Prakritim purusham caivakshetram kshetra-jnam eva ca
Etad veditum icchamijnanam jneyam ca keshava(13.1)
Eti kshetram tatha jnanamjneyam coktam samasatah
Mad-bhakta etad vijnayamad-bhavayopapadyate (13.19)
The sublime spiritual ambition of a Hindu soul is the ultimate blending with the Divine Consciousness and escaping from the mortal, mundane cycles of worldly existence. Our sacred traditions bequeathed to us through millennia of celestial scriptures enunciate in us the elements of moral and virtuous living, inculcated through pious practices. We are instructed and trained to believe in the transient existence of our physical bodies as ephemeral extensions of the elements of nature, the Parabrahma and that our single, supreme motivation should be that our souls 204 qualify to merge with the Paramatma through righteous deeds as we live. Our erudite ancestors, spiritual leaders, and scholarly saints have abundantly provided us with measures and means built into our religious culture, that we can attain the exalted status by obediently following their teachings.
From the dawn of civilization, The Indian subcontinent has been a spiritually enlightened country and Hindu temples have perpetually provided the perfect settings to aspire and accomplish the most cherished objectives of human life. More than any other institutions in recorded history, Hindu temples have fostered and nurtured the exalted abilities of our existence, with the voluminous and meaningful wealth of our Dharmic wisdom and the enormous knowledge that it had donated to humanity.
The Sri Krishna Temple of Guruvayur, popularly known as Sri Guruvayurappan temple is perhaps the perfect example of such an edifice, the abode of Lord Krishna, where the idol worshipped, according to the legends, is five thousand years old. Located in Guruvayur, a town in the middle of Kerala, the land of Adi Sankara and numerous, illustrious Vedic scholars, the temple is one of the most visited by millions of devotees from throughout India. Sri Guruvayurappan temple has become a prominent place of pilgrimage because of the uniqueness of the idol installed and the divinity that it imparts. The presiding deity is Mahavishnu, appealing to the devotees in the form of Unnikrishna, or baby Krishna; and the sacred traditions are stringently adhered here as per ancient instructions.
For many devotees, Sri Guruvayurappan is the ultimate embodiment of divinity as they establish an intimate, affectionate, expressive and emotional affiliation, unlike observed in most other temples. To the devotees, He becomes a personal companion, an amenable and approachable spiritual confidant. Irrespective of the geographic location anywhere in the world, Guruvayurappan brings in the devout ambiance of Guruvayur into and around the existence of His bhakta. Whether they visit a shrine in any temple, pray in the solitude of their pooja rooms or meditate upon the glory of the Lord as they are engaged in their worldly chores, the true devotee transcends all the barriers and limitations, easily and effortlessly bestowing their submission at the sacred feet of Sri Guruvayurappan.
Such intense devotion, passionate desire and enthusiastic commitment of a group of sincere devotees of Kerala Hindu Society, tempted the mercy of Guruvayurappan who with a glint in His eyes and a smile on His lips is showering His blessings and allowing them to build a replica of his favorite abode around the globe, here in Houston. It is conceivable that being a cowboy Himself, He might have felt comfortable to have a residence built in Texas, the land of the cowboys. And to us ‘Indians’, this may be an added piece of comfort to have reclaimed and established an authentic and intimate unit of our esteemed mores, in the very land seized by the Cowboys a while ago.
Most of us wandered into this alien land, three to four decades ago, with a small change of dollars in our pockets, with even smaller confidence and almost no clue as to what to do. We all came with hopes of a better future and heaps of vague ambitions. We came in with strange names, clothes out of fashion and accents unknown to locals. We were looked down upon, ignored and often insulted. The food was unfamiliar, climate unbearable and the nature and style of working quite unknown to us. All we had was our intense faith and a determination to excel. We were willing to work hard and prepared to persevere. We had a resolve to make our parents proud and to protect our children. We persisted; we endured and eventually, we thrived. And through the years of our turmoil and the agonies that we surpassed we held on to our convictions, our reflective prayers and the wisdom of our profound traditions providing us strength and tenacity to succeed.
As we learned about our surroundings, studied our trades and got established in our professions, we excelled; we were accepted and we regained our confidence and conscience. In the beginning, we prayed in our homes, before we found others similar to us, discreetly and desirably. Slowly we gathered in groups and prayed fervently. And we were eager and prepared to reintroduce the fundamental necessities of our time-honored faith. Temples emerged slowly but decidedly in different regions of the country.
Kerala Hindu Society started from humble beginnings, members assembling regularly for prayers and bhajans, giving importance to inculcating the fundamental values and lofty ideals into our children. The dedication and sincerity that were invested in the next generation paid off handsomely that we can glance back and be reassured that the future is vested on solid grounds, that the mantle of our traditions will be carried with competence, that our progeny will proudly protect our envious heritage.
Based on the above philosophical thoughts we are venturing into the next step in creating an authentic temple, the abode of Sri Guruvayurappan. We remain humble but excited, concerned yet confident that our attempt though modest will be embraced and nurtured by all the members of our community, by Hindus from far and near, irrespective of their regions of origin or languages of upbringing. This new dwelling of Lord Vishnu is meant to be catering to the spiritual desires of our entire community, to bless us and protect our needs; a place where anyone can approach, submit their sorrows and request penance and be rewarded with solace and salvation.
With pride and humility, we invite you to the Balalaya Prathishta at the Sri Guruvayurappan Temple, Houston. We humbly request you to be a regular visitor to the temple and be part of this magnificent reality, to feel proud and blessed of 206 the enormous opportunity to have Sri Guruvayurappan on our premises. May Guruvayurappan bless us all. (March 22, 2010)
Prakritim purusham caivakshetram kshetra-jnam eva ca