A Dream Come True: New Balaji Temple in Alviso, Calif.
What started with a vision in a small house in Sunnyvale has turned into reality as the new Balaji Temple in San Jose, writes Hari Hara Kumar Maharaj.
(Above): Priests with “kalashas” during the inauguration festivities of the newly constructed Balaji Temple.
The new Balaji Temple at 5004 N. First Street, San Jose, CA 95002, was inaugurated with a Maha Kumbhabhishekam held from May 30 to Jun. 3.
The five-day event commenced with Ganpati-vastu Homa and Deeksha Homa being held on the first day. That same afternoon, the idols were brought from Sunnyvale Cypress Avenue temple to the new location.
The next day, Sudharshana Homa was performed in the morning and Swamiji blessed and released the Vishnu Sahasranama prayers books. In the evening Panchagavyadivasa, Bhimbhashuddhi, Jaladivasa, Kshiradivasa, Dhaanyadivasa (using various items to purify the idols) were performed.
A Maha Chandi Homa was held on the morning of the third day followed by Samoohikaa and Lalitha Sahasranama with 108 ladies chanting together. This was accompanied by bhajans by Sumita Chakravarthy.
On the morning of the fourth day, the priests performed Ekadasi Rudra Homa with chanting Rudra (praise of Lord Shiva) eleven times. This was held in conjunction with a line up of cultural activities that lasted through the day. There were more than 60 performances from various dance and vocal schools from all over the Bay Area. Well-known vocalist Shubhangi Sakhalkar gave a captivating performance at this event.
The evening ended with the first Balaji and Mahalakshmi Abhishekam done with Panchamritam and variety of holy waters in preparation of giving prana the next day. Abhishekam was also done for Sri Hanuman and Sri Radha Krishna. This was a feast for the eyes to the hundreds of devotees who witnessed it.
The fifth and final day started with the Prana Prathishta (to give life to the idols) and then came the Mahakumbhabhishekam, which is the ritualistic pouring of holy waters on the Gopuram. This is a practice that dates back to several hundreds of years-old post-vedic times when temple rituals were formalized. More than 1,000 devotees along with dignitaries watched Swamiji pour sacred water on the Gopuram Kalasha to invoke the presence of God.
After the Kumbhabhishekam was done, Swamiji did abhishekam for each of the moorties (idols).
Prasad Bhandarkar played the flute on stage. Following this, secretary of the Balaji Temple board, Krishna Sheelam, gave a brief history of the temple.
Swamiji spoke about Kumbhabhishekam and the significance of having a temple in the community.
(Above): Kumbhabhishekam ceremony.
Mahesh Nihalani, longtime temple devotee, then introduced each of the dignitaries.
Kansen Chu, Xavier Campos and Ash Kalra together gave a proclamation from the city of San Jose to the temple. Indian Consul General N. Parthasarathi then came forward to give a speech about how significant a role a temple plays in society. He mentioned that God is everywhere but it is the temple that provides the right environment to bring out the God in each one of us.
Dave Cortese remembered his visit to the first Balaji temple fund raising event “Bhakti Kalasagar.” He said that he cherished the moment and still had a photo with the phrase, “We will celebrate the one truth behind all religions that God is one and in all of us,” on his home computer. He gave a proclamation to the temple from the County of Santa Clara.
Bob Wieckowski expressed his happiness at being present at the inauguration of another community institution adding to the diversity of the Bay Area. He gave a proclamation from the California State Assembly.
Anu Natarajan talked about how having a temple will help inculcate Hindu values in our children and act as a showcase of Hindu culture.
Jose Esteves welcomed the temple to Alviso. He mentioned how great it is to live in this United States of America where the fundamental right of freedom of worship allows all of us to celebrate the opening of this Hindu Temple together. He presented a proclamation from the city of Milpitas.
Alison McInnis who represented California Congressman Michael Honda, conveyed her best wishes on his behalf and presented a proclamation from his office.
Devotees then proceeded to get darshan and maha mangala aarti inside the temple. Devotees and dignitaries were overjoyed to see Sri Balaji and other deities in their full alankaram.
Pandit Habib Khan’s students performed bhajans during the afternoon.
Later in the day, Balaji Kalyana Utsavam and Sri Satyanarayana Pooja with 108 Kalashas, which were embraced by all the devotees with much fervor, were performed. Guru Pooja was performed by Dr. Ashok Kumar and his wife.
Food was sponsored by Sharad Banerjee family, Om Prakash Choudhary family, Ganesha Restaurant, Peacock Restaurant and Turmeric Restaurant. Other devotees also prepared and served food.