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Guyana: New Hindu Sabha launched, aims to promote social cohesion

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Guyana: A new Hindu Sabha named as Guyana Viraat Sabha was launched on Saturday. It promises to promote and foster social cohesion. The organisation had gained prominence last year.

A few hundred people attended the launching ceremony held at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre. Students of Valmiki Vidyalaya Primary school chanted to commence the ceremony. Well Known Kathak dancer Kiran Mattai gave a skilful performance after that.

The Sabha had established itself with the first national Pitri Pasksh programme at the Lusignan Tarmac in 2008. However, last year when it differed with Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha over the date of Diwali and supported Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan.

Guyana Viraat Sabha is made of some of the biggest Hindu leaders of the country and many of those were part of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha in past. Guyana Pandits Council also supports this Sabha.

Rabindranauth Persaud, President, said that they feel committed to provide a better link between two kinds of people. One, who had selflessly sacrificed their lives for a better Guyana and other who are prepared to pool their energies and other resources in a bid to achieve a better environment for all.

He further added that”The Viraat Sabhaa is convinced that man, being gregarious, cannot exist without a philosophy. As such, spiritual education is placed at the pinnacle of the Sabhaa’s objectives. The Sabhaa is convinced that spirituality and divinity (are) the only way to unlock the gateway to civility and (create) a more cultured society. Godlessness nurtures negative propensities and vices which are adverse to human civilisation.”

He mentioned that Sabha already has already an impact on Hindu population of the country with its national network.

Minister of Social Cohesion, Amna Ally, highlighted the role of the organization in extending its services to people in a non-discriminatory way. She focused to publicly recognize the rapidly growing network of the Sabhaa, which has the initiative in various aspects of human and social development.

She said that motto of the organisation proves the point of the Guyana’s motto. The Universe is One Family, she said this is a reminder of the deep concern to create a society where everyone will exist together.

The minister added that Sabha supports Government’s efforts to promote social cohesion and it is setting up a stage for the untroubled implementation of this program. Showed happiness over the fact that Government and Sabha are associated.

“We are concerned about people. We want every Guyanese to experience the good life, and so you [Sabhaa] have extended the right hand of friendship to Government for collaboration and partnership. And we, likewise, extend our hand to you for partnership, since there is commonality,” Minister Ally stated.

She also mentioned that there is a critical role for religion in the human and social development and nation building. Both Sabha and the government realise this point. She offered other groups to participate more like Sabha.

“Through this Government, political will is guaranteed for social cohesion, but we cannot do it alone. It is when groups like yours approach us (that) we are encouraged and recognize that here is another group that has caught a vision for the need to collaborate,” the Minister said.

She noted the need for the collaboration. She said the there is a distinct advantage with religious communities over other groups seeking to promote the social cohesion.

She said such groups are able to reach large numbers at one time as they are able to more frequent interaction with people than the other groups. She also said time must not be wasted remembering the past and everyone should be moving forward and building a unified nation to coexist.

“We have to stop referring to people as ‘dem black people’, ‘da coolie man’ and ‘dem buck man’. It is disrespectful. Our children are being socialized with this same culture, and it is unhelpful,” Minister Ally said passionately.(Source-GuyanaChronicle.com)

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  • Rajesh Geer

    Spritual education is the highest education that one can render .however this can only come from an enlightened master . from time to time enlightened masters are born in Hinduism .

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Hinduism Should Not be Viewed Through the Narrow Prism of Marxism

Regarding menstruation, the seers of ancient India set down certain dos and don’t. It is no exaggeration that they realized the subtle intricacies of not only the tangible body and but also various sheaths of spiritual bodies

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Hinduism
Indeed all ancient Hindu scriptures put the female on the same footing as the male.

By Salil Gewali

“A little knowledge is more dangerous than ignorance”. And far more dangerous is when that little knowledge is spread in the society being propelled by the fuel of “prejudices”.  This write-up is with reference to a number of articles by a certain class of writers published in the mainstream media. Those articles are intended to rake up the issues in order to push the sacred temple of “Sabarimala” of Kerala or Shani Shingnapur and the culture associated with it, into the mire of controversy. Tarnishing the image of Hinduism is the main goal. Not unexpectedly, some stories even proclaim that in India “women” are thus demonized and their menstruation is abhorred.

Having gone through some of them I immediately contacted a number of top scholars in Kerala for hands-on verification — whether “women” are being despised so heartlessly or not. Since one of my books is translated into their language I did that with all ease. Not a single scholar (women included) informed me suggesting that they, or temple management of Sabarimala, have ever “despised women”, or hated “menstruation”.  I rather got an earful for asking such absurd questions.  They instantly reiterated referring to Hindu scriptures which teach all and one to look upon women as “Motherly figures”. One scholar remarks, “this confrontation has actually been orchestrated by the politicians with the help of certain forces which want to demean our culture”.  I heaved a sigh of relief!

Indeed all ancient Hindu scriptures put the female on the same footing as the male. But some vested interests with an ulterior motive have been distorting the true history/legends of India and also merrily belittling or shrugging off the literary treasure troves of the country. It was first done by the British in order to divide and rule Indians, in which they were very successful. And later, the legacy has been faithfully and aggressively carried forward by the Indian intellectuals influenced by certain thinkers and writers of the West and their culture.

Hinduism
Representational image.

Well, the seers of ancient India not only knew as information but they “fully realized” that everything, in and out, is pervaded by “Brahman” (Almighty). The modern science too has arrived at the “same conclusion”. The father of Quantum Mechanics — Erwin Schrodinger has scientifically discussed this fact in his world-famous book – “What is Life?”.  All knowledge associated with the ONENESS of Universe and the “Unity in Diversity” is systematically enshrined in 108 Upanishads.  They expounded with a force that “Purusha” (male) and “Pratriki” (female) both combine themselves to put forth the infinite COSMIC CREATION. One without other is like the fire without the heat. They are mutually complementary, inter-dependent and inter-related. The “discrimination” of any kind, not just “against women”, but even against the tiny “insects” and “plants” are considered irreligious. I would also request such biased scholars to read between the lines from the literature authored by Sri Aurobindo and Vivekananda who just quote from them to gloss over the footprint of their agendas. One wonders when they will learn to shake off the baggage of prejudices against while getting down to study the literature of the home country.

Now about the legend Ayyappa of Sabarimala in brief. The story which is long and interestingly too drawn-out, says —  Lord Ayyappa, who was born out of Lord Shiva and the feminine energy of Lord Vishnu, had exceptional power. His birth on earth was in order to kill a female demon– Mahishi. After having been killed the demoness, the curse against her ends. She again takes birth, this time the Goddess incarnate. This is laws of karma works. When she grew up she approached Lord Ayyappa for the marriage. But Ayyappa, who was practicing celibacy, denied. But, he consoles her saying that he will only marry her when no “first timer” will visit his temple for blessings. However, Lord Ayyappa asks her to reside just near to his temple. Later, in her memory, the devotee constructed a temple known as Malikapurathamma just adjacent to the temple of Ayyappa.

Since Lord Ayyappa, who was known for his celibacy, and had promised to marry Malikapurathamma, it has become a sort of a tradition among women not to visit the temple.  It should not be  misunderstood that it is apparently as a mark of showing respect to both Lord Ayyappa and Goddess Malikapurathamma.

Hinduism
Representational image.

Regarding menstruation, the seers of ancient India set down certain dos and don’t. It is no exaggeration that they realized the subtle intricacies of not only the tangible body and but also various sheaths of spiritual bodies (five sheaths mentioned in Upanishads). The areas of study are very vast. They caution that a woman during her monthly cycle should abstain from the religious public rituals, but can perform the personal spiritual practice. In fact, contrary to the modern tradition and practice, the seers didn’t “limit themselves” to the personal and public hygiene alone, but they went further, and so taken the “spiritual aspect” into consideration. Of course, lot many such dos and don’ts are beyond the understanding of we mundane people with limited five senses and “scattered mind”. It is too absurd who interpret that it is a practice of “untouchability”. A medical doctor will never allow you to enter into ICU unless you are well washed. Is not everything there meticulously sterilized?  Do you say that the hospital is practicing “untouchability”? I don’t think any mother will allow her children to enter the kitchen and take food immediately after the latrine without washing hands and feet.

Going by such biased articles in the mainstream media intended to denigrate the culture and heritage of the country; and also literary books (who unfortunately receive “Sahitya Akademi” and “Padma Shree” awards), I fervently wish that one should have the deeper knowledge of the subjects. Here the crucial prerequisite is that they must first unlearn false history and start to learn the true history without being weighed down by the prejudices.  Moreover, the cosmic ocean of the Indian wisdom is so deep, even it has described many “inconceivable” laws and principles which are seemingly out-of-box and discriminatory. I humbly suggest not to selectively pick up a few odds and use them to demean this vast culture of knowledge. The Vedanta should not be view through the narrow prism of Karl Marx and LeninEven their favorite master Fredrick Hegel (front ranking philosopher of the west) cheerfully confessed the depth of ancient wisdom, –  “It strikes everyone in beginning to form an acquaintance with the treasures of Indian literature, that a land so rich in intellectual products and those of the “profoundest” order of thought”. How I wish that a dagger not be wielded by an untrained person or else it will be disastrous!

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali.