Karthikai Deepam is a Festival of Lights that is observed by people in India in the Tamil Calendar’s month of Kārttikai (கார்த்தி கை). It is considered to be a very auspicious month, starting with the day of Deepavali (also called Diwali). From that day until the end of the month, oil lamps are lit every day. The full moon day of this month is called Karthikai Pournami, and was one of the most important festivals of the ancient Tamils. Avvaiyar, a renowned woman poet of those times (3rd century BCE), refers to the festival in her songs.
On Karthikai Pournami (full moon day), all the buildings are lit up with many oil lamps, and the entrance to almost every room and window is decorated with an oil lamp. Apart from all the special prayers that are conducted in honour of Kartikeya (Shiva’s second son after Ganesha) and Shiva on this day, the sight of all the lights creates a warm and homely feeling in the people at a time when days are getting shorter, darker and colder. Children and elders alike love to arrange the lamps in beautiful shapes and embellish the buildings and spaces with light and warmth.
Due to the Coronavirus period and its strict social restrictions, we cannot launch the 9-day-long festival at the Aum Pranava Ashram. We are trying our best to keep the Ramanama going by chanting in shifts from morning until the concluding evening pūja and encouraging the Rama-devotee-villagers to keep doing the same in their own villages. The initial chant is inspired by one of the recordings of Sri Ma Anandamayi's Ramanama singing. We wish you and your loved ones to remain healthy, calm and safe throughout this period!
On the occasion of Tmt Jayalalitha, the late Chief Minister's Death Anniversary, the Children's Homes, Schools and other Educational Institutions in Tamil Nadu conducted awareness programs for the safety and education of girls in Tamil Nadu. We took an oath to protect girls and women from harm and harassment, from child labor and exploitation, and drugs and prostitution. We pledged to give them access to education and to foster their value in society as the future mothers of Tamil Nadu, India, and the whole world. The oath was taken solemnly in this short awareness program.
Every year, we conduct Varushabhishekam for the Ganesha Temples. While poojas will be performed for Ganesha in the two Ganesha temples daily, this elaborate ritual takes place once in a year to renew the spiritual energy of the temples.
We are blessed to be able to make this trip with all the children annually for the last 17 years. The bus journey started after the Christmas Celebrations on the Eve of the 24th of December. It ended on the night of the next day when we arrived safely in Prashanthi Nilayam. We had a wonderful time in the ashram, and the children felt homely and happy throughout our stay at the Prashanthi Nilayam Ashram in Puttaparthi. On the evening of the 30th of December, we left Puttaparthi. We arrived back safely at home on the 31st of December late at night. This journey with the children is like a spiritual renewal for us. We are deeply grateful for being able to undertake this journey and thank the sponsors for this blessed gift!
On Mridangam: Sriram
Vocals: Shreya and Shobika
The Aum Pranava Ashram is surrounded by paddy fields and situated at the feet of the breathtakingly beautiful Western Ghats (Podhigai Hills). The area where we live is called Courtallam which boosts itself with a number of scenic waterfalls. Our ashram is located at the edge of a village called Ilanji, which lies in between Tenkasi and Sengottai in the Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu.
The Gopuram (Entrance Tower) of the Śiva Temple in Tenkasi (Vishwanath Kovil)