Houston Durgabari Celebrates Swami Vivekananda’s 150th Birthday

By Jaya Ghosh

HOUSTON: On the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, Houston Durga Bari society, one of the prominent  Hindu organization in TX celebrated Swamiji’s birthday on Sunday January 13 with full of respect and enthusiasm.

Swami Vivekananda needs no introduction. He was one of the greatest spiritual leaders of the modern world, a great lover of humanity whose unconditional love extended to all people without any distinctions of caste, class, creed, race, region or religion. Swami Vivekananda is also remembered as a great patriot, the first cultural ambassador of India to the West.

When Kashmir to Kanyakumari is celebrating Swamiji’s Sesquicentennial birthday in epic style with different activities and seminars nationwide, here in Houston different Hindu organizations have tried their best making this day as remarkable as possible. Houston Durga temple is one of the distinguished and eminent one in Texas, remembered Swamiji with a full of devotion and joy. Hundreds of devotees visited the temple during the main puja hour. Special puja, lectures about swamiji’s life, his teachings and a devotional music program was organized by Durgabari religious committee to commemorate the auspicious day.

A good crowd of more than 250 people thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon. All the spiritual discussions delivered were of high quality.  Local artists presented a wonderful program with uplifting lectures and songs. Head priest Dr. Bishnupada Goswami first performed Radha Krishna puja. After the puja, pushpanjali and Bhog arati, the actual music program started with tribute to Vivekananda through an introductory speech and an opening devotional song of Ramakrishna Dev by Rupa ghosh. Audience found Dr. Ananda chatterjee’s lecture about karma yogi Vivekananda and his life very informative and uplifting.

We all know that swamiji’s  speeches at the World’s Parliament of Religions held in September 1893 made him famous as an ‘orator by divine right’ and as a ‘Messenger of Indian wisdom to the Western world’. A 2nd generation kid Devangshu delivered that exact speech by heart.  Audience was totally amazed by his performance. Jaya ghosh, a freelance journalist presented ‘witty side of  swamiji “with a simple story telling style and received huge applause. Audience was really delighted to learn all those unknown stories about Vivekananda’s life. Veteran singer Sanghita Moulik’s vajan and Achintya ghosh’s devotional song got tremendous kudos from the public.

Another noticeable presentation was  Swapan Dasgupta’s  devotional Rabindra sangeet  ‘matha noto kore dao ”  and Kalabhavan students of Durgabari  led by Kamalpriya  roy ,a singer of  Biswabharati  repute  nicely presented  a  patriotic song  ekla cholore” encouraged public  to sing along with them.

The extra ordinarily well-presented  serene  celebration of Swamiji’s birthday was  ended with a melodious  Bengali song “braja gopi ‘ by another 2nd generation  singer , RJ Samrat  Bhattacharya  of Radio Masti . After the program, all the visitors enjoyed the scrumptious lunch sponsored by devotees.

Durgabari also observed January 1 as the Day of Sri Ramakrishna’s Self Revelation – Kalpataru Diwas. A good number of local artists and eminent personalities also participated in the program.  Swamiji was totally inspired by the philosophy and teachings of his guru Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansha Dev who was one of the greatest religious leaders ever born in India. He believed that all living beings are divine.

By applying as guided by his Master Sri Ramakrishna’s doctrine of Harmony, Swamiji brought about an overall unification of Hinduism on the basis of the principle of unity in diversity. He was India’s first great cultural ambassador to the West.

Sister Nivedita wrote: “it may be said that when he began to speak it was of ‘the religious ideas of the Hindus’, but when he ended, Hinduism had been created.”

On the night of July 4 1902, before his Mahasamadhi, he had written to a Western follower: “It may be that I shall find it good to get outside my body, to cast it off like a worn out garment. But I shall not cease to work. I shall inspire men everywhere until the whole world shall know that it is one with God.”









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