Regional Hindu conference held in Verulam

2017-11-09 06:00
PHOTO: SUPPLIEDAt the regional Hindu conference in Verulam (from left) Professor Brij Maharaj, Professor Sathi Moodley, Professor Noddy Jinabhai and Professor Gopalkrishna.

PHOTO: SUPPLIEDAt the regional Hindu conference in Verulam (from left) Professor Brij Maharaj, Professor Sathi Moodley, Professor Noddy Jinabhai and Professor Gopalkrishna.

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SCORES of people gathered at the Kraydeb Conference Centre in Verulam for the regional Hindu conference on Sunday, October 29.

People from Tongaat, Verulam and Phoenix came together to address the needs and the challenges of practising Hindus.

The conference was organised as part of the Tongaat Hindu Unity Forum’s 10th anniversary celebrations.

However, all three Hindu forums came together to organise a very productive conference.

The theme of the conference was “Hinduism – Relevant and Responsive to Contemporary Times”.

A total of eight papers were presented, which captured various aspects of Hindu thought and practice.

The day’s proceedings commenced with a Hawan, thereafter the spiritual head of the Ramakrishna­ Centre of South Africa, Swami Swatmaramananda rendered soul-stirring bhajans before he inaugurated the conference with his keynote address.

In his response to the question whether Hinduism was relevant and responsive to contemporary times, Swami Swatmaramananda cited examples of India’s tolerance and compassion, willingly prepared to shelter the Dalai Lama and even the Royingya masses fleeing Nyanmar.

Swatmaramananda also cited the example of 500 Jews who fled Poland during World War II who were given asylum by a king who kept them for nine years before they returned.

One of the children in the group became the head of state of Poland and named many areas in Poland after those in the kingdom.

The first paper was delivered by Professor Noddy Jinabhai, whose topic centred around spirituality, consciousness and its manifestations.

Professor Jinabhai took an intricate topic and broke it down for all to understand the science and technology behind consciousness and its manifestations.

He also explained the need for yoga and meditation in everyday life, which may seem difficult at the start, but once practised becomes a beautiful habit that raises the quality of life.

Jinabhai was then followed by Sister Suvidya Spiritual head of the Manav Dharma Society based in Palm Street, Verulam.

She spoke on spiritual and scientific aspects of Sanathan Dharma sharing interesting facts about Hinduism.

Thereafter, Vimal Singh, an executive member of the Chinmaya Mission of South Africa, shared some insightful messages from the Upanishads in respect of xenophobia which plagues South Africa at this current moment in time.

Maya Jagjivan Kalicharan, a well-known radio personality and lecturer in journalism at Rosebank College, explained how parents could inculcate strong values in children amid other competing interests.

Then it was the turn of professor Sathi Moodley, a retired professor and executive dean of commerce, law and administration, to share the relevance of ubuntu and human values from a constitutional and spiritual perspective within the Hindu context in South Africa.

The paper presentations were rounded off with the president of the Hindu Maha Sabha of South Africa, Ashwin Trikamjee presenting a paper on the Constitution and institutional compliance with specific reference to the CRL commission.

Fellow South African Hindu Maha Sabha executive member, Professor Brij Maharaj, presented a paper on Hinduism and good governance.

The final paper was presented by professor Gopalkrishnan, a retired professor, who was the head of department of philosophy at the University of Madras in India.

His topic was centered around youth and the Hindu renaissance.

The papers with interspersed with bhajans by the youth of the Shri Gopalal Temple in Verulam and yoga presented by members of the Art of Living in Verulam.

As a way forward delegates committed to ensure this kind of regional conference becomes an annual event with workshops that should address specific contemporary issues affecting Hinduism and the various organisations­ attempting to uphold their dharma.

Chief organiser of the conference Henry Reddy expressed his thanks and appreciation to Deo Singh and the Shree Sanathan Dharma of South Africa who were the major sponsors of the event.

Reddy thanked all the forums from Tongaat, Verulam and Phoenix and acknowledged the presence of members from Stanger who were working on the formation of their own forum.

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