First Hinduism Summit (Hindu Dharma Sabha) in California receives overwhelmingly positive response

August 29, 2010, Shravan Krushna Chaturthi, Kaliyug Varsha 5112, Sunnyvale, California, USA: The first Hinduism Summit (Hindu Dharma Sabha) in California concluded successfully on 28 August 2010 (Shravan Krushna Chaturthi 5112 as per the Hindu calendar). The Dharma Sabha was held by the Forum for Hindu Awakening (FHA) and the Sunnyvale Hindu Temple, with the blessings of Hindu Saints worldwide, including His Holiness Sri Sri Sri Ravishankar, His Holiness Pande Baba and Her Holiness Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma). It received an overwhelmingly positive response from the 125 attendees in person and 50 attendees online. The audience consisted of members of Hindu and spiritual organizations like Art of Living Foundation, Path to Anandam, India in Classrooms, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Ekal Vidyalay and Hindu Charities for America, besides individuals interested in understanding, living, preserving or promoting Hinduism. The Dharma Sabha in typical Hindu tradition welcomed the attendees by applying vermillion on the forehead and commenced with blowing of the conch shell by the compere, Mrs. Mrunal Nanivadekar, followed by recitation of Vedic mantras by the Temple priests and lighting of the auspicious oil lamp by the Dharma Sabha speakers. It received generous support from the Sunnyvale Hindu community, who contributed towards the refreshments, technical support, publicity and other aspects of the Dharma Sabha. These inspiring contributions were commemorated in a beautiful, visual souvenir that illustrated the unique science underlying Hindu practices and highlighted issues such as denigration and persecution of Hindus. The souvenir was published with the Hindu ritual of ‘prakaashan’ at the hands of the main speaker of the Dharma Sabha, Shri. Easan Katir, who is performing and promoting spiritual practice according to Hinduism for the last 30 years in California. The audience listened raptly as the speakers brought to attention various Hindu issues and presented solutions. The first speaker Shri. Rajan Zed, a Hindu and interfaith leader, spoke on maintaining a Hindu identity in America and urged the Hindus in America to be ambassadors of Hinduism by educating others about Hinduism. “To be an ambassador, one needs to have at least basic knowledge of Hinduism. To learn more about Hindu Dharma, do simple things like reading selected verses from basic Hindu Scriptures such as the Rigveda and Bhagvadgita and sharing stories from Hindu Scriptures amongst family members. To remove misconceptions about Hinduism, invite people from other religions to our festivals and temples, participate in charity and other humanitarian causes within the parameters of Hindu beliefs and gift Hindu Scriptures to the curious,” he urged. Shri. Nilesh Shirodkar, an avid reader and proponent of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti website, spoke on ‘Know denigration and preserve Hinduism’. Shri. Shirodkar spoke about what is Hinduism (Dharma) and how the denigration of Dharma today has resulted in the deteriorating condition of society. He shared the harmful impact of denigration at the psychological level and in the subtle dimension. He said that at the subtle level the distressing vibrations the denigrating object emits affects our thinking negatively. It reduces the purity and clarity of our thoughts, and consequently, our actions. It sets the wrong precedent for initiates into Hinduism, including the youth, as they then feel that it is okay to trivialize the sacred. “If one does not have reverence for the divine, how can one attain the devotion or deep contemplation that is essential to experience the divine?” he asked. Shri. Shirodkar shared things that anyone can do towards stopping denigration, things within our reach, such as protesting some denigration we come across, peacefully, but surely. The next speaker, Shri. Amey Ranade, a volunteer of the Spiritual Science Research Foundation (SSRF), illustrated SSRF’s research that shows the spiritual dimension factors underlying Hinduism concepts and Hindu issues. He presented SSRF’s spiritual research showing the existence of subtle distressing energies, their impact on individuals and society, the need to learn about it and how to combat them to preserve Hinduism. His presentation provoked thought about the need to consider the spiritual dimension to effectively overcome issues concerning Hinduism. The SSRF video demonstrated the power of Saints and the need for Their blessings for the success of in any venture. The next speaker, Dr. Mihir Meghani, co-founder of Hindu American Foundation, showed an enlightening video about the need for advocacy of Hinduism, to ensure that the voice of the Hindu community is heard by public policy makers. His speech inspired the audience while citing practical examples that each Hindu or well wisher of the Hindu community can follow in daily life. One such example he gave was to ask for healthy vegetarian meals at public schools in America, if we value vegetarianism as Hindus living in America. He concluded that we must make use of this precious human birth as Hindus, living in this land of opportunity and freedom that is America, to make a difference for the future generations of Hindus. Shri. Easan Katir, the next speaker, brought to attention the increasing atrocities on Hindu communities worldwide, including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Kashmir. He briefly shared his spiritual journey in Hinduism under the guidance of his Guru. He concluded that the best way to overcome persecution of the Hindu community is to become strong Hindus ourselves, by awakening to the principles of Hinduism, practicing them through regular spiritual practice to increase our spiritual capacity, and stand united with other Hindus. He reminded the audience of the sacrifices made by our glorious leaders of the past that have brought us this luxury of being able to practice the Dharma of our choice and urged everyone to work towards preserving and promoting the Hindu heritage, as our gratitude. Shri. Katir’s speech was at once thought provoking and reassuring in the solutions it provided. The final speaker, Smt. Bhavna Shinde has been studying and practicing the principles of Spirituality and Hinduism for the past 10 years. Her speech focused the audience on the root causes of the plight of the Hindu community today, namely, the lack of Hinduism education among Hindus and not considering the subtle spiritual dimension in the efforts to preserve and promote Hindu Dharma. She illustrated the unique science underlying Hinduism concepts and practices through practical examples like applying vermilion to the forehead and using a ghee lamp, and highlighted the Forum for Hindu Awakening’s growing youth membership as an example of the effect of sharing this unique spiritual science of Hinduism. “When our youth, growing up in mostly non-Hindu communities, become aware of this unique science and glorious scientific history of Hinduism, would they not be self-motivated to practice, preserve and promote Hinduism and stand united to dispel misconceptions?” she asked. The Dharma Sabha concluded with the unanimous passing of various resolutions (some of them will be submitted to our policy makers) to understand, live and preserve Hinduism. The Dharma Sabha’s other highlights, such as the exhibition of a spiritually vibrant statue (murti) of Lord Ganesh, an eye-opening exhibition of Dharmik books and spiritually pure products, pictures of Hindu Deities attacked in the gross by ghosts, and seekers who had become Saints within a span of a few years doing spiritual practice as per Hindu principles, kept the interest of the attendees long after the Dharma Sabha concluded. Almost all of them signed the resolutions passed at the Dharma Sabha, and left their contact information to work together for Hinduism. Forum for Hindu Awakening (FHA) and Sunnyvale Hindu Temple are non-profit, tax exempt organisations, dedicated to promoting Hinduism education and preserving Hindu practices. More information: