Bhajanotsavam by Konkani group, with Harikatha
(Left) A four-foot tall deepam (lamp) was dressed up in colorful silk saris as one would a devi or goddess, set in the center of an intricate rangoli of flower formations.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the tradition of conducting Vishnu Sahasranam every first Saturday of the month amongst the Konkani community in the greater Atlanta area. To commemorate this milestone of observing our cultural traditions, that have not only served to foster community but also introduce our children to these riches, a two-day Bhajanotsavam was organized in Johns Creek, GA on August 11-12, 2018. It was a tremendous success, with 80 people in attendance each day.
At the venue, the altar was set up with devotion and care, well decorated with flowers, garlands, and jewelry. A four-foot tall deepam (lamp) was dressed up in colorful silk saris as one would a devi or goddess, set in the center of an intricate rangoli of flower formations.
The program on Saturday began with a delightful ceremonial procession of Lord Vishnu in a pallaki (palanquin) carried by men to the tune of a Kannada devotional, “Deva Banda Namma” (“Our God has come”). Shortly following was the Goddess Mahalakshmi carried by women to the tune of the popular “Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma” (“Welcome, Goddess Lakshmi of good fortune”).
The processions were followed by the installation of the two Gods, invocation and chanting of Vishnu Sahasranam (the thousand names of Lord Vishnu), Satyanarayana Puja, and singing of bhajans. The puja, abhishek, and arti were conducted by Sri Jayaprasad Acharya from SKV Temple (Shri Krishna Vrundavana Atlanta), Cumming GA.
Bhajans were interspersed with classical dances by Divya Honavar and Arya Nayak. The day ended with a sumptuous devasthana jevan (temple soul food) from SKV Temple.
The program on Sunday commenced early morning with bhajans, abhishek, and arti. The women conducted Chudi Puja, done during the month of Shraavan, at a tulsi katte exchanging chudi—a small ensemble of grass blades, leaves, and flowers of particular plants—seeking blessings of elders.
Kids wore the costumes of Sri Krishna and Balram.
Following was a two-hour Harikatha (pictured above), an exquisite story-telling of religious stories in Konkani by the rare talent that is Smt. Bhavana Prabhu who happens to be visiting from India, and who is one of the few living proponents of this art form. The program concluded with a Vittala dance around the lamp, and blessings by the priest followed by a traditional lunch.
(Left) The boys are wearing the costumes of Sri Krishna and Balram.
The enthusiasm with which the community participated on both days, right from aiding in the food preparation a day prior, to making garlands, decoration items and adorning the altar, was exemplary and showed positive energy and drive among all who participated—and a yearning for future community socio-religious gatherings that just might make this more than a one-off event!
Website Bonus Feature
“How to perform choodi pooja in shravana masu”
Choodi pooja is performed during the month of Sharavana masa every Friday and Sunday in coastal region of Karnataka, Goa, and also in some parts of Maharashtra.
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