Shobha Yatra in progress
Shobha Yatra in progress

CHICAGO: Rebecca Michelle, a resident of Addison on Fullerton Ave and a friend from out of the State, wondered at the festive look that a Hindu temple bore and was all praise when informed about the Patosav ceremony going on at Shreeji Dwar for the past three days. The praise was because the disciplined way that the entire program attended by thousands of Vaishnav devotees was conducted by the organizers. Without any untoward incident and huge festivities.

Established by Vaishnav Samaj of Midwest (VSM) Shreejidwar Haveli five years ago, it has turned out to be one of the holiest places for Vaishnavs across the country. They flocked in huge numbers to participate in the three-day Patosav ceremony held at the Haveli site in Addison last week. They felt truly blessed by unique Darshans of Lord Shrinathji under Pushti Pranali every single day.

Celebrations started on Thursday July 4 with Shobha Yatra followed by Kunvaro Darshan during the morning hours. There was Vivahkhel Darshan in the evening followed by Garba. There was Sagai Khel Darshan next day on July 5 followed by live music concert in the evening by Shweta Ranade and Amit Pachegaonkar from Mumbai.

Chhapanbhog – the ultimate celebration and Darshan was organized on Saturday July 6 and Vrajkamal Darshan on July 7 to conclude the celebration. Spiritual discourses were given by Pujya 108 Shri Dwarkeshlalji (Vadodara). He guided the celebration, explained the significance and its spiritual meaning.

More than 4,000 devotees from Chicagoland and Midwest participated in the event. Many youth became volunteers and shouldered the responsibilities of event planning, parking, food, Darshan management, etc. Lunch and dinners were organized by VSM every day. The cultural presentations by the youth bore their devotion, talent and excellent upbringing. Devotees had nothing but huge praise for the excellent management of every activity.

Shreejidwar was built with a capital outlay of more than $3 million in May 2008. In just five years, the facility has grown from strength to strength. There were less than one thousand regular devotees in 2008 which now stands at 4,000+. VSM had a bank loan of $1.1 million in 2008 which has been almost repaid in just five years. The current loan balance is only $100,000.

VSM’s devotees have acquired more land for expansion of the facility in the past three years. All the festivals are celebrated keeping up with the rich and unique tradition of Pushti Marg. VSM is committed to meeting the needs and expectations of its members and followers of Pushti Marg which was established by great reformer Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharyaji.

The current leadership of VSM has plans to take Haveli to a different level. Additional 30,000 square feet of construction is planned to accommodate the growing congregation. VSM has already received approvals for meeting point for senior citizens. Very soon, Prasadam Kitchen will be inaugurated. It already provides education and inculcation of Hindu values to kids growing up in America. There is a plan to start Yoga classes shortly. Shreeji Dwar is supported well by Addison City Congressman Roskam and other community leaders.

VSM management is led by Dr Umang Patel (President), Rajesh Shah (Chairman), Kamlesh Shah (Secretary) and Hansaben Patel (Vice President). VSM welcomes all to visit Haveli and seek the devotional and spiritual blessings from Lord Krishna. Everyone is invited to next big events of Nand Mahotsav on Saturday, August 31 and Annakut on Saturday, November 18.

Ramesh Soparawala
India Post News Service