|It was pleasant morning on the very first day of the new year. The Kamarajar Arangam that stands in the heart of the city of Chennai, on Anna Salai, wore a festive look.
The entrance was embellished with giant hoardings inviting people to participate in an unique Maha mantra prayer meeting in the divine presence of Sri Swamiji for World Peace, Harmony and happiness for the New Year.
As one would enter the complex and proceed towards the main hall, one cannot just resist stopping by the huge reception and information kiosk where our Satsang brethren welcome you with a smiling face wishing you for the new year, and ever ready to help.
Next to the information kiosk was a stall exhibiting the publications and releases (books, audio and video cassettes and CDs). There were huge banners talking about the goals and activities of the Mission. In short it was a mela!
Inside the auditorium, the stage had a beautiful look, with simple and subtle decorations and a big banner which read 'Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Nama Bhiksha Kendra, Chennai'. Also was seen cute Krishna picture, garlanded and well-lit by two large 'kuthu vilakku' (lamps). There were 2 quaint bouquets of yellow roses on a raised platform, surely for accommodating Sri Sri Swamiji, whose very presence added beauty to the environ!
Sri Sri Swamiji was seated on the dais and to his right were seated, with musical accompaniments, our Satsang Bhagavatha brothers and to his left our Satsang Bhagavatha sisters.
The devotees started pouring in right from early morning, to begin their year with the divinity of Nama and blessings of Sri Sri Swamiji. By 10:30 am, the mammoth auditorium that could accommodate more than 2000 people was packed. Latecomers were no less privileged! For, the hall outside the auditorium was arranged with giant screens and closed-circuit TVs to accommodate more people.
At about 10:40 am the entire hall inside and outside was full. Aspiring devotees could be seen standing outside the premises to participate to the best possible extent.
At 10:30 sharp, the New Year Mass prayer started with Kumari Aiswarya's Prayer song. She gracefully rendered the couplets of Saint Thiruvalluvar in a sweet voice.
Sri Sri Swamiji started his 'Anugraha Bhashana' at 10:40 and for the next one hour there was pin-drop silence, punctuated by spontaneous applause; the audience were held spell-bound by the power of Sri Sri Swamiji's inspiring and insightful thoughts.
Here is a small video of the event highlights. To review the audio and video CDs available of this event, click here
This was followed by mass chanting of the Hare Rama Maha Mantra. Many were overwhelmed by the spiritual vibes in the hall and outside due to the chanting. The divine ecstasy moved many to tears.
At Noon, Dr A Bhagayanathan proposed the vote of thanks.
After the program was over, Sri Sri Swamiji patiently gave darshan to one and all and blessed them. As the participants were outbound, they were distributed Sri Sri Swamiji's prasad. Everyone received a souvenir that included a Maha Mantra CD and a cute little Nama pendant.
The orderliness that prevailed before, during and after the program due to tireless work of our Satsang volunteers was appreciated by many.
Bound by the love for Sri Sri Swamiji and convinced by the power of the Holy Name, devotees had come from far and wide to attend the event. There were devotees from Kanyakumari to Mumbai, from Theni to Tuticorin and from Kerala to Andhra.
As people walked homeward, one could find a sense of happiness and satisfaction in their face. They returned contended and spiritually charged hearts, ensured of a happy and prosperous year ahead.
They were grateful to Sri Sri Swamiji for having given them the opportunity to start their year with the prayer and were already looking forward to the next!
The leading Tamil Daily "Dinamalar" came out with a brief Photo-report on the event. Click here to view the same.
Another english daily, "News Today" reported the event on their Jan-2 online edition. View the same here.