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The Hindu Temple Society of North America
(Sri Maha Vallabha Ganapati Devasthanam)

Even though Swami Vivekãnanda introduced and popularized the Hindu system of belief and philosophy in the North American Continent in 1893, the movement of Hindu Temples began and has gathered momentum only in the last quarter of this century. It is Lord Agastya, the pre-eminent sage now living in the astral world, who took the initiative to direct the establishment and growth of the New York Ganesha Temple and several other major temples in this land.

Lord Agastya when invoked by sincere devotees regularly through what is called Jîva Nãdî or Live Nãdî, communicates with His devotees in the form of letters. These sacred letters appear to the trained mediums only at the time of reading the sanctified ancient palmyara leaf scriptures. In August 1968, Dr. Alagappa Alagappan, a former U.N. Civil servant, was instructed to come and listen to the Nãdî readings. On the first day, he was informed that Lord Ganesha would take an abode in a city, the name of which began with the letter "N." When asked to come on the following day, he was informed as to how this temple would develop deep and abiding ties with the ancient heritage in India. The third time he was summoned to come, he was instructed to take on the task of building the Ganesha temple.

Every endeavor in Hinduism begins with the worship of Ganesha and it was indeed appropriate that the first major temple in this continent be built for Lord Ganesha. Dr. Alagappan proceeded to organize a team under the leadership of Mr. C. V. Narasimhan and established the Hindu Temple Society of North America on
January 26, 1970. Generous financial and technical support were provided by the T.T. Devasthanam and the Endowments Department of the Government of Andhra Pradesh, India. Literally thousands of devotees contributed their time and money and the temple was consecrated by His Holiness Sri La Sri Pandrimalai Swamigal on
July 4, 1977.

Since then the spectrum of worship has broadened at this temple to include the major Hindu forms of worship and practices prevailing in different parts of India. The Ganesha Temple which has taken the name of Maha Vallabha Ganpati Devasthanam has drawn devotees in ever widening concentric circles.

On September 21, 1995 more than eight thousand devotees came unannounced and had the privilege of offering milk to Lord Ganesha.

The New York Ganesha Temple has actively participated in securing temple architects, artisans and priests for several other temples in this continent. Since religion must be relevant to daily life, every endeavor is made to organize activities which would contribute to the welfare of devotees. Several cultural activities including instruction in dance, music and Indian languages have been undertaken. The auditorium and Kalyana Mandapam which will soon be in operation will provide some of the largest facilities of their kind in New York. Over the years one of the main objectives of the temple has been the organization of several growing social service programs in India.

Recently a program has been launched to disseminate substantive material pertaining to the Hindu religion and culture. A one hour weekly TV broadcast was initiated on December 23, 1995. Another major effort is to provide publications in simple and easily understandable English.

We are sponsoring publications such as this for the benefit of a wider and young readership. Our biannual newsletter which reaches more than 15 thousand readers also includes articles in popular terms explaining the various aspects of Hinduism.

Dr. Uma Mysorekar


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