Octogenarian couple participate in Shashtyabda ceremony

 In an unique congregation of elderly couples at Nanjaraja Bahaddur Choultry here on Sunday, 54 couples from various districts took part in the free mass Shashtyabda puja, conducted by K M Praveen Kumar Charitable Trust.

The organisers claim that the ritual is the first of its kind in Mysore — involving all communities of the society. Almost all the couples were from economically backward families.

Senior citizens from Tumkur, Bangalore, Hassan, Mandya, Periyapatna and other parts of Mysore performed the puja, led by Vangipura mutt seer Sri Illaialvar Swamiji. Priests Harshavardhana and Mohan accompanied the seer.

Nine special homas — including nakshatra homa, ayush homa, Dhanvantri homa, Ganapathi homa, Navagraha homa — were performed since 5 am during Anuradha nakshatra, followed by Kalasa puja and ‘mangalya dharana.’

The eldest among all, 80-year-old Ashwatha Narayana and Baghyavathi couple, arrived from Hassan to be part of the puja.

They expressed happiness over the celebrations and thanked the organisers for providing them an opportunity to be part of the special ritual.

“We were not so lucky to have it done on completing 60 years, but today we feel blessed to celebrate it here with other couples,” they added.

Venkataram Kashyap, convenor of the programme, said, with each beneficiary, 10 family members were allowed to take part, even though the numbers reached 1,500. “We had expected 50 couples, but we did not want to disappoint anybody,” he added.

Priest Harshavardhan said, the programme evoked good response, so, it would be conducted annually.

The Shashtyabda shanti puja is said to strengthen elderly people mentally and physically. The homas help improve their health, he added.

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