An almost 15 feet-tall ‘murti’ (statue) of the Hindu God Lord Hanuman was consecrated yesterday at the Blairmont Mandir, where President David Granger urged West Coast Berbice residents to use their religious faith to promote peace, unity and harmony.
Granger was at the time speaking at the prana pratistha or consecration ceremony of the 4.5 metre (14.76 ft)-tall murti, a Ministry of the Presidency release said.
President Granger said that he was extremely happy to receive an invitation to worship with the residents on the occasion, which he said is evidence of the deep roots of Hinduism in Guyana. He reminded the gathering of his oath to serve as President of all of Guyana and said Guyana is a strong country because each ethnic group brings different strengths and is necessary for national development.
“The Blairmont Mandir stands on sacred ground. It is central to the spiritual life of residents on the West Bank of Berbice. Devotees assemble there to worship and to enrich their spirituality so that they can learn and live according to the precepts of Hinduism… [This mandir] provides services to the community and brings residents together to improve their own lives. It must continue to be a beacon to guide this community,” he said.
Speaking of Guyana’s culturally diverse society, the President said that he is of the firm view that the different ethnic and religious groups in Guyana need to develop a greater understanding of each other, so as to fully appreciate the richness of the nation’s diversity and strength of the country as a whole.
“We cannot be strong if we are ignorant. We cannot be strong if we misunderstand each other, but through understanding we will be better able to combine our energies and our strengths and ensure that our children live in an age of enlightenment rather than an age of darkness,” he added.
Granger also spoke of the importance of Hinduism in Guyana, which dates back 178 years. It was brought to the country by Indian indentured labourers in 1838 and today constitutes a significant demographic element. “This magnificent murti of Lord Hanuman is a public manifestation of private devotion. It is a physical expression of a divine spirit. It can be seen far and wide by anyone approaching Blairmont. It is proof that the adoration of Lord Hanuman is widespread. It is a reminder that his own grace is cast over the entire community,” he noted.
Meanwhile, officiating priest, Pandit Rajin Lallaram in his remarks, said that the erection of the murti must serve as a source of motivation and strength for people as they deal with the everyday challenges that life presents.
“Every day we awake we are greeted with some trial, some difficulty for which we have to be in the unending process of finding solutions. So today with this establishment of this murti, I am sure that it will give us an opportunity to reflect on the strengths that lie within us and to use that strength, courage, inner will and power to contribute to a better society, a better nation and the world by extension,” Pandit Lallaram was quoted as saying.
The murti, which stands on a concrete platform immediately next to the mandir, was constructed at the cost of over $900,000 by a privately owned company, located at Strathspey Village, East Coast Demerara.
Minister of Social Cohesion Amna Ally, Regional Chairman Vickchand Ramphal and other regional officials were also present at the ceremony.