Evening at Ramanasramam – Part One

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This post continues showing the typical day at Ramanasramam. This shows the activities between 5 and 6 in the afternoon.

Entering the grounds, all seems pretty quiet at 5PM. What is to come is more chanting and pujas.

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The Mother’s shrine, Mathrubuteswara Temple, ‘the temple of God in the form of the Mother’ – so named by  Bhagavan, is still locked, waiting for the priests.

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In the Samadhi Hall, boys from the on-site Vedapatasala, school where young Brahmin boys live and are educated to be priests, chant the Veda Parayana.

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The hall resounds with their chanting.

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The chanting fills the hall with a meditative feeling. People sit and listen. Some meditate.

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Many walk pradakshina around the samadhi. You can see some walkers in the background of this photo.

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It looks like more boys from the Vedapatasala are here.

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A number of them walk pradakshina too. These boys seem pretty young. They are placed here by their families to live and to have a formal Brahmin education, as has been done in India for several thousand years. This marks the end of family life for the boys.

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The priest is starting work to prepare Mother’s shrine for the puja.

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Meanwhile back in the Samadhi hall, people sit and listen and meditate. This photo is of the ‘men’s side’ of the hall.

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The boys walk. They try so hard to be serious, but sometimes you can see that they are just boys.

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The older boys chant.

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People sitting and listening.

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Sometimes people bring flowers and  malas to use in the puja. Here and old man, tata (grandfather, in Tamil), gives flowers to one of the boys, holding a basket for the offering.

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The Mother’s shrine is just lit with ghee lamps now. Such a quiet light they make.

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The boys do pradakshina around the Mother’s shrine too. They have stopped here (at the ritual temple ‘drain’) so they can take a few drops of water from the runoff of the abhisekham, sip it, and sprinkle it on their heads for a blessing.

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And, boys being boys, they asked me to take their  picture. I wish the photo was better so you could see the grin on the little boy’s face.

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Indian women come into Mother’s shrine at all times when it is open, to have darshan, and be blessed by the Mother. This is one of the few temples in all of India dedicated to a Self-realized woman.

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Here they wash the murtis and the floor. Is this abhisekham?

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The priest is dressing the murtis, putting on fresh dhotis. They get new clothes twice each day.

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To the side of Mother’s shrine, there is one of the old priests sitting on the floor, with a ‘natural’ puja set up. There is a banana leaf, a pile of rice and a pot. In the pot is a coconut sitting on a bed of leaves. We have seen this kind of god before in other pujas done outside temples. I wonder why they do it here?

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Below is Nandi, with a few ghee lamps.

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People walking pradakshina.

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The chanting is over. The boys will all fall to the floor and do a full body pranam of the samadhi, then leave.

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Flowers are set out for the puja of Bhagavan.

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First one of the older priests walks around the altar, spritzing out water with leaves he dips into a brass jug. Sometimes they use water with turmeric in it (which is anti bacterial). I wonder if this is the case now, are they disinfecting the altar?

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At the Mother’s shrine, flower malas are being readied.

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Malas are already on most of the murtis. The priest below is putting the pink one we just saw onto Ganesh, on the left of the door into the inner sanctum, the garbha griha or “womb chamber.”

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At Bhagavan’s samadhi, the priest is removing the malas from the morning puja. I wonder what they do with these malas and flowers after they have been used?

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He has removed the dhoti. Oh my goodness, the lingam is unclothed, naked!

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Removing flowers.

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The Mother’s shrine is  locked again. It is ready for the puja, to come soon.

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Now it is time for a good bath. First a good water rinse.

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Some turmeric water. A bit brown.

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Then a milk abhisekham.

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The milk runs off the altar through a specially constructed waterway. With a specially formed spout seen again and again in these temple.

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Milk (and water and turmeric) runs out the altar area into a channel by where people walk. Here people bless themselves with the milk.

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They will use a bucket to catch some of the milk runoff.

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I am not sure what this is used for, but they make a point to collecting  some of the runoff.

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Then more water to clean up from the milk.

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Now a nice rubdown to dry off the lingam.

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And we are ready to dress Bhagavan’s samadhi for the evening puja. This will be in the next post of this series.

Related posts        

Morning at Ramanasramam – Part One
Morning at Ramanasramam – Part Two
Midday at Ramanasramam

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One Response to “Evening at Ramanasramam – Part One”

  1. prasanthjvrs Says:

    Excellent Richard Ji. PleaseKeep writing more articles.

    Prashant Jalasutram

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