The All India Movementfor Seva, alsoknownas Aim for Seva, raised over $250,000 at its annual fundraiser, held at the California
Theater in San Jose. The money raised will be used
for the non-profit’s pet cause — a free hostel facility
for underprivileged children in India.
Vijay Kapoor, founder and president, Aim for Seva-
Silicon Valley, told India Abroad, “What we try to do
is to raise funds in a unique manner. Most of the
charity organizations have a gala atmosphere and a
certain amount of pressure of raising funds. Our
thinking is somewhat different. Being a spiritual
teacher of Vedanta, I want things which are consis-
tent. We select a classy organization and ask them to
come and perform at all the 20 centers in the US.”
The main attraction of the fundraiser this year was
Meera — The Soul Divine, a dance-drama brought in
by Chitra Visweswaran and her Chidambaram Dance
Aim for Seva was founded in 2000 by Swami
Dayananda Saraswati, Kapoor said, but the concert
based fundraising was started just four years ago.
“We are a democratic organization,” he said. “What
I like about it is it really has a real need that we are filling. We
go to remote villages and ask them to give their very young
ones to us — 6 to 8 years old, preferably girls, and we provide
housing next to an existing school. The house has a caretaker,
cooks and a support staff and we keep these children 8 to 10
years (until they are educated).”
Aim for Seva has 104 hostels in India. Each costs around
$100,000 to build. Each child who is supported costs $450
a year. “If we have raised $250,000 we can now support 500
students,” he added.
The students go to regular government schools, but the
Aim for Seva hostel supplements that with evening pro-
grams, value education, chanting, extra-curricular activities,
medical help and food.
Asked about the issues they face in India, Kapoor said,
“Our biggest problem now is they want to learn English and
most of the schools they go to do not have English teaching.
We have to get to that point slowly. We are working on that.
I think now the whole country recognizes that regional lan-
guages are good for communication, but if you want to have
a business, commerce and so forth you have to learn
“What we find is that each child from a village
becomes instrumental in upgrading the very vision
of the village.”
Visweswaran, a Bharata Natyam dancer who runs the Chidambaram Academy of Performing
Arts in Chennai and grew up in Kolkata, spoke with
India Abroad about performing the life of Meera.
“Meera was focused on her bhakti, devotion and
was a very strong woman,” she said. “Meera is a
lodestar. She is an example that everyone of us can
follow. I feel it was Meera’s determination which got
her what she wanted.”
“I really feel the strength Meera has within her, I
see that strength in every Indian woman. Many just
portray her as a woman singing Krishna’s bhajans
(devotional songs), but she was strong and focused
and you see that in the woman of today.”
Uma Sathyanarayanan, who plays the middle-
aged Meera in the production, told India Abroad,
“The role of Meera is not easy because she com-
pletely surrendered (herself) and left everything up
to Krishna. It is not easy for us humans… The con-
viction she had, the bhakti and surrender, I think we
learn very slowly in life.” Meera’s single-mindedness,
Sathyanarayanan’s 7-year-old daughter Sahasra, who per-
formed the role of the pre-teen Meera, told India Abroad, “I
like Krishna because of his skin color and because of the pea-
cock feather on his head.”
“I think she is blessed,” her mother added, “and has been
taken into this role. She might not realize, but I think it’s all
Shruti Raammohan, 16, who played the role of the teenage
Meera, told India Abroad, “It was difficult to play Meera… It’s
an experience of a lifetime.”
did my morning yoga as usual and
I am all set.’
That was Lisa Brown, the Oakland
County clerk and register of deeds, who ca-
me to the Parashakti Temple in Pontiac, Mi-
chigan, for a quick visit but liked it so much
that even after an hour sitting on the floor
she brushed aside the offer of a chair with a
Brown was attending the Rajagopuram
Maha kumbhabishekham anniversary celebration at the temple August 26-28, which
about 2,500 people attended. This marks
one year since the ceremonial temple tower,
the rajagopuram, was inaugurated.
During her two-hour visit, Brown particu-
larly enjoyed the experience of being sprin-
kled by water from the Thriveni Sangam
waters by the priest seated in the helicopter.
The celebrations included Maha Ganapat-hi Homam, Nava Graha Homam, Sri Swar-na Lakshmi Homam, Sarva Dosha Nivarana
Homam, Sri Rajagopura Devatha Homam,
Sri Rajgopura Kalasabhishekam, and Trive-ni Sangam Theertaha Prokshanam, Sri Ven-kateswara Andal Kalyana Mahostavam, and
Sri Meenakshi Somasundareswara Kalyana
Krishna Kumar, the the temple’s spiritu-
al director, gave a talk about Himalayan spi-
ritual masers and the significance of the
rajagopuram, thus providing some context
for the anniversary celebrations.
These festivities were also attended by
Andy Meisner, the Oakland County treasurer, a devotee of Parashakthi for the past 10
years and who participated in the festivities
for about two hours August 25.
The temple was built in 1999 and the inaugural pooja took place on Vijayadasami
day. The dream project of G Krishna Kumar, it draws devotees, not all of them Hindus,
from across Metro Detroit, Michigan, and
the rest of the US and the world.
Among the deities, Adi Parashakthi is
located on the seventh floor of
the eastern elevation, Vishnu (Sri Ve-
nkateswara) on the western elevation, Nat-
araja (Lord Siva) on the southern elevation
and Brahma on the northern elevation.
Different aspects of Ganesha, Subraman-ya and the great sages of Hinduism are also
represented, along with 18 major aspects of
The Parashakthi temple encourages devotees to exhibit civic responsibility; its activities include an annual food drive, and donating to the Pontiac soup kitchen.
The temple board conducts health camps
twice a year for those who need it in the
Indian community, and holds voter registration drives, too.
Aim for Seva raises over $250,000
Celebrations at Parashakti Temple in Michigan mark anniversary of rajagopuram inauguration
A moment from Meera — The Soul Divine. The money raised at the event will be used to provide a free hostel facility for underprivileged children in India.
‘IThe three-day event in Pontiac, Michigan, was attended by about 2,500 people.