By Ranjan Zed
Ridgeview Shree Omkar Mandir in Harare (Zimbabwe), which re-opened on June 26 after over three months closure due to COVID-19, has been shut down again for the same reason.
Executive Committee of The Hindoo Society Harare (HSH), which runs the temple, in an email on July 24 to its members, stated that all “events, meetings, gatherings and visits of any nature, are to cease and are hereby either cancelled or postponed”…“The Society Priest, alone, will continue to perform the daily Aarti”.
“Infection from and the transmission of the Covid-19 virus can no longer be considered, a remote or distant threat. It is, metaphorically, at our doorstep”, the email added.
Other HSH run Cameron Street Shree Omkar Mandir also reportedly continues to be shut. Both the temples were shut down “until further notice” due to coronavirus outbreak in an email directive on March 24. Schools run by the HSH—Westridge High School, Westridge Primary School, Gujarati School—were also reportedly closed. But the Ridgeview Shree Omkar Mandir had a “limited opening” from June 26.
Cameron Street Shree Omkar Mandir celebrated 90th anniversary in February 2019, while 25th anniversary of Ridgeview Shree Omkar Mandir was observed in 2017. HSH “intends to publish a written record” of the hundred years of “community’s existence in Zimbabwe”.
Commending HSH for attempting necessary precautions and actions to combat deadly coronavirus and educating the community, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, urged Hindus to draw closer to God through prayer during COVID-19.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, suggested Hindus pray at least twice daily in their home shrines with total devotion and pure heart. These prayers might include making offerings to ista-devata, chanting mantras, reading sacred texts, performing aarti and bhajans, doing puja, etc.
Hindus are God’s people, full of courage and generosity. Petition God for the common good of all the local and world communities during these times of confusion and suffering, Rajan Zed says.
In the pre-COVID-19 times, HSH reportedly had been conducting various bhajan events, twice-weekly yoga classes, Hindi lessons, cultural/social activities; organized daily aarti at both the temples with Havan on Sundays; and offered funeral assistance for bereaved families; etc.; besides running Mahila Mandal, Shishu Mandal and Yuvak Mandal.
Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.