Shree Ayyappa Seva Sangham, Powai, Mumbai celebrated Vaishakha Mahotsavam at the Shree Ayyappa Vishnu Temple from April 26-May 24, 2009. The month-long festival was commenced with the Vishnu Sahasranamam Yajna daily in the evening and was concluded with a Samooha Archana followed by Annadanam (mass feeding).
The recitation of the thousand names of the Lord Vishnu is considered as an act of devotion by the worshippers.
Lord Vishnu is the most celebrated and popular Hindu God. In Mahabharat, Lord Vishnu is often identified with the supreme spirit and hence regarded as the most exalted deity. It is stated in the Puranas that whenever a great disorder, physical or moral disturbed the world, Lord Vishnu descended on the earth to set it right, to restore the land and thus preserve creation.
In Hinduism, the incarnation (avatar) of a deity in human or animal form is to counteract some particular evil in the world. The avatar which is descent of God into any form postulates the ultimate victory and supremacy of the divine over the undivine forces. In Bhagavad Gita, Bhagwan Sri Krishna assures: “Whenever righteousness declines and unrighteous-ness gains ascendancy, I issue forth. I am born from age to age for the protection of the good and the extermination of the evil and evil doers and for the re-establishment of the Law of Righteousness in the world.”
The ten avatars of Lord Vishnu have been referred to in Padmapurana (72nd Chapter-Uttarakhandam), Mahabharat (149th Chapter-Anusasana Parvam) and the Rig Veda. These avatars are: Matsya (Fish), Kurma (Tortoise), Varaha (Wild Boar), Narasimha (Half Man-Half Lion), Vamana (Dwarf), Parasurama (Ram with Axe), Sri Ram, Sri Krishna (Divine Cowherd), Lord Buddha and Kalki (White Horse). However, the Bhagavad Purana refers to 22 avatars of Lord Vishnu including Prithu, Dhanwantiri, Kapila et al. Though there are several avatars of Lord Vishnu, those with a scientific bent of mind can see a system unfolding through these representative manifestations of the omnipresent Supreme Reality.
Lord Vishnu, one of the principal Hindu deities is being worshipped as the protector and preserver of the world and restorer of dharma (moral order). Lord Vishnu is a syncretic personality who combines many lesser cult figures. Temple images of Lord Vishnu depict him either sitting, often in the company of his consorts Mahalaxmi and Bhumidevi; standing holding various weapons, or reclining on the coils of the serpent Sesha; asleep on the cosmic ocean during the period between the periodic annihilation and renewal of the world.
The standing Lord Vishnu is dressed in royal garments and holds in his four hands the Sankha (Conch), Chakra (Discus), Gada (Club) and Padma (Lotus). On his chest is the curl of hair known as the ‘Srivatsa’ mark, a sign of his immortality and around his neck he wears the auspicious jewel, Kaustubha. Lord Vishnu’s mount is the bird Garuda and his heavenly abode is called Vaikunda.
Among the 1,000 names of Lord Vishnu includes Vasudeva, Narayana and Hari. Vaishakha month is considered to be auspicious and certain devotional rituals including recitation of Vishnu Sahasranamam (1,000 names of Lord Vishnu) are recommended for removing human sufferings and attaining salvation. The Vishnu Sahasranamam Yajna was conducted under the guidance of the chief priest of the temple. The Udayasthamana puja during the Vaishakha month is considered to be very auspicious.