‘Satyam Sivam Sundaram’ – Pilgrim Rest inaugurated
The much-awaited inauguration of ‘Satyam-Sivam-Sundaram’, our ashram’s Pilgrim Rest (residential quarters) was done on 3rd June 2018 in the presence of a large gathering of members from the Sri Arunachala Ramana Atma Vidya Mandir (AVM) family. With this project comes to an end the first phase of construction at AVM, with the second phase planned only after a gap of four to five years.
The Pilgrim Rest inaugural function was planned as a vibrant weekend affair and turned out to be just that. While some devotees came in couple of days early to render service and get the event zones ready for the gala program, the rest started flocking AVM right from the morning of 2nd June (Saturday), eagerly anticipating the musical treat that was lined up that evening.
Nectar for the ears
On the evening of 2nd June, we had a Sangeeta Katha Kalakshepam on ‘Guru Mahima’ by Sri. Needamangalam Dr. Subbaraman and Kumari Alamelu, Kanchi Kamakoti Peeta Asthana Vidhwan. During the nearly two-hour long program, the artists took the audience through a beautiful journey, talking and singing on the glory & greatness of the revered Guru parampara.
The program was followed by dinner for everyone, which was incidentally the first full-fledged dinner at the Azhagammal Annakshetra after it was fully furnished with chairs and tables. The furniture-filled, brightly lit up and packed dining hall made for a splendid sight in itself!
Inauguration with vedic rituals
The next morning, it was time for the main inaugural function; a group of sevaks made their way early to the inaugural site and got things ready, even as the rest of the devotees kept coming in. After the regular morning puja for Sri Karpaga Vinayagar and Sri Arunachala Atmalingeshwarar and some quick servings of breakfast, the actual inaugural routine commenced.
Ganapati homam, Navagraha homam and Vaastu homam were performed inside the first of the six units of the Pilgrim Rest. What more could one ask for during such an occasion than soul-stirring vedic mantras offered to the Lord who dazzled in the form of Agni devata. Sri. R. S. Pandurangan, our ashram’s Managing Trustee, and Sri. S. Kalyana Sundaram, AVM’s Engineering Consultant, did sankalpa on behalf of AVM, while Sri. D. K. S Moorthy and wife, Sri. P. Anandan and wife, and Sri. P. Manikandan and wife, three of the main sponsors of the Pilgrim Rest project also performed sankalpa. It was a spiritually vibrant couple of hours that finally culminated in the Poornahuti, sprinkling of the mantra-charged water on everyone and across the newly-inaugurated building and offering of bhasma from the homa-kundam.
Such milestones can never be reached without the grace of the Lord, flowing to us through the Guru (in fact, nothing can be done without the Lord’s grace!). So, immediately after the homam, a Guru Paada Puja was performed at the Sri Ramana Dhyana Mandir (Satsang Hall). Sri. Maharaja and family, who have settled down at AVM to serve the Lord and take care of the ashram, were given the blessed opportunity to perform the Guru Paada Puja; and rightly so it was – serve and deserve say our great masters!
After the Puja, Swamiji addressed the gathering, sharing some interesting details on how the Pilgrim Rest project took shape, the never-ending support from devotees through tan, man, dhan (physical support, moral support and financial support), and in and through it all, the Lord’s play making everything unfold in the most beautiful way.
Two members of the AVM family with the same name were specially honored on the occasion. One was our contractor Sri. Suresh, who has not only exhibited an extraordinary level of patience and dedication in executing the building construction work, but also become a part of the AVM family through his personal involvement in the project and his close bonding with Swamiji. The other Sri. Suresh Kumar to be honored was our IT wizard, the architect of AVM’s new-look website. Sri. Suresh Kumar has been instrumental in giving shape to our ashram’s attractive new website and has worked tirelessly towards the cause, sharing his vast knowledge in the field and effortlessly performing his role, having no expectations in return.
After the post-Puja session, Mahaprasadam was served, following which everyone departed home group by group.
The finishing touches of the Pilgrim Rest building will be completed in the near future and soon doors of the six-roomed quarters will be open to welcome devotees, pilgrims and seekers who are keen on spending few days in prayer, solitude, meditation and inner seeking at one of the most tranquil and peaceful ashrams in Tiruvannamalai. You are heartily welcome to visit the ashram in person and validate the above descriptions for yourself!
Om Tat Sat!