New York Hindu Temple - Astoria, Queens

In the year 2003, Swami Ramakrishnananda founded the Bhaktivedanta Mission in order to spread the ancient wisdom of the Sanatana-dharma religion. As an intrinsic part of this endeavor, Swami Ramakrishnananda undertook the construction of the Radhe-Shyam Temple to be a center for the religious functions and a home for the community of devotees. The Radhe-Shyam temple is a fully functioning Hindu temple in New York.

Swami Ramakrishnananda’s vision was to create a place that will faithfully present Hinduism in all its different aspects, offer instructive knowledge to those unfamiliar with Sanatana-dharma, and at the same time provide an orthodox temple where any devotee or believer can receive proper darsana of the deities.

After considerable renovations, in which a simple East Village space was converted to a place appropriate for worship, the lengthy and delicate work began of preparing the temples devoted to each and every deity. One by one, the altars for Lord Shiva, Ganesha, Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati and Kali were erected. A special place was chosen for Sri Sri Radhe-Shyam, the temple’s main deities.

With an authoritative installation ceremony led by several brahmanas, the temple was officially inaugurated. Ever since, puja ceremonies have been conducted every day for all the gods. The ceremonies are conducted by personal disciples of Swami Ramakrishnananda, and also by qualified brahmanas, striving together to achieve the highest standards of worship possible. Once a week, as well as on special holidays, an abhisheka ceremony is performed to one of the gods, usually followed by a kirtana, lecture or Vedic arts performance.

In the Radhe-Shyam temple, the recitation and proper pronunciation of Vedic mantras is incorporated into the sadhana, or practice, of the devotees at the Bhaktivedanta Mission. The recitation and proper pronunciation of Vedic mantras is an essential part of the worship. It has an intensely purifying affect on the both the listener and the person who chants. These Vedic hymns are taken from the pages of the Vedas, the most sacred and ancient scriptures of Hinduism, and consist of various prayers and invocations to the gods. After every recitation, when the mind is focused and purified, the conditions are appropriate for silent meditation.

“The mandirs have to play a significant role in the growth of the Hindu community in terms of its capacity to uphold Hindu Dharma  Swami Dayananda Saraswati

“We need to make temples not just a center of rituals and congregation but lighthouses of philosophy and knowledge, which are the basis of Hindu dharma.”  Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

“Creating an environment where the youth understand, appreciate and love their Hindu culture is a crucial need today, as is uniting all Hindu temples under one umbrella.” Swami Chidananda Saraswati