Saturday April 21, 2018

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

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The Hindu Temple Of Greater Springfield Image Source: allhindutemples.com
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  • 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 merinews.com, 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 merinews.com 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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  • AJ Krish

    It is great that the Hindus abroad continue their rich tradition. Wherever they are, they continue to follow the Hindu dharma.

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Temple, Mosque, Gurudwara Join Hands In This UP Town

In another incidents, last year in September, when dates of Durgapuja and Muharram clashed, Mishra and Muhammad Rizwan, Haneef's son, took charge

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All religions joined hands together to clean the polluted river. IANS

With inter-community violence reported from many parts of India in a society increasingly polarised on religious and caste lines, a small town in Uttar Pradesh is setting an extraordinary example where a temple, a mosque, and even a gurdwara, have joined hands to clean a polluted river while bringing their communities together.

About 100 km from the state capital Lucknow is the town named Maholi in district Sitapur. Here lies an old Shiva and a Radha-Krishna temple along with Pragyana Satsang Ashram and a mosque, all at a stone’s throw of each other.

Tirthan River is beautifully calm and you'll find many different kinds of fishes in it. Wikimedia Commons
The river in Sitapur is really polluted. Wikimedia Commons

Along the periphery of this amalgamated religious campus, passes a polluted river called Kathina, that merges into the highly polluted Gomti River, a tributary of the mighty but polluted Ganga. Often used as dumping site by dozens of villages and devotees, the stink from Kathina was increasing daily. The solution — Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb (a term used for a fusion of Hindu and Muslim elements) – of Awadh.

“The river belongs to everyone. Hindus use it for ‘aachman’ (a Hindu ritual for spiritual purification), Muslims use it for ‘wazu’ or ablution. Due to lack of awareness, people had been dumping solid and bio waste here, and also doing open defecation. The situation was worsening. Only solution was to start cleaning it ourselves,” said Swami Vigyananad Saraswati, head of the Pragyana Satsang Ashram, as he inspects the river stretch along with Muhammad Haneef, head of the mosque’s managing committee.

Swami said that once the ashram and temple administration began rallying volunteers for the cleaning drive, the mosque also came around to help. Even Maholi’s Sikh gurudwara committee came forward and brought along many volunteers from the Sikh community.

“Once the communities came together, number of volunteers multiplied. The initiative has now become a kind of an environment-movement which is being driven by religious fervor and bonding. Watching our efforts, the local administration also offered help, and other unions like traders and Sikh gurudwara committee also joined hand for cleaning the river,” Swami told IANS pointing out the potential of possibilities when different communities join hands for good.

Ujagar Singh, a member of the Sikh gurdwara committee, equated the effort in cleaning the river with ‘sewa’, an important aspect of Sikhism to provide a service to the community. “Keeping our rivers clean is our duty and we will continue sewa whenever required,” he said.

The temple and mosque, near the town’s police station, were both built in 1962 by then Inspector Jaikaran Singh. The communal fervor is shared since years. During ‘namaaz’, the ashram switches off its loudspeakers and on Hindu festivals and special occasions, the mosque committee helps the temple with arrangements. Still underway, the joint Hindu-Muslim team began cleaning the river from March 14. According to the volunteers, it took three days alone to get the river front cleaned of defecation.

Also Read: All Religions Flourished In India: Modi

“Many villages do not have toilets and volunteers had to stay here round the clock to stop people from defecating or throwing waste. The work was divided. Muslims volunteers would take over the Muslim majority areas and Hindus would tackle other areas, convincing people to stop pollution further while we clean,” Muhammad Haneef told IANS.

The actual cleaning of the river began from March 17, when about 400 volunteers got into the waters, while about 700 of them cleaned the shores. “Several trolleys of garbage — that included plastic, polythene, shoes, rubber, animal carcasses, human waste, glass and ceramic waste, and even some old boat wreck — were taken out of the river.

“Apart from that, several trolleys of water hyacinth, an invasive species of water plant, was removed. It obstructs the flow of the river,” Sarvesh Shukla, executive officer of Maholi town told IANS. Stating that such drive is not possible unless people come together, Shukla said that since ‘mandir-masjid’ joined hand, it was very easy to convince people to cooperate. However, with poor garbage management system of small town, Swami and Haneef looked up to the administration for help.

“Few days back, some butchers were taking waste towards the river. We stopped them and there was a heated debate. Soon other elders of the community joined and we did not let them dump the waste into the river,” said Haneef, pointing out that stopping people without proper management could be daunting in future.

Swami said that they would need disilting machines to clean the river towards the second phase. According to Abdul Rauf from the mosque committee, the work is only half done. “The challenge is to maintain the cleanliness. We could clean only a small stretch of the river. We will rally again and take movement to second phase once we get directions from our elder brother Swami ji,” says Rauf. Nearly one kilometer of the stretch has been cleaned. The volunteers are aiming to clean another kilometer of it. However, be it river or communal fervor, the challenge, as residents of Maholi find, is consistency of the good.

Rohingya refugee
All came together to clean the river.

“There are bad elements everywhere. Few weeks back, a fringe group named Vishwa Hindu Jagran Parishad entered a Muslim-majority area and started hurling abuses. Before they would do more damage, the Hindus of that area came forward and retaliated. The group never returned since,” said Shailendra Mishra, a local resident and member of temple committee. In another incidents, last year in September, when dates of Durgapuja and Muharram clashed, Mishra and Muhammad Rizwan, Haneef’s son, took charge.

“All we had to do was keep a few notorious people from both communities at bay. About 5,000 strong Hindu’s Devi Shakti procession and about 2,000 strong Muslim Tazia procession of Muharram used the same road at the same time. Not a single untoward incident happened,” Haneef said. IANS