Chinmaya Mission Houston

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Dec 22, 2007: Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya Inaugurated in Houston

The multitudes flocked with devotion as Lord Siva was enshrined in Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya amidst great pomp and ceremony. This new temple was reverberating with the sounds of chanting and bhajanas during the week long inaugural festivities that ended on Saturday December 22, 2007. Please click here to view pictures of the inauguration festivities.

At the onset of the festivities, on Sunday December 16, beautifully decorated floats carrying the idols made their way into the sanctum sanctorum. Brightly dressed children, women and men danced through the crisp and sunny morning, rejoicing in the arrival of the Gods and Goddesses.

In accordance with Vaidika scriptures, several pujas were performed during the week long ceremonies. Puja is said to destroy our sins, freeing us from the cycles of birth and death.

Rituals commenced on Monday with Ganga stotram being chanted to sanctify the water to be used during the ceremonies. The Vastu Santi puja was performed to cleanse and purify the temple premises before being used. Ganapati homam, a fire ritual, where oblations were offered to Lord Ganapati marked the beginning of all the proceedings related specifically to the inauguration of the temple. The Kalasa Puja, where the kalasas (pots) filled with the holy water were worshipped, and Murti sthapana homam where the deities were installed in place, followed.


The most important Puja in the inauguration of a temple is the kumbhabhisekam. This took place on the 19th of December. The meaning of Abhisekam, is bathing. Kumbha is the kalasa with divine water from the Kalasa Puja. This kalasa is carried on the head to the temple. The holy water is used to bathe the deity - transferring its divinity to the murti. The water represents thoughts in our minds, which in meditation embraces the deity. Kumbhabhisekam is an outward representation of what we do wholeheartedly within our minds. Hundreds of devotees made their way up the steps of the temple with kalasas on their heads, and bathed the idol with the spiritually charged water.

All the rituals were conducted by Sri. Achutha Ramiah, Sri Manickasundara Bhattar, and Sri N.Kalyana Sundaram from the Meenakshi temple Houston, and Sri . Narasimman Kannan Battar from the New Orleans temple. They were joined by Br. Bhasa Chaitanya, the head priest of the Sivalaya. City leaders, priests and religious heads from various spiritual organizations also witnessed the ceremonies.

Chinmaya Mission being primarily an educational organization that focuses heavily on the spiritual growth of children had a special function on Friday, December 22 . Considering that the entire function took place on weekdays when children were away at school, a special abridged version of the rituals were conducted to ensure that the Bala Vihar children did not miss out on the inauguration of their temple. All the pujas were explained and performed briefly, and each and every child bathed Lord Siva with holy water. A surprise awaited for all that evening when the lights were turned off and a breathtaking representation of the temple was created with candles. The evening ended as Lord Siva sat in all his glory in the Sivalaya while a spectacular fireworks display illuminated the night sky over Him.

His Holiness Swami Tejomayananda, the spiritual head of the Chinmaya Mission organization worldwide blessed the occasion with his presence. He presided over all the pujas conducted. In the evenings he enthralled the audience while regaling the qualities of Lord Siva through discourses on Siva Stuti from Ramacaritamanasa.

It was Swami Chinmayananda's vision to have a Siva temple erected on the Chinmaya Prabha premises in Houston . Acaryas Gaurang and Darshana Nanavaty's unwavering devotion to their Guru, and their dedication to the cause made this possible. The Chinmaya Mission Houston family, who has been working for two decades on this monumental undertaking, attributes the success of this project to Pujya Gurudeva's blessings and the loving guidance and inspiration from Sri Gaurangbhai and Smt. Darshanaben.