Lansing Hindu Temple Installs New Deities

July 2, 2006

Source: Lansing State Journal

On July 2, 2006 Lansing State Journal reported, "Nearly five years ago, Leela Mohan and her husband donated nine statuettes to the Bharatiya Temple of Lansing with hopes they would be transformed into spiritual fixtures at the site. Today that day has arrived. The Lansing couple donated the statuettes after worshippers at the temple fell on hard times. Some dealt with health problems, while others had unexpected deaths in their families. 'We wanted to harmonize the negative forces that push us in different directions,' said Mohan, who along with her husband, Ramaswamy, brought the statues from their homeland of India. 'I can't believe it's happening (today). I am very emotional.' A three-day Hindu ceremony ending today serves to invoke 'vital energy' into the statues - called Navagrahas - that will turn them into living deities. One of the most spectacular sights Saturday was a sacred fire held outside the temple. Worshippers chanted hymns and verses in Sanskrit - a traditional language akin to Latin. 'There is a belief system that the planets these deities represent influence our day-to-day lives,' said Pratin Trivedi, a trustee at the Temple. 'With them here, we will minimize the bad influences in our everyday lives.' The temple serves as a mini-India, unifying Hindu and Jain devotees of Greater Lansing and surrounding communities, Trivedi said. With the site growing in popularity, a fundraiser also was held over the weekend to help with expansion plans. Proposals include a holy pit fire - which will be used for weddings, as well additional classrooms and a full-service kitchen."