Vedic Graduation Pooja at Sri Shirdi Sai Baba Temple in Northborough, MA
|In Northborough’s holy Sri Shirdi Sai Baba Temple, four Hindu-American high school students and one college student graduated in a traditional Vedic service on June 22st, 2014. The graduating students were Astha Agrawal, Adhithyan Krishnan, Aditya Datye, Anant Garg, and Samarth Gupta. The graduates, their proud parents, friends, scholars, pujaris, and several Temple committee members assembled early on Sundaymorning to participate in this unique Samskara service, held in the United States for the seventh time. The seventh annual graduation pooja was cosponsored by Gurustanthan – Sri Shirdi Sai Baba Temple and Vishwa Hindu Parishad Bal Vihars.
The service began with Ekta Mantra (mantra that reminds of the underlying Unity among all) sung by Preetham, Srinidhi, Krishna and Amruth and Krishna, who did an excellent job as the emcee as well. Shri M. Rama Rao ji enthralled everyone when he sang the stuti of Ma Saraswati followed by a bhajan by his four years old granddaughter. The Vandana of the Devi of Learning had a calming effect on the audience with the graduates prepared to participate in the ensuing pooja and absorb the messages from the pujaris and the various speakers.
With the lighting of the diya, and with everyone’s minds focused and cleansed, we were now ready to begin the auspicious rite. Smt. Santhi Reddi gave the opening remarks urging the students to be mindful that their parents have been instrumental in their success and they should never forget their contribution in their life.
The temple pujari, Pandit Jagdeeshan ji, conducted the service beginning with Sri Ganesha Pooja followed by Ma Saraswati Pooja. He emphasized that everyone should respect his/her parents, teachers and Ishwar and by respecting your parents and teachers, you are respecting the Ishwar as well. Each graduate participated individually and collectively in the Pooja seeking success in college and future educational efforts.
All students were called individually, their accomplishments, acknowledged, and awarded a graduation certificate with a bag of gifts on behalf of the Temple by Pandit Jagdeeshan ji. They all had a chance to talk for 2-3 minutes about their accomplishments, goals, and aspirations as they accepted their awards.
The final remarks and blessings were given by Dr. Abhaya Asthana. He inspired the students to continue on their quest for higher learning, and always leave room for Ishwara and Self development. The graduating students were reminded that they were fortunate for all they had. The students are fortunate to have their education, their families, and their supportive community.
The ceremony was followed by a delicious lunch which was lovingly prepared by the families of the graduating students. All the students agreed that this was an event that will live forever in their memory as a motivation to excel above and beyond. The education samskaras are considered most important as Hindus recognize education to be the stepping stone to future enlightenment for eventual liberation from the bondage of rebirths. A samskara ceremony creates a positive imprint or channel in the mind of the recipient akin to a little path. The purpose is to guide future thoughts and resulting actions to travel along this familiar path assisting the individual to think and act in an appropriate manner conducive to living in accordance with dharma. The students are fortunate to have this samskara service conducted by interested friends. Indeed, all present were blessed to be in the direct presence of Sri Ganesha and Sai Baba with the accomplishment of all four goals of life: dharma (right living), artha (wealth), kama (pleasure), and moksha (liberation).
All students were asked to bow to Sri Ganesha, Sai Baba, their mothers, their fathers, and all others present in the congregation, as God resides in all. They were further asked to go out fearlessly in the world and to be proud to call themselves Hindu Americans.
Families interested in participating in next year’s Graduation Service should contact Sanjay Gupta:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Abhaya Asthana, the General Secretary of Hindu Mandir Executives’ Conference, spoke on behalf of the Hindu American community at the 49th Annual Governor’s Prayer Breakfast held at The Boston Park Plaza on May 22, 2013.
Dr. Asthana delivered a message of peace for all. He recounted that Hindu children, upon awakening from bed and before placing their feet on the ground, bow in reverence to mother earth for bearing their weight and ask forgiveness for putting a burden on Her. Hindu tradition holds a deep respect for all beings as well as Nature for all are interconnected. When we pray for the wellbeing and happiness of all then we ourselves experience the same. Dr. Asthana’s recitation of the Shanti Path, a mantra full of ancient wisdom, was a heartfelt wish for peace and tranquility beyond earth, on earth, and within us as individuals. Om, All should be happy, All should maintain good health, All should appreciate the positive aspects of life, May None experience sorrow. Om, Peace be, Peace be, Peace be.
The Annual Governor’s Prayer Breakfast brings together prominent business, professional, political, religious and community leaders for fellowship, music, and reflection. Sponsored by The Rotary club of Boston #7, this year held special significance as prayers were held for the victims of the April 15 terrorist attack at the Boston marathon. At the same time appreciation and heartfelt gratitude was expressed to the individuals and response teams who rushed to assist without regard to personal safety. The Boston organizations honored for their ongoing community service specifically were: Victim Rights Law Center, Fenway Health, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, Risa S, Rosengard Foundation, Mother Caroline Academy & Education Center, Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation, and Wellness Inc.’s Alphabet Fitness.
Michele McPhee, author and New England correspondent of ABC news welcomed all the participants. The program was called to order by David Manzi, Chair of the Prayer Breakfast. The Hon. Thomas M. Menino, Mayor, City of Boston was unable to attend due to ill health. Rev. Stephen T. Ayres, Vicar of the Old North church of Boston read an invocation. The Very Reverend David Michael, Associate Director of Catholic Archdiocese of Boston read from the Scriptures. The Hon. Steven Grossman, Treasurer & Receiver- General of Massachusetts spoke about the Boston tragedy and the natural response of the people. Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Senior Vice President represented the Union for Reform Judaism. Imam Talal Eid, Founder/Executive/Religious Director of The Islamic Institute of Boston represented the American Islamic community. Alan Trefler, CEO & Founder of Pegasystems was a keynote speaker and a sponsor of the event. Dr. Abhaya Asthana represented the Hindu American community. President of Boston city Council, The Hon. Stephen J. Murphy spoke about the city’s united response to this tragedy. Shastri Carolyn L. Krusinski of Shambhala Meditation Center of Boston representing the Buddhist tradition shared words of wisdom. Before the Breakfast concluded with the closing remarks of Lucy Millan, President of Rotary Club #7, the program participants were held captivated by the soulful rendering of God Bless America sung by the soloist Daniel M. Clark.