The 149th Birthday Tithi Puja of Swami Vivekananda was celebrated in Ramakrishna Mission, New Delhi, on Wednesday, 26th January 2011 coinciding with the Republic Day celebrations.
The day started 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, the mangalarati started. After the arati was over, vedic chanting was done by monastics, led by Swami Gunashrayanandaji Maharaj, who also read out a few excerpts from the life and teachings of Swami Vivekananda.
The Garbha Mandir was nicely decorated with garlands and flowers in flower vases. Varieties of flowers like Rajani Gandha, Gladioli, Rose, Lili etc. were beautifully placed around Thakur, Ma and Swamiji creating a devotional environment. Swamiji’s portrait was adorned with new gerua-coloured silk dhoti and chadder. Also Sri Sri thakur’s idol was decorated with new dhoti and chadder and Holy Mother’s portrait with new silk saree, donated by Nalli Silks.
The Special Puja started at 07.07 a.m. and lasted till 09.48 a.m. and it was done by Revered Secretary Maharaj himself, The Chandipath was simultaneously done in Thakur’s Shayan Ghar by Br. Girijesha Chaitanya (Prasanjit Maharaj). Around 40 devotees came in the early morning and were served breakfast along with mangalarati prasad.
The bhajans on Swamiji in the early morning were rendered by Shri Champak chatterjee and later by Shri Chandra Nath Mukherjee accompanied by Shri Ratnendu Bhattacharya. Homa started at 09.56 a.m. and it was done by Swami Tattwatitanandaji Maharaj ably directed by Revered Secretary Maharaj and it ended at 10.40 a.m. This was followed by Pushpanjali at 11.10 a.m. with the mantra administered by Swami Bhaktirasanandaji Maharaj Immediately afterwards Revered Secretary Maharaj rendered 2-3 bhajans. When Bhoga started at 11.24 he gave a brief discourse on the life and unlimited spiritual dimension of Swamiji. He continued the discourse till the time arati started at 11.48 a.m. After completion of arati at 12.05 p.m. all devotees offered pranams to the Holy Trinity and proceeded for taking kichuri prasad along with cut-fruit prasad in the pandal erected near the dining hall for distribution of prasad. The Temple was closed at 12.30 p.m. On account of Republic day celebrations in Delhi and also due to some traffic problems some devotees could not attend the Puja in the morning. However, the Temple was full by Noon.
Altogether, 1037 devotees got kichuri and fruit prasad, Afterwards kichuri prasad was also distributed in paper plates to 400 people outside the main gate of the Ashrama. Also about 150 persons including monastics, volunteers and devotees took prasad sitting in the dining hall.
The evening arati started at about 6.00 p.m. with ‘Khandana Bhavabandhana…’ led by Swami Gunashrayanandaji Maharaj. After the arati there were bhajans by Rev. Secretary Maharaj. All those devotees who attended the evening programme in the Temple (about 400 in number) were served boondi prasad in paper packets. About 50 volunteers, monastics and employees took prasad in the dining hall.
The donations collected on this day in the morning amounted to Rs. 35,119/-in cash (as against Rs. 46,845/- last year) and Rs. 17,500/- by cheques (as against Rs. 16,002/- last year). In the evening, the donations amounted to Rs. 7510/- in cash and Rs. 11000/- by cheques (as against Rs. 3716/- in cash only last time). Thus the total amount by means of donations came to Rs. 71,129/- (as against Rs. 66,563/- last year).
The total amount realized on account of book sales both in the morning and evening was Rs. 42,606/- (as against Rs. 35,000/- last time.
Thus Swamiji’s Birthday tithi puja of Swamiji was a great success.