Sunday, September 22nd, 2013 marked the 40th anniversary of the Parama Dham Fire Temple in Madison, Virginia. Inaugurated by Shree Vasant in 1973, Parama Dham was the first Fire Temple in the world established under Parama Sadguru Shree Gajanan Maharaj’s dispensation of resuscitation of the ancient science of atmospheric purification for the New Age. The name Parama Dham, which means House of Almighty Father, was chosen by Maharaj Shree.
In a Fire Temple there is no priest and nothing is worshipped. Agnihotra atmospheric purification technique is performed there twice daily at sunrise and sunset. Also, a fixed set of Mantras is chanted after Agnihotra. With the exception of the Mantras, silence is observed in the Fire Temple at all times. The atmosphere becomes surcharged with healing energies.
Regarding Fire Temples, Shree Vasant once stated that, “Time is coming in a few years when extremely strict disciplines will have to be maintained to keep up the purity of these places and the harmony cycles around them. These places will become special refuge for multitudes. It is preferable that they be situated in a large garden area where food can be grown by the YAJNYA method. We need some places in cities also.”
Parama Dham’s anniversary celebration was the first event held in the new pavilion, nestled in the woods just a short walk from Parama Dham. Construction of the pavilion was made possible by the labor and contributions of many Agnihotris. Volunteers from Helpx.net, an international help exchange, also pitched in with the building.
The new pavilion.
Members of the Baltimore-Madison Homa community gathered at the pavilion for an all-day
program. The event served as a reunion, drawing people of all ages, longtime Agnihotris and more recent practitioners. A number of people present had been part of the work in the beginning days of spreading Agnihotra and Fivefold Path in the U.S.
After Vyahruti Homa and meditation, gratitude was expressed for the manifold blessings of
Parama Dham–for forty years of sacred fires, for a space often blessed by Shree Vasant’s Presence during His many years of travel. Thanks were also given for the countless people, near and far, who, over the years, have helped in various ways to keep Parama Dham and its sacred fires going.
After some selected readings from Shree Vasant’s teachings, Dr. Henry Gregory facilitated the Satsang discussion, which focused on why we do Agnihotra. “What I find, more and more, is that it’s the time of day when I can get some peace; when I can count on my mind getting clear, feeling calm and centered, and I feel most connected to Shree when I do the fire and meditation.”
Maria Broom and Jannette and Henry Gregory.
At 12 noon Sharanagati was performed, followed by chanting of Gayatri until 12:15 P.M. The nearby
squirrels must have been surprised when voices, drumming and other percussion accompaniments rang out through the usually-quiet woods during devotional singing.
Sharanagati and Gayatri chanting at noon. About 35 people attended the occasion.
A potluck lunch followed. If anyone ever thought a vegetarian diet must be monotonous, one glance at the vast array of dishes filling the serving tables would easily have proved otherwise.
After the meal, people visited Parama Dham, strolled to the nearby lake, or participated in a short session of Dances of Universal Peace. To close the day’s activities, everyone met at Parama Dham for 3 P.M. meditation. As people filed into the meditaton room, I thought how happy Shree must be to see the space filled with so many loving hearts–young, old, black, white, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jew and Buddhist–coming together in unity and devotion. OM SHREE.