ARRCC members pledge for eating less Meat

By : Surinder Jain.

ARRCC – Australian Religious Response to Climate Change is a multi faith network committed to action on Climate Change. Hindu Council of Australia has been a member for more than ten years and has recently celebrated 10th Anniversary of its Eat Less Meat campaign.

Members of ARRCC in Sydney met on 13th October 2018 to celebrate 2018 Week of Living the Change. It is a week in which members make personal commitments on making changes in their lives that will help the environment.

IPCC has recently identified three major causes of climate change and they are

  • Fossil fuels
  • Transport and
  • Agriculture

and the solutions to alleviate the effects are

  • Use renewable energy
  • Cut down on transport that have a large carbon foot print and
  • Eat less meat.

It is the first time that climate change activists have come out openly and boldly to declare that Meat production is one of the major causes of climate change. Studies show that if we take all the action we need to take on fossil fuels and transport but neglect to do anything on Meat production, we will end up failing in stopping the catastrophic consequences.

YET, most climate change enthusiasts are hooked onto the first two and not paying due attention to the third cause of Meat being the final culprit. Perhaps because, it is easy to tell others to stop coal mining. It is happening somewhere far away and affects those few thousand jobs in rural hinterland only. To change our travel habits is somewhat more personal but a matter of pride and a little inconvenience. The technology and encouragement to do so is here and now and we can actually do it with small sacrifices.

However, to change one’s food habits and taste is very personal and perhaps one of the most difficult things to do. It involves the livelihood of not a few thousand Australians but of millions of Australians who produce meat and are also the backbone of rural and national economy. No one seems to have defined a transition path for these proud farmers to help them change from Meat to Plant based food production. It needs to be done on an urgent basis.

If we take Meat out of Australian diet, we will be left with a very poor, unbalanced diet which can be a cause of many deficiencies. Hindus who have been vegetarians for thousands of years and have adopted their cuisine and living style to a vegetarian diet and are thriving (there are over a billion in India alone) have a special responsibility to keep Australian cuisine healthy and balanced as they move towards lesser meat consumption.

The meeting was presided over and addressed by Thea Ormerod who invited everyone to make a commitment to make a change in their lives that will reduce their carbon foot print. This was followed by an address of Mr Atmarama Das (Andre), Director Govinda Valley Retreat. He explained how he got revolted by having to work on a fishing boat chopping fishes and on coming to the shore forever became a vegetarian and joined Hare Krishna movement. The movement taught him that we are not the owners of this creation or even a small piece of it.

This was followed by an address by Rev John Buchanan, Minister at the Presbyterian parish of St Peter’s, North Sydney. Rev John read from the bible that we are stewards of God’s creation and it is our duty no to let it deteriorate and that is why we must fight the climate change.  Reverend told the audience that he has not become a vegetarian but has reduced his meat consumption. The third speaker Gillian Reffell from the Sydney Buddhist Center spoke about her struggle to balance her life with her carbon foot print.

The meeting was followed by other people present their making pledges to reduce their carbon foot print and was followed by a Reflective Interfaith Ritual.

Thea gave following information to help people make pledges to reduce their own carbon footprint :

Pledge

Kgs of carbon saved every year from going into atmosphere

Always use public transport to work 920 Kg/year
Avoid Air travel except for emergencies 460 Kg/year
Replace all home lights by LED 470 Kg/year
Make at least half of my meals meat free 470 Kg/year
Eat meat no more than once a week 640 Kg/year
Eat 5 vegetarian meals each week 690 Kg/year
Adopt an entirely plant-based diet 1,300 Kg/year

Hindu Council of Australia was represented by its directors Vijai Singhal and Surinder Jain. Hindus have a lot more at stake with climate change. We, after our death will come back in a new birth an this process will continue until we attain Liberation. Ensuring that earth remains livable is not only a noble thing to do but is also the only thing to do to our home for many many centuries and eons to come.

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Breaking Bread with Indian Chapati in Sydney Food Festival

By:Surinder Jain.

Hindu Council of Australia participated in Breaking Bread with other Australian communities as an initiative of Food Faith during the ongoing Sydney Food Festival at Hyde Park Palms on 9th October 2018.

Food Faith is a not for profit organization promoting environmental and social sustainability. Sharing of bread and then breaking it to eat – Breaking Bread – is its initiative to bring communities together.

Hindu Council of Australia brought Indian Bread (Chapatis) which were distributed among more than a hundred people present there along with a Kangaroo grass bread from Staple Bakery, a Challah (Jewish bread) from Our Big Kitchen and Rustic panini from Bread and Butter Project.

The session started with an aboriginal elder explaining the value of Kangaroo grass seeds as a staple food for first Australians and as a staple crop before colonization of Australia. Other speakers talked about role of bread in religious ceremonies, how food and bread has changed over the years, ongoing research by universities on less popular slow going grains and how food can be a source of sustainable charitable businesses.

Judy Friedlander explained the concept behind the Breaking Bread initiative.

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Walk2Temple Paad Yatra piligrimage

By: Sai Pravastu.
 
As the quote goes “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” similarly one man’s initiative to continue the tradition of pilgrimage in Australia has just reached a new milestone of 2 decades. 
 
It is true that, this year marks 20th year since this walk was started by one man to walk i.e. PAADA YATRA from Sri Murugan Temple in Westmead to Sri Sai Baba Temple in Strathfield. Friend and relatives started joining him and in a couple of years they progressed this yatra beyond Sai Baba mandir in Strathfield to Sri Venkateshwara Temple in Helensburgh. It is crazy to even think whether this journey by foot, especially back in the day, but hey who are we kidding, the discovery of this great land has been tied to a human discovery mostly over a walk. 
 
 
It is a HINDU tradition to “walk to a pilgrim” on special events / occasions and during in some festive seasons. it is known as “PAADA YATRA” and this is a general practice in HINDUISM and this is done across in Bharath i.e. INDIA.
 
LETSGIVEHOPE has been organising this walk to the temple event called PAADA YATRA under the auspice of Hindu Council of Australia and now it is completely run by Hindu Council of Australia for a few years now, the  transition was necessary to keep the culture and tradition of pilgrimage alive for the future generation of Australian Hindus. It has many benefits that one would do a part of it everyday 
 
Journey
 
The distance between Westmead and Helensburgh is around 65kms. Since its such big distance which can’t be achieved in one day, at least for not everyone so we are planning to do this walk up to Heathcoate and take a bus to the temple and take the blessings and complete the pilgrim in a day. 
 
 
Every year we start the walk on Saturday of the October long weekend at 6:00am from Sri Murugan Temple in westmead and have our first stop at Strathfield Sai Baba Mandir and we leave from strathfield Sai Baba temple and reach Heathcote completed the walk to Sri Venkateshwara Temple, Helensburgh.
 
Every year volunteers of this event have taken utmost care and diligence to needs of the yatris (walkers) this year we over 250 walkers have joined us at Sri Murugan Temple in Westmead for the first part of the walk and we associate this walk to some charity or cause every year and this year is no different, we walked for the BIG DRY, to support for our Aussie Farmers. 
 
 
Some participants only walk up to Sri Sai Mandir (Strathfield) where as some others join us from Sri Sai Mandir to Sri Venkateshwara Temple. We have a regular group which joins us from Canberra and one family joined us from Dubbo as well this year, our youngest walker this year was Yatin (10 year old) and couple of young teenagers too in completing the full walk, we also had a 3 month old girl who participated as well carried by her dad some time and pushed in pram by her mum,  along side others i.e. up to Sri Sai Mandir (Strathfield). Walk was kicked off by Dr Hugh McDermott, MP along with Samir Pandey Parramatta councilor and Susai Benjamin from Blacktown along with our ace walker Murali Konneru. 
 
Route in Brief
1. Sri Murugan Temple to Sri Sai Baba temple around 15 kms)
2. Sri Sai Mandir to Heathcoate (around 30 Kms)
 
Vision 
Our vision is to keep our tradition and culture alive and at the same time organise the event properly so many others can participate the tradition. Doing it over the long weekend will make it even better for people and it coincides with a festivals in the temple. We are yet to get full walk permission from government authorities , but we are very hopeful that very soon we will get this approved and we can complete the walk in full. 
 
This is event is to keep our tradition of walking to pilgrimage and is not promoting any commercial activity, we tie this auspicious walk to a noble cause and hope to pass it to your future generation to continue this unique tradition in this wonderful multi cultural land.
 
On behalf of Hindu Council of Australia and PAADA YATRA team we congratulate all participants and wish to see you all who are reading this article to participate in the walk next year.
 
 
Participants were issued certification of completion of the walk at the end of their walk and we sold special edition shirts to raise the needed funds for drought affected farmers.
 
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Bhadrachalam deities arriving in Sydney soon

By: Sai Pravastu.
It is of great joy and delight to let everyone know that the utsava moortis Lord Sri Rama along with Sita Devi, Lakshamana and Anjeyanaya swamy are for the first time coming to Sydney from the ancient and famous Sri SitaRama temple of Bhadrachalam which is on the banks of mighty Godavari river. 
 
On this festive occasion two significant events are planned – SitaRama Kalyanam and SriRama Pattabhishekam. 
 
While Sri SitaRama Kalyanam is a blessing for every household, Sri Rama Pattatbhishekam is a blessing for entire world. Please do participate in large numbers along with your family and your friends, praise, pray, sing and dance in the name of Sri SitaRama and get filled with joy and happiness.
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Religions meet for Peace in NSW

By: Vijai Singhal.

The Religions for Peace, NSW Chapter meeting was held on 20 August 2018 in Hon Walt Secord’s Office, NSW Parliament House. Meeting was sponsored by the Hon Walt Secord, Deputy Opposition leader in theNSW Legislative Council (Upper House) Shadow Minister for Health, NSW State Parliament House.

Josie Lacey OAM presided over the meeting. The topic for discussion was “Mysticism in my Religion”. Reverend PravrajikaGayatriprana, President of Shri Ramakrishna Sarada Vedanta Society of NSW spoke on the subject for the Hindu Faith.

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Be a Yajmann for Sri Sitarama Kalyanam

By:Sai Pravastu.

This year during Deepavali celebrations at Parramatta on 3rd & 4th November, we are blessed by Sri SitaRama, Lakshmana and Anjaneya Swamy from Bhadrachalam (India), As you may know this year is Vilambi nama samvatsara i.e  the year Lord Sri Rama was born and and it comes every 60 years. we will be celebrating  Kalyanam (celistial wedding) and Pattabhishekam (coronation) with the vigrahas and priests from Bhadrachalam. We have a very special coin of Sri Ram Darbar minted to mark this special occassion by ABC Bullion for this Deepavali.
 
We are limiting to 1000 families to participate in donating towards the expenses for this events.  The donation includes a special limited edition silver coin minted by ABC Bullion. 4 entry tickets and a bag with Akshitas , Rama koti book , Shawl and prasadam.  Above all the blessings of Sri Rama Pariwaram and watch the traditions followed for centuries in Dakshin Bharath right in our backyard. A truly mesmerising experience not to be missed.
 
 
 
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Religious Leaders Forum of NSW discusses violence against children

By: Vijai Singhal.

Religious Leaders Forum

I attended the Religious Leaders Forum on behalf of the Hindu Council of Australia on 22nd August, 2018 at the Melkite Catholic Church Schoolin Greenacre, organized by the Multicultural NSW. Before the start of the proceedings the members were given the tour of the school which is providing education to 240 students mainly from the Arabic speaking refugee families.

The main speaker for the Forum was Mr. Andrew Johnson, Advocate for Children and Young people. The topic for his presentation was “Violence against children is everybody’s business” promoting prevention of violence against children, which has deep psychological impact on the vulnerable children in the society. Support services are available for both adults and children and young people who may be suffering violence.

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Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam explained to Youth Parliament of World Religions

The Youth PoWR conference was organized by the Columban Centre for Christian-Muslim Relations to bring young representatives of different religions (Buddhism, Christianity, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh) to one platform in order to share how each of these religions are contributing towards peace in the society.

Vincy Jain represented the Hindu faith and explained the concept of “VasudhaivaKutumbakam” – the whole world is a family to foster living in harmony by the people of different faiths. The members of the audience also participated in the breakout sessions to discuss a number of current issues. The facilitators of these groups collated all the responses which were published on their website.The conference was a great step towards bringing the different ethnic communities, especially the youth together to foster mutual understanding.

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Farmers helped during Walkathon to Temples

Hindu Council of Australia organized a Walk to Temples event in Sydney on 29th September 2018. Funds were raised for Farmers Drought Relief efforts during the walk. According to Walk organizer Mr Sai Pravastu, $850 were raised on the first day and $540 were raised on second and final day of the walk. More funds are being collected and will be handed over to Hindu Benevolent Fund to help the Australian Farmers.

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Deepavali in Australia

Diwali 2018 celebrations in Australia

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