Swami Vivekananda Spiritual Centre Inaugurated in Chicago

via PTI published on August 7, 2010

 CHICAGO, IL  – A spiritual centre dedicated to Swami Vivekananda, who introduced the world to Indian spirituality and Hinduism, was inaugurated at a Hindu temple here.

Swami Vivekananda Spiritual Centre was inaugurated by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at the temple at Greater Chicago on July 20.

“We had a vision of developing the Vivekananda Centre,” Chairman of the Vivekananda Committee Krishna Reddy said.

The construction of the $one million meditation centre started last August and it took 11 months to complete.

Another $150,000 will go toward ornamental decoration or carving of ‘gopurams’ of the meditation centre which will be completed by April 2011.”

The 3300-square-feet centre will be used for meditation and yoga classes. It will also provide books and other reading materials. The mediation hall is 2,000 square feet.

The centre is next to a bronze Swami Vivekananda statue weighing one ton and standing 10 feet and 2 inches tall. It is the only Swami Vivekananda statue outside India.

Originally meant for Grant Park in Chicago, the statue was installed at the temple in 1998 because the city council rejected to place it at the downtown park on account of religious reasons.

The statue was made by the Vedanta Society of Chicago.

Swami Vivekananda was the first Hindu monk ever to visit America. He made his famous speech to the Parliament of World’s Religions on September 11, 1893 in Chicago and introduced the world to Indian spirituality and Hinduism.

His philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga are well known.

In May this year, India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced that India will be celebrating Swami Vivekananda’s 150 birthday anniversary and he was looking for cooperation outside India.

“Swami Vivekananda Spiritual Centre will be a good resource for the government of India since it is celebrating 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda on January 12, 2013,” Reddy added.

Singh suggested a 12-point plan to commemorate the event and setting up of a National Implementation Committee under chairmanship of Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

The high-level committee headed by Singh also discussed creation of Vivekananda chairs in universities, particularly at Chicago University, preservation of some important heritage sites, and encouraging student participation. It also decided to commemorate the Chicago address.             

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