Back in Autumn ..last year, when life was being pretty difficult.. I was visiting a local Hindu Temple (Shree Ganapathy Temple in Wimbledon, SW London)… for some peace and inner balance. And I found out they were about to do a special `Pooja’ (ritual).. called an `Omam’.. where many Hindu Priests gather and create a sacred ritual fire…and make offerings to deities.. They use the fire as a medium… to take our offerings and pass it to the gods, as well as taking our prayers and wishes…and passing them on to the deities too. (The Hindu Fire deity is a male god called `Agni’).
This particular one took place in the middle of the 9-Nights of the Goddess (Navarathri), so was particularly auspicious.
In my childhood days, my uncle Raveenthiran & Aunt Ratna used to take me to many Temple rituals.. (I call them Periyappa & Periyamma.. meaning Elder-Father & Elder-Mother)..and I had seen many of these special rituals.. But this was the first time I had the inclination and fortune to have done one on my own initiative (with my own partner April participating with me in the temple).
The ritual went longer than planned.. and took almost 5 hours..from set up to end! And in all that time, a large indoor fire roared…billing away huge amount of smoke, fueled by some 50 different sacred herbs, food offerings, oils and incense! All the while, the Hindu priests were chanting sacred names of Durga, and reciting stories of the deity’s many battles with various demons..! And it is said that those who participate in such a ritual is not only fortunate and blessed,!
(Photos taken on my mobile phone.. ! Faces have been blurred for privacy reason)
For my part, I sat in semi-meditative state, watching, and doing personal magical work. The 4-5 hours was quite long enough to explore my mind, my life, it’s many trials and use the energies of the Warrior Goddess Durga.. inwards…and dispel my own inner demons and any negative energies… !
Either for psychological reasons, religious, psychic or spiritual reasons, it seem to have worked. Up until that day I had had suffered many a `psychic headaches’ and was constantly being affected by various energies. But after those 4-5 hours with Durga’s sacred healing fire.. I came out of that temple a new and cleaned man.
And even now…once in a while.. I have a bonfire in the garden.. and enact similar psychic work!
There is much power in Agni.. He burns but also cleanses..and purifies!
Note on Ganapathy Temple (Wimbledon) : This temple began in 1981 (few years before I came to England), and was one fo the earliest temples in London. (converted from another building for purposes of Hindu Worship). It is dedicated (main shrine called Moolasthanam) to the hindu God Ganapathy (Ganesh, Pillayar) who is the elephant-headed god who removes obstacles. I recall my uncle & aunt’s wedding taking place in this temple way back in 1985. Several of my other extended relatives have had weddings here. The temple address is 125-133 Effra Road, Wimbledon, London SW19 8PU, United Kingdom.
my blog on Navarathri- 9 nights of the Hindu Goddess
Elephantom – Eco-Hero (Cartoon children’s book written by Mani Navasothy)
Sooran Por – `demon war’ Hindu festival
Ganapathy Temple Wimbledon