115 Years Didn't Dim a Dream of Hindus

September 22, 2008

Author: Steve Schmadeke

Source: The Chicago Tribune


A Hindu temple that devotees say was 115 years in the making opened Sunday in southwest suburban Homer Glen.

Since 1967, the Vivekananda Vedanta Society has been in Hyde Park, but growing membership, lack of parking at the old site, an increasing percentage of members who live in the suburbs and a desire to fulfill the teachings of Swami Vivekananda led the society to build a new temple, said society spokesman Frank Parlato.

Vivekananda—famous in India for a speech he gave at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and his push back home for independence, work that reportedly inspired Mohandas Gandhi—referred in his writings to a "universal temple" that would teach meditation and the spiritual discipline of yoga to anyone from any faith for free, said Parlato.

More than 300 people gathered Sunday at the 32,000-square-foot temple, a mix of prairie-style and classic Hindu architecture, to see the new shrine room consecrated by a priest dressed in white, who burned incense while surrounded by seated monks in ocher robes, Parlato said. Five sacred images from the Hyde Park shrine were transferred to the new temple, he said, and the swamis moved into their new quarters there Sunday.

"It has a symbolism behind it. It's transferring the universal energy into the shrine at this particular location," Parlato said. "This was conceived 115 years ago and now has come to fruition."