The Ramakrishna Mission, New Delhi, celebrated the 176th Birthday Tithi Puja of Bhagwan Sri Ramakrishna on Sunday, the 6th March 2011. On the previous day pandals were erected on both the lawns in front of the Temple. Arrangement was made to show the temple programme in the pandal with the help of a closed-cirtuit TV by the courtesy of M/s Salora TV for the benefit of those devotees who could not find place to sit in the temple and witness the Puja, Arati etc.
The back-drop of the Garbha Mandir and also the idol of Sri Sri Thakur and the portraits of Holy Mother and Swamiji were gorgeously decorated specially with gladioli flowers and other flowers (for flower vases) arranged by Shri Sadhan Mondal. Sri Thakur’s idol was adorned with a new silk dhoti. Holy Mother’s portrait was adorned with a beautiful red silk sari and Swamiji’s portrait with a new gerua silk cloth, thanks to M/s Nalli silks who had donated all these apparels.
The day began with Sehnai recital (on audio cassette) at 4.30 a.m. when the gates of the Temple were opened for devotees. At 5.00 a.m. with the blowing of the conch shell, Mangalarati was performed by Revered Swami Tattwatitanandaji. After mangalarati was over, Vedic chanting was done by monastics led by Revered Swami Gunashrayanandaji who also sang ‘Ramakrishna Suprabhatam’ followed by a bhajan. This was followed by Usha Kirtan and all the devotees were filled with high devotional spirit. During Usha kirtan all devotees went on a parikrama of the temple precincts. At about 7.00 a.m. all deotees and volunteers, around 100 in number, were served with Mangalarati prasad as well as breakfast with Tea.
The special puja of Sri Sri Thakur started at 7.02 a.m. The puja was done by Revered Swami Tattwatitanandaji Maharaj. As the same time Chandi Path was done in the Shayan Ghar by Br. Prasanjit Maharaj. Shri Champak Chatterjee and Shri Chandra Nath Mukherjee accompanied by Shri Ashok Brahmachari on tabla rendered devotional songs on Sri Thakur, Ma and Swamiji during the puja. Towards the end of the puja Revered Secretary Maharaj led a beautiful bhajan, ‘Rama swarupa, Krishna swarupa, Ramakrishna namo namo…..’ which was sung in chorus by all the devotees. The puja ended at 9.38 a.m.
The special puja was followed by Homa at 9.45 a.m. Homa was performed by Revered Tattwatitanandaji with the able guidance .of Revered Secretary Maharaj . On the completion of Homa at 10.30 a.m., there was a devotional song sung by devotees in chorus led by Shri Chandra Nath Mukherjee. Then Revered Swami Bhaktirasanandaji Maharaj conducted Pushpanjali from 10.15 to 10.30 a.m. when all the devotees with flowers in their hands chanted the pushpanjali mantras on Sri Thakur, Maa and Swamiji. Then the flowers from the hands of all devotees were collected by volunteers and offered at the feet of Sri Sri Thakur.
After Pushpanjali Revered Secretary gave a brief talk on the life and teachings of Sri Ramakrishna from 11.10 to 11.25 a.m. during which time the sanctum sanctorum of the Temple was closed for Bhoga.
After the Bhoga was over and the doors of the sanctum sanctorum were opened, Arati was done by Revered Tattwatitanandaji Maharaj at 11.27 a.m. and it was over by 11.45 a.m. However, as a large number of devotees both inside and outside the Temple were to offer pranams to Sri Sri Thakur, Maa and Swamiji, the Temple was kept open for an hour more and it was finally closed at 12.40 p.m. after all the devotees offered pranams to the Holy Trinity.
Public Meeting at 12.15 p.m.
As part of the Birthday Tithi Puja celebration, a Public Meeting was organized by the Ramakrishna Mission, New Delhi, at 12.15 p.m. on 6th March 2011. It was presided over by Dr. Karan Singh. A copy of the programme drawn up for the Meeting is enclosed.
The Public Meeting began with an opening devotional song rendered by Shri Chandra Nath Mukherjee accompanied by Shri Ashok Brahmachari on Tabla.
After the opening song, Revered Secretary Maharaj presented Memento and the book, “Awakening India” to Dr. Karan Singh and during his short speech, he welcomed Dr. Karan and all the devotees assembled in the Vivekananda Auditorium for the Public Meeting. Then, Shri Laxmi Niwas Jhunjhunwala, Vice-President of the Managing Committee of the Ramakrishna Mission, New Delhi, spoke briefly on the subject, “Life and Message of Sri Ramakrishna”
When Shri Jhunjhunwala completed his speech, Dr. Karan Singh released the book, “The World Parliament of 1893” authored by Shri Jhunjhunwala and distributed a copy each of the same to Revered Swami Shantatmanandaji and Shri Jhunjhunwala on the dais.
After the release of the above book, Dr. Karan Singh delivered his Presidential Address.
At the end Shri Gurudas Chatterjee, Assistant Secretary of the Ramakrishna Mission, New Delhi, proposed a brief Vote of Thanks.
The Public Meeting was attended by more than 800 devotees. It ended at 1.15 p.m.
After the Public Meeting at 1.15 p.m. prasad distribution started. This time as many as 3,150 devotees took the prasad consisting of kichuri, cut-fruits and sweets served in thermocol containers In addition, kichuri prasad was served to 600 people at the outer gate of the Ashrama. Monastics, staff and volunteers, about 150 in number, took prasad sitting in the dining hall.
Evening Aratrikam and Bhajan
The evening Arati started at about 6.25 p.m. with ‘Khandana-Bhava-Bandhana…’ led by Revered swami Gunashrayanandaji Maharaj, who also rendered some bhajans on Sri Sri Thakur. Bhog to Sri Sri Thakur was offered at 7.45 p.m. and lasted till 8.15 p.m. The Temple was closed at about 8.40 p.m. Nearly 700 devotees were served prasad consisting of cut-fruits and sweets.
In the night about 25 volunteers took prasad along with monastics in the dining hall.