Hari Om Celebrates Mahashivaratri with Bhajans

Chicago IL: Hari Om Mandir locked at 6N020 Medinah Rd, Medinah, IL celebrated Mahashivaratri on Sunday, March 10, 2013, with bhajans from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. Despite heavy rain and thick fog, devotees had been trickling in before then to perform worship of the Shiva linga on this auspicious day when the ascetic god finally awoke from his deep meditation to marry his consort Parvati for the welfare of the world. As the rain died down, more families arrived and the hall was almost full by the time a temple committee member attired in the ascetic garb of Lord Shiva appeared, wielding the trident and playing the damaru (small hourglass-shaped hand-drum), with his wife as Parvati dressed in auspicious red, to receive worship and bless the assembly seated before them.

Devotees queued up to worship the linga at two different locations within the temple: at the separate shrine to Shiva and Parvati behind the primary sanctums dedicated to the manifestations of Lord Vishnu and at another temporary linga that had been specially installed in front and to the right of the main shrines. The latter had large cardboard backdrops of the snow-covered Himalayas to transport the devotees to his abode in Kailash. Families awaited their turn to wash the linga by pouring water then bathing it with streams of milk, while the two priests, one at each shrine, repeated mantras, starting with the Mahamrityunjaya (“the great mantra that conquers death”). The worship was accompanied from 6:00 pm onwards by Hindi and Punjabi bhajans sung to the accompaniment of drums, cymbals, and other instruments.

When Shiva and Parvati appeared towards the end for the waving of lamps (arati), accompanied by their retinue of costumed attendants, the pitch and tempo increased and everyone seemed to be in an exuberant mood. The Board of Trustees Chairman Ayodhia Salwan seized the occasion to congratulate Vandana Jhingan, Midwest Bureau Chief of TV Asia, who had been honored earlier that afternoon with the Selvi J. Jayalalitha Award of Excellence 2013 by the World Federation of Tamil Youth at the Holliday Inn, Rolling Meadows, Ill. Jhingan, who had changed to plain jeans before arriving at the temple with the simple intention of worshipping, was pleasantly surprised and addressed the women in particular on the importance of this International Women’s Day in honoring their indispensable role as mothers, wives, and daughters. She was heartily cheered.

Salwan then announced that today was the 40th wedding anniversary of Asian Media USA Chairman, Suresh Bodiwala, and recognized amidst continuing cheers his selfless service by way of regularly covering the temple activities through photography and publicity.

Photo captions (in order of priority):
1) Queue to worship the Shivalinga before the temple main shrine
2) Family worship of the Shivalinga behind the main shrine [Secretary of Hindi Lovers Club, Vinita Gulabani, is worshipping in a series of these photos]
3) Shiva and Parvati seated before the assembly with their retinue
4) Assemble of devotees singing bhajans
5) Women devotees dancing with joy