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Hinduism on rise in Australia: Will this persist?

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Hinduism in Australia
A ritual in Hinduism. Wikimedia

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

  • 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

Westerners Adopt Indian Practices, Deny Giving Due Credits

There is an argument by some Hindu liberals thinking “what the problem in it”? They think our knowledge is globalized by West in the same way we consume inventions of the West. But it’s a very naïve argument.

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yoga
Its time Indians in general and Hindus in particular should be vigilant and should have an academic mind set to respond to such misadventures to protect our own heritage and Dharma. Hindu Council Of Australia

By Shashi Holla (WA) and Surinder Jain

Colonial or a white supremacy mind set may be clever enough to adopt Hindu practices but denies giving credit where it is due. Stealing Hindu Intellectual Property, they do not hesitate to rename and repackage so that they can sell it back to India for immense profits. Off course, they will leave no chance to tell Indians to stop their superstitious ways and to adopt the new scientific knowledge which “they” have “invented”.

Following has been already digested or appropriated by West. Some of the Western academics don’t believe that they belong to India.

Yoga Nidra   AS  Lucid Dreaming

Nadi Shodhana AS Alternate Nostrils Breathing

Vipassana  AS Mindfulness.

The latest addition to this list is

Pranamyam AS Cardiac Coherence Breathing

Several researchers have reported that pranayama techniques are beneficial in treating a range of stress-related disorders.[29] But the latest attempt has taken the appropriation too far. An American magazine “Scientific American” in its article titled “Proper Breathing Brings Better health” termed “Pranayama” as cardiac coherence breathing. (15 January 2019). The article gives us an idea about how West is so sophisticated in stealing knowledge from ancient cultures particularly Hinduism.

Yoga
Man doing Yoga. Wikimedia Commons

Prāṇāyāma is mentioned in verse 4.29 of the Bhagavad Gītā.[11] According to Bhagavad-Gītā As It Is, prāṇāyāma is translated to “trance induced by stopping all breathing”, also being made from the two separate Sanskrit words, prāṇa and āyām.[12] Pranayama is the fourth “limb” of the eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga mentioned in verse 2.29 in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.[14][15] Patanjali, a Hindu Rishi, discusses his specific approach to pranayama in verses 2.49 through 2.51, and devotes verses 2.52 and 2.53 to explaining the benefits of the practice.[16] Many yoga teachers advise that pranayama should be part of an overall practice that includes the other limbs of Patanjali’s Raja Yoga teachings, especially Yama, Niyama, and Asana.[18]

“Pranayama” a department of Yogic science practiced and documented 5000 years back ( even 15,000 years back) by Rishis is not even acknowledged by the author of the article. If one read the article they vaguely suggest that breathing exercises also existed in China, Hindu and in Greek culture.  This is how appropriation of ancient techniques takes place by West.  As Sankrat Sanu an entrepreneur, researcher and writer put it in his tweet “after erasing the origin they claim it as their own invention, attack original traditions as Superstition”.

As famous Indian American Author Rajiv Malhotra summarizes: “The article standardizes cardiac coherence breathing as Chinese, Hindu, Greek and various traditions as equal origins, and then modern West turns it into science”. Its time Indians in general and Hindus in particular should be vigilant and should have an academic mind set to respond to such misadventures to  protect our own heritage and Dharma.

yoga
The article standardizes cardiac coherence breathing as Chinese, Hindu, Greek and various traditions as equal origins, and then modern West turns it into science”.  Pixabay

There is an argument by some Hindu liberals thinking “what the problem in it”? They think our knowledge is globalized by West in the same way we consume inventions of the West. But it’s a very naïve argument. West has created an eco system and mechanism in which their knowledge system is Well protected and patented by international norms. Unless West does not give a new name and fits into their framework native wisdom is not recognized in academia and media. Whereas Hindus were generous in sharing their health techniques freely from millennium never thought they will struggle in proving things which belong to them. In fact in a westernized framework of Yoga and other techniques Indian scholars, insiders and practitioners are blatantly ignored. So our own knowledge will be repackaged and exported back to us at an extra price and conditions.

Also Read: Climate Change Will Melt Vast Parts of Himalayas: Study

Many of our practices are being called to be Biofeedback systems. According to WikipediaBiofeedback systems have been known in India and some other countries for millennia. Ancient Hindu practices like yoga and Pranayama (breathing techniques) are essentially biofeedback methods. Many yogis and sadhus have been known to exercise control over their physiological processes. In addition to recent research on Yoga, Paul Brunton, the British writer who travelled extensively in India, has written about many cases he has witnessed. (Hindu Council Of Australia)