Sita Kalyanam 1998

Sannyasi Srimukhananda (Jaipur)

Lucky indeed are they who make it to Rikhia Dham year after year to be in Paramahamsaji's radiant presence and listen to his practical and memorable teachings. In fact, most devotees eagerly look forward to the auspicious month of Marga Sheersha during which Paramahamsaji's darshan is normally open to one and all.

Though officially Sita Kalyanam this year was from 16th to 24th November, the informal activities commenced from 1st November when Paramahamsaji decided to move out of the Alakh Bara to the nearby villages. From 6th November he started visiting Harla Jhori temple (barely two kilometres from the Alakh Bara on the Rikhia-Deoghar road) regularly for half an hour of early morning kirtan and satsang. And, as the days rolled on, the attendance at Harla Jhori temple rose from scores to hundreds, and in the last few days the venue was invariably jam-packed. The temple had been given a face lift and was unrecognizable even to the villagers of that area. Needless to say, that ancient venue was totally charged by Paramahamsaji's regular visits during the auspicious time of brahmamuhurta, and devotees from all over the globe could feel the positive vibrations as well as the serenity and sobriety of the pure country environment.

There were plenty of surprises in store for the devotees. Firstly, Paramahamsaji had shaved his head and beard after the completion of ten years of sadhana. He has dispensed with his loin cloth and is now dressed in geru. He seemed to be more and more accessible to people, caring little for the security aspect. Although he spoke very little this year, whenever he did, people listened to him with rapt attention and reverence.

All the acharyas and senior swamis were asked to sit quietly at earmarked places and watch the proceedings instead of running around. Everything seemed to be remote controlled. The entire function proceeded very smoothly and it was only on a very few occasions that Paramahamsaji or Swami Niranjan had to intervene to give some directions. Nothing seems to go wrong when luminaries like them are present on the scene.

The commencement of festivities was from Harla Jhori temple on the 16th November. For the next nine days, daily after the early morning session, there was recitation of Ramacharitamanas, preceded by kirtan. After lunch there was more kirtan followed by inspiring discourses by eminent speakers especially invited for the occasion. After tea there was yet another kirtan session. The biggest moment came with the devotional theme song to the Cosmic Mother sung by Swami Niranjan, which created a powerful atmosphere with all the divine energy flowing in from all the shakti peethas mentioned therein. In a day or so it was on the lips of everyone.

Veda Bhoomi Bharat Se Maiya Vedic Vishva Bana Do
Jahan Ho Maiya Wahin Se Jaldi Vedic Vishva Bana Do.

Next came the prasad distribution on behalf of Sivananda Math to Paramahamsaji's immediate neighbours. Items such as tricycles for invalids, cycle rickshaws, thela rickshaws, auto rickshaws, sewing machines, saris, items of stationary for school children, as well as financial aid to start up small businesses and in one case, to purchase a house, were given to deserving neighbours. This was in addition to the truckloads of prasad distributed daily to the neighbouring villages.

The evening program consisted of enlightening discourses by eminent speakers such as Sadhavi Chandana, Maulana Abdullah Bukhara, Swami Maheswarananda, Swami Tejo-mayananda and Swami Santosh Ma. In this remote place, it appeared as if all the religions had come together. It was a blend of Muslim namaz one day, Christian mass on Sunday and a yajna dedicated to the Divine Mother, conducted by the yoginis from Lalita Siddha Peetha, South India, the next day. Accordingly Paramahamsaji was Maulana Satyananda Hussain on the namaz day, Father Satyananda on the mass day and Saint Satyananda on the yajna day. With Paramahamsaji as 'Bare Mian', Swami Niranjanji was 'Chote Mian'. Everyone seemed to participate in the proceedings whole-heartedly, forgetting the barrier of religions.

Representatives of different religions and sects all sat gracefully through the recitation of the Ramacharitamanas. None else but Paramahamsaji could accomplish this.

Another pleasant surprise was Kumar Sambhav Chaturvedi from Varanasi, a child prodigy who could recite the holy Bhagavad Gita by heart and in reverse order. He could appropriately explain the meaning of various verses from different chapters. Paramahamsaji declared him as Swami Sambhavananda Saraswati and wished him all luck and success. He drew great applause and become the darling of everyone present. Seated beside Paramahamsaji and Swamiji he represented the third generation in the offing.

While the wedding ceremony of Sri Rama and Sitaji was being enacted on the stage, the real wedlock of Vedamurti and Durgashakti from Greece was taking place. The marriage ceremony took place as per the Vedic traditions on the main stage in the presence of a gathering assembled from all over the world. The couple could never have dreamt of such a unique celebration. The ceremony lasted till 5 pm after which Paramahamsaji bade farewell to the mammoth gathering and the curtain was drawn over the nine days long Sita Kalyanam.

The winding up operation commenced around 6 p.m. and the entire paraphernalia was dismantled, packed and stacked within a record time of four hours, leaving no trace of the festivities that had taken place. These nine glorious and eventful days provided a fine mixture of bhakti, jnana, karma and nada yoga and made us all a wiser lot. Paramahamsaji's message of give, serve, love and be compassionate is very meaningful in the present scenario.