The Malibu Hindu Temple announces the retirement of Priest Narasimha Bhattar. Along with thousands of devotees, the temple acknowledges the senior-most and esteemed priest of the Temple. Priest Narasimha Bhattar has served the temple for over 36 years as the chief priest, and I cannot recall any other priest at any other temple in North America who has rendered such uninterrupted service for such a long period of time.
Narasimha Bhattar was originally recruited to serve at the temple by Dr. N.V. Srinivasan, past president of the temple, and his wife, Malathy Srinivasan. Bhattar was a priest at the famous Srirangam Ranganathaswamy Temlle at Srirangam, India. Bhattar comes from a family of priests, and his father served as a priest at the Srirangam temple for a very long period of time. We had the honor of having his father at the temple at the time of the kumbabishekam of the Malibu Hindu Temple.
Narasimha Bhattar has touched the lives of people extending to many generations. I have myself been a recipient of his spiritual renderings and advise. Narasimha Bhattar is very well known for his booming voice, which will reverberate in the halls of the Malibu Hindu Temple for many years to come. His stately presence and the archanas that he performs for Lord Venkateswara at the Malibu Hindu Temple, along with his chanting of the vedas, will be missed at the temple. We, as a community, salute him for his services and wish him very well for the much-needed time that he’ll spend with his family. He has expressed his intention to return back to the Srirangam temple to serve Lord Renganathaswamy.
The Malibu Hindu Temple was planning to host a farewell dinner for him on March 28, 2020, in conjunction with the Ugadi celebration. It is rather unfortunate that the coronavirus has upended all programs at the temple including the farewell dinner for Shri Narasimha Bhattar. Shri Narasimha Bhattar has been active on Facebook and other social media, and I encourage all the devotees to reach out to him and wish him the very best that life has to offer. We also wish to acknowledge his wife, Rajivi, who has stood by him and the temple in performing many services when the needs arose. She is very well known for her culinary skills, and we have been beneficiaries of her generous invitations to join their family for food, with or without invitation. Their home at the temple is virtually an open house for devotees to go at will and join them for food.
The Malibu Hindu Temple will remain indebted to the Bhattar family, and Shri Narasimha Bhattar will enjoy the status of a Priest Emeritus anytime he visits Los Angeles and wishes to serve Lord Venkateswara.
Nadadur S. Kumar
General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer
Hindu Temple Society of Southern California