After the inauguration of the Vishalakshi Mantap in 2003 and Art of Living Silver Jubilee Celebrations in 2006, the Maha Shivratri 2013 is slated to be a momentous thrust towards the booming of a new spiritual renaissance for the well being of the world.
Apart from Rudra Puja, Live Sudarshan Kriya and Maha Rudra Yagya, in presence of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar the 2013 Maha Shivratri Celebrations at Art of Living International Ashram, will be marked by two extraordinary and historic events.
It will be the time, when thousands of Art of Living teachers will be given the experience of the powerful “Shakti Kriya” directly by Sri Sri. For many of us who have wondered as to how it felt to learn Sudarshan Kriya directly from Gurudev in the early days of the Art of Living, this is the chance to experience the big leap with the Master.
However, amid the animated din of preparations for the Grand Shivratri Celebrations with Sri Sri and Shakti Kriya, one can almost miss the quiet revolution in the making – The grand Guru Paduka Vanam and the inauguration of Phase I completion.
The Master’s Touch: The Making of the Guru Paduka Vanam
The Guru Paduka Vanam is a wonder of modern times, recreating the acropolis of ancient Greece. It is a rock-cut open amphitheatre with a seating capacity for 200,000 people, in the shape of “padukas”. The Phase I of the project will be ready to host a historic celebration on the auspicious day of Maha Shivratri.
A Labour of Love : The Making of the Guru Paduka Vanam
The Phase 1 of Guru Paduka Vanam will mark its historic completion by honouring the Divine congregation of 252 Gram Devatas on the evening of March 10th, 2013.
Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar explains that though the ancient Indian tradition believes in One transcendental Divinity, the Divinity is worshipped in the subtle world through various forms of Devis and Devas. Through the Ishta Devata, the Devata of one’s liking, one establishes a personal connection with the Divine, the family connects through the Kul Devta, the village has the Gram Devta, the town / city has Nagara Devta and above them come the Kshetrapal over seen by Lok devata. And then we have Vishwanath the lord of the Universe. This is similar to the order of governance in the physical world where we have the Gram Panchayat at village level, Jila Parishad at district level, Legislative Assemblies at state level and Parliament at the National level.
Traditionally, every village in India has its own Gram Devata worshipped by all the villagers irrespective of religion and caste. The Gram Devata is the complete care taker of a village, guarding the community from all kinds of dangers and calamities. The Gram Devata is worshipped when the villagers face a trouble or epidemic and also when the village has a good harvest. It is customary to present the first invitation to Gram Devata and seek blessings on occasions of weddings, thread ceremony or birth of a new baby.
With the spread of cities and disappearance of villages, the tradition of worshipping and honouring Gram Devata is waning. The coming together of 252 Gram Devatas at Guru Paduka Vanam on Shivratri will be a first ever congregation of its kind in South India.
Every Gram Devata will be bedecked royally and carried in palanquins in grand processions from their respective villages. 252 processions comprising 5000 people will reach Guru Paduka Vanam where all the Gram Devatas will be honoured in the presence of Sri Sri. It is for the first time that Gram Devatas, who generally bless devotees in their respective villages, are coming to Ashram to bless everyone else.
Most of the Gram Devatas, being manifestations of Shakti, are also called Shakti Devatas. The 18 main Devatas of Bangalore City will be seated in the front of the Divine Assembly. Needless to say, this “Meeting of Gods” on the auspicious day of Shivratri Celebrations, is a grand blessing of unfathomable spiritual energy and significance.
Those who are unable to make it to Art of Living Bangalore Ashram on Maha Shivratri can tune into Shraddha Channel to watch the live Telecast from 8pm to 11pm on 10th March.
This is just the beginning. The Art of Living teachers, volunteers and Apex members of Karnataka have decided to adopt these 252 villages and work for their upliftment. The team also plans to host a congregation of 1008 Devatas on May 13th in presence of Sri Sri and create a spiritual reawakening in rural Karnataka
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