IRVINE, CA- ‘The mandir in Irvine was buzzing with activity on July 30, despite it being a working day. Sai devotees celebrated Guru Purnima with a lot of fervor and fun. Hindus world over celebrate this day with obeisance and piety towards a spiritual guru who is essentially a link between man and God.
Here at the Irvine temple this year, Sai devotees began celebrations with a beautiful ‘Simhasan Sthapana’ ceremony or throne installation. The energy that the mantra chanting generated was nothing short of positivity and upliftment. “This throne was brought in from India from donations that came in from the mandir and devotees” explained Jayshree Swaminathan, a devotee at the temple. The Sai Baba Murti made of marble was placed on this newly designed silver throne. The devotees also served prasad and requested all to be present for the evening Guru Purnima celebrations.
The evening event had a gathering of over 500.A skit called ‘Sai Leela’ was the first of its kind in the US to be enacted by children. It showcased the teachings and miracles of Sai Baba along with some central characters in the life of Sai as Laxmibai played by Ananya Swami, Jayshree Mahesh as Mirabai, Praneeta Srinivas as Baijabai and Rina as Chandrabai. The showstoppers however, were the two boys, Kashyap Sridhar as the young Sai Baba and Rishi Guna as the old Sai Baba.The make up artist almost recreated the original Sai Baba that brought tremendous applause from the audience.
The mandir is managed by a team of volunteers, headed by President Roshan Khandpur. “The name ‘mandir’ is the Hindi translation of the word temple. Language is a huge portion of any culture and we would like to retain our culture through our languages too,” says Khandpur. In their communication too, they use words such as Somvar, Mangalvar etc, instead of Monday and Tuesday. The Mandir is essentially a home for the gods and this one has murtis or idols of the main gods such as Shiva, Radha-Krishna, Sita-Ram-Laxman, Tirupati Balaji and even Bhagwan Mahavir. The intent is to welcome everyone from all faiths and each one can pray to the God who they believe in. The core team that put together this event were:Swaminathan Venkatesan, Sridhar Tirumala, Pawan Kumar, Shravan Kumar, Sundar Babu, and Krishna Kishore.