Saturday, January 10, 2015

Annual Akhand Hanuman Chalisa heralds New Year at Shri Ram Mandir in Auckland

Akhand Hanuman Chalisa now annually heralds New Year at Shri Ram Mandir in Auckland

Thakur Ranjit Singh

Annual Akhand Hanuman Chalisa will be held at Shri Ram Mandir, Henderson on 24 and 25 January, 2015 as follows:
 Sat 24th: 8 am: Sthapna and Roth Pooja of Hanumanji
                10am: Akhand Chalisa Paath for 24 hours

Sun 25th:10am: Akhand Chalisa Paath ends
                 11am: Hawan Yagya and Arti
                12pm: Prasad and Mahaprasad (lunch)

Akhand Hanuman Chalisa Paath, apart from annual auspicious thanksgiving to Ram Bhakt Hanuman, also promotes, teaches and enhances the practice of Sewa or service to the community at the temple and community centre. A group of youth volunteers, fondly called “Bajrang Dal”(friends of Hanuman) and adult volunteers, freely provide service to promote this concept of walking the talk on religion. It also builds network with other religious and singing groups to sing praise to the lord while spreading goodwill and wellbeing in the community.

Ram Bhakt Hanuman
What started off as a one-off religious gathering of devotees in Auckland some three years ago has taken the form of an annual event, heralding the New Year.
It started off with a very humble beginning when all the site at 11 Brick Street had were the founding stones, vacant land and a great deal of dreams. The two-day event on 19 and 20th January, 2013, was the first religious gathering of devotees at the Mandir site exactly 6 months after Bhumi Pooja in July, 2012. The committee felt that there was a need to further bless the site with an Akhand Hanuman Chalisa. Some may connote Akhand with 108 Hanuman Chalisa, but in our case, it is a 24-hour non-stop continuous service. What started off in 2013 was followed in January 2014 and now this has taken root as an annual event.

Pundit Anil Sharma,  served 'Purohit" apprenticeship in India in the ashram of Pundit Latchman Das Maharaj, and formerly was resident  Purohit at Laucala Bay  Ram Mandir in Suva. He now lives in Hamilton, New Zealand, and will be the Pradhan Archarya (Lead priest) of Akhand Hanuman Chalisa. He introduced this concept in Suva over a decade ago and continues with his spread of spiritual knowledge in New Zealand. He is seen here leading Akhand Hanuma Chalisa of 2014.

The 2015 Akhand Hanuman Chalisa Paath will be held at Shri Ram Mandir, 11 Brick Street, Henderson, Auckland on Saturday 24 January following on to Sunday 25 January, 2015 in a marathon 24 hours of Hanuman Chalisa recital. People will also be able to witness how the dream three years ago has taken shape and how the partly –completed complex is yet again going to be blessed with 24 hours of the Holy recital.

The"aasan" or stage of the Pooja last year at Shri Ram Mandir

The Hanuman Chalisa literally means forty chaupais on Hanuman. A chaupai is a complete poem consisting of four lines. Hanuman Chalisa is traditionally believed to have been authored by 16th-century poet Tulsidas in the Awadhi language. The word "chālīsā" is derived from "chālīs", which means the number forty (40) in Hindi, as the Hanuman Chalisa has 40 verses (excluding the couplets at the beginning and at the end).

The Managing Trustee of the Mandir, Pravin Kumar has again called upon the devotees to join in the usual way they supported in previous two years.
“In previous years, we had very encouraging support of individuals, community, religious groups and various mandalis who made this into a memorable religious bliss for 24 hours where all took part willingly, heralding excellent community support for the project. What this event also did is to have brought a great number of like-minded religious groups and organisations together in show of support for the project,” he said. He added that that this 24 –hour event is a thanksgiving prayer to the Supreme Being in the form of Lord Hanuman to acknowledge our existence and give thanks to what we have in this world.

Part of the youth group that is trained in "sewa " and service to community in doing voluntary work. Standing, from left: Prashant Kumar, Sagrika Kumar, Pooja Kumar and Sanjay Dutt Sharma. Sitting, from left, Shivani Kajal Kumar, Adeshwar Naidu, Arnold Singh and Kajal Kumar. The group, referred to as "Bajrang Dal (friends of Hanuman) have been serving devotees and community at the centre for the last three years. They have been doing commendable and exemplary work and a pride for the elders at the temple.

What this event is also trying to inculcate in devotees, especially the youth is the “Sewa” concept of religion - service to humanity and fellow being, on doing good deeds to the others. In doing so, a brigade of volunteers, also known fondly as ‘Bajrang Dal” (a group devoted in service to Lord Hanuman), comprising devotees of all ages have got together to facilitate food, refreshments and other necessities to devotees gathered at the Mandir throughout the event. Adult volunteers have also joined in to promote and enhance the noble cause of service to humanity. Prasad and food will be available and served throughout the 24-hour event.

This  is the adult face of service and voluntary work for the community where Hindus walk their talk  by being of service or "sewa". From left, Thakur Ranjit Singh, (unidentified) Lotus Manager from Fiji, Pundit Mahendra Sharma,  Jayen Singh (back) , Harry Goundar, Hardip Singh-head chef, and Ram Kumar.

The other unique advantage of this 24 hour chanting and singing is that it tends to bring the best in music and tunes, where different mandalis tend to use different tunes, taal (rhythm) and their musical talents to make the singing more melodious. And there is opportunity for anybody and everybody to join in with the Mandali in recitals.

Devotees will also have opportunity for abhishek (bathing of murti) and mustard oil will be available, which people could also take away for use in pooja at home. Another great opportunity is for people to offer special prasad for Hanuman Ji, what we call Roth. They can either bring it from home, or a unique facility is provided where devotees do not have to go home, but prepare and cook roth on the site. Kitchen facility is provided for devotees who may have no time to go home – they will be able to use the homely atmosphere for this auspicious preparation, while listening to the chant of Hanuman Chalisa at the same time. This indeed provide them a blessed environment to show their reverence to beloved Hanumanji.

The Managing Trustee Pravin Kumar has cordially invited all to attend this annual event and take advantage of the opportunity, facilities and the chanting and enchanting environment. “This 24-hour recital is a unique opportunity for people of West Auckland to start the year with an auspicious event and have the whole year blessed. We invite people to choose any time within 24 hours from 8am on Saturday 24th when we commence with Roth pooja and commence recital from 10am to the following day, culminating in Hawan, Yagn, Arti and lunch on Sunday. Please honour the occasion with your valued presence,” said Kumar, while inviting all to this blessed event. All are welcome.

Part of the devotees during finayagya  last year - January, 2014.

Akhand Hanuman Chalisa Paath- 24 and 24 January, 2015
Sat 24th: 8 am: Sthapna and Roth Pooja of Hanumanji
            10am: Akhand Chalisa Paath for 24 hours

Sun 25th:10am: Akhand Chalisa Paath ends
             11am: Hawan Yagya and Arti
             12pm: Prasad and Mahaprasad

Pradhan Acharya – Pundit Anil Sharma of Hamilton, NZ


January, 2013

January 2014

January, 2015

About the author: Thakur Ranjit Singh is a volunteer at Shri Ram Mandir community center and temple project, and supports introduction  inculcation and enhancement of service in our religious environment, and especially in Hindu youths of today. He also volunteers for media and communications portfolio of the center.


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