Puja and Satsanga
Puja is an act of devotion. An action that includes the whole person; one’s physical body, voice and mind in appreciation of the existence of the Order that is the universe. It is in this act of devotion that the expression of Gratitude and Recognition of the presence of this Order, the Creator, is born.
Puja is a complete ritual that establishes and strengthens the devotee in each of us and can be done by anyone at any time.
Sri Sankara, the great teacher of Advaita Vedanta, composed some verses leading us in the realization of a mental Puja. In this puja all the utensils, offerings, and the image of the Lord, whether male or female – deva or devi – are imagined in the mind of the devotee, which requires greater concentration than the physical act. Although it is only mental, it is an act that is deliberate and meaningful. Moreover, the devotee can imagine whatever desired, in the grandeur and beauty desired, thereby strengthening one’s relationship as an individual with All that there is.
Puja and Satsanga
First Tuesday of each month at 7pm
Vidya Mandir offers a monthly, informal meeting that is open to all on the first Tuesday of the month.
Puja and Bhajans
Every Friday at 7:30pm
On Fridays we have special Puja for Sarasvati. The puja is performed by Professor Henrique Castro, who deepened his knowledge of Vedanta in southern India with Pujya Swami Dayanandaji and other Swamis.
Join us! Come make your day special!
Any fruit or flowers to be offered are welcome.
During the year, several days are allocated for devotional activities. It is an opportunity, throughout our busy lives, to remember our fundamental relationship with the Lord, which is the Cause of the Universe and at the same time the Order that keeps it in such perfect working order - the Cosmic Order and Its infallible laws: laws of gravity, conservation of energy, attraction and repulsion, balance of celestial bodies in space, laws that govern physical nature, laws of heat and cold, the functioning of our bodies, psychological laws. In short, the entire universe is maintained by infallible laws over which we have no power, but there is the capacity to discover them, to understand them.
We are blessed with this beautiful universe and we are not always aware of it, much less feel gratitude for this gift. Yet, despite complaining a lot, we are never prepared to leave here.
The festive days, dedicated to the Lord in each of His forms, are opportunities for this reflection and Gratitude that are favorable to discovering the devotee within us to make our individual relationship with the Order that is the Universe more evident.
Check out the festivities and their celebration dates in India and Vidya Mandir. There may be some discrepancies between the dates mentioned herein and the celebrations held in India, depending on the location: South India, North India or the West.
New Year's Day in some parts of India. It is linked to the day of harvest, to the spring of India. Makara is the name of the sign of Capricorn. On this day in Hindu astrology, the sun enters the sign of Capricorn.
Vidya Mandir Celebration: February 20th, Thursday
It is the day dedicated to Lord Siva, a special day for yogis, tapasvins (ascetics) and all those who seek self-knowledge. On this day, devotees spend the day fasting, chanting Lord Śiva's mantra from sunrise until sunset. This party falls on the 14th day of the waning moon fortnight between February and March. In some ashrams, chanting and fasting go until midnight when there is a pūjā and then devotees break the fast by eating prasādam, which is offered in this pūjā.
Vidya Mandir Celebration: April 7, Tuesday
The birth of Rāma, the incarnation of dharma, of justice, of righteousness, falls on the 9th day of the fortnight of the crescent moon between March and April. On this day, in addition to pūjā, we read passages from the Rāmāyana, recalling the teaching of the ideals that Rāma represents.
Vidya Mandir Celebration: April 7, Tuesday
In this festival we celebrate the birth of Hanuman, the devotee of Rama, hero of Ramayana.
Hanuman, the monkey god, is the symbol of strength and energy, the One who can take any shape, move mountains and fly.
Vidya Mandir Celebration: May 5th, Tuesday
Shankara is Vedanta's greatest teacher, who gave us his clear and profound commentaries on the Upaniṣads, Bhagavadgītā, Brahma-Sutra, as well as many original texts that demonstrate his clarity of vision of the Absolute and his deep devotion to the Lord. His birth is celebrated on the 5th day of the crescent moon between May and June.
On this day, Narasimha, an avatar of Vishnu, is believed to have appeared.
Vidya Mandir Celebration: July 7, Tuesday
It is celebrated on full moon day between July and August. This is a very auspicious day dedicated to the memory of Bhagavan Śrī Veda Vyasa, who compiled the Vedas, wrote the 18 Purānas, the Mahabharatam and Śrīmad Bhagavatam.
Also, on this day, one honors one’s guru with gratitude.
Vidya Mandir Celebration: August 4th, Tuesday
It is the day on which the birth of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the master of Arjuna in the Bhagavadgītā, is celebrated. It falls on the 8th day of the waning moon fortnight between August and September. It's two days of a lot of celebration, joy and lots of sweets. Passages of Kṛṣṇa's life are depicted in dance-theater to the delight of the devotees.
Vidya Mandir Celebration: September 1st, Tuesday
The feast of Lord Gaṇeśa is called Gaṇeśa Caturthi, always on the 4th day of the crescent moon, between late August and early September. Lord Gaṇeśa or Gaṇapati is always invoked first in any pūjā, for He is the eliminator of obstacles and the embodiment of Wisdom. For His feast, in addition to pūjā, with the repetition of their 108 names, giving Him a flower by name, many varied and tasty sweets are offered, which are then distributed as prasādam, a gift that comes to bless us.
October 17th to 25th
Vidya Mandir Celebration: October 23, Friday
The Navarātri festival (nava = nine, rātri = nights) lasts nine days and is dedicated to the female deities - Durgā, Lakṣmī and Sarasvatī. It occurs in early winter in the northern hemisphere, during the fortnight of the crescent moon in late September and early October.
A special pūjā is made to each form of Śakti, the divine power.
Three days are devoted to each Devī. First, we invoke Durgā and ask Her to eliminate the difficulties that exist in our mind, then we ask Mahālakṣmī to bring wealth in the form of qualifications for us, and finally we invoke Sarasvatī and ask Her for means to gain knowledge. The Goddess Sarasvatī is worshiped on the 9th day and on her altar are placed books, musical and work instruments. Even buses, cars and home-made machines are decorated and revered on this day. Nava is 9 and ratri is night. On this day begins the annual festival of devis which lasts 9 full days.
On the tenth day, called dāsara or vijayadaśamī, Sarasvatī is honored once again and there is a special ceremony called Vidyārambha, when young children begin their literacy. This day is considered auspicious for the beginning of any venture. Sarasvatī Puja.
This is the eighth day of the devis festival.
On this day Durga is honored.
Devi is called Durga because She is difficult to achieve, to understand. Durga is also Sarasvati, Mahalakshmi and also Kali.
This is the tenth day, the day after the festival of devis. The devis' victory (vijaya) is celebrated, especially in the form of Durga that destroys Mahishasura, which symbolizes ignorance and selfish values.
Also on this day is celebrated the victory of Rama over Ravana.
Vidya Mandir Celebration: November 31, Tuesday
The guest of honor at Dipavali, the Feast of Lights, is Mahalaksmi, the Goddess of wealth, of the various resources we have and desire. On this day many lighted lamps are placed in the windows of the houses, forming a “row of lamps” (= dipavali). Light always symbolizes knowledge, we call Mahalaksmi's attention to come to that house and bless us with Her presence in the form of all kinds of wealth.
This festival is special for traders and businessmen who end their accounting year and start a new one on this date, after the puja to Mahalaksmi (Mahalakshmi Puja), where accounting books are offered at the altar.
The 25th of December
Vidya Mandir Celebration: December 1st, Tuesday
We commemorate on this 11th day of the fortnight of the crescent moon (called mokṣadā-ekādaśī), between December and January, the day on which Bhagavadgītā was born, that is, when Śrī Kṛṣṇa taught Arjuna on the battlefield and Sanjaya narrates this dialogue to King Dhṛtaraṣtra.
The complete teaching of Yoga and Brahmavidyā thus becomes available to us.
December 12th, Saturday
At the end of the year, Vidya Mandir has a party with satsanga, puja and special activities.
On this occasion we appreciate all that has been achieved during the year, recalling our activities and achievements.
We also talk about our projects for the following year.