Report and pics: Mohan Gowda
Daijiworld Media Network - USA (SP)
USA, Jul 23: The first Hindu Dharmasabha held in Virginia in the country, was highly successful. The event was organized by the Forum for Hindu Awakening, with the blessings of Bhaktaraj Maharaj and Dr Athavale on Saturday July 18, at Durga Mandir in Washington DC. Over a hundred Hindus and Americans from various states of North America and Canada enthusiastically took part in the first Hinduism meet in North America.
The aim of the meet was to promote understanding of the unique spiritual science and scientific history underlying Hinduism, awakening people against the misconceptions about Hinduism, spreading the message of simple living and imbibing concepts of Hinduism in day-to-day life and preserving the sanctity of Hinduism from denigration and malpractices.
This historic event was inaugurated as per Hindu traditions, by the blowing of the conch, recitation of auspicious verses, recitation of Vedic mantras and lighting of an oil lamp, duly explaining the spiritual and scientific importance of these actions, thus throwing light on these practices which most of the Hindus perform as just as a tradition, without knowing their importance. For example, it was explained that we recite the Vedic mantras to bring divine consciousness to the atmosphere and to protect us from negative energies. Many participants actually felt the energy of the mantras as they recited them.
Mrunal Nanivadekar and Rishita Gadoya of the Forum for Hindu Awakening(FHA), who compered the programme, invited Siva Subramaniam from Shiva-Vishnu temple, to honour the speakers by presenting them the award - Vishwa Hindu Ratna - to Rajan Zed, Dr M G Prasad, Dr Kusum Vyas, Dewang Gadoya and Maya Jairam, for their selfless and dedicated services to the cause of Hinduism. Shawls were draped around them and a spiritual CDs were presented.
The Dharma Sabha had the privilege of the presence and blessings of Siva Subramaniam of Shiva Vishnu Mandir, Harold Boulette of the International Community of Christ, Hitendra Patel of the BAPS Swaminarayan mandir, Krishan Gulati of Bapu Asaram Ashram and Sant Guptaji of Durga Mandir.
Rishita Gadoya introduced the FHA and shared its aims. FHA is a charitable organization devoted to awaken society to the unique spiritual science behind Hindu Dharma concepts and practices. She demonstrated to the devotees how to use the website. Those present were then shown a video made by Sanatan Samstha, on how to have the darshan of a deity in a temple.
About the Speakers: Rajan Zed was the first speaker for the meet. He is an acclaimed Indo-American and Hindu statesman, who has taken up Hindu, interfaith, religion, environment, Roma and other causes all over the world. He had been invited by the president of European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pottering, in December 2008 to Brussels (Belgium), for a meeting to promote interfaith dialogue and discuss Hindu issues. He read the groundbreaking first Hindu opening prayer in the United States Senate in Washington DC.
Rajan Zed dealt with the topic, 'how to be a good Hindu in the west and interfaith relations'. He lamented the fact that the Hindu children in USA lack pride in who they are - Hindus and Indians. He said it is important to stick to the Hindu names without changing them and exhorted parents to spend more time with children and tell them stories about Hinduism. Once the base is strong, he advised parents to take them to religious institutions of other faiths too.
The next speaker, Dr M G Prasad, is a spiritual disciple of Yogi Sriranga Sadguru, founder of Ashtanga Yoga Vijnana Mandiram, Mysore, India. He teaches recitation of Sanskrit prayers, Vedic chanting, Hindu scriptures and practices for children, youth and adults. He has written four books on Hinduism. Prasad spoke regarding the multi faceted Hinduism (Sanatan Dharma). He used a power point presentation to depict the vastness of Hinduism and explained about the science behind Hindu temples.
Dr Kusum Vyas of International Sree Ram Setu campaign, has the background in education and environmental conservation. She spoke about the challenges and accomplishments about the danger posed to Ramsethu, ancient bridge built by the army of Lord Ram between India and Sri Lanka.
The next speaker, Maya Jairam, belongs to Spiritual Science Research Foundation. She has been doing spiritual practice under the guidance of the Spiritual Science Research Foundation, or SSRF, since October of 2001. In her free time, she shares SSRF’s research findings by conducting workshops in her area, having also conducted a series of classes for children, as well. She is also an active board member of the City of Fort Collins’ Human Relations Commission. Maya Jairam spoke about Spiritual research and importance of Spiritual dimension in life.
Dewang Gadoya of Hindu Jana Jagruti Samiti was the fifth speaker. Dewang Gadoya delivers public lectures, Satsangs etc., to educate the society about the various denigrations faced by Hindu Dharma today and how to effectively stop such denigrations. He organizes public events such as peaceful protest demonstrations and public exhibitions on the need to preserve Hindu Dharma. Gadoya spoke about knowing denigration threats, preserving Hinduism etc.
The final and most inspiring speaker was Bhavna Shinde of Forum For Hindu Awakening. Bhavna Shinde has been studying and practicing the principles of spirituality (adhyatma) for the past nine years under the guidance of her Guru, Dr Jayant Athavale. Bhavna devotes all her free time in helping others understand and practice the principles of spirituality and sattvik living. Shinde spoke on understanding, living and preserving Hinduism in daily life.
The meet ended with with aarati (hymn) and expression of gratitude to everyone that helped in organizing the meet. Most of the attendees stayed back for a question and answer session with the speakers.