Nov 5, 2018
SMS- The Ten Years of Bliss and Devotional Achievements – Arvind Shrivastava OAM – Patron SMS


A very humble start of the concept of serving the Community and getting everyone involved in our Hindu spiritual traditions gave birth to Sankat Mochan Samiti Inc. (SMS) in September 2008.  The first function was the mass recitation of Sunderkand Path in a lecture hall of a Christian College in Mulgrave.    Imagine !!! …A Hindu religious function with spiritual prayers for the Universal world Peace;

• In a ChristianCollege?

• In a lecture Theatre?

• Devotees sitting on the comfortable seats during the Puja?

• No Traditional Hindu Priest and traditional religious rituals?

All the above adopted spiritual modifications did not deviate the determination of the few involved in the mission who had a very limited financial and other resources available to them. The celebration attracted nearly 300 devotees, nearly double the capacity of the Hall, but they did not mind sitting on the steps and outside the theatre.  They all enjoyed the free soft drinks during the long four hours recitation and rituals.   The organisers were able to provide sumptuous free Maha (Blessed Food), free Sunderkand books and the very attractive and soothing devotional mass recitation of Sunderkand Hymns led by Arvind and Sunila Shrivastava.  At that time, we did not think thatit is going to be a start of something which we are celebrating today after ten years of that humble initiation.

The objective and vision of SMS was to provide relief when Health, Wealth and Wisdom are failing, that is,” To assist people physically, morally and spiritually in critical needs”. SMS provides three-fold services to community namely Spiritual, Social welfare and Knowledge Sharing/Educational. This distinctive feature with our values of Respect, Compassion, Integrity and Accountability has been a great help in providing continuing promotion of mutual respect, goodwill, diversity and harmony in the multicultural environment we live. Our famous ‘Rang Barse – Festival of Colours’ connects thousands of people from diverse communities of the Multicultural Australia through colours, is an example of our belief in creating a better understanding of diversity in multiculturalism to create unity.

A few noteworthy accomplishments of SMS are:

• SMS Hum Tum Group is actively engaged in providing Family Violence preliminary prevention and support services using recently opened Hum Tum Resource Centre.

• Sankat Mochan Senior Group (SMSG) providing a forum for positive aging to the seniors

• Sankat Mochan Young Group (SMYG) fostering educational aspects of cultural heritage to support and working with the youth and children, newly arrived migrants & families

• SMS providesMaha Prasad (blessed food), a free service on Tuesdays and Thursdays every week, for nearly 500 and 100 people respectively.

These achievements of SMS are the results of the combined efforts of every individual member and together we take the pride in our accomplishments during this 10-year journey. The efforts of SMS Committee are very commendable.

The wonderful surpriseis as follows;

Sankat Mochan Samiti Kendra is ranked 8th out of 10 best Hanuman temples outside India, because of its unique feature that it is temple –cum-NGO which looks after the security of women. This is much more than a temple. While regular pujas are done here, the main purpose of the SMS lies in this non-profitable organisation with an arm to provide better guidance and security to Indian women in Australia.See the link:

Traditional Welcome of the Premier byPresident Dr. Sunila Shrivastava   Executive Committee Members with the Premier

The role of SMS in supporting and empowering the Indian women is noteworthy. The backbone of SMS operations are women involving in day-today activities such as opening of temple, cooking, decoration and other management. 50% of our workforce comprises of women.

The 10th Anniversary Celebration

During our 10th Anniversary celebrations we followed the steps of our first function by reciting the Sunderkand Path and the associated rituals.  We were fortunate to have the presence of the premier of Victoria, our local MP, Mayer of City of Monash, Shadow minister of Multicultural affairs and many other MPs, Council Members, Community and Faith leaders and of course our devotees. All the devotees appreciateda surprise announcement of 550,000 dollars grants by the Premier for, “Sankat Mochan Indian Culture Centre in Monash Region”.

Assurance of the Premier:

Part of the Speech of Premier of Victoria, Hon. Daniel Andrews

Many of you will recall the (Labour Government) budget back in the Month of May 2018, in which Government had a substantial boost to support Multicultural Communities. One feature of that budget boost was the Multicultural Community Infrastructure funds and Steve Demopoulos the local member of Parliament here, encouraged SMS to apply for this grant.

As a result,Dr. Sunila Shrivastava – President of SMS applied for the,” Construction of Sankat Mochan Indian Cultural Centre – SMICC”.

SMS Women Volunteers with the Premier and MP Steve Demopoulos Audience enjoying the celebrations
I (The Premier) am so pleased to announce that you (SMS) have been successful in the grant (CLAPPING) and a sum of 550,000 Dollars will be available towards a new Sankat Mochan Indian Cultural Centre for the Monash Region (CLAPPINGS).

However, _______ (laughs) as good as the 550,000 Dollars grant from the VMC the Government is, I want to make a further commitment to you, that the re-elected Labour Government will add to that 550,000 Dollars and provide a further 500,000 Dollars so that you (SMS) can begin that important work of investing in better facilities.    We do not want to change any of the things you (SMS) do and any of the work you do.  That is all fine and that is all going very well.  We just need to get you a slightly better set of facilities, a better home, a better base for this (SMS) group and for others.  These will be assets for the entire Indian Community right across Monash and it will be led by SMS.  We are delighted to make that commitment.  I do not see that as a cost to the budget, it is not a cost, it is an investment in the programs you (SMS) run, the support you provide, the values you celebrate and live, contributions you make towards our multiculturalism our richest asset.   You (SMS) are so important in this local community.   We are proud of you and with this additional funding you (SMS) will be able to do even more and even better.

It is 10th Anniversary, the 10th Birthday, it is a great celebration, but nobody came here to listen to a very very long speech from me (Premier Hon. Daniel Andrews), so I will wrap up simply by saying, how proud I am to be back here again, my second visit and I hope I get  opportunities to visit many many more times to celebrate significant milestones and  take this opportunity to take pause for a moment and to thank this community for all that you do, all that you make possible, for all that you inspire, as well and all the things we have talked about in so many other areas such as support for seniors, education, support for the littlest members of the community as well.   All of this is what makes the community with our diversity which functions and works, and I cannot thank you enough from the bottom of my heart for the work that you (SMS) do each and every day and I thank you so much for your warm welcome this evening.

SMS is ten years old now but best is yet to come.

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