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Swamiji’s Historic Visit to Melbourne

Shree Raghavendra Seva Samithi, Melbourne Inc. (‘SRSS’) since its inception in 2010 by devotees of Sri Raghavendra Swamy has been celebrating the Aradhana of the saint here in Melbourne in a big way. Bhajans, discourses and musical concerts by Sri Vidya Bhushana and Sri V.V. Prassanna were the small achievements of SRSS.

In 2012, the SRSS management committee decided to invite His Holiness Sri Sugunendra Theertha Swamiji to Melbourne. It was felt that to achieve its goal of establishing a brindavana for Guru Rayaru in Melbourne, only the visit of Swamiji would provide the impetus to the noble cause. The idea quickly gathered momentum and Sri Prassanacharya from Puthige Matha was invited to visit Melbourne to attend and conduct the Sri Raghavendra Swamy Aradhana. Sri Prassanacharya when he visited Melbourne assured SRSS that Swamiji would definitely fulfill the wishes of Melbourne devotees and grace the city of Melbourne soon.

SRSS buoyed by the news started to plan for Srigalu’s visit and support started to pour in from various quarters.

Finally on 30th March, 2013 Saturday morning Swamiji’s historic maiden Australian trip commenced as his arrival at Tullamarine, Melbourne. That week-end – 30th and 31st March – was one of the most memorable events witnessed by the Hindu community in Melbourne. The grandeur and divinity of the Maha puja of Sri Vijaya Vittala specially brought from Puthige Matha to celebrate Sri Vadiraja Swamy’s Aradhana and Sri Vyasaraja Swamy’s Aradhana left the city of Melbourne spellbound.

Subsequently, every day till the date of his departure on 15th April, His Holiness and his able disciples would move from one devotee’s house to another to perform Maha Puja in the morning with sumptuous food followed by Thottil Puja in the evening with another round of delicious food.

There was a virtual clamour from the Melbourne devotees to invite Pujyasri Swamiji to visit their residences. Be it Paada Puja, Maha Puja or Thottil Puja , Srigalu agreed to grace each devotee’s home unmindful of sometime long and arduous journey from one corner of the well spread out city to another.

Each day, each puja was conducted with the same kind of spiritual involvement, bhakti and dedication by Srigalu ably assisted by Sri Vadiraja Achar, Sri Nagendra Achar, Sri Santosh Achar and Sri Rammohan Achar. It was Nitya Utsava of Sri Vijaya Vittala in Melbourne during those two weeks. The common thread of the daily puja at different locations was the fantastic cooking by Sri Rammohan Achar which was greatly appreciated by the ladies who could completely concentrate and participate in the Puja.

On the day of Ekadashi (April 6th), Sudarshana Homa and Mudratharane was arranged at the residence of one of the devotees, Sri Rajendra Yenkonamalle, a popular figure in Melbourne known for his passion for spreading yoga among the community. The same day evening Harivana seva was performed by Swamiji and joined by the devotees with great enthusiasm.

Swamiji’s mission to Australia was to spread Krishna bhakti and to inspire, motivate and guide the devotees to the right path of spirituality and salvation. The most heartening aspect was the active participation of the young boys and girls who listened intently to Swamiji’s various discourses. Swamiji’s style of discourse – simple with anecdotes from everyday life – had a great influencing effect on the young minds.

Swamiji covered a wide range of subjects – Essence of Bhagavad Gita, Ishavoashopanishat, Significance of Ekadashi, Rukminisha Vijaya, Importance of Bhakti, Why we should do daily puja, Importance of family bonding, Why Sri Hanuman is Jivottama, Secret of success in marriages (which was laced with a great sense of humour) – showing only glimpses of his deep insight and the level of his superior knowledge. Most of his discourses were impromptu depending on the host and the occasion.

The grand finale of the visit was the Maha Puja at Kundrathu Kumaran Temple on April 14th which was also Ugadi for Puthige Matha. The event was marked by the conducting of Pavamana Homa in which thirty families including from Sydney who had specially come for the occasion performed sankalpa. A special tent was erected for the homa at the temple premises which was located at Rockbank on the western part of Melbourne.

Swamiji was welcomed to the sounds of nadaswara and shower of flowers by SRSS members and devotees with the traditional Purna Kumbha by the temple priests and shown around the temple. There was a curious co-incidence. SRSS had arranged for a horse as part of the welcoming party and the name of the horse turned out to be ‘Haya’ which was owned by an Australian. Swamiji a great admirer of Sri Vadiraja Swamy and his ishta devaru Sri Hayagriva remarked that his purvashrama name was Hayavadana and was thrilled to hear that the horse’s name is Haya.

The Maha Puja of Sri Vijaya Vittala and Pavamana Homa was performed in a grand manner. Sri Sugunendra Theertha Swamiji in his brilliant speech said that the advent of the Vijaya year meaning victory was happening in the state of Victoria in which the city of Melbourne is located. He blessed the devotees on the New Year day and panchanga sravana was also conducted. Once again feast prepared to suit the occasion was served. Swamiji spent time with all the devotees enquiring about them.

This Ugadi was a truly special one for Melbourne devotees when Lord Vijaya Vittala and Guru Sri Sugunendra Theertha Swamiji were present to bless them with Vijaya or victory and they will savour and re-live every moment of Swamiji’s two week  ‘dig-vijaya’ in Melbourne.

Hari Sarvottama Vayu Jivottama 

By

Sudarshan Rao
Melbourne

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