Vedanta Society of Greater Houston Celebrates Sri Ramakrishna’s Birthday


HOUSTON: Sunday, March 20, was an important day for the Vedanta Society of Greater Houston, VSGH. It was Thakur Sri Ramakrishna’s Birthday Celebration. Swami Sarvadevanandaji Maharaj, the Minister of the Vedanta Society of Southern California, Hollywood and the present Minister in Charge of VSGH,  was invited to perform the worship and the Homa, and to be the Speaker on Hinduism for the Interfaith Program in the evening.

The day was beautiful, sunny and slightly on the cooler side – a typical spring day. Sw. Sarvadevanandaji began the worship at 10 am. The shrine hall was full of devotees and the puja was divine. VSGH was honored by the attendance of the Consul General of India, P. Harish & his wife, Mrs. Nandita Parvathaneni. Several devotional songs accompanied the ceremony which ended at 12:30 pm with Arati & Pushpanjali.


While the Homa preparation was going on, VSGH presented a small gift to CGI P. Harish & his wife Mrs. Nandita Parvathaneni, as a token of appreciation and gratitude for their continued support throughout their stay in Houston. VSGH will truly miss their presence at every major event. The devotees of the VSGH wish them the best of success and Happiness in Vietnam where he proceeds from here as its Indian Ambassador.

After the Homa was done, lunch was served to all devotees.

At 4:00 p.m. began the Annual Interfaith Program titled “Music as a Form of Worship”. Pandit Suman Ghosh, a well-known Hindustani classical singer in Houston, and Imam Mubasher Ahmed & his wife Nusrat of the Ahmadiya Community of Houston graced the event by attending the function.


There were participants from five faiths, Christianity, Judaism, Sikhism, Sufism & Hinduism who talked briefly about their religion, and how Music plays a part in their method of Worship. Then the vocal singers from each community performed devotional songs to illustrate the topic “Music as a Form of Worship”. The Interfaith Program was a huge success. The shrine hall was reverberating with the devotional songs sung from individual Sikh singers, to duets by the Rabbis of the Jewish Faith, to group songs presented by the Christians, Hindus & Sufis. Though the words were in different languages, they were very easy to follow. All the attendees joined in singing the songs & clapping their hands. It proved that day what the Vedas have said a long long time ago –“Truth is One, Sages call it by different name”, and it also proved very visually & emotionally what Sri Ramakrishna always said, “As Many Opinions, that many ways”. So that evening showed that though the devotees of different faiths & opinions had met in the same temple and worshiped the Lord in different ways and words, it was the worship to same God, the same Truth. VSGH hopes to continue these types of programs in the future, as per the ardent requests of many of the attending devotees and participants of the different faiths. After the program was over, the main representative of the different groups was presented with a token of gratitude. The day ended with some of the participants and attendees joining Swami for dinner.