The Shri Navagraha Devasthanam of North America (SNDNA), a non-profit organization, who run the Saneeswara Temple, in New Hyde Park, NY, held their annual gala benefit luncheon, in Great Neck, NY, on November 10, 2019.
SNDNA was formed with a vision to create temples fostering the Vedic culture and heritage of spiritual philosophy in North America. They envision 9 branch temples in the US.
The temple in New York is dedicated to Lord Saneeswara (Lord of Saturn), the ‘first’ Saneeswara Temple in the world outside of India.
Sridhar Shanmugam, one of the founders of SNDNA, and his wife Rupa Shanmugam, president of the temple, were the hosts of the fundraising event which saw many notable personalities attend, including Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, the Founder and Chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media, and his wife Dr. Sudha Parikh.
Sridhar Shanmugam, speaking at the event said, “It’s very auspicious that all of us who are born on this Earth, are being lined up, like date of birth, time of birth, so that you can see your charts, and see where we are heading to.”
He added: “Our concept of a temple is that it’s not just a place where you come for worship, but it’s got such good magnitude outside, that it helps everybody, to a young child, to a growing child, to a young adult, to a young family, to a grown up family, to seniors. We should get the cherished results out of the temple.”
He informed that the temple run programs for children, and for young adults and senior citizens, and also family networking programs for kids.
“This network is also happening where people from all faith come together,” he added. “The temple is still in the infant stage, where it is yet to be renovated, waiting for the permit, but hopefully with the support we should be having a lovely temple coming up.”
Dr. Sudhir Parikh, addressing the audience, said that “it is very important that if we believe in Vedas and Vedic things, the ‘grahas’ and ‘shani’ is very important for us, for our success in our life.”
He added: “In our Hindu belief, we believe in the Vedas, and see in our day to day lives, that some people are very successful, some are working hard but not successful. So what is the mystery about? The answer is in the Vedas.”
Dr. Parikh added: “The Vedas says if your star aligns, then of course, even if you don’t work hard, then you can be successful. And where we can find a star to pray or to do the puja to, do some request to, that’s the Shani temple. This is a great temple for our second generation to connect to, and our culture, and our belief, our religion. This kind of temple should be promoted, and should be encouraged.”
Puja Shanmugam in her remarks said that the fundraising was for a “very noble cause”, while explaining the concept of the temple.
Dr. Bhavani Srinivasan, one of the attendees, said: “This is a very momentous day for the community and for everybody in the temple today. We wish the Shani temple every success, and may they grow to be a very large temple with lots of devotees.”