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80 US organisations launch Hindu Council Initiative

The new initiative will provide a united voice to Hindu communities living in an alien country, reports Lalit K Jha.
PTI | By Lalit K Jha, New York
UPDATED ON AUG 18, 2005 04:28 PM IST

In an effort to present a united voice in an alien country and to shape the "future and destiny" of the Hindu community in coming decades, leaders of as many as 80 important Hindu organisations and temples in the U.S. have come forward to constitute a Hindu Council Initiative (HCI) of North America.

A result of the Dharma Summit-2005 that concluded early this week, the Hindu Council Initiative has mandate to create a network allowing all Hindu religious organizations to work together and provide necessary resources on continuing basis to all temples and other religious organizations in the U.S.

The conference general secretary, Ved Chaudhary, told The HindustanTimes.com: "The Hindu Council Initiative would address only issues of concern to the Hindu community in North America."

Prominent among them include promoting changes to enhance the participation of new generation, correcting biased and distorted views of the Hindu traditions in educational institutions and media, improving temple management, developing resources, enhancing the role of temple, and helping temples and religious organizations to reach out to larger community with voluntary services and education, Chaudhary said referring to resolution passed by the Dharma Summit-2005.

In fact, this was probably for the first time that such a large number of Hindu religious leaders and institutions had come together on one platform.

This was also for the first time that prominent American academicians, intellectuals and believers in Hinduism also joined mainstream Hindu platform.

Among these were the world renowned Hindu-scholar, David Frawley; Stephen Knapp, who has written more than a dozen books on Hind and Hinduism Frank Morallis, who is recognised as one of the leading authorities on Hindu philosophy, yoga and meditation in the US; Jeffrey Armstrong, a Vedic astrologer, and Beth Kulkarni, who is the only American Hindu on board of various Hindu temples in the US.

The concern many young generation Hindus in the U.S. are not learning and maintaining Hindu traditions was clearly evident throughout the conference, which brought together heads of trustees of temples, spiritual institutions, and organizations together with many intellectuals and committed volunteer leaders from throughout the USA.

Prominent Hindu religious institutions to attend the conference were the Arsha Vidya-Vedanta Gurukul, PA; Arya Pratinidhi Sabha America; BAPS-Swaminarayan Temple; Barsana Dham, TX; Gayatri Pariwar; Hindu Monastery in Hawaii; Hindu University of America; Sadhu Vaswani Center; Sringeru Vidya Bharati Foundation; Sri Ganesh Temple in NY; Sri Venkateshwara Temples; Sri Meenakshi Temple, TX; Vraj Dham, PA and ISKCON.

Other Hindu groups included, Educators Society for Heritage of India, Gayatri Pariwar, Hindu American Foundation, Hindu Intl. Council against Defamation, Hindu Society of NE Florida, Hindu Students Council, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Hindu University of America, Jain Associations in North America, Swadhyay Pariwar, US Hindu Alliance; Vishwa Hindu Parishad-America., American Institute of Vedic Studies, Vedic Friends Associations and the Vedic Foundation.

Chaudhary said, the rich mix of swamis, intellectuals, temple trustees and youth leaders provided a unique opportunity to exchange different viewpoints, thoughts and ideas and share experiences on how to impart spiritual and cultural education to future generations.

Theme of the summit was: "The Future of Dharmic Traditions in North America."

Giving details of the conference, Chaudhary said workshop was organised by the Hindu University of America which is starting a program to train Hindu priests in the USA to meet the needs of temples in America for priests who can communicate with the younger generation and with the interfaith community.

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