Shri Shirdi Sai Baba Comes to QueensBy Lavina Melwani • Jun 22nd, 2012 • Category: CyberCircles: For You!
A Temple Celebrates Faith Through Dance
Faith is a powerful game changer: In 1994 it transformed a small house in Flushing, Queens into a sparkling Sai Temple where hundreds of devotees come for peace and spirituality. This has become a welcome space for Sai worshippers who needed a place to congregate and meditate. As the numbers of devotees increased, a new building was planned for the site, with a ground-breaking in 2004. Finally the Guru Pranapratista was done in April 2010.
Now the neighborhood has a peaceful and spiritual space, with three floors covering 10,000 square feet. The main hall on the first floor houses has a 6ft marble statue of Baba, and this is where the community gathers for prayers and celebrations. The second floor is the meditation hall where the old bronze statue of Baba stands, and this is where people congrgate for classes and meditation. The temple also has a dining hall and well equipped kitchen in the basement. It is gathering places such as this which strengthen the community and the faith.
The Story of Sai Baba in Kuchipudi
To meet the costs of maintaining and improving the facilities, the devotees have embarked on a novel fund-raiser, a daylong cultural event on June 23, with special artists from India: Sarvam Sai Mayam – a Kuchipudi Dance Ballet depicting Saibaba’s life story in different scenes; by Padma Shri Dr Sobha Naidu and her troupe of 40-plus artistes. She is a noted exponent of Kuchipudi, a dance form that originated in Andhra Pradesh, and has performed this ballet on the Saibaba charitra across India, including Shirdi, where the Saibaba samadhi is situated. The Shirdi Samsthan declared the day she performed the ballet as “Kuchipudi Day.”
What’s a celebration without bhajans – and Bollywood? In the second segment Dr. Radhika Chopra performs a musical concert which runs the gamut from devotional songs to film favourites.
“Devotees may have taken the initiative in organizing temple-related activities in other temples. But this is probably the first of its kind for a Baba temple here in the US,” says temple trustee Shiva Haran. The Shri Shirdi Sai Baba Temple has given so much to the community – and now is a chance for the community to give back to the temple and the programs it supports.
More details about the concert and the temple are at www.saisandhya.info