Thursday April 26, 2018

Hindu Temple in Greater Toronto: Vishnu Mandir installs 50-feet Lord Hanuman statue

Hinduism has about one billion supporters around the globe and it is the third largest religion

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BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Toronto
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Toronto, Wikimedia Commons
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  • The temple also organised three sessions of Ramayana Yagana and 108 recitations of Hanuman Chalisa in July 2
  • Vishnu Mandir also regulates a Canadian Museum of Indian Civilization exhibiting Hinduism, Anand Bhavan Seniors Home, Academy of Learning & Montessori School for 2.5 to 6-year-old
  • Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, praised temple leaders and area community for efforts at installing Lord Hanuman statue and for conducting various activities/programs to accentuate Hinduism
Morari Bapu 01 (cropped).jpg
Morari Bapu, Wikimedia Commons

This year in 2016, a 50 feet idol of Lord Hanuman was installed on July 2, in a Hindu temple, Vishnu Mandir in Richmond Hill in Greater Toronto area, which was established in 1979.

Morari Bapu, a popular Hindu Kathakaar (preacher) from India, led the installation ceremony. This temple has a tagline “Institution that nurtures families from Cradle to Golden years”. And has also organised three sessions of Ramayana Yagana and 108 recitations of Hanuman Chalisa in July.

Vishnu Mandir also regulates a Canadian Museum of Indian Civilization exhibiting Hinduism, Anand Bhavan Senior’s Home, Academy of Learning & Montessori School for 2.5 to 6-year-old, Global Care Outreach Program in Guyana, Bal-Vihaar program for 5-16 years-old, toddler’s program, sangeet Academy for encouraging India’s music and dance, and Lakshmi Sabha Women’s Club for the enrichment of women– mentioned a worldhindunews.com report. Its other special projects include Wall of Peace and Peace Park. It also organises summer camp; offers lessons in tabla, harmonium, violin, vocal music and Kathak dancing; and conducts yoga classes.

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In the meantime, distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, praised temple leaders and area community for efforts at installing Lord Hanuman statue and for conducting various activities/programs to accentuate Hinduism.

President of Universal Society of Hinduism, Rajan Zed said, it was crucial passing on Hindu spirituality, notion and tradition to the future generations when there are so many distractions in the consumerist society and it is expected that this temple will help people moving towards this direction. He further emphasised that instead of chasing materialism; we should search for our inner self to attain Moksha (liberation) to break the cycle of reincarnation, which was the main goal of Hinduism.

Dr. Budhendranauth Doobay is the Chairman of the Executive Board & Religious Advisor of Vishnu Mandir. S. Krishna Misir and Dr. Kuvear Balbahadur are President and General Secretary respectively. Chief Priest is Bhoj Sharma. Other priests are Natraj Kidambi Rajagopal and Raghavan Madangopalan.

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Lord Hanuman, the devotee of Lord Rama, is greatly worshipped in Hinduism and is known for his incredible strength and devotion towards Rama. Hinduism has about one billion supporters around the globe and it is the third largest religion.

Multicultural Richmond Hill was incorporated in 1872 and comes with a tagline “where people come together to build our community” and where “96% of Residents Satisfied with Life”, is home to the world-famousDavid Dunlap Observatory telescope. Renowned people who were associated with Richmond Hill include- actor Dylan Neal, figure skater Elvis Stojko and novelist Farley Mowat. Dave Barrow, Vito Spatafora and Neil Garbe are Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer respectively.

–  prepared by Akanksha Sharma of NewsGram. Twitter: Akanksha4117

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Right of Nature: Are Rivers Living Beings?

Should rivers be considered Living Entities?

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Right of Nature
Many cultures across the globe believe that rivers are living beings or Gods/Goddesses and they just take the form of water bodies.

By Dr. Bharti Raizada, Chicago

Science says that water bodies are not living entities, as water does not need food, does not grow, and reproduce. Water is required for life, but in itself it is nonliving.

However, many cultures across the globe believe that rivers are living beings or Gods/Goddesses and they just take the form of water bodies.

The Maori tribe in New Zealand considers the Whanganui River as their ancestor and the Maori people fought to get it a legal status as a living being. In 2017, a court in New Zealand gave this river the status of living being and same rights as humans, to protect it from pollution. Thus, now if someone pollutes in it then it is considered equivalent to harming a human.

ALSO READ: Worshiping mother nature part of our tradition: Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Right of Nature
Rivers are sacred in many religions, including Hinduism. Image courtesy: Dr. Bharti Raizada

Rivers are sacred in Hinduism also. Hindus believe that the Ganga descended from heaven and call her Ganga Maa. A few days after New Zealand’s court decision, Uttarakhand high court in India gave the Ganga and Yamuna rivers and their tributaries the status of living human entities. The Court-appointed three officials as legal custodians. However, the court did not clarify many aspects related to this decision.

After this verdict some of the questions, which naturally came to mind, were:

Can Hindus still do rituals of flowing ashes, leaves, flowers, diyas in river or no? Can a dam be built on the river after this judgment? If some damage, to a person, animal, plants, or property, occurs because of river e.g. overflow, hurricanes, flooding etc., how the river will pay the liabilities? What if all rivers, oceans, ponds etc. are given the status of living beings? Will drinking water from river become a crime? What about taking water and using it for routine needs,  agriculture or building structures? Will it be illegal? If a child throws a stone in water, will it be a criminal act? Will fishing be considered stealing? What about boating? If someone is using heat near water and water evaporates, is it equal to taking the body part of a human being? What about taking a bath in the river?

Right of Nature
If the river gets a living status, as human, then we cannot use it for anything without its permission, so everyone has to stop touching the water. Image courtesy: Dr. Bharti Raizada

ALSO READ: Decoding supernatural: What is the nature of entities and gods who influence human behavior

Other queries, which arise, are:

Will animals and plants get the same status? What if you kill an ant or a chicken etc. or cut a tree? Will all animals and plants get a legal custodian?

Where is all the waste supposed to go? It has to go somewhere back in nature, right?

Uttrakhand state government challenged the judgement in Supreme Court and the latter reversed the judgment.

Right of Nature
So where do we stand? In my opinion, granting living status to nature is a different thing than giving protected status or preserving nature. Image by Dr. Bharti Raizada

ALSO READ: How nature destroys the negative tendencies in a positive manner

Ecuador’s constitution recognized the Right of Nature to exist, specifically Vilcabamba river, in 2008.

Then Bolivia passed the law of the right of mother earth and granted Nature equal rights as humans.

Many communities in the U.S.A. passed the Right of Nature law.

These laws are creating a dilemma or quandary also, as people need to use these resources. We cannot live without using natural resources. However, there is a difference between using natural resources and afflicting or destroying these. So, please use natural resources very diligently. Try not to vitiate nature.

On World Water Day (March 22), please start taking care of rivers, so that there is no need for future celebrations. It should not be a one-day celebration anyway, we should scrupulously look out for nature all the time.

Dr. Raizada is a practicing anesthesiologist.