Temple's Tranquil Space

July 6, 2007

Author: Anne Ford

Source: Chicago Tribune


Sunday's weather in Homer Glen was mild for July, with temperatures in the 70s and a light breeze blowing. But on the grounds of the Sri Ramakrishna Universal Temple, the air shimmered with heat.

Fires burned in two-dozen brick pits, consuming offerings of oranges, coconuts and scented wood chips as part of a ceremony consecrating the Hindu temple. Worshipers chanted mantras in Sanskrit, invoking the divine presence as they ladled another offering, the clarified butter known as ghee, into the flames.

Some attendees wiped their eyes as they chanted -- perhaps because of the drifting smoke and perhaps because of the occasion's emotional significance as well. More than 100 years after the death of their spiritual leader, Swami Vivekananda, his devotees are fulfilling the swami's dream of a temple that embraces believers of all faiths.