Indian-Americans of the Hindu faith are feeling part of what they say is a five-hundred year wait to build a temple dedicated to Lord Ram in Ayodhya. Hindu temples around U.S. and Canada are taking up the call to collect vials of water from surrounding rivers and oceans in North America for the Shri Ramjanmabhoomi Mandir in Ayodhya.
The World Peace and Health Foundation, based in New Jersey, led by Neeraj and Pramod Bhagat, along with Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh’s Parikh Worldwide Media & ITV Gold, were involved over several weeks in procuring the water from temples around the tri-state area including the Hudson River, and the Atlantic Ocean, as well as from at least 12 temples, where pujas were performed and the water was shared, Pramod Bhagat told Desi Talk. These vials are being sent to India for pouring into the foundation for the Ram Temple being constructed at Ayodhya. “The water we collected was symbolically representative of America,” said Bhagat, who added that he and Dr. Parikh spoke to the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra (Trust) in Mid-August and set to work immediately with several volunteers, to do what was needed.
Hindus from some 50 countries are doing the same according to Bhagat’s understanding, including from Mauritius, Fiji, the Caribbean, Norway, South Korea,Australia, Malaysia, to name a few. These symbolize the global appeal of Lord Ram who has devotees in many countries apart from India, a point Prime Minister Narendra Modi made during his consecration of the site Aug. 5, 2020.
The Bhumipujan (foundation laying) ceremony Modi conducted was televised live around that nation.
After decades of conflict and civil unrest as well as litigation over the land, the Indian Supreme Court ruled eleven months ago that Hindus, who believe the site in Ayodhya is the birthplace of Lord Ram, be allowed to build a temple there. The court also ordered five acres of land be demarcated for use by Muslims to build an alternate mosque as the Babri Masjid that had been located on the site since the 16th century, had been demolished during civil unrest in 1992.
The New Jersey-based World Peace and Health Foundation, founded 5 years ago, partnered with Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh’s Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold, to hold a ceremony Sept. 2, 2020, to formally place all the contributed ‘holy’ water from various North American Hindu temples, into a vessel, to be transported to India, its final destination being Ayodhya’s Shree Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir.
The ceremony in New Jersey, was held at the ITV Gold studios. Participants included Dr. Sudhir Parikh, Dr. Sudha Parikh, Neeraj and Pramod Bhagat, executive trustees of WPHF, Ashwini Hemanshu, also of WPHF, and Professors Sudha and Shiv Agarwal.
Each of them spoke at the ceremony held at ITV Gold. Dr. Parikh conducted the meeting, calling it a “great auspicious” ceremony.
“After 500 years, Prabhu Ram Mandir is being built in Ayodhya. Our Prime Minister Modiji has worked for it, as have the countless people who have shed blood and put in their hard work,” leading to the building of the temple today, said Pramod Bhagat. Upon the request from the management of the Ram Temple, the WPHF executive team fanned out to temples across the country, collecting ‘teertham jal’ from such places as the Braj Dham, from Sanatan Mandir, from Swaminarayan temple, Robbinsville Akshardham, Omiya Mata Mandir, Yogi Divine, Bridgewater Temple, to name a few. All these waters would be poured at the Bhoomipujan site where Prime Minister Modi performed the ritual. Lord Ram was a messenger of peace for the whole world, Bhagat said, “and we are honored we have been chosen for this.” He praised each member of the team which worked “with full passion,” as well as every trustee of every mandir, every priest, etc. who treated the task with “great devotion.”
Professor Shiv Agarwal called it a “great fortune” to be part of the initiative of collecting the ‘holy’ water. “When I heard from Dr. Parikh and Pramodji that we have been asked to collect water from all the temples in New Jersey, New York, … we were all very pleased,” Agarwal said. Everyone at the temples they visited was “very pleased and very touched,” to be part of this effort.
Hemanshu said it was a great opportunity to have participated in collecting the water, and “It is our small token contribution for the building of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.” He went on to thank all the members who worked tirelessly to make this a reality. “We will be sending it across to India as a contribution from all the people of North America,” Hemanshu said.
Dr. Sudha Parikh said, “We are very fortunate today that we have holy water from all the temples of United States and from all the rivers. This water was collected after prayers to God at different temples. It was collected after the puja,” she noted. “We thank the Ram Temple committee as well as our Prime Minister Narendra Bhai Modi, for giving us this opportunity,” Dr. Sudha Parikh added.
Professor Sudha Agarwal thanked Dr. Sudhir Parikhand Pramod Bhagat for including her and her husband in the initiative. “When we were carrying the kalas (container) to the temple, it felt as if Ramji was accompanying us. And the water was given to us with such humility that we felt as if it was God’s grace that we have been given this task.”
“It is our good fortune that God Ram has given us this task to perform,” said Neeraj Dhawan. “It is the result of many years of prayer and waiting. We are truly fortunate we will be able to see the Ram Temple…. We thank all the temples’ committees that took part in this.” She thanked Prime Minister Modi and others in India for their hard work and hoped to be visiting the temple in Ayodhya in the future.