A Hinduism Summit held on June 18 by Forum for Hindu Awakening (FHA) and Durga Mandir of Virginia brought to attention the issues faced by Hindus in America and provided unique, practical solutions to the Hindu community.
Smt Maya Jairam, a native of Fort Collins, Colorado, opened the presentations with a first-hand account of growing up in America and embracing Hindu spirituality. Coming from a non-religious childhood and being used to a non-vegetarian diet, she found the answers to her spiritual quest in Hinduism’s spiritual science and the vegetarian, Hindu way of life.
Dr S Kalyanaraman, a Hindu activist who came from Chennai, India, brought to light the inaccurate and negative depiction of Hinduism in school textbooks and higher academia. Dr Kalyanaraman called for united protests, as they have been effective in stopping such misrepresentation. He also proposed erecting a museum as a reminder of the contributions of the Hindu community in America, to gain a voice for Hindus in America.
Smt Shilpa Kudtarkar of Spiritual Science Research Foundation (SSRF) shared the importance of spiritual practice and healing measures to successfully overcome the issues faced by the Hindu community, as she explained how these issues have an underlying spiritual component. SSRF’s research on dowsing and biofeedback machines showed the positive or negative vibrations emitted by people, power of prayers and healing ability of saints’ hand writing.
Bhavna Shinde Hurley, Hinduism Education Coordinator of Durga Mandir and spokesperson of FHA, drew attention to various issues being faced by Hindus that are not commonly known, such as Hindu youth increasingly converting out of Hinduism, and trivialisation of Hindu deities in American entertainment, art and advertising industries. She shared that Hinduism education emphasising the unique science of Hinduism is naturally attracting the scientific minded youth of today. For example, the red dot (vermillion mark) on the forehead increases concentration while the agnihotra can neutralise nuclear radiation. Appreciating the varied causes that Hindu organisations are looking after, she appealed to everyone to come together whenever the Hindu community faces some issue, be it misrepresentation of Hinduism, conversion or denigration.
The Hinduism Summit commenced and concluded in the tradition of Hinduism, with auspicious conch blowing, lighting of the wick lamp and Vedic recitations. The speakers and Shri Sant Gupta, former President of Durga Mandir, were honoured for their selfless service to the cause of Hinduism. Dr S Kalyanaraman was awarded the Vishwa Hindu Ratna for his research on the roots of Hindu (Saraswati) civilisation and efforts to stop the destruction of Rama Sethu. The Hinduism Summit received a positive response, as several attendees expressed interest in learning about Hinduism’s spiritual science and imparting it to their children, and in working together on issues faced by Hindus in America.