Religious Communities Pray for Rain

August 21, 1999

Source: The Washington Post

On August 21, 1999, The Washington Post reported that the Sri Siva Vishnu Temple in Lanham, Maryland held a 10-day prayer session for rain in the drought-stricken Mid-Atlantic region. The ceremony, called Satha Chandi Homam, praises the Devi, the Mother Goddess, and is the first of its kind held in the United States. The ritual requires the services of at least 10 specially trained priests from India. During the 10 days, rain appeared three times, but the priests don't take the credit. "It's God's holiness that gives the rain or the sun," said Shanmugam Sivachariar, one of the 11 priests who led the ceremony. Ironically, the ceremony was planned months before the drought in order to give spiritual support for the growing Hindu population in the Washington, D.C. area and aid in the construction of a rajagopuram for the temple. When the priests arrived in the United States, they felt the need to pray for rain. Other religious communities in the area are also praying for rain. Roman Catholic parishes in Southern Maryland pray for rain during the "weekly intention" at Sunday Mass. Area mosques have been concluding their Friday services with the salat al istiqa, which is the Islamic drought prayer.