Book Review – Hinduism and Nature

By : www.arc.org.

Penguin India publishes important new book on Hinduism and Nature

 

We have just received our copy of Penguin India on Hinduism and Nature by historian, environmentalist (and good friend of ARC) Dr Nanditha Krishna.

The book, published by Penguin India, is about the mythical stories and religious significance of many forests and mountains, lakes, rivers (and a few flat bits) of India’s varied landscapes. And how those stories and significances are one of the things that can and might protect India’s animals and places from the bulldozers of progress.

The basis of Hinduism is righteousness, or dharma, she argues, and the great epic texts of Hinduism show a clear appreciation of the natural world by people in India 5,000 years go. Even then, writers and thinkers wanted to urge people to manage natural resources and protect animals.

“I fell in love with sacred groves attached to Hindu temples,” Dr Krishna said to explain how she came to write the book. They were places “where not a twig may be broken and which are the remnants of ancient forests where sages lived in harmony with nature.”

She also was inspired by “rivers that gush from the hills and meander through the land; with the sacred tanks attached to each temple, the sacred plants and the animals respected by my religion; with the awe-inspiring mountains which reach up to the skies and where the Gods live.”.

In her long career as an environmentalist, the Chennai-based author of Sacred Plants of India and Sacred Animals of India has explored the divine relationship between human beings, plants and animals, “which are an essential part of every Hindu prayer.”

In her long career as an environmentalist, the author of Sacred Plants of India and Sacred Animals of India Dr Krishna has explored the divine relationship between human beings, plants and animals, “which are an essential part of every Hindu prayer.”

“The Earth is my mother and I am her child,” says the hymn to the Earth in the Atharva Veda. The human ability to merge with nature was the measure of cultural evolution. Hinduism believes that the earth and all life forms – human, animal and plant – are a part of Divinity, each dependant on the other for sustenance and survival. All of nature must be treated with reverence and respect. If the forests, clean water and fresh air disappear, so will all life as we know it on earth.

An Excerpt

“Forests have always been central to Indian civilization, representing the feminine principle in prakriti. They are the primary source of life and fertility, a refuge for the wanderer and a home for the seeker, and have always been viewed as a model for societal and civilizational evolution.

“Forests were places of retreat, a source of inspiration, for all Vedic literature was revealed to the sages here. Rama’s entire journey from Ayodhya to Lanka was through forests. In the Mahabharata, the big war is for urbanization and to capture the cities of Mathura, Hastinapur and Indraprastha. Yet the Pandavas spent their years of exile in the forest and made marriage alliances with forest tribes, a move that would help them later in the Kurukshetra war. They also learnt several important lessons from living in the forest, which became a source of knowledge and a place for learning higher truths. There were several classifications of the forest.

“The ancient forests have survived as the sacred groves of modern India. The seals of the Indus civilization contain figures of wild animals such as the elephant, water buffalo, rhinoceros, deer, gazelle, antelope, wild sheep and goat and ibex and tiger, which means that the area was once covered with dense forests. Rhino habitat ranges from open savannah to dense forest, while tigers live in swamps, grasslands and among trees, bushes and tall grass which camouflage them. Elephants are found in savannah and forests, where they can find fresh water to cool their thick dark skins. The large number of such seals suggests that the Indus–Sarasvati region was once a thick forest, not the agricultural fields or deserts we see today.

 

Hindu Environment week is one of the eco initiatives by Hindus today, inspired by the insights of their faith

The Vedas were composed in the Indus–Sarasvati region. In these texts, there is a fundamental sense of harmony with nature, which, in turn, nurtured a civilizational value. Forests were the primary source of life and inspiration, not a wilderness to be feared or conquered. The Vedas were written by sages living in the forest who saw it as a home and a source of revelation, exaltation and creativity. Some of the greatest verses of philosophy were written in forests. People drew intellectual, emotional and spiritual sustenance from the twin concepts of srishti and prakriti.

‘So may the mountains, the waters, the liberal (wives of the gods), the plants, also heaven and earth, consentient with the Forest Lord (Vanaspati) and both the heaven and earth preserve for us those riches’

One of the most beautiful hymns of the Rig Veda is dedicated to Aranyani, the goddess of the forest. She is an elusive spirit, fond of solitude, and fearless. The poet asks her to explain how she can wander so far from civilization without fear or loneliness. He creates a beautiful image of the village at sunset, with the sounds of the grasshopper and the cicada and the cowherd calling his cattle. She is a mysterious sprite, never seen, but her presence is felt by the tinkling of her anklets and her generosity in feeding both man and animal:

Aranyani Aranyani, who are, as it were, perishing there, why
do you not ask of the village? Does not fear assail you?
When the chichchika (bird) replies to the crying grasshopper,
Aranyani is exalted, resonant, as with cymbals.
It is as if cows were grazing, and it looks like a dwelling, and
Aranyani, at eventide, as it were, dismissed the wagons.
This man calls his cow, another cuts down the timber,
tarrying in the forest at eventide, one thinks there is a cry.
But Aranyani injures no one unless some other assails;
feeding upon the sweet fruit, she penetrates at will.
I praise the musk-scented, fragrant, fertile, uncultivated
Aranyani, the mother of wild animals
(Rig Veda, X.146. 1–6)

LINKS

Find Hinduism and Nature on Good Reads.

Penguin India on Hinduism and Nature

The Hindu Newspaper features vital work on green pilgrimage by ARC’s partner organisation in India

ARC’s partner organisation in India, ATREE

Building Stewardship in the buffer zone to protect biodiversity – Clean KMTR Campaign

(Source : www.arc.org)

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Bioethics – a Hindu Perspective

By : Dr Raj Maheshwari.

(The following is an abstract of the talk delivered by the author at the conference on “Core Ethical Teachings” at NSW Parliament House on 4 March 2011).

Dr Raj Maheshwari
Forensic Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist at St John of God Health Care
Sydney, Australia

Bioethics addresses specific ethical issues relating to science and medicine. With the advancement in technology, we are constantly faced with new scientific scenarios where ethical decisions need to be made. The principals of ethical decision making in Hinduism is informed by some of the ancient texts, namely Vedas, Upanishads, and two main epics: Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Core Philosophy

Cycle of rebirth is one of the core concepts in Hinduism, based on the belief that the body is just a carrier for the soul, which passes on through the repeated cycles of birth-life-death-rebirth until the soul has been purified and can ultimately join the divine cosmic consciousness, also called as Moksha.

Hindu View of Life and Suffering

Contrary to the western view of health, Hinduism doesn’t view health as mere absence of disability; instead it is assessed as a product of sound mind and body, which off course is one of the goals of a Dharmic life. Likewise illness is accepted as part of ordinary life experience, which is instigated as a consequence of a bad past karma or a test from god to assess your commitment to a dharmic life.

Hindu views death as not opposite to life, rather, it is opposite to birth, and life is a journey between birth and death. Hinduism accepts suffering as inevitable even in death, so discomfort is accepted over drugs, while a conscious dying process is seen as a good death that would determine the properties of your rebirth. Thus death is seen as just another step in this cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth.

Hindu View on Organ Transplant

Cremation in Hinduism is considered as both a destructive process and a course of creation; physical body and mind reunites with the earth, while atman wanders for about 12 days before continuing again the cycle of rebirth. Although in short no religious law prohibits organ transplant or donation in Hinduism, however there are contrary views. Some argue it to be a charitable act which is likely to attract karmic benefits; while others argue that if the body is incomplete during reuniting with the earth, the atman of the dead is suspended in a “state of animation” risking a karmic burden for family members. However, it is commonly insisted that the permission should be explicit.

Hindu view on contraception and abortion

Hindu bioethics agrees that there are two meanings of the conjugal act: the unitive meaning that brings husband and wife together, and the procreative meaning that capacitates them for the generation of new lives; and each and every sexual act need not be valued for its procreativity.

On abortion, the Hindu ethical decision making is based on the belief that the foetus is not just a foetus but a complete soul advancing into the next cycle of rebirth, so abortion is akin to murder; however, if mother’s welfare is in danger then the dharmic principle of duty to oneself takes precedence and abortion is permissible.

Hindu View on Biotechnology

Hinduism supports the idea of somatic cell genetic engineering which can address issues like sickle cell anaemia, haemophilia, or AIDS, on the principle of obligation to ensure survival of the present and future generations. However, it does not supports the idea of using genetic engineering for mere achieving perfection in body or bodily functions, again because Hinduism’s focus is on perfection of the soul rather the carrier body.

Regarding Cloning there are complex arguments in absence of any direct scriptural reference. The decision-making is guided by the principles of nonmaleficence (anyone’s well-being must not be sacrificed on some high altar of promoting a greater social and scientific good), beneficence (someone with leukaemia needing a compatible source of bone marrow), and autonomy (procreative or recreative rights along with rights to self-replicate).

Hindu View on Fertility Related Matters  

In ordinary cases, Hindu bioethics would want to limit IVF to married couples, using their own gametes in order to maximize the chance of both physical and emotional success for the child. However, there is provision for use of other person’s sperm in exceptional circumstances. One of the UpanishadsNiyoga, supports it if its purpose was the impregnation of a wife of an impotent or dead man so that his family may be preserved, and he may have sons to offer oblations for the welfare of his soul in the next world.

In summary, Hindu bioethics is philosophically pluralistic and ethically contextual, giving it the conceptual flexibility demanded by today’s complex moral problems. It is based on a multi-legged ethical decision making model involving the laws of Karma (good and bad actions), Dharma (righteousness), life after death, and Moksha (eternal freedom).

References and Advanced Readings

– Crawford, S. C. Hindu bioethics for the Twenty-first Century 2003; Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

– Lakhan, S. E. Hinduism: life and death. Student BMJ2008;16:294-336

– Coward, H. and Sidhu, T. Bioethics for clinicians: Hinduism and Sikhism. CMAJ, October 31, 2000; 163 (9)

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Santana Sikh of Potohar Pakistan

Baba Khem Singh Bedi Mahal Kallar Syedan Pakistan

 

Baba Khem Singh Bedi (1832-1905) of Bedi Mahal, Kallar Syedan was the influential Sikh leader of the traditional “Santana” order in Potohar region, Pakistan.( Sangini fort at Kallar Sayedan is also worth seeing).bedi mahalBeing 13th in line after great Guru Nanak Bedi (1469-1539) in the family tree, Baba Khem Singh always had one eye on political power. His influence was concentrated in the West Punjab — Sahiwal (Montgomery) and Kallar Syedan areas.bedi mahalBeing a traditional Sikh, that is an offshoot from a merchant class of Hindus (Kshatriya or Bedi), Khem Singh believed that there is very little difference between the two religions.bedi mahalKhalsa (pure) Sikh followers of the 10th Guru Gobind, insisted on separating Hindu and Sikh religions, but Baba Khem Singh would have none of that. This limited Baba Khem’s influence to the western half of Punjab.bedi mahalWhile the influence of Mughals’ had reduced considerable in the Punjab region in the last part of 1700s, the Sikh had risen to prominence. Baba Khem Singh during this time, being a spiritual leader, was very useful to the Colonials in preaching secularism, keeping dissent under check and sending recruits for the British.

Baba Khem Singh fitted perfectly with the colonials’ plans like a Tee. He participated in suppressing native rebellion in Gujera (Sahiwal) in 1857, personally leading cavalry charge and clearing routes.bedi mahal

For his loyalty to the crown as a ‘friendly native’, he was awarded the whole gamut of titles, powers and lands in Western Punjab, now part of Pakistan. The privileges included magisterial powers, knighthood, and an invitation to King Edward VII’s coronation etc. He was gifted vast agricultural lands appropriated by the British from the Muslim notables and distributed to their ‘loyalists’.

Baba Khem Singh’s descendants also sent soldiers to fight British battles including the 1st world war.

Baba Khem Singh was a huge philanthropist as well. Naturally, Sikhs’ being a minority (3%) anointed to rule by the British, had to be generous, in order to stay influential in a majority Muslim population. He was known to have organized the construction of 50 schools and paid seed money for a college in Rawalpindi.bedi mahalDespite his generosity, he still had money to splurge on a castle in the center of impoverished Kallar Syedan. The four storey castle had its own stables, dog kennels, a zoo and servant quarters. The bottom floor was the basement, probably to hide in, in case barbarians ran them over. Only the Muslim servants were allowed inside the premises.bedi mahalOne octogenarian described in his memoir the first time at his teen age that he saw the inside of the Bedi Mahal after the Sikhs’ left in 1947. All the 5000 Sikhs’ of the surrounding area had gathered at the Bedi Mahal compound during the religious riots and were driven in army convoys to safety. No one was killed here.bedi mahalThe Bedi Mahal we saw was dilapidated, but was still grand. I loved the mehmankhana (guest room), the carved wooden doors with brass knobs, the jharokas’, galleries, walkways, open central courtyard and dome shaped corner posts.bedi mahalThe best thing in Bedi Mahal was the frescoes and murals on the walls. The figures were of Muslim conquerors, Hindu deities, Sikh religious people, saints, all lined up around the courtyard into one streaming image of perfect religious harmony.bedi mahalThe top deck of the Bedi Mahal still overlooks Kallar Syedan like a king. I could see the town’s Hindu temple and agricultural well in the distance.bedi mahalWe then went up to the zanankhana at the forehead of the Mahal and it had images of Golden temple, Amritsar and several religious gatherings, mostly depicting Guru Nanak and some Hindu lady deity.  There was a wood carved separation as well. I wish someone could decipher the frescoes for me.

Oh in case I forget, Amitabh Bachan’s mother was a Bedi too, and her grandfather belonged to Kallar Syedan.bedi mahalIn the courtyard of the castle is the gaddi (grave) of a Muslim Sufi saint, kept there by the Bedi as a testament to their secular outlook. Besides the grave is the Sikh symbol erected on top of a metal pole.bedi mahalFifteen years in the making (ending 1855), Bedi Mahal (Castle) was abandoned in 1947. It was converted to a primary school and General Tikka Khan is one of its alumni. Now know why I keep searching through haunted houses while others make it to generals — it was the school building!

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ASMY Donates to help Regents Park Mandir rebuild after vandalism

By : Madya Lila.

Mark Orwin from the Australian School of Meditation & Yoga recently visited Regents Park Mandir to present the devotees with the holy scriptures Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam by AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.  
 
He also offered a donation of a thousand dollars on behalf of ASMY to Indrajit Rai, President of the Satsang Hindu Maha Sabha of Australia, with Shailendra Tiwari and the members of Regents Park Mandir.
 

Mark Orwin from ASMY at Regents Park Bhartiye Mandir

 
The temple was recently broken into and vandalised and now needs renovating. Devotees also lost their scriptures in the attack. Mark addressed the community of devotees and said in times of adversity we grow and come together in friendship like never before. The devotees meet at the Mandir – 42 Kibo Rd, Regents Park every Friday night for Rama Katha at 7.30. Everyone is welcome.  
 
Regents Park Mandir devotees have set up a fundraising page where online contributions can be made https://www.gofundme.com/bhartiyemandirsydney

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Sikh Samadhi and Hindu temple of Gulyana Pakistan

By : Wali Imran.

Gulyana town Gujar Khan Pakistan that was destroyed twice

Courtesy : Wali Imran,
 
900 years old Gulyana town of about a 50,000 people, just a few kilometers South of Gujar Khan, was raised to the ground once several centuries ago, by raiders from the West. The second time it was destroyed during the 1947 partition riots.GulyanaBefore 1947, the Gulyana town center was mostly Hindu and Sikh. The Hindus and Sikh owned all the businesses in the town center and Muslims were their tenants, peasants and laborers. Muslims sold their lands to pay off their debts and also handed over their crop of wheat. The Dewan, Dutt, Mohyal Brahmin, and Singh families were always part of royal elite.

Bollywood Star Sanjay Dutt is from the same branch of warrior Brahmin Dutt and belongs to the same place.GulyanaLand owners were guaranteed protection from military’s presence in Gujar Khan from the North and a rivulet from the south. This land produced sheer gold and wealthy Sikhs and Hindus lived like kings in mansions make of stone, several storey high.GulyanaBakshi Tek Chand, Dewan Prithvi Chand Dutt, Bakshi Moti Ram and Tara Singh were the dominant names of those times.  They built temples, dug up wells for the 30-50 kanal holdings each and distributed these lands amongst their permanent serfs. They did however, treat their serfs with respect and gave them a good share of the crop — what do you expect from absentee landlords.The Sikh had a timber business. Logs from Kashmir valley were dumped into Jhelum River and recovered downstream near Jhelum city to be sold at Gujar Khan.

The Hindus were mostly traders, money lenders and retailers.GulyanaMuslims were mostly illiterate and poor and were destined to stay that way considering the only quality boarding school in nearby Gujar Khan had 95% non-muslim attendance.

During the 1947 riots, one Sikh Bali Singh and one Hindu Lady Banto were killed in the riots but the rest were whisked away with their gold, in the safety of Gorkha soldiers. The Muslim riot crowd burnt to the ground the several symbols of oppression and got rich in the process, during the looting.

One Hindu tehsildar had the magistrate’s powers to jail someone for 6 months.GulyanaWhen the British left suddenly in 1947, the carefully crafted social experiment in native subjugation came crumbling down within days.

 

Otherwise, one 100 years old resident of Gulyana tells me, “the Hindus and Sikh were very friendly towards the Muslims, their women played around with the boys, molvi were not trouble makers then; they cared about their serfs and neighbors’, built schools, hospitals and wells for the general public. No Muslim was allowed into their kitchen however. Balraj, Sita, Beera, Ramu Shikari, Gujrati, Peecha Singh, Mangat Singh, Jawals Singh, Raab Singh, Gurdyal, were the well-known Hindus and Labbu, Gurra, Jagdev, Santa, Paacha, Chatru were the known Sikh of the time. One Tek Chand Never left for India and embraced Islam. His wife and three sons left for India. Tek Chand married a Muslim lady and had seven children. They are all in poverty now. Several of the old mansion, one dhramsala, one temple, several bowlis (watering hole) have been lost to time.Gulyana

The surrounding farms around Gulyana were refreshing. The old styled spoke wells, Sikh Samadhi, Hindu temple and 100 years old Gujarati’s mansion still survives.I went into the temple inner sanctum and saw the most beautiful frescos of mixed Hindu and Sikh religious figures like hanuman, Krishna, Sita, Baba Guru Nanak, Bala, Mardana, etc.Gulyana

Pakistan government build a dam 5 km upstream, called the Ugahaun; it’s a lovely place to fish and boat around.

The union council in 1947 had more financial powers than it does today.GulyanaIn short, all the entrepreneurs, educators, administrator, jurisprudence people, revenue people, land record people and large scale farmers left in 1947.

GulyanaI am astonished how Pakistan survived with an illiterate mass of people, steeped in poverty — traumatized by exploitation and mass killings.

Other interesting places in Potohar region are:

Bedi Mahal, Pharwala fort, Malot fort, Sangini fort, Rawat fort and Mankial Stupa.

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Clean and Healthy Planet, the Hindu way

By : Vijai Singhal.

Īśāvāsyam idaṁsarvaṁyatkiñcajagatyāṁjagat;

Tena tyaktenabhuñjīthā,

mā gdha kasya svid dhanam.

 – (Isa Upanishad, Verse 1)

“Everything animate or inanimate in this universe is pervaded by God. Take whatever you need for your sustenance without the sense of ownership. Do not covet the wealth of anyone.”

Consumerism is the basic cause of climate change. Our economic model is demand based. We are constantly pushed to buy more as we have a system of planned obsolescence which results in excesswaste. We can see in our Hindu literature that the emphasis is on need and not on demand. Mahatma Gandhi said: “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”Greed is the root cause of all our problems – environmental or economic.

Gross domestic product (GDP) is a common measure of economic growth. However, GDP fails to account fully for the ecological damage that growth causes. By prioritizing economic growth, societies based on capitalism permit excessive consumption and with it comes excess waste. In 2012, the tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan adopted the Gross National Happiness Index as their main development indicator.  This index measured‘Well-being and Happiness’ as a new economic paradigm. The United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network which contains rankings of national happiness and analysis of the data from various perspectives, publishes an annual World Happiness Report. In their report, Finland ranks 1st, Australia ranks 10th, whereas India ranks 133rd. New Delhi is one of the most polluted cities in the world. The Prime Minister of India, Mr Narendra Modi had launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission) on 2nd Oct 2014, with the aim to clean up the streets, roads and infrastructure of India. The objectives of Swachh Bharat include eliminating open defecation through the construction of nearly 73 million household and community toilets since the launch of the plan. The Indian government is also pushing the use of renewable energy, particularly solar energy.

Indian government is actively pushing the use of renewable energy. The International Solar Alliance, an alliance of over 121 countries with an aim to reducing dependence on fossil fuels and to promote use of solar energy was launched by the Indian Prime Minister Mr Modi at the India Africa Summit, ahead of the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. India has built the World’s largest solar farm of 2GW capacity in Karnataka State and the Energy Minister, Mr PiyushGoel has declared that there will be no new coal-fired power stations planned in India beyond 2018. In Australia also the rooftop solar installations is edging to 2 million households mark but unfortunately the Australian government is dragging its feet in support of the coal-fired power stations.

There is a proposal that has been put forward to the United Nations for declaring 2018InternationalYear of Clean and Healthy Planetaiming to mobilize millions of people worldwide in a single day event to clean up illegal waste on World Clean-up Day on 8th of September, 2018.  Last year, ABC TV produced a three-part series – War on Waste, highlighting the amount of waste we are producing in Australia. We are wasting a massive 40% of food items. With persuasion by the program producer and public reaction to waste, both Woolworths and Coles have declared that they would be cutting down on the use of throw away plastic and reducing the food wastage. This is a positive development.

Healthy living and a healthy planet go hand-in-hand. Choosing a plant-based diet is the single most important thing one can do for the environment and for our own health. There is a strong push for using vegan or plant-based diet in countries like Australia, United Kingdom and the USA, where meat consumption has traditionally been very high. Australia has become the third fastest growing vegan market in the world witha recent survey showing there are 2.1 million vegan/ nearly vegetarian people in Australia. This is another positive development for the health of our planet.

The world’s poor people are the worst sufferers of the environmental pollution. As responsible members of the society it is our duty to live a simple and ecologically sustainable life style. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The rich must live more simply so the poor may simply live.”

  • Vijai Singhal

References:

 

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Kalyanam ceremonies being held in Sydney

By : Neelima Pravastu.

The Priests and Deities arrived on 26th October 2018 at night 9 PM from Bhadrachalam along with the celebrity Kuchipudi dancer Dr Padmaja Reddy and her group.

The Deities and priests were taken to host at Rohin Ji’s house on their first stay in Sydney.

Pre-wedding ceremonies started next day with making of Laddus for Prasadam and Husking the rice for Akshatas with over 65 volunteers. Ganesh and Sri Rama puja started the round of ceremonies.

Soft turmeric powder to mixed with the husked rice for akshatas at Ram Vel Ji’s house

The Deities are going to be taken in a procession from Parramatta Town hall to Parramatta park on 3rd November. The group tried and tested the Pallaki walk to check the distance, stops for the performances and the Grand entrance of the Deities.

Seva of over 60 women devotees, laid out on table

On 30th, the team met Parramatta Westfield at 7 pm and finished at 9:30 pm to explain the route options, entertainment and food options of the overseas guests and other details of the Kalyanam process and needed things.

 

Preparations for the main Puja

Following day, the team met again at Sushmita Ji’s house at 8 pm finished at 11 pm with Kalayanam team and Padmaja Ji to clarify doubts about the route and to plan the nitty gritty of the walk and the Kalyanam.

Walking the procession route as advanced planning

1st Pre-wedding ceremonies continued with Pounding Turmeric pods to get soft turmeric powder to mix with the husked rice for akshatas at Ram Vel Ji’s house. Around 50+ women, kids and men have participated in the ceremony.  Got the trays ready for the fruits, flowers and other things to offer the Deities. We made Kankanams (thread bracelet with Mango leave tied on it) to wear on Kalyanam and Coronation day to do Sankalpam by smearing the turmeric powder on it from earlier pounded turmeric. Had Mehndi ceremony along with it and delicious food for all the participants.

Vibrant devotees participating in Rituals

Received the show bags for the Kalayanam and Coronation. Showbag will contain Rama Koti book to write Sri Rama as many times as we can, Rama Mada a special coin with Sri Rama and Sita Devi printed on them and Akshatas sent by Bhadrachalam temple. Kalyanam and Coronation tickets will get a Silver coil with Sri Rama along with Sita Devi, Laxmana and Hanuman imprinted on them. Big sponsors will get a gold coin. Along with 4/6 entry tickets.

Publicizing the Kalyanam event in Sydney

Arranging garlands for Kalyanam and Coronation, starting for the Mandapam decorations on the stage, finalising the music for the cultural programs. Arranging necessary things for the walk including the Pallakis, Pallaki bearers, women to hold offer trays, bands, Kolatam performances. Walk teams, Receptions teams and logistics team are working round the clock to see that things go smoothly without much disruption.

Show bag for devotees participating in Seva

 

 

 

 

 

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Hindu Council Marks 20th Year

A brief history of formation and 20 years of Hindu Council of Australia.

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Australia Rises against Temple Attack

Australians from all walks of life have risen in anger and indignation at the desecration and vandalism of a Hindu temple in Sydney last week. Hindu community has been overwhelmed by the support shown to it by the Governments, Political leaders, Religious leaders, Mayor, Councillors and ordinary Australians. Many ordinary Australians have shown their disgust for the attack and have come forward and donated money for temple restoration. The Police have installed two high-tech cameras, solar powered and installed on top of electrical poles to keep an eye on both the streets around the corner block the temple land is on. The local council has provided a number of free rubbish bins and clean up kits fee of charge.

Idols

The temple management expresses its gratitude to Australians for their support and is ready to move on. The first step is to do visarjana (final resting of the broken and desecrated idols) in deep ocean so that they remain there and do not get trampled upon ever. Once this has been done, the committee will start getting quotations for various work and material needed for restoration. They need :

  • Cabinet makers for Stand of the Idols and statues.
  • Carpet suppliers and layers.
  • Donors for Musical Instruments in any – i.e. Harmoniums, Dholaks, Tabla etc.
  • Donors for Religious books i.e.: Ram Charitra Manas, Bhagwat Puran, Devi Bhagwat etc.

They have set up a GoFundMe campaign at https://www.gofundme.com/bhartiyemandirsydney

Those who would like to help can go the web site above and make their donations.

The Temple Management has issued following statement about the incident :

We the executive members of the Bhartiye Mandir Sydney, are obliged with the assistance of Hindu Council of Australia with several members of the community who have visited the temple and offered their support in various ways.

We made several representation to Australian media but all went on deaf ears up until the article of our brother Shree Surinder Jain being published. This came as a storm in the media world and we have been stormed by several media group to cover the story.

This has been exposed in Indian television AAj Tak and Fiji One in Fiji also on SBS which showed here in Sydney on Thursday 18th October.

We have received visits from several members of the Parliaments representatives,From Cumberland Council the Mayor, Councillor Suman Saha ji who have been visiting us on several days with his command on Friday the installation of two security cameras on the street facing our temple building from both sides. The supply of bins for cleanup of the temple building. 

The team from Multicultural NSW consist of The Chairperson Dr. Hari Harinath, Ms. Megan Lancaster(Director), Mr. Malcolm Haddon (Senior Manager Community Resilience) Ms. Thida Young (Community Engagement Officer) together with Mr. Sreeni Pillamarri (President of UIA) all visited and inspected the ruins inside of the  Bhartiye Mandir Temple and jointly condemned the act of vandalism caused therein.

We request Hindu Council to assist us in this appeal as we need all support and guidance we can to rebuilt this holy temple.

We have cleaned the place as the council has provided the bins and assured that will take all the rubbish away by Monday.  Although the carpet is still to be stripped out as small particles of glasses are still stuck in the carpet and are dangerous for bear feet.

Australian Leaders Condemn this shameful act :

  • Victoria Bismire

It’s terrible that someone did this to you – Australia is better than this. Hope this helps with the restorations.

 

I stand with the Hindu community

I was horrified to see the awful damage to your holy place.

I am so sorry that this has happened.

Even though I am an agnostic, I firmly believe in the freedom to practise one’s faith. This vandalism was completely unacceptable. Shame on the perpetrators.

As an atheist who strongly believes in a multicultural and pluralist community free of religious bigotry and violence, I am proud to stand with our Hindu community.

I stand in solidarity with the Hindu Community.

I saw the sbs news article and was sad to see such a thing happen. Whilst I’m not religious I wish your temple well

COVERAGE BY AUSTRALIAN MEDIA

 
 
 
 
 

 

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APRO all religions leaders condemn Temple attack

APRO Australian Participation of Religious Organizations condemned the recent attack on a Hindu temple in Reagents Park. APRO aims to  promote and advocate for inter-faith harmony, and understanding and respect between the adherents of the various religions in Australia and to combat religious prejudice and discrimination. It has members from Council fo Australian Jewery, Bahai, Buddhist, Hindu (represented by Hindu Council of Australia), National Council of Churches, Muslims and Sikh faith.

Hindu Council of Australia has been an active member for last ten years.

All the leaders condemned the attack in strong terms and issued following Press Release :

“We,  leaders and representatives of faith-based organisations in Australia, condemn the shameful attack on the Hindu Temple in Regents Park on 14 October 2018. 
 
Attacks on religious institions are intolerable and shameful.
 
Australia enjoys and celebrates religious diversity and is rightly recognised as a leading example of fairness, tolerance and inter-communal harmony and cooperation and it is incumbent upon us to do our best to ensure that incidents such as this are exposed for what they are and the perpetrators punished. 
 
We call upon the police to make every effort to speddily identify the culprit/s and for the courts to deal with any guilty party promptly and appropriately.
 
We further call on our political leaders to publicly and unambiguously condemn the attack”
 
  • National Council of Churches in Australia
  • Muslims Australia (Australian Federation of Islamic Councils)
  • Executive Council of Australian Jewry
  • Australian Baha’i Community
  • Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils
  • Hindu Council of Australia
  • National Sikh Council of Australia

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