Sri Balaji Temple Chicago celebrates the Millennium of Sri Ramanuja Acharya

Sri Balaji Temple Chicago celebrates the Millennium of Sri Ramanuja Acharya

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CHICAGO, IL (TIP): This year marks 
the millennium, 1,000th birth anniversary (Sahasrabdi) of the legendary 
Sri Ramanuja Acharya. Hindus around the globe celebrated this memorable 
event by paying tribute to the great Acharya who worked tirelessly, and 
selflessly for the betterment of humanity. Sri Venkateswara Swami 
(Balaji) temple of greater Chicago conducts Religious functions in an 
authentic style with a team of dedicated and well trained priests 
from Tirupati. The Temple management with profound dedication celebrated
 this auspicious occasion in a grand manner on April 29, and April 30. 
The Celebrations included Religious and Cultural activities with 
enthusiastic participation from youths as well as adults from the 
community. An estimated 1,000+ devotees from Chicagoland area and 
neighboring states as well as territories that are far like California participated in the two-day celebration to pay tribute to the spiritual master.

Sri Ramanuja Acharya was born in 1017 AD
 in a small town called Sri Perembudur, near Chennai, and lived for 120 
years. He was a spiritual leader with strong intellect who mastered the 
Vedas and other Hindu scriptures at a very young age. He was a visionary
 who systematically expounded philosophical truths and synthesized 
Jnana (knowledge) and Bhakti (devotion) into a philosophy called 
Visishtadvaita. He was a leader and a social reformer who broke barriers
 and worked for the betterment of everyone without regard to gender, 
creed or caste. He perceived God as the Super Divine that is 
all-pervasive, all-inclusive, all-potent, and all merciful. He had the 
vision that everyone should be able to reach God and attain moksha 
(salvation), through utmost love for God through Saranagati 
(selfsurrender), and Bhakti (devotion). Sri Ramanuja Acharya enlightened
 this path through his teachings and practices recorded in his 
nine-spiritual works in Sanskrit. He introduced several religious 
practices to complement the established Agama worship procedures in 
temples. These practices are followed even today at all Vaishnava 
temples including major temples like Tirupati.

The Religious programs for 
the Millennium celebrations at Sri Venkateswara Swami (Balaji) temple 
was conducted by the team of Vaishnava priests with overflowing devotion
 and enthusiasm. The religious program highlights included abhishekam 
for Sri Balaji (Utsava Murthy) and Sri Ramanuja Acharya; Homam 
(Havan) for the Acharya; Utsavam (ceremonial procession) for Sri Balaji 
and Sri Ramanuja Acharya; Vedic Chants, Prabandha and Stothra Parayanams
 rendered by Parayana Gosti lead by the temple priests; Bhajans by 
a team of devoted Ladies. To commensurate the special Millennium 
celebrations, several devotees joined hands and made an offering of 
“Kireetam” (crown) for the great Acharya. The cultural programs featured
 youths and adults from the temple devotee community. The program 
highlights included a drama in English by youths depicting key events of
 the life of Sri Ramanuja; Music concert capturing devotional hymns; 
Bhajans and Quiz contest by temple youths; Villu Patu (bow song) 
and Kolattam (Musical play and dance with sticks) presented by youths.

The celebrations concluded with the 
grand finale Drama in Tamil “Ettram Thantha Ethirajar” featuring 
selected milestones of the life of Sri Ramanuja Acharya. The 
twohour play was showcased by a cast of 44 people. The play was directed
 by Sri Sekar Chandrasekar and produced by Sri Narayan Thirumalai. This 
was followed by a dance program by Natya Dance Theater called “Ramanujar
 Kanda Pokkisham” choregraphed by Sri Hema Rajagopalan. The musical 
dance program captured the works and Bhakti of Alwars, the saints, as 
seen through the eyes of Sri Ramanuja Acharya. The program concluded 
with Dr. Prabhakar Gupta Garla, Chairman of the temple thanking all the 
Devotees, Temple staff, Priests and the Volunteers that poured 
their hearts to make the function a grand success. The Millennium 
celebrations of Sri Ramanuja Acharya at the temple was blissful with our
 Devotees immersed in devotion and excitement. The event was 
complemented with Annadanam, servings of scrumptious lunch and dinner 
for everyone for both days. The feelings of the participants can only 
be captured like this …” This is a remarkable event that we will 
remember forever”

Let us cherish Sri Ramanuja 
Acharya’s teachings every day as his legacy lives on. Let us pay tribute
 to this Legend on this auspicious millennium 1,000th year 
birth celebrations and remember him for all the sacrifices he made for 
the enlightenment of humanity.


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