About Us Contact Us Help




Vedic Graduation Pooja At Shirdi Sai Parivaar Mandir In Groton, MA

Jaya Asthana

Twenty Hindu-American high school and college students and their families, along with some members of the community, gathered together on June 11, 2023, in New England Shirdi Sai Parivaar Mandir, Groton, MA, to celebrate their graduation from High School and College in a traditional Vedic service. The graduates, their proud parents, friends, scholars, pujaris, and several Temple committee members assembled early on Sunday morning to participate in this unique Samskara, held in the United States for the fifteenth time. The Fifteenth Annual Vedic Graduation Pooja was cosponsored by Shirdi Sai Parivaar Mandir and Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America.

The service began with Sanjay Gupta, one of the organizers of the Pooja, welcoming the graduates and families assembled and introducing the emcee, Avani Kashalikar, who is a high school junior, going into her senior year. He invited the Temple President, Shri Siva Kandukuri to light the auspicious diya (lamp), followed by Shri Kandukuri addressing the graduates. This was followed by the Ekta Mantra, flawlessly recited by Preethi and Avani. This mantra reminds us all of the underlying unity among all Hindus, regardless of their background or social standing. The Emcee, Avani Kashalikar, conducted the entire ceremony and guided everyone through the morning. Next there was a beautiful rendition of a Saraswati vandana “Veena Vadini”, by Nitya Vishwanath and a bhajan in praise of Lord Krishna, beautifully sung by fifth grader Madhumita Umapati. The Vandana of the Devi of Learning had a calming effect on the audience, with the graduates prepared to participate in the ensuing pooja and absorb the messages from Pandit Manohara ji and the various speakers.

Temple Pujari, Pandit Manohara, led the Saraswati and Ganesh Pooja. He emphasized that everyone should respect his/her parents, teachers and Ishwar. By respecting your parents and teachers, you are respecting Ishwar as well. This was followed by a Parayana or rendition of the Shikshavalli from the Taittriya Upanishad, by Ravi Sreeedhar. Ravi ji also explained the meaning of the Shikshavalli. Shikshavalli is the first section of Taittriya Upanishad. It is the guidance a teacher would provide to a student as they complete their studies and leave their Ashram, thus beginning a new chapter in their life.  It exemplifies the student-teacher relationship, and the student's code of conduct in terms of attributing value to learning and service to society. 

The keynote speaker, Dr. Priya Gupta, addressed the graduates and their families, and inspired them to do their best and keep going in the face of all odds. Drawing from her own experiences in her life, she spoke about how her study and practice of her tradition helped her in her life, and advised the young graduates to stay rooted in their traditions, and continue their pursuit of learning their heritage.   

After this came the much-awaited award ceremony. All students were called individually, their accomplishments acknowledged, and were awarded a graduation certificate with a bag of gifts on behalf of the Temple, by the Chief Guest Dr. Gupta. They all had a chance to talk for 2-3 minutes about their accomplishments, goals, and aspirations as they accepted their awards.

The final remarks and blessings were given by Dr. Abhaya Asthana. He inspired the students to continue on their quest for higher learning, and always leave room for Ishwar and Self-development. He reminded everyone that the Hindu culture is a culture of gratitude, respect, acceptance, self-discipline and service. The students are fortunate to have their education, their families, and their supportive community.

The ceremony was followed by a delicious lunch which was lovingly prepared by the families of the graduating students. All the students agreed that this was an event that will live forever in their memory, as a motivation to excel above and beyond.

The education samskaras are considered most important as Hindus recognize education to be the steppingstone to future enlightenment for eventual liberation from the bondage of rebirths. A samskara ceremony creates a positive imprint or channel in the mind of the recipient akin to a little path. The purpose is to guide future thoughts and resulting actions to travel along this familiar path assisting the individual to think and act in an appropriate manner conducive to living in accordance with dharma. The students are fortunate to have this samskara service conducted by interested friends. Indeed, all present were blessed to be in the direct presence of Sri Ganesha and Ma Saraswati, with the accomplishment of all four goals of life: dharma (right living), artha (wealth), kama (pleasure), and moksha (liberation).

All students were asked to bow to Sri Ganesha, Ma Saraswati, their mothers, their fathers, and all others present in the congregation, as Ishwar resides in all. They were further asked to go out fearlessly in the world and to be proud to call themselves Hindu Americans.

Families interested in participating in next year’s Vedic Graduation Puja should contact Sanjay Gupta: sgupta_per@yahoo.com.

Bookmark and Share |

You may also access this article through our web-site http://www.lokvani.com/

Home | About Us | Contact Us | Copyrights Help