Hindu mandir executives representing 111 temples and Hindu organisations from more than 25 states of US and Canada converged in Lithicum, MD, a suburb of Washington, DC, to attend the Fourth Annual Hindu Mandir Executives Conference (HMEC), from September 11-13, 2009.
The temples and Hindu organisations were represented from British Columbia-Canada, Hawaii , California on the West Coast to Florida , Carolina , and New-England-States on the East Coast including many states in the heartland of America .
This extremely successful fourth annual HMEC-2009 was another step in the development of network and relationships between mandir executives to meet the goal of creating a cohesive and focused Hindu-American community with mandirs as its nucleus. The participants were focused on developing programmes to provide leadership to nourish, protect and sustain Hindu dharma in North America .
Participation by several large Hindu organisations like Art of Living, Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, Arya Samaj, BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, Chinmaya Mission, Gayatri Pariwar, ISKON, Yogi Divine Society, Kauai’s Hindu Monastery, JKP and JK Yog, Bharat Sevashram Sangha, Sikh Center of Virginia, Devotees of Narayani Peetam and Sadhu Vaswani, and Hindu temples all over North America made HMEC an inspiring experience for the attendees.
The mandir executives represented a wide cross section of the Hindu community. These attendees, who numbered over 250, were physicians, scientists, business-persons, homemakers, engineers, etc., by profession besides being temple executives. They displayed a deep commitment in fulfilling the spiritual and social needs of Hindu-American community and an urge to create a legacy for the next generations that they can be proud of.
The group was diverse in terms of age, race, generation, as well as national origin. HMEC 2009 had a strong participation from the youth. Conference had some parallel sessions for the youth representing temples from across the nation. Pooja, Shaily and Jemin representing ‘Shri Mangal Mandir’ in Silver Springs, MD, were happy to have met youth just like them and said, “We gained new perspective within our own religion, we learned things that we can implement in our mandirs and help our community.”
Addressing the temple executives from across the country, Swami Dayananda Saraswati of the ‘Arsha Vidya Gurukulam’, who was the keynote speaker, emphasised that the Hindu mandirs are “forms or manifestations” of traditions that can be handed over to the next generations. These ‘forms’ are very important and the next generations should be made aware of these to preserve ancient traditions. Swami Mukundananda of JK Yog talked about the application of management science in mandir development in his inaugural address.
Hindu mandir executives collectively deliberated on evolving social, religious, cultural, spiritual, and next-generational needs of 2.5 million strong, confident, diverse and vibrant Hindu-American community. Dr. Michael Busch of the Bramhananda Saraswati Trust mentioned, “It is very inspiring to see the depth of understanding and devotion to the Vedic tradition of India . The cohesion and cooperation among all the temples to strengthen the enlightenment of Vedic knowledge in North America is encouraging.”
In the concluding session of the Conference, the delegates agreed on a series of action items, which emerged as a consequence of the deliberations and presentations: