|Wedding of Amma's Daughter|
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Contributed by Dr. Thiyagarajan
The wedding of Sakthi Sri Devi and Sakthi Ramesh was grandly celebrated at the Sidhar Peetam with the Loving Blessing of Amma and the joyous best wishes of all the sakthis who attended. The highlights of the two days of celebration are described below.April 20, 1999 (Tuesday) -- On Tuesday morning there was a Velvi by the Bride's family.
On Tuesday evening the functions to welcome the bridegroom were held. The bridegroom, Sakthi Ramesh, was greeted and welcomed by Sakthi Anbu, Amma's first child and Sri Devi's oldest brother. Sakthi Sentil, Sri Devi's other older brother, was with Sakthi Ramesh as the bridegroom's companion (similar to the best man). They went first to the Karuvari. Here they offered arathi to Goddess and Swayambu. From here they went across to the Putru mandabam. In the hall, in front of the putru mandabam, there were 108 plates and many lamps. Many of the plates were of different fruits - one plate of oranges, one plate of apples, one plate of guva, one plate of mangos, and so on. There was also a whole stalk of bananas. Many of the plates were also of each type of flower. The rest of the plates were gifts that had been colorfully wrapped. The bridegroom sat in front of the Putru Mandabam and some ceremonies were performed. Then the bridegroom was presented with the plates and lamps. Devotees in this area then picked up the plates and lamps and went outside to form the procession to the wedding hall. At the front of the procession was a car shining large spotlights to illuminate the people and the procession. Next came a band and trumpets. This was followed by the sakthis carrying the lamps and plates. The bridegroom and Sakthi Anbu and Sakthi Senthil were at the last of the procession in brightly decorated chariot drawn by two beautiful white horses. Sakthi Anbu sat in the front with Sakthi Madu and Sakthi Agathiyan (the niece and nephew of the Bride). The chariot was being led forward by the driver on foot. The procession went around the temple and across the road to the round building where they went through the main gate and down the road to the wedding hall.
At the wedding hall the bridegroom was welcomed, greeted and led to the right side of stage (from the audiences perspective). The bride, Sakthi Sri Devi, was already on the stage and was standing on the left side with most of her family (Amma will be coming later). Sakthi Sri Devi did arathi for a big picture of Annai. Then the bridegroom Sakthi Ramesh did arathi. This was followed by some ceremonies. Closed circuit TVs were set up over many places in the wedding hall and also in the temple, so that everyone could see the festivities. The big moment came when Amma arrived and was welcomed jubilantly. Amma blessed all and looked very happy. The bride and groom did Patha Pooja for Amma. Then Amma did an Arathi for the picture of Annai. Next were the ceremonies for the official engagement of the bride and groom. The engagement of Sakthi Sri Devi and Sakthi Ramesh was announced. The bridegroom's father and the bride's uncle exchanged the engagement plates signifying the acceptance of each into the other's family. This was followed by more ceremonies. Then the bride and bridegroom went to Amma for His blessings. Amma blessed them both. At this point everyone in the audience was invited on stage to meet and offer their congratulations and best wishes to the bride and bridegroom. The function was attended by many VIPS: justices, chief ministers, members of the legislature, county officials, and prominent citizens. All the 1000s of Sakthis acted as hosts and let the guests go first to congratulate the bride and groom. As they got to the stage each person offered respect to Amma first and then congratulated the bride and groom. This took a long time since there were so many. All who attended the function were then invited to a dinner feast. Amma reminded everyone that the grand dinner would be the same from the first person to the last person and from the most VIP to the least known person. The last event of the evening was a concert conduct by music director Deva which lasted for 3 hours.Wednesday April 21,1999 -- Wedding Ceremony
The wedding ceremony was scheduled for 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. By 8:00 am there was no more seating in the hall (which can seat 30000) and by 8:30 there was not even standing room. The hall had been extended by palm leaf awnings and even this area was filled. As on Tuesday, closed circuit TVs were set up over many areas in the wedding hall and temple so that as many as possible could see the ceremony. People came by foot, by car, by bus, and by truck. There were even special trains added to the normal schedule to bring the 1000s who wanted to come for the wedding. People came from all over Tamil Nadu and many other states in India. Guests also came from Malaysia, Sri Lanka, USA and other parts of the world. Everyone who entered the wedding hall was greeted by sakthis on both sides of the entrance. Each guest was offered/presented kumkum, tumeric, sandalwood paste, rosewater, and flowers. The classical wedding band of nathaswaram, thaval, symbol, and drone were already playing in the hall. The bride and groom went through several ceremonies on the stage as prescribed by Goddess Adhiparasakthi. Sakthi Uma Devi, the sister of the bride, was the bride's companion and Sakthi Madhu Malar, the bride's niece, was holding a sakthi lamp. Amma came to the hall and onto the stage and was welcomed with jubilation. Amma blessed everyone there with upraised hands. The whole audience responded with many cheers of "Ohm Sakthi." Amma presented the mangalsuthra (the wedding necklace, analogous to the wedding ring) to the whole audience and everyone again responded with "Ohm Sakthis." Amma then gave the mangalsuthra to the bridegroom who tied the necklace around around the bride's neck and this was celebrated/marked by the wedding band with a joyous cresendo along with heartfelt cheers from all those present. The bride and groom who are now husband and wife first went to Amma for His blessing by touching his feet. Amma blessed them many times. The couple then went to the groom's parents for their blessings. Then Amma sat on the stage. Next to Him sat the bride and groom and on the other side sat Thirumathi Amma. Then everyone was invited and welcomed onto the stage to bless the new couple. Everyone first greeted Amma and then the wedding couple. This took a long time since everyone present wanted to greet and congratulate them. The function was followed by a grand lunch. Everyone was cordially invited to enjoy the lunch. Amma was very happy. That night the entire state of Tamil Nadu was blessed with rain.
Last updated on Wed Jan 20 2010 at 9:59:03pm