This year’s annual Chandi Homan – fire ceremony – took place at Shree Ganapathy Temple, Wimbledon on SUnday 6th October 2019. It took place in the middle of the 9 days of Navarathri (9 nights of Goddess) auspicious festivities. Navarathri festivities honour the various forms of the Hindu Goddesses – mainly Saraswaty (Education & arts), Luxmi (Love & wealth) and Durga / Kali (warrior, victory, protection).
Explanation of fire ceremony & invocation of Goddess Durga:
During Chandi Homan, a form of Durga – called Chandika Devi is invoked into the fire, using mantras recited for several hours by the Hindu Priests (Ayars). This includes reciting the 13 chapters of the stories of Durga Goddess slaying various demons, and is said to be highly auspicious for all participating or even merely being present and witnessing the ceremony.
The Homan concludes when the energies of the Goddess are moved from fire to the Kumbams (blessed water vessels on altar) and those are taken to be poured over the statue of the Durga Devi. Remnants of the water poured over statue are highly sacred and blessed and have the energy of Durga Devi, and are sprinkled on all the devotees by the Priest later on.
Also to be noted is the special Blessing ceremony within the proceedings. This is when the lead Priest of the ceremony is pouring sacred oil over fire in a continuous form, and others are reciting numerous blessings. That section is filmed in entirety and is included here for devotees to watch and benefit its blessings.
Do take this seriously, and watch in a mindful, reverent and spiritual state of mind – so that you can attune to these blessings and gain benefit.
-Mani Navasothy Author Teacher Astrologer Wiccan High Priest
On Pradosham, Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra & Rudraksha chanting beads:
Today is Pradosham – a special day for worshiping the Hindu God Shiva.
This happens twice a month.. a few days prior to full moon and new moon.
It is a day to worship and pray to Shiva, and seek the clearing of our karma, and release from the ever going karmic cycles of life-death-reincarnation-life-death-and on.
Myth of Mrakandayar:
It is said in Hindu myths that when a boy (Markandeyan) was born, his parents were told he will die on his 16th year. While they were happy to have a child, they were sad to know what is to come. However Markandeyar began to grow and became a devotee of Lord Shiva, and learnt the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra (among other things).. and used its power to seek Shiva’s help. And on his 16th birthday, when Lord of Death came for Markandeya, Lord Shiva appeared and warded off Lord of Death.and thus Markandeya was saved.
Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra:
Here is that Maya Mrityunjaya Mantra / Tryambakam Mantra / Markandeya Mantra:
It means :
1.Om, We Worship the Three-Eyed One (Lord Shiva),
2.Who is Fragrant (Spiritual Essence) and Who Nourishes all beings.
3. May He severe our Bondage of Samsara (Worldly Life), like a Cucumber (severed from the bondage of its Creeper), …
4: … and thus Liberate us from the Fear of Death, by making us realize that we are never separated from our Immortal Nature.
(note: meaning taken from http://greenmesg.org/m…/sri_shiva-mahamrityunjaya_mantra.php
Rudraksha chanting beads/Mala:
Hindus often use the Rudraksha mala (necklace) to chant the Mantras and count the number of chants.. It can amount to 108 times.. or 1008.. or several hundred Thousand times.. which takes purity and discipline over many days..weeks..months to complete.
Rudraksha beads are seeds coming from the Rudraksha tree.. It is said that Shiva once thought of the suffering and plights of people on Earth, and he wept for their suffering. His tears fell to earth and where they had landed the special Rudraksha tree grew..and so the seeds from that tree became a divine symbol of Shiva’s compassion for humanity. The seeds have many `heads’.. either 1, 2, 4, 6 ..12 and are expensive depending on how they are harvested and sold. (fakes abound too in the market).
Do’s/ Don’ts on Rudraksha:
Although people wear these beads and walk about like they are models on a religious fashion show.. the power of the Rudraksha beads is in total secrecy. Wearing it gives protection to the wearer. It must not be seen or touched by anyone else.. or when you have not bathed or eaten meat of any kind. also not during sex.. or if you have touched your genitals then don’t touch the Rudraksha. Also during chanting, you must not use index finger. You must not wear it and go to the toilet ..or ever place it on Earth (if you do all the hundreds or 1000s of chant powers you accumulate on it will be gone immediately and you have to start again). It’s protective power comes from not the seeds or mala (necklace) itself.. but in the way you use it to chant mantras many hundreds or thousand times..
If you must wear a Rudraksha beads as fashion item..to show how spiritual you are..fine.. but keep that set for show..and keep a more private mala for actual spiritual/ magical work..and follow the rules I have stated above..
I once wore mine in public…(only time) when carrying a Kavadi at a Hindu Chariot procession…dancing along the Durga Chariot for 4-5 hours. No sooner had that event finished.. I was putting it away..and my mala fell to the ground. So almost a year of work was gone.. I then reconsecrated it in sacred temple waters ..and rededicated it to Shiva and began using it for chanting again.. (moral of this is that… Gods grounded any public energies..and I had to reset!)
(I have much more say on this.. but it is intensely private..so plan to share insights only in a face to face course or workshop).
Upcoming Pradosham dates (2017):
-3rd & 17th October
-1st & 15th November
– 1st & 15th December
I had wanted to write about these 3 items for over year and finally here it is. 🙂
Last year for Shiva Rathri (night of Shiva) I organised a woodland fire ritual & chanting..but this year I went straight to temple.. However I hope to organise a Pradosham ceremony/ and/or a Shiva rathri ritual in the future..for those who are very serious about this work.
ps. incidentally when I did not know any mantra’s I started chanting with just `Om Nama Shivaya’ and gained great & immediate relief/ benefits, which led me to the Maha Mantra (Hare Krishna), Gayatri Mantra (Om Bhur Buvasvana..) and to this Mrityunjaya Mantra ..and many more.
Carrying a Kavadi at the Chariot Festival (at Ealing Kanaga Durga Amman temple, London):
A year ago I decided and made an offering to do this `Kavadi dance’ at this year’s Chariot street procession at the Ealing Durga Goddess temple in London. That divine offering / prayer was fulfilled on 13/8/17.
The day started with a 5am wake up in my tent… and we got to Ealing temple for the big annual chariot festival by 7.30am. The Kavadi procession (dancing with this ritual `mountain’ prop) began around 10am and we returned to the temple after street procession and dancing throughout ..by 4-5pm (culminating with a final dance inside temple).
Personal history: long ago when i was little..I did this with a tiny version of it around a local temple (Sanathy Murugan temple, near Jaffna, Sri Lanka) .. which started my ritual dancing and drumming..which has evolved into my shamanic trance drumming & dancing.. So it’s apt that I’ve come full circle. It’s been a divine privilege..
Next year I will be constructing my own `Kavadi’ ..and hope to do this in 2 different temples (Wimbledon Ganapathy temple, and Ealing Durga Temple again).
Many thanks to my mother Rani Navasothy for accompanying me, providing me with water etc during this 6+ hours of procession and keeping me `safe’ as I completed my promise.. (and in and out of mild dance-trance). Am also grateful to Varathan Uncle for bringing the Kavadi and helping me with initial set-up & preparations.
I attended the Ther (annual chariot festival ) at Ganapathy temple yesterday with my mother, and met a few relatives and friends 🙂 Also managed to to Ganapathy mantra 1000+ times (counting on fingers ..without my chanting Rudraksha was a bit difficult at times.. as we’re all walking..and much was going on.. )
It was amazing, spiritual and absolutely festive as ever. This time around I was able to focus more on the different aspects (forever studying and decoding the intricate ritual aspects and their meanings.. much of it is not usually taught in schools..except to Brahmins who are training to be Hindu Priests).
So here are the tons of photos. You can see full explanations under each photo in my facebook album.. (it’s my intention to preserve the meanings, and share that with those interested).
there are many who honour and worship the Hindu Elephant-headed God Ganapathy (Ganesh). He is a remover of obstacles! In London, this time of the year, the Ganapathy temple conducts their annual festival..which culminates after many weeks of celebrations and special poojas, with the Chariot Festival (Ther).
I will be attending this, and walking with the deities with the large chariots ..along the side roads.. to gain full divine blessings of Lord Ganapathy.
You are most welcome to do so.. (even if it is only for part of the journey).
Buses will be diverted in that area.. Please check TFL website for updates.
Nearest Tube: Wimbledon (District line)..Then bus 200 goes closer to Effra Road. `Colliers wood’ and `south Wimbledon’ are also nearby tube stations (Northern line) ..from which you will need to either walk 30 mins..or take buses to get to Effra Road.
125-133 Effra Road, Wimbledon, London SW19 8PU.
The Chariot Festival will begin at 8.30am in the morning,.and conclude around 1pm…Then deities will be taken inside temple..fore more prayers / poojas..
(I aim to be at the temple by 8am. On this occasion, I will NOT be waiting to collect / organise anyone…as following early morning shower/ purification and meditations, I will be observing silence and get to the temple asap..to begin worship).
As some are already aware, last year (2015) in Autumn, I began organising/ facilitating `Hindu Magic Rituals’ in outdoor venues…
There has been a little gap. With this Ganapathy festival, I will be re-starting a full set of Hindu Magic rituals.
Here is the extended version of what I recently wrote on my facebook wall, about Hanuman. He is a monkey – who is supposedly an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Hanuman is the son of of Vayu (God of Air) and a mortal Lady Anjana. He can also fly.. well he’s a monkey and is able to leap over mountains and stay up in the air.. (Son of Vayu..god of Air). Another ability that Hanuman has is to grow into a giant form.
In the epic story Ramayanam, Lord Raman and his brother travel through the various forests looking for Rama’s wife Sita who has been abducted by a Demon King called Ravanan. Raman comes across a Monkey-Prince who is living in fear in a cave with his close ministers and confidants (one of whom is Hanuman). Once the brutish and most powerful Monkey Lord Vali has been defeated by Rama, Hanuman and other monkeys choose to help Rama help with the search for Sita.
It is Hanuman who leaps across the oceans, lands in Lanka (kingdom ruled by the demon King Ravanan) and eventually finds Sita ..who is imprisoned in a forest prison. Hanuman manages to meet Sita, pass message from Raman, takes a message from Sita, and eventually returns to Rama.. Great war ensues and Raman & his army defeat Ravana and free Sita.
Three events that are worth highlighting..
1. Burning of Lanka: After secretly meeting Sita in the forest prison, Hanuman causes problems and is caught (he allows himself to be caught) by Ravana. When his tail is wrapped in fabric and it is set on fire by the demons, Hanuman escapes…takes up his giant form..and using the lit tail as a burning torch, he sets flame to many parts of Lanka… before leaving….(to go back to Rama & Lakshman and tell them he has located Sita).
2. Carrying the healing mountain: During the war itself, at one point, due to magical trickery, both Raman & his brother Lakshman are mortally hurt and appear to fall in battle and die. A special healing herb was required to help them.. So Hanuman leaps off to find the herbs that only grow in a certain mountain range. As he was unsure which was the correct her, he uproots the entire mountain..carries it to the battle zone…where upon the essence of the herbs waft over the fallen Raman & Lakshman…and they awake. (Hanuman then returns the mountain to its proper place).
Hindus worship Hanuman as a powerful demi-god in his own right, and Hanuman is often depicted as flying with the mountain in his hands.
3. Giant Chariot in War: In another moment during the war, Raman’s chariot is destroyed by the demon king Ravanan. And Raman is left standing on the grounds of the war zone. Hanuman immediately assumes his giant form, and carries Raman and Lakshman on his shoulders, so that they may continue to fight the war on equal footing.who helped Raman & Lukshman win the war against Ravanna the Demon. In one of the stories, Hanuman opens up his chest to reveal his heart..where an image of Rama & Sita could be found. Hanuman is the Son .
Hanuman and Sani (Shani) or Saturn:
It is also said that Hanuman rescued Sani (Saturn) from the clutches of Ravana (when Hanuman was bound up by Ravana and set fire to his tail..)
Perfect Devotee of Raman :
In one of the chapters of Ramayanam, Hanuman opens up his chest to reveal his heart..where an image of Rama & Sita could be found. In another section, (after Raman & Sita return to their kingdom), Hanuman is given a gift of pearl necklace. He then set about pulling the necklace apart, and breaks each pearl. When asked why he was destroying the pearls, Hanuman answers that he was merely looking to `see’ if he can find Raman & Sita inside each pearl.
These two incidents illustrate Hanuman’s devotional nature towards Raman & Sita. All he wanted to do ..during and after the war was to worship and serve Raman & Sita.
Tale of monkey tail (meeting Beeman)
In the other great epic Mahabharatham,, one of the pancha-pandavas (5 brothers on the side of good) was going through the forest when he comes upon an old monkey sleeping on the side of the path..with his tail across the path. Beema (being the strongest man in that story) demands the monkey move. The monkey refuses but says that Beeman may pass if he can move the tail aside. Aggravated, Beeman tries to brush aside the monkey’s tail..then lifting it.. He fails…and realises his own ego.. And the monkey reveals himself to be none other than Hanuman. It transpires that Beeman is also the son of Vayu (God of Air). So the brothers embrace. Beeman then asks Hanuman to help the pandavas in the coming war. Hanuman says he is tired of wars and will not fight again, but promises to watch over their welfare.
The lead archer Archunan (one of the 5 brothers, the Pandavas) rides in a chariot (piloted by none other than Lord Krishnan himself..another long story). This chariot flies a flag that has the image of Hanuman.. and this is the `blessings’ that Hanuman had promised Beeman.
Well, I grew up reading the Hindu epics Ramayana (and Mahabaratham) ..so Hanuman is one of my favourite Gods.. The above are things I have written from a long term memory ..(it’s been over 30+ years since I read the hindu epics).
It is worth saying, that I am now starting work on an art/ writing project connected to hindu epics, and so will be re-reading Ramayanam & Mahabharatham (in tamil) soon.. Watch my blog for updates in the coming months 🙂
ps. I have used when possible, the Tamil pronunciations for the various Hindu epics and characters. Tamil versions usually end with an `m’ or an `n’..where as the Hindi / English way of writing ends with an `a’. For example, Ramayanam (Ramayana), Mahabharatham (Mahabharatha), Raman (Rama), Ravanan (Ravana).
Few days ago, I went looking online for some upcoming rituals in Wimbledon Hindu temple. I found the temple’s official website. More importantly, I found the wikipedia entry..which had a notice of `lack of notability and possible deletion’. This was quite worrying. Wikipedia as many know is a living entity, billions of people use it as reference, millions add entries (woffles, bables, chatty)..and possibly a select thousands work at making those wiki articles as professional and precise as possible..(with references, citations, proper formatting and all that).
Well, I spent a few hours digging stuff in google for any references to the Ganapathy Temple in Wimbledon, and found some great references – from BBC, Guardian, Scouts, Merton Council etc.. So I put them all in, as well as a few new sections, added external links and so on.. and the wiki entry started to look a bit better. (still long way to go yet, and am sure many others can now add similar `good and notable contents’)
Already I see that another nice person has formatted the contents I put in and made it look better. So here is the entry as it looks at the moment.
The point behind this ..to let people know that anyone with a basic internet technical skills can edit / add to wikipedia entries …for a subject they have an interested in and have experiences/ knowledge thereof. It all adds to the content and quality of wikipedia.. modern repository of our knowledge. 🙂
Wikipedia entry for Shree Ganapathy Temple, Wimbledon (on 20Jan2015)
**** Note: Sections in blue (below) are original before I added other content ****
Shree Ganapathy Temple, Wimbledon, is a Hindu temple in south-west London, England, that was established in the 1980s. The main deity in the temple is of LordGanesha. There are also deities of Goddess Durga (Parvati), Lord Hanuman, Krishna etc. The Sai Mandir was opened in 1981 and is a prayer hall dedicated to Sathyanarayana Raju.
During the temple’s early years, the realisation came that there was an urgent need to educate the younger generation about Hinduism. Furthermore, the temple wanted the children to fully understand the faith at a deeper level than previously. Therefore the Sai Mandir has been running classes for many years, teaching the children spiritual education, Sanskrit prayers, how to sing Bhajans (devotional hymns) in addition to learning about other religions too. Voluntary activities take place in affiliation with local authorities and Age Link groups.
The temple provides classes dwelling on teachings of Hinduism, music and dance classes, and yoga to name a few.
4 External links
Shelter for Refugees: Refugees from Sri Lanka have been given temporary shelter at the Temple in 1986. The BBC recorded this info as part of their DomesDay Project in 1986.
Scouts – 23rd Wimbledon: This temple became Europe’s first Hindu temple in the UK to be home to a Scout Group. The 23rd Wimbledon  was established by Scout Leader, Geetha Maheshwaran in Autumn 2012 .
School trips – Religious Education: The school is listed in Merton Council Directory as providing Hindu religious, social and cultural services for all ages, especially for schools to visit as part of their teaching of Hinduism in their Religious Education Curriculum.
The Ganesh temple has been using a building that was formally a Church and a Community Centre. Hence the interior has been a basic square shape. Reconstruction work began in early 2014, and is nearing completion in January 2015. It will be based more on the style of the traditional South Indian temples.
^“BBC Domesday Project 1986 entry”.
^“Feature on Scouting Magazine (Uk)”.
^“School Visits at Temple”.
^“Young Reporter-Local Guardian – Wimbledon”.
Family Service Community Directory – Merton Council
Local Guardian -January 2014- Wimbledon Hindu Temple renovation Article
Places of Worship – listing at Kingston University London
spiritual-scouting – Article in Scouting Website
Video of Omam at Ganapathy Temple (by London Hindu Temples)
Omam – Hindu fire ritual – blog by QuantumPhoenix
BBC site Domesday Reloaded article- Refugees housed in Hindu Temple
ps. Here are those actual links related to Ganapathy Temple 🙂
Happy Thai Pongal Greetings to all my Blog Readers & Followers, Family & Friends…!
It’s the first day of the Tamil Calendar.. `Thai’ is the name of the first month of the Tamil Calendar.. And pongal is the milk-rice food that is traditionally made on this day.. as the first food item..
People tidy up, make special offerings to the Sun God (leave the food items on an outdoor altar where Sun light is shining),.. and honour nature! And luckily, it’s a sunny day in London today.
It’s also traditionally when farmers get prepared ..to get back to the paddy fields..to start work for a new cycle!!
The day after Thai Pongal (15th January) is dedicated to honouring the farm animals (and tools) ..as these are the next most important things to Sunlight, rain and the Earth.. for farming!
ps. What do ya know..This happens to be my 350th blog post.. 🙂