Venkat Raman –
New Zealand perhaps has the largest number of places of worship including Hindu Temples, Sikh Gurdwaras and Churches for Indian congregation but the need to promote cohesiveness and work together for the common good is more pronounced now than before.
Shri Shirdi Sai Baba Sansthan of New Zealand Inc has taken the first initiative in this connection by organising a Summit at its Complex (12 Princes Streets, Onehunga, Auckland) on February 27 and 28, 2016.
The Conference is however confined to the ‘Shirdi Sai Baba Movement’ but it is a first step towards a larger, macro event that could be held later.
The two-day Summit will be inaugurated by Dr Chandra Bhanu Satpathy, Founder-President of Shirdi Sai Global Foundation and former Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police. About 40 Trustees and Managers of Sai Temples in Australia, Germany, India, Malaysia, United Kingdom and United States of America are expected to attend the Conference.
Sansthan President Bhaskar Duvvuru is a long-serving devotee of Sai Baba and has held various posts in the Sansthan including Member Executive Committee, Secretary, Vice-President and President. Donors, devotees and the community assisted him, and his team of trustees and volunteers to construct the $6 million Temple Complex in Onehunga, which was inaugurated on February 6, 2014, almost 12 years after the inception of the Sansthan.
“Running a Temple is more challenging and time-consuming exercise than building it. There are several issues involved but the most important consideration is its relevance to the country, society and the community. I hope that the forthcoming Summit will address the topic,” he said.
Mr Duvvuru said that devotees were eagerly looking forward to the keynote speech of Dr Satpathy who is ‘always inspiring and pious.’
“We propose to discuss topics connected to the ‘Role of Temples and Non-Profit Organisations in Community Development’ and ‘Spiritual and Holistic Living’ at the two-day Summit,” he said.
As a part of its commitment to support community and social welfare programmes, the Sansthan will donate $12,000 to Starship Foundation, which it will adopt as a Project for continuous support.
The Sansthan will present a cheque to the Foundation Chief Executive Brad Clark at the Summit on February 27.
Apart from participating in the Summit, delegates and other devotees can also attend the cultural programme scheduled to be held on February 28, 2016.
The Shri Shirdi Sai Baba Sansthan has come a long way from its early days. In Indian Newslink November 1, 2003 issue, Sunkari Laxman, its Founder-President wrote, “One of the main objectives is to build a Sai Baba Temple in Auckland, in aid of which a number of members are conducting fund raising programmes. One such is ‘Donate a Brick.’ Devotees are responding overwhelmingly to this project. Many such fundraising programmes are due be held for which community support is sought.”
|What: Shirdi Sai Devotees Summit
The Role of Temples in Community Development
Who: Shri Shirdi Sai Baba Sansthan of NZ Inc
When: Saturday, February 27 from 9 am
Sunday, February 28 at 230 pm;
Cultural Programme from 630 pm
Where: Shri Shirdi Sai Baba Temple Complex
12 Princes Street, Onehunga, Auckland