Temple proposed at former church building in Chicago suburb


Kemmannu News Network, 06-12-2017 20:30:54


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Temple proposed at former church building in Chicago suburb
 
A Hindu temple is being reportedly planned in a building on about 2.4 acres plot in the Chicago suburb Lake in the Hills, which previously housed a Christian church.
 
This temple, being put forward by Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), plans to open daily and will be used for worship/prayer services, assemblies, ceremonies, religious classes, scripture reading, community activities, dining, charitable events, etc.   It has been holding services at rented place for about seven years, reports suggest.
 
Meanwhile, distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, commended efforts of temple leaders and area community towards realizing this temple complex.
 
Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that it was important to pass on Hindu spirituality, concepts and traditions to coming generations amidst so many distractions in the consumerist society and hoped that this temple complex would help in this direction. Zed stressed that instead of running after materialism; we should focus on inner search and realization of Self and work towards achieving moksh (liberation).
 
BAPS, revealed by Bhagwan Swaminarayan in late 18th century in Gujarat (India), is a “socio-spiritual Hindu organization with its roots in the Vedas”. With international headquarters in Ahmadabad (India) and North American headquarters in Piscataway (New Jersey); BAPS claims to have 3,850 satsang centers, over a million followers, over 55,000 volunteers and over 1000 sadhus worldwide. His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj (Swami Keshavjivandasji) is the present spiritual guru.

Village of Lake in the Hills in McHenry County of Illinois, founded in 1952, has four lakes. Russ Ruzanski and Jennifer Clough are Village President and Administrator

Virginia schools to offer yoga like a Fairfax County school urged.
 
Hindus have commended Cherry Run Elementary School (CRES) in Burke (Virginia), an institution of Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), for reportedly adopting yoga; calling it a step in the positive direction.
 
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, commended CRES and FCPS for coming forward and providing an opportunity to students to avail the multiple benefits yoga provided.
 
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Virginia Board of Education President Daniel A. Gecker, and Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples; to work towards formally introducing yoga as a part of curriculum in all the public schools of the state, thus incorporating highly beneficial yoga in the lives of Virginia’s students.
 
Yoga, referred as “a living fossil”, was a mental and physical discipline, for everybody to share and benefit from, whose traces went back to around 2,000 BCE to Indus Valley civilization, Rajan Zed pointed out.
 
Zed further said that yoga, although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, was a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all. According to Patanjali who codified it in Yoga Sutra, yoga was a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical.
 
According to US National Institutes of Health; yoga may help one to feel more relaxed, be more flexible, improve posture, breathe deeply, and get rid of stress. According to “2016 Yoga in America Study”, about 37 million Americans (which included many celebrities) now practice yoga; and yoga is strongly correlated with having a positive self image.  Yoga was the repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche, Rajan Zed added.
 
Yoga is part of “improvement plan” of CRES “to promote social, emotional, and physical wellness; learning readiness; and a positive school climate”. Goal is to have 100 percent of students participating in the program by June 2018, reports suggest.
 
FCPS claims to be “community’s gathering place where, together, we foster creative thinking, a culture of caring, and lifelong connections”. As the country’s 10th largest school division, FCPS serves over 189,000 students in 197 schools and centers with annual budget of $2.8 billion. Scott Brabrand is the Superintendent, while Jane Strauss is Board Chair.
 
CRES claims to provide “an atmosphere that stimulates intellectual curiosity, encourages critical thinking and problem solving, and builds a strong sense of personal worth”. Mark Bibbee is the Principal.

Hindus upset at exclusion of Asian-Americans in the “Inclusion” Plan of University of Kansas
 
Hindus are upset at the exclusion of Asian-Americans from the “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Strategic Plan” for the University of Kansas (KU) College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.
 
Under its goals, this Plan talks about active recruitment to increase the representation of minority populations in the College’s faculty, staff and administrative/executive hires, stating “We especially seek to increase the numbers of faculty members who are...”. Asian-Americans are not included in the minorities listed here.
 
Its another goal talks about increased representation of minorities in the College’s student body through active recruitment and retention efforts, stating “We especially seek to increase the numbers of undergraduate and graduate students who are...".  Asian-Americans are again not included in the minorities listed here.
 
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that it was shocking for the hard-working, harmonious and peaceful Asian-American community; who had made lot of contributions to the nation and society; to receive such signals of exclusion.
 
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged the Kansas Board of Regents President Dr. Blake Flanders and KU Chancellor Dr. Douglas A. Girod to seriously re-look into the “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Strategic Plan” and include Asian-Americans in it.
 
Rajan Zed asked the KU to really act on its stated “value” of fostering “a multicultural environment in which the dignity and rights of the individual are respected” by including Asian-Americans in Strategic Plan. Zed also stressed the need of more vegetarian options in the dining halls to show respect to the dietary sensitivity of many Hindu students.
 
Opened in 1866, KU in Lawrence is a major comprehensive public research flagship university with 28,447 students from all 50 US states and 105 countries and offers over 370 degree programs and teaches over 40 languages. It claims to have produced 27 Rhodes Scholars, many Pulitzer Prize winners and a Nobel laureate.

Hindus stress that sacred mandalas do not belong on Tampa roads
 
Hindus point out that mandalas are sacred symbols and do not belong on the surface of public roads where humans and animals tread, dogs can pee/poo and vehicles trample these under the tires.
 
Referencing to South Seminole Heights road mural “Mandala” in Tampa, Florida (claimed to be Tampa’s first street mural), distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that Hindus would welcome mandalas painted respectfully on the walls, but sacred mandalas on the surface of roads/streets were highly inappropriate.
 
According to reports, part of this 28-foot wide mandala, costing about $5,000, was accidently covered with black asphalt by city workers on November 30 after being mistaken as graffiti. City officials later acknowledged the mistake.
 
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism; suggested Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners Chair Sandra Murman, and South Seminole Heights Civic Association (SSHCA) President Stephen Lytle to recreate the mandala on a nearby wall instead of restoring the damaged mandala on the road.
 
Cities, counties and civic associations should not be in the business of inappropriate usage of sacred religious symbols, Rajan Zed indicated.
 
Murals on public roads to slow down drivers or other purposes were fine as long as they were not the sacred Hindu religious symbols, Zed added.
 
The plaque near the South Seminole Heights mandala states that it was made possible through the combined efforts of the City of Tampa, Hillsborough County, and the SSHCA. It was designed by artist Catherine Thomas and painted by local residents on July 15. SSHCA website claimed that the street mural acted as “a traffic calming measure increasing pedestrian safety and walkability in the neighborhood”. Prints of this mural are sold at Etsy for $10-$25 each.
 
Mandala is a sacred symbolic diagram and used as a way of manifesting the deity/deities. Mostly found on walls/scrolls, mandalas are sometimes drawn on consecrated ground for relevant rituals, which are erased on the ritual completion. Marked spaces within mandalas symbolize heavenly abodes of deities.
 
Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.

Virginia to have 500+ acres Hindu retreat
 
An over 500 acres of serene and vibrant Hindu spiritual retreat has reportedly been planned near Bowling Green in Virginia (USA), which is expected to open in the summer of 2019.
 
Known as Devasya and run by global charitable group International Swaminarayan
Satsang Organization (ISSO), it reportedly plans to spend over $7 million just on improvements of the existing heavily wooded property which has an open-water lake.
 
Described as “a modern retreat descended from the divine”, it will include a traditional Hindu temple holding over 150 years old murtis of Shree Radhikaji & Hari Krsna Maharaj, besides smaller shrines to various Hindu deities. Open year round, it will have a restaurant serving saatvik Indian and Western vegetarian cuisine; and few dozen cottages, reports suggest.
 
Aimed at helping discover inner peace; Devasya will celebrate all the major Hindu festivals and host many cultural programs, musical concerts, camps, conferences, seminars, etc. It will provide cultural education; including courses in sangeet, yoga, natyam, Indian languages, pranayama, meditation, vegetarian cooking, etc.
 
According to reports, it will be a venue for weddings and social gatherings and provide traditional naturopathy, ayurvedic and herbal treatments; besides water sports. It plans to host a Gaushala with opportunities of Gau-Pooja, Gau-Daan and cow-adoption.
 
Participants will be able to pray, meditate, practice yoga, etc., at Devasya, whose tagline is “What you seek. Is seeking you”. It will also conduct mahapoojas and there will be no alcohol or smoking on the campus.
 
Meanwhile, distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, commended efforts of ISSO towards realizing this Hindu spiritual retreat.
 
Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that it was important to pass on Hindu spirituality, concepts and traditions to coming generations amidst so many distractions in the consumerist society and hoped that this retreat would help in this direction. Zed stressed that instead of running after materialism; we should focus on inner search and realization of Self and work towards achieving moksh (liberation).
 
Devasya is located in unincorporated Milford area in the counties of Caroline and King & Queen; between Virginia’s capital Richmond and Washington DC.
 
Prime objective of ISSO is “to advance the Sanatan Dharma, in accordance with the principles and teachings of the Swaminarayan Sampraday, founded and ordained by Lord Shree Sahajanand Swami”. ISSO is a part of Shree Swaminaryan Sampraday under Shree Nar Narayan Dev Gadi (Kalupur, Ahmedabad) which has 18 Hindu temples in USA. Acharya Shree Koshalendraprasadji Maharaj is the current Acharya.

Hindus list 19 festivals for inclusion in Texas A&M University’s multi-faith calendar
 
Hindus have suggested 19 festivals for inclusion in the multi-faith calendar being created by Texas A&M University (TAMU) so that its “managers can avoid scheduling major meetings and events” on such days.
 
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, responding to Assistant Dean Jan Pfannstiel, listed these days as: Diwali, Holi, Maha Shivaratri, Krishna Janmashtami, Ramnavami, Ganesha Chaturthi, Hanuman Jayanti, Navaratri, Dusehra, Onam, Pongal, Chandramana Yugadi,
Raksha Bandhan, Guru Purnima, Souramana Yugadi, Makar Sankranti, Vasant Panchami, Goverdhan Puja and Naga Panchami; for permitting student absence from the university and for inclusion in the proposed multi-faith calendar.
 
“In addition to student absence, we are interested in also making sure that our faculty and staff meetings avoid these days as much as possible”, Pfannstiel added in the email responding to Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism.
 
Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that Hinduism was rich in festivals and festivals were very dear to Hindus. We did not want our students to be deprived of any privileges at the school because of thus resulting absences on these days.
 
Opened in 1876, research-intensive flagship and oldest public institution of higher education in Texas, TAMU, on an over 5,200 acres campus with about 400 degrees, is home to about 68,603 students. Cliff Thomas, John Sharp and Michael K. Young are Regents Chairman, Chancellor and President respectively.

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