By Suresh Bodiwala
CHICAGO: Amid this season of picnics in the Indian Gujarati community here, there is also time for spiritual discourses as Shree Jalaram Mandir here organized ‘Shrimad Bhagwat Katha from Monday July 15 July 21.
People poured in large numbers from Monday to Friday to hear the katha and immerse themselves into the spiritual atmosphere.
And turning the whole atmosphere divine, Shrimad Bhagwat Katha Param Pujya shree Guruji Bhupendra Pandya explained the importance of Pothi Yatra and the Bhagwat on Monday.
With his characteristic style laced with examples, he continued his discourses on the Bhagwat narrating various avtars or incarnations and their relevance in today’s world.
On Thursday, the birth of Shri Krishna was celebrated with great enthusiasm. Pujya Guruji’s emotional touch added more force to the celebrations. Devotees danced Garba and sang bhajans and took pride in swinging Balkrishna.
On Friday, Nand Mahotsava and Giriraj Utsav were celebrated by all the devotees as the atmosphere transported you on back to Gokul.
On Saturday, the first session from 1.00PM to 3.30 PM was allotted to the youth to attract them to religion and remove their doubts by answering their questions by Guruji in his distinct style. Some questions were simple and some very interesting as well as intellectual.
One very relevant question worth noting was, ‘Why there are many gods in Hinduism?
This was answered by Guruji nicely and in detail. It is because of individual characteristics and qualities that emphasize the importance of multifaceted characters as Gods.
In the second session, Katha ended with divine marriage of Shree Krishna and Rukmini. It was ceremoniously arranged according to Vedic rituals, turning the whole atmosphere hilarious and pious. Riddhi Joshi played the role of Krishna and Arpit Joshi, Rudra Joshi and Parth Joshi played the roles of brothers to Rukmini.
At the Sunday closing ceremony, Guruji narrated the crux of Bhagwat.
During the entire Katha, he explained the importance of Sanatan Dharma and cleared many misunderstandings about it.
Since the present building is quite small and it is the desire of all to have a large complex with statues of gods, temple board members, supported by Guruji, proposed donations in bricks at $101.
Guruji also visited newly modernized kitchen at a cost of nearly $160,000 to give his blessings. A booklet ‘Harine Bhajta’ was distributed by Shri Ghanshyam Thakkar to all the participants free of cost.
Under Guruji Bhupendra Pandya’s guidance, many institutions such as the Samakti Foundation, Samakti Mission USA, Samakti Mission UK and Samakti Seva Parivar are active in uplifting the lives of the handicapped, and underprivileged by offering medical, social, educational, and spiritual aid.
Pujyashree Bhai holds seminars, especially for youngsters, every year across the globe to promote knowledge of ancient religious practices in contemporary times. Fluent in Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi, Sanskrit and English, he has delivered more than 450 discourses on the Bhagvat, the Ramayana, the Gita, Upanishads and other scriptures.
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