Guru Vandana was celebrated with a three-day program at the Balaji Temple in San Jose, Calif., Dec. 6-8. The celebrations began with kalasha sthapana, initiation and mantra given by Swami Anandanatha, the founder of Balaji Temple, to all devotees who performed puja. Swamiji performed purification and invocation of the Lord to have His presence all three days.
The second day, Swamiji re-invoked all the gods and goddesses and performed Mahalakshmi Abhishekam with Navagraha puja. The third day, 108 Kalasha Satya Narayana puja and 108 Kalasha Abhishekam for Lord Balaji was performed by Swamiji followed by Puja katha.
The puja was followed by salutations to our Guru Swami Anandanatha. Babu Dinakaran, Balaji Temple board member explained the reason behind Guru Vandana. He requested Swamiji to allow devotees Meenakshi and Vittala Das to perform pada puja for him. Priest Girish Sharma performed Guru puja by reading Guru Ashtotram and Stotram. Afterwards, Swamiji gave a speech to the devotees.
Later, Poonam and Prabhu Goel were honored. Prabhu thanked Swamiji and talked about Swamiji’s dedication, discipline, wisdom and service to all devotees. Later Swamiji announced that Poonam and Prabhu Goel will be donating $100,000 to the temple to help with the construction of the Ananda Community Hall.
Swamiji spoke about how God is so great: “He tests us by putting sugar in with grains of sand to make us learn to seek out His sweetness only in this life. The Goels offer of the large donation came spontaneously during the puja. That is how God gives. The Goels see how dedicated we all are to Balaji Temple and they felt inspired in the puja to donate and help further the temple.”
Swamiji announced that the board had elected Lakshmi Vittala Dasi to return as the secretary. She thanked Swamiji for his help and guidance through the years and talked about the importance of the guru. Many devotees, including Babu Dinakaran, Elango Velayutham, Rajesh Kamath, Ravi Mulka, Krishna Sheelam, Ravi Rao, Vittala Das and Madhumita Bannerjee spoke about Swamiji’s goodness and the effect of his guidance in their lives. Devotees are inspired to perform selfless service at the temple and outside in our communities. Swamiji’s example of hard work and self discipline helps the devotees to do more seva. Swamiji honored the devotees with malas and shawls.
The mahaprasadam was sponsored by Ganesha Restaurant, Santa Clara, Calif., and Madhumita and Sharad Bannerjee. Food seva was lovingly performed by Ramakrishna, Tamil and Elango.