Pilgrimage to Bharath May 17 thru July 20, 2017
May 17 – 30
Attended Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji’s 75th Birthday in Mysore. Met many accomplished people who received various Awards from Sri Swamiji.
Sri Swamiji received three Guinness World Records in May 2017.
The largest display of bonsai trees consists of 2,649 trees and was achieved by His Holiness Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji (India) during the International Bonsai Convention and Exposition, which took place in Avadhuta Data Peetham, Mysuru, Karnataka, India, on 21 December 2016.
The most bird species in an aviary are 468, which is called Shuka Vana and which is one of the most visited places in the ashrama of Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji. The aviary is spread about one acre and is inhabited by a lot of endangered and critical endangered species such as African lovebird, African grey parrot, Conures and Macaws.
The World’s Largest Hindu Smriti, Bhagavad Gita book in 18 languages was achieved by Pujya Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji during his 75th birthday on 26 May 2017. The book measures seven feet by five feet and it weighs over 800 kilos.
Discussed about the design of the cover page for “Reviving Hinduism” book. Sri Som Ganagadhar emphasized the need to be very clear about the image and what it should represent. Then we discussed about the title of the book and we asked ourselves as to what we want to revise. Then came up with the ideas of Vedas, Hindu Temples, Cows, Ganges and Ghats in Varanasi, Yoga, Om and Sanku. We did not want it to be too clouded with too many ideas. Since Hanuman is considered Kaliyuga Brahma and known for strength, wisdom and service, it was appropriate to include him as major protector. Abhaya hastam denotes the protection of our heritage.
Met Sri J S V Prasad Garu, The Principle Secretary of Revenues in the Secretariat at Velagapudi near Vijayawada.
Met Smt. Y V Anuradha, The Commissioner of Endowments at specially built Endowments Office in Gollapudi near Vijayawada.
GHHF Visited Around 15 Amazing Ancient and Memorable Recent Hindu Temples in Vizianagaram June 11 &12, 2017
We have visited at least 15 Temples that are as old as 10 centuries and as recent as 4-5 years. It is astonishing to know the rich culture these Temples represent and the number of devotees they are attracting. It is amazing and astounding to know the history of these Temples and how they are built.
On June 11, the first Temple we visited was Shree Jagannadha Swamy Temple in Vizianagaram. As all us know that the temple of Lord Jagannadha situated in Puri in Orissa. It is an important pilgrimage site for the Hindus and known as Puri Jagannadha.
As per the local traditions, the Vigraha of Lord Jagannadha, brother Balabhadra and Sister Subhadra are immersed into the sea every twelve years. Then they will make new ones and do the Pranaprathishta to new Vigrahas. The Maharaja of Vizianagaram requested the priests of Puri to permit him to bring the replicas to Vizianagaram with the intent of installing the Vigrahas in a specially built temple. But his request was denied. It is believed that a group of loyal followers of the Maharaja’s dived into the sea and retrieved the three Vigraha on the night of the immersion. They brought them to Vizianagaram and Maharaja installed them in the Jagannadha Swamy temple. It is believed to have been built about 800 years ago.
In Vizianagaram, every year in mid-summer, Lord Jagannadha, with his elder brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra, goes on vacation, travelling on grand chariots. On Jyeshta Purnima (June 9 this year), The three Vigrahas have been taken out by removing all their energy and placed it in the Kalasha. In about two weeks their vacation ends and return to their Temple. The local authorities have been doing three-day Prana Prathishta every year and reinstall them as per the agama Sashtras. This belief of the Hindus resulted in organizing one of the biggest religious festivals in India — the Ratha Yatra or the Chariot Festival.
As you can see that in one of the pictures, only Kalasha is seen in the Garbhagudi. On 25th of June, the three Vigrahas will be installed ceremoniously. Lakhs of people attend the installation ceremony every year.
Over the last three years, they have undertaken major responsibility of renovating the Temple. Dr. Ghazal Srinivas encouraged them to do the renovation and helped raise funds. Global Hindu Heritage Foundation donated ONE LAKH RUPEES (Rs. 100,000) to the Temple authorities on June 11th. GHHF recognizes the efforts of Sri Kapuganti Prakash and Sri V Kashi Viswanatham in coordinating the renovation efforts. GHHF is bestowing them with “AALAYA BANDHU” Award on June 25 at Hindu Dharmic Sammelan at Dwaraka Tirumala, AP.
We visited Ramatheertham Temple is at least 1000-year-old located in Nellimerla village. As per legend that Pandavas stayed here during their 13 years of living in the forests. They wanted Lord Krishna to stay with them. Unable to fulfill their request, Lord Krishna was supposed to have given the murthies of Lord Rama and Sita Devi. Villagers supposed to have found these murthies in the water, hence the name Ramatheertham. There was no Lord Hanuman in the Temple. It was explained that Rama did not meet Hanuman when they were visiting this area at the time. The village is found at the base of a chain of mountains. Not only Rama, Sita and Lakshman trecked this are, there is ample evidence to show that Jains and Buddhists also visited these mountains.
Ramanarayanam, an amazing, wonderful and spiritual project, which has been constructed by the NCS Charitable Trust for the past five-and-a-half-years and was inaugurated 2014. The facility was built over 15 acres. would certainly be a visual treat for the young and old alike. The structure was built in the shape of ‘Rama Dhanuvu’ (the sign Sagittarius in the zodiac) has two floors with Sri Maha Vishnu temple on the one and Sri Rama temple on the other. Both the temples were connected by a bow. In the middle of the arrow, a huge 60 Lord Hanuman was installed to reflect the arrow. There were 74 panels depicting the whole Ramayana with beautifully carved images.
Balaji Temple with Ashtalakshmi Temples. This is a beautifully planned Temple built and inaugurated about two years ago. Very few Temples will have one temple for each of the Ashtlakshmis. Separate temples for all eight manifestations of Maha Lakshmi were built in a circular manner. In the middle, Sri Venkatswara Temple is built. Very well planned and it will be an example of self-management of Temple that can followed by others as well as the governments.
We have also visited many other Temples.
Panchamukha Anjaneya Temple
Gyana Saraswati Temple in Vizianagaram
Met Sri Paripoornananda Swamiji at Bhaarat Today TV and discussed about the impending US program and the Panel discussion on “Reviving Hinduism” book in the channel. Tentative date for discussion was set for June 20.
Went to Dwaraka Tirumala to meet with Sri S V Sudhakara Rao, Chairman of the Temple and discuss about all the arrangements about the accommodation and meals for the attendees. He agreed to keep all 80 air conditioned Cottages for our guests. He agreed to provide Breakfast, Lunch, Snacks and Tea and final Dinner from the evening of 23rd thru 26th morning.
Dr. Aravinda Rao Karanam visited SaveTemples Office and talked about the book; requested him to be on the panel to discuss the book in Bhaarath Today Channel.
Ajay Kalavala from Frisco brought Shri Perala Chandra Shekar Garu, Vice Chairman, Nehru Yuva Kendra - Ministry of Youth Affairs India to SaveTemple office. I invited him to attend "International Hindu Dharmic Sammelan" at Dwaraka Thirumala Temple to be held on June 24-25, 2017.
“Reviving Hinduism” written by Dr. Prakasarao Velagapudi was released by Dr. Subramanian Swamy at National Conference on Bos Indicus – The Glorious Indian Cow in Mumbai at Bombay Stock Exchange International Convention Hall on June 18, 2017. Dignitaries who participated in the book release are “Energy Guru” Sri Arihant Rishiji, Sri Deep Kumar Upadhyaya, Ambassador from NEPAL; Sri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs; Sri Hrishikesh Mafatlal, Chairman, Arvind Mafatlal Group; and others.
LIVE Discussion on Bhaarath Today TV was held on June 20th. “Reviving Hinduism” book was discussed on Bhaarath Today on June 20th at 3:00 pm. Dr. Remella Avadhanulu, Padma Shree Hanuman Chowdary, and Dr. Ghazal Srinivas will be on the panel to discuss the book. The anchor, Sai introduced the panel giving their qualifications and their expertise. He started off the discussion by asking Prakasarao what prompted you to write this book that contains wide variety of topics. He briefly narrated the incident that shook him up which made him to get involved.
All the three panelists highlighted the message of the book by giving certain examples from the book. The book contained 18 chapters. Some chapters discussed about the richness of Sanatana dharma the need to take pride in preserving it.
Visited Cultural Center of Vijayawada and met with Dr. Emmani Shivanrami Reddy. Cultural Centre was established to promote art and culture of Vijayawada. It was formed in May 2014 and located at Moghalrajpuram area. The cultural centre hosts several cultural events related to art, classical dance, music, painting and expos etc.
[GHHF] International Hindu Dharmic Sammelan held at Dwaraka Tirumala on June 24 & 25 was a Remarkable Success. It was conducted as a National event and we invited more than 30 Swamiji's from different Ashrams across India and Hindu Activists. The Mission was to bring different Swamijis and Hindu Leaders to one Platform to speak about the revival of Hindu Temples and Hinduism.
1) Visited Sri Kanaka Durga temple in Vijayawada on June 27. It is very busy. It appears that 20-25 thousand devotees visit the temple during weekdays. About 40,000 during weekends. Very spiritual place. Lot of construction is going on. Worth the visit.
2) Then we proceeded and Visited Sri Venugopal Swamy Temple in Movva.
It is one of the ancient temple in Movva, near Kuchipudi. The legend says that Venu Gopala Swamy temple in Movva was constructed overnight by Devatas. Poet Kshetrayya composed many songs on Lord Krishna. Visited more than 20 puny kshetras and finally settled in Movva. He lived from 1595 thru 1660.
Discussion on Handbook to manage Hindu temples without government interference. GHHF conducted this discussion on June 28 at GHHF / SaveTemples office for about 4 hours with more than 30 people who are knowledgeable about Temple management. The panel included people who were I AS officers, IPD officers, Former TTD officials and others.
Met Sri Sitarama Raju from Boppudi Village in Guntur District and discussed about the illegal mining of the mountain where Lord Venkateshwara Temple was built more than 500 years ago. He sought our help to redress this issue with the Endowment Department.
One to one interview with the anchor Sai in Bhaarath Today TV on “Reviving Hinduism” book. Discussed about the richness of Hinduism, hurdles it is facing, denial of Hindu rights, appeasement of minorities, Christian deceptive practices and possible solutions to protect and preserve Hindu Temples and Hindu Dharma.
Appeared on Bhaarath Today TV along with Remella Avadhanulu, Ranganath of Chilukuri Temple and Satyavani to discuss about High Court decisions in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka who decreed that the Endowment Act is unconstitutional.
Accompanied by Darshanam editor Sri Marumamula Venkata Ramana Sharma and Anand Alladi, we visited five Temples and Ashrama.
Visited Ashtalakshmi Temple built in Vasavi Community in Hyderabad, India. It is well maintained, very neat and well organized. It exemplifies the SELF government. It is run by a group of devotees without the interference of the government. Built under the auspices of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, the temple was consecrated in April 1996. It is one of its kind in the state of Telangana. This temple is located between Dilsukh Nagar and LB Nagar, in Vasavi Colony near Kothapet. It is very famous. In the Center of the Temple you will see Lord Venkateswara and around the main Murti, you will see all eight Lakshmis. Installed inside are murthies of Adilakshmi, Aishwaryalakshmi, Santanalakshmi, Dhanalakshmi, Dhanyalakshmi, Nagalakshmi, Vijayalakshmi and Varalakshmi.
Visited Sri Vidya Saraswati located in Wargal, Siddipet district in Telangana, India. The deity of education in Hinduism is Goddess Saraswati. It is among the few temples of Saraswati in Telangana. It is situated on a unique, huge rock formation and a valley around this hill. One will find another Temple dedicated to lord Shani separately with a big statue measuring around 3 feet in high which is one of the biggest statue of the Lord Shani in Andhra Pradesh.
It is a very beautiful temple, highly spiritual and the surroundings are peaceful and hard to describe the natural beauty. It is run independently by a group of devotees without any government control.
Then we proceeded to visit Sri Varada Swamy Temple located in Varadarajapuram. It was built around 1356. As per the priest, the forefathers of the current Chairman of the Temple were bringing Varadaraja Swamy from Kanchipuram. As they were resting in this village, the Lord appeared twice in a dream and asked them to build Temple in this village. Nawab gave about 1400 acres to build it. It took ten years to complete. The Endowment Department left it to the locals as it was not making money. As can be seen in Kanchipuram Temple, one can see golden lizard and iguanas on the ceiling. It appears that only 76 acres are left as the rest of the acres were illegally occupied by the land sharks.
Next, we went to Panduranga Ashram – Markuku. The ashram stands as one of the best centres of spirituality in Medak district. With chanting of songs in praise of God, the ashram reflects the ancient cult and devotion.
As per the legend, during the reign of Nizams and the Islamic rulers when all the people were frightened to enter the temples to ring the bells of the temples, Panduranga Ashram provided scope for the protection of Hindus. The place has gained historical importance since then. The temple is believed to make one forget of the day to day struggles of the human person, ego and selfishness.
According to Ashram devotees, people have walked all the way to Pandaripuram in Maharashtra and brought Panduranga statue and erect them in the ashram.
The ashram is located sixty kilometers from Hyderabad.
Sri Venkat Malapaka, the anchor of CVR English Channel, conducted about 90 minutes interview discussing and highlighting the essence of the book – sometimes chapter by chapter. Discussed about the reasons for starting GHHF, the activities conducted over the years, and how the book idea came about. He asked me as to what we wanted to revive, reasons to preserve and protect Hinduism, the uniqueness of Hinduism, comparison of two Abrahamic religions with Hinduism, the efforts to root out Hinduism by these three groups and reasons why Hinduism should be protected from the extinction of humanity. He pointedly asked about my views about Mother Theresa’s mission and whether her efforts were noble and genuine to serve the needy in India.
Appeared on three TV Stations – TV5, CVR OM Telugu Channel and Gemini TV.
Gemini TV conducted Yadardham program on Hindu Religious and Charitable Act and its future with M. V. R. Sharma of DARSHANAM Telugu Magazine, Venkateswara Raju of VHP and me on July 5. It was shown twice on July 8th and 9th. On TV5 they had taken three bites on Christianity, Cow Protection and GHHF activities.
On OM Telugu Channel, discussion in Telugu on “Reviving Hinduism” book.
P J News came to our SaveTemples Office in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad and conducted one-hour interview about GHHF and the book.
Attended Guru Purnima Celebrations in Hyderabad
We were blessed to attend Guru Purnima at Avadhuta Datta Peetham at Dundigal in Hyderabad. We are happy to touch the Paducah of Sri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Swamiji. Nearly 10,000 people participated in the celebrations. Many people waited 2-3 hours to have darshan.
Lecture in Bengaluru
On 11th morning, Sri Ram Sharma Kasibhatla, board member of GHHF, organized a lecture to about 30 youth who were interested in knowing about our organization and our efforts to save and protect Hinduism. Discussed about our activities, the need to practice and protect Hindu dharma, the plight of Karnataka Temples, diversion of Hindu Temple money to Christians and Muslims, Governments unquenchable thirst to satisfy the minorities at the expense of Hindus, Hindu selfishness in amassing wealth by even stabbing their own religion, utter Hindu ignorance of their faith, etc. Also talked about the importance and significance of Bhagavad Gita, Sri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Swamiji's efforts to revive Bhagavad Gita, how more than 100 American students will be chanting Bhagavad Gita in Mysuru Ashram, and the scientific nature of Hinduism. Lot of curiosity, lot of enthusiasm and lot of interest in knowing their own faith. A fantastic opportunity to meet these youngsters.
Gitaparayanam practice by US youth in Mysuru Ashram- Amazing
On 14th evening about 140 children and youth practiced chanting Bhagavad Gita in the divine presence of Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji. Majority of them came from Frisco Hanuman temple. Some came from other cities in USA.
Actual Gitaparayanam will be conducted on July 16th. You can watch on YOGASANGEETA website starting from 9:00am India time.
Historic Gitaparayanam by US children in Mysuru Ashram on July 16th.
It was an amazing, astounding, astonishing and awesome event that makes you speechless and numb. Words cannot be found to describe the chanting by children from age 5 thru 17. It unbelievable to see them chant without having a book. They memorized all 700 verses. Sri Swami was siting, walking, observing and sending vibrations. There were 113 children and about 20 adults were in the stage. It took about 4 hours. Also, nearly 50 adults who are qualified to chant by reading the book also participated in this flawless program.
Met with Sri Nagesh of Gemini TV and Sri Venkateswara Raju of VHP at SaveTemples office in Hyderabad. Discussed about various activities GHHF is doing and how we can participate in the activities that promote Hinduism. We agreed to plan few activities together in the next visit to Bharath.
Spoke on Hinduism to Vyasa International School Students in Bengaluru
On 20th, few hours before we left Bharath to return to USA after more than two moth productive visit, spoke to about 85 Vyasa International School high school children about the richness of Hinduisms and how Hinduism is different from other two religions- Christianity and Islam. Sri Rama Sarma, the GHHF Board member coordinated this effort with Sri Srinivasa Raju, who is the founder of Vyasa International School. More than 10 questions were asked by the students. Three questions were about other religions and their message. Talked about deception and breaking of images with examples from the Bible and violence and terror passages from Quran. I have showed the passages printed in my book "Reviving Hinduism" which was gifted to their library
The Founder Sri Srinivasa Raju introduced me and later suggested that he would arrange more speeches in my next trip.
Vyasa International School can be compared with any school in USA. Neatness, spaciousness and cosmic balance concepts are strictly followed.
My appreciation to Ram Sharma Garu and Srinivasa Raju Garu for their zeal and passion.
Shankar TV journalist Sri Sudershan Bharatiya interviewed me to find out about the mission of GHHF and the essence of the book “Reviving Hinduism”. Ram Sharma and I spent about TWO hours with him.
Returned to USA on 21st morning.
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