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Miri Hindus to celebrate Navarathri with prayers

by Jacqueline Raphael, reporters@theborneopost.com. Posted on September 17, 2011, Saturday

DEMONSTRATION: Children performing dances on Navarathiri telling of the victory by Durga.

MIRI: Hindus in Miri will be celebrating the Navarathri festival from Sept 28 to Oct 6 this year with prayer sessions, said the chairman of the Miri Hindu Society, Selvaraj Grapragasem.

He added, the prayers would be conducted at 7.30pm daily throughout the festival at the Kamini Durga Easwari Amman Temple in Raghavan Building, Brookes Road here.

“On the first day, Sept 28, there will be a ‘homa’ at 4pm, followed by ‘abishegam’ and the ‘pooja’ at 7.30 pm.

“On the last day (Oct 6) which is also known as Vijayathasami Day, a ‘homa’ will be carried out in the temple at 3 pm followed by a ‘Milk Procession’ from the Sikh temple to Raghavan Building.

“An ‘abishegam’ will be conducted by a priest at 6pm followed by a special ‘pooja’ at 7pm,” he said.

Elaborating, Selvaraj said there would also be a simulation on how Goddess Durga fought and killed the demon. The day will culminate with a ‘kummi dance’ that demonstrates the victory of Goddess Durga.

Navarathri is a holy period for Hindus. ‘Nava’ means nine while ‘Rathri’ means nights as the festival is mainly celebrated at night in ‘kovils’ (temples).

According to Selvaraj, there will usually be a 10 days prayer sessions but this year it is reduced to nine.

“The first two days are dedicated to the Goddess Durga. Durga is worshipped for courage. This Goddess has ‘Chanku’ and ‘Chankram’ on her hands.

“The next three days are dedicated for the worshipping of Goddess Lakshmi. Lakshmi is the Goddess who showers wealth and money,” he said.

He added that there are eight Lakshmis : Veera Lakshmi, Gaja Lakshmi, Sandhana Lakshmi, Dhaniya Lakshmi, Aadi Lakshmi, Dhana Lakshmi, Aiswarya Lakshmi and Vijaya Lakshmi. Each Lakshmi is worshipped for different reasons.

However, Selvaraj said all of them are the same ‘Shakthi’ but with a different ‘avatharam’ for different purposes, including ‘Veeram’ which means courage while the ‘Dhanyam’ denotes grain, ‘Vijayam’ which means success and victory while ‘Aiswaryam’ means
wealth.

“The last three days are dedicated to Saraswathi for good education. The Goddess Saraswathi appears with the musical instrument ‘Veenai’ in her hands and also with a book and a pearl chain, as she has four hands,” he said.

On the last day of Saraswathi, Selvaraj said parents would educate their new school going children for the first time where Hindu priests would hold the palms of the children and guide them to write the Tamil alphabet and numeric digits on raw rice in the ‘kovils’.

The tenth-day is called ‘Vijayathasami’.

The Miri Hindu Society (MHS) is currently conducting some repair work at the temple to make sure all devotees can perform their prayers conveniently.

MHS welcomes generous donations from members, well-wishers and friends. For further inquiries about the Navarathiri celebration, Hindu devotees staying in Miri and nearby places can contact Selvaraj at 013-8139695, Siva at 016-5212153 or Radha Ganesan at 019-3370035.

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