Fifteen pundits and many Hindu devotees began the ’mobile yagna’ on January 24, travelling in over 200 vehicles. They led the way from El Socorro mandir, San Juan from 9 a.m. last Sunday morning, a mobile mandir carrying a murti of Sri Hanuman, the god of the wind, going along the Eastern Main Road, Arima to Valencia and Sangre Grande on the first of a seven-day yatra yagna (devotional journey). The sound of ringing bells and conch shell blowing accompanied the constant chants of the Hanuman Chalisa. Hindu families joined the procession as it passed through their villages.
Pundit Dr Bramanand Rambachan said that the response of the people to the yahna was overwhelming.
’We stopped to pray with groups of people and give blessings to others on the way,’ he said on Monday, after completion of the first day of the yatra.
Rambachan said that there was a spontaneous connection with the people as the moving yagna proceeded through towns and villages.
Former President of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha and head of the Society, Thirbhawon Seegobin, said that the pundits of the Society’s Brahm Sabha came up with the idea for the restoration of peace and civil harmony in society by turning to God for rescue and strength.
He said that the exercise was five-months in the making and the earthquake in Haiti added urgency to the cause.
’Committed, young vibrant pundits with high spiritual energy aided the construction of a mobile mandir of Lord Hanuman at a Santa Flora residence and the murti of Sri Hanuman was built in San Juan for the occasion,’ he said.
He said that there was tremendous response once the decision was made to circumambulate the country on the spiritual journey.
Along the villages, the faithful emerged from their home with their heads covered in orhnis (special scarfs) and lined the roadway with trays filled with fresh flowers and rice which they showered upon the procession. Overcome with emotion, many wept openly while others joined in the holy chanting and walked behind the vehicles that took the yatra participants on the week-long holy pilgrimage punctuated with song, music and dance.
Special prayers were said and pooja performed along the way.
Residents had prepared offerings of fruits, water, parsad (sweet dish) and other drinks that were shared among the growing number of participants as the yagna circumnavigated the nation, some participants walking on foot while others rode in vehicles.
At the Vishwanath Mandir, Sangre Grande, a feast was prepared for the travelling pundits and other pilgrims who rested for the night after a long day on the road beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 6 p.m.
The yatra journeyed from Sangre Grande to Rio Claro via Plum Mitan, Biche, Charuma and Navet. stopping overnight at the residence of Savitri Persad and the Sharmas at San Pedro, Poole and then hitting the road again at 9 a.m the following day. The yatra continued to Princes Town with a brief stop at the residence of Goberdhan Gosine before moving on to Barrackpore where Pundit Rajesh Maharaj waited at Carrathill Mandir to host the travellers.
Rambachan said that the yatra enabled participants to experience God in a more meaningful way.
’Singing, dancing and clapping in the joy of spiritual purity, hundreds were touched by God,’ he said adding that the energy generated embraced hundreds of people who came out each night to celebrate with prayer and offerings.
At Goodman Trace, Lachoo Road, Penal a group of over 50 residents waited with brass thalis (trays) filled with colourful flowers and lighted deeyas. The yatra stopped and 15 pundits descended to join palms and chant the 40 verses of the Hanuman Chalisa.
It was day four, January 27, Wednesday close to mid-day.
With three days to go, the pilgrims travelled to Rochard Road, Clarke Road, San Francique, Woodland, Gandhi Village and Puzzle Island before overnighting at the Bharrathsingh ashram, Debe where Vyas Pundit Denishwar Maharaj presided at a satsang and the Chalisa chanted several times.
From Debe, the yatra travelled to Cedros, Chatham, Pt Ligoure, Point Fortin, Guapo, La Brea, Rousillac, Mosquito Creek, San Fernando, Claxton Bay, Chase Village to Chaguanas. The residence of Shamdeo Gosine at Limehead Road, Chase Village had been prepared to house the pilgrims.
On the seventh day, the journey continued along Caroni Savannah Road, Munroe Road, unto the Old Southern Main Road to Caroni Village, to the Churchill Roosevelt Highway and finally to Woodford Square, Port of Spain for an inter-faith service.
Seegobin said that an open platform was created for members of all religions - for hymns, kaseeda and kirtan to be sung at Woodford Square to end the yatra.
’The Hanuman Yatra Yagna went beyond my expectations. It has filled a vacuum and given the population a unique opportunity to come out and prayer,’said Seegobin.
He said that the mobile mandir and murti would be housed in Malick and would be used for other yatras. Plans are being made to travel through Tobago in a similar exercise. More than 40 pundits took part in last week’s yatra.