By Express News Service – PUDUCHERRY
06th August 2012 10:22 AM
Divine course: The Italian devotees during the Shiva Diksha ceremony in Puducherry on Sunday | G Pattabiraman / Express
As many as 23 Italian citizens from Vatican received Diksha from Brahmasree Veda Samrat A Raja Sastrigal at a Veda Patasala (religious school) at Karuvadikuppam here on Sunday. The three-hour ceremony was held at the Gomaatha Kovil amidst chanting of mantras and hymns by the Italian devotees.
The Italian team (consisting of four children) comprised professionals like teachers, doctors and engineers. All of them had undergone a basic course under Raja Sastrigal in Vatican, before coming here. It all began with one Italian man, Flavio, who got influenced by the Hindu way of life, came into contact with Raja Sastrigal, way back in 2001. Sastrigal went to Vatican and stayed there for three months to teach Flavio, and his wife Stepano, the basics of Sanskrit hymns and Vedas. Over the years, the couple has gathered followers, who were also influenced by Hindu spirituality.
The couple developed their diction and pronunciation over the years. The few local people assembled were astonished to hear the Italians’ near-perfect rendering of Sri Rurdram Chamakam, Rudrajapam, Srisuktham, and portions from Upanishads.
Flavio and Stepano even changed their Italian names, adopting Hindu names Shivananda Saraswati and Savithri. Aurora, an Italian team members, told Express that she believes India is a Karmabhoomi and the Hindu way of life has led to understanding herself better.
The Italian lady, who is now known as Lalitha, said she would follow the footsteps of her Guru Shivananda Saraswati. The training for chanting the mantras and hymns lasted for about three hours and Raja Sastrigal performed kalasa theertha (sprinkling of holy water) on the trainees as per the rituals of the Hindu religion at the end.
The team members would spend a couple more of days in Puducherry, before returning for more learning after a few months.