Using the ancient technology of Vedic Yagyas
to solve modern day problems.
Yagya Friends,

I wanted to share with you news and information about the beautiful Saraswati temple that we constructed starting in 2017. The temple is now fully operational and the traditional installation of our Saraswati has been completed. Now we can fully enjoy her with pujas and yagyas on a daily basis.

The newsletter below will detail the history of the Saraswati temple construction with lots of photos and explanations.

I think it is worth noting that there are 38,615 temples in Tamil Nadu. There is only one larger Saraswati temple, so we've accomplished something quite exceptional and credit goes to all who have supported and participated in the yagyas over the years. Thank you!

Best regards,
Ben Collins
Our Saraswati Temple is located on the grounds of a beautiful rural Durga temple a few km outside of Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, South India.

This temple has an interesting history. Many years ago, Sri Chandrashekarendra Saraswati, the Shankaracharya in Kanchipuram who lived to be 100 years old, was walking to Chennai when he passed the area in which this temple is located. He stopped for a few minutes and indicated where those who accompanied him should dig down several feet. When they did, they found a beautiful Durga statue (below) that was about 3 feet tall.

The temple was built on that spot to house the newly discovered murti. An additional large granite Durga was installed behind her. The temple has grown over the years with smaller temples for Ganesha, the Navagraha (nine planets) and Ashta-Lakshmi (eight forms of Lakshmi). We've used them all over the years for our yagya program. Additional temple photos follow below.
Saraswati is the goddess of wisdom and learning, the wife of Brahma (the creator), and one of the few goddesses who are mentioned in the Vedas. She's associated with rivers that are both cleansing and fertile. In the Rig Veda, she is invoked as a force who heals illness and disease.

She is the goddess of speech and is said to reside on the tip of Brahma's tongue. She is always shown playing the veena, a musical instrument similar to a sitar. Another hand is holding a mala for counting mantra repetitions, and the other hand is holding a palm leaf text denoting her role as goddess of knowledge and learning.

The following photo is the statue that sits over the entrance to our temple.
Our Chief Priest, Seetharma Sastry handled all of the design and construction arrangements. Traditional temple design and construction are managed by a silpi - a highly trained individual, and we were fortunate to have a great one designing and constructing our temple.
Initially, construction went well and we made rapid progress but then ran into problems with a government official who wouldn't issue a permit to complete the building. So we moved Saraswati into a temporary temple space and began the pujas.

Thanks to Seetharma Sastry, the carving was more delicate and detailed than usual, so she attracted quite a lot of attention from temple visitors.
About a year ago, we were able to re-start the construction and completed the temple a few months ago. The exterior walls are brick covered with concrete. In the following photos, you can see the delicate decorative features on the walls that give the temple such a pleasing elegance.
The temple walls were painted and a sunshade/rain shelter was installed because the temple attracts a lot of people on the weekends and holidays.
The steps and interior are surfaced with two different colors of granite and a traditional silver arch sits behind her.
The process of installing the deity in her new home (called Kumba Abishekam) is a lengthy and elaborate process that has its basis in vedic traditions that are hundreds if not thousands of years old.

The ritual is based on purifying the temple with water that has been sanctified with specific vedic mantras and pujas. The water is contained in 108 conch shells that are taken to the roof of the temple and then poured over the building in a ritual of purification. Then the deity is woken up in her new home with an abishekam of water, milk, and sandalwood. She is then dressed and decorated as you'll see in the last section of photos below.
And now, every day she has her abishekam bath in water, milk, and scented sandalwood. She's dressed in a beautiful sari with multiple flower malas. The priests show her much love and devotion as do those who visit the temple.

In the afternoon local children and students from a nearby college sit by the temple to do their homework and studying.

Together, our community has created something very unique and it will provide us with much good karma along into the future.
Saraswati Mahabhage
Vidye Kamala lochane
Vishwaroope Vishalakshi
Vidyam dehi namosthuthe

I honor Goddess Saraswati,
who has eyes as beautiful as lotuses,
You are the manifestation of infinite knowledge,
shower me with your blessings.

Thank you to everyone who has participated in our yagyas over the years. Your ongoing support has made this beautiful temple possible. It will bless many people's lives for years to come, especially yours.