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Hindu Temple of Florida: 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday; 5509 Lynn Road, Tampa, FL 33624; (813) 962-6890.

Vishnu Mandir: 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday only, discourse by Pandit Vishnu Sharma; 5303 Lynn Road, Tampa, FL 33624; (813) 654-2551

Sanatan Mandir: 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday; 311 East Palm Avenue, Tampa, FL 33602; (813) 221-4482

Shri Saraswati Devi Mandir: 9:30 a.m. to noon Sunday only; officiating priest is Pandit Purnanan Sharma; 16220 Livingston Avenue, Lutz, FL 33559; (813) 264-1539

Baps Shri Swaminarayan Mandir: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily; Darshan is closed between noon and 4 p.m. but reopens at 4 p.m.; 9226 E. Fowler Ave. (between Interstate 75 and U.S. 301); (813) 986-5473.

MANAV DHARMA ASHRAM: sumiran is from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. first Thursday of every month; satsang is 5 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, followed by dinner; yoga classes begin at 7:30 a.m. Saturday; bhajans are 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. every third Sunday; 7520 Caron Road, Tampa, FL 33615; call the ashram at (813) 889-7155, Himatlal Parekh at (813) 969-1661 or Ashok Modh at (813) 935-3439.

SHREE YAMUNA PREETI SEVA SAMAJ: Pushtimargiya Satsang Mandal invites Vaishnavs of Tampa Bay area to weekend Satsang sabhas and kirtans; 1340 Robin Road S., St. Petersburg, FL 33707; call Smitabein Patel at (813) 961-3816 or Himatlal Parekh at (813) 969-1661.

Islamic Society of Tampa Bay Area Mosque: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily; 7326 E. Sligh Ave., Tampa, FL 33601; Tel: (813) 628-0007

Gurudwara: 8 a.m. till 8 p.m. daily; 15302 Morris Bridge Road, Thonotosassa, FL 33592; (813) 986-6205.


HINDU SOCIETY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA, 8:30 a.m. to noon and 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 1994 Lake Drive, Casselberry, FL 32707; (407) 699-5277.

Shri Shivdham Hindu Temple and Brahmrishi Yogashram: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily; 460 O’Berry Hoover Road, Orlando, FL 32825; (407) 380-2661 or e-mail


Shirdi Sai Center: 4707 Pleasant Grove Road, Inverness, FL 34452; for timings of the center and any other information, call (352) 860-2181 or e-mail

Send information on upcoming events to Nitish S. Rele, Khaas Baat, 18313 Cypress Stand Circle, Tampa, FL 33647
or e-mail
Deadline for submissions is the 18th of each month to be included in the next issue.


Swami Suryadevananda

Lord Rama finished the period of tutelage under his family guru, Rishi Vasistha, and returned back to the palace of his father, King Dasaratha, in Ayodhya for his princely duties.

Time ticked by and one day, Rama felt that he should venture out into the lands for a pilgrimage to see the length and breadth of life beyond the sheltered and sequestered view that he was gradually getting accustomed to. Learning has to be validated through our living; it is through vigilant living that learning fructifies into knowing or else it is just another burden to carry around. A pilgrimage is not so much the visiting of holy places, but venturing out of our comfort zone of accepted understanding.

During his pilgrimage, Rama benefited much in receiving advice and instruction from the many sages and saints across the land. He left each abode clearer in thought, richer in wisdom and showered with blessings as he continued his journey with a spirit of humility and sincerity.

After completing a yearlong journey, Rama returned to Ayodhya and once again resumed his princely duties. Everything appeared to be going on just as it should on the surface. However, appearances are not always an accurate portrayal of things. A wave of deep thought had engulfed Prince Rama as he attempted to reconcile what he had learnt with its application to his life. He began to question internally all of what was being presented with the lamp of wisdom he had gained in his learning earlier on and his personal experiences as he toured the land. This is not a mere story in the pages of history; it is very much our story also as we are thrust into situations continually, pulled by a creative force outward to duty and simultaneously, pulled within our own true self for purpose and right understanding. We seem to be quite different from what we are called upon to do on the surface, and a balance between these two forces acting upon us is the story of our life.

What we call our personality, our value system, our way of thinking or any other label seems to hold its ground quite firmly and resists any form of subtraction and shuns being challenged defensively. Our problems do not rest in the world appearance, circumstances or conditions but in our relationship and attitude to them.

However, we somehow seem to find ourselves completely at the mercy of the report of the sense in the language of subject and object and rarely does one pause to examine things as they really are. The collective reports of the senses, which have been accepted from our personality, go unchallenged until some formidable events make us pause to examine what and who we really are, what is expected from us and what we expect from this world in front of us.

Rama pondered on both; what he had to do ahead as well as the many traps that lay hidden in each situation. He carefully considered right action that could be taken in each aspect of his life and in contemplation, felt almost checkmated in all courses of action with no logical way out. In his train of thought, he began feeling the futility of any action as the bondage resulting from it outweighed his participation and effort to be expended.

Soon, Rishi Visvamitra of great renown appeared at the court of King Dasaratha and this leads to an unfoldment of events, which we will continue in the third part of this series.

Swami Suryadevananda, presently residing in St. Petersburg, is with the Divine Life Society founded by Sri Swami Sivananda in Rishikesh, India. He can be reached via e-mail at


They came from all over, not just Florida, but also Michigan, New Jersey and believe it or not India! Devotees thronged the new Hindu Temple of Central Florida in Casselberry (1994 Lake Drive) near Orlando for opening ceremonies June 15-19.

After less than two years, the huge $2.7 million project has been completed by 22 shilpis from India. They were led by Padmashri Muthiah Sthapathi, who also has designed such projects as Sri Ganesha Temple in New York, Sri Meenakshi Temple in Houston Sri Venkateswara Temple in Los Angeles.

“More than 7,000 people attended the Pranapratistha on June 19,” said Aravind Pillai, temple president of trustees chairman for five years. “On the other days, we averaged about 2,000 devotees. I think the highlights were the religious havans, especially the Chandi and Rudra havans.”

The deities installed in the temple were Shree Ganesh, Shree Durga Maa, Shree Balaji, Shree Radha Krishna, Shree Rama Parivar, Navagraha and Shiva Linga. Blessing everyone present were several swamis and priests, including Swami Jyotirmayananda, Sri Sugunendra Theertha Swamiji, Sri Chitghananand Swami, Swami Chidananda, Didi Maa Sadhvi Ritambhara, Sri Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami and Swami Shantananda.

“I don’t know how much more religious we could have been,” said Pillai. “We made it real auspicious and I want to thank each and every volunteer. I believe that this entire celebration was not done by us but by God himself. He gave directions and we followed them.”

For information on the Hindu temple or directions, call (407) 699-5277 or click on

About the Orlando Hindu temple

It will be 13,000 square feet. Twenty-two shilpis (artisans) have worked towards “Indianization” of the temple since November 2003. About $3.1 million are going toward the completion of the temple.

The deities will include Lord Ganesh, Balaji (with Bhudevi and Sridevi), Durga Mata, Krishna with Radha, Ram Parivar, the Navagrahas, and Shiva Linga. The gopurams above the shrines are in “Naga” (Northern Indian) style. The gopurams above the entrances and Balaji shrine are in basic “Chola” (Southern Indian) style. Some stone statues and certain carvings were brought from India.

The project mangers for the temple construction are Anil Deshpande and Dev Sharma. Muthiah Sthapati, temple architect from India, is supervising the Indianization work done by shilpis. Subhash Nadkarni of Chicago and Kishore Pathare of Orlando are the designers and architects.

For more information on the temple at 1994 Lake Drive, Casselberry, visit or call the temple at 407-699-5277, Aravind Pillai at 407-718-8733 or Mala Karkharnis at 407-658-6528.


About 2,000 people are expected to attend the June 29-July 3 opening ceremonies of the Swaminarayan Temple at 2793 New Tampa Highway in Lakeland. The Murti Pratishtha Mahotsav will be held Sunday, July 3.

The 20,000-square-foot project (half of which will be renovated into a community hall) has been built at the cost of a little over $1 million with donations from the local community as well as from around the country. There are about 200 Indian families in the Lakeland area. The project has taken about a year to complete.

The temple will have about 13 idols, including Harikrishna Maharaj, Radha Krishna Maharaj, Hanuman, Ganesh and also a representation of Shreenathji for the Vaishnav followers.

“The temple is the outcome of a desire to have a place where you can go and worship for peace at the end of the day,” said Dilip Shah, one of the temple board members. “People who have immigrated are missing the spiritual life that they led in India. We also want to inculcate our traditional values into our children who are born and brought up here.”

For more information, call Dilip Shah at (863) 647-2597 or the temple at (863) 687-4776.

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