Sunday, January 21, 2024 – Despite the biting cold, with windchill temperatures reaching 20 degrees, nearly 350 Americans of diverse nationalities and religious backgrounds congregated at Times Square in a remarkable display of cultural unity and spiritual fervor. Participants, hailing from Guyana, Trinidad, Surinam, Canada, and America and representing faiths such as Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism, braved the elements to celebrate the Pran Prathistha of Lord Shri Ram’s idol at his birthplace temple in Ayodhya, India. This event marked a historic moment, as the Ram Temple is being rebuilt after 500 years, a milestone that holds immense significance for the global Hindu community.
The air at Times Square buzzed with excitement and devotion as people of all ages, including young children dressed as figures from the Ramayana, like Lord Ram, Hanuman, and Sita, participated in the celebration. The event was characterized by the singing of bhajans, the beating of dhols, and the vibrant display of flags, creating an atmosphere of joy and reverence.
Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, renowned spiritual leader and Secretary General of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance delivered an enlightening address at this event where she shared profound insights into the essence of Shri Ram’s life and teachings.
“In the teachings of Shri Ram, we find a timeless guide on how-to live-in dharma with love. This temple is not just a Ram Mandir; it’s a Rashtriya Mandir, a national temple that encapsulates the essence of our rich cultural heritage,” remarked Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati.
She further encouraged individuals to reflect on the values represented by the Rashtriya Mandir, fostering a deeper understanding of the cultural fabric that binds the nation together.
This significant event was coordinated by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), a leading organization committed to preserving and promoting Hindu values and culture in the United States. Numerous Hindu organizations, including the various temples, Sri Radha Gopinath Temple, Hare Krishna Movement NJ and NY and Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, provided ground support and were instrumental in the smooth execution of the event. The celebration at Times Square was part of a larger, nationwide commemoration, with around 900 temples across the US celebrating Lord Shri Ram’s arrival in the new temple at their respective locations.
The event was not just a celebration of religious significance; it was also a powerful demonstration of the multicultural and pluralistic fabric of American society. People from various backgrounds came together to share in a moment of joy that transcends geographical and cultural boundaries.