Atlanta Hindu Community Participates in the Interfaith Housing Project of Habitat For Humanity.
Habitat For Humanity has been building homes for the needy for the past few decades. Their Interfaith project brings together people of different faiths in order to promote fellowship and understanding. In 2010, Atlanta’s Hindu community participated for the first time in this effort, working along side volunteers from 11 other faith organizations representing Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Together, these volunteers helped build a house for a family in an environment that provided an opportunity for people of various faiths to come together and work in the service of our community.
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Sankranti (the day Sun enters the constellation of Makara, Capricorn Zodiac), in the month of Makara is celebrated as an auspicious day and the beginning of the Uttarayana Punyakala. In South India it is celebrated as the Harvest festival Pongal, where special Pongal dish is cooked. Sweets, sugarcane, sesame seed, coconut mixture is shared with friends and families. It is a joyous time for young moms and kids to dress up and meet all the relatives and friends.
Wish you all very Happy Sankranti and Pongal! Pongal or Sakranti event is celebrated by Indian associations and at homes across USA.
It fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and cordial welcome which you have given us. I thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks in the world; I thank you in the name of the mother of religions, and I thank you in the name of millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects.
My thanks, also, to some of the speakers on this platform who, referring to the delegates from the Orient, have told you that these men from far-off nations may well claim the honor of bearing to different lands the idea of toleration. I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to Southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation. I will quote to you, brethren, a few lines from a hymn which I remember to have repeated from my earliest boyhood, which is every day repeated by millions of human beings: “As the different streams having their sources in different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee.”
The present convention, which is one of the most august assemblies ever held, is in itself a vindication, a declaration to the world of the wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita: “Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me.” Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now. But their time is come; and I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honor of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal”…
Lord Krishna – recommends
The Karma of Forwarding Emails
Arjun: Hey Vasudev, how can I do the most heinous and unpardonable act of forwarding email that I receive, to my friends, relatives and revered elders?
Krishna: Paarth, at this moment, none of them is your friend or foe, relative or in-law, young or old and good or evil. You have no escape from following your Net-Dharma. Make haste to log on and send off the email to one and all. That is the only Karma expected of you and Dharma you must follow.
Arjun: Hey Murari! Do not implore me to do something that pricks my conscience and stirs my soul.
Krishna: O Kunti-Putra, you are caught in the vicious circle of Maya. In this material world, you are committed to no one except to yourself, your Dharma and your mouse. Emails have existed for the last 25 years and will remain long after you are gone. Rise above the Maya and perform your bounden duty.
Arjun: Lord Krishna, pray and enlighten me on how email is related to Maya.
Krishna: Vatsa, email is the 6th element in the universe – Aap, Vaayu, Jal, Agni, Aakaash and email. It is at the same time animate and inanimate, living and dead beat. It overloads the system and fills up the hard disk. But it serves one great purpose. It leads people to believe that they are filling their time in an intellectual pursuit by reading and re-forwarding mail. It gives them a sense of achievement without investing their intellect and efforts. Like the Atman that leaves one’s physical body and moves on to another, the email moves from system to system and never gets deleted or dies.
Arjun: Great Giridhaari, kindly tell me what the true attributes of email are.
Krishna: Neither fire can burn it, nor air can evaporate it. Neither can it be conquered nor can it be defeated. email is omnipresent and immortal like your noble and eternal soul. Unlike an arrow shot from your bow, many a time the email forwarded by you, will even return to you safely after some months or even years, allowing you to re-re-forward it to the same people.
Arjun: Great Saarathi, my salutations to you. You have opened my eyes to the cult of email. I was lost in the Maya and have been reading all the email that I keep receiving and doing no other Karma. Now on, I will just press the “Forward” button without reading any of it and send it to all and sundry, friends and foes, relatives and in-laws, young and old. That will surely bring them to their knees in this epochal battle of Good against Evil, in the Kurukshetra.
Krishna: Arjuna, victory or defeat is not in your hands. Do not ponder over the fruits of your labor. Just keep forwarding email and make one and all go bananas reading it and you will have done your supreme duty. Tathastu.