Maha Shivaratri at Fire Mountain Retreat, Nimboli, Ganeshpuri...
Although Shivaratri is celebrated each month on the new moon, once a year usually in February, the "Great Night of Shiva", Maha Shivaratri is celebrated. It's one of our favorite Hindu holidays. It includes great preparation, celebration and an all night vigil.
Our day began with the arrival of four Brahmin priests from Madhya Pradesh, the center of India. Lucky for us that they happened to be in town and were available to perform our special fire ceremony and conduct the chants that make this holiday so special. They arrived in the morning and earnestly began making their preparations.
Here's what the inside of the Dome looked like. The newly dunged fire pit was ready for the artistry of the Brahmin priests...
|The back puja was blessed by the Brahmins and Mark...|
|The women were asked to dress in red and the men wore white. A mixture of red kum kum and rice was applied to our forehead and a red and turmeric yellow dyed string was tied to our wrist...|
|A special side puja (altar) was made for our teachers...|
|And these fantastic small tables were decorated with colored rice and different grains and seeds:|
|The chanting went on for a few hours and many different offerings were made...|
The yagna pit was beautifully decorated with colored rice...
|The men sat around the very hot fire and laded ghee into it while chanting "Swaha" at the end of each of the Brahmin's chants...|
|Here is the cluster of Shakti Goddesses all wearing red and feeling ecstatic from the ceremony...|
We stayed up all night meditating until dawn of the next morning. It was an extraordinary experience.
Here's our "Dome Doggy" who loved to come and meditate with us during the night...
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