Hinduism, The Global Dharma of 21st Century
Over 1 million devotees from 140 countries gathered at the Jakkur airport ground, Bangalore during 17-19 February 2006 at the invitation of Sri Sri Ravishankar to mark the silver jubilee celebrations of Art of Living. The congregation included heads of states, ministers and luminaries from many countries including President Abdul Kalam and former Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani. Devotees from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Latvia and Brazil were seen singing Sankrit bhajans for those 3 days. Similarly Mata Amritanandmayi had drawn over 1 million devotees from over 110 countries to her ashram in remote Kollam in Kerala for the celebration of her 50th birthday. Millions of devotees from across the world throng to Puttaparthy to have a glimpse of darshan of Satyasai Baba. International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) has built Hindu temples in hundred countries and that includes Islamic countries like Kazhgistan. Ramdev Baba has taught yogasan and pranayama to at least 10 million people in Bharat, UK and USA.
Similarly Ramakrishna Ashram, Sivananda Ashram, Saiva Siddhanta Church (based in Hawaii), Chinmaya Mission, Rajyoga Centre, BKS Iyengar Yoga Center, Sahaja Yoga Foundation, Swami Muktananda Ashram, Thai-Bharat Cultural Lodge and the like are branching out all around. The universal and useful Hindu principles are attracting large non-Indians towards different aspects of Hinduism. “Hinduism Today” brought out by Saiva Siddhanta Church of Hawaii is one of the best International magazines propagating Hinduism and current events among the world-wide Hindu community. HH Dalai Lama and Sri Sri Ravishankar address parliaments around the world.
Hindu Temples and Hindu Festivals attract large devotees
Hindu festival Deepawali is celebrated by lighting the parliaments and busy streets of New South Wales, Canberra, Wellington, Washington, London, Toronto, Singapore, Malaysia, Nairobi, Darban, Suva and so on.
An interesting development of recent origin is the fact that while in India there may be a handful of temples for Lord Brahma, over hundred temples and shrines can be seen in Bangkok. The Brahma temple of Wat Erawan in Bangkok is not only the most sought after temple but also the richest one. Several welfare projects like schools and hospitals for poor are run based on the temple income. The popularity of the four faced Brahma is growing and shrines and temples for the Lord of creation have sprung up in Macau, Singapore, Taiwan, and Las Vegas. Recently in 2006 a Muslim fundamentalist attacked the shrine and broke the idol. Immediately the government made a new idol and the then Prime Minister of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra participated in the consecration ceremony.
An ancient Vishnu idol dating back to VII –X century AD has been found during excavation in an old village in Russia's Volga region, raising questions about the prevalent view on the origin of ancient Russia.
Gita in Management
Swami Parthasarathy, one of India’s best-selling authors on Vedanta, an ancient school of Hindu philosophy scribbled the secrets to business success (“concentration, consistency, and cooperation”) on an easel pad. The executives – heads of midsized outfits sat rapt. “You can’t succeed in business unless you develop the intellect, which controls the mind and body,” the swami said in his mellow baritone.
At the Wharton School a few days earlier, Parthasarathy talked about managing stress. During the same trip, he counseled hedge fund managers and venture capitalists in Rye, N.Y., about balancing the compulsion to amass wealth with the desire for inner happiness. And during an auditorium lecture at Lehman Brothers Inc.’s (LEH ) Lower Manhattan headquarters, a young investment banker sought advice on dealing with nasty colleagues. Banish them from your mind, advised Parthasarathy. “You are the architect of your misfortune,” he said. “You are the architect of your fortune.”
Bhagwad Gita and Karma Capitalism are the key words these days in many leading schools of Management. Mahabharat printed in Chinese language sold out in record time calling for reprints.
Large Hindu Gatherings and Hindu Consolidations
Hindus around the world have built big and small temples in hundreds. Added to these, the Hindu Awakening can be seen in the congregation of thousands of devotees on special occasions. Thus we have over 15,000 devotees convening at Fairfield grounds, Sydney every year to celebrate Diwali. Over 100,000 devotees assemble at Batu Caves, Malaysia on the occasion of Thaipusam, at Maha Mariamman Temple in Bangkok, Thailand and at the Ganga Talav in Mauritius on the occasion of Shiv Ratri. Large Hindu gatherings were also seen during Vishwa Dharma Prasad Yatra organized by Vishwa Hindu Parishad a few years back in 40 international cities. VHP has successfully organized vast International Hindu conferences in Singapore, Darban, Trinidad, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, London, New York and Washington.
RSS chief Sudarshan ji appealed ‘unite to defeat the evil forces’. He was speaking before 7,000 Hindus who had gathered at Nairobi, Kenya. The Hindu concept of ‘Unity in Diversity’ can alone bring world peace, said Mohanrao Bhagwat, General Secretary of RSS. He was speaking before a gathering of 16,000 Hindus who had assembled in Bay Area to celebrate the Centenary year of Shri Guruji Golwalkar, the second chief of RSS and the founder of VHP. Similar gatherings were also held in several parts of the world.
4364 participants from 30 states and 106 places from all over US performed 477,169 Surya Namaskars (a form of yogasan) between 1 and 14 January 2007. Many Americans also joined in this Yagya. Sankrit Bharati has taught spoken Sankrit to over 100,000 Sanskrit enthusiasts in Bharat, UK, USA and Middle East. Sewa International is running over 70,000 welfare projects in Bharat, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Burma, Malaysia, Kenya, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, UK and USA. HSS volunteers were seen in the forefront during Tsunami in Sri Lanka, Andamans, Nicobar and during Katrina floods in USA.
Hindu concepts were introduced in 25 universities of USA. Dr Srinivas Tilak (Karma and pillars of Hinduism), Dr Raghuram (Yoga and Stress Management), Dr Yashwant Pathak (Hindu - Pagan dialogue) and Ravi Kumar (Vedic Mathematics and Vedic Sciences) spoke and conducted workshops to packed audiences that included many non-Indian heads of departments.
Hinduism the Global Religion of 21st Century
Hinduism is now occupying the centre stage. Sankrit, Yoga, Bhagwad Gita, Ayurved, Vegetarian food, Indian music and Bhajans are gaining world-wide recognitions. Overseas Hindus are proving successful and assets to their adopted countries. India too has become a global player in trade and technology. In these days of Globalisation, let us make Hinduism a Global Religion for Peace and Progress of humanity.
This calls for Hindu Unity and hence the need for programs likes Hindu Ekta Divas celebrated by Vishwa Hindu Parishad of Australia on 6th May 2007. It is heartening to see over 5,000 Hindus gather there on that day. Hon. Minister for Ethnic Affairs, members of the Indian High Commission and several Aussie Hindus also came to witness this 1st Hindu Mela of Vishwa Hindu Parishad.