Appeal for youth involvement at Balaji banquet

Chairman and Board of Trustees with local Chicago musicians
Chairman and Board of Trustees with local Chicago musicians

CHICAGO: Sri Venkateswara Swami (Balaji) Temple in southwest suburb Aurora celebrated its annual Appreciation Banquet at Waterford Banquet & Conference Center in Elmhurst on Saturday October 4.

The evening started with emcee Dr. Sanjay Rao briefly outlining the work of Balaji Temple and invited the Balaji Vidya Pitham students to sing the Prayer song ‘Tumhi Ho Mata.’

The welcome speech was delivered by Dr. N. S. Rao, Vice Chairman of SVS Temple. He observed that “SVS Balaji has been in existence for nearly 30 years opening its doors to devotees for worship and for participation in social and cultural gatherings.”

Chairman Athimoolam Naidu said, “Our temple enjoys an enviable reputation as one of the most beautiful and truly authentic Hindu Temples outside India. All our volunteers spend long hours despite personal commitments and obligations, just to serve the community in the name of our God. We are involved in youth education, cultural activities, summer camps, health fair, Balaji Garden, Yoga and Meditation programs and so on”.

He thanked the Board of Trustees, Advisory Committees, priests, office staff, kitchen staff, volunteers, and cleaning staff for their hard work. He also announced future plans to build additional class rooms, bigger auditorium and a separate dining area which will require additional funding and appealed to devotees for their generous support.

A video presentation comprising temple’s religious activities during the past year was shown to highlight the authentic manner in which temple priests conduct religious celebrations. He invited devotees to attend the temple activities in large numbers to show Hindu traditions to our children.

The temple’s new web portal was introduced by Mr. Anu Agnihotri who explained in detail its salient features. Devotees are welcome to visit to see upcoming temple events and request religious services both in the temple and offsite.

Awards were given to three temple volunteers – Anu Agnihotri from Volunteer and Public Relations Committee; Usha Pariti from Cultural Affairs and Banquet Committee and Jayashree Parthasarathy of Youth and Education Committee for their untiring efforts to help with the growth of the organization.

Keynote speaker Ms. Vasudha Narayanan is a Distinguished Professor, Department of Religion, at the University of Florida and a past President of the American Academy of Religion (2001-2002).In her inspiring speech she described the role of the temples in our society. Hinduism is a dynamic religion and through our combined efforts we can carry on our Hindu traditions for generations to come, she pointed out.

She also proposed ideas for the future benefit of the temple like creating an endowment and naming the temple as the life insurance beneficiary. To help spread our religion and tradition she urged members to get children involved in temple activities such as SAT/ACT classes, performing arts classes, engage them in community volunteer work such as health fairs, and food drives which will motivate them to understand and practice Hindu religion in future.

The main cultural program of the evening was a light music concert with live orchestra in multiple languages like Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada were presented by popular Chicago singers.

The singers delighted the audience with their beautiful voice and entertained them non-stop for two hours. Sumptuous dinner was served at this point which was relished by all.

In conclusion, Vote of Thanks was given by Dr. Garla Gupta, Treasurer of Balaji Temple.
The following are the office bearers:

Board of Trustees: Chairman Athimoolam Naidu; Vice Chairman Sudershan Rao Nagulapalli; Secretary Suresh Mehta; Treasurer Prabhakar Gupta Garla; Members Sudershan Rao Akkineni; Harinadha B. Koneru; Vankata S. Masunuru; Prasad Neerukonda; Pethinaidu Veluchamy; Ramaraja B. Yalavarthi

Asian Media USA