Intro: A total of 230 Hindu Spiritual Organisations joined the Service Fair, which attracted about 12 lakh visitors, compared to 9 lakh last year.
Those who have misconception that only Church pioneers in sewa activities must change their thinking. The sewa activities showcased at the 7th Hindu Spiritual and Service Fair 2015 held in Chennai from February 3 to 9 proved beyond any doubt that that none can compete with the Hindu religious organisations in term of sewa activities. A total of 230 Hindu Spiritual Organisations joined the Service Fair, which attracted about 12 lakh visitors, compared to 9 lakh last year. Many eminent personalities, spiritual leaders, celebrities and bureaucrats also visited the Service Fair held at the Agurchand Manmull Jain College, Meenambakkam.
The Fair, instituted in 2009, has also been focusing on protecting forests and wildlife, fostering respect for women and girl children, promoting patriotism and instilling reverence for parents and teachers. It integrated Hindu spiritual organisations; educational institutions, which sustain and protect values unfolded by the Hindu spiritual wisdom; community organisations supported by the Hindu spiritual institutions that sustained the native traditions and culture and provided the platform for sustaining the social order in the society; and government departments based on the Indian spiritual wisdom.
Basic Philosophic Pillars
Athmano Mokshartham Jagat Hitayacha (Working for the welfare of all is the way to moksha) and Isavasyam Idam Sarvam (Every-thing down to the tiniest atom is manifestation of the Divine) were the two basic philosophic pillars of the Fair drawn from the Rig Veda and Upanishad. These two thematic pillars are the two eyes of the Hindu spiritualism.
Archeological Survey of India joined the Fair connecting its participation to the theme “Sustain Environment” which is very necessary to retain the monuments intact. It supported the fair as an “official patron without any financial commitments”. Endowment Department, Government of Karnataka also joined as an “official patron without any financial commitments” and showcased its major temples and the services. Tamil Nadu HR & CE, Andhra Pradesh, Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams also showcased their activities related to the themes ‘preserve ecology, conserve forest and protect wild life, etc. Twenty big corporates sponsored the Fair and the pre-fair events. Students from six colleges—Sahsun College, MOP Vaishnava, Meenakshi, Jaya Surya Engineering, MGR Janaki, Rajalakshmi Engineering College also actively participated in the Fair.
The Fair commenced with the inaugural function presided over by spiritual heads and representatives of the four faiths i.e., Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism originated in this sacred land of ancient civilisation. Prominent spiritual personalities who attended the inaugural function included Kailay Munivar Srilasri Kaasi Vaasi, Muthukumaraswamy Thampiran Swamigal Avargal, Guruji Kenting Tai a XII Chamgon, supreme head, Palpung Monstries Institution, Vajrayana Budhism, Acharya Roopchandraji Maharaj, founder president of Manav Mandir Mission Trust, New Delhi Shri Balbir Singh Lota and general secretary of Sri Guru Nanak Sat Sangh Sabha, Gurudwara, Chennai.
Each of the two entrances displayed the vision and themes of the Fair. The panels revealed the spirit of Hindu spiritualism, its relevance to the contemporary world. The western culture that is bereft of ‘reverence’ has created an individualistic attitude and all earn for self to enjoy one’s own life without any saving for the future. This has burdened the government. The nations that followed such economic theory lost the values and need guidance of our nation which is splendid with the morals and virtues inherited form our ancestors and is being practiced in our daily life. The stories from the scriptures and life-examples are heartening. The community that sacrificed their lives for the sake of trees and emperor punishing himself by killing his son as justice to a cow touched the hearts of many visitors. The Param Vir awardees life sacrifices kindled patriotism in many youngsters.
The speaking Sanatan Dharma tree illustrating the six values and its concept revealed the underlying unification of all the participant organisations by calling them as the children of Sanatana Dharma.
Each day was dedicated to one theme to instill the six values in young boys and girls. Under the theme ‘Preserving Ecology’ Gaja Vandana/ Go Vandana/ Tulasi Vandana were conducted. The students paid reverence to the symbols of elephant, cow etc. A total of 1,008 Tulsi saplings were donated by a spiritual organisation to mark the importance of Tulsi plant as a symbol to signify ecological balance.
Under the theme ‘Inculcating Family and Human Values’ AacharyaVandana was conducted. Reverence to teachers is the same as reverence for knowledge was illustrated by the students by honouring 1,008 teachers and they were offered a set of clothes as Guru Dakshina. The theme Fostering Women’s Honour witnessed Kanya Vandana. Kanya Vandana was performed to 1,008 girl students by the boys. It was a touching programme to respect girls and promote women’s honour. RSS Sarkaryavah Shri Bhaiyaji also witnessed the programme.
The theme ‘Sustaining Environment’ witnessed Ganga Vandana/Bhoomi Vandana. Reverence to water as “Ganga” and mother earth “Bhoomi” alone can save the pollution and will help to sustain the nature. Under the theme ‘Instilling Patriotism’ Bharat Mata Vandana/Param Vir Vandana were conducted. Vandana to Bharat Mata or the Param Vir Awardees signifies reverence towards Bharat Mata and the national war heroes.
Conserving Forests and Protecting Wild Life exemplified with Vriksha Vandana and Naga Vandana. To mark the importance of this value, International Vallalar Sangam donated 1,008 coconut tree saplings to be distributed among visitors. All cultural programmes such as bhajans, music, dance, drama, etc performed at the fair were related to the theme of the day.
Swarna Lakshmi, Lakshmi made in solid gold weighing 70kg, was brought form Sri Narayani Peetam, Vellore for the public to do Abhishekam without any payment. This is to show that Bharat considers gold (wealth) as divine Goddess Lakshmi and not as material investment unlike other countries do. This programme was integrated with the inherited culture of Bharat which we need to be proud of.
The Fair was the outcome of several months ground work. Swami Vivekananda Rath Yatra was also conducted. Students received the Raths in various manners such as by performing Kolattam, playing band and offered floral tributes to Swami Vivekananda. The Rath Yatra concluded at Marina Beach on January 31 with a huge Swami Vivekananda walkathon in which over 10,000 students dressed as Swamiji participated. Justice Sri S Vaidyanathan of the Madras High Court flagged off the walkathon and Justice Shri R Mahadevan of Madras High Court administered the pledge to the students while culminating walkathon before the Vivekananda House. Some thematic competitions for the school students were also organised.