Facilitate and conduct Cultural, Educational, Social, Spiritual and Religious services in Greater Minnesota.
FOUNDERS VISION is to help promoting Hindu Culture and Religion for many generations by establishing Sri Venkateswara Swami Temple.
Create an institution dedicated to providing the services established in the mission. This institution, dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, will be named as Sri Venkateswara Center (SVC).
TRANSCRIPT OF SPEECH BY GAUTHAM REDDY AT EDINA TEMPLE
Hindu temples have served as important centers of personal and spiritual development for thousands of years. The foremost purpose of a temple is, of course, to provide an auspicious space to feel connected to the divine. A temple is a place we can go to with our wishes and anxieties, our hopes and dreams. It’s a place we can find mental relief, to get a sense of something larger than our own egos. But a temple is also more than a place of personal spiritual development–it is an integral place for community building. This is especially true for new temples like ours, growing out of an American context.
The American Hindu Temple has become a vital center for the arts, education, and service work. It is here that traditional forms of music and dance can be performed, enjoyed, and passed on to future generations. Well-intentioned individuals can gather to embark on projects of good will and social justice. The temple is an important cultural resource for our community, not only for youth but for adults as well. Through yoga, meditation classes, and spiritual discourses, it offers us all the opportunity to engage with our cultural heritage in a deeper, more significant way.
In India, such cultural activities are omnipresent and it is easy to take them for granted. We see them on tv, in our next door neighbor’s homes, and in school. But in the United States, they become a much rarer sight, and thus all the more precious to us. Because of this situation, the Hindu temple in America becomes an important center for nurturing these extracurricular activities. The temple creates a positive and affirming place for us in American society to practice our religion as well as our culture.
One thing that is distinctly unique to the American Hindu Temple is that it is an important site for inter-cultural dialogue. Hinduism is a minority religion in the United States and there is a great deal of misinformation and ignorance about our tradition among the general population. The greatest way to get rid of cultural misunderstandings and clear up prejudice is by the simple act of dialogue. The temple gives us a concrete base for reaching out and creating bonds of friendship with members of other communities. It is a place we can bring our American friends, where curious co-workers and neighbors can come, to learn more about our cultural traditions and where we come from. It’s through such simple acts that we can educate and enrich the greater community around us.
In ancient times, temples were built by great kings and queens who wanted to attain good karma and increase their own fame. But in this modern day, temple building has grown into a community activity that brings good merit and will to everyone involved. The institution that we establish today will serve to strengthen and rebuild us as a community in the years to come. Let it be remembered: the efforts and energies that we invest in building our own Sri Venktateswara Temple here in Edina will be repaid a thousand fold in the coming years, in ways we can not yet even imagine.