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Hinduism on rise in Australia: Will this persist?

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Hinduism in Australia
A ritual in Hinduism. Wikimedia
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Australia, March 3, 2017: In 2011 Census, Hinduism emerged as the fast growing religion in Australia. The factor behind it is largely the migration.

Reverend Albert Lange rechristened himself as Bhakta Dasa in 1979 was disillusioned with Christianity, thus,  converted into Hinduism.

“I was an atheist before I found my truth in the Hare Krishna movement,” he said.

Mr Dasa is now the national communications director for International Society for Krishna Consciousness, ISKCON Australia.

5000-year-old Hinduism religion has drawn many Australians like Mr. Dasa.

Hinduism in Austrlia:

Meanwhile, Census watchers, predict that  Hinduism will overtake Islam (2.7 per cent), despite the increase in the number of Australians nominating Islam as their religion (from 2.2 per cent to 2.6 per cent of the population).

The rationale behind this phenomenon is many Indian settling in Australia. In last two decades past June 2014, there’s been four fold increase in Indian residents.

But, native Australians are also gravitating towards Hinduism, stated Mr Dasa.

“The Hindu way of life, with vegetarianism, karma and spirituality as its tenets, has never been more popular in the western world,” he said.

Rath Yatra or Chariot festival is the highlight of Australian Hindu Calendar.

The adorned idol of God Krishna, or Jaggannath (Lord of the Universe) is seen in the festival. He steps out of the sanctum of his temple in Albert Park onto the streets of Melbourne.  In order to symbolise the reestablishment of the connection with the God, the ropes of his cart are pulled by thousands of devotees.

This year the festival drew more than 25,000 people to the Catani Gardens of St Kilda, reflecting Hinduism’s rising popularity in Australia.

Food such as prasadam (religious offering), Indian dance and music performances and Bhagwad Gita readings, attracted many non-Hindus to the event.

ISKCON temple is one of the many temples that cater to the religious needs of Hindus in Melbourne. Of the 51 Hindu temples in Australia, 19 are located in Victoria, belonging to different sects of Hindus that worship gods such as Ganesha, Durga, Hanuman and Shirdi Sai Baba.

Makrand Bhagwat, from the Hindu Council of Australia, says the number of temples in Melbourne has been gradually increasing over the years, exhibiting a proportional increase in the Hindu population of the state.

Australia’s biggest and one of its oldest Hindu temples- Shiva Vishnu temple – was laid in 1988 in Carrum Downs, in Melbourne’s south-east. Situated on almost six hectares of land, the temple is visited by more than 100,000 people a year.

The temple was built by the Hindus belonging to India and Sri Lanka predominantly, the temple offers religious accommodation to the migrants coming from southeast Asian countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, as well as Fiji.

“We just needed a place to worship,” says Sivananthini Krishnamoorthy, a migrant from Sri Lanka who has been a part of the team that saw Shiva Vishnu temple take shape from scratch in a small shed.

Mrs Krishnamoorthy spoke that the Hindu temple at Carrum Downs is beyond a place of worship for the community in Melbourne – many Caucasians also visit and are learning Vedic Hindu scriptures in Tamil.

“Something that I never did as a child even in Sri Lanka,” she said.

She says that the temples of Melbourne had helped her family to reinvigorate a connection to their culture and tradition.

The Hindu temples of Melbourne come under the ambit of the Hindu Organisation of Temples Association that involves in many interfaith activities and provides spiritual services to Hindus across Australia.

The temple also becomes a spot for celebrating Diwali, Holi and New year also for naming ceremonies and weddings. Traditionally it is a first stop for Hindus on the arrival of a baby, or when moving into a new house or buying a car. Students and job seekers often flock there before a major exam or interview.

The Hindu Council of Australia liaises with government, while catching on to other organisations and institutions, for seeking fair representation of Hindus in the media.

Adding Hinduism as a religion option in the 2016 Census was done by the council says Mr Bhagwat.

“[The council], along with its partner organizations, ran a campaign in our networks to encourage the Hindu community to exercise this option,” he said. “We are very keen to see the outcome of the 2016 Census…and pretty confident that this [growth] trend will continue.”

– prepared by Sabhyata Badhwar of NewsGram. Twitter: @SabbyDarkhorse

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Copyright 2017 NewsGram

  • Sarfaraz A.

    Why are Indian Hindus so concerned about their religion when they claim to be diverse and secular nation?

  • shiv

    Because of fanatic pigs like yourself sarfaraz. Hindus are very liberal and open minded, but that doesn’t mean we will willingly walk into the crematorium like your mullahs want us to do. Obviously not all muslims are fanatics, but unfortunately most would not mind if our way of life disappeared and we converted. The principal aim of your religion is to conquer the world. Hinduism’s principal aim is to achieve spiritual liberation and enlightenment. We are against our suicide and our murder which your book demands. For these reasons, we will never engage or even encourage violence, but we will not submit to your rapacious conquests. If any muslim wants peace, then peace be with them.

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  • Sarfaraz A.

    Why are Indian Hindus so concerned about their religion when they claim to be diverse and secular nation?

  • shiv

    Because of fanatic pigs like yourself sarfaraz. Hindus are very liberal and open minded, but that doesn’t mean we will willingly walk into the crematorium like your mullahs want us to do. Obviously not all muslims are fanatics, but unfortunately most would not mind if our way of life disappeared and we converted. The principal aim of your religion is to conquer the world. Hinduism’s principal aim is to achieve spiritual liberation and enlightenment. We are against our suicide and our murder which your book demands. For these reasons, we will never engage or even encourage violence, but we will not submit to your rapacious conquests. If any muslim wants peace, then peace be with them.

Next Story

Puja for The Spiritualism, Not for Vulgar Entertainment

The westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our "scriptures" and are becoming more spiritual while we just locked up those "holy books" only in the drawers of the altar. Thus we only love to shake our “butts to the boom-boom of Bollywood”.. right in front of the Gods' idols !!!

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Hinduism
he westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our "scriptures"

By Salil Gewali

Any auspicious days in Hinduism are expected to be observed with a complete purity of action and thought. The same holds true for other religions too. As per the Hindu scriptures, the believers are required to stay away from any kind of sense gratifications, particularly when the specific days are dedicated to Gods and Goddess such as Navratri, Laxmi Puja, Krishna Janmashtami, Shivaratri, to name a few. The pathway to devotion and spiritualism should not be “desecrated” by the blot of the brazen entertainment. The scriptures logically explain why it is antithetical, and its adverse consequences.

Hindusim
Incidentally, the Bhagavad Gita describes such situation as the rise of “tamasic vibes”.

 But, what a huge irony, rather a blasphemy that many people these days have started to choose the auspicious days of Gods to satisfy their base senses. Without a wee bit of regret, a certain class of people holds almost every auspicious day as the most “unmissable” occasion to booze with the friends, and what not, and stagger back home, lol! Such bizarre practices are fast catching now than ever.  Sadly, hardly any conscious people and spiritual organizations stand up and take the right measures to check such godless deviations.

What is quite unpleasant is that such a kind of unholy practices are often being facilitated by certain “Hindu intuitions” as well. On this past Laxmi Puja, the “propitious time” to perform the ritual had fallen between 6 PM to 7:53 PM. Yours truly decided to use that span of time for meditation. But hell broke loose. Apart from fireworks around, the Bollywood songs in high decibel burst forth from a certain Hindu institution quite frustrated the mission.

Hindusim
Sadhu Sanga Retreat, 2016

 One senior citizen laments – “Nothing could be irreligious than the fact that a favorable time for “puja” is also being used for the wrongful purposes. We rather expect the “Hindu institutions” to teach our children Bhajan, Kirtan, and other spiritual activities, not the loud and feverish parties and disturb others.”

Another college student adds “Having been much disturbed by the noise pollution, I have persuaded my parents to shift our place of residence to elsewhere, not at least near holy places with an unholy mission. I have started to see such institutions with the eyes of suspicion these says.” Is it that our institutions are unable to use their “discretion”, and as a result, they fail to differentiate between right and wrong?  One is deeply apprehensive that Bollywood songs and vulgar dances might as well be included as a part of the “puja ritual” as we have long accepted the fun of fireworks bursting as an integral part of Laxmi Puja which in fact is just an entrenched “misconception”.

Hinduism
Hinduism is expected to be observed with a complete purity of action

Needless to say, our roar for consumerism has almost drowned the whisper of inherent spiritualism. We are only just sending out the wrong messages. I’m afraid, the whole culture itself might be looked down with derision by other faiths. It might just become a subject of ridicule! It is no exaggeration, such negative notions against the “wrong practices” are all what we often read these days in several newspapers and social media. Do we want others to demean our profound spiritual heritage thus?  I believe it calls for a serious soul-searching.

Incidentally, the Bhagavad Gita describes such situation as the rise of “tamasic vibes”.  It warns in the strongest terms that mankind should absolutely be careful not to fall under the influence of any short-lived sense gratifications. Or else, our endeavor to “practice and preserve” the sanctity of a religion/spiritualism will be a futile exercise.

However, on the other hand, the westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our “scriptures” and are becoming more spiritual while we just locked up those “holy books” only in a drawer of the altar. Thus we only love to shake our “butts to the boom-boom of Bollywood”.. right in front of the Gods’ idols !!!

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

Twitter:@SGewali.