An auspicious beginning of first SRE Hinduism class by Hindu Council

By : Madya Lila.

On the auspicious occasion of Dusshera, Hindu Council of Australia began its first Hindu Special Religious Education (SRE) program at Sydney Girls High School. Genedine Sionillo, a volunteer teacher from the Australian School of Meditation & Yoga led the class which was very well received by all the students. They especially enjoyed Genedine’s introduction to Bhagavad Gita. The SRE classes at Sydney Girls High School will continue each Friday for the remainder of the school term.

What is SRE?

Special religious education (SRE) is the beliefs and practices of an approved religious persuasion delivered by authorised representatives of that persuasion. It is the distinctive religious tenets and beliefs of the home and family, provided by the churches and other religious groups for children of parents expressing the desire that they receive such teaching.

The NSW Government, through legislation and related policy, recognises the diversity of Australian society and supports parental choice in educating children about their faith. The delivery of Special Religious Education (SRE) is managed by religious persuasions, which are approved as SRE providers by the Department of Education.

SRE is mandated by the Education Act (1990) and gives parents the choice to have children formed in the faith of their family. Section 32 of the Education Act says that ‘In every government school, time is to be allowed for the religious education of children of any religious persuasion.’

The provision of SRE is not funded by government.

The Hindu Council of Australia is registered as an authorised provider of SRE with the NSW Department of Education.

In 2019, HCA will provide Hindu SRE classes in a further six high schools in the Sydney area and will continue to expand the program over the coming years.

If you would like to volunteer to teach Hindu SRE classes, or if you would like to sponsor the cost of teaching materials please contact us at sre@hinducouncil.com.au   

 

By Veena.svg: Sreejithk2000derivative work: Gringer (talk) – Veena.svg, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11886656

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Goddess Kali gets Special Commendation by Woolahra Council in Vaucluse Australia

By : Surinder Jain.

Vaucluse is a harbour suburb in the Woollahra council within Sydney, Australia. It is one of the most fashion and art conscious highly sought after suburb with a very high average income. The Council runs an annual Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize (WSSP) and attracts some of the best artists in Australia and overseas. It brings together a collection of finalists from preeminent to the lesser known.

Pointy Gold Head Kali

WSSP Exhibition

This year it had 46 finalists whose sculptures were on display in the Council building with an entry by Neeraj Gupta from India. The mayor of Woollahra opened the exhibition and announced the prizes. A special commendation prize was awarded to a Kali sculpture made by a Fiji Indian now Australian artist Ramesh. The award was presented to artist Ramesh by the mayor of Woollahra Council Peter M Cavanagh.

 

 

The Kali sculpture called “Pointy Gold Head” was chosen by the judges to be awarded a Special Commendation. The sculpture is a 24-carrat gold plated bronze statue of the face of Goddess Kali with her tongue protruding out. According to its artist Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, the material used included clay, shells, rubber hoses and cardboard and one can find these objects embedded in the surface. The artwork was made permanent through bronze casting and Gold Plating Process, a direct reference to representations of the Hindu Goddess, Kali.

 

We caught up with the artist and asked him

Q. what inspired you to make a sculpture of Goddess Kali.

A. I was making a face out of various waste material and a sudden inspiration caused me to pull the tongue out. Before I knew it, face of Goddess Kali had already been made.

 

Ramesh with Commendation from Mayor

Q. Why did you Gold Plate the face with 24 carat Gold.

A. To reflect the immense power and glory of the Goddess, I had to imbue it with some thing of extreme value. Pure 24 carat Gold lets that happen.

Q. Where were you born.

A. I was born here in the suburb of Auburn in Sydney though my parents had come to Australia from Fiji.

 

Sri Lankan-born, Sydney-based artist Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran creates rough-edged, vibrant, new-age idols. He experiments with form and scale in the context of figurative sculpture to explore politics of sex, the monument, gender and religion. Formally trained in painting and drawing his practice has a sculptural emphasis which champions the physicality of art making. These works are often stacked to form totems or perched atop customised plinths.
 
 
While proceeding from a confident atheist perspective, Nithiyendran draws upon his Hindu and Christian heritage as reference points as well as a large range of sources including the internet, pornography, fashion and art history. Self-portraits make frequent appearances and the dual presence of male and female organs suggest gender fluid realms of new possibilities. 
 
He has exhibited at various spaces and contexts including the 2018 Dhaka Art Summit, the encounters section for Art Basel Hong Kong, the Art Gallery of South Australia’s flagship exhibition, the 2016 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art and The National: New Australian Art 2017. He has presented solo exhibitions at the National Gallery of Australia, The Ian Potter Museum of Art and the Shepparton Art Museum. In 2014, Nithiyendran was awarded the 2014 NSW Visual Arts Fellowship (emerging) administered through Artspace. In 2015, he was the winner of the 2015 Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award, Australia’s richest and premier award for artists working in the medium of ceramics.
 
His work is held in various collections, including the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of South Australia, The Art Gallery of Western Australia, Artbank, The Ian Potter Museum of Art and the Shepparton Art Museum. The sculpture is available for sale at a price of Australia $19,800.

 

Organizer Lyn with the Author and Neeraj’s Mind’s Eye

Neeraj Gupta from India had also been selected as a finalist for his sculpture Mind’s Eye which was priced at $12,000.

A 3D printed figurine of real people

 

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Diwali Tradition – by French Association of Singapore

By: Fayrouz Yataghane.

Deepavali illuminates us from September 29th to
November 6th


Deepavali also named Divali or Diwali is one of the most
important cele-bration for the Hindu community. It is
celebrated for three consecutive days with the main day
being on November 6th this year. In Singapore preparations
have started end of September in Little India but not only
there…
Deepavali is celebrating the successful fight of Rama,
considered in Hinduism an avatar of Vishnu God, against
Ravana, the demon king. Deepavali refers to the light of
the “dip”, a traditional oil lamp, that people who were
living in Ayodhya town would have placed “in rows”
for welcoming Rama’s return. That is the reason why,
according to the tradition, Indian families illuminate their
houses and streets for Deepavali.

Deepavali all over the world

Deepavali is celebrated by many generations in India and
by Hindu peo-ple all over the world, as confirms Snehal
Thaker, president of the Hindu Council of Australia – HCA.
This organization, which was established in 1998, aims to
unite the Hindu community in Australia and to promote
its culture and tradition. “The HCA has organized the
Deepavali Festival in Australia each year for the last twenty
years. In 2017, over 6000 people from different ethnic
background and ages gathered to attend the celebration.
A success due to the joined efforts of the Hindu
representatives of eight countries: India, Nepal, Bhutan,
Fiji, Bangladesh, Tibet, Indonesia and of course, Australia.”
“This year again, the HCA will organise the Festival. Due
to the large success of the Festival in the past, this year it
will take place at the Adelaide Show Grounds, to respond
to the at-tendees’ expectations in terms of space and
comfort. All is planned to welcome them, and to protect
them against the rain!” says Snehal Thak-er.

Deepavali through the generations

 

Shaheen Sivji

Shaheen Shivji is an Indian woman. She has a fifteenmonth-
old daughter and she is currently working part time
at the French Alliance of Singa-pore. She studied French at
University, back in India, and she continues to learn French
here in Singapore, where she moved to, with her husband
two years ago.
Shaheen doesn’t celebrate Deepavali for religious reasons
because she is not Hindu but Muslim. However, she
explains that this celebration is gathering Indians from all
religions. “Above the myth and the religion, Deepavali
symbolizes the Light. Lights from many different sources
and colour are flashing happily in our streets during the
Festival. For children, this period is really very exciting and
synonym of holidays and sweets! During those three days,
we prepare both savoury and sweet food to of-fer them to
our guests, family and friends. After the prayers, we launch
the fireworks, and everybody can try to make Rangoli, a
drawing de-signed with coloured powders. The women
are wearing a special Sari, particularly well decorated,
and for the men, trousers with a tunic, that depending of
its style, providing some information about the social position
of the person.”
During this period, respect and goodwill are the values
that are highlight-ed: “This moment is a large gathering for
all people, not only family”, says Shaheen.

Sujatha Sundaram is Indian and Hindu. She has been living
in Singapore since 2010. She was born in South India and
lived in North India.

Sujatha Sundram

Sujatha celebrates Deepavali each year as she was doing
back in India. According to her, it is the most important
Festival for Hindus: “We cele-brate it in every place in India,
each region in its own way: in the South, we celebrate it
in the morning, in the North, it is usually in the evening. But
there are also common points: we decorate the house, we
buy new clothes and gold jewellery. We draw Rangoli on
the floor at the entrance of our house, we make cakes for
friends and family, who are invited or visited. And in the
evening, we switch on the lights around the house and
fireworks are launched everywhere! In the past, in India,
we were a big family, living very close to each other. Now
that we are a bit more dis-persed, that event is more social
than religious. The children are still waiting for Deepavali
with great anticipation. They appreciate the conviv-iality
and the festive ambiance and of course the gifts!”

Deepavali through the flavours

Manjunath Mural

La Gazette pushed the doors of the Michelin Star Restaurant
“The Song of In-dia” to meet its famous chef, Manjunath
Mural. He offers to share the Deepavali delights through a
special menu, as a trip across India…

What do you propose for Deepavali celebration?

I’ve prepared a 4-course set menu specially for the
occasion. As per our mis-sion “Journey Through India”, the
menu highlights the specialities of each region all over India –
from North, South, East to West. Of course, no cel-ebration
is complete without enjoying the traditional Indian Mithai
sweets which are a symbol of goodwill and friendship.
Where does the celebration of Deepavali come from?
The origin of the Deepavali festival most likely started out as
a fusion of har-vest festivals across ancient India.

How does the Indian/Hindu community usually celebrate
Deepavali?

Deepavali, or Diwali symbolises light triumphing over
darkness. We Indians of-ten celebrate by decorating our
homes and offices with bright lights and can-dles and
setting off fireworks displays. Of course, we also have our
Mithai sweets that we will give to our friends and family.

What do you aim to share with people through your
cooking?

My philosophy has always been to present a Journey
Through India, that is why the food served at The Song of
India is inspired by traditional recipes from North, South,
East and West India.

Could you tell us about your personal experience as a
chef? And the way that has lead you to the cooking?

During my training in India, I had the chance to meet and
learn from these two chefs both women were originally
from Thailand. While observing them, I was so impressed
with their passion for food and the respect they earned
from the guests and team. It made me realise that this
profession is full of respect and passion and it was at

that moment that I decided to become a chef. My guests are
my motivation. I’m always inspired to create new exciting
dishes that will keep them coming back for more.
Restaurant: The Song of India: 33 Scotts Road 228226
www.thesongofindia.com
Special Deepavali menu available from 3rd to 10th of
November 2018

Deepavali in Singapore

Deepavali Festival in Singapore will mainly take place
in Little India from September 29th to November 6th with
many highlights that should not be missed!
Find more information on the website https://www.littleindia.
com.sg, in-viting you to live the Deepavali experience.
“Head to Little India where the streets are transformed
into a fantasyland of colourful arches and stunning lights.
Wander through the bazaars with their glittering gold and
gems, exquisitely embroidered saris and gleam-ing golden
oil lamps. Inhale the scent of marigolds, roses and jasmine,
thickly braided into lush floral garlands mingling with the
perfume of sweet incense and the fragrance of Indian
spices and Ayurvedic mas-sage oils …”
Let’s just admit it: we are tempted!

Fayrouz Yataghane

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Minister Ray Williams strongly condemns Temple Attack

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Hindu Council condemns attack at Hindu Temple in Sydney

Hindu Council of Australia expresses its pain on learning of the vandalism that occurred at the Hindu Temple in Regents Park on Sunday, 14 October 2018. Unfortunately it happened in the most holy period of Navaratri in Hindu calendar.  The vandalism has caused lot of pain and anguish to the devotees.

We do not have enough information to know if the vandalism was a criminal act or a protest against multi-cultural Australia. More than 30 Deities and other accessories were broken. The financial cost of replacing the deities and rebuild temple will be in many thousands of dollar, but the emotional cost will be much higher.

HCA requests the police to investigate this matter and clarify the intent of the perpetrators. Considering the room for confusion such incidences can cause and hurt the multi-cultural fabric of the Australian society, we urge the police to investigate the matter considering other than just the financial cost to repair the damages. 

HCA offers its assistance to meet with the perpetrators if they have done this in ignorance of our beliefs as it effects their way of life.

The Hindu community sincerely hopes that such incidences do not occur in future. HCA offers all the help that is needed to inform the wider community about Hindu beliefs and practices so that such incidences do not happen due to ignorance.

HCA appeals to the wider Australian community to support the affected community and help them to rebuild the temple and ease their pain.

 

 

Prakash Mehta

National President,

Hindu Council of Australia

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An Old Hindu Temple desecrated by Vandals in Sydney

A Hindu Temple situated at Regents Park in Sydney Australia has been set on fire and all statues and icons of Indian Godheads have been smashed and left in ruin. They do not know who has done it but it has caused lot of pain and anguish to devotees celebrating the festival NavRatri or nine nights dedicated to worship of God in female form. Popularity of the NavRatri period for Hindus can be compared to popularity of Christmas to Christians but it continues for a period of nine days to worship nine different form of female Shakti or source of power or God manifest as and in this world.

The temple has been there for about twenty years and but for an incident of stone throwing ten years ago, the Fiji Hindu community has not had any problems until now. During the period of nine days, Hindu hold regular Prayer sessions in the evening. When devotees came at 6pm to open the temple on Sunday evening 14th October 2018, they found smoke coming from inside their temple. Upon investigation, they found some people inside and when challenged, the miscreants jumped out of the window and vanished.

 

The head priest of the temple Pandit Paras Ram Maharaj was in tears on seeing his Gods broken and strewn all over the floor. The Vandals had not only desecrated the God statues and icons but had also shamelessly thrown prayer material around. They had even set the alter on fire. Luckily the fire was quickly brought under control before it could do any further damage to the temple and the building. The temple is visited regularly by about 250 devotees who come from all over Sydney including from places as fas away as Penrith.

After serial coup in Fiji, a large number of Fijians of Indian descent had migrated to Australia. About twenty years ago, some of them collected funds while others put their homes on mortgage to raise funds and purchased an old Anglican church building. The devotees were all Hindus and brought their own Hindu icons to install in their new temple. Being an old church building, the building has a typical church architecture with lead glass color tinted windows and a wooden cross which is almost a part of the wall.

 

God is one. People worship HIM in different forms

Although as owners of the building, they could have removed previous faith symbols, the temple committee decided not to remove or dismantle old christian symbols. They placed their Gods beside these symbols and started their worship in their new temple. There is only one God and different people worship HIM in different forms believe Hindus. So, how could these Hindus show any disrespect for the symbols of God worshiped by HIS earlier and different devotees.

 

 

 

Hindu Temple in Reagents Park

The young girl broke in tears and asked me, when we respect their symbols of God so much, why have they desecrated our forms of God. This sobbing young girl had spent countless hours in decorating the temple which has now become a crime scene with broken glass strewn all over.

Her mother who had come to the temple with her other friends ready to do the prayer of the fifth day of nine days was in a state of shock. Nav Ratri prayers are done together communally and now there is no place left to conduct prayers. Quickly, the kitchen building next door was vacated and converted into a make shift temple to continue the most important rituals of the day. The police came and did their forensic work and left at 2am next morning.

The big worry we have now, said the temple president is to restore the temple building back to its earlier glory. We will rebuild the temple he said with a determination, we are not going to go away, this is our home too. Australia is a very fair society. Australians have given us shelter and freedom to practice our religion. A few miscreants among them can not scare us away. Other committee members had more pressing thoughts and were discussing practical matters like how shall we raise funds to restore our place of worship. 

Donations to reestablish the previous glory of the temple can be made at https://bhartiyemandirsydney.org/donations/

It is time that Australians of all walks of life show their solidarity with these new Australians.

It is time for leaders of all faiths to come in their support and condemn this criminal act by a few vandals who do not represent fair dinkum Australia.

It is time for elected local, state and federal representatives to come and wipe the tears of that young girl and assure her that you are also a valuable part of our society and are free to practice your faith.

It is time that state and federal Parliaments pass a resolution condemning this disgraceful act.

If it has happened to one temple today, it may happen to other places of worship tomorrow.

Lets make sure it never happens again.

Lets keep Australia fair.

Hindus in anguish

AUSTRALIA CONDEMNS

Australian Leaders Condemn this shameful act :

 

COVERAGE BY AUSTRALIAN MEDIA

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

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Exhibition on Vietnam Hindu Cham Brahman Community Opens

An exhibition featuring the 2018 Kate Festival, the most important annual celebration of the ethnic Cham Brahman community, opened in the central province of Ninh Thuan on October 8.

On the occasion, Mukha Linga and Po Long Girai statues, along with Nandin, Patil, and Banal sacred bulls, costumes, and musical instruments were introduced to the public, contributing to maintaining, preserving, and upholding values of national cultural heritage. 

Le Xuan Loi, Director of the Research Centre for Cham Culture in Ninh Thuan, said the display aims to popularise the unique culture of the Cham ethnic group in Ninh Thuan amongst domestic and foreign visitors. 

On the occasion of Kate festival 2018, antique collectors from across the nation and abroad donated 14 valuable objects of different materials and dates to the centre, which offer visitors an insight into the iron casting, pottery making, and fabric weaving of the Cham people. 

Since 2010, the centre has received over 900 valuable artifacts from antique collectors.

Source: vietnamtourism.com

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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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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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Mr Sharat Kumar one of the first priests of Sri Mandir passes away

Shri Sharat Kumar Ji passed away last Wednesday.

He arrived in Australia in mid 1970s. He had studied at Gurukul in Hardwar, India. He was highly knowledgeable in Gita and other Hindu scriptures. Also he had a deep knowledge of Hindu Samskars and Puja formalities.

In late 1970 and 1980s when we did not have qualified Hindu priests, he used to perform Pujas at Sri Mandir and at people’s houses. He was living in Wollongong as he was working as a Librarian at the Wollongong University. He would travel to Sydney to perform Pujas. He would never charge for his services.

He was the most thorough gentleman. Never heard anything harsh from him about anybody. He would address everybody “Bhaiji”. He had tried to pass on the Gita recitation to his children and grand children.

May God Almighty bestow Peace to his noble soul.

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