Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Hindu’s Thanksgiving

How, if at all, does your heritage contribute to this holiday?

At my house, there’s pumpkin pie on the table and chai on the stove…read more and tell us about your celebrations at The Huffington Post.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Conversation Within

How can we encourage diverse Asian/Indian-American women to take part in dialogue? Many women hesitate to speak up because critical perspectives are often treated as defamation; questioning and criticism are often treated as attacks. How can we get better at dialogue?

I hope to get this question answered, or at least addressed, on Wednesday by Tina Tchen, Executive Director, White House Council on Women and Girls, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Public Engagement at the White House . Headwaters/Delta has been invited by our team at Hindu American Seva Charities to take part in this call about Asian/Indian-American women in the United States. I’m inviting you to join us.

To read “The Conversation Within” please visit Headwaters/Delta Interfaith.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Washington Post Blog: A Hindu American Air Force officer: 'Shakti' in the trenches

The Hindu American community is celebrating navaratri and the strength of the woman in many aspects such as ShaktiSeva. A new generation of Americans of Hindu faith (today's New Americans) are marching into new terrains, literally and figuratively. 

Click here to read the story of a hero, a Hindu woman of Shakti -Major Aarti Puri, Air Force Academy Graduate assigned at Scott AFB, Illinois. in her own words. Her story of and for understanding.....

Friday, October 8, 2010

The first WashingtonPost blog about Shakti and Hindu goddess.....

What a wonderful way to start our Navratri celebration. today.. .. Another historic first  .... the first Washington Post On Faith blog.......with... the Shakti perspective of the Hindu woman and goddess in our culture........

A blog written by Saumya Arya Haas, Hindu American Seva Charitie's social media advisers, entitled "Honor women: honor Devi, the (Hindu) Goddess" is on the Main Page of the Washington Post today.

We ask you ALL (men and women) to write your comments about the blog - washington post or here on our blog

During this Navratri, let us honor women and the ShaktiSeva. an initiative launched by Hindu American Seva Charities

Thank you for promoting the seva... please share this with your friends.....

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

ShaktiSeva - Honor the feminine strength....

Navaratri honors the many aspects of Devi; symbolically of feminine strength and of value enrichment within one self.  Join the ShaktiSeva movement and highlight, bring to the forefront the spirit of the Festival, the energy within oneself, through dialogues, telling and sharing stories, helping women’s organizations.  Let us “Listen, Learn and Inspire” each other.
  1. Explore the contemporary meaning of Shakti in our lives by telling and sharing your stories.  Invite (as in Minnesota)  women guests to talk about success in their lives and their shakti (power).
  2. Hold Shakti parties and events and invite women to come and share their views. Read about American Shakti.
  3. During all the celebrations of Navaratri, honor the strength (shakti) of the women present by acknowledging the overcoming of the many trials and tribulations through the journey of life.
  4. During this month as part of the women’s empowerment month, HASC in partnership with Asian Indian Women in America and many other secular and faith based organizations  is hosting a conversation Tina Tchen, Executive Director of Council on Girls and Women.  In forming the Council President Obama said, "The purpose of this Council is to ensure that American women and girls are treated fairly in all matters of public policy." 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Invoke Spiritual Values of Festivals through Community Service: FestivalSeva (UtsavSeva)

  Building on the success of YogaSeva, Hindu American Seva Charities is launching UtsavSeva (FestivalSeva), an initiative to conduct theme based community service throughout the year, highlighting the spiritual value of the major festival of that month. 

    The strength of the Dharmic culture (Hindu and other eastern faiths) is the multitude ways in which the Puranic, (ancient traditional stories and epics are brought to life through festivals.  These festivals play an important role in expressing the spiritual significance in a celebratory, joyous ways while bringing people together.  And, during this time, our traditions encourage seva in diverse ways.

In October, Navaratri honors the many aspects of Devi; symbolically of women’s strength.  ShaktiSeva  -  “Listen, Learn and Inspire” each other.  
     In Diwali, removal of ignorance with the light of knowledge and triumph of goodness over evil is celebrated.  The theme is DhanaSeva – resources empowerment (serve as resources of wealth of knowledge, goodness and economic empowerment) to do seva projects to promote education, economic help, awareness of the festival, job fairs, canned/boxed food to replenish local food banks for Thanksgiving, etc. within and outside our community. 

     During December HASC suggests SarvaDharmaSeva – Interfaith service – in which people from all faiths, including non-believers, can continue to foster respect and understanding.  And, in the spirit of inter-faith cooperation: working on the holy days, (Christmas, Chanukah, Muharram, Kwanza) of other faiths.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

YogaSeva on the Capitol Hill Today

Another historic event is taking place today, September 28, 2010. YogaSeva is being offered at the Capitol Hill. Members of Congress and their staff have been invited to come and attend the multiple classes with teachers from Art of Living and Patanjali Yog Peeth. Our event was listed in the notification sent out to House of Representatives staffers. A presentation of What Yoga means from our cultural perspective will be shared.

HASC continues to be a trail blazer......

Hindu Americans support Unicef's Pakistan Flood Relief Fundraiser

Hindu Americans support Unicef's Pakistan Flood Relief fundraiser.Join the Green Party tonight!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Advancing Interfaith and Community Service on Campuses

On June 7, 2010, the White House convened a dialogue on interfaith and community service with University Presidents, faculty, Chaplains, foundations, religious and community leaders and other key partners. Hindu American Seva Charities assisted the White House in expanding its outreach to the diverse Dharmic community .

Now, HASC is supporting the White House Initiative on Interfaith Leadership training for students and campus staff on October 22-24, 2010. Interfaith Youth Core is taking the lead in providing the training. Students and Faculty members are invited to apply. Click here to apply for the program today!

Invoking Ahimsa around the world

A historic Non-violence Message Ahimsa Paramo Dharmah of Hindu American Community was heard on 9/11 and again on 9/21 - International Day of Peace. We shared our thoughts on Washington Post.

Yogathon 2010 transformed into ongoing YogaSeva

The one day Yogathon organized on August 29th, is expanding into YogaSeva in September and beyond. Many temples (some free and some for nominal charge) already provide Yoga classes and aother have plan to offer regular classes. YogaSeva is here to stay!!!

The sentiments of our partners such Mark Farr, who leads faith outreach for the Points of Light Institute, the nation’s largest civic service agency, are echoed by others. He had remarked, “This day not only promotes citizen service led by a wonderful faith community but brings together cultures in our society that have long been separated. How could we not support it?”

First USAID workshop organized for a broad Indian American community

On June 3, 2010, USAID, in partnership with Hindu American Seva Charities, hosted a historic, first of its kind, workshop for the diverse Indian-American community. It was an implementation of recommendations present to President Obama on March 9th, by the Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood partnerships. The enhanced focus on Diaspora engagement also coincided with the U.S.- India Strategic dialogues. Participants included secular and Dharmic organizations of many faiths including dalits.

Ari Alexander, Deputy Director of the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the United States Agency for International Development posted on the White House Blog: Engaging the Indian Diaspora in International Development.

Inaugural Summit held on March 27th

Hindu American Seva Charities had its Inaugural Summit on March 27th at Sri Siva Vishnu Temple with inspiring introductions from a panel of speakers including keynote speaker Mara Vanderslice, Deputy Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Sonal Shah, Director of the White House Office of Social Innovation, Majority Leader in the Maryland House of Delegates Kumar Barve, and Hindu American Seva Charities represented by Anju Bhargava, Dr. Ved Chaudhary, Shekar Narasimhan, Dr. Siva Subramanian, Minu Dave, Padma Kuppa, Aesha Mehta and with HariVilas from Seatle, Candy Hill,, Senior Vice President of Catholic Charities; Ms. Ruth Baker of Jewish Charities, Suketu Patel of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha and Ana Maria Arumi of the Amma (M.A. Math) Organization. The summit called for augmenting "Umbrella Of Common Principles"

Welcome Back!.....What Have We been Up To?

~a post by Saumya~

So, it’s been awhile, and you’re probably wondering what we’ve been up to.

Let’s have an auspicious beginning: Diwali: the Hindu New Year, which usually falls in October or November. This popular Hindu holiday is often celebrated by people of diverse (or no) faiths; in 2009, Anju discussed Diwali with Talking Faith at and gave the lovely explanation that Diwali lights symbolize the search for knowledge and goodness. In January, the better-known New Year, we got our year started right with a White House conference call with Hindu community and by taking part in MLK Day Celebrations.

Anju has been busy in Washington: she joined other faith leaders at the White House, to “share ideas on inter-religious cooperation with The President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, a government office launched last year to give community organizations -- including faith groups -- a voice in policy decisions.”  On March 9, 2010 Anju presented the “Call to Serve” Briefing Report to the Council members, senior Administration officials and to President Obama. HASC report illuminated the evolution of Hindu American communities’ Seva efforts and assesses the infrastructure needs of the community.Click HASC Report to download

In addition to being the first Hindu-American to serve on this council, Anju stays engaged in her local community, becoming the first Hindu woman to lead the New Jersey State Assembly invocation prayer. It is important for Hindus to foster outreach to and understanding with the greater community. At over 2.2 million, Hindus in America now form the fifth largest religious group, after Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism. However Hindus are often not well understood by the majority of their peers. And as new Americans, we often do not know how to fully engage with our communities and the government to have productive dialogue, address our needs and to harness our talents to serve America.

We’re working on it.

At the 2010 National Conference on Volunteering and Service, Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation: A New Faith-based Approach to Civic Engagement, Anju was part of an unlikely team drawn from diverse groups across civil society that gathered to explore a new approach to faith-based work. The focus was on interfaith action and service in the public, using social entrepreneurship and innovation as guiding principles. As Hindus, we have valuable contributions to make to our communities and country. We start by exploring, enlivening and strengthening our own communities.

We presented HASC report to Dalai Lama, Swami Chidananda and many Dharmic spiritual leaders at Hindu Encyclopedia preview, and traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to take part in the Bhutanese Empowerment Conference, which addressed challenges and solutions for this recent immigrant population in the USA. While we are called “Hindu” American Seva Charities, we support and partner with many diverse groups focused on dialogue, pluralism and social equity.  We also want to engage in outreach with “mainstream” American.

Many aspects of Hindu/Indian Subcontinent culture are already familiar to American society, and these cultural bridges can help start deeper dialogue. In this spirit, and as part of
President Obama’s United We Serve initiative and the President’s Active Lifestyle Challenge, Hindu American Seva Charities (HASC), along with many volunteers, led the first nationwide Yogathon on Sunday, August 29, 2010 at temples, ashrams, and spiritual centers. This mobilized Hindu faith-based organizations to respond to the President’s call-to-service. As part of United We Serve: Let's Read. Let's Move, we utilized yoga as a tool to promote physical activity, healthy living and peace of mind. HASC developed powerpoint presentation to help bring in-culture understanding of the Vedantic Hindu meaning of Yoga and of the multi-faceted Vedic Hinduism.
summer 2010 090

More than 100 sites – temples, ashrams, spiritual centers - in 23 states held free yoga classes; thousands of participants came to the classes held across the nation. You can read some of the Yogathon stories here.

Coming together as communities is also important when we have to face challenges. 9/11 is the anniversary of terrible attacks which changed our nation forever; it is also the anniversary of older events, which altered our world for the better.
Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyagraha movement started in South Africa on September 11, 1906, the launch of the modern Non-Violent Resistance Movement, which inspired America’s Civil Rights movement. It was also on September 11, in 1893, that Swami Vivekananda, the first Hindu saintly leader to come to America, addressed the first World Parliament of Religions in Chicago. This year, 9/11 also fell on the lunar festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, the festival to honor the remover of all obstacles. Hindu-American communities observed the 9/11 National Day of Remembrance and Service by reaching out to their communities with prayer and seva:service.

In the last year of working on these outreach projects, we have realized that, as Hindu-Americans, we have a heritage of powerful, peaceable actions, a curiosity to innovate, and a drive to help others. This national civic engagement is new to us, and we often aren’t sure how to proceed. We explore what it means to be “Hindu,” what it means to be “American,” and what it means to do “seva.” We are continually learning, and we’re looking forward to where it will take us next.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

We are back to blogging... with our expanded team

-  post by Anju - 

Hi All

Over the past year we have been busy developing Hindu American Seva Charities. You can see us on Hindu American Seva Charities webpage. We have grown.....

Now our team is back to share our stories... Stay tuned.... in the meantime you can read some of our stories covered by the press