Sri Durga Mahashtami was celebrated with due solemnity in the Temple of the Ramakrishna Mission on Friday, the 15th October, 2010. Sri Sri Thakur and Swamiji were adorned with new silken dhoti and chaddar. The pictures of Holy Mother and Mother Durga were also decorated with new Kanchipuiram-silk sarees, courtesy Nalli Sarees, Connaught Place.
All arrangements for worship had been completed the previous evening itself. An artistic background with flowers in the sanctum sanctorum provided a beautiful setting. Flower vases holding Rajnigandha, Gladioli,, Roses (yellow, red and pink) flowers and zarbera were tastefully arranged in the garbha mandir. The cost of all the flowers purchased (Rs. 4,180/-) was borne by Shri Sadhan Mondal, a close devote of the Ashram. Mangalarati began at 5.00 a.m. on the Mahastami day in the Temple. After Mangalarati, Vedic chanting was done by Swami Gunashrayanandaji and other monastics.
The Puja began at 7.30 a.m. and it continued till 10.25 a.m. Swami Tattwatita-
nandaji Maharaj did the puja and Revered Secretary Maharaj was the Tantra Dharak at the time of Havan (Homa). Chandi Path was done by all devotees led by Revered Secretary Maharaj. In fact, Chandi Path was done in the Temple by all devotees for the first time on 14th, 15th and 16th October 2010 from 8.00 to 10.00 a.m. and the devotees registered themselves for this purpose in advance.
After the Chandi Path, Shri Champak Chatterjee accompanied by Shri Radha Shankar Chakravarty on Tabla rendered one or two bhajans. Homa started at 10.29 a.m. and was over by 11.15 a.m. Then Pushpanjali for all devotees was administered by Swami Bhaktirasanandaji Maharaj. Then sanctum sanctorum was closed for devotees when bhoga started. During the period of bhoga, a few devotional songs were rendered by Shri Champak Chatterjee, Revered secretary Maharaj and Swami Gunashrayanandaji Maharaj. When bhoga was over at 12.02 p.m., arati started at 12.08 p.m. and during the arati ‘Ayagiri Nandini” was chanted by all devotees led by Swami Gunashrayanandaji and it ended with “Sarva mangala mangalye..”
After arati all devotees offered pranams to Thakur, Ma and Swamiji and also Mother Durga after which the Temple was closed at 12.55 p.m.
In the morning breakfast was served to about 150 persons including monastic members, staff, volunteers and some devotees. In the afternoon kichuri prasad was served to as many as 1085 devotees who attended the puja and about 125 persons including monastics and volunteers took prasad in the dining hall. In addition, 520 people were served kichuri prasad at the main entrance of the ashrama. In the evening after arati 100 devotees were served prasad and about 80 persons including monastics and volunteers took prasad in the dining hall at night.
During the day time donations by cash and cheques collected amounted to Rs. 45,298/- (as against Rs. 44,149/- last year) and in the evening an amount of Rs. 1,202/- was collected by way of donations.
Thus the celebration of Durga Ashtami Day with puja etc. was a grand success.