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Updated Covid-19 Guidelines
Given that the Covid-19 infection rate is now raised to MEDIUM level in our county (as per CDC county-wise map), please adhere to the following updated Covid-19 guidelines while visiting the temple. This may change if the infection rate level changes in the future.

  • Please stay up to date with the Covid-19 vaccine and booster doses as per CDC guidelines.
  • Please do not visit Temple if you have Covid-19 symptoms or you’re in close contact with Covid-19 patient. Please get tested ASAP and follow CDC-recommended quarantine guidelines.
  • Wearing a mask while visiting the Temple is highly recommended. If you are at high risk for severe illness or you are not fully vaccinated, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need to take any other precautions, and adhere to those while visiting Temple.
  • Please continue to follow good hand hygiene.
  • Be respectful to all Temple volunteers & follow directions provided by them.

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OUR MISSION

The Mission of the Hindu Temple of Bloomington-Normal is to meet the  Dharmic, and cultural needs of the Hindu-Jain community, preserve and promote the Hindu way of life, Vedic knowledge, and Yoga practices. The Temple will be open to all followers of the Dharmic traditions. Recognizing the diversity of the Dharmic spiritual practices that exist within the Hindu community, the temple intends to embrace all Pantha of the Hindu Dharma and the teachings of all great Rishi, Rishika, and Gurus of India.

एकं सद् विप्रा बहुधा वदन्ति
Truth is one, wise express it differently

Trustees

Agarwal Yogesh

Anagani Srinivas & Jhansi

Baru Krishna Rao & Vijaya

Bhardwaj Davender (Late) & Anjala

Bhaskara Sridhar & Rani

Bhat Ram & Yashoda

Bommaveddi Pratap Reddy & Swarna Kala

Chandak Shri & Asha

Chaudhari Ramesh & Pushpa

Damera Bhaskar & Seeta

Deoskar Uday & Anita

Desai Chetan & Jignasa

Duvvuri Rao & Lakshmi

Gandhi Mukesh & Nayana

Goel Rajeev & Priya

Gordhan Ajeet & Chetna

Gulati Rakesh & Radha

Gupta Babulal & Jyotsna

Gupta Jagdish & Indira

Jagasia Ishwar & Maya

Kantamneni Sridhar & Anu

Krishna Balakrishnan & Uma Kailasam

Krishna Suresh & Padmashree Suresh

Malpani Ajay & Vaishali

Mundlapudi Rammohan & Aruna

Namadurai Ezhil & Rajitha

Patel Harish & Damini

Patel Jivan & Savita

Patel Keyur & Pinky

Patel Vikram & Sushila

Pathi Hari & Ratna

Prasad Vani & Latha

Saksena CB & Kamlesh

Saxena Sanjay & Seema

Shah Nilesh & Sharmila

Shah Samir & Reshma

Shekara Chandra & Archana

Sureka Amod & Rachna

Vakkalanka Bhanu & Sasikala

Yerrabolu Venkat & Meera

Become a Temple trustee now

executive committee

Sanjay Saxena
President
(309)287-6368
Rao Duvvuri
President-Elect 2023
(309)287-1741
Mukesh Gandhi
Treasurer
(309)287-3682
Chetan Desai
Secretary
(309)287-2624

directors

Communication Committee
Sampath Narra
Chair
Amaravathy Karthik
Co- Chair
Cultural Activity Committee
Krishnaja Bammidipati
Chair
Gouri Karandikar
Co- Chair
Education Committee
Sudhir Pai
Chair
TBD
Co- Chair
Events Committee
Deepak Maheshwari
Chair
TBD
Co- Chair
Facility Committee
Prakash Rajagopal
Chair
Vikram Patel
Co- Chair
Fund Raising Committee
Jhansi Anagani
Chair
Srinivas Anagani
Co- Chair
Pooja Committee
Aravind Hariharan
Chair
Balaji Ranganathan
Co- Chair
Prasadam Committee
Jyotsna Gupta & Kumud Damani
Chair
Jyotsna Gupta & Kumud Damani
Co- Chair
Public Relations Committee
Sankar Kurumbail
Chair
Chandra Shekara
Co- Chair
Technology & Security Committee
Sridhar Kantamneni
Chair
Srividhya Vishwanathan
Co- Chair
Youth Engagement
Alkesh Chaudhari
Chair
Amit Gupta
Co- Chair
ad hoc committees
FINANCE COMMITTEE
Mukesh Gandhi
Chair
BYLAWS
Ramesh Choudhary
Chair
TEMPLE REOPENING COMMMITTEE
Chetan Desai
Chair
PRIEST COMMITTEE
Chetan Desai
Chair
CONSTRUCTION COMMITTEE
Sanjay Saxena
Chair
COMMUNITY SUPPORT COMMITTEE
Sudhir Pai
Chair
our services

Keeping Our Temple Running Smoothly

PRASADAM

Sewa (service) is important part of Hindu worship. Volunteers prepare Satvik food for Devotees every weekend in a hygienic environment.

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POOJA SERVICES

We do not seek to reconstruct the church and monastery of St. Catharine, but to preserve it in a safe condition to future generations.

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EDUCATION AND YOGA

Our specific goal is to improve nutrition and ensure these orphans attend primary school at Mwererwe Church.

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EVENTS AND FESTIVALS

Mission is to establish village-level loan hubs to provide capital and support to rural women in the lowest income brackets in East Africa

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YUVA- YOUTH CLUB

Youth Club seeks to provide middle, high school and college students with a space for spiritual growth, motivates to follow Hindu Dharma, provides opportunities for full engagement in various activities of HTBN.

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FACILITY RENTALS

Our specific goal is to improve nutrition and ensure these orphans attend primary school at Mwererwe Church.

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Communication

Our church is open and friendly with many social activities. To keep our church running smoothly, we have committees.

READ MORE
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Fundraising

We exist to represent Christ to our community and world so that they might see Jesus and realize all that God has planned for them!

READ MORE
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Public Relations

We invite you to see for yourself how exciting church can be when the focus is simple and people are free to go after God with passion.

READ MORE
our services

Keeping Our Temple Running Smoothly

PRASADAM

Sewa (service) is important part of Hindu worship. Volunteers prepare Satvik food for Devotees every weekend in a hygienic environment.

Pre-request

POOJARI SERVICES

Our highly qualified priests are available to perform the Hindu Samskaras and various other Homams, Vrathas and Parayanas from our Vedic scriptures.

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EDUCATION AND YOGA

Our goal is to offer the ancient Hindu wisdom, be it for the mind or body in the most comprehensible way to youth and adults.

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EVENTS AND FESTIVALS

We celebrate all festivals as per our Shastras and with utmost fervor. The festivals include Poojas/Havans/Abhishekams performed by our Pujaaris and devotees are able to participate in the celebration.

view services

YUVA- YOUTH CLUB

Youth Club seeks to provide middle, high school and college students with a space for spiritual growth, motivates to follow Hindu Dharma, provides opportunities for full engagement in various activities of HTBN.

view services

FACILITY RENTALS

We offer our facility to our devotees to rent for their private functions and celebrations that are performed according to the Hindu tradition.

view services
Black dove icon on white background

Communication

Our church is open and friendly with many social activities. To keep our church running smoothly, we have committees.

READ MORE
Black bible icon on white background

Fundraising

We exist to represent Christ to our community and world so that they might see Jesus and realize all that God has planned for them!

READ MORE
Black goblet icon on white background

Public Relations

We invite you to see for yourself how exciting church can be when the focus is simple and people are free to go after God with passion.

READ MORE

Coming Soon

1. All activities shall be in keeping with the dignity and respect for the sanctity of a holy place and according to Hindu Traditions.

2. Behaviors in and around the temple facility not conforming to the sanctity of temple, the Hindu traditions and disturbing to the community at large will not be tolerated.

3. Before entering the worship area, please remove all footwear / winter coats and place them in the designated area.

4. No one is allowed in the sanctum area except the priest conducting the worship and volunteers helping the priest

5. Please maintain silence in the temple (including hallways) especially when pooja services are in progress.

6. Please contact temple front desk staff (or priest if no staff is available) for any information about puja services.

7. Please do not leave the children unsupervised in the temple.

8. Please help us maintaining the temple clean by properly disposing of all waste at appropriate waste baskets.

9. Please keep the cell phones and pagers in silent or vibrate mode.

10. All special pooja services, religious services (in the temple or outside the temple) should be confirmed through the HTBN management.

11. Do not change heating and cooling system of the facility.

12. Only trained persons should use the PA system and other equipment.

13. No smoking, no alcoholic beverages or chewing gum in the temple premises.

14. All non-monetary items or donations require approval by the temple management.

15. No items shall be taken or removed from temple premises by any individual.

16. Prasad could be served in the prayer hall but all other food must be served in dining area.

17. Only vegetarian food without onion and garlic will be served in the temple area.

18. No outside food allowed unless permitted by HTBN management.

19. No pets allowed in the temple premises unless medical necessity.

20. No soliciting in the temple premises.

21. All devotees must assume the legal liability and responsibility.

22. The board of trustees will not be responsible for any injury or lost or damaged personal items.

23. Anyone not conforming to HTBN guideline will be escorted out of the temple premises.

Hindu Temple of Bloomington-Normal (HTBN)

1815 Tullamore Avenue,

Bloomington/Normal, Illinois 61704

Website: www. HTBN.org

Federal Identification Number 20-8070287

State Incorporated in Illinois

Incorporation File # 6528-1279

Date Amended: September 21, 2021

I. Name

The name of the Organization is the Hindu Temple of Bloomington-Normal, hereafter referred to as the “Temple”.

II. Nature and Status

1. The Temple is a not-for-profit organization under the laws of Illinois State and the United States Federal Governments.

2. All State of Illinois and United States Federal Government laws shall preempt provisions mentioned herein this document.

III. Mission

The Mission of the Hindu Temple of Bloomington-Normal is to meet the religious, spiritual, and cultural needs of the Hindu community, preserve the Hindu way of life, and promote Hindu Vedic philosophy. The Temple will be open to all followers of the Vedic religion. Recognizing the diversity of faith and spiritual practices that exist within the Hindu community, the temple intends to embrace all denominations of the Hindu Dharma and the teachings of all great saints of India.

Objectives of the Temple are as follows:

1. To build and maintain a traditional Hindu temple adaptable to the needs of the local community.

2. To provide the facility to fulfill its mission and identity for the local Hindu community.

3. To promote understanding and preservation of Hindu religion, values, culture, and languages.

4. To promote the study of Hindu scriptures such as Vedas, Upanishads, Gita, and other activities of religious and spiritual learning.

5. To enhance pride in Hindu Religion and philosophy.

6. To unite the Hindu community and helps serve as a link to our future generations.

7. To promote participation in volunteer and charitable activities in the local community.

IV. Activities

1. The activities of the Temple are open to individuals subscribing to the Vision, Mission, and Objectives of the Temple. The Temple will conduct and facilitate Hindu worship in various forms such as Satsangs, Poojas, Bhajans, Prayers, and related religious activities for all Hindu denominations.

2. The temple will provide and facilitate the education of Vedic literature and Hindu religious practices through classes, workshops, discourses, and study groups.

3. All participants shall observe dignity and respect for the sanctity of the holy place consistent with Hindu philosophy and way of life.

V. Temple Members

1. Any person who subscribes to the Mission and Objectives of the Temple may become a member of the temple.

2. To become a ‘General member’ of the Temple, a person may do so by registering on the Temple’s website or by submitting a written request to the Temple Secretary.

3. While ‘General members’ are encouraged to contribute to the Temple through their time and talent as well as financially, no ‘General member’ shall be required to make any contribution of any kind to the Temple. However, to enjoy additional benefits, ‘General members’ are encouraged to become ‘Basic’ or ‘Preferred’ members by paying the annual dues set for such membership by the Board.

4. Members shall not have voting rights in ‘Trustee’ or ‘Board’ meetings unless they are Temple Trustees or Board members as defined in Article VI and Article VII respectively.

VI. Temple Trustees Qualifications, Privileges, and Duties

1. A Temple Trustee must be a member of the Temple.

2. All Temple Trustees who helped found the organization by donating $10,000 in the years 2006 and 2007 are designated as ‘Founding Temple Trustees’ and will have all the rights and privileges of the Temple Trustees. The ‘Founding Temple Trustees’ are also deemed to have met the requirements to become a Director or an Officer in the Executive Committee as enumerated in the Article VII Board of Directors item number 8 titled “Eligibility”.

3. Additional trustees may be considered for induction from the existing temple members on the recommendation of an existing Trustee, if they complete the application process and are vested in the organization through accumulated donations of $15000, with the minimum initial amount of $3000, specifically targeted towards trusteeship. Applicants who meet these requirements will be recommended by the EC to the Temple Trustees for approval. Upon approval by a simple majority of the Temple Trustees, the new applicant will be hereafter referred to as a Trustee-To-Be.

4. Total donation of $15,000 targeted towards Trusteeship may be donated in 3 to 5 years, as per the schedule set by the EC. Event sponsorships or other types of donations are not counted towards trusteeship.

5. Upon receipt of the required donation in full amount and completion of all formalities, a Temple Trustee-To-Be will be inducted as a full-fledged Trustee.

6. A full-fledged Trustee will be hereafter referred to as a ‘Temple Trustee’ or simply a ‘Trustee’.

7. All trustees and Trustees-to-be must sign the ‘HTBN Conflict of Interest’ policy.

8. All Trustees should update the secretary as soon as possible of any changes in their contact information (email, phone number, and address). Email is used as the primary means of all important communications by HTBN.

9. Temple Trustee designation shall belong to the trustee and the spouse with a single vote to be cast by either of the two.

10. Regular Trustee meetings shall be held quarterly and dates of the future meeting will be informed by the secretary at the start of the year. The Quorum requirement for a meeting of Temple Trustees is that at least one-third of the total number of Temple Trustees are in attendance at the meeting physically or virtually. For any resolution to be adopted, it has to be approved by at least one-half of the total number of Temple Trustees except for sections VI.14 and IX which will require two-third of Trustees votes. The quorum and the majority vote will be decided after taking into consideration the number of ‘Non-voting Trustees’ as defined in sections VI.11 and VI.12. The vote can be taken in person, in writing, or electronically.

11. A Trustee is entitled to the following privileges:

 Receive quarterly Trustee meeting notification and meeting minutes.  Receive monthly Board meeting notifications and meeting minutes.  Eligible to serve on the Executive Committee and Bylaws Standing Committee, as defined in section VII, after being on the HTBN Board for 1 year.  Can suggest Bylaws changes to the Bylaws Standing Committee.  Can recommend another temple member for Trusteeship.  Participation, in-person or virtually, in all trustee meetings, held quarterly with voting rights as defined in section VI.9.  Trustees can voluntarily request the secretary in writing for an excuse of absence before any Trustee meeting or for any number of future Trustee meetings.  Trustees can voluntarily request the secretary in writing to temporarily suspend their voting rights before any Trustee meeting or for any number of future Trustee meetings. They will be considered as ‘Non-voting Trustees’ for the requested duration. The ‘Non-voting Trustees’ will not be counted in deciding the quorum or the majority vote. The voting rights can be reinstated at any time on a written request to the secretary. The list of ‘Non-voting Trustees’ will be shared with all Trustees before each Trustee meeting and before any resolution for Trustee voting.

12. In addition to upholding the Temple mission, all Trustees are required to fulfill the following duties:

 Attend, in-person or virtually, at least 2 of the 4 trustee meetings held quarterly unless excused by the secretary of the absence.  Vote (Yes or No or Abstain) on all the resolutions in person or by email to the secretary within the specified period unless a written request is sent to the secretary to temporarily suspend voting rights and to be excluded from the quorum.

13. Trustees who fail to fulfill the required duties, will be notified by the secretary to send a written request for absence from future meetings and/or to become a ‘Non-Voting Trustee’. If the Trustee fails to respond within the specified time to the secretary’s request, the secretary will recommend making them a ‘Non-voting Trustee’ by a majority vote of the EC.

14. A trustee may lose the designation and all trusteeship privileges by a two-third majority vote of the temple trustees for one or more of the following reasons:

 If the trustee ceases to subscribe to HTBN mission.  Violation of the Conflict-of-Interest policy.  Gross misconduct.

VII. Board of Directors and Committees

Procedure and Structure

1. The Temple Trustees will constitute the governing body of the Temple- the Board of Directors hereafter referred to as the ‘Board’.

2. The Board will be responsible for the overall management and day-to- day activities of the Temple.

3. The Temple Board will consist of four(4) Executive Committee members and eleven(11) Directors.

4. All Board members must sign the ‘HTBN Conflict of Interest’ policy and the “HTBN Confidentiality” agreement.

5. The members of the Board shall not serve more than four consecutive years on the board. They will be eligible to serve on the board after a break of one year. For this restriction, all members of a trustee family will be considered as a single unit.

Executive Committee

6. The President, President-Elect, Secretary, and Treasurer are collectively referred to as the Executive Committee or simply as EC.

7. Eligibility for EC members: For the position of President-Elect, Secretary, and Treasurer, they have to be a temple trustee with at least one year of prior service as a Board member.

8. Election and Term of EC members: The Temple Trustees will elect the President-Elect, Secretary, and Treasurer from the Board of Trustees. The President-Elect will assist the President for a year and in the following year will assume the duties of the President. The Secretary and Treasurer are elected to a one-year term.

Directors

9. The EC will nominate 11 Directors, which may include a maximum of 10 from the Temple members who are volunteers at the Temple, for approval by the majority of Trustees.

10. Eligibility of Directors: Trustees/Trustee-to-be and members who are regular volunteers, will be eligible to contest for the position of Director.

11. Term of Directors: All Directors will serve a one-year term. Each of the Directors will Chair one of the following Operating committees:

i. Technology and Security ii. Communication iii. Cultural iv. Education v. Event vi. Facilities vii. Fundraising viii. Pooja Chair ix. Prasad x. Public Relations xi. Youth Engagement

12. Each Chair of the committee will nominate a Co-chair for the majority approval of the Trustee. The Co-chairs will not have voting rights on Board decisions but Co-chair can vote on behalf of the Chair if the secretary has received a written authorization before the Board meeting.

13. The chair and Co-chair of each committee can appoint committee members and Subject Matter Experts(SME) as per their requirements. All committee members except SMEs are required to be Temple members. A list and contact information of all committee members should be shared with EC.

14. The President can fill a mid-term vacancy on the Board by appointment to serve out the balance of the term. The candidate chosen has to satisfy the Eligibility criteria outlined above and has to be confirmed by the Temple Trustees within 30 days of appointment. The process of confirmation can be handled by e-mail or by calling for a meeting of the Temple Trustees.

15. A Board member, irrespective of his or her tenure can be removed by a majority vote of the Temple Trustees.

16. Regular meetings of the Board of Directors shall be held monthly. Special meetings may be called by the President or by any three members of the Board of Directors with a Notice to be given to all Board Members.

17. Quorum: In the Fifteen (15) member Board meeting, ten (10) members’ presences will constitute the Quorum. The Quorum will be established before taking votes. Also, the Abstaining Voters are included in the Quorum count.

18. A simple majority vote of the Board, of those present physically or virtually only, will carry the motion provided the Quorum is met. When the Quorum requirement is satisfied by the minimum attendance of 10 or 11 Board members, the simple majority vote to carry the motion will be 6. If the attendance is 12 or 13 Board members, the simple majority vote to carry the motion will be 7. When a member(s) present in the meeting abstain from voting, the abstaining members are recorded in a separate category and not included in the numerical counting of ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ votes. A vote can be taken in person, or electronically.

19. The Board meetings can be held in one of the following modes: in person, telephonically, or virtually and the members present only can vote.

20. The Board will be responsible to develop and maintain the Operating Manual which will include: Roles and responsibilities of Members, Committees, and Committee Chairs; Policies, and other relevant information, with the approval of the Bylaws committee.

21. All important decisions of a committee should be presented at the monthly Board meeting for approval. Only in emergent situations, EC can be approached by the Committee Chair for an immediate decision.

Standing Committees and Ad Hoc Committees:

22. In addition to the Operating Committee of the Board of Directors, separate Standing and Ad-hoc committees can be formed with majority approval by Trustees.

23. Standing Committees: are formed by the Board of Trustees for tasks beyond the functions of the Board of Directors. These committees are assigned specific or dedicated tasks that are required for temple functioning year after year. The need, mission, and scope are defined and approved by the trustees. The Executive Committee has access to these standing committees to help accomplish specified functions.

24. Ad Hoc Committees are committees formed by the Board of Trustees or the Executive Committee for the execution of specific tasks. These committees are assigned specific tasks that require focused attention and are not required on an ongoing basis.

25. These committees will meet independent of the Board of Director meetings and Board of Trustee meetings and will report to Executive Committee and/or Board of Trustees for status updates at least once every two months. EC will share the relevant information with the Board as needed.

26. Only a Trustee can Chair these committees and the members of the committee will continue to work until they express the need to step down or if the committee chair requests the change.

27. These committees are not subject to a yearly election as is the case with the Board of directors.

28. Each committee will have a written document outlining the mission, scope, and procedures of the committee.

29. Bylaws Standing Committee will be responsible for all interpretations of the Bylaws and keeping HTBN compliant with the current Bylaws.

30. A list, mission, scope, and procedures of all Standing and Ad-hoc committees will be documented in an annexure and can be updated as needed with the approval of Trustees.

VIII. Responsibilities of the Executive Committee

Responsibilities of the President

1. The President, in addition to having overall responsibility for the smooth running of the Temple, shall also serve as the President of the Temple Trustees.

2. Maintaining activities, schedules, and accounts on the Temple website to ensure open sharing of information.

3. The President and the President-Elect jointly engage a qualified accountant to audit the Temple Accounts and present the same to the trustees at least once a year including the end of the year audit. Responsibilities of the President-Elect (PE)

1. The President-Elect (PE) shall, in absence of the President, perform all duties and assume all responsibilities of the President.

2. The PE and the President will be responsible for the audit as stated above.

3. The PE will guide all the committees listed in Article VII Board of Directors Procedure and Structure item (9) shown above.

Responsibilities of the Secretary

1. The Secretary shall be the custodian of all records pertaining to the Temple. The Secretary shall keep a written record of the proceedings of all meetings of the Temple Trustees, Board of Directors, and the Executive Committee. The Secretary shall be responsible for keeping records of Temple membership, processing new trustee applications, list of Non-voting Trustees, and any other duties that may be assigned by the President.

Responsibilities of the Treasurer

1. The Treasurer shall receive and take charge of all monies and other financial assets belonging to the Temple. As a fiduciary agent of the Temple, the treasurer shall be responsible for all financial transactions.

2. The Treasurer will be the Chair of the Finance Standing Committee.

VIII. Nominations and Elections

1. The Bylaws chair will seek nominations from the Temple Trustees in the fourth quarter for the positions of President-Elect, Treasurer, Secretary, and Directors and provide a slate to the Bylaws Committee.

2. A candidate for the position of President-Elect shall be nominated by at least two (2) Trustees with the express consent of the candidate.

3. Temple trustees with one year of Board experience are eligible for the position of President-Elect, Secretary, and Treasurer. Trustees-To-Be is eligible for the positions to the Board of Directors and any committee.

4. The Bylaws Committee will verify the validity of nominations and hold elections if needed. If no elections are needed, the Bylaws Committee will forward the slate of the nomination to the Temple Trustees for approval.

5. The Bylaws Committee will certify and communicate the final list of officers making up the next year’s Board of Directors to the Temple Trustees. This process should be completed by November 15th of the current year.

IX. Amendment of Bylaws

Proposed amendments to the bylaws submitted by a trustee in writing will be referred to the Bylaws Committee. The Bylaws Committee will send the Proposal to the Trustees by e-mail for a vote by the trustees by electronic transmission or by postal mail. The committee will offer meetings or open houses to answer questions relating to the proposal. A two-thirds vote of trustees is required to pass the amendment.

X. Finance and Remunerations

All services performed by the Trustees shall be done voluntarily. Any exceptions to this shall be only with prior approval of the majority of the Trustees.

The finance committee chairperson (Treasurer) will be responsible for keeping the Trustees informed about all financial matters through periodic reports posted on the website and via email.

XI. Interpretations

If a conflict arises in the interpretation of these by-laws, then the ambiguity shall be resolved in the best interest of Temple and not of any individual.

XII. Dissolution

In the event of dissolution of the Temple, the Temple Trustees shall after paying or making provisions for the payment of all the liabilities, dispose of all the assets of the Temple exclusively for the organization in such a manner or to other organizations operated exclusively for charitable, educational, religious or scientific purposes as shall at the time qualify as a tax-exempt organization under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code or the corresponding provision of any future IRS code. The Temple shall not be dissolved except by a two-thirds majority vote of the Temple Trustees who shall also determine the disposition of the assets.

Donations (Dakshina) Policy:

Purpose: To clarify and establish guidelines to the community and the priest regarding dakshina to the Priest and donations to the temple.

Background

As per Hindu Dharma shastras, it is customary to do daanam (donation) or give dakshina to a Hindu Priest and Temple. HTBN management fully supports this tradition. Donation / Dakshina are solely voluntary.

HTBN management and priest are obligated to provide a devotional and conducive environment to all temple visitors and devotees.

The purpose of this policy is to clarify and establish guidelines to the community and the priest regarding dakshina to the Priest and donations to the Temple.

Policy Resolutions

Donations to the Priest:

In general, community is encouraged to give Dakshina or donate to the priest in two possible ways:

Monetary Donations (cash / checks) – devotees are encouraged to give directly to the Priest

Non-monetary donations (goods, furniture, equipment – material nature) – devotees are encouraged to give directly to the Priest.

Donations to the Temple:

Monetary Donations (cash / checks) : Devotees are encouraged to PLACE the DONATIONS DIRECTLY IN HUNDI OR PAY AT THE FRONT DESK and get an official receipt.

Non-monetary (material) Donations: Deliver them at the front desk and get an official receipt as applicable.

Additional Guidelines providing Monetary Donations to the Priest

Puja Services performed At the Temple

  1. Devotees are encouraged to give Dakshina to the priest: Any time a personal puja (not combined with any other devotee or family) is performed by the priest (Examples: Havan, Satyanarayana katha, Abhishekam, Kalyanam, Birth day or Anniversary or Tarpan or vaahana puja).

Note: After the personalized puja is performed, devotees are encouraged to give Dakshina directly to the priest (please do not leave in any plate). After receiving the donation from a devotee, priest shall put the Dakshina away immediately by not displaying or holding it as it may be perceived as public display to hint the devotees. Any cash/coins/checks left in any plate belong to the temple.

  1. Devotees are neither required nor should be obligated to give dakshina to the priest
  2. Each time devotees visit the temple and getting Teerdha, Prasadam, Aarathi, and his blessings (via Chathar); or
  3. Attending regular pujas that are performed as listed in the Temple Calendar (despite a devotee has sponsored or not for any puja by paying donation to the temple). (Few Examples are Daily Nitya pujas; Weekly Monday Shiva Abhishekams; Monthly pujas Satyanarayana vratham, Maasa Shivaratri, Sankastahara Chaturdhi; Annual festivals –Diwali, New Year etc.,) these are considered as priest’s regular duty being a full-time employee of the organization. For special festivals and events, HTBN management gives dakshina to the priest on the community’s behalf.

4. At any time Priest shall not seek or obligate any devotee or negotiate with any devotee for Dakshina.

  1. Cash / Check Donations left by Aarti plate/chatari plate/teertha table or in any container or by deities or mandap belongs to the temple. Any time, volunteer on duty or authorized management staff is authorized to collect any displayed donations and put in Hundi.

  1. Puja Services performed outside the Temple:
  2. Devotees are encouraged to give Dakshina to the priest any time a personal puja is performed by the priest at devotee’s residence / business (off-site). This puja must first be approved by the puja committee and appropriate donation shall be paid to HTBN. (Examples: Havan, Satyanarayana katha, Abhishekam, Kalyanam, Gruha Pravesham, Sradha, etc.)
  3. When priest uses his car for travel to attend this puja, Mileage reimbursement rate approved by HTBN management shall be directly paid to the priest and it belongs to the priest only. At any time priest shall NOT negotiate mileage reimbursement rate with the devotee without puja committee’s knowledge.
  4. Devotees shall give Dakshina directly to him by check or cash.
  5. At any time Priest shall NOT seek or obligate any devotee or negotiate with any devotee for dakshina.
  6. As per Immigration rules and the employment contract, the priest is NOT allowed to perform any pujas to any devotees (at any location) without prior approval from the HTBN management (Even after temple hours, during his vacation, time-off days).
  7. Income Tax filing: It is the responsibility of the priest to report any additional income that priest directly receives from the devotees.
  8. Priest shall not seek any donations from the devotees or visitors by selling any Audio CDs, Books or any literature etc., without prior approval from the HTBN management.
  1. Non-Monetary Donations guidelines: (goods, and furniture, equipment, etc.,)

  1. Donations to the Priest:

At any time, devotees are welcome to donate any non-monetary items to the priest directly. This should purely be voluntary.

At any time the Priest shall NOT seek or obligate any devotee or negotiate with any devotee for non-monetary donations.

  1. Donations to the Temple:

Any non-monetary donations that have significant dollar value shall be recorded in the temple’s inventory system. Please check in at the front desk and get appropriate receipt for your donation.

  1. Amendments

This policy is subject to change as deemed necessary and shall be approved by the Executive committee.

History of the Hindu Temple of Bloomington Normal

Introduction

Roots of HTBN sprouted from an older organization, The Hindu Society of Central Illinois, formed in the seventies.  The devotees performed weekly worship on a rotation basis in volunteers’ homes.  This worked well while the number of families of Hindu faith in the community remained small.  When the numbers grew, the need for a separate Hindu Temple became evident.  An attempt to raise funds for the temple was made in the eighties did not result in sufficient pledges.  Building of the Hindu Temple for all shades of the Hindu faith has been a long standing dream of the Hindu community in Bloomington Normal.

The Organization

In July 2006 some like- minded devotees initiated discussions about building a temple in town.  The idea was widely supported by those who came to the first exploratory meeting.  Subsequent discussions led to the name Hindu Temple of Bloomington Normal and registration as not-for-profit organization.  The founding trustees met on December 10, 2006 at a devotee’s residence in Normal to elect the President and other office bearers of the new organization.  Dr. Samir Shah was elected the first President of HTBN.

The following year (2007) saw the creation of temple’s website, aptly named ourhindutemple.org, Bylaws were written.  The temple logo was inaugurated on the day of Ramanavami celebration.  Trustees and volunteers started search for the land.  It was decided that the temple will hold one event each month in rental place until the building was finished.

Leadership

Collective leadership was the hallmark of HTBN.  In  the 10-year history, the following have served as President of HTBN:

  • Samir Shah                                                   2007, 2008
  • Sanjay Saxena                                             2009, 2010
  • Chandra Shekara                                        2011
  • Ajay Malpani                                                2012
  • Ramesh Chaudhari                                    2013
  • Rammohan Mundlapudi                          2014
  • Sridhar Kantamneni                                 2015
  • Chetan Desai                                              2016
  • Mukesh Gandhi                                         2017
  • Latha Rao                                                    2018
  • Rao Duvvuri                                                2019
  • Vaishali Malpani                                      2020
  • Krishna Baru                                             2021
  • Sanjay Saxena                                          2022

Finances

The initial boost came from the fourteen devotees who pledged to become trustees by donating an amount that the group agreed upon.  Subsequent fundraising included a variety of campaigns including enrolling more trustees, brick by brick, divine stone, raffle and event related donations.  Receiving 501C(3) not-for-profit recognition from the IRS was an important factor in the fund-raising success.  In 2009 on the occasion of Bhoomi Parichaya a very successful campaign was launched called Brick by Brick.   In 2011, an industrialist who worked in the community in the seventies gave a big boost by pledging a large donation.  In 2013, the loan agreement with the Busey Bank made it possible to sign a contract with the builder.  Another pledge from one of our temple trustees promises to cut the mortgage by 60% in the near future.  This puts the temple on a solid financial foundation.

Events

The first event of the temple was held on Jan. 13, 2008 in a rented facility.   That was the beginning of monthly events.  Once the land was purchased, some events were held on the land.  The following is a list of some events held on the temple grounds.

Sept. 19, 2009              Bhoomi Parichaya, getting to know our grounds.  Brick by Brick was launched.

July 18, 2010                Bhoomi Shuddhi Yagna, Purification of the temple land

June 18, 2011               Bhu-Garbha Vinyasa, Navadhanya sown during Bhugarbha Vinyasa

Aug 14, 2011                Gouseva (service to Goumata by feeding the cow & calf)

June 30, 2012            Jagannatha Yatra

Nov 3, 2012               Gayatri Yagna and Installation of the Divine Stones

April 18-20, 2014     Temple Grand Opening Ceremonies

June 5-7, 2015         Prana Prathistha Ceremonies

Events held on the temple grounds were very popular and attended by large crowds.  These events also raised substantial amounts of funds for the construction.

Volunteers

All activities of the temple from the first meeting in June 2006 to everything done since were dependent on the volunteers. There are hundreds of devotees who volunteered to help with the decision making process, organizing, calling, writing, cooking, cleaning, driving, singing, dancing, running the sound systems, projectors, transporting furniture, folding chairs, building and taking down of the altar and many more activities in the process of designing and making sure that the construction was going as desired, many professional engineers, physicians, and businessmen gave generously of their time.

Construction

On April 16, 2009 temple acquired land of 2.75 acres fully developed and B-1 zoned located on Tullamore  Ave in Bloomington, Illinois for a price of $300,000. Bhoomi Parichaya was performed and the Temple sign board was unveiled.

To oversee construction, a committee consisting of seven trustees and many local subject matter experts was formed and named Construction Coordination Committee (CCC). The goal of the committee was to first develop temple plan to fulfill the vision of the temple, evaluate multiple bids from general contractors, select one general contractor, obtain required permits and work with the contractor to complete the building.

Construction committee met once a week or more often when needed. Trustees were kept informed through numerous all trustee meetings and more than 75 meeting notes with detailed temple layouts.

In early 2011 Vastu expert Mr. Niranjan Babu from India was consulted for temple layout.  One of the primary goal for the temple layout was to have ability to conduct simultaneously multiple activities going on in various parts of the temple e.g. Sanctum area, religious classes in classrooms, food preparation in kitchen and dining area. Later that year, a local Architect was hired to design the building.

The temple sanctum was designed to be built in two phases. The Phase-I of the temple layout included smaller sanctum area, temple hall with a stage, commercially equipped kitchen, meditation room, rooms for Balagokulam. Phase II is an expansion of the sanctum area.

In August of 2012, ground breaking and site work started with auspicious Shanku Sthapana program. In November of 2012, city of Bloomington issued the building permit.

After a short process of inviting bids from different builders, Greg Helton, a local general contractor was selected. Building contract was signed in April 2013.

More than 30 volunteers worked tirelessly to complete the construction project with Sanjay Saxena, Chair of CCC who shouldered the lion’s share of the responsibility.

Temple Land

LOCATION : Tullamore Ave, Bloomington, IL.AREA : 2.766 ACRES (300 x 402=120487 Sq. Feet)

Current Phase-I

Future Sanctum Expansion, Phase-II

Artist’s rendering of proposed sanctum

HTBN Temple Logo Design and Story by Archana Shekhara :

The Temple logo has the universal sound “OM”. It is the very first vibration which became sound. Creation itself was set in motion by the vibration of OM. It is believed that when the mind is silent you can hear the sound of OM, the sound of the universe. The sounds in OM (AUM) represent the waking, dream, deep sleep states and the silence (naada) which surrounds OM represents the “Turiya” (blissful) state. When we chant OM each part vibrates in a different part of the body and represents the different state of consciousness.

The Sanskrit Symbol of OM :

The 3 represents the three states of consciousness. The lower curve of the three represents the dream state, the upper curve the awake state, the squiggly line on the back is the deep dreamless state. The half moon at the top represents maya, or illusions, the dot is the transcendental state. Only during the deep dreamless state the mind is truly at rest. When we chant OM, the vibrations clear maya from our mind and help us to connect to all beings with love. In the logo, OM is enclosed in circles. It derives meaning from the following shloka :

Om Poorna Madah Poorna Midam; Poornaat Poorna Mudachyate;Poornasya Poornamaadaaya; Poorna Mevaa Vashish Yate.That (Brahman) Is Whole, This (Creation) Is Also Whole;From That Whole (Brahman), This Whole (Creation) Has Come Out;But Even Though Creation Has Come Out from That Brahman;Yet That Whole (Brahman) Remains Whole Only.(Brahman Remains Unaffected, Retains His/Its Fullness And Completeness).To reach that Brahman there are nine smaller circles in the logo. They stand for nine forms of bhakti which are :

  1. Sravanam: Listening to the glories of the Lord : Pareekshit
  2. Kirthanam: Singing His glories : Shakamuni
  3. Smaranam: Chanting His name and remembering Him : Prahalada
  4. Padasevanam: Serving His lotus feet : Lakshmi
  5. Archanam: Worshipping Him : Prithu
  6. Vandanam: Paying obeisance to Him : Akrura
  7. Dasyam: Considering oneself His servant : Hanumantha
  8. Sakhyam: Considering Him as the best friend : Arjuna
  9. Atmanivedanam: Total Surrender : Bali

The sixteen lotus petals completes the logo. It is inspired from the Sri Chakra — the divine energy. It also resembles the radiating Sun (Adhitya, the beginning) which is a symbol of awakening. It aims to remove darkness that is ego and brings out auspicious light and energy of knowledge from within. The colors are satvic in nature. They remind us to be passionate to serve others without any expectations. Serve in the Lord’s name only.

Coming Soon

Logo of Hindu Temple of Bloomington Normal

ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पूर्णमुदच्यते ।
पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ॥

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

Om, That (Outer World) is Purna (Full with Divine Consciousness);
This (Inner World) is also Purna (Full with Divine Consciousness);
From Purna is manifested Purna (From the Fullness of Divine Consciousness the World is manifested),
Taking Purna from Purna, Purna indeed remains (Because Divine Consciousness is Non-Dual and Infinite),
Om, Peace, Peace, Peace.