Swami Vivekananda Jayanti

Sw Vivekananda at the Gateway of India, Mumbai
Sw Vivekananda at the Gateway of India, Mumbai

For Swami Vivekananda’s 151st birthday, wanted to share these pics of the Statue of Sw Vivekananda at the Gateway of India in Colaba. And here is his speech at the World Parliament of Religion in Chicago in 1893. Continue reading “Swami Vivekananda Jayanti”

Hindu Temple Chicago

Picture Hindu Temple Chicago Rama Temple Lemont

For a friend’s wedding I recently traveled to Chicago. Since that’s where I did my doctoral work, we have many friends there and love the city. I have previously posted on the architectural wonders of Chicago, the Balaji Temple and have run the Chicago Marathon!

On this visit, I additionally got darshan at the exquisitely maintained Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago! Was surprised at their calendar of activities including Yoga, Meditation, Gita Recitation, Discourses and Sunday School. And importantly a cafeteria serving dosas, idli sambar, yogurt rice and else. Reason enough to go!
Continue reading “Hindu Temple Chicago”

Home Shrine: Where I bow my head

photo of Home Shrine: Shanteri Kamakshi Ramnath; Udupi Krishna by Arun Shanbhag

Every morning I pay my respects to the universal divine at a small altar in our home. It started with the brass Om from my student days. I purchased the Om along with a booklet of Swami Vivekananda’s lectures, at a road-side stall in Kanya Kumari. Reading Vivekananda’s 1893 lecture to the World Congress of Religions in Chicago, was a pivotal moment in my life. It sparked self-realization and kindled a life long journey of self discovery. This Om graces the top of my home shrine.

As I left home to start my studies, my mother gave me the framed photograph of our kuladevata, Shanteri Kamakshi Ramnath, our family deity in Goa. A tulsi bead rosary is wrapped around the frame. On either side of the frame are antique figurines holding lamps. To the right is a silver 'throne' with two Ganapati murthis and a Lakshmi. To the left is a baby Krishna crawling on both his knees and one hand; the right hand is raised.

On the lower shelf is a sandal wood murthy of Udupi Shri Krishna in a wooden mandap. Three silver medallions with beautifully engraved facsimiles of Venkatesha, Satya Narayana and Sudarshan – memories of the spirituality at the Balaji Temple in Pittsburgh. The round silver ball to the left has a delicately carved peacock on top, and twists open to store vermilion. Silver dabbas on each end contain vibhuti. Hanging off the frame is a Swiss cowbell, with a ring reminiscent of temples bells.

The wood stand is from the Bombay store. The rabbit-motif backdrop was left over from the previous owners.

Below the stand is a cedar chest on which I light a small oil lamp every morning. Then I say a small prayer, thanking him 'the knower of all' for all the good that I have been blessed with, recollect the challenges of the day, and ask for her guidance. I pray for wisdom for all in our extended family, so we can carry out our destiny with our heads held high. And then I lower my head to the floor in namaskar.

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