Ananda Family News

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year's Eve Ceremonies

As with our Christmas Eve service, we experimented this year with holding our New Year celebrations earlier in the evening, rather than doing a midnight service. Judging by the attendance at each, we have a lot of early birds in the community who appreciated it!

The evening began with a meditation, and a Nayaswami Order initiation ceremony, in which we welcomed in Adam, Joycee, and Amit as Pilgrims and a conditional (one-year) Brahmachari, respectively.

The initiation ceremony is very simple -- just an introduction from Asha and a recitation of the vows -- but incredibly powerful. Like a wedding, it has the power of human commitment supported by a loving community. But with God on the other end of each person’s vow the intensity is deepened immeasurably.

For the service portion of the evening we tried a completely new format, in which we got to go deeper into mantra chanting than we usually do. We began with 15 minutes of the Hring Kling mantra, for dissolving obstacles of all types, whether physical or spiritual. That was followed by 15 minutes each of the Gayatri and Mahamritunjaya mantras, more familiar from our Sunday fire ceremonies, which are chants for personal liberation, and for the upliftment of all beings. We ended with the Aum mantra, accompanying a purification ceremony -- an excellent way to set a spiritual intention for the new year.

Throughout the mantras and the purification ceremony, we had a large indoor fire, cleverly created out of candles fixed in the copper fire ceremony bowl filled with sand. This was very civilized for most of the hour and a half that it burned, but got much more exciting towards the end. The combined heat of all the candles (not to mention the burning purification papers thrown in with them) burned them down very quickly, until the bowl was one flaming mass of melted wax. It was actually quite dramatically beautiful, though it was also reassuring to have Nirmoha on hand with a lid, ready to intervene if it got out of hand.

Happy New Year!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wishing JOYCEE WONG happiness, peace, satisfaction and Joy in her new life. Always a wonderful, kind, thoughtful and giving person, Joycee appears to have been walking on a deliberate path of discovery these past few years. Happy New Year Blessings, Joycee. love, mariana allred

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