Shirdi Sai Sansthan Melbourne Inc. marked its tenth anniversary (Sthapana Devas) on 14 April
The first ever Shirdi Sai Baba Temple in Victoria, it has grown in every way possible. Located in leafy-green Camberwell, the Sansthan is central to most Melbournians and attracts many devotees from all walks of life.
“The peace is what draws me to the Mandir every Thursday,” says a regular devotee.
Not only does the Mandir act as a place of solace and a place for prayer and meditation, it also provides avenues for newly arrived students and families to network with other locals. Many friendships have been formed and the community has benefited immensely. Attracting record crowds, the Mandir is truly an eye opener for locals and immigrants.
The late Hiro (Harry) Pamamull OAM and family founded the Mandir along with the inspirational vision of Neelu Jaggi. Thanks to a dedicated team of hard-working volunteers and a strong committee, the Mandir has achieved many notable improvements over the years. A commercial kitchen, construction of the Dwarkamai and Chavdi, upgrades to the function hall and the general premises, and the addition of many new idols have enriched the temple.
Over two thousand people attended the Mandir on Sthapana Devas this yeat. Asked why it marked a special event for the Mandir, committee member Paresh said, “It was the genuine donation and efforts of the public that got us here”.
Angus, a truly humble and genuine devotee, commented, “I have been coming to the Mandir for many years now and serve mahaprasad on Thursdays. It gives me immense happiness and satisfaction to help out”.
A jugalbandi performance by devout individuals involving tabla, mridingam, harmonium, keyboard and vocals captivated all attendees. Accompanying the music was an outstanding professional artist Navneet Agnihotri, who drew live on stage a portrait of Sai Baba whilst bhajans played in the background. Committee member Anurag noted that “all were amazed at the ease with which he used his brush”. The repetitive lyrical incantations provided an uplifting environment filled with joy and positivity.
Sunitha, a committee member, praised the commitment by the community. “It was great to see the results of our hard work. Past committees have worked hard to develop the Mandir to what it is today and we, the present committee, could not be more appreciative and thankful to those who have donated considerable time, money and support.”
The two teachings of Shirdi Sai Baba – faith (shraddha) and patience (saburi) – resonate well in the work done by the Mandir.
I have myself volunteered at the temple with my parents since its inception and have made many friendships. As a non-profit, the temple provides a home away from home for many Indians, Sri Lankans, South-East Asians and those who have travelled from other parts of the world. Many of the relatives and parents of those who settle in Melbourne have supported the Mandir with items for the tuckshop, Baba’s clothes, books, idols and frames.
A number of activities and programs are held throughout the year such as yoga classes, Hanuman Chalisa, Gayathri Mantra, Satyanarayana Puja, Veda chanting, community projects and much more.
“There is always something happening at the Mandir and that is why I bring my family here once a week,” a devotee explained on the night.
Notable dignitaries that joined the celebrations included Victorian Multicultural Commissioner (VMC) Chidambaram Srinivasan, the Pamamull family (Freda, Tracy and Anthony), past committee members and major donors and supporters.
The Mandir is open every day and welcomes all. Mahaprasad is served on Thursday evening, Sunday lunchtime and on special occasions. The Mandir hall can be booked for functions. Visit the temple’s website and Facebook page to view upcoming events and activities. Hope to see you there!