Thousands of Hindus participated in night-suvigil on the occasion of Maha Shivratri despite the increasingly high crime rate in Trinidad and Tobago, Covid 19
By PARAS RAMOUTAR
Port-of-Spain: Hindus in Trinidad and Tobago will celebrate the spiritually-charged Shiva Raatri with the rest of the countries in the world, where there is overflowing capacity of Hindus. Countries like Guyana, Suriname, Fiji, Mauritius, and several parts of the African continent, USA, Canada, England where Indians are domiciled will join in the observance, with India.
Despite the Covid 19 Pandemic. thousands of Hindus participated in night-long vigil on the occasion of Maha Shivratri despite the increasingly high crime rate in Trinidad and Tobago. According to a recent survey, Hindus make up 16.6 per cent of the national population of 1.4 million people.
Hindus armed with the ingredients to perform rituals kept vigil in over 300 mandirs, other public places of worship and in homes, despite strict Covid 19 protocols. Several of the Indian diaspora broadcasting channels and radio frequencies hosted night long presentations demonstrating that Hinduism remains strong in this oil-rich Caribbean nation. Several temples have shortened the whole night vigil, whilst many devotees opted to do their pujas in the safety and comfort in their homes. Several religious leaders and seers pontificate that the observance of Shiva Raatri allows a devotee to reach the pinnacle in obtaining Moksha, which is the noble goal of all mankind, and when this is achieved, the conflicts of death and birth are no longer on the agenda for future birth or death.
Some of the mandirs which accommodated hundreds of devotees were the Edinburgh Hindu Temple, Chaguanas and the Shiva Kailash Temple of Caparo, where both the aged, old and children participated in the Shiva Puja .
The crime rate in Trinidad and Tobago continues to cause of both national and international concerns, and there continues to kidnapping, incest and murders, particularly of young women.
Pundit Ramesh Tiwari of the Edinburgh Hindu Temple, in his sermon last night, called on the national populace “to join forces with one another and with the police service to rid this blessed nation of the heinous crimes. Let us prayer to Lord Shiva to help us in this endeavour.”
Pundit Seereeram Maharaj, of the Shiva Kailash Temple, called on “every one of us to prayer from our hearts and ask Lord Shiva to intervene in our nation’s major social crisis.”
Pundit Seereeram stressed the “urgent need for strong family life which would help in a great deal to wither away the storms of crimes and lawlessness.”
Pundit Tiwari urged the young Hindus “to become active in your temples and mandirs which would help you to move away from the streets and into the House of God. Let is begin anew to spread the message of Hinduism to everyone. Let us revive the communication process”. Hundreds of devotees also distributed clothing and sweets to the poor, the needy and helpless.
Shiva Raatri remains one of the several Hindu observances since the arrival of the East Indian diaspora between 1845 and 1917. The East Indian community here was sourced from India, principally from the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, and these immigrants were pulled from India to salvage a decaying agricultural community. It is estimated that approximately 148,000 East Indians traverse the Kala Pani to enter the Gulf of Paria, and settled in several parts of Trinidad, particularly Central and South Trinidad, although some found their way in places like St. James, Curepe, San Juan and Barataria.
Lord Shiva remains one of the pivotal Hindu deities for worship, and before the observance and after the observance, there continues to be special yagnas in obeisance to Lord Shiva among the pantheon of gods, and the two other main ones are Lord Bramha and Lord Vishnu.
Pundit Munelal Maharaj, in his masterpiece publication, “The Light of True Knowledge” said that Shiva Raatri is a most appropriate time for contemplation and invocation of that Cosmic Energy which Lord Shiva represents and which is immanent in every living cell in the human body, which has been gifted to us to house the individual soul. “It is very important to connect with this positive Shiva energy, so that we can harmonize with its vibrations. And this will energize the mind, foster positive, optimistic thoughts and sharpen the intellect with the power of self-knowledge.”