Sri Venkateswara Temple (SVT) in Helensburgh (near Sydney, Australia) is reportedly adopting a cow (and a calf) for worshipping and using its milk for sprinkling on temple deities in a religious ritual.
It is being done under “Goshala Project”, whose prime objective is to perform Gomatha Pooja (Mother Cow Worship). “We intend to kick start with one cow with a calf at it's feet and yes it's mainly for Gomatha Pooja and use the fresh milk for Abhishegam for the deities”, according to Temple Committee Secretary Seetha Raman. “And very importantly, we have found a fairly calm, hand-raised cow that has yielded just a few weeks ago and for the very first time”, he adds.
Meanwhile, distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, commended the Temple leaders and area community for keeping the ancient Hindu traditions alive in Australia by undertaking “Goshala Project”.
Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, points out: Cow is worshipped by Hindus world over. Rig-Veda, the oldest existing scripture of the mankind, describes cow as aghnya (not slayable). Lord Krishna, shown as cowherd many times, is also known as Gopala (protector of cows). There is a belief that cow was created the same day as Brahma (creator god). Also referred as “Mother Cow”, this divine animal, venerated from an early period, is the abode of many deities in Hinduism. Mahatma Gandhi reportedly said, “I yield to none in my worship of the cow”.
SVT deities include Venkateswara, Mahalakshmi, Chandramouleeswarar, Thripurasundari, Ganesh, Subrahmanya, Navagraha, Durgambika, Rama, Andal, Krishna, Brahma, Hanuman, Garuda, Sudharsana, Viswakshena, Dhakshinamurthy and Chandikesa. It has six priests well-versed in “Sanskrit, Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu besides English”, reports suggest.
This Temple, whose construction on Sastras-based architecture was launched in 1978 and was consecrated in 1985, opens 365 days a year. Its “Vision” includes developing it “as a pre-eminent Hindu Temple of world standing” and its “Values” include “work towards a collective harmony in our society”.
Besides various Ceremonial Rituals with Abhishegam, each costing $250, this Temple priests can also perform Car Pooja. Its Vidyalaya undertakes various free educational programs, including Sloka Chanting. Under its “Darshan” program, it brings the temple to you and has done that in the past in several Sydney suburbs, which included chanting session.
SVT is also reportedly planning to build a 600-seat Education/Cultural Hall with modern multimedia facilities and costing about $2 million. It has a "Garland Making" Sub-Committee and for the last several years, “Every Thursday early morning, groups of ladies buy fresh flowers from markets & make garlands and decorative flower strings for all deities at the temple.” It has a “Kalyana Mandapam” for traditional marriage rituals, which the temple offers to decorate with fresh flowers on request. It also sells small deity idols for mounting on car dashboards.