Annual Shankabhishekam at Darwin Varasiddhi Vinayaka Temple

By : Shashi Khanna.

An idol in a Temple is given life by reciting mantras on  an auspicious day. The idol is considered to have been born on that day whilst the birth star is calculated by time of Its consecration. Every year the idol’s

Birthday and Star is celebrated by renewing the mantras and rejuvenating the Shakti, power or life force of the idol. The Vara Siddhi  Vinayaka Temple is no different. Over the weekend we conducted the annual Shankabhishekam to rejuvenate and reinforce Darwin Siddhi Vinayaka on His birthday and birth star.
 
Festivities concluded with a mass Lakshmi Pooja performed by about 40 female devotees. It was a sight to behold, of beauty, grace, colour and devotion. They each invoked and brought to life Mahalaxmi in the form of a lamp to Whom flowers and fruit were offered in reverent worship. The Mahalaxmi mantras chanted by the visiting priest rend the air, which vibrated with auspiciousness and piety.

Karwachauth celebration at Darwin

By : Shashi Khanna.

Karwa chauth – ( The Mother in-law & Daughter in law day ) – the festival of Wife, Husband & mother in law!! surprised!! Yes dear, that’s the beauty and core of India. India lies in its family bonding and relationships. The care ,warmth, sacrifices, compromises, support is integral part of the love and compassion flowing within big family system of India’. World is surprised to still see the big joint families living togather, working togather as a united family. 

India ,the land of vibrant festivals and celebrations , celebrate each relationship brothers – sister,wife-husband, mother in law-daughter in law with a purpose and a particular flavour. Special rituals are followed, gifts are exchanged, Puja is performed and celebrated with great adoration and blessings for family. 
 
Karwa means the eathern pot of water and chauth means the fourth day after the full moon , Purnima. It is celebrated from sunrise to moon rise. Mother-in-law gives ‘Sargi’- the fruits,nuts,sweets, savoury ( mathi- the crisp chapati made of flour) along with jewellery, dresses in colours of red, bangles, Bindis, Henna ( things worn as symbols by the married Indian women) and lots of blessings and love for a happy married life.
 
 Fast is observed after eating sargi before the sunrise. Fasting women do not eat or drink till moonrise and Puja in the evening. Difficult! Yes! though, it’s been observed by every age of women. Now some husbands have also started giving company to their wives. The fast is observed for the long, healthy and prosperous life of the husband. Puja is performed in the evening with all ladies dressed to their beautiful best. On the moon rise , it is watched through a seive brightened by a lamp and then wife looks at her husband through that seive. Husband offers water from the karwa to his wife and the fast ends. Delicious meals are enjoyed with family. Now the daughter in-law gives gifts and sweets to her Mother in-law . 
 
This beautiful day is celebrated in all parts of  India with difference in rituals. The history says that this was celebrated by women whose husbands were far away, fighting for their country. 
 
The beautiful women of Darwin also celebrated this festival. Again I’m elated to mention a Fiji Indian lady Mrs Savita bhuwal Aryan Valadian organised the karwa chauth Puja at her place . Beautifully dressed ladies performed Puja with all rituals and blessings from Almighty. A big Puja was organised at Malak temple by the Hindu society of NT where many pretty ladies participated.
 
Celestial sea shores and water fronts of Darwin saw loving couples watching moon through the seives.The nature’s wonder at Nightcliff beach had the silvery moon light dancing on the waves of the sea and the beautiful stretch of the sea shore echoing with laughter of the nuptials struck by cupid. 
 
The amazing blend of modern and contemporary is seen during the Indian festivals on this biggest island – Australia. Laurels to the zeal of Indian culture whose unmatched charisma captivates all in its festivity.

Ramnavami celebrated in Darwin Australia

By : Shashi Khanna.

Multi cultural community celebrate Ramnavmi & Ashtami at Malak temple , Darwin NT

Ramnavmi,birth of Lord Rama who is incarnation of God Vishnu(the creator) as said beautifully in Hindu scripture ‘Ramayana’.Its also the ninth day of Navratri – the 9 auspicious days of Puja and celebrations in India. All the regions and states in India celebrate these days in various forms and different styles.
Malak temple at Darwin at Northern Territory in Australia had crowd of chirpy devotees who gathered to celebrate this day. Durga Puja in Harmony hall which is adjoining the temple was continuing for past eight days. The Malak temple also known as Sri Sai temple is constructed in South India architectural design, beautiful colourfully carved tomb had idols of many deities over the Shivalinga. Idols of Lord Krishna , Nataraj , Ganesh ji adorn the temple room along with Goddess Lakshmi ( prosperity), Saraswati (wisdom & knowledge) and Durga ( power & strength) pictures hung on the ‘ parikarma’ ( the circular path around the main deity also  to look & bow before every form of God ). 
 
 
Many Lamps were lighted with Prasad offered by devotees layed on the huge table in front. The fragrance of flowers added to the pious atmosphere. 
 
The evening started with recital of Mantras from Vedas, all singing rhythmically with the temple priest and devotees. Singing in praise of Lord Shiva and applauding his grace in different forms mesmerized every one. Love and God’s praise doesn’t know any language or words but yes the emotions and feelings of every one present was connected to Almighty. Devotional bhajans followed, sung by devotees who sang with great zeal and enthusiasm. 
 
Hawan was performed in the temple compound with all rituals and blessings for everyone present and their families. 
 
It was really wonderful to see people from different states of India who have their roots there but still celebrate their values and beliefs as a united family in this foreign land. It seemed like a big joint family calling for God’s blessings togather. The importance of Yagya and hawan in this age of awareness of environmental pollution is scientifically proven. 
 
Community meals followed with food volunteered by members. A big feast of different tastes and delicacies further flavoured the divine and cultural atmosphere. 
 
I can’t hold myself to share my personal emotions to participate in these celebrations. India may be divided in various states but here I found ‘ a strong Indianness’ where all gathered to celebrate and be a part of everybody’s happiness and joy. All communities celebrate each and every festival giving regard and respect to every culture. I find myself awestruck to see the Fiji Indian community participating in the Vedic rituals. It is surely to be acknowledged how this group has been able to pass that cultural heritage to their generations who follows our spiritual heritage of Vedic times with all the perfection and zeal.
 
The vibrant support , participation and contribution Fiji Indian community is doing to save gaurd the prosperous and enriched Indian spirituality and philosophy is commendable. They are for sure an example for Individuals who have lost track, faith and trust in our Indian culture and pride of our oldest History of Hinduism. 
 
I salute and bow to their unmonitored and untaught zeal of religious heritage and their ancestors who were blessed with this vow. This will always have special place in my heart and mind followed in my writings. 
 
 
 

Forty years of Hinduism in Darwin celebrated

By: Shashi Khanna. (Hindu Council of Australia correspondent in Darwin).
 
40 years!! A beautiful, blissful journey of noble contribution towards a cultural cause.  The Hindu society of NT , Darwin celebrated its 40 years history on September 29,2018 at Harmony Hall in Malak ,Darwin. A lovely ,well organised event was part of the celebration of  40 years of Self government in NT. A book launch about the history of Hinduism in Darwin was the highlight of the evening. President of the Hindu society of NT , Mr.Pratapan who authored the beautiful and informative book talked about the journey of Hindu community in his address to a fairly good crowd. Contributions of Indians with origin from all the states of India from New Delhi to Kerela , Tamilnadu and from Jodhpur in Rajasthan to Kolkata in West Bengal is worth mentioning and appreciable. Diverse range of Indian community contributing towards the growth of NT in varied fields of education, technology, healthcare, government services and many more was applauded by Madam Chief Minister of the state and many government officials who participated whole heartedly in the event. 
 
 
Dance performances further added a colourful charm to the evening. The program started with ritual lamp lighting by the honourable guests from present and former government too. Stage performances started with Saraswati Vandana in Bharat natayam form. A beautiful bollywood and semi classical performance on ‘Radha Krishna’ swayed all with its foot tapping and vibrant beats. A folk dance- Ghumar from Rajasthan followed, performed by a group who were from different states of India. All the volunteers and performers in their respective teams were honoured on the stage by the esteemed guests. 
 
Vote of thanks by the secretary of the Hindu society,Mr. Pradip was read. 
 
A wonderful evening concluded with dinner for all and lot of photo shots, capturing the event in unending memories. 
On a personal note , I had just landed to this foreign land from India on 28 September midnight. I was overwhelmed to see my brothers and sisters contributing towards Indian cultural heritage since past 40 years. A sense of pride overtook me when the madam Chief Minister appreciated the contributions of Indians in building NT. The harmony and feeling of love towards spreading Hindu culture by Indians is overwhelming. I extend my good wishes and regards to my community for creating a honourable place in foreign society and laying a comfortable runway for generations of present and future. 

Darwin revels in music and Yoga for four days

B: Kalindi,ASMY
The popular kirtan band, Ashraya, were invited to Darwin to be part of the festivities to celebrate International Day of Yoga. Over 4 nights, they brought peace and joy to the Darwin yoga and Hindu communities through the power of kirtan. 
 
 
The first night (Thursday 21st June) of kirtan was at the famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets down on the beach as the sun sets. Hundreds of people listened and even participated in the kirtan! The kirtan was also livestreamed on Facebook and people from around the world joined in and commented how beautiful it was.
 
 
Friday night was hosted by a local vegan cafe, Kings Wholefoods Artisan, and approximately 100 attended Ashraya’s Mystic Journey, a soundscape of pranayama, mantra, mindfulness and kirtan. A delicious pure vegetarian meal was provided by our hosts followed by ecstatic dancing and chanting of the sacred mantras.
 
There were two events on Saturday. The first was Yoga Day Festival where Ashraya concluded the asana practice with heartwarming, peaceful kirtan. Participants were mesmerized and expressed how wonderful it was to end a yoga practice with such a beautiful meditation. Ashraya then played at the Yoga Day Festival after party where approximately 50 people attended. Ashraya started with a gentle guided meditation which then built into an ecstatic dance. Everyone was so happy with big smiles all around. 
 
One of the band members, Radha Krishna das gave a talk on breaking bad habits and how the yoga system can break these by completely satisfying us within. The band also led more beautiful kirtan with approx 100 people in attendance. A delicious dinner was provided by the event volunteers. 
 
Darwin! we look forward to Ashraya again in the future!