The dream of more than 2500 Hindus living in Northwest Arkansas has come true. Celebrations for the opening of the first Hindu temple in Arkansas--a project dubbed "bringing Mathura to Arkansas"--have recently taken place.
With the goal of serving the religious, cultural, social, charitable and spiritual needs of Hindus, the non-profit Hindu Association of Northwest Arkansas (HANWA), has caused to be built a 4,000 square foot temple that, besides regular worship activities, will offer Vishnu Sahasarnama on Saturdays and monthly community bhajans. Swami Venugopala Gattu is the priest.
Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, believes that is important to pass on Hindu spirituality, concepts and traditions to coming generations amidst so many distractions in the consumerist society Hindus live in and hoped that this temple complex would focus in this direction. He further explained that instead of running after materialism, Hindus should focus on the search for inner truth, realization of Self and achieving Moksh (liberation).
For interesting discussions on Hindu rituals and routines--like: Why do we light a lamp?; why do we have a prayer room?; why do we do namaste?; why do we chant Om?; why do we wear marks (tilak and the like) on the forehead? and many others go here.
While many people have contributed money towards the temple, the ultimate goal is to make it debt free by 2013. More than half of the goal already has been met.
HANWA is located at 2500 SW Regional Airport Blvd. (Highway 12 opposition World's Gym) in Bentonville, Arkansas, the home of Walmart's corporate offices. For more information phone (479) 464·8600 or send an e-mail here.