Maha Sivaratri Saivism's most auspicious night, culminated a series of events which blessed the growth of Saivism in Edmonton with the consecration of a Siva Lingam for community worship.
In November of 1982, the Maha Ganapati Society of Alberta had decided to purchase a puja at a major South Indian temple to bless the Society's proposed temple project. It was decided to have this puja done at holy Chidambaram.
Coincidentally, Ganga Muruga, a devotee of Gurudeva, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, was about to embark on pilgrimage to India with Saiva Siddhanta Church's 1983 India Odyssey. So, the Society simply sent their instructions for the puja along with Ganga. On the full moon night of Thai Pusam at Chidambaram, the puja was done to Chidambaram's crystal Lingam. Ganga was allowed to go close to the Lingam for prayer and received prasadam in the form of holy abhishekam water and vibhuti to bring back with her to Edmonton.
The next day, Gurudeva, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, gifted a stone Siva Lingam to the Maha Ganapati Society to be returned to Edmonton with the following simple but striking message for the Edmonton community. "You can't have a temple without God in the temple."
Just one week prior to Maha Sivaratri, the Siva Lingam arrived in Edmonton. Many long hours were spent that week in preparing a shrine and abhishekam base in which to temporarily house the Lingam until it is permanently installed in the proposed temple.
The Sivaratri celebrations began at 7 P.M. with the traditional invocation of Maha Ganapati through abhishekam, chanting of 108 names, and puja. The Lingam was placed in its shrine prior to 7 P.M. by Mr. T. Sivagnanam, Vice President of the Society. The highlight of the evening was the consecration of the Lingam by using the abhishekam water from the puja at Chidambaram.
Approximately 100 devotees were present at the 9 P.M. puja. Most had planned to leave after the midnight puja, but because of the strong shakti, many were inspired to stay on throughout the night. Over 20 devotees were present for the final puja at 6 A.M.. Adding an important element of the temple the Society plans to build (a Ganesha temple modeled after the Kumbalavalai Temple of Alaveddy, Sri Lanka), Maha Sivaratri activities this year were especially significant for the small community of sincere Saivites of Edmonton.
Article copyright Himalayan Academy.