Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Getting ready to start Shri Satya Narayana Swami Vratam:

Decorated with Mango leaves on the top. The mantap has banana leaves adorning the sides. The bangles are for all the ladies present that day. All the Pooja Samagri and Prasadams were ready.

Panchamrutham, SHira or Keasari, Paramannam, Kolakatai, modak, or Kudumu, and somebody even put the plaintain curry I had made for lunch!

SatyaNarayana Swami before starting the Puja. My husband did all the decoration. Thank's to Pallavi and Harshi Bhayya's son Rahul that we got banana leaves (I'm very sentimental about it).We set up a 'Mantap' or the Emperor's throne for the Divine Lord. Lord Satya Narayana is an ' Alankara Priyudu' (one who loves lot's of decoaration). It does not require one to be very rich to afford expensive jewelry, the Lord expects one to do 'Seva' or spend time meditating on him while setting up and decorating 'Mantap' for him. The Mango leaves, Banana leaves, all the flowers, time spending making prasadam, drawing of Rangoli's to welcome the Lord is what counts.

My hubby and I had a whirlwind shopping experience trying to purchase items for all to participate. I usually have a stock of all things I need on hand to give to guests. But I guess that this year I ran out of a lot of supplies. We had spent about 6 hours buying various things for the pooja (flowers, fruits, bowls to serve, sweets to give away) and then a separate shopping list for everybody to participate (Bangles, tray, pan leaf, Haldi - kumkum and so on).

Applying turmeric to feet is a strong part of our South Indian culture. Turmeric stands for all things associated with prosperity and happiness. Turmeric is also considered very divine. In olden days, women did not have fancy footwear to wear, and especially it was not worn inside the house. Footware was and still is officially banned in the kitchen (the heart of a home) and the pooja room (where Gods reside). So women used to apply turmeric to their feet. Turmeric is a strong antiseptic which is also applied to minor wounds and cuts. Turmeric has 'curcumin' in it which is an antioxidant and also helps reduce inflamation in the body. Pure turmeric almost looks reddish orange, and my Mother in law is very happy with the high quality turmeric that we get in Indian grocery stores here. In the present world, we apply turmeric to the feet as 'shubh' only during festival times such as this.

Our dear friend Bhuvana.

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