Bhavaanee Maa Mandir 239 McKinley Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11208 President: Naidoo R Veerapen 917-714-7596
Copyright 2008 Bhavaanee Maa Mandir, All rights Reserved
HISTORY OF THE BHAVANEE MAA MANDIR
The history behind the BHAVANEE MAA MANDIR is indeed a story of the triumph of selflessness and devotion over all odds. It is a demonstration of the power of inspired leadership which can motivate ordinary people to remarkable achievements. And of course, it is an example of the divine Mother showing her children that, in her name, everything is possible.
The members of the BHAVANEE MAA MANDIR grew from a small group of twenty-seven devotees, thirsting for a place of worship. On Sunday, April 10, 1994, this group met at the Hemlock Street residence of Pandit Mahendra Doobay for Satsangh. At the conclusion of Satsangh, Panditji asked the members to consider the idea of holding regular Satsanghs, and to try to locate a suitable place to do so. In the meantime, Pandit Doobay offered the use of his humble dwelling until an alternative venue could be arranged.
A member of the group, well known to all as Aunty Shiela, informed us that she had a vacant basement at which she wanted us to conduct satsanghs for as long as we wished. No one says no to Aunty Shiela, and the following Sunday the group held Satsangh at Aunty Shiela’s basement at 231 Forbell Street, Brooklyn, NY.
It was while Satsanghs were held in this basement, during the period of Navaraatri, that the name for the proposed temple was selected. After a very moving Durga Pooja, Panditji was inspired to suggest the name “ Bhavanee Maa Mandir “ , and this name was enthusiastically accepted by the entire congregation. We continued to meet every Sunday at Aunty Shiela’s home and our numbers grew. On May 1, 1994, an executive was elected with Bhai Bhoj Dindyal as president, and then things really took off.
First Bhai Bhoj offered the use of the basement in a building that he owned just a stone’s throw away in Glenmore Avenue. He led the group in making the basement ready, and donated it free of cost for an indefinite period of time. With the full support of all the members, especially the Lakshmi Sabha, the new premises were made ready in a month’s time, and we occupied it on June 6, 1994. We were all happy and excited at the thought of our own exclusive venue for Sunday Satsanghs. However, we did not really know Bhai Bhoj and Pandit Doobay, who must have received special instructions from Mother herself. Our membership was growing at a terrific rate, and after surveying the congestion at a few Satsanghs, Bhai Bhoj decided to donate a first floor apartment to the temple. We would have more space to worship in, and the basement would be used as a kitchen and dining hall. We went to work again, high on enthusiasm but low on skills and cash. However, the dedication of the membership saw us through all our difficulties and in six months we were ready to move into our beautiful new temple.
On January 15, 1995, the beginning of Utarayan Nakchatra, a splendid and heart warming ceremony was held to mark the opening of the BHAVANEE MAA MANDIR. There was a large crowd on hand, which included some well known and respected priests. Satsanghs at 155 Glenmore Avenue in Brooklyn was a joy to experience every Sunday and on our Festival days. We finally had a permanent temple which we dressed up with murtis and pictures and adored. Word spread far and wide, and many people came to join us at Satsangh and to listen to our priest. Very often, the congregation would overflow into the lobby of the building as our numbers continued to grow, but we were contented.
It seemed though that our Priest and President were not contented, and did not intend that we should relax either. Or was it Bhavanee Maa who knew that we were capable of more and did not want us to stop just yet? To get to the point, the President and the Executive decided that we needed a larger building to fulfill the needs of a growing group of Bhavanee Maa’s devotees. A building at Sheridan and McKinley was soon identified and the decision to purchase it was made. There followed a demonstration of support and commitment from the members that was very touching. Some of us were nearly brought to tears one Sunday by the remarkable commitment of cash donations from devotees present, especially our younger and teenage members. We knew then that there was no stopping us. Again the forces went to work, day and night, night and day. Many people gave selflessly of their time and labor, and cash too. We bore in mind a challenge that our priest, Pandit Doobay, had given us on Diwali 1996, that we must celebrate Diwali 1997 in our own building. It looked impossible at some stages of construction, but a dream was realized when we were able to celebrate Diwali on October 30, 1997 in the home of Bhavaanee Maa at 239 McKinley Avenue.
Today we celebrate the opening of this spanking new, beautiful Mandir dedicated to the worship of Bhavaanee Maa. It was not easy, but it was not difficult either….it was work resulting from love and devotion. On looking back we see a small group of twenty seven people that dared to dream and hope, and have faith. Merely three years later this dream became a reality, even surpassing our expectations. With Bhavanee Maa’s blessing and the leadership of our executive and spiritual leader, we have finally established our permanent place of worship. Our founding leaders have always dreamed of an organization that would provide a fountain of religious knowledge and inspiration to the Hindus in Queens/Brooklyn, especially our youthful members. How successful we are would be revealed in the years to come.