Saturday October 21, 2017

Hindu Temple of Greater Springfield plans $2.7 million project for its expansion in Illinois, USA

17 murtis or idols of deities like Mahlakshmi, Venkateswara, Radha-Krishna, Rama-pariwar and Shiva-lingam, each costing $100,000 will be brought from India

The Hindu Temple Of Greater Springfield Image Source:
  • HTGS is a non-profit organization established in 2007 which aims “to preserve and promote the Hindu Religion, culture, and philosophy”, to open and conduct worship daily
  • The entire complex will be built based on the traditional Indian Vastu Shasta principles
  • A new prayer hall with a basement that could provide space for cultural events has been planned

The Hindu Temple of Greater Springfield (HTGS) in Chatham (Illinois, USA) has reportedly planned $2.7 million expansion project. The announcement has come during the four-day celebration of the eighth anniversary of HGTS, from August 4- 8 August, this year in 2016.

HTGS is a non-profit organization established in 2007 which aims “to preserve and promote the Hindu Religion, culture, and philosophy”, to open and conduct worship daily. Various study circles, religious education classes, discourses, celebrations of festivals, religious activities, community service projects, and cultural events are also undertaken by this organization.

According to, the northwest of the temple structure was earlier a Baptist Church, that will be rebuilt. A new prayer hall with a basement could provide space for cultural events. The entire complex will be built based on the traditional Indian Vastu Shasta principles. An architect from India will be brought in to assist the project. 17 murtis or idols of deities like Mahalakshmi, Venkateswara, Radha-Krishna, Rama-Pariwar and Shiva-lingam, each costing $100,000 will be brought from India.

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Image Source: HGTS
Hindu Temple of Greater Springfield Anniversary Celebrations. Image Source: HGTS

The salient features of the newly proposed plan are Raja Gopuram, individual deity gopurams with kalashas which will cost about $300,000, a Havan room, an immersion pond with the fountain which is expected to cost about $100,000), and an Utsav Pallaki.

The 60th/80th birthday, which is celebrated in a grand manner in India costs $251 at the temple. The child-naming ceremony costs $51, mundan (tonsure) ceremony costs $31 and vehicle pooja costs $25. The important dignitaries are Keshava Shastry, who is the Priest, Dr. Kartik

The important dignitaries are Keshava Shastry, who is the Priest, Dr. Kartik Mani and Gopal Reddy, who are the Trustees’ Chairman and Vice-Chairman respectively; Dr. Krishna Rao and Shipra Somani are Executive Committee President and Vice-President respectively.

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The eighth-anniversary celebrations will last for four full days and will be free and open to the public. The celebrations will conclude on August seven and will include performing various rituals like kalasha sthapana, archanas, bhajans, Srinivasa Kalyana Utsavam, arathis, abhishekams, discourse, homam/ havan, kanakabhishekam and many cultural programs and a vegetarian food mela, said reports.

Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism and a distinguished Hindu statesman appreciated the temple leaders and the Hindu community for realizing this Hindu temple complex. In a statement in Nevada, he said that it was important to pass on spirituality, the ideals and traditions of Hinduism to the coming generations in a time when the community has become materialistic. He hopes that this temple would help in this direction.

Zed also stressed on the need to reflect upon one’s actions and realize the true power of the Self and work towards achieving the ultimate goal of human life, that is Moksha (Liberation from the cycle of births and rebirths.)

– prepared by Ajay Krishna of NewsGram. Twitter: @ajkrish14



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Diwali Puja 2017: Everything You Need To Know About Timings, Muhurat

Ganesh-Lakshmi are worshipped
Ganesh-Lakshmi are worshipped by devotees on the day of Diwali. Pixabay

New Delhi, October 18, 2017: Diwali is around the corner and everyone is busy with the preparations. On the eve of Diwali, the most important ritual is to perform Ganesh-Lakshmi Puja during the right muhurat (time) and with the right rituals(vidhi).

Here are some of the things you must take care of:

Ganesh-Lakshmi Puja Rituals

It is important that on the day of Diwali, you wake up early in the morning and pay homage to your ancestors and worship gods of your family. It is advised to observe a day-long-fast until the Ganesh-Lakshmi puja is performed in the evening.

Kalash pujan
Ganesh-Lakshmi Puja kalash. Wikimedia

Preparations For Ganesh-Lakshmi Puja

Families can embellish their home and office with Asoka and Marigold flowers, banana and mango leave on the day of the puja. Mangal Kalash covered with unpeeled coconut should be placed at both side of the main entrance of your house.

For puja preparation, place at the right hand side a red cloth on a hoisted platform and put in idols of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesh on it after gracing them with jewellery and clothes. Once this is done, Navgraha gods must be placed on the left hand side on a hoisted platform under white cloth. Prepare carefully nine slots of Akshata (unbroken rice) for placing Navgraha on white cloth and sixteen slots of wheat must prepared for the red cloth. You should perform puja with all the important rituals.

Idols of Ganesh-lakshmi are being worshipped on the eve of Diwali. Wikimedia

Timings (Muhurat) for Lakshmi Puja

Pradosh Kaal muhurat is the time during which puja needs to be performed. It starts after sunset and lasts for about 2 hours and 24 minutes. Goddess Lakshmi will stay in your home if you perform Lakshmi puja in the Pradosh Kaal when it is Sthir Lagna time. Sthir refers to ‘immovable.’  Before you do the puja, make sure you find out Pradosh Kaal (time) for your city or area. It is important that you know the right time to perform the puja.

– prepared by Siddheshwar Sharma. Twitter: @MancSiddheshwar

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Hinduism is Not an Official or Preferred Religion in Any Country of The World, Says a New Report

Though Hinduism is the third largest religion of the world, it is not the official state religion of any country according to a Pew Research Center Report

Hinduism is not an official religion of any country in the world. Instagram.
  • No country has declared Hinduism as its official state religion – despite India being an influential Hindu political party
  • Hinduism is not an official or preferred religion in any country of the world, according to a Pew Research Center report.
  • 53% of 199 nations considered in the study don’t have an official religion
  • 80 countries are assigned either an “official religion” or “preferred religion”

Nevada, USA, October 16: Hinduism is the primeval and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 billion followers of moksh (liberation) being its utmost desire of life. India is among the category of nations where the government do not have an official or preferred religion.

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank headquartered in Washington DC that aims to inform the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world.

The report states that a country’s official religion is regarded as a legacy of its past and present privileges granted by the state. And a few other countries fall on the other side of the gamut, and propagate their religion as the ‘official religion’, making it a compulsion for all citizens.

It adds up on the context of allocation that more than eight-in-ten countries (86%) provide financial support or resources for religious education programs and religious schools that tend to benefit the official religion.

Islam is the most practiced official religion of the world. Instagram.

Commenting on Hinduism, the report states:

In 2015, Nepal came close to enshrining Hinduism, but got rejected of a constitutional amendment due to a conflict between pro-Hindu protesters and state police.

Although India has no official or preferred religion as mentioned in the Constitution,it was found by PEW that in India the intensity of government constraints and social antagonism involving religion was at a peak. “Nigeria, India, Russia, Pakistan and Egypt had the highest levels of social hostilities involving religion among the 25 most populous countries in 2015. All fell into the “very high” hostilities category,” the report added.

As per the 2011 census, it was found that 79.8% of the Indian population idealizes Hinduism and 14.2% practices to Islam, while the rest 6% pursuit other religions.

While Hinduism stands up with the majority, Article 25 of the Constitution of India contributes secularism allowing for religious freedom and allows every Indian to practice his/her religion, without any intervention by the community or the government.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, applauded the Hindu community for their benefaction to the society and advised Hindus to concentrate on inner purity, attract spirituality towards youth and children, stay far from the greed, and always keep God in the life.

According to Pew, these are “places where government officials seek to control worship practices, public expressions of religion and political activity by religious groups”.

-by Bhavana Rathi of NewsGram.  She can be reached @tweet_bhavana

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Paintings Which Beautifully Depict Scenes From Ramayana

Ram lifting the bow during Sita Swayambar. Wikimedia Commons.

Ramayana, the ancient Indian epic which describes the narrative of Ayodhya Prince lord Rama’s struggles. The struggles include- exile of 14 years, abduction of his wife Sita, reaching Lanka, destruction of the evil. It is strongly ingrained in the Indian culture, especially, the Hindu culture since a long time. Hindus celebrate Diwali based on the narratives of Ramayana.

The story of Ramayana gives out the beautiful message that humanity and service to the mankind is way more important than kingdom and wealth. Below are five paintings describing the scenes from Ramayana:

1. Agni Pariksha in Ramayana

Agni Pariksha. Wikimedia.

When Lord Rama questions Sita’s chastity, she undergoes Agni Pariksha, wherein, she enters a burning pyre, declaring that if she has been faithful to her husband then the fire would harm her. She gets through the test without any injuries or pain. The fire God, Agni, was the proof of her purity. Lord Rama accepts Sita and they return to Ayodhya. 

2. Scene From The Panchavati Forest

scene from the panchavati forest. wikimedia.

The picture describes a scene from the Panchavati forest. It is believed that Lord Rama built his forest by residing in the woods of Panchavati, near the sources of the river Godavari, a few miles from the modern city of Mumbai. He lived in peace with his wife and brother in the forest.

3. Hanuman Visits Sita

Hanuman meets Sita. Wikimedia.

Hanuman reaches Lanka in search of Sita. At first, he was unable to find Sita. He later saw a woman sitting in Ashok Vatika, drowned in her sorrows, looked extremely pale. He recognized her. After seeing the evil king, Ravana making her regular visit to Sita, he hid somewhere in the Vatika. After Ravana left, Hanuman proved Sita that he is Rama’s messenger by showing her his ring. He assured her that Rama would soon come to rescue her. Before leaving Lanka, he heckled Ravana. Agitated by Hanuman’s actions, Ravana ordered to set Hanuman’s tail on fire. With the burning tail, Hanuman set the entire city on fire.