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Lokvani Talks To Sethu Kumar

Ranjani Saigal

Sethu Kumar was born in a middle class orthodox family with two brothers and 3 sisters, a small town in Tamilnadu.  His parents were instrumental in shaping us towards religious and spiritual way of life. His mother started narrating moral stories and Indian epics when we were young.

His initial posting was with the Indian Space Research Organization.  "My wife also joined ISRO. We can never forget our ISRO days, the best any one can dream off.  We learned a lot from each of the failure and successful space missions. The spirit of working for the country was more of pride and prestige.  I served as a secretary when the Space Officers Association was formed in one of the ISRO Centers" says Kumar.  
"About 20 years back we moved to Boston area.  One of our family friends took us to our Sri Lakshmi temple.  The moment we had Sri Lakshmi darshan, we know the rest of our life will be associated here.  We come here at least once a week, to seek Her blessings" 

What motivated you to take on the Presidency of the Temple?

I was inspired by many of the past Presidents, specifically recent officers.  I was closely working with them and learnt a lot on the leadership and responsibilities of a Religious Institution.  We shared many common dreams for the growth of our temple. I wanted to be part of this wonderful team to serve our community.  

On a lighter note, I strongly believe that our Goddess Mahalakshmi decides who the President should be, and I happen to be the one this year.

Why is the Sri Lakshmi Temple so special?
I can think of only one reason, the Positive Vibration that devotees experiences in our temple. Devotees often expressed their spiritual happiness, integration of the body, the mind and the spirit after a visit to our temple.  Our genuine heartfelt prayers are often fulfilled with positive responses. That's the reason I believe we have many devotees visiting our temple regularly. Our priests and staff work diligently to offer a fulfilling experience for our devotees to pray and get blessings

What are the big events celebrated in the Sri Lakshmi Temple?

There are many big events, starting with the New Year. We started 2020 with the New Year celebrations in grand manner. Some of the major events include Ayyappa Mandala Puja, Vaikunta Ekadasi, Maha Shivaratri, Rama Navami, Ganesh Chaturthi, Navaratri celebration with Chandi Homam, Aksharabyasam, Diwali, Thai and Aadi Fridays, Purattasi Saturdays and other regular pujas like Satyanarayana Puja  etc. Our temple's Brahmotsavam conducted in early summer, is another weeklong festival with a chariot procession on a hot Sunday. There are multiple cultural programs in our new auditorium that are very popular among our devotees, students and teachers. Recently we started a Paarvettai Utsavam in late Summer when our Utsava Murthis visit devotee's homes and offer unique darshan who host the event with their friends and family. Our event details are updated regularly on our website http://www.srilakshmi.org.

Could you tell us a little about the cafeteria? 

In our religion, food is part of our worship.  Many devotees commute quite a distance to visit our temple. Initially we started in a small way to provide prasadams to our devotees.  Recently two paricharakas (Religious Cook) with experience from major temples in India, joined our temple to serve our community. Our new Annex building housing the Kitchen facility, serves fresh hot food to our devotees, meeting our religious guidelines. Our cafeteria is a welcome addition to our temple and is well liked by our devotees. 

Could you tell us a little about the auditorium? 

Two years back we successfully completed the Auditorium, a long time wish of our devotees and budding artists. The main purpose of the auditorium is to support our community to express our values such as classical music, dance, spiritual discourses and other private events. The auditorium is built with state of the art lighting and music systems with two green rooms to meet our needs for private functions, arangetrams and recitals.

How can people get involved in the temple? 

This is temple built and run by devotees for devotees. You can get involved in any manner you wish, based on your interests. You can participate in our Pooja events, Bhajans, and by volunteering at our temple. We have many volunteering opportunities, contact us if interested. We conduct various religious events regularly for the benefit of our devotees.  Active participation in these events will encourage us even more to serve our community better. We are about to launch a Prakaram expansion project by adding 3 side prakarams to the existing annex hall providing additional space for functions all year round and a grand entrance with enhanced facilities. We seek your support in this ambitious project. Your active involvement on these will help to create and sustain a strong vibrant Hindu Religious Institute.  

At this time, I would like to thank and admire our temple founders who had the vision to construct the temple about 40 years ago and all the past trustees and devotees who worked selflessly for the betterment of our temple.

May the blessings of our Sri Mahalakshmi be always with you and your family.

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