Shree Pashupatinath Foundation, USA
Los Angeles, California
Monday, July 18, 2011
“We must remember that one DETERMINED person can make a significant difference, and that a SMALL GROUP OF DETERMINED PEOPLE can change the course of history.”
~Sonia Johnson, American Activist and Writer
Shree Pashupatinath Foundation, USA came into existence, in Greater Los Angeles, CA area in less than two years ago, by a group of few individuals, with the active participation of existing Nepalese organizations and also active Nepalese community members, having the following mission:
The mission of Shree Pashupatinath Foundation, USA is to promote the unique identity of Nepal in the United States as the land of Pashupatinath, the birthplace of the Buddha and Mount Everest. Shree Pashupatinath Foundation, USA aims to unite Nepalis of all religious persuasions in the United States, especially in the greater Los Angeles area, by fostering cultural and social harmonies. Toward this goal, Shree Pashupatinath Foundation, USA will build a cultural center to bring Nepalis and non-Nepalis under one roof to engage them in art, culture, education and religion which will culminate a deeper understanding of diversities in communities and nations. It is also the goal of Shree Pashupatinath Foundation, USA to build a Buddha temple along side of the Pashupatinath temple, to preserve the artistic and cultural heritage, which is reflected in Nepal’s respect and tolerance for each other.
Since its inception, Shree Pashupatinath Foundation, USA Board Members and Members of Board of Advisors, have been actively participating in various activities, to promote “Nepalipan and Nepaliman” in foreign land by conducting: Weekly Nepali School for children; Monthly Satsangs; Teaching Dance to children; participating in Holi, Mahashivaratri; Dance performance at Lhosar, Lok Dohori organized by Magar Samaj, USA and many other activities. Community Members have full co-operation to participate in these program. It is a strong UNITED community when it comes to “IDENTITY OF NEPALESE AS RESPECTED PEOPLE IN THE WORLD.”
In order to fulfill the MISSION of Shree Pashupatinath Foundation, USA, we have organized various fundraising activities and collected some amount. After consulting with other organizations which had done something similar, our Board Members and Advisors decided to organize week long “Mahapurana” in Greater Los Angeles area and invited Vaachan Siromani Deen Bandhu Pokhrel. Because of the UNITY from all other Nepalese Organizations and community members, Steering Committee was formed under the leadership of Foundation Treasurer Punnakhar “Rishi” Dhakal and we decided to start the Purana on July 4 and end on July 10, 2011. Our TEAM Members have always been open minded to learn from other’s wisdom and never had an attitude to “show off” or “self-promotion” as the final aim was to raise funds so that we could achieve our goal of raising $2 Million in the next 5 Years to : build Nepali Community Center; Shree Pashupatinath Temple and Lord Buddha Stupa in Greater Los Angeles area. Once the Steering Committee was formed, each and every TEAM member put everything aside and focused 100% to the PURANA for a whole week. After many meetings, discussion sessions, brainstorming, plans were made, to be more effective during the PURANA.
On July 4, 2010, Opening Ceremony was held under the chairmanship of Foundation Chairman Bhakta Thapa and all the Advisors of the Board: Mr. Veda Bhakta Joshi, Dr. Deepak Shimkhada, Engineer Kanhaiya Lal Kayastha, Dr. Shambhu Dhungana, Dr. Shyam Tulachan, Professor Binod Tiwari and guest Dr. Jeet Joshee (Associate Vice President and Dean, International, Continuing and Professional Education, California State University, Long Beach).
Gokul Poudyal, Vice President of the Foundation, gave welcome speech; Program Co-ordinator Punnakhar “Rishi” Dhakal, spoke about the program details; General Secretary of the Foundation Prem Guragain read the greetings from H.E. Ambassador Shankar P. Sharma and other local Nepalese Organizations. After that, Pandit Deen Bandhu Pokhrel spoke about the importance of the Mahapurana and encouraged everybody to participate for the whole week and let others know about it. Finally, Chairman Bhakta Thapa thanked everybody and concluded the “Opening Ceremony”, to start Mahapurana. Surya Prasai did a wonderful job of announcing the program since day one to the end.
Various committees did wonderful job organizing everything (ladies volunteers had a tremendous role to make it very smooth) and a new person could feel absolute UNITY, happy environment inside the temple where the program was organized. People with open heart, pledged the amount, paid cash, wrote checks and everyday, there were exciting and encouraging news from donors. Donors had donated in the loving memory of their parents, brothers, sister in law, brother in law; encouraging their children, grand children and the list is endless. It was a heart touching environment and many community members came everyday after work since Purana was from 5PM to 9 PM everyday except on Sunday, it was from 8AM to 12 Noon.
There have been donors from ONE PENNY (Tilak Karki) who donated his time from day one to the last day and took over 10,000 pictures and distributed to each family, and donors like Aka Raj and Neera Pandey who donated $111,111.11 and gave $25,000.00 cash already. Other great donors who wanted this DREAM of the community to be fulfilled as soon as possible were: Ram Lama ($66,666.66), Veda B. Joshi ($57,808.00), Punnakhar “Rish” &Bimala, Bhim&Saraswoti Dhakal($55,555.55), Bhakta & Nanu Thapa ($50,151.00), Rajendra & Sangita Siwakoti($50,151.00) , Shiva Adhikari ($40,000.00), Basudev & Lata Ghimire ($35,555.00), Keshar & Sujana Bhandari ($25,555.55), Engineer Kanhaiya Lal Kayastha & Mrs. Rohini Lata Kayastha ($25,175.11) , Gokul & Sulakhana Poudyal ($25,111.11), Rajesh & Bhawani Pandey ($15,151.51) and many more generous donors. Gokul Poudyal had also pledged to donate 10 cents from each box of incense, imported from Nepal. Prem & Brinda Guragain, donated $15,001.00 also pledged to contribute 20% Royalty from CD Album and a book, being published soon. There were almost three hundred families who donated from ONE PENNY to $111,111.11. The amount donated in seven days Purana was just over ONE MILLION U.S. Dollars.
It was not just the amount of money that was donated, people had generously contributed their time, skills, networking and brought so many families to the Purana.
On the final day on Sunday, July 10, 2011, program was concluded with Thank You speech by Foundation Vice Chairman Shiva K. Adhikari, the final report was presented by Punnakhar “Rishi” Dhakal, H.E. Ambassador Shankar P. Sharma from Washington DC congratulated the organizers, Mr. Veda B. Joshi talked about honoring the commitment and finally chairman Bhakta Thapa thanked all the participants as well as the volunteers and there was an inspiring talk by Pandit Deen Bandhu Pokhrel. Chairman Bhakta Thapa and Mr. Veda B. Joshi, had given the “Certification of Appreciation” to Pandit Deen Bandhu Pokhrel. “Lakh Baati” was burned outside by more than seven families (One Lakh each). It was overall, an event to remember for life and “Historical Event” for people living in and around Greater Los Angeles area.
There have been so many miracles and every participant in the Purana felt great since the volunteers were from small children all the way to older people, holding hands together, to make the Purana a grand success. “Prasad” Team led by Mukunda Dhungana, did a fabulous job, of making sure that each individual had “Prasad” before they went home. Still today, many community members talk about the smooth operation in the kitchen. Mandap Committee led by Nanu Thapa, Neera Pandey, Manita Basnet, and many other wonderful ladies made the MANDAPA look beautiful and attractive.
Music TEAM led by Pratap Rijal and other committed TEAM members made the environment so spiritual that everybody felt like dancing on the floor. Pandit Bishnu Paudel and Pandit Mukunda Dawadi helped Pandit Deen Bandhu Pokhrel, for the whole seven days. Volunteers at the gate, reception area, T-Shirts Table, Cash Collection, Media, Sound System, Photography/ Video Recording, Phul/Prasad managing, Public Relations, Volunteer Arrangement, Panchkanya Arrangement, Community Mobilization, Publication and Printing, Souvenir, Computer & IT support, Announcement and Communication, had done a remarkable job. There have been more than 100 committed volunteers who made this a grand success.
The success of the event was because of the selfless heart, hard work, dedication, commitment, UNITY by each and every volunteer involved in the PURANA.
The following quote by Aesop, Ancient Greek Fabulist applied to this event:
“UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL.”
We believe in UNITY and know for sure that our DREAM as a community, will be fulfilled in less than 5 Years.
Thank you Punnakhar “Rishi” Dhakal, the Program Co-Ordinator and all the Officers of the Foundation for your commitment, hard work, dedication, loving heart and selfless acts. We are one STRONG TEAM, moving forward in fast speed.
At the end, I would like to thank our Media TEAM: Rajendra Siwakoti, Sudip Pant, Gokul Poudyal and Gokul Dhakal, who worked tirelessly to promote the event and spread the most positive, exciting news out there so that more and more people came next day, the following day and were overwhelmed by seeing the UNITY of the people under one roof.
We are publishing the name of “Donors” and would like to thank you for your generous donations which will help us fulfill the MISSION of the Foundation in a very near future. Your contributions mean “everything” to us and always hope to get continuous support in the future.
Since there have been many donors and supporters, you might find a few mistakes on your name, amount or comments. I apologize in advance and promise you that as soon as we hear from you, we will correct it right away. Please contact us through email at : firstname.lastname@example.org or through the website: http://www.pashupatinathfoundation.org.
General Secretary and Media Co-Ordinator
Shree Pashupatinath Foundation, USA