Thursday May 3, 2018
Niranjma Jayanti welcomes Pryank Patel and event sponsor Kalaashben Ashokbhai, who were the representatives of Gayatri and Yajna on the day.
Manju Govind places a Tilak on the image of the guru’s forehead as part of the Chandan Dharanan ritual.
PHOTOS: Jamie Adams
Indian community converges for Gayatri mantra By Jamie Adams
Berhampore School Hall came alive to the sounds of chanting and the sight of flames as members of Wellington South’s Indian community converged for the Gayatri Pariwar Society’s monthly Gayatri Yajna ceremony on Saturday. Co-ordinators Mina Bhagwaan Daas and Manju Naran say the society comes together for activities every fortnight, alternating between Miramar and Berhampore. The latter venue is used to host the ceremony on the weekend of the full moon. The Gayatri Yajna ceremony is one of the main mantras used throughout the Hindu religion. It lasts all afternoon and comprises a series of rituals, conducted in the language of gujarati, in order to worship its founders Gayatri and Yajna, who are regarded as the mother and father of India’s ancient civilisation, respectively. Ahuti is the most significant of all the rituals. Every society member participates by sitting in groups
around a small fire - after the hall’s smoke alarm has been switched off - and make a series of offerings that involve placing ghee, herbs and rice into the flame. This ritual implies that fire, a symbol of power and strength as represented by Yajna, needs to be controlled by water, represented Gayatri, as uncontrolled power leads to destruction. Saturday’s ceremony was sponsored by Kalaashben Ashokbhai who travelled all the way from Masterton to participate as the representative of Gayatri. The Society has purchased a site in Newtown’s Riddiford St where they aim to develop their own temple for future ceremonies. “We are doing activities to help generate income so we can build it. We hope to have it built in three or four years’ time,” Mina says. They aalso look forward to hosting Indian-based guru Shantilal Patel on June 17, which marks the birthday of Gayatri.
Members of the Gayatri Pariwar Society participate in an Ahuti, or an offering to Gayatri.
Madhuben Maisuria, front, Sudha Manu Patel, Manju Naran and Vrutti Ghandi worship the Gayatri guru as they perform their ceremonial blessings for the first time.
Rameela Vinod, Manju Govind and Bhani Sukha-Arti take part in the Deep Pujanam or “Worship of the Lamp”. The ritual involves the lighting of candles made of cotton and ghee (a type of butter) that symbolise knowledge, action and devotion.
Bhanuben Patel and her sister Rameela Vinod hold a vase of water with a coconut to symbolise the invitation of gods and goddesses into the Kalash.
Cook Strait News 03-05-18