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Sri Lalitha Sahasranama Laksharchana & Sri Siva Sahasranama – VCCA’s Annual program

Yes, it is that time of the year when Vedic and Cultural Centre of Australia (VCCA) conduct their regular annual program. As per VCCA’s annual schedule for the third year in a row Lalitha Sahasranama Lakshaarchana was held on 9th May 2015 at Reg Byrne Community Centre, Wentworthville, NSW.   The timing became quite significant with Chitra Pournami celebrated a few days ago and Mother’s day on the next day. The event was well attended with over 60 families participating in the chanting of Sri Lalitha Sahasranamavalli Laksharchana and Sri Siva Sahasranamavalli.

As always, volunteers of VCCA greatly helped and supported the event starting from opening of the hall doors at 2pm to the closing of the halls around 9pm, including decoration of the stage and preparation for the Puja. The reception desk was manned by volunteers who collected details of the “Gothram” of all the participants for the Sankalpam. The afternoon program started as per the normal custom with “Vigneshwara“  Puja , followed by “Maha Sankalpam” and “Poorvaanga Upachara Puja”. The main part of the program Sri Lalitha Sahasranama was performed in 2 batches of about 50 ladies leading to the completion of the “Lalitha Sahasranama Laksharchana”. All the participants were provided with copies of the scripture to be able to chant with the priests.

For the benefit of the readers who are not aware of the details of this Puja, some information about the chanting of Lalitha Sahasranama Laksharchana.

A “Sahasranama” is a type of Hindu scripture in which a deity is referred to by 1,000 or more different names. Sahasranamas are classified as “Stotras” or hymns of praise, a type of devotional scripture. Sahasra in Sanskrit means thousand and Nama means name, hence Sahasranama means “a thousand names”. Likewise, “Laksha” in Sanskrit means  ”one hundred thousand” and hence Sahasranama Laksharchana means “a hundred thousand names”.

Lalitha Sahasranama stotra occurs in the Brahmanda Purana (history of the universe) in the chapter on discussion between Hayagriva and Agasthya. Hayagriva is an incarnation of Vishnu with the head of a horse who is held to be storehouse of knowledge. At the request of Agasthya, Haygrivas is said to have taught him the thousand holiest names of Lalitha. This has been conveyed to us by Sage Vyasya Mahrishi. Lalitha Sahasranama is the only Sahasranama composed by vagdevatas under Lalitha’s direction.

After the successful chanting of the Sri Lalitha Sahasranama Laksharchana, the men followed with the chanting of Sri Siva Sahasranama. The Puja part of the function was concluded after rendering of a few Carnatic classic songs by some participants, Dhoopam, Deepam, Naivedyam and Mangala Haarathi. The evening program was performed and conducted under the able leadership and guidance of Shri Venkatraman, a freelance priest.

Sumptuous dinner in the form of “Prasadam” provided by volunteers was served after the conclusion of the Puja to all the attendees, bringing the curtain down on the program.

The program could not have been a success without the support and assistance of all the volunteers, sponsors & devotees and VCCA would like to take this opportunity to thank all of them for their valuable contribution. I would also like to remind readers that as part of their annual calendar, VCCA will be conducting this year’s Vishnu Sahasranama on Saturday the 4th October