Every year Panduranga is celebrated at the Ekadashi in July and November. This year the date is July 19th. A march to the Panduranga-Rukmini Temple and Pandharpur is made, taking over a month from Pune to the temple. Hundreds of thousands of people line up to have the darashan of Panduranga, Rukmini and Satyabhama at the temple. They may wait days in line for 10 seconds with the murthis/images, but they feel the blessings of the Divine Avatar Couple/Kalki to come at the end of Kulli Yuga.
At Vishwa Shanti Ashram in Bangalore, our gurus' large temple, Satguru Rama Mata is hosting the Panduranga Ekadashi celebration and the 25th Anniversary of the Vijaya Vitthala (pictured below right) installation on July 19-22. July 22nd was Sadguru Sant Keshavadas' birthday. The program is listed below the photo of Vijaya Vittala below right. Satguru Rama Mata invites you to join the celebration in India. For information, please email TCRSita@TempleofCosmicReligion.org
The Summer Program in Albuquerque, NM, is the Krishna-Kalki Connection. The article below on Panduranga Vittala is a preview of the information in this workshop Please join us there for a fun time of workshop, fire ceremony, sightseeing and having a great time with each other. Click here for Summer Program Info
Prem and Shanti,
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by Namadeva Acharya/Thomas Ashley-Farrand
Panduranga, is generally regarded by those who know of him as an incarnation of Vishnu. This is technically true, but there is more to it than that. Some call him the coming one similar to the Maitreya in Buddhism, the Messiah in Judaism, or Christ coming again in Christianity.
Panduranga as an Aspect of Krishna
When Krishna announced that he would be leaving at the end of Dwapara Yuga, there was despair among the general population, rulers and sages alike. He was asked. "What shall we do? Kali Yuga is coming and that is when we will need you the most. In that age of spiritual darkness, your light and spiritual authority will be needed more than at any other time. Why must you depart?" Krishna responded that his supra-physical body could not be constructed during the density of Kali Yuga. Although he could contain his essence in a body during the thickening time of Dwapara Yuga, it was just not possible for him to make a body that could contain him in the time of spiritual density that is Kali Yuga. But he also told them not to despair that he would descend to earth in several different ways to safeguard the pious and sincere ones during Kali Yuga.
One way that is revered by millions is the black stone called salagrama. In many places in India this stone is used for a murti for performing puja to Krishna. The priests performing the pujas feel that the essence of Krishna is contained in the stone.
There is another aspect of Krishna that is told in the story of Panduranga, a black stone image that stands on a brick with his hands on his waist. There are several versions of how the statues of Panduranga and Rukmini came to stand in the city of Panduri, commonly called Pandarapura. The most commonly accepted story tells that after Krishna's marriage to goddess Rukmini, he went out one moonlit night to the place of his childhood where he danced with the milkmaids. Once again after his marriage, it is told, he met with them and they danced the traditional Rasa dance as the love stricken milkmaids swayed in ecstasy. Through her spiritual sight, Rukmini saw these activities and became upset with Krishna. As a mark of rebuke and punishment, Rukmini went and stood in a forest called Dindira Vana, in austere discipline, in the form of a statue. In a sense, being a chaste wife, she was performing penance to atone for the acts of her husband. It is a wonderful example of the sacrifices that husband and wife make for one another in classical Indian literature, and even in the actual lives of devout Hindus today.
As a mark of apology, Lord Krishna seeing the penance of his wife also took the form of a statue and came to that spot in apology to her. The two of them stood there for a long time, each with their hands on their hips in statue-like pose.
Pundalika's parents wanted him to take them on a pilgrimage to Kashi, also called Benares. He ignored them and went himself. While traveling, he stayed one night at the ashram of Sage Kukkuta. In meditation during the early morning hours, Pundalika saw three women sweeping the ground with their long hair. Enraptured, Pundalika asked the meaning of what they were doing. They replied that they were the three rivers Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati. Everyday they served the divine sage Kukkuta whom they called the embodiment of virtue. Holy rivers were made even holier, they told him, by the great service if saints. Then they disappeared and he came out of his trance-like meditation.
Now Pundalika experienced intense desire to know what spiritual disciplines Sage Kukkuta performed to have the holy rivers wait upon him. After asking, he was amazed to discover that the only discipline performed by the sage was the devoted service he made to his parents. Seeing God in them, he took exquisite care of them, feeling as if he was expressing his gratitude to God for attaining a human body. The treasure of human birth, although not widely known in the world, was understood by Pundalika to offer extraordinary opportunity for spiritual advancement - so much so, that even the celestials desire human birth so that they may attain liberation. Understanding the inner nature of Sage Kukkuta's service in gratitude to his parents for his birth, Pundalika underwent a true change of heart and returned to his home. There he began daily service to his parents with all reverence.
While this drama was taking place, Krishna and Rukmini were standing in the forest with their hands on their waist. After some time, Krishna found that his attention was being drawn to the sincere devotion with which Pundalika served God through his parents. Finally, he disappeared from the forest and came to stand outside the hut of Pundalika. There Krishna's voice rumbled like thunder on the ears of Pundalika, "Oh Pundalika, I am Krishna who has come to you, pleased as I am at the devotion you have shown through your parents."
At first Pundalika did not quite believe and replied." Whoever you, you must wait until I finish serving my parents. I will be with you in a bit."
This pleased Lord Krishna even more who spoke again, "Ask any boon you like. Ask me and the same shall be fulfilled unto you." After thinking for a moment, Pundalika found a brick and placed it on the ground outside his hut. Then he prayed to God to stand on the brick and bless humanity forever with his darshan (ecstatic vision). Bound by the cords of Pundalika's love, Krishna placed parts of himself in the statue or murti - an image of himself - for worship during this Kali Yuga.
Later Rukmini followed Krishna and also stood as an image behind her husband. Separate temples were built to them, and today millions of Hindus visit Pandarapura to propitiate the images of Panduranga and Rukmini, particularly in July and November. The images at that temple are below:
Meaning of the Name Panduranga
In Sanskrit, "pandu" means "white" while "ranga" means "color." Thus, in one sense, Panduranga means the white-colored one. This seems odd for a black statue. This is because the term white a symbol and does not mean the actual color. It stands for the tranquil sattva guna of which Lord Krishna is said to be the perfect embodiment. Thus, the white light that Krishna personifies as the Lord of Sattva Guna, will come to all who are sincere in seeking God during Kali Yuga. It does not matter which religion one follows or upon which path one trods. Sincerity, dedication, and discipline are the keys to receiving the white light - each according to his/her capacity. Understood in this context, it is amazingly similar to the idea of the body of Christ. This idea declares that all sincere Christians shall be come part of the body of Christ no matter where they are or what they do. The white light of Panduranga is nearly identical in context.
Krishna and Panduranga
In common parlance, Krishna was called "Ranga" meaning his blue color. They used the word "Ranga" to denote the one with the dark color. With the appearance of the statue, Panduranga came to be synonymous with Krishna in this form of the statue. In another context, Krishna was friend and guide to the Pandavas. Thus he became Pandava's Ranga or Panduranga. The other part of Panduranga's name is Vittala. Breaking apart this word, "vi" stands for "Vidhi" or Brahma, "ta" stands for Nilakanta, which is a name of Shiva as the "blue- throated-one who saved the celestials by drinking poison spewed forth by the serpent Vasuki, and "la" stands for Lakshmi Pati or the husband of Lakshmi who is Vishnu. Thus, Vittala stand for the three in one: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
Before Krishna came and stood at Pandurapura, the place was known as Panduranga Kshetre associated with an old Shiva temple. The white-colored interpretation of the Panduranga as a Shiva temple was a reference to the snowy peaks of the Himalayas where Shiva dwells. One day when the Shiva temple priest came early to prepare for puja, he could not see his Shiva lingham anywhere. Instead there was this large black figure standing there with hands on the waist. After searching for a bit, his glance chanced upon the head of the figure standing there and he spied the Shiva lingham on the top of the head of the large statue. He broke into song in verses that end with the phrase, "Parabrahma Lingam Bhaje Panduranga," which roughly translates, "The symbol of the Supreme Brahma sits atop the image of Panduranga"
The great guru Sivananda of Rishkesh has written in his translation of the Bhagavad Gita that the word "brick" is a slang expression for a saint. The meaning is the saints are as dependable as bricks. Applying this slang expression to the image of Panduranga standing on a brick, it can be deduced that the consciousness that is Panduranga manifests through saints. That is to say, Panduranga stands on a brick, or, the consciousness and power of Krishna overshadows a certain group of saints in the Hindu tradition.
Sadguru Sant Keshavadas is the 20th Century spiritual preceptor who taught about Panduranga and the coming Kalki Avatar. He established Vishwa Shanti Ashrama in Bangalore which has a 30 foot tall murthi of Panduranga in the form of Vijaya Vittala.
Mantras of the Month
OM VIJAYA VITTHALA NAMAHA
Victory to Panduranga in his male trinity form
RAMA KRISHNA HARI JAI JAI PANDURANGA HARI JAI JAI
Victory to Rama, Victory to Krishna, Victory to Panduranga (which is the same being and will come as the next and last avatar of Vishnu at the end of Kali Yuga.)
This is a mantra for realization of Panduranga (inner or outer darshan or a vision of the white-light being.)
Mantras for Healing the Earth
All of these mantras are powerful Ganesha Mantras.
Instant blessings for immediate assistance.
Om Vighna Nashanaya Namaha
To relieve energy blockages especially for the Devas that work with the energies of the various species: wind, water, plant, bird, mammal, fish and human.
Om Ucchista Ganapataye Namaha
To destroy negativity
Om Vakra'tundaya Hum
To correct something that is not working properly.
Om Dhumra Ketuve Namaha
To bring difficult circumstances under an umbrella of peace.
Om Gana Dhyak'shaya Namaha
To bring healing to a group. In this case, the people harmed by the earthquakes and tsunami.
Om Kshipra Prasada'ya Namaha
The Ancient Power of Sanskrit Mantra and Ceremony Books and Recordings
The Ancient Power of Sanskrit Mantra and Ceremony, 2nd. Ed., is now being revised to simplify pronunciation.
Namadeva recorded all of the volumes
sold in CD sets.
The works of Thomas Ashley-Farrand (Namadeva Acharya) give unprecedented, detailed instruction in how to empower yourself using the techniques of the ancient sages and rishis. He and Satyabhama have been given the mission by their Gurus Sadguru Sant Keshavadas and Guru Rama Mata to bring these teachings to everyone.
To that end, he has written and recorded a number of works. She travels to North America and the UK to teach workshops. Bi-annually they lead a Pilgrimage Tour of India's Holy Places, visiting with the Shankaracharayas at Kanchi Math, Guru Mata at Vishwa Shanti Ashram, and doing fire ceremonies in the Himalayas, among the highlights of the trip.
They have founded a religious organization, Sanatana Dharma Satsang, which has opened a Gayatri Temple in Beaverton, Oregon and the Bhakti Yoga House in Albuquerque, NM.
These works are offered in a spirit of service. We sincerely hope that they will further you on your path.
Prem & Shanti,
Satyabhama (Margalo Ashley-Farrand)
Saraswati Publications, LLC
New Mantra Therapy CD
2013 Schedule of Workshops
August - Tampa, FL, Lakshmi Workshop; SUMMER PROGRAM, Albuquerque, NM: The Kalki-Krishna Connection, an expansion of this month's article.
September - Niagara Falls, Canada, Ganesha II Workshop
October - Chicago, IL, Mysterious Kundalini; Miami, FL, Lakshmi Workshop
India Pilgrimage - May 2014
Please see our schedule for details and updates:
at Vishwa Shanti Ashram
We will be doing abhisheka/bathing of this statue on our India Trip in May 2014.
Silver Jubilee of Sri Vijaya Vittala Installation
The 35' image of Panduranga was installed in 1998. Sadguru Sant Keshavadas said, "With the word 'Vishwa' starts Sri Vishnu Sahasranama. For this Lord, who is the very form of the Universe, sky is athe mantapa, and this entire earth itself is the platform! He will attract not only Karnataka or India but the entire world to Him and prove that this whole world is one family!"
The shrines at Vishwa Shanti Ashrama include the 8 Lakshmis around the Vijaya Vittala, the Vishwarupa Vishnu at the Bhagavad Gita Temple (which has the entire Gita in 4 languages on marble plaques,) Sri Gayatri Mata, Sri Kodandarama, Sri Anjaneya/Hanuman, Sri Omkareshwara, and Sri Durga.
Friday, July 19: Silver Jubilee Festival with Maha Abhisheka to Vijaya Vittala, Luncheon, Bhajans and Night Vigil with bhajans from several groups until morning.
Saturday, July 20: Panchamrita Abhisheka for Panduranga and Rukmini, Maha Gayatri Yajna, Mangala Arati and Luncheon, Bharata Natya (sacred dance) and Gadaa Yuddha.
Sunday, July 21: Panchamrita Abhisheka to Vijaya Vittala and Rukmini, Kalyaanotsava, Bhajan program, Maha Mangala Arati, Luncheon, Inauguration of Sri Charamurthi Shivanubhava Shivachaarya Shivarudra Maha Swamiji; Sri Beli, attended by many VIPs, talks and bhajans.
Monday, July 22, Sadguru Sant Keshavadas' 79th Birthday Celebration: Guru Pada Puja and Bhajans, Kirtan program, Maha Mangala Arati.
June 23 - Healing Rama Yajna*
July 21-Guru Purnima Celebration, Guru Dattatreya Yajna*
August 31 - Sudarshana Chakra Yajna
* Smokeless fire inside temple
Click on the Events link above for more information.
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