Source: The Plain Dealer
On January 21, 2006 The Plain Dealer ran a feature article on the Greater Cleveland Shiva Vishnu Temple. “The Shiva Vishnu Temple’s worship area is a large, light-filled room. In stylized alcoves around three sides of the room are elaborate shrines to many deities, with the major shrines of Lord Ganesha, Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu at the front of the room.
The first devotees to arrive for this Sunday morning service, known as a puja, are a father and his preschool son who hurry to be present at the invocation to Lord Ganesha. The child follows his father’s actions – kneeling low, accepting a sprinkling of holy water, holding his hands together in devotion… Others arrive throughout the morning, some bringing symbolic offerings such as flowers, fruit or other foods… Priests chant mantras and prayers in Sanskrit. A few devotees join in. Swamy chants throughout the 2½-hour service. The repeated tones, the ritualized devotions, the smell of incense and ghee and the compelling presence of the richly adorned shrines create a potent ceremony.
Near the end of the service, members of the congregation – beginning with a talented young girl – offer songs in Hindi. At the puja’s close, the priests use a devotional lamp to perform a ritual called aarti, which is dedicated to the highest love of God.”