CHICAGO: Shree Jalaram Mandir in Hoffman Estates (a Chicago suburb) has made great progress in the four years of its existence, meeting the need of the community for a temple of Shree Jalarambapa, a great saint of Gujarat, India.
All this was made possible by the devotees, members of the Boards and most importantly by the large number of dedicated volunteers, working day and night, rain or shine for the development of Bapa’s cause of human service and religion.
Friday December 30, 2011 was designated as a Volunteers Appreciation Day by the temple management. Volunteers from every area of service – kitchen, parking, education, construction, bhajans, religious events, social gatherings, medical services, blood draw programs – were invited in the lower area of Mandir. It was a group of almost 250 volunteers and their families. At the outset, Dip Pragatya was performed by four of the randomly selected volunteers, followed by Swasti Vachan Mantra recital and blessings by Pujariji Diwanji.
After welcoming the volunteers and guests, president of the temple executive committee, Chirayu Parikh mentioned the need for more youth participation and activities. Excellent kathiawadi food was served at the beginning of the program. A beautiful musical program of melodious songs was provided by the group of Atulbhai Soni and Ritaben Patel along with their orchestra, which included Purandada (Puranbhai Vyas) on Tabla.
At the intermission, Rajendra Thakkar, volunteer program coordinator detailed the services provided by volunteers and recognized them for the excellent work by all of them. Musical program continued past midnight with a lot of songs requested by the audience. At the tea break, the Chairman of the Trustee Board, Madhusudan Thakkar thanked all the volunteers and the music party.
Regular activities at the temple include bhajans on every Thursday, first and third Sunday, Sunderkand Path every Saturday, abhishek on Mondays and on Ekadashi, group Satyanarayan Katha, Jalaram Jayanti, lectures of saints from India and celebrations of all religious events like Ram Navami, Janmashtmi, Navratri, Holi, Diwali and Ekadashis. On the humanitarian side the temple arranges annual health camp, provides free flu shots, arranges blood donation.
There are plans to provide monthly clinic seva, which will include doctor’s consultation, laboratory tests and providing free generic medicines on an ongoing basis. Educationally, the activities include yoga classes, music teaching, Gujarati classes and religious classes.