in his own right, specially flown in for the occasion, soulfully belting out the devotional songs, Bhajan Keertan, in his inimitable style, in several languages and often indulging the audiences as well, ably supported on Tabla by Janardhan Salian and our own local talent Shri Raghu Poojary on Harmonium, who jointly created a mesmerizing atmosphere by transporting the devotees to some heavenly abode - straight to the celestial darbar of some majestic Lord of the land… The unique presentation by Shri Ganesh Yermal was enjoyed equally well by both the young and old… it was nothing short of a magical and moving experience.  

The transition from the musical world to the more important main event of offering of the Kumkum to Lord Durge was another memorable experience - a first for many couples.  Very few if any, had taken part in such a unique Pooja Program - not even back home for some of them… thus making it a special occasion for many.  Shri Ashok Purohit guided the entire gathering through the process explaining in very fine details the meaning behind each activity… which enhanced the sense of participation and total involvement in the Pooja Process… there was never a dull moment or a boring ritual - it was an experience thoroughly enjoyed by each and every participant.  At the end, the concluding remarks by Shri Ashok Purohit - highlighting the importance of such an offering in the adopted land of our Karma Bhoomi, almost brought tears in the eyes of many a devotees.  Such was the impact of this powerful presentation and offering and the mastery of the craft by Shri Ashok Purohit.  There is no doubt that he has mastered the art of offering Poojas to the Deities, by involving the performers and taking them and guiding them through the various process of performing such unique Pooja Programs.   Hats off to Ashok Purohit, the devotees remain ever grateful to him for this out-of-this-world experience.   Can’t say a once in a life time experience, as we are sure, people will welcome him again to conduct more such programs in the future. 

Another feather in the cap was the unique amalgam of people from different ethnic groups coming together and performing these poojas jointly.  Shri Ashok Purohit, believes in national integration in its true sense… as he is consulted by people of different faiths and beliefs - as he solemnly asserts in his cool and calm demeanor that at the end of the day, we are all human beings coming from the same abode of the Almighty and going back to him at the end of this worldly journey, so what difference it makes, whether we do it individually or collectively - better do it collectively for it reaches the Almighty directly.  A great philosophy of human endeavor indeed. 

The day’s proceedings ended with a sumptuous Maha Prasad of typical south Indian fare for all the devotees.  The Kar Sewa was ably rendered by the Vara Mahalaxmi Pooja Team. It would be out of place to name any individual or group of individuals as the whole act was put together under the direct guidance of Shri Ashok Purohit, so suffice it to say, people from all walks of life participated and enjoyed this unique experience of Shri Laksha Kumkumarchane Pooja to Lord Shri Durga Devi a powerful embodiment of the three Deities - Shri Mahalaxmi, Maha Saraswathi and Maha Kali. 

Sarve Janah Sukhino Bhavantu.  Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu, Samastha Sanmangaladi Bhavantu… Om Shanti. 

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