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Here is why Central Ohioans are attracted towards Hinduism!

“(Hinduism) is not incompatible with anything,” Olen said. “The only thing it’s incompatible with is ... if people think of themselves as separate. We believe in oneness. The goal is to experience oneness with all.

Hinduism-Serving peace to the people of Ohio, Source- Pixabay

Ohio, May 3, 2017: With Christians forming a major part of the population, people in Ohio believe in “religion” with all their heart. But due to the stress of urban lifestyle, Ohioans have become victims of ‘depression’.

Ohio is a mid-western state in the United States of America and a study has found that on an average 19 million American adults are “depressed”. People have visited doctors but all in vain. As a result, people are trying to find solace in “religion” especially “Hinduism”.

The principles of non-violence, vegetarianism and much more, attract people towards Hinduism. According to a report of 2015, Hinduism is the 3rd most practised religion in Columbus (capital of Ohio).

Here a few experiences of people who found peace by accepting Hindu traditions and customs to overcome their stress-

A resident of the Ohio, Andrea McCanney has tried everything to cure her depression: doctors, medicine and all the Western world had to offer. Nothing worked.

Then, when her friend urged her to find her way out of this situation through Hinduism, she went to Nithyanandeshwara Hindu Temple in Delaware County. She sat in front of a live video feed from a guru in India’s temple, Paramahamsa Nithyananda, and after trying his techniques, she began to feel better.

“He gives you direction,” said McCanney, of Delaware. “He gives you techniques, a little thing to try. You do it enough times and it really starts to change everything about your life. It gives you a new perspective.”

Three months later, she went to India to learn more. Now, she’s the ritual coordinator at the temple and Nithyananda gave her the name Gurupriya Nithya, which she will soon make her legal name.

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According to report, at Sri Lakshmi Ganapathi Temple and Hindu Cultural Center of Ohio on the North Side, Head Priest Satyanarayana Sastry said he sees more Americans showing interest in Hinduism.

“There’s always been this stereotype that the East is spiritually fulfilled and prosperous and that the West is materially fulfilled,” Kaura said. “Some Westerners are finding they’re not fulfilled in material goods and are looking for spiritual fulfilment … they’re looking toward Hinduism and Buddhism.

“I think people are ready for something that’s more inclusive than what they were exposed to previously,” added McCanney.

The spiritual customs are not judgemental. People of every caste and creed are equal when it comes to spirituality “it is beyond religion,” says Sivananda, the spiritual head of the Nithyanandeshwara Hindu Temple. “Hindu dharma is inclusiveness of all … It’s relating with yourself, your inner being. It’s relating with everybody in your life.”

The fact that Hinduism does not “force” people to convert, all other religions easily assimilate with one of the most popular religions across the world giving it a colourful background.

Instead of giving up another faith, people can incorporate their religious backgrounds into Hinduism, says Paul Olen, a member of the Delaware County temple who lives in Delaware. He was raised Roman Catholic, but no longer practices. But says, he still believes in the teachings of Jesus, whom he believes was a holy man.

“Hinduism is not incompatible with anything,” Olen said. “The only thing it’s incompatible with is … if people think of themselves as separate. We believe in oneness. The goal is to experience oneness with all.

– prepared by Nikita Tayal of NewsGram, Twitter: @NikitaTayal6 

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Right of Nature: Are Rivers Living Beings?

Should rivers be considered Living Entities?

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.