A majority of the immigrants to Regina from India came after the independence of that country in 1947. They were professionals with training in various fields—not labourers as was the case a century earlier on the Canadian West Coast. Due to the lack of ethnocultural organizations in Regina, most of these immigrants kept their faith through daily or weekly worship in their homes, or by regular reading of Hindu scripture. In the early 1960s, as the number of the Hindu families increased in the city of Regina, Hindus started to gather in their homes. These gatherings were primarily social and ethnocultural in flavour. In the early 1970s, Ramesh Aire initiated and kept alive the religious get-togethers in the form of satsangs (devotional singing); occasionally, such weekend satsangs were taken to surrounding towns in rural Saskatchewan. He was instrumental in organizing the celebrations of various Hindu festivals at such Regina venues as the Odd Fellows’ Temple or other similar community centres. Organizations such as India Association, India Canada Association, Indo-Canada Cultural Organization, ISKCON Temple, Gujrati Samaj, Gita Study Circle, Regina Yoga and Meditation Centre, and Sri Satya Sai Centre assisted Hindus in keeping their faith.
On May 24, 1987, six local Hindu organizations joined forces to establish a Hindu temple. The new organization was named Hindu Samaj of Southern Saskatchewan (Hindu Society of Southern Saskatchewan). Under the direction of Dr. Krishna Kumar, the board members worked hard to raise funds from across southern Saskatchewan for the construction of the temple. In the summer of 1989, Dr. Usharbudh Arya conducted the Bhoomi Pooja (sod turning ceremony); the following year construction started, and the doors of the new temple opened to devotees in September 1990 on Vijya Dashmi Day. Murthi Sthapana (installation of the deities) took place in October 1993 under the direction of Dr. Shreedhar Jachak.
Presently, satsang is observed every Sunday. The resource centre is used for Hindu Vidyalaya (Sunday school) and Bhavan (basement hall) for congregational feasts and other non-religious activities. In order to create better understanding of the Hindu faith, the Hindu Samaj organizes open houses for public viewing, and lectures on spirituality are given by visiting swamies from India; the Hindu Samaj also offers a student scholarship at the University of Regina for the study of Hinduism. Hindu Samaj is a founding member of the Regina Multi-Faith Forum.
Krishan C. Kapila
For more information please visit: http://www.reginahindutemple.ca/