Balaji Matha in Sunnyvale welcomes Narayana Swami
Sunnyvale, Oct 18: A Sri Lakshmi Ganapati homa and program was held at Balaji Temple in Sunnyvale, on Saturday, October 14, 2006 to welcome and honor Narayana Swami as Head Priest and New President of Balaji Matha.
The program commenced with a homa for the blessings of Sri Lakshmi and Sri Ganesha. After the homa, Master of Ceremony, Mr. Prabhu Dev officially welcomed and introduced the President Mr. Vishal Sangal to the gathering. Vishal ji welcomed Narayana Swamiji as the new Head Priest of Balaji Matha. Shawls and Gifts to honor him were presented by Shiv Kumar and Rani Mehta, Sanjeev Sahai, I.V. Rao, Chandranna, Lakshmi Vittala Dasi, etc.
Vishal Sangal President presented a mala to Narayana Swamiji and announced, "Today we are gathered together to welcome and honor Narayana Swami to Balaji Temple. Bala means "young" and ji means' respected. Matha means "spiritual learning place" or hermitage". Mr. Sangal added " Today is Oyee Astami, the day that mothers pray to Devi for their children's protection. We are here at Balaji Temple celebrating Sri Lakshmi and Ganesha homa, bhajans and to show our happiness that Narayana Swamiji has joined Balaji Temple as Head Priest"
Mr. Vishal Sangal announced that he will take the role of Vice President as Narayana Swamiji had also accepted the position of President of Balaji Matha.
Speeches to welcome and thank Swamiji were given by: Shiv Kumar Mehta, Vishal Sangal, Khantilal Modi and Kusum Modi, Sanjeev Sahai, Rajendra Narurkar, Bela Rajpoot, Lakshmi Vittala Dasi, I.V. Rao, Mahalkshmi Vittal Dasi, Vijayalakshmi, Sashi Nand, Leena Chawathe, Padma Mohan, Ekta, Host Prabhu Dev and others.
Following the presentations, Narayana Swami gave an uplifting talk, inspiring the gathered devotees with prayers and quotes from the Bhagavad Gita and the Vedas. He thanked everyone and asked for their continued support of Balaji Temple and an increased level of service to humanity.
The theme of his talk was using your life to realize God through selfless service. He dedicated himself fully to service of God through serving humanity and through Balaji Temple to the devotees and others. Swamiji wants to see an increase in the prayer programs and charity services (feeding the homeless) provided by Balaji Temple. Swamiji said that daily prayer removes the darkness of our ignorance and gives the light of understanding.
Swami chanted the prayer: "Asatoma Sadgamaya, Tamasoma, Jyotir Gamaya, Mrityorma Amritam Gamaya" and explained that this is the best prayer: the prayer for light, truth and immortality. The foremost prayer of an aspirant should be the removal of his ignorance. His goal is to realize the Truth and to free himself from the bondage of the unreal. His goal is to realize the essence of divine nature.
Narayana Swami went on to say that in the Srimad Bhagawatha and Vishnu Purana, it is told that the nine forms of bhakti are:
1) SRAVANA (hearing of God's leelas and stories,
2) KIRTANA (singing of His glories,
3) SMARANA (remembering His name and presence),
4) PADA SEVANA (service of His feet),
5) ARCHANA (worshipping God),
6) VANDANA (prostration to the Lord),
7) DASYA (cultivating the feeling of being a servant of God),
8) SAKYA (cultivating a friendship with God),
9) ATMA NIVEDANA (complete surrender to God).
Devotees can practice any one of these forms so He or She may attain divine illumination.
Swamiji then said: "I am very happy for the opportunity to join Balaji Temple and serve you all. From now on I will be here all the time to give my service to your temple. God is so great; He brought me to America in 1993 to Badarikashrama, in San Leandro. I served many years there and God gave me the opportunity to learn many things.
In 1999 I went to India to seek blessings from my parents. While there, my father took me to a coconut grove and showed me something important. He said: " if you don't separate the coconut seedlings, the plants wouldn't give fruit". That was like a living Veda lesson and showed me what I had to do with my life. My service was in America. I went then to the Himalayas on pilgrimage and then came back to America. I joined Sunnyvale Hindu Temple serving there for 8 years. Now I am choosing to serve at Balaji Matha, dedicating my life to this temple to realize God through service to humanity".
After Swamiji's talk, bhajans were performed by Smt. Uma Bhagawan, a well known Classical Carnatic Music singer from India. Everyone present was touched by the beauty and devotion of Umaji's singing. She gave an excellent concert singing devotional bhajans on Ganesha Stuthi, Lakshmi, Lord Venkateshwara, Sriman Narayana, Lord Shiva, etc. Balaji and Lakshmi prasadam for Smt. Uma Bhagawan from Balaji Temple was presented by Lakshmi Vittala Dasi.
Narayana Swami, acting as President of Balaji Matha, released the new brochure for Balaji Matha which was offered by Mrs Chitra and Mr. Sridharan.
The evening concluded with Aarti and Mahaprasadam. Devotees felt blessed and were extremely happy to participate in the welcoming of Narayana Swamiji as Head Priest and President to their Balaji Temple. Mahaprasadam was thoroughly relished by about two hundred devotees.
Balaji Temple is open daily 8:00am to 9:30 pm.
Address : 678 Cypress Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA 94085.
For more information and new pooja timings please go to: www.balajimatha.org or call (650)219-4968.
Narayana Swamiji will be available for pujas in the temple and outside.
For outside pujas please call Tel. (408) 203-1036.