Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Family Tradition!

 Pooja at the temple

Yesterday was Anantha Padmanabha Vratha, a special pooja offered to Lord Vishnu every year on the occasion of Anantha Chathurdashi. My husband’s family has been observing this Vratha (Pooja) for over four generations and it is for us to continue the tradition and pass on the same to the generation next. Of course from generation to generation, there have been a lot of changes in the way in which Anantha Vratha has been performed. With rising costs, hectic work schedules, non-availability of dependable domestic help, and not to mention parents and family elders getting no younger day by day, it has become increasingly difficult to host such events at home. So what was once a grand three-day affair attended by over a hundred guests comprising of extended family members and acquaintances, has now been modified into a pooja organized at a local temple followed by a small celebration at home in the evening  meant for only close family  and neighbours. After all, the essence of all worship lies in its spirit and devotion and not in its ostentatious display, isn’t it?  J
Pooja at home

In this year’s Ananthana Vrita, we tried to initiate Abhay into the annual family ritual which we hope he will carry forward in the future, in whatever way possible. I went looking for some child- appropriate story of the Ananthana Vratha, but couldn’t find any material on print or on the internet (maybe I should write one myself!!!).  Hence I decided to read to him Amar Chitra Katha’s “Tales of Vishnu” instead. In the Hindu mythology, Brahma being the Creator and Shiva, the Destroyer, it is up to Vishnu, considered the wisest of the Trinity to preserve the peace and order in the universe. This particular series comprises of four stories revolving around the Gentle God, – Gajendra Moksha, Bhakta Ambareesha, and the stories of Vrakasura and Rantideva.  Abhay was amused at the story of Gajendra, where a king becomes an elephant because of the curse of sage Agastya and then his fight with the crocodile which he cannot win and Lord Vishnu’s grace saves him from the mouth of the crocodile. All three stories are examples of the benevolence of Lord Vishnu who always comes to the rescue of his devotees. On the occasion of Ananthana Vratha, the Kallamundkur family seeks the Almighty’s blessings for everyone’s good health and happiness! Om shri Ananthaya Namo Namaha!

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