Bamboo No 1 Mandir-a mission of transformation and expansion
Devotees of the Bamboo No 1 Mandir celebrated their monthly Full-Moon Satsangh on Wednesday February 20, 2019 at the mandir. Sponsored by Donald and Rishi Yankatesu, the Satsangh cosisted of pooja, singing of bhajans and chants, and a discourse by Pandit Budharat Yankatesu. Musical accompaniment was provided by Ajay and Rishi, Pandit’s son and godson respectively.
Full-Moon Satsangh is being held by villagers since 1948 when the settlers first arrived in the settlement. Under the leadership of Nirhoo Lalchan, the villagers were provided with four lots of land by the State for the construction of a mandir. This was achieved and the mandir became the common meeting place for Hindu families. All major festivals-Shiv Ratri, Ramnaumi, Hanuman Jayanti, Janamasthami, Naw Ratri, Divali, Kartic Snaan --were celebrated by devotees. Bhagavat and Ramayan Yagyas were also held time and again. But the one single event that was held dutifully, month after month, was the Full Moon Pooja. This never ceased but continued from its inception in 1948 to date.
The first temple structure comprised of dirt walls and floor and a galvanize roof. When the mandir became old and dysfunctional devotees undertook the construction of a new temple and an educational complex. Three year ago, the mandir was constructed with the generous contribution of devotees and well-wishers. The educational complex comprising of a kitchen, a dining area, a library, classroom and a dormitory are not fully completed. The kitchen and dining area, though, are in operation.
Photo : Pandit Yankatesu and devotees of Bamboo No 1 Mandir
The weekly Satsangh is held every Thursday from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Several personnel have been assisting with this Satsangh. Brahmachari Avinash has graced the Satsangh once per month and delivers discourses on Vedanta. Ganesh Bidhesi is currently presenting a series of discourses aimed at attracting devotees for the upcoming Shiv Ratri celebrations early next month.
Increasing youth attendance
The attendance at the Satsangh averages forty. While there is a majority of elderly ladies, one is witnessing a gradual increase in the number of youths including the musicians. The executive of the mandir are mainly young adults: Nigel, Donald, Anil, Ashok, Thakur and Sham.
Ladies such as Chandra, Chanoo, Basso, Vindra are active in the kitchen and are ably assisted by male devotees. The cooperation ensures that meals are prepared and served along with parsad. In the Full Moon Pooja sponsored by Donald and Rishi devotees were provided with a full meal served on suharee leaves placed on serving tray
Walk-a-thon & Health Fair
Intent on attracting the youth to the mandir, the organizing Committee planned and executed a walk-a-ton and health fair last year. The event attracted more participants than expected. The participants in the walk-a-thon were presented with medals and trophies.
The Health Fair was provided by medical practitioners. It comprised of blood sugar and pressure testing. Eye testing was also provided and prescriptions given for follow-ups. A few companies were at hand displaying health products such as coconut oil and several products made from cocoa beans. Also, at hand, was a hatha yoga teacher demonstrating the benefits of hatha yoga to a healthy body and mind. A lawyer generously made available his time to provide counselling to many who had land related issues. Also, on display was a hydroponic demonstration unit. The late Niranjan Bhaggan initiated and executed the event. His undivided and penetrating focus to complete the task before him accounted for the success of the event.
Another event held last year was the hosting of Nandini Sharan, wife of the late Hari Om Sharan. Her visit to the mandir was well appreciated by devotees from both near and far. Her sweet melodious voice which continued to be with her captured the attention and appreciation of all present.
For its annual Indian Arrival Day event the mandir has been honoring elders who have contributed to the upliftment of the mandir. The gesture has rallied families who were happy to learn of the toil, sacrifice and generosity of their ancestors. On a section of a wall is a display of plaques and photos of those who have been recognized. This recognition is unique as few organizations have paid tribute to their forbears. The President and the Executive must be commended for such vision and generosity.
President Lalchan has always thanked villagers and other devotees for their generous support of cash, labour, skills and materials for the construction of the mandir. Lalchan has recognized that there is much to be done such as the paving of the yard, landscaping and fencing of the property.
Unity Study Circle
Recently the Unity Study Circle was launched. Eleven persons attended the first session. The program continues every Saturday between 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. This event has the potential to provide a model for Hindus to educate themselves on their philosophy, history and the other social issues of the day.
Pandit Yankatesu, bhajan singer Ram and others who play and sing bhajans time and again are the shinning lights that guide devotees. The involvement of youth in the playing of the dhantal and dholak must be commended. He is certainly acculturating the young on the path of dharma.
The Bamboo Grove Settlement No 1 Mandir has rejuvenated into a growing institution serving dharma. With the able support of Pandit Yankatesu, Wayne and his executive have been doing an excellent job preserving Sanatan Dharma. The continuation of the work initiated in 1948 demonstrates a rare commitment that is worthy of the highest commendation.