Thursday January 18, 2018

Understanding Hinduism in United States

Swami Vivekanand was the establisher of Hinduism in Chicago . More than 80,000 Hindus presently live in Chicago comprising American as well as Indian Hindus.

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Hinduism in Chicago, Wikimedia Commoms
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This is a video released by Chicago police department. In this, Rev. Chaplain Dean guides us through the cultures and traditions of Hinduism.

Watch this video

Here is a brief summary of his point of view.

  • In Chicago, Hinduism was established by Swami Vivekanand (a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa) in 1883. Since then nearly 80,000 have settled in the Chicago.
  • A major chunk of this immigrated population comprises of Indian doctors, professors and engineers. Most of them are concentrated in western and northern suburb regions.
  • Hindus worship different idols of gods and goddess. However they believe in one supreme lord “The creator”. There is a great sense of respect among Hindus towards all other religion.
  • Every Hindu home has some place reserved for worship. Be it community temples or simple home temples, Hindus always worship their gods in temples. Darshans are often done during weekdays followed by offerings. There’s a whole different mesmerizing ambiance inside a Hindu temple.
  • Unlike western culture, eastern nations such as India, Japan follow a different tradition. Wearing shoes are not allowed inside temples and touching any idols are not allowed. Even photography is strictly prohibited.
  • In Hinduism, the Right hand is ideally preferred for handling sacred objects and food. It is considered inauspicious and rude if someone offers via his left hand.
  • Similar to England, Indian police do not carry weapons with them. So these Indian Hindus often get frightened when approached by a police officer.

Related article : Being an American Indian ,from the eyes of Gauri

  • Women often wear Saari and marriage necklace along with a Bindi on their forehead as a sign of marriage. In males, sacred tilak is applied. People welcome others by doing Namastey (generally means I worship the divine within you)
  • Touching is considered to be a bit inappropriate in Hinduism (especially among opposite genders). It is highly inappropriate to ask Hindu women to remove anyone of them. Police officers are expected to respect the dignity of Hindu women. Same goes the other way round.
  • Most Hindus are vegetarians and non-smokers, so smoking and bringing non-veg food are considered to be disrespectful.
  • Swastika is a religious symbol symbolizing power (Shakti) which means let goodness prevail. In Hindu homes, one can often see swastika inscribed in front of their doors. Even temples contain these holy symbols as a mark of auspiciousness.

Pritam, a 3rd year engineering student in B.P. Poddar institute of management and technology, Kolkata. A simple person who tries to innovate and improvise himself.

Twitter @pritam_gogreen

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Copyright 2016 NewsGram

  • Pritam Go Green

    I must say this is a good initiative taken by Chicago Police department. This indeed helps a lot in shortening the bridge between civilians and police officers.

  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    Its good that Indians always remain rooted to their culture .. no matter where they migrate and settle, they carry forward their culture and traditions

  • Pritam Go Green

    I must say this is a good initiative taken by Chicago Police department. This indeed helps a lot in shortening the bridge between civilians and police officers.

  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    Its good that Indians always remain rooted to their culture .. no matter where they migrate and settle, they carry forward their culture and traditions

Next Story

10 Facts about Madhubani Paintings which will blow your mind

Recently, Madhubani painting style came into limelight after some artists decided to renovate the Madhubani Railway Station by painting a huge Madhubani painting on the walls of the railway station.

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A Madhubani Painting in black and white. Wikimedia Commons
A Madhubani Painting in black and white. Wikimedia Commons

Madhubani Paintings, also known as Mithila Paintings are the quintessence folk art form of Mithila Region of Bihar. The art form is incredibly old and the name ‘Madhubani’ which means, ‘forest of honey,’ has a lineage of more than 2500 years.These paintings are the local art of Madhubani district of Bihar, which is also the biggest exporter of Madhubani paintings in India.

Recently, Madhubani painting style came into limelight after some artists decided to renovate the Madhubani Railway Station by painting a huge Madhubani painting on the walls of the railway station. The painting spans across an area of 7000 square feet and is expected to attract tourism to the Madhubani District. Madhubani art has received international and national attention in recent times.

Paintings and art are a reflection of the culture and tradition of the place from where they originate. Madhubani paintings are an important part of the Indian Culture. Madhubani painting in black and white are some of the oldest and most beautiful art that people can witness and admire. The style, which was losing its importance earlier is once again emerging as a major art form.

A modern representation of Madhubani art form. Wikimedia Common
A modern representation of Madhubani art form. Wikimedia Common

Here are 10 facts about Madhubani paintings which will blow your mind :

  • The history of Madhubani paintings dates back to the days of Ramayana. The history of Madhubani paintings dates back to the time of Ramayana when king Janaka asked an artist to capture the wedding of his daughter Sita with prince Rama. He commissioned craftsmen to decorate the entire kingdom with Madhubani art on the auspicious occasion of his daughter’s marriage. That’s one of the earliest mentions of Madhubani paintings that can be found in ancient scriptures and text.
  • Madhubani Paintings have 5 distinct styles to delight our eyes. Madhubani art has five distinctive styles, namely, Bharni, Katchni, Tantrik, Godna, and Kohbar. In ancient times, Bharni, Kachni and Tantrik style were done by Brahman and Kayastha women, who were considered ‘upper caste.’ Their themes were mainly religious and depicted Gods and Goddesses, flora and fauna. People belonging to lower castes including aspects of their daily life and symbols into their paintings.Nowadays, however, Madhubani has become a globalised art form. There is no difference in the work of different artists of different regions or castes.
  • Madhubani paintings are done using different kinds of everyday materials. In past, Madhubani painting was done using fingers, twigs. Now, matchsticks and pen nibs are also used. Usually, bright colours are used in these paintings with an outline made from rice paste as its framework. These paintings rarely have any blank spaces. Borders are often embellished with geometric and floral patterns. These paintings use natural dyes. For example, Madhubani paintings in black and white often use charcoal and soot for the black colour.
A Madhubani Paintings can be made using different materials on different mediums. Wikimedia Commons
A Madhubani Paintings can be made using different materials on different mediums. Wikimedia Commons
  • Madhubani art is characterised by symbols and figures. Madhubani paintings are characterised by figures that are prominently outlined, like bulging fish-like eyes and pointed noses. The themes of Madhubani paintings usually include natural elements like fish, birds, animals, turtle, sun, moon, bamboo trees and flowers, like a lotus. Love, valour, devotion, fertility, and prosperity are often symbolized by geometric patterns, which is another important feature of this art form.
  • From Mud-Walls to Canvas. Earlier, Madhubani paintings were made by women on freshly plastered mud-walls of their houses during religious occasions. The skill has been passed onto from one generation to another. Today, this artwork can be found on an international platform on mediums like cloth, paper, canvas, paper-mache products, etc.
  • Discovered and brought to attention by William G. Archer. Madhubani paintings, though prominent in India, were unknown to the outside world until a colonizer, William G. Archer found them. While he was inspecting the damage after the massive earthquake of  Bihar in 1934, Archer was amazed when he discovered the beautiful illustrations on the interior walls of the huts. He decided to bring the attention of other colonizers to this art form and introduced it internationally.

    Madhubani paintings are made without sketches. Wikimedia Common
    Madhubani paintings are made without sketches. Wikimedia Common
  • Madhubani is an Instinctive Art Form. Madhubani art is created without the use of sketches, they are made instinctively by the artists. This feature not only makes Madhubani paintings unique but also incredibly exclusive.
  • Madhubani painting also prevents Deforestation. Surprised? This folk art is not just mere decorations on the wall, it is also used for worship. Artists in Bihar draw paintings depicting Hindu deities on trees and those who hold strong religious beliefs, prevent others from chopping those trees down. This plays a big role in preventing trees from being cut down.
  • The Connection with Feng shui. Madhubani paintings use symbols and geometric figures which have a strong association with the Feng Shui philosophy. The use of flowers, especially the lotus, birds,  fishes, and turtles which we find in Madhubani paintings, are closely linked to the concept of divinity and spirituality in Feng Shui. Madhubani painting is believed to bring with them, the benefits of Feng Shui as well.

    Madhubani painting rarely has any spaces. Wikimedia Common
    Madhubani paintings rarely have any empty spaces. Wikimedia Common
  • The Importance of Sun in Madhubani. Since ancient times, the sun has always been an important symbol of nature worship. The Sun also occupies such an important place in the Madhubani paintings. There are paintings wholly dedicated to the Sun, in which it can be seen painted in different moods and colours. Every Madhubani home has one painting of the Sun which they worship daily.