Hindu chaplains help a Hindu women in prison

Hindu chaplaincy committee was contacted by another religions Chaplain to help a Hindu prison inmate with a beads mala and some religious books.

Somesh Sibal from Hindu Council got in touch and is sending the books. Mala has already been provided by a Buddhist Chaplain. Somesh Ji will stay in touch for any further help that may be required.

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.

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.
 

Meat Free campaign promoted by Radio Sur Sangam

Mr Vijai Singhal, director of Hindu Council of Australia was interviewed at Radio Sur Sangam 99.9 FM by Nitin Madan on the topic of 10th Anniversary of the launch of “Meat Free Day” campaign on 2nd October 2008.

Significance of Sri Sitarama Bhadrachalam

रामो रामो राम इति प्रजनामभवन् कथााः | रामभूिं जिभूद्रमे राज्यं प्रशासति ।
तनत्यपश्ु पा तनत्यफलास्िरवस्र तनर्व्नर ााः | कामवशी च पजन्र याः सखु स्पशश्र च मारुिाः ।
Sri Vaalmeeki Ramayana – Yuddha Kanda – CXXVIII. 103, 104

Under Sri Rama’s rule, people rejoiced everywhere hailing Rama ! Rama! Rama! in jubilation
and recounting his deeds; it looked as if the entire universe was infused with Sri Rama naama;
nature was always in full blossom; rains were plenty and timely; weather was pleasant with
soothing wind breeze .
***
It is of great joy and delight to let everyone know that the utsava moortis Lord Sri Rama along
with Sita Devi, and Lakshamana are, for the first time, coming to Sydney from the ancient and
famous Sri SitaRama temple of Sri 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.

To better appreciate the significance of the event we bring you a brief blurb on the temple
town of Bhadrachalam,rom where the moortis are coming, and the significance of utsava
moortis.

About Bhadrachalam

Bhadrachalam has a unique history. The mountain Bhadra-Adri or Bhadra-achalam, from
which the place derives its name, is part of India’s gigantic mountain range popularly eastern
ghats. In treta yuga Sri Sita Rama along with Lakshmana stayed in the jungles of Dandakranya
( part of eastern ghats) as part of their eleven year vanavaasa. The mighty Godavari river and
the beautiful and bountiful dandakaranya served as his abode during the period. The
parnashala where Sita was abducted is also on the same hills. The mountains were also home
of Rishi Bhadra who worshipped Lord Rama and conducted an intense penance. Rama pleased
with Bhadra promised he would visit on the way back to Ayodhya. However this visit was not
materialized in Rama avatara’s time. However, Rishi Bhadra continued his tapas and his prayers
reminded Lord Vishnu of his promise to Rishi Bhadra. True to his nature, Lord Vishnu rushed
to his devotee in the form of Vaikuntha Rama along with Sita and Lakshmana and blessed Rishi
Bhadra and manifested themselves as moortis on the mountain. The mountain got to be known
as Bhadraachalam after the Rishi Bhadra since.

These moortis, per legend, were revealed themselves to a tribal woman named Pokala
Dammakka who was an ardent devotee of Rama. She preserved the idols and waited for the
blessed one to construct a proper temple.

That blessed was Kancharla Gopanna(1621-1680) popularly known as Bhakta Ramadasu. When
Ramadasu, an ardent devotee of Lord Rama, found out about the Sri Rama moortis in the
remote tribal lands he moved heaven and earth to build temple at the Bhadrachalam temple
in 1674 AD. His devotion on Lord Rama was outpoured in 300 odd exquisite devotional songs
set in Carnatic style. Later in the century these compositions inspired in Sri Thyagaraja and
improvised on the krithi form introduced by Ramadasu.

Thus the Bhadrachalam was home to three spiritual gaints – Rishi Bhadra, Pokala Dammakka,
and Bhakta Ramadaasu. It is from this sacred site that the utsava moortis are coming to Sydney.
Significance of Utsava Moortis

According to the Shilpa Shastra ( the engineering principles of sculptures ) the moorthis in
temples are broadly classified into two – achala ( immoveable) and chala (movable). The moorti
of the principal diety is usually acahala (immovable) and is called Dhruva bera. Dhruva bera
resides in the sanctum ( garbha gruha) and is the recipient of the main worship. The chala –
bera ( movable moorthis) are of five types hence the name pancha bera. These five chala-beras
moortis are used in various ceremonial forms of worship in and around the temple.

These are:
• Kautuka (कौिकु ) bera is a miniature replica of the dhruva bera and is used in nitya (
daily) pooja
• Snapana (स्नपन) bera receives the naimittika (special occasion) poojas and
adbhishekams
• Shayana (शायन) bera receives the resting upacharas
• Utsava (उत्सव) bera receives the pooja when taken out in procession
• Bali (बतल) bera is taken out when offerings are made to gods and to the pancha bhoota
( elements)

All the above pancha bera are considered as an integral part of the main moorti – dhruva bera
and are deemed as emanating from it. These chala bera moortis in the temple that are
worshipped each day during the ritual sequences are but the variations of the adi murti. As
per shashtras each of the pancha bera map to five types of sacred vedic agnis and also
correspond to the five primordial elements – aakasha, vaayu, agni, aapah, pruthivi.

Therefore these different moortis represent unique aspects of the dhruva moorti, in various forms. The tejas of the main moorti steps into each of the chala moorti during various stages of worship. Though When worship sequences are conducted the tejas moves into kautuka and snapana and so on. The tejas takes a symbolic stride into utsava moorti and reaches us all when they are taken out in procession. On a lighter note it is said, because we are so mired in our daily vocations and have no time to time to go the temple, Lord himself comes out in procession and enquires about our well being.

All of us may not be fortune enough visit Lord Rama at Bhardrachalam, therefore make use of this splendid opportunity to pray, rejoice and submit ourselves at the feet of Sri Bhadrachala Rama who is coming for us all the way from Bharata Varsha. His mere presence is ‘jagadananda karaka’.

JAI SREE RAM

Dowry abuse submission by Hindu Council of Australia

On 26 June 2018, the Senate of Australia (Upper house of Parliament) referred the practice of dowry and the incidence of dowry abuse in Australia to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by 6 December 2018. The committee’s focus is on the broad issues raised in the terms of reference of the inquiry with a focus on explore the nature of dowry as a cultural practice, and the adequacy of current Australian policy settings and legal frameworks regarding dowry and dowry abuse.

Hindu Council of Australia has made a submission to the Committee.

A large number of submissions have been made and all of them can be viewed at

https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Legal_and_Constitutional_Affairs/DowryAbuse/Submissions

HINDU COUNCIL SUBMISSION

www w.hinducouncil.com.au | Phone: 1300 HINDUS Fax: (02) 8208 9810| ACN 082 437 670
Head office: 17 The Crescent, Homebush, NSW 2140, AUSTRALIA
Hindu Council of Australia
Submission to Senate Inquiry into Dowry Abuse in Australia

Hindu Council of Australia (HCA) is a peak body organisation founded in 1998 with an aim to
preserve, promote and share Hindu religious values and culture in Australia. Since HCA was
founded, it has been acting as a representative of the Hindu community in Australia in dealing with
the federal, state and local governments, apart from reaching out to other Hindu organisations
and institutions.

Currently Hindu Council of Australia has established chapters in all the mainland states of Australia
and forty-two Hindu associations located in all states, are member of the HCA.
HCA is pleased to provide submission to this inquiry as follows:

1. The single largest cause of spouse mistreatment is due to the Australian immigration
processes. The processes are opaque and totally controlled by the sponsoring spouse. Admittedly
all the information is available online but as can be clearly seen it is not adequate for the spouses
who get trapped between a mistreating spouse and immigration procedures.

Our first strong submission is that once a marriage is verified to be legal:

(a) the migrating spouse
gets full and complete information about the sponsoring spouse,

(b) the migrating spouse is given
an option (probably for a small fee) to have a one-on-one consultation with a representative of
the High Commission or the Embassy about their legal rights, and

(c) the rights of the migrating spouse should be the same as the sponsoring spouse.

We again reiterate that the opacity, behaviour, and the processes of the department of
immigration is the single most important factor in the mistreatment of migrating spouses.

2. Unfortunately some Australian media have displayed a propensity towards Hindu bashing. In
the past HCA had to pursue several misreporting by the SBS with the tribunal. Dowry is not a part
of core Hindu beliefs and does not find any mention in the authentic Scriptures. The practice of
dowry is further confined to only a few communities in India. All the reform movements in India,
including HCA, are against the practice of dowry and no one will be more pleased than us if this
ugly practice disappears.

Our second strong submission is that please don’t make this Senate Enquiry a Hindu bashing
exercise. We say this because the setting of the enquiry draws heavily from ABC and SBS reporting
and please let that not colour the proceedings of the enquiry.

3. The role of the Hindu clergy is limited to performing rituals. If the clergy has any influence it is
due to their personal relationship with the community and not as clergy. A Hindu priest in general
has no role in family matters and especially in these complex matters that involve immigration
processes and family history.
 
Our third submission is that the Hindu Clergy be considered for what it is: responsible for rituals
and worship and not for any role within the family.

4. The frequent reference to Manu Smriti is baffling for us. Independent India made its own laws
with scant regard to Manu Smriti. Most of us hear about Manu Smriti the first time from the news
reports that have an anti-Hindu agenda. We say this because all the journalists know well that the
parts of Manu Smriti they quote are obsolete and find no connection with the present Hindu
society.

Our fourth submission is that the Hindu community in Australia is fully committed to the lawmaking
process in Australia and we will assist in whatsoever manner to make laws that prevent
spouse abuse. Please don’t get distracted by the journalists and “social” scientist with anti-Hindu
agenda. Hindus are fully committed to the laws of the land, no exceptions. We are confident of
pursuing our religion and culture and thriving in every society that makes its laws in a democratic
manner.

5. Male domination in any society is due to the poor education of women. In the Indian state of
Kerala, with almost hundred per cent education, there is a complete gender equality in the society.
In the regions with poor women education, the situation is the opposite. Indian women are taking
up education at a record rate, more than fifty per cent of students in professional courses in India
are now women.

Our fifth and final submission is that let the male domination theme be not used to run down our
culture and religion. We are working extremely hard to overcome our historical deficiencies. Hindu
bashing will be detrimental to this effort. The best way to correct gender power imbalance is to
encourage educated women to help other women and yet preserve the wonderful family structure
that the Indian society has created.

We look forward to cooperating with the Australian Parliament in making laws and establishing
processes which prevent the abuse of one human by another.

Thanks for giving us this opportunity to make our submission. We will be happy to make an inperson
presentation to the committee.

Kind Regards
Prakash Mehta
National President
Hindu Council of Australia, Email:
Mobile number: 17 August,
2018
Page 2 of 2
The practice of dowry and the incidence of dowry abuse in Australia
Submission 57

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.
 
 
 

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.

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.

Deepavali in Australia

Diwali 2018 celebrations in Australia