VIC Chapter

Hindu Concil of Australia (HCA) started actively working in Victoria since April 2014 although it was represented through some other Hindu organisations here since about 2010.

HCA actively partners with core Hindu organisations such as Hindu Swaymsevak Sangh, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Seva International.

Other Engagement Activities:

  • Engaged with Multifaith Advisory Grooup (MAG) under Department of Premier and Cabinet in Victoria
  • Board member of Spiritual Health Victoria and is proudly providing Hindu Chaplaincy services in the health care
  • Member of peak faith communities organisation in Victoria FCCV participating in multifaith dialogue

Victoria Chapter – Recent Activities

HCA (Vic) participates in the Festival of Chariots (Rath Yatra)

By: Makarand Bhagwat, Victoria Chapter of Hindu Council.

A team of devoted volunteers from Hindu Council of Australia (Vic) participated in the Festival of Chariots (Rath Yatra) organised by its partner organisation, ISKCON, Melbourne at Catani Gardens during the recent St Kilda Festival on Sunday 10th February in Melbourne.
 
The group presented half an hour long spiritual bhajans on this occasion.
 
HCA (Vic) has a strong ongoing relationship with ISKCON in Melbourne and supports their spiritual health care providers who provide chaplaincy services in the health care system.
 
HCA actively partners with core Hindu organisations such as Hindu Swaymsevak SanghVishwa Hindu Parishad and Seva International, ISKCON, Sankat Mochan Samiti.

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Hindu Council support Uluru Statement from the Heart

By: Makarand Bhagwat.

Hindu Council of Australia (Vic) joined faith leaders at the celebration of the 2019 UN World Interfaith Harmony Week, to stop and listen to the voice of aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people in hope of reconciliation and healing our nation’s broken heart.
 
The event was held on Sunday 17th February at St Oswald Anglican Church, where Makarand Bhagwat, on behalf of Hindu Council of Australia (Vic) joined leaders from Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Islam and Sikh faith leaders and extended the support of Hindu community, to seek constitutional reforms to empower the aboriginal and Torres Strait Island community people.

Uluru Statement of the Heart faith leaders. Mr Makarand Bhagwat of Hindu Council is second from left

 
ULURU STATEMENT FROM THE HEART
 
We, gathered at the 2017 National Constitutional Convention, coming from all points of the southern sky, make this statement from the heart:
 
Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands, and possessed it under our own laws and customs. This our ancestors did, according to the reckoning of our culture, from the Creation, according to the common law from ‘time immemorial’, and according to science more than 60,000 years ago.
 
This sovereignty is a spiritual notion: the ancestral tie between the land, or ‘mother nature’, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were born therefrom, remain attached thereto, and must one day return thither to be united with our ancestors. This link is the basis of the ownership of the soil, or better, of sovereignty. It has never been ceded or
extinguished, and co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown.
 
How could it be otherwise? That peoples possessed a land for sixty millennia and this sacred link disappears from world history in merely the last two hundred years? With substantive constitutional change and structural reform, we believe this ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood.
 
Proportionally, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are not an innately criminal people. Our children are aliened from their families at unprecedented rates. This cannot be because we have no love for them. And our youth languish in detention in obscene numbers. They should be our hope for the future. These dimensions of our crisis tell plainly the structural nature of our problem.
 
This is the torment of our powerlessness.
 
We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.
We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution. Makarrata is the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle. It captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination.
 
We seek a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history. In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard. We leave base camp and start our
trek across this vast country. We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.

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Victorian chapter distributes Hindu Chaplaincy Kit

By: Makarand Bhagwat, Melbourne.

Hindu Council of Australia’s Victoria chapter has completed distribution of kits to 11 accredited Hindu Spiritual Care Providers (Chaplains). The kit contains a lanyard and ID, a copy of Bhagvad Geeta, Rudraksh Mala, and a neck scarf.

HCA Victoria is currently looking for volunteers who can be trained as Spiritual Care Providers especially from linguistically diverse backgrounds. We encourage interested persons speaking Gujarati, Bengali, Punjabi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malyalam languages to send their expression of interest to melbourne@hinducouncil.com.au with your contact details.
 
A training session is proposed in April 2019 for volunteers.

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Hindu Council supports UN World Harmony Week 2019 in Melbourne

By: Hindu Council Melbourne Chapter.

The Melbourne chapter of Hindu Council participated in and supported 2019 UN World Harmony Week. The event was attended by Mr Makarand Bhagwat.

World Interfaith Harmony Week is a UN resolution for a worldwide week of interfaith harmony proposed in 2010 by King Abdullah II and Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan. The World Interfaith Harmony Week falls in the first week of February of every year[1][2] and aims to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith. 

The basis for the World Interfaith Harmony Week is the A Common Word Initiative which was authored by Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad and released in 2007. The A Common Word Initiative and the World Interfaith Harmony Week stem from the idea that humanity is bound together by the two shared commandments of ‘Love of God and Love of the Neighbor’ or ‘Love of the Good and Love of the Neighbor’.

In his speech at the UN General Assembly, Prince Ghazi of Jordan stated that the aim of the Interfaith Harmony Week would be fulfilled by:

permanently and regularly encouraging the silent majority of preachers to declare themselves for peace and harmony and providing a ready-made vehicle for them to do so … if preachers and teachers commit themselves on the record once a year to peace and harmony, this means that when the next interreligious crisis or provocation occurs, they cannot then relapse into parochial fear and mistrust, and will be more likely to resist the winds of popular demagoguery[6]

The UN resolution on the World Interfaith Harmony Week states:[7]

The General Assembly,
Recalling its resolutions 53/243 of 6 October 1999 on the declaration and programme of action relating to a culture of peace; 57/6 of November 2002 concerning the promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence; 58/128 of 19 December 2003 on the promotion of religious and cultural understanding, harmony and cooperation; 64/164 of 18 December 2009 on the elimination of all forms of intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief;
64/81 of 7 December 2009 on the promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation for peace, and 64/14 of 10 November 2009 on the Alliance of Civilizations. Recognising the imperative need for dialogue among different faiths and religions in enhancing mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people. Recalling with appreciation various global, regional and sub-regional initiatives on mutual understanding and interfaith harmony including, inter alia, the Tripartite Forum for Interfaith Cooperation for Peace, and the “A Common Word”.
Recognising that the moral imperatives of all religions, convictions, and beliefs call for peace, tolerance, and mutual understanding:
  1. Reaffirms that mutual understanding and inter-religious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace.
  2. Proclaims the first week of February of every year the World Interfaith Harmony Week between all religions, faiths and beliefs.
  3. Encourages all States to support, on a voluntary basis, the spread of the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill in the world’s churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship during that week based on Love of God and Love of the Neighbour, or based on Love of the Good and Love of the Neighbour, each according to their own religious traditions or convictions.
  4. Requests the secretary general to keep the General Assembly informed of the implementation of the present resolution.
Melbourne UN 2019 WIHW A4 Flyer Final print 3

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Hindu Council activities report for 2018

Annual General Meeting of Hindu Council was held in Blacktown on 15th December 2018 and was attended by about 40 members. A report of activities for the year 2018 was presented and can be downloaded below :

Download the report (15MB)

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Hindu chaplains help Hindu Women prisoners in Melbourne

By : Makaran Bhagwat, Melbourne.

Hindu Council of Australia (Vic) currently has volunteer spiritual care providers (Hindu Chaplains) who have been providing their services in the health care system and are now extending it to other areas include prisons.

The chaplains received following request from a female prison :

A Women’s Prison in Victoria : We currently have an Indian woman here  who follows Hinduism and she has requested to be linked in with someone from a Hindu Temple. It was suggested that you might be able to assist with organising someone to come in and meet with her. I am also seeking some advise in regards to her celebrating Shradh. She has requested specific food items for these celebrations, but I have not had much luck through the prison, so was hoping you might be able to direct me in regards to this as well.

 
We visited the Centre and had an opportunity to meet the 2 inmates requesting this meeting.
 
It appears that both of them have 2 main requirements / requests to be granted, which are related to the Hindu faith and Indian ethnicity, which Hindu Council of Australia  are able to fulfill.
 
We were told that in the multifaith chapel at the centre, while there were provisions for other faiths, there is nothing at present for the Hindu faith.
 
We can assist here by providing, religious texts, and also picture frames of Hindu Gods which can go on the Chapel wall to support their prayers.
 
Secondly, both of them were saying that the other inmates belonging to other  communities, could buy the food items of their taste and choice from the store within their weekly allowance. Unfortunately there is no Indian grocery available for them to cook food of their choice. Again on this point Hindu Council of Australia can assist by engaging with the Centre to identify some basic items, like spices, Basmati rice, lentils etc so that they can be purchased for their cooking needs.
 
In addition to this, for the forthcoming important Hindu festival “Diwali” ,the festival of lights, they would like to light a candle at the current interfaith place / chapel.
 
Overall it was a good visit and we have given them some printouts of the prayers, which can hopefully bring in some positive feeling in them in the current circumstances.
 
Makarand Bhagwat
Director
Hindu Council of Australia (Vic)

 

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Hindus in Victoria advise Premier on Multicultural issues

By: Makrand Bhagwat.

Hindu Council of Australia Victoria is a member of the Multifaith Advisory Group under the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) , which advises the Premier and the minister for multicutural affairs on faith related matters in the community.
Some of the issues MAG discussed in the recent times were the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill, LGBTI inclusion in the broader community, Family Violence, Issues related to Islamic community and achieving social cohesion to name a few.
MAG Chair is Helen Kapalos, who is also the Chair for Victorian Multicultural Commission. Helen organised a meeting with the Premier and the Minister way back in Apr-May this year and scheduled it for 15th August, which was yesterday.
HCA was represented in this meeting. Although the meeting was short, some of the recent issues were discussed. The meeting started on the backdrop of the recent comments made in the Senate by Katter’s party Senator Fraser Annings about bringing back the white Australia policy and opposing to Islamic migration. The MAG unanimously condoned Senator’s comments.
The other issue which was discussed was about the South Sudanese youth violence in the recent past in Melbourne suburbs. Bishop Philip Huggins from the Anglican Church said that he is working with the Sudanese community on this issue. All the faith communities expressed their support and asked if they could help. The Premier also commented that steps are being taken to provide training and job opportunities to the South Sudanese youth to bring them into the mainstream.
The Premier announced financial assistance of $600,000 to MAG which was welcomed by all faith leaders.
HCA will work closely with the MAG in future to positively contribute on all emerging issues.
After the meeting I personally thanked the Premier on attending the Indian national flag hoisting ceremony over the week end at the Federation Square.
Thank you and regards
Makarand Bhagwat

 

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Maharishi Sushruta, a surgeon famous in Melbourne

By:Surinder Jain.

The Royal Australia College of Surgeons (RACS), trains surgeons and is responsible for maintaining surgical standards in Australia and New Zealand.  It aims to foster and promote the pursuit of excellence in surgical education and actively supports innovative surgical research, aid projects in underprivileged communities, skills transfer and education programs.

A statue of Surgeon Sushruta in the Royal Australia College of Surgeons, Melbourne

In its building, among some of the most prominent ancient physicians, one may come across a statue of Sushrata with the plaque mentioning him as Father of Surgery.

When contacted, the RACS were very proud of having the now famous statue in their building. The statue is displayed at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in Melbourne and has been on display since early June 2018. It is made of marble with a granite base, is 1.2 m high and weighs a massive 550Kg. It is installed in the Skills lab area, East wing level 1 of the building and according to the RACS college, is a true work of art.

The college also has a collection of many rare and significant books in the field of medicine in its Cowlishaw Collection. A 1907 English translation of the works of Sushruta known as Sushruta Samhita by Kunjalal Bishnagratan is a part of that prestigious collection. According to the college, Sushruta is a foundation figure in Indian medicine and surgery and is hailed as the Indian counterpart of Hippocrates . 

College museum which holds the translation of Sushruta Samhita is open to the public twice a week Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 12noon (check with the college here for latest details). The college curator can arrange private tours for groups or if people are interested in viewing a particular item. That can be arranged by contacting the college curator at Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, 250-290 Spring Street, East Melbourne VIC 3002 Australia, Telephone: +61 3 9276 7447, Fax: +61 3 9249 1219
Email: college.curator@surgeons.org

 

Dr K M Cherian

The statue was donated to the college by one its Alumni, Dr K M Cherian. Dr Cherian performed India’s first successful Coronary Artery bypass surgery in 1975. He also performed the country’s first heart transplant after legalization of brain death. The first Heart- Lung Transplant, the first Paediatric Transplant and the first TMR (Laser Heart Surgery) were also performed by him[1].

He started his career in Christian Medical College Hospital, in Vellore as lecturer in Surgery. He did his FRACS in Cardiothoracic Surgery in 1973 from RACS, while being a migrant in Australia. He also worked in New Zealand and  the United States. He worked as a Special Fellow in Paediatric Cardiac Surgery in Birmingham, Alabama under Dr. John W. Kirklin and in the University of Oregon under Dr. Albert Starr. He is an honourable Prof at the Yangzhou University, China. He was awarded Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1991. 

Dr Cherian is very fond of and inspired by Sushruta.

Sushruta statue at RACP East wing 1, Melbourne

The Indian epic Mahābhārata lists Suśruta amongst the sons of Viśvāmitra, the legendary sage.[8] [9] The Bower Manuscript, an early birch bark document, dated to the Gupta era (between the 4th and the 6th century), is an Indian text and is one of the oldest manuscripts known to have survived into the modern era.[3] It mentions the ancient Indian tradition of “garlic festival”, as well as a mention of sage Sushruta in Benares (Varanasi).[6]

The Suśruta-saṃhitā (works of Sushruta) is one of the most important surviving ancient treatises on medicine and is considered a foundational text of Medicine. The treatise addresses all aspects of general medicine, and the translator G. D. Singhal dubbed Suśruta “the father of surgery” on account of the extraordinarily accurate and detailed accounts of surgery to be found in the work.[5] 

A statue dedicated to Sushruta at the Patanjali Yogpeeth institute in Haridwar. In the sign next to the statue, Patanjali Yogpeeth attributes the title of Maharishi to Sushruta, claims a floruit of 1500 BC for him, and dubs him the “founding father of surgery”, and identifies the Sushrut Samhita as “the best and outstanding commentary on Medical Science of Surgery”.

The Suśruta-saṃhitā was known to the scholar Dṛḍhabala (fl. 300–500 CE)[7] and some concepts from it can be found in the Śatapatha-Brāhmaṇa, that is dated to the sixth century BCE,[6] 

The Suśruta-saṃhitā, in its 184 chapters contains descriptions of

The text discusses surgical techniques of

It enumerates six types of dislocations, twelve varieties of fractures, and classification of the bones and their reaction to the injuries, and gives a classification of eye diseases including cataract surgery.

 

Nepal, Text- 12th-13th century; Images- 18th-19th century Books Ink and opaque watercolor on palm leaf Gift of Emeritus Professor and Mrs. Thomas O. Ballinger (M.87.271a-g) South and Southeast Asian Art

Sushruta says that in his works, he has presented the teaching of his guru, Divodāsa[16] a physician who taught in a school in Kashi (Varanasi, India) in parallel to another medical school in Taxila (on Jhelum river, ancient India),[17][18] sometime between 1200 BC and 600 BC.[19][20]  The text uses terminology of Samkhya and other schools of Hindu philosophy.[32][33][34]

The text was translated to Arabic as Kitab Shah Shun al-Hindi’ in Arabic, also known as Kitab i-Susurud, in Baghdad during the early 8th century at the instructions of a member of the Barmakid family of Baghdad.[138][10] Yahya ibn Barmak facilitated a major effort at collecting and translating Sanskrit texts such as Vagbhata’s Astangahrdaya Samhita, Ravigupta’s Siddhasara and Sushruta Samhita.[139] The Arabic translation reached Europe by the end of the medieval period.  In Italy, the Branca family[11] of Sicily and Gaspare Tagliacozzi (Bologna) became familiar with the techniques of Sushruta.[10]

The text was known to the Khmer king Yaśovarman I (fl. 889-900) of Cambodia. Suśruta was also known as a medical authority in Tibetan literature.[138]

Ancient indian text Sushruta samhita shastra and kartarika, surgical instruments 1 of 4

A cataract surgery was found by Sushruta and was subsequently introduced to other countries. Sushruta Samhita mentions the operation in which a curved needle was used to push the opaque phlegmatic matter (kapha in Sanskrit) in the eye out of the way of vision. 

“vv. 57-61ab: In moderate season, after unction and sudation, the patient should be positioned and held firmly while gazing at his nose steadily. Now the wise surgeon leaving two parts of white circle from the black one towards the outer canthus should open his eyes properly free from vascular network and then with a barley-tipped rod-like instrument held firmly in hand with middle, index and thumb fingers should puncture the natural hole-like point with effort and confidence not below, above or in sides. The left eye should be punctured with right hand and vice-versa. When punctured properly a drop of fluid comes out and alsoe there is some typical sound.”

The cataract operation method described by Sushruta continued to be used throughout the Middle Ages and is still used in some parts of Africa and in Yemen.[20] For the most part, it has now been replaced by extracapsular cataract surgery. The first references to cataract and its treatment in Europe are found in 29 AD in De Medicinae, the work of the Latin encyclopedist Aulus Cornelius Celsus, who used Sushruta’s method and called it Couching.

Sushruta Samhita manuscript

 

The Sushruta Samhita states, per Hoernle translation, that “the professors of Ayurveda speak of three hundred and sixty bones, but books on Salya-Shastra(surgical science) know of only three hundred”.[125] The text then lists the total of 300 as follows: 120 in the extremities (e.g. hands, legs), 117 in pelvic area, sides, back, abdomen and breast, and 63 in neck and upwards.[125] The text then explains how these subtotals were empirically verified.[126] The discussion shows that the Indian tradition nurtured diversity of thought, with Sushruta school reaching its own conclusions and differing from the Atreya-Caraka tradition.[126]

Anatomy and empirical studies

The different parts or members of the body as mentioned before including the skin, cannot be correctly described by one who is not well versed in anatomy. Hence, any one desirous of acquiring a thorough knowledge of anatomy should prepare a dead body and carefully, observe, by dissecting it, and examine its different parts.

—Sushruta Samhita, Book 3, Chapter V
Translators: Loukas et al[8]

The Sushruta Samhita is best known for its approach and discussions of surgery.[44] It was one of the first in human history to suggest that a student of surgery should learn about human body and its organs by dissecting a dead body.[44] A student should practice, states the text, on objects resembling the diseased or body part.[130] Incision studies, for example, are recommended on Pushpaphala(squash, Cucurbita maxima), Alavu (bottle gourd, Lagenaria vulgaris), Trapusha (cucumber, Cucumis pubescens), leather bags filled with fluids and bladders of dead animals.[130]

Reconstructive surgery techniques were being carried out in India by 800 BC.[8] Sushruta made important contributions to the field of plastic and cataract surgery.[9] The medical works of both Sushruta and Charak, are originally in Sanskrit language.

British physicians traveled to India to see rhinoplasties being performed by Indian methods.[12] Reports on Indian rhinoplasty performed by a Kumhar vaidya were published in the Gentleman’s Magazine by 1794.[12] Joseph Constantine Carpue spent 20 years in India studying local plastic surgery methods.[12] and finally in 1814, he performed the first major surgery operative procedure on a British military officer who had lost his nose to the toxic effects of mercury treatments.[13] Instruments described in the Sushruta Samhita were further modified for use in the Western world.[13] 

Indian method of nose reconstruction, illustrated in the Gentleman’s Magazine, 1794

Sushruta, states Tipton, asserts that a physician should invest effort to prevent diseases as much as curative remedial procedures.[124] An important means for prevention, states Sushruta, is physical exercise and hygienic practices.[124] The text adds that excessive strenuous exercise can be injurious and make one more susceptible to diseases, cautioning against such excess.[12] Regular moderate exercise, suggests Sushruta, improves resistance to disease and physical decay.[124] Shushruta has written Shlokas on prevention of diseases.

A number of Sushruta’s contributions have been discussed in modern literature. Some of these include Hritshoola (heart pain), circulation of vital body fluids (such as blood (rakta dhatu) and lymph (rasa dhatu), Madhumeha, obesity, and hypertension.[46] Kearns & Nash (2008) state that the first mention of leprosy is described in Sushruta Samhita.[135][136] The text discusses kidney stones and its surgical removal.[137]

With so much in his book (Sushruta Samhita), no wonder Maharishi Sushruta has been called Father of Surgery and it is no surprise that a prestigious and learned college like The Royal Australian College of Surgeons has given Sushruta such a place of honor in its temple of learning.

(Credit:Wikipedia)

 

 

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Hindu Chaplaincy course in Melbourne

Hindu Council of Australia, Victoria chapter is conducting a refresher course for Hindu Chaplaincy on 23 and 30 June in Melbourne. This course is a part of an ongoing commitment by Hindu Council of Australia to increase the number of trained Hindu Chaplains in Australia. Hindu Council offers scholarships for practicing Hindus to train as Hindu Chaplains. Further information about the scholarship can be obtained at http://hinducouncil.com.au/new/hindu-chaplaincy/

Location: Sankat Mochan Temple –  1289A North Rd, Huntingdale VIC 3166 Map Link
Time : 10.00 am to 1.00 pm
Dates : Saturday 23 June and 30 June
There will be a short break in both the sessions where light refreshments will be served.
 
If you would like to join this course and become a chaplain, please contact Mr Makarand Bhagwat.

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International Yoga Day celebrations by Hindu Council

Hindu Council of Australia is celebrating International Yoga day in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Details of the events are given in the brochures below.

 

 

 

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