Tag Archives: Religion

Insider to Outsider: Reversing the Trend in Hindu Discourse

This article is part of the opinion column – Beyond Occident – where we explore a native perspective on the Indian diaspora.

Late last month, days before the US presidential elections, a prominent media outlet published an article on Indian and Hindu-American politics. The piece, full of polemics, was an apparent attempt to promote the stocks of the Silicon Valley, CA, Democrat Ro Khanna. Besides singing paeans to Khanna, the article’s theme revolved around the terms Hindutva and Hindu Nationalism without much context and any nuanced exposition of those terms. The piece also attacked several Hindu groups and individuals alike for their advocacy.

The piece, written by an India-American journalist, drew strong reactions from the diaspora groups, including this tweet response from Saagar Enjeti, a fellow at Steamboat and Hudson Institute.

The piece in question, and the response to it, indicates a phenomenon, a turmoil of sorts, facing the Hindu community around the world. The dissonance stems from discord and disconnect between how the Hindu faith practitioners see themselves and how the media and academia dominated by Western scholarship present them. 

Hindu-Americans have also been fighting an on-going battle against the misrepresentation of Hinduism in American textbooks. Arvind Sharma, the Berks Professor of Comparative Religion at McGill University, in his paper “Dharma and the Academy: A Hindu Academic’s View” has taken up the issue of this turmoil that, according to him, “has come to be characterized by a sharp debate, which has also spilled over into journalism and the Internet.”

The turmoil Sharma talks about has been brewing for over a decade. It is part of the Hindu community’s ongoing awakening in post-colonial India that has gained considerable momentum since the election (and re-election) of Narendra Modi as India’s Prime Minister. As the turmoil continues, Hindus have not only started resenting the misrepresentation of their culture, faith, texts, and traditions in media and academia, they have also begun to present vigorous disputations against those misrepresentations.  

To get to the root cause of misrepresentations, it is crucial to understand the modalities of exchanging information in the study of religions. Sharma presents a fourfold typology for such an exchange: insider to insider, outsider to outsider, outsider to insider, and insider to outsider. 

In pre-modern times, Sharma argues, most interactions in the realm of religious studies were from insider to insider. In the context of India, particularly during the colonial time, outsider to outsider became the primary mode of transmission for Hinduism. 

During colonial times, non-native Western scholars started sharing information about Hinduism with other non-native scholars (outsider to outsider). “The West, however, began to control the intellectual discourse in its colonies…and the insiders to these traditions began to be profoundly affected, even in their self-understanding of their own religious traditions, by Western accounts,” writes Sharma. This altering of the self-understanding was due to outsider to insider channel. The current tumult, however, is a byproduct of a vociferous attempt by the native Hindus to change the flow of information from inside to outside.

Sharma claims that with the Hindu-American community reaching a critical demographic mass in North America and India, its ‘response threshold’ has been breached. When a faith community crosses its response threshold, it becomes hard for outsiders to ignore the community’s response to misrepresentations. A response threshold is crossed, according to Erick Sharp (The Encyclopedia of Religion, 1987), “when it becomes possible for the believer to advance his or her own interpretation against that of the scholar.” 

Sharma observes that protests aren’t necessarily about the facts but the interpretation of the Hindu tradition by academia and media. Indian Intellectual Tradition has a long history of disputation among native scholars. For example, Nyaya realism has a tradition of argumentation with Buddhist phenomenalism at both epistemological and ontological levels. In the present context, however, it is crucial to make a distinction between academic/intellectual work and polemics. Upon examination, many Western presentations of the Hindu tradition may fall into one of the various kinds of Hinduphobic discourses

One of the fascinating concepts in quantum theory is the observer effect, which states that by the very act of watching, the observer affects the observed reality. One can apply this notion of observer bias to the study of Hinduism by Western scholars. According to Sharma, this principle “provides a basis for examining the fear of the Hindus that Western scholars may be altering Hinduism in the very process of studying it, and the change thus brought about is not for the better.” 

The current effort by the Hindu faith community must be seen as an attempt to reclaim the agency in representing and defining Hinduism. At the very least, non-native agents cannot be the sole arbitrators of the native traditions.


Avatans Kumar is a columnist, public speaker, and activist. He frequently writes on the topics of language & linguistics, culture, religion, Indic Knowledge Tradition, and current affairs in several media outlets.

Padmavyuha: A Film Questioning Blind Faith

(Featured Image: Director, Raj Krishna, and crew on the set of Padmavyuha) 

The dedicated and outspoken religious studies Professor Shaki Ramdas is sitting in his university office one evening when he receives a mysterious phone call –  an unidentified voice tells him that a prominent journalist has gone missing, an obscure religious symbol left at the scene of disappearance. His interest piqued, Professor Ramdas follows up with the Detective on the case, Mark King, who at first is skeptical of Professor Ramdas but grows to trust him and value his inputs.

A still from the film, Padmavyuha.

Professor Ramdas works with Detective King and the unidentified voice on the telephone to decipher a series of religious puzzles, slowly uncovering a growing conspiracy designed to silence non-believers. But as the Professor digs in deeper, he finds himself descending the dark staircase of his own fractured psyche, beginning to question his own views on religion. As he deciphers the final puzzle and discovers the true villain, he will find his religious worldviews transformed – discovering a shocking, newfound purpose. 

After watching Padmavyuha and exchanging correspondence with the Director, Raj Krishna, I began to understand the importance of this film and am glad that it premiered at the International Indian Film Festival in Toronto on August 9, 2020 to a wide audience.

The purpose of this film is threefold:

  1. To introduce the central tenet of Hinduism: The dual concept of Jivatman which goes through several cycles of birth and rebirth to ultimately merge into Parmatman or the Divine source. This can be accomplished through careful observation of actions that are subject to the law of Karma.
  2. To unravel several myths about the origin, history, and core issues of Hinduism.
  3. To question the caste system. When was the “caste system”, which is linked to violent oppression by Hindus, created?

I was born a Hindu and raised in a household where my father, a highly compassionate soul was agnostic for a long time, and my mother was a staunch devotee of Lord Hanuman.  I grew up with a rich tapestry of Hindu culture, mythology, prayers, hymns, and am deeply rooted in my faith. We were taught to notice the atman in every living being and practice ahimsa or nonviolence.

India is a secular state and it was prevalent in my formative years and I think to some extent it is still a common practice for Indians of all faiths to visit temples and other places of worship including churches, mosques, and gurudwaras without restrictions. But recently there had been a rise in right-wing nationalistic sentiment in the West and it has percolated also to our motherland.

Raj Krishna implores the audience to examine the core values of their own faith and try to understand that “ negative” sentiments about faiths are intentionally tagged to many religions just to incite fear among the general population and to prevent them from living in harmony. 

The Director addresses the confusion created all over the world about the “civilizations from the East or the Orient.”  Who were the original Indians?

In fact recently, when Senator Harris accepted the Vice Presidential nomination for the United States of America, I received phone calls from educated Americans friends debating about the origin of the Indian race! Who are the original Indians? Did they come from the Middle East? Who were the Aryans and why did they create an intentional hierarchy amongst their citizens: Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, Shudras, and other miscellaneous outcastes?

But it is important to recognize whose prerogative is being used to theorize about other races.

I was lost in the shades of grey existing between the two versions of the truth, finding it more and more difficult to classify the current events as good or bad. The more I studied, the more shocked and confused I found myself on the core issues; is religion good? What is its true history? Who is right – the political activists protesting against the religious right, or the religious right themselves, who claim to have done far more in the name of equality than anyone else?,” interrogates Raj Krishna.

The film, Padmavyuha implores the audience to pay attention to the projected ambiguity about the Hindu faith and not fall in the trap created by right-wing nationalists. It behooves every practitioner to carefully examine the good and bad of their own religion before following anything blindly.

To learn more about what Padmavyuha means and to gain a glimpse into the history and mysterious annotations of ancient Indian civilization, watch the movie for yourself. I recommend it! 

Catch a viewing at these following local film festivals:

Silicon Valley Asian Pacific FilmFesthttps://svapfilmfest.eventive.org/films – October 2-10, 2020

Orlando Film Festivalhttps://orlandofilmfest.com/ – October 15-22, 2020

Indian Film Festival of Cincinnatihttps://iffcincy.eventive.org/films – Oct 15-Nov 1, 2020

Show Low – White Mountains Arizona Film Festivalhttps://filmfreeway.com/ShowLowFilmFestival – Oct 16-18, 2020

Oregon State International Film Festivalhttps://dasfilmfest.vhx.tv/products – October 19-25, 2020

Louisville’s International Festival of Filmhttps://louisvillefilmfestival.org/ – Nov 5-7, 2020


Monita Soni grew up in Mumbai, India, and works as a pathologist in Decatur Alabama. She is well known for her creative nonfiction and poetry pieces inspired by family, faith, food, home, and art. She has written two books: My Light Reflections and Flow through my Heart. She is a regular contributor to NPR’s Sundial Writers Corner.

The Fearless New Normal

This pandemic is the most collective experience we have been through as a generation. And yet, it is also one of the most uniquely individual experiences. Its effect on certain people, families, or businesses, and even countries is so particular to their circumstances, responsibilities, responses, and coping mechanisms. In spite of the stimulation of endless input from technology, this time has caused people to look within, into deeper places where they have not been before. A feat that was unthinkable in the old normal where we had no time to breathe, let alone reflect.

And if we have listened, within these deeper places we humans have found a playground of emotions and revelations. For me, the biggest observation has been of my own fears.

Fear is one of the most private emotions. Unlike sadness, anger, and grief it is not a very visible one. We rarely see a physical display of this deep-rooted emotion. But during this time, we have seen fear on a large and collective scale. With its seed in the fear of the virus, this mass unfolding of fear became a mirror for my own garnered fears that were unrelated to the pandemic. Shocked at this discovery and its parallels with the current world situation, I realized that if I did not address them in a healthy way, I would be paralyzed from moving forward just as the world currently is. And worse than outer lockdown is inner lockdown! In the case of my own latent fears, there is no medical research or promised cures, I had to find my own solution. Propelling me to realize that solutions even if supported by external forces, must come from within.

I have always looked at the wisdom of Indian philosophy to provide answers. As a Vedanta student of many years, when in doubt one turns to the Bhagavad Gita. The Gita or the Divine Song is known to be a text that can answer any questions. The Gita is a sermon of courage to the despondent, a manual of duty and dharma through which one can get to the goal without incurring any bondage. The Gita takes place on the Battlefield of Kurukshetra where the cousin armies of the Pandavas and Kauravas face each other in the battle to claim the throne of Hastinapur. The Pandavas have Krishna, while the Kauravas have the royal armies and all the skilled and respectable teachers. On seeing his kith and kin: uncles, brothers, and teachers, the illustrious warrior Arjuna sees the battle as pointless, he starts to think in the moment that it would be better to live on alms than to murder those that are his own. He drops his weapons and says that he will not fight. To his utter surprise, his Lord and friend Krishna says, “Yield not to this unmanliness, O Partha, it does not befit you. Casting off this mean weakness of heart, arise O Parantapa.” (Chapter 2, Verse 3, Bhagavad Gita, translated by A. Parthasarthy)

The profound message of the Gita is not to freeze, not to be paralyzed by the circumstances but to stride through them with courage, fortitude, and a sense of duty. Duty is higher than the envisioned concepts of right and wrong, likes, and dislikes. This would of course mean different things to different people according to their dharma in life. This time as I read the Gita, once again it did not fail to pick me up from the shambles and inspire me to arise against my inner obstacles.

In the same thread, I was reminded of Swami Vivekananda’s messages on courage and fearlessness. Swami Vivekananda was the first ambassador of Vedanta in the West and he became known for the bold messages that evoked a sense that we are full and complete because we are part of Atman, therefore all is well and we have nothing to fear. He said, “Freedom can never be reached by the weak. Throw away all weakness. Tell your body that it is strong, tell your mind that it is strong, and have unbounded faith and hope in yourself.”

If it were not for the pandemic, I could not have dwelled deep in my fears and allow myself to be inspired by the great leaders of my culture and faith. While we all continue to stride through the storm, may we remember that how we face this in our own lives is a choice. While being informed and precautious, may we approach our unknown New Normal with courage, acceptance of what we cannot change, and most importantly, without fear.


Preeti Hay is a freelance writer. Her articles have appeared in publications including The Times of India, Yoga International, Khabar Magazine, India Currents, and anthologies of poetry and fiction.

Featured Image by Mahavir Prasad Mishra 

On Racial Tensions, From an African American Hindu

I grew up in the South during the 1950s and 60s. Those were troublesome times for the African American community. We were identified as Negroes and as an ethnic minority, it was very difficult to understand what our place in the world was. Honestly, there was an element of shame associated with being black.

During the late sixties, I became involved in the “Hippy culture” which exposed me to the concept of “Universal love.” I was not familiar with this Vedic concept of universal love, which is foundational to the true Hindu/Vedic culture. 

My first exposure to this culture was through my association in 1971, with Transcendental Meditation introduced by the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. I was a performing artist in Atlanta and the surrounding areas and heavily involved with the culture of “Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll.”

Eventually around 1972, I came in contact with disciples of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder Acharya of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness. They introduced me to the Bhagavad Gita, which is the most well-known of all Vedic texts. This holy book is very dear and sacred to all Hindus and Westerners who have adopted these teachings and practices.

Central to the Hindu/Vedic philosophy is the concept that we are not these material bodies but that we are eternal spiritual beings, temporarily inhabiting these material bodies. So whether we identify as an African American, Hindu American, Asian American, White American, or an American of color, we are all spiritual beings equal in the eyes of the Supreme Lord. 

During the present time of racial tensions in America, I along with other Hindu/Vedic leaders are considering what we can do to impact and help change this painful and distressful situation.

One thing that I have learned during my several efforts to share Hindu/Vedic principles in the primarily African American community, is that these communities are not looking for a handout. They are desperately in need of help in building up their communities, especially in the areas of affordable housing not just gentrification. Jobs and other meaningful social activities for their youth and young adults are also a major concern along with educational help.

Some years ago, I partnered with a young African American community activist who was working in my hometown of East Point Georgia and during that time some local people who knew about my association with the Hindu community said to me, “Mr. Tillman, could you ask your Hindu friends to teach us how to do business like they are doing.” One reason for this question is that many of the small businesses in their communities are owned by Hindu community members.

I serve as the president of the Vedic Friends Association, an organization focused on preserving and presenting the various aspects of the Hindu/Vedic culture, in a manner suitable for the present environment which is plagued by such issues as racism. This is the first time to my knowledge that they have elected an African American as the president of a major Hindu based organization. I am honored to serve in this capacity and the support and encouragement have been tremendous. 

I am confident that with the vast resources of our Hindu/Vedic community, we can have a positive and powerful impact on developing our communities of color. 

Benny J Tillman (Balabhadra Bhattacarya Dasa) is the President Vedic Friends Association, a Leader in the Hindu Community, and a disciple of Rapanuga Dasa.

One Nation Under God

We’ve been witnessing some amazing resilience in the time of the Corona crisis. The governments around the world, doctors, entrepreneurs, educators, community members stepped up in unprecedented ways to support the system, support one another. It’s fascinating to see the kids transitioning to a brand-new lifestyle with great dexterity. 

But what’s going on within us, if each of us is considered a nation?

The ancient scriptures of the Sanatana Dharma talk about “self-reflection” in all 4 of the Vedas and the corresponding Upanishads. Although we, as humanity, are fascinated by these questions – who we are, where did we come from, where are we heading to – in recent times most of us been busy running around the clock to contemplate on our elemental existential purposes. 

I was a bit scattered at the beginning of the lockdown but I found myself in this ecosystem of learning. Discussions about ancient wisdom, talks about public policies, exchange of lifestyle-related notes among friends .. everything surfaced at my fingertips, in the comfort of my home. 

I chanced upon a physicist turned philosopher, life-coach Dr. Prasad Kaipa, who shared an in-depth analysis of self-reflection in reference to the scriptures. Right from the Rig Veda (the oldest written Veda) to Sama Veda, Yajur & Atharva: our ancestors gave us step-by-step subject matter guidelines.  Relevant to our current situation as the Corona-crisis demanded this contemplation, asking us to look into our very core, our relationship with nature and nurture. 

Photo credit: British Library, photo by Jeffrey Boswall, a natural history broadcaster, film-maker, and producer.

The process starts with the concept of “Prajnanam Brahma” – Introduced in the Rig Veda and concluded in the corresponding Aitareya Upanishad. It talks about the nature of our true perspective. The BIG picture perceived by our unique sense – the consciousness. According to this, by fishing out irrelevance, Neti Neti in Sanskrit (not this, not this), we land on our true nature. 

Next, “Tat Tvam Asi” – Introduced in the Sama Veda and the conclusion drawn in Chandogya Upanishad. What is it that’s not been seen but becomes visible, within us, around us? Never heard, but becomes audible? Unknown becomes known…

By merely asking these questions, we get in touch with our humility. Everything is not known to us, yet. Hence, the scope of pursuit. It gives us eligibility. Takes us to the path of inquiry on how an incredibly small seed can give rise to a tree, how the consciousness of the living beings (Jeeva Atman) is part of universal consciousness (Param Atman). We relate to it by experiences. 

Ahm Brahma Asmi” – In Yajur Veda, concludes in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. After thinking and experiencing, we meditate on the concept. Through astute practice, we feel oneness with the Supreme Divine. It’s possible to attain bliss by connecting our consciousness with divinity. 

I’d like to mention here, after probing this, I couldn’t stop thinking about the enormity of fall-out in “interpretation” at the very conceptual level, as shown in the popular TV series on Netflix: Sacred Games. Amazing depiction – horrors of human ignorance. Through the journey of the protagonist, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, we see the tale of reflection, rejection, retribution, redemption, and finally .. hopefully, renewal. Beautiful! 

And, then? 

The culmination of self-reflection comes with the realization of “Ayam Atman Brahman” – Conceptual introduction in Atharva Veda with conclusive notes in Māṇḍūkya Upanishad. It’s not about humans manifested in social hierarchy. It’s about preservation and sustenance through our thoughts, actions, practice, and pursuit, in perpetuation, day after day, year after year, age after age, with grace and gratitude for all that we have, all that we don’t. And, all that we wonder about, aspire to become. We are in this together. 

Soma Chatterjee is the Diversity Ambassador for India Currents and a Board Member for Silicon Valley Interreligious Council representing Hinduism on behalf of HAF

Inputs from Dr. Prasad Kaipa. Co-author of From Smart to Wise, You Can, and Discontinuous Learning


Featured image and license.

Shiva Shakti – May the Force Be With You!

Mythology stems from the societal characteristics, the shared aspirations, the folklores, of a time lost in antiquity.

While the stories are from an era long gone, the emotions, the fears, the desires, remain the same;

who is an ideal man, who is the epitome of womanhood, what does the society demand?

The wheels turn, and along with them, the sagas take on new shades, exotic hues!

Each story, a real-life scenario, with its heroes and it’s demons;

each character, the face of a vice or the embodiment of a virtue!

How then, can the myth of Shiva & Shakti be different?

The story of a virtuous god, with the power to destroy, and his divine muse;

of masculinity and the contrasting femininity;

of strength and softness;

of steadfastness and pliability;

of ruthless fervour and empathetic care;

a myth of a fusion, an amalgamation of what when seen as separate, is incomplete, but together, makes a whole!

There are hordes that go searching, on pilgrimages, on quests, wondering whether this whole, this completeness, this divinity, eludes.

The journey seems long, sometimes futile, yet the hungry mind doesn’t give up.

There would be ways to appease the gods, ways to find them and ways to hold on to them…

Where can I find Shiva?

What form has Shakti adorned?

A short pause, to catch a breath, or maybe to reevaluate, change the strategy, try a new mantra…

a new dilemma- to give up or to go just a bit further, agitated and tired.

When all seems pointless, somewhere, deep from within, an arrow breaks through, a bolt of lightning, bursting from the core…

both reside within, in the depths of each and every soul, one can’t exist without the other.

Where once they were seen as two separates, coming together to complete each other, now they are seen as two sides of the same coin, yin and yang, not shackled by the stereotypes. Not humanised to appease the masses. Now, a personification of human traits…

masculinity and femininity;

strength and softness;

steadfastness and pliability;

ruthless fervour and empathetic care;

pragmatism and romanticism!

They dance their dance, deep within each;

There is a Shiva in me!

And Shakti too!

I am complete!

Artika Arora Bakshi is the author of two well-acclaimed children’s books, My Little Sikh Handbook, My Little Sikh Handbook 2: Ardas. She co-manages the thegoodbookcorner.com, and runs an online book club with a membership base of over 600 members. Artika’s articles and reviews have featured in the Daily Mirror, Daily News and The Ceylon Chronicle among others. She is currently working on her third children’s book in the My Little Sikh Handbook series and a second anthology of stories for adults.

 

Sri Lakshmi Ganapathi Temple May 2019 Events

  
Thursday, May 2nd: Pradosham Evening at 6:00pm, Shiva Sri Rudra Abhisheka Aarati and Manthra Pushpa
Sunday, May 5th: Kritika Vratha Evening at 4:00pm, Sri Valli Deva Sena Sametha Sri Subramanya Abhisheka Sri Lakshmi Ganapathi Abhisheka Sri Shiva Abhisheka Aarti and Manthra Pushpa
Tuesday, May 7th: Sri Akhshaya Tritiya Sri Bala Rama Jayanthi Vening at 6:30pm, Sri Bhuwaneswari Special Pooja Aarati and Manthra Pushpa
Thursday, May 9th: Evening at 6:30pm, Sri Ramanujia Jayanthi, Sri Sankara Jayanthi Special Pooja Aarati and Manthra Pushpa
Friday, May 10th: Sukla Sashti Vratha Night at 8:00pm, Sri Valli Deva Sena Sametha Sri Subramanya Sahasra Nama Archana
Monday, May 13th: Sri Vasavi Jayantho
Thursday, May 16th: Pradosham Evening at 6:00pm, Shiv Sri Rudra Abhisheka Aarati and Manthra Pushpa
Friday, May 17th: Evening at 6:30pm, Sri Narashimha Jayanthi Special Pooja Aarati and Manthra Pushpa
Saturday, May 18th: 12:00 noon, Sri Nava Graha Loma/ Sri Saneeswara Graha Homa Continued with Sri Nava Graha Abhisheka Sro Sameeswara Graha Abhisheka.
2:00pm Vaikasi Visakham Sri Buddha Pournima Pournami Vratha Sri Santhaya Narayana Swamy/ Vratha/ Pooja Aarati and Manthra Pushpa. All Are Welcome to Participate with Family.
Evening at 4:30pm, Sri Venkateswara Abhisheka Continued with Sri Vishnu Shasra Nama Chanting Aarati and Manthra Pushpa
Sunday, May 19th: Evening at 4:00pm, Sri Kanchi Maha Periyaval Chandra Sekara Swamy Jayatnhi Special Pooja Aarati and Manthra Pushpa
Wednesday, May 22nd: Evening at 5:00pm, Sri Sankata Hara Chathurthi Sri Lakshmi Ganapathi Loma/ Sri Lakshmi Ganapathi Abhisheka Aarati and Manthra Puhpa
Monday, May 27th: Memorial Day Weekend Timings.
Tuesday, May 28th: 7:00pm, Sri Hanuman Jayanthi According to Lunar Calendar Chandramana Vaisaska Masa Poorvabhadra Nakshatra Sri Hunuman Jayanthi. All Are Welcome to Participate With Family.
Friday, May 31st: Evening at 5:00pm, Sri Bhuwaneswari/ Sri Lalitha Devi Abhisheka Continued With Sri Lalitha Sahara Nama Chanting.
Evening at 6:00pm, Pradohsam Shiva Sri Rudra Abhisheka Aarati and Manthra Pushpa.

Sri Lakshmi Ganapathi Temple April 2018 Events

Om Sri Mathre Namaha

Vaidica Vidhya Ganapathi Center

Sri Lakshmi Ganapathi Temple

(408) 226-3600
32B Rancho Drive, San Jose, CA, 95111
(Capitol Expressway West and Montrey Road Junction, Opposite and 1 Block from Capitol Cal Train Station)
www.vvgc.org or siliconvalleyhindutemple.com

Tuesday, April 3rd: Evening at 5.00 PM, Sri Sankata Hara Chathurthi, Sri Lakshmi Ganapathi homa / Sri Lakshmi Ganapathi abhisheka aarati and manthra pushpa.

Friday, April 13th: Evening at 4.00 PM, Sri Bhuwaneswari / Sri Lalitha Devi abhisheka continued with Sri Lalitha Sahsra Nama chanting.

Evening at 5.00 PM, Pradosham, Shiva Sri Rudra Abhhisheka, aarati and manthra pushpa.

Saturday, April 14th: Vilambi Nama Samvathsaram / Baisakhi Tamil New Year, Souramana noothana nama samvathsaram, Vishu Punya Kalam. Temple opens in the morning at 8.00 AM. Sri Venkateswara suprabhatam, continued with Sri Nava Graha homa, Sri Saneeswara Graha homa, Sri Venkateswara abhisheka, continued with Sri Vishnu Sahasra Nama chanting, Panchanga patina pooja, Sravana pooja aarati and manthra pushpa.

Wednesday, April 18th: Sri Akshaya Tritiyai / Sri Bala Rama Jayanthi. Evening at 6.30 PM, Kritika vratha, Sri Valli Deva Sena sametha, Sri Subramanya abhisheka, Sri Buwanswari special Pooja, archana, aarati and manthra pushpa.

Friday, April 20th: Evening at 630 Pm Sri Sankara Jayanthi Special Pooja  Aarati And Manthra Pushpa

Saturday, April 21st: Evening at 6.00 PM, Sri Ramanuja Jayanthi special pooja, aarati and manthra pushpa. Evening at 8.30 PM Sukla Sashti vratha, Sri Valli Deva Sena sametha, Sri Subramanya sahasra nama archana.

Tuesday, April 24th: Sri Vasavi Jayanthi.

Friday, April 27th: Pradosham. Evening at 5.00 PM, Sri Bhuwaneswari / Sri Lalitha Devi abhisheka, cotinued with Sri Lalitha sahasra nama chanting. Evening at 6.00 PM, Pradosham, Shiva Sri Rudra abhisheka aarati and manthra  pushpa.

Saturday, April 28th: Evening at 6.00 PM, Sri Narasimha jayanthi, special Pooja, aarati and manthra pushpa.

Sunday, April 29th: Evening at 2.00 PM, Chithra Pournami, Sri Sahtya Narayana vratha / pooja aarati and manthra pushpa. All are welcome to participate with family. Evening at 4.00 PM, Sri Lakshmi Ganapathi abhisheka, Sri Shiva abhisheka, Sri Valli Deva Sena sametha, Sri Subramanya abhisheka, aarati and manthra pushpa.

Thursday, May 3rd:  Sri Sankata Hara Chathurthi. Evening at 5.00 PM, Sri Lakshmi Ganapath homa / Sri Lakshmi Ganapathi abhisheka, aarati and manthra pushpa.

Friday, May 11th: Evening at 5.00 PM, Sri Bhuwaneswari / Sri Lalitha Devi abhisheka continued with Sri Lalitha sahasra nama chanting. Evening at 6.00 PM, Chandramana Vaisakha masa poorva bhadra nakshatra. Sri Hanuman jayanthi special Pooja, aarati and manthra pushpa.

Sunday, May 13th: Evening at 4.00 PM, Pradosham, Shiva Sri Rudra abhisheka, Sri Lakshmi Ganapathi abhisheka / Sri Valli Deva Sena sametha, Sri Subramanya abhisheka, aarati and manthra pushpa.

Please Make A Note: Temple Address: 32 Rancho Drive, San Jose CA 95111

Temple Timings: Week Days Morning 10:00am to 12 Noon, Evenings at 6pm to 8pm.

Weekends And Holidays: 10am to 8pm

For Bhajan’s Religious Discourses, Music and Dance Performances, Private Poojas please contact Temple for further details Mangalani Bhavanthu, Subham Bhuyath, Loka Samastha Sukino Bhavanthu, Love all serve all.

For Pujas and Rituals Contact: Pandit Ganesh Shasthry

880 East Fremont Ave #302, Cupertino Villas, Sunnyvale, CA 94087

Home: (408) 245-5443 / Cell: (925) 209-7637

E-mail: [email protected]

 

Protesters Demand a Ban on Forced Conversion

SPONSORED CONTENT By James Flores

On January 28, 120,000 citizens in Seoul and major cities of South Korea, gathered to protest against forced conversion “education” by Christian pastors and to create an establishment of legal framework for punishment of violent behavior in the name of religion.

The Human Rights Association for Forced Conversion (HRAFC) group, a South Korean civil society organization promoting social recognition of human rights violation by religion, held this rally for the punishment of Christian pastors who have “consultation” with money and encourage families to kidnap their members who have different religious orientations. Recently, a 25-year-old woman, Ms. Ji In Gu was kidnapped and confined in a vacation home and found dead after she was suffocated by her parents.

HRAFC claims that the death is a typical case of forced conversion for the following reasons. First, Ms. Gu was out of contact after she told her friends that she would be with her family at a gathering. Second, the vacation home where she was found dead was reserved for three months. Third, physical violence between Ms. Gu and her parents led to her death while the parents stated that she was suffocated while they were “persuading” their daughter.

Back in July 2016, Ms. Gu fell victim to these horrendous attacks for the first time. At that time, she had been taken in to a Catholic monastery for 44 days and forced to have “conversion education” by a pastor.

These religious organizations claim to be helping and creating religious freedom. They have even threatened to come to other countries to employ their illegal activities. When will there be an end to these activities? For churches and those involved in religious freedom here in the United States, it is imperative to make known the dangers surrounding these practices.

As a Christian church here in San Jose and the Bay Area, we must do our best to protect ourselves from these organization and make known their illegal activities.