Tuesday, November 22, 2016

INTERFAITH, FUSION OF FAITHS AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH






 INTERFAITH, FUSION OF FAITHS AND  COMMUNITY OUTREACH

May I draw your kind attention to an exciting Nashville community news item forwarded by one of my participants as follows!
Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos led his inaugural Chancellor Charter on Nov. 5, guiding approximately 30 students, faculty and staff on a daylong interfaith tour of Nashville and sharing some of the city’s history along the way. They visited  Islamic Center of Nashville, Greater Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Sri Ganesha Temple and the Hindu Cultural Center of Tennessee and The Jewish  Temple Nashville (Congregation Ohabai Sholom).
“This is a remarkable opportunity to engage with our community, celebrating our shared commonalities and significant distinctions as well as deepening our connections to the Nashville community,” Zeppos said. The chancellor announced the semi-annual bus tours during his Fall Faculty Assembly address as part of his commitment to cross-institutional collaboration and community outreach.
 November 5 Interfaith Tour visited   the Sri Ganesha Temple and the Hindu Cultural Center of Tennessee, where Radha Reddy, a founding board member, greeted the group. The center was formed in 1980, and the current temple was completed in 1991. There the group enjoyed a vegetarian lunch in keeping with Hindu customs”           
In fact few years   back Rama Kaushik   then Chairman of Baal Vihaar  Ganesha Temple  Sunday  School   started taking young students on  a visit  not only to local Gurudwara (Sikh Center)  and Buddhist center but also  to   Various Abrahamic  Religious  centers of Nashville to inculcate in them Religious tolerance and  promoting peace and harmony   among various faiths followers living together. I believe there are no Jain centers in Nashville.
I am sure Radha  Babu with her long experience with Sunday School of sri Ganesha Temple would have educated the crowd how Hinduism coming out of Eternal Tradition, Sanatana Dharma propagates Devo Ekah--There is only One Truth and One god; Eko Viprah bahudaa vadanti – The One pundits call many; Vasudeva Kutumbakam—whole world is one family and “sarvejanaah sukhinoo bhavantu”—May all people on Earth live happily etc., based on wisdom of Vedas.
Such a welcome of children and teachers of all faiths to a Hindu Temple is impossible in India. Here again Hindu Americans have opened the gates of the temple to all faiths not because of their  policy of following Sanatana Dharma  and its wall-less religion but because of their compulsion and necessity as many of their children find their partners from other faiths mostly white race   as Hindus have a fad for white skin and complexion and also attracted by universal binding force of love that believes in no walls.   At the same time I see practically very little   influence of Sanatana Dharma in sectarian worship and celebration of festivals and conduct of rituals dictated by sectarian trained priests and practices of Hindu Religion copied from India.  So this  superficial open-for-all Temple policy of Hindu Americans is more a social compulsion than   understanding wall-less Sanatana Dharma and its propagation.  This is evident from their focus on  deities like Ganesha with sweet pudding in his hands  and Bala Krishna with butter in  his hands instead of  Skanda as Guru Guha and Krishna as  the preacher of Gita. Krisahna    as a love-loran    deity with his childhood love Radha  is more popular rather than Panduranga Vitthala who stood on brick waiting for his devotee and anxious to meet Rukmini legally wedded wife  who left him in despair. Also very powerful deity like Venkatesahwara   who is Universal Lord hailed in all Esoteric East-West Sanat Kumara Traditions as Jagannatha glorified in Puri Jagannath is not propagated properly but  focused as another mythological deity of Kaliyuga!  ! It clearly shows  how Hindu American though drawn from top ten percent of intellectuals are    happy at Kindergarten level of Religion like  majority in India meant for majority who are illiterates rather than advancing further and focus on Spirituality and Universal Oneness of Sanatana Dharma strongly promoted by Swami Vivekananda so badly needed in USA.   We have to go a long way to turn back to the Vedic days and Esoteric East West tradition of Sanat kumara to take pride in our Temple Traditions and openly declare “Vasudeiva Kutumbakam”- Whole world is one family. That is why many Western cultures in USA are more attracted to Buddhism than Hinduism.
I know in my younger days how people used to respect white skins in India saying “Durai vandaru’’ Lord has come when they see a  White British.   With all the laws prevailing in India which is secular Temples are exclusively for Hindus. Churches in India have open-for-all policy. When I was in school I have visited Santhome church and church on St. Thomas Mount with all children of all faiths. Recently after convincing my  Chairman about the noble ideals of Sanatana Dharma I visited Chennai with him. He was eager to visit Ancient churches and temples in Chennai. I visited Santhome Church and Velanganni Amman Temple in Chennai. I was afraid to take him to Srivaihnava Parthasarthy Temple as Vaishnavites are very conservative and orthodox unlike me (I am an Iyengar).   I thought Saivites are more open and adjustable and so took him to Kapali temple in Mylapore. I was able to get into the Temple with the Chairman whose   appearance clearly indicated that he was a White Westerner and not a Hindu. Even in the outside prakaara we were shouted down by two dark skinned priests shouting at me as to take away that phirangee (white man) as he was polluting the temple. Fortunately my friend   did not understand Tamil and I just told him that these priests were telling that there is stampede inside and want us not to go in. I managed the situation thus and whisked him away! See how the noble ideals of Sanatana dharma are operating in India! These priests could have been mistaken for   African Americans if they were in USA! In spite of the temple Entry Bill opening the temples to all Harijans Caste Hindus can’t tolerate visit of Harijans to temples if they know they are Harijans.  But they can’t stop if they are Neo-Buddhist (harijan converts) which movement Dr. Ambedkar started. In Karnataka Ramanuja the Vaishnav saint of 12th century admitted lot of these down-castes  to Vaishnmavism and gave them the right to wear Srivaishnava Symbol of Urdhwa Pundram (namam—two para
llel lines of White china clay mark with the middle streak of red vermillion) and ordered that once a year they should all be permitted to the temple in Melukote (Thiru Narayuana Puram) which tradition you can see still today when large crowds of Harijans enter the Temple declaring themselves openly as Harijans enter the temple.  It is unfortunate Orthodox Vaishnavites avoid the temple visit on that day!
Theoretically Radha Babu will be right if she had described Hinduism as Sanatana Dharma. But unfortunately Hindus in  India have built several walls like sectarian walls, cultural walls, traditional walls etc.,   within Hinduism moving away from Sanatana Dharma with no walls, open to all with no sex,  caste, tradition  or race consideration.  They often forget Hinduism itself has been carved out of many races like Hans, Yavanas,   Gandharas, Saindhavas etc.  It had such an open policy in the ancient past practicing Sanatan Dharma.   Hinduism as is practiced today   in India is widely moved away from Universal Oneness of Sanatana Dharma influenced by later texts and reforms by Sankara with his Shanmata and  Panchayatana Puja and is working more as Abrahamic Religions.    
Hinduism is a more recent nomenclature given to a conglomeration of heterogeneous traditions and plurality of beliefs and worship with a long history of development from the Vedic (that which has originated from Vedas—the four ancient texts which contain the core of Hindu Philosophy and beliefs)sacrificial religion through the worship of epic and Puranic heroes and personal  deities, cults and sects, as well as philosophical  system rather than to a monolithic tradition or structure based on a single system of beliefs and worships or single text as scripture.  Today it draws lot of support from Bhagavad Gita which itself is a compendium of all Upanishads and philosophic thoughts. Gita   says world needs different religions, cults, and deities to meet the vastly different needs of individuals. It has thus moved away from Universal Oneness of Sanatana Dharma which Vivekananda wanted bring back and argued   Vedanta is the   Religion of  the  Future in his Chicago address to World Forum  of  Religions.
Evidently Hindu Americans drawn from the global forum majority coming from India have their own problems. Gradually their children have broken all religious, tradition and culture walls and are attracted to white race partners which   number is increasing. Hindu American philanthropists in their anxiety to quickly establish Hindu culture for the benefit of   HHHHhh
hindu  society have built several Temples as One Temple for Many Traditions in cities where they are settled.   Having no religious background or sectarian held views if religious  these philanthropists having no time for religious activities bogged down by their focus to build fortune and career  mostly depend on sectarian trained priests and sectarian advices from India. In frustration some rich and prosperous groups have also started their own Gurudwaras, Swami Narayan Temples and SaibabaTemples adding confusion instead of Unification and fail to lead the country spiritually. Only Hindus are well suited for Inter-faith discussions and gradually move towards fusion leading to Universal Oneness and Peace.  Unfortunately this is coming more from Abrahamic religions who are frustrated with their own religion and worried about the   fights and killings that are going on in the name of religion and atheism alarmingly raising.
Over a decade I have been delivering several discourses focused on these Hindu American problems and how Hindu Americans should raise to the situation and lead the country in   spirituality and Universal Oneness, Swami Vivekananda dreamt of.  For this they should prepare themselves first by setting their house in order breaking the sectarian oriented Temple Traditions By consolidating deities and focusing on deities like Venkateswara, Jagannatha, Skanda and Sanat Kumara Traditions that are not only acceptable all Hindus and religions that came out of Sanatana Dharma but also Abrahamic religions which was in   existence 2000 years before as Esoteric East West Sanatkumara Tradition.
I expected any Hindu cultural or  Religious Society  or temple society would grab my free offer to dedicate my work for the  cause, appoint an expert  committee to  review them and bring  them in  a book format for the benefit Hindu community in USA. No such book is available at one source as   far as my knowledge goes for my approais one of evolution and not an abrupt change or dictation.  From the appreciations received from several people I believe no such compilation oriented to Hindu American community is available anywhere.  Strangely it has caught the attention of an Inter-faith group who are seriously considering to edit properly and bring forth a book for the benefit of all Americans while struggling for finance resourcing.  I am not sure of its fate. I have done my job and willing to offer the same free for any good cause. 
I give below all the discourses suitable for Inter-faith dialogue, Fusion of religions for happy living,  Community Outreach and Universal Oneness. You may go through them and decide for yourselves how they differ from existing literature or the way they are rendered. I have tried to bridge the gap between theory and practice and also gone deep into scriptures of Abrahamic religions whom we want to outreach or live in harmony with                                       

 ETERNAL TRADITION (SINDHU TATTVA)
                                                         FOR  
     COMMUNITY OUTREACH, INTERFAITH  & FUSION OF FAITHS


L. TOPICS ON HINDU AMERICAN’S INTERACTION WITH  MAJOR CULTURES OF USA
1. Wisdom of Geeta’s Teaching  and Bible’s Preaching (August 2011)
2. Christianity Echoes Wisdom Thoughts of Eternal Tradition (DEC 2011)
3. US court says Atheism is a Religion; Hindu Sanatanists say Hinduism is not a Religion (Oct 2013)
4. “In God We Trust“,   “E Pluribus Unum” and “Satyameva Jayate” (March 2012)
5. Samhain Eve—Spiritual alternative to Halloween Night (Oct 2013)
6. Did Holy Blazing Fire and Bizarre Colors inspire Christianity and Color Run? (April 2014)
7. Hindu Reflections on Mating season Festival that inspired St. Valentine’s Religious Festival (Feb 2014)     8. Hindu Reflections on Eclipses and Blood Moon (April 2014)
9. Satanic Nine/Eleven and Spiritual Nine/Eleven (September 2014)
10. How Religious Valentine’s Day can be Adapted by Hindu Mode of worship) (Feb 2015)
11.  Vedic Soma Yajnas and their  Imprint on Christian Eucharist Rituals (October 2015)
12. International Yoga day and the Legacy of Yoga to Mankind (June 2015)
13. Let us Foster and Spread the Message of Peace around the World (January 2014)
14. Did Bharatiyas  Help  the Growth of Christianity  ( December 2014)
M. HINDU AMERICAN HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS
1.  Thanksgiving Day Celebration in Hindu Temples of America (Nov 2011)
2.  Festival of Lights—Ancient in Tradition; Universal in Appeal (Dec 2011)
3.  January 1—Hindu American Worship in Temples (Dec 2011)
4.  Hindu American Perception of Mother’s day Celebration (May 2012)
5.  Wise Advice and Prayers from Vedas for Graduation Day Celebration (May 2012)
6.  Hindu American Way of Father’s Day Celebration (Pitru devo bhava) (June 2012)
7.  Graduation Day Worship in North American Hindu Temples (June 2013)
8.   Father’s day Worship in American Churches and Hindu Temples (June 2013)
9.  Hindu American Thoughts on Thanksgiving Day (Nov 2013)
10. Hindu Reflections on Christmas-tree and Lighting (Dec 2013)
11. Why do Hindus rush to Temples to Celebrate New Year? (Dec 2013)
12. Mother’s day—A Day for Veneration and Worship ( May 2014)
13. Philosophically Thinking about Father’s Day (June 2014)
14. Hindu American Way of Labor Day Celebration (Sept 2012)
15. Thoughts on Earth Day from Hindu Reflections (May 2013)
16. Hindu American Thoughts on Grand Parent’s Day (Sept 2013)
17. West Meets East Traditions during Spiritual Deepaavali Season (Nov 2013)
18. Thinking of Transcendental Pi and Brahman on March 14 [American Pi Day] (March 2014)
19. Let Us Center Ourselves Widening Our Vision of Festival of Lights (Dec 2014)
20. Thinking of Mother Earth on Mother's Day (May 2015)
21. Hindu American Religious and Philosophical Thoughts about Father's Day (June 2015)
22. Hindu worship of Weapons, Tools and Universal Crafts Person led to Labor Day Celebrations (October 2013)
 PRELUDE TOPICS INTRODUCING SANATANA DHARMA
1. Hindu Education System through the Ages (Sept 2011)
3.  US court says Atheism is a Religion; Hindu Sanatanists say Hinduism is not a Religion (Oct 2013)
3.  Let us Turn Spiritual and Strive to Make All Spiritual (July 2016)
4.  Sanaatana Dharma is for the World, Not for Hindus Alone- (Jan 2012)
5. Enigmatic Hindu Gods Asvins who influenced Western Culture (Jan 2015)
6. Early and Medieval Hindus Contribution To Science and Technology (September 2010)
7.  Modern Science in Hindu scriptures ….. (Jan 2016)
8. Hasrtinapura, the City of Wisdom near Buenos Aires (October 2015)
9.  Did Vajasaneyee Samhita inspire worship in all cultures (Feb 2015)
10. Science Spirituality and Religion… (April 2015)
11.    Festival of lights—Ancient tradition of universal Appeal
13.  Let us center ourselves spiritual Wisdom…on Festival of Lights (Dec 2014)
14. Vedanta r Religion—Everlasting…. (May 2016)
15. Uncommon Understanding of the Unknown…….. (April 2016)
16. Love is Universal Binding Force…… (Feb 2016)
17. Why I am called Hindu   ….. (Nov 2015)
18. Vedic Soma Yajana………. Eucharist Rituals    (Oct 2015)
19.  International Yoga Day and the Legacy of Yoga to Mankind (June 2015)
20. Did Bharatiya’s help the Growth of Christianity (Dec 2014)
21. Hindu Reflections on Mating Season… that inspired Valentine’s Day (2/10/2014)
22. Hindu reflections on Christmas Tree  and Lighting (12/28/2013)
23 Let us Foster and spreads the message of peace around the world  (1/9/2014)
24. Hindus are most Suited to Promote Spirituality the World Needs Today (July 2016)

 

TOPICS YET TO BE POSTED 
1.  Need for Spiritual Education 
 2. Skanda, Hindu God is Sanat Kumara in Many Faiths & Tradition
 3. Venkateswara is Sanat Kumara who casts his  Magic Spell on  Millions
4.  Let us Consolidate Temple Traditions  started by Adi Sankara
5.  Hinduism  as world Religion 

All Topics need to be arranged properly for continuity and sequence
(The month and year of publication in the blog is indicated against each discourse within brackets).



                            A BIRDS-EYE-VIEW OF HINDUISM

Besides I have another set of discourses that are suitable to all Hindus as a general one source guide. Here again you will not find such a compendium all at one source to the best of my knowledge:


H. TEMPLE, TEMPLE WORSHIP AND PILGRIM CENTERS  (14 Discourses)

E.  HINDU GODS  AND GODDESSES  (32 Discourses)

 A. HINDU FESTVALS (35 Discourses)

B. HINDU RITUALS (13 Discourses)

F.  YAJNA, HOMA AND SELECTED MANTRAS IN HINDU WORSHIP (25 Discourses)

C. HINDU SAMSKAARAS (11 Discourses)

I. HINDU CULTURE (14 Discourses)

 G. HINDU PHILOSOPHY AND PHILOSOPHERS (5 Discourses)


D. DISCOURSES ON UPANISHADS AND GEETAA (35 Discourses)


J. DISCOURSES ON SELECTED TOPICS OF HINDUISM  ( 45 Discourses)

K.  SELECTED HINDU SPIRITUAL DISCOURSES (22 Discourses)



For the title of these discourses click the link below:

 Open  policy of Hindu Reflections: These discourses are    compilations from the references indicated in each discourse    as well as other sources as  prepared lectures for delivering at Vedanta Class of Sri Ganesha Temple, Nashville. TN, USA.  I do not claim anything as original though I have included   my explanations and comments elaborately suitably editing. Anybody is free to download  partly or fully any discourse from the blog Hindu Reflections <nrsrini.blogspot.com>  modify and redistribute for spreading the wisdom of Vedas and scriptures further.]