Chicago IL: On Monday, March 7th, 2016, devotees celebrated the festival of Maha Shivaratri, in the Hari Om Mandir, with great joy and enthusiasm. Monday, is the day of Lord Shiva, and every week, several devotees visit the temple to offer Water and Milk to the Shiva Lingam. However, this Monday, the auspicious 7th of March was SPECIAL!!! This was the Day of Lord Shiva’s wedding with Maa Gauri (Parvati), popularly called the Maha Shivaratri, when people observe fast and perform special Poojas.
As per the Hindu tradition, devotees bathe the Shiva Lingam with Holy Water, Milk, Honey and offer Chandan, Bel Patra amidst chanting of prayers, mantras and the resonating sound of Om Nama Shivaya….called the “Rudra Abhishek”. Living up to the tradition, thousands of devotees came to the Hari Om Mandir to perform the rituals and sing the glory of Lord Shiva.
For the convenience of the people, the Temple authorities had made special arrangements to perform these Poojas at two stations. The Mandir Priest, Pandit Dinesh Kumar recited the holy Mantras and helped devotees to perform the special “Rudrsabhishek Pooja” at the regular Shiv Darbar, which is also open every Monday. Another station was set up with a huge Brass Statue of Lord Shiva, the Shivling & Nandi raised on a tall pedestal, shining bright amidst lights, exhibiting HIS Glory, Charm and Might. The whole ambience of this set up reminded people of the Heavenly Abode of Shiva on the Kailash Parbat!!! The Snakes, the Rudraksh mala, the half Chandrama, the Ganga on Shiva’s forehead, the Trishul, the Damrus…all enhanced the Divine environment of the Mandir.
This year, was a record breaking attendance at the HOM on this occasion….almost 3000 people came to the temple to do the Pooja. People started coming in as early as 7.30am, and by the evening, long unending lines were seen at both the stations. Devotees waited patiently in que for their turn to do the Rudra Abhishek and seek blessings from their Lord Shiva. A special Bhajan Sandhya was organized in the evening, where two well-known singers of the Midwest region: Padmini and Uma Nath mesmerized the audiences with their soulful Bhajans. As the melodious “Satyam Shivam Sundaram” echoed in the hall, the entire congregation seemed to have transformed into a Trance! People were overwhelmed with joy and started dancing. Others who joined the musical group included Sukaran Atwal, Vijay Ghai, Subhash Sharma, Madhu Salwan, Sonia and Chawla on the drum/Dholak from the DJ Group Dhamaka.
The President of the Temple EB, Mr. Vipan Wadhera took a moment to thank ALL his team members and the Volunteers who had worked hard to make appropriate arrangements for this day. Jeetu Patel (Incharge Special Events) along with his team Garima, Jayanthi and Anita Rawal decorated the Mandir for the festival. Mr. Anil Saxena, Ramesh Bhardwaj and their team helped to manage the traffic and parking on this busy evening. Thanks to all: Manager Hardev & Pushpa Raj, Gopal & Sadhna Tiwari, Amar & Usha Singla, Shubh Sharma, Sham Taxali, Ram Verma, Ravi Kalia, Brij Sharma, Satpal Salwan & Ayodhia Salwan, who helped in managing the heavy inflow of devotees and provided their services in different areas. Last but not the least, a big thank you to the Priest, Pandit Dinesh Kumar, who recited the Shiv Mantras nonstop, all day, did Poojas and helped the Bhakt Jan who came to the temple, to seek solace and peace in the lap of their Lord Shiva on this pious day of Maha Shivaratri.