This data was last updated on 14 August 2017.
Address: One Pleasant Street, Woburn, MA 01801
History: The Satsang organization was founded in 1985. The congregation met in various churches in the Billerica and Burlington area as well as the Sri Lakshmi Temple in Ashland. In 1993 the organization bought a nineteenth century Unitarian church and transformed it into the Satsang Center. Over the next decade the Center built up a following of over 1,000 families and in 2001 major renovations to the building began. The community has raised substantial funds each year to continue with renovations to date, and a second phase is planned. Renovations to the basement and side rooms will provide more space for community activities and strengthen structural elements of the building.
The Center does not have any priests and does not follow one guru. Several community priests perform religious ceremonies or rituals during special events. The Center espouses the belief that there are many popular manifestations of the same divinity. These manifestations of various deities are represented in the form of statues which are called murties. The Center is non-sectarian and features over a dozen statues to appeal to a wide audience.
Description: This mandir (temple) still has the look of a Unitarian church from the outside but the Om symbol above the door identifies the building as a Hindu space. Upon entering there are shoe racks for men and women and straight ahead is the main worship space. Along the hallway to the worship area there are rooms on either side which are used for community meals and children's activities. The worship area is a large carpeted room with a stage located at the front. On the stage there are 13 murties of various deities including Shiva, Vishnu, Krishna, Hanuman, GaytriDevi, Ambaji and Ganesh. A special ritual called, Pratisthit Murti is performed to invoke the divine power to manifest in these idols. A kitchen is located on the far side of the worship space.
Activities and Schedule: The Satsang Center holds weekday darshan (viewing of deities) from 7-8 PM with aarati (singing devotional songs) at 7:30 PM. On weekends darshan is held from 4-5 PM with aarati at 4:30 PM. Yoga classes are taught Saturday mornings from 8-10 AM and a youth program is held Saturday mornings from 10-11:30 AM. Bharat Natyam (Indian classical dance) classes are also taught at the Center. A special yoga training program for the promotion of positive health is also offered. 70 to 100 people attend aarati weekly and anywhere from 5 to 20 attend weekly yoga classes.
The Satsang Center hosts special activities throughout the year. The weekend after the national celebration of Independence Day on July 4th, they hold a special service to celebrate all deities in addition to having dance performances and special speakers. The month between Navaratri (a nine day festival at the beginning of October celebrating the triumph of good over evil) and Diwali (a festival of lights which celebrates the New Year) is the busiest time of year for the Center. During Navaratri over 200 people come together daily for ten days to participate in activities such as folk dancing. During Diwali the Center hosts a youth program to encourage children and teens to get involved with their religion and culture. Also during Diwali the Center hosts Annakut (a food festival), where every family brings their favorite dish to offer to God. That day over 100 different food items are presented and over 300 people join in the celebration.
The Center also celebrates the unity of all religions once a year to promote understanding, tolerance, and acceptance of other faiths. During this celebration the Center invites different religious leaders to speak on subjects such as peace, love, unity, and the concept of God in their belief system.