Monday, September 5, 2011

9/11 Days of Service Preparation

As the country prepares for the 10th anniversary of 9/11, HASC is encouraging Dharmic and Hindu faith based organizations to participate in this National Day of Service. HASC is supporting participation in whatever way they want and requesting them to share their seva stories in as many ways as they can. To facilitate that effort, HASC has partnered with national organizations to promote community service and interfaith collaboration. Toolkits for faith and interfaith activities and sites to record your seva stories are listed below. We request you to let us know of your activities through HASC’s 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance form.

1. Seva and prayers in Hindu faith based places of worship

Many temples/ashrams/spiritual centers plan to conduct a variety of services this year. Services range from YogaSeva (Ashtanga Yoga's first yogic value is ahimsa (non-violence), annadaanam (feeding the poor), honoring the service men and women, (such as military, police and fireman), blood drives, health camps, BhumiSeva, etal.

• We request Hindu places of worship to invoke the value of *ahimsa (non-violence), through prayers and service as they celebrate Ganesh Chathurthi, the day of remembrance through prayer of the birth of Ganesha, symbolizing removal of obstacles. During this time Hindus take fresh spiritual resolve and pray for inner spiritual strength to attain success in all undertakings. (From a yoga perspective, Ganapati - leader of senses - is the deity of the 1st chakra - muladhara chakra. Obstacle removal starts with inner control).

• Let us also remember the other 9/11. Mahatma Gandhi's Satyagraha movement started on September 11. 1906; the launch of the Modern Non-Violent Resistance Movement which influenced America's Civil Right's Movement. And, on September 1893, Swami Vivekananda, the first Hindu Swami to come to America, gave his welcome address at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago. "Brothers and Sisters of America. 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. YouTube

2. Toolkits for Services
(i) Interfaith projects
HASC, along with many other faiths, has partnered with IFYC in promoting Interfaith Service projects across the country. Click here to download the kit and explore ways in which you can start your own project.

(ii) HASC is a national partner with National Day of Service and Remembrance and 9/11 Days of Service which is encouraging all to share their tribute to those who have served. Click here to record your tribute
National Day of Service and Remembrance "Beginning in 2002, family members who lost loved ones in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and support groups began to seek a forward-looking tribute to honor the sacrifice of those who were lost and pay tribute to those who rose in service in response to the tragedy. By encouraging Americans to participate in service and remembrance activities on the 9/11 anniversary, family members wanted to provide a productive and respectful way to honor those who perished and rekindle the spirit of unity and compassion that swept our nation after 9/11 to help meet the challenges we face today.
9/11 Days of Service: Because of their efforts to build support for this idea, September 11 has been designated a National Day of Service and Remembrance. The September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance was established into law by the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act in 2009, and is consistent with President Obama’s overall call to service, United We Serve." (Quoted from the Corporation of National and Community Service homepage)
(iii) Prepare New York - New York City, NY

Prepare New York is a coalition of New York based interfaith organizations, including Auburn Seminary and its Center for Multifaith Education, Interfaith Center of New York, Intersections International, Odyssey Networks, Quest, and Tanenbaum and its Religion and Diversity Education Program, who have joined together to help create a city-wide climate that promotes healing and reconciliation in anticipation of the tenth anniversary of 9/11. September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows and 9/11 Community for Common Ground Initiative are serving as advisers to the multifaith organizations. HASC is an action partner in this project. Prepare New York is supporting conversations and producing educational materials for the tenth anniversary of 9/11. For more information, visit their website. In addition to lists of relevant books and resources, Prepare NY has created a video, "We the People."

(iv) SAALT’s Campaign

HASC support’s SAALT’s campaign An America for All of US. Click here for more information on the campaign.

Thank you for your participation


- *Ahimsa Paramo Dharmah –
Non-violence is the foremost duty to the extent that it supersedes all other duties

Mahatma Gandhi emphasized this statement and value repeatedly during India's struggle for independence

Explaining the value of ahimsa, Sri. Swami Dayananda Saraswati has this to say:“A human being, as any other living organism, has an instinct to survive. Being endowed with free thinking he/she can recognize the same instinct in all living beings; a value is born—ahimsa. Therefore, we have a statement from the Veda, ‘ahimsa paramo dharmah’ - not hurting is primary value. All other values like non-stealing, non-cheating and so on are derivatives of ahimsa because each one of them would hurt the victim. If people practice, with care, ahimsa, abiding peace and harmony will prevail in the world.”

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