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Diwali (Deepavali) 2015

Diwali (Deepavali)

diwalirow1

 

Diwali 2015 (Europe only)

Wednesday 11th November 2015

 

Diwali - Introduction


Diwali or Deepavali meaning 'rows of lights' is one of the most popular festivals within the Hindu calendar. The theme of the festival is derived from the epic Ramayana, originally written by the sage Valmiki, but the festival also marks the Hindu New Year's Eve. When His father was reluctantly forced to banish Him, Rama entered the forest- exiled along with His brother Laxman, and wife Sita. There Sita was captured and taken away by the demonic king Ravana to the island of Lanka. Desperate to find His beloved wife, Lord Rama received the help of an army of celestial monkeys and bears. The monkey race included the most mystically endowed member - Shri Hanuman. Hanuman leaped over the ocean to Lanka and met Sita languishing in the grove of trees within Ravana's palace grounds. He returned the news to Rama, and together they built a bridge across the sea.

The battle was long and hard, but eventually Lord Rama personally met with Ravana. "You have stolen my wife just like a dog steals food from the table in his master's absence. Today, I whose attempt never fails, shall punish you!" After thus rebuking Ravana, Lord Rama shot an arrow which pierced his heart like a thunderbolt.

After defeating the demonic king Ravana, Lord Rama, along with brother Laxman, his wife mother Sita, Hanuman and all the monkey warriors triumphantly returned to the city of Ayodhya so that Lord Rama could claim the throne. Whey they returned in a splendid pushpak vimana (a flying chariot of flowers), it was the new moon night: pitch black. All the citizens of Ayodhya, therefore, lit the way for the return of Lord Rama by lighting millions of lamps along the route accompanied with fireworks.

On Diwali people visit their friends and relatives, wear new dresses and exchange gifts. Local temples are also visited to pay respects to Lord Rama. Probably no aspect of the Lord is ore universally known as Lord Ramachandra, 'the moon-like Rama'. In the temple, we see Him with one hand lifted in blessing and the other holding His bow of a warrior king. He came to demonstrate the justice, moral values and heroic activities of a perfect Monarch. His activities are remembered by way of enacting His pastimes and by singing devotional hymns. To finish the day everyone treated to wonderful firework displays in which effigies of Ravana are burnt to mark the victory of goodness over evil.

Coming of Diwali has great significance in the life of people. It is from this day they pray to follow the ideals exemplified by Lord Rama. They pray that the whole world can live in peace and everyone can interact with each other just like members of a big family, just as the scriptural injunction states ‘the whole world is a family’ - all living entities are children of one God, who is known by various names by different people. Prayers are said for the poor, homeless and the underprivileged of the world. In this way Hindus celebrate this important day and they wish that darkness of  ignorance be dispelled in everyone’s life by the ‘festival of lights’ and we can turn our face towards the Lord and realise that we all are eternal servants God.

The day after Diwali is the Hindu New Year. This day also marks the beginning of ‘Rama-rajya': the first day of rule for Lord Rama. Also on this day is Go-Puja, a ceremony which specially honours mother cow and 'annakut' which celebrates the worship of Gorvardhan Hill. These festivities have been practiced for thousands of years.

Summary of the Epic Ramayana


From Shrimad Bhagavatam (9.10) 
By A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Lord Ramachandra appeared in the dynasty of Maharaja Khatvanga. The son of Maharaja Khatvanga was Dirghabahu, and his son was Raghu. The son of Raghu was Aja, the son of Aja was Dasharatha, and the son of Dasharatha was Lord Ramachandra, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Lord Ramachandra went with Vishvamitra and killed Rakshashas like Maricha. After breaking the stout and strong bow known as Haradhanu, the Lord married mother Sita and cut down the prestige of Parashurama. To obey the order of His father, He entered the forest, accompanied by Lakshmana and Sita. There He cut off the nose of Shurpanakha and killed the associates of Ravana, headed by Khara and Dushana. Ravana’s kidnapping of Sitadevi was the beginning of this demon’s misfortune. When Maricha assumed the form of a golden deer, Lord Ramachandra went to bring the deer to please Sitdevi, but in the meantime Ravaaa took advantage of the Lord’s absence to kidnap her. When Sitadevi was kidnapped, Lord Ramachandra, accompanied by Lakshmana, searched for her throughout the forest. In the course of this search, They met Jatayu. Then the Lord killed the demon Kabandha and the commander Vali and established a friendly relationship with Sugriva. After organizing the military strength of the monkeys and going with them to the shore of the sea, the Lord awaited the arrival of Samudra, the ocean personified, but when Samudra did not come, the Lord, the master of Samudra, became angry. Then Samudra came to the Lord with great haste and surrendered to Him, wanting to help Him in every way. The Lord then attempted to bridge the ocean, and, with the help of advice from Vibhishana, He attacked Ravana’s capital, Lanka. Previously, Hanuman, the eternal servant of the Lord, had set fire to Lanka, and now, with the help of Lakshmana, the forces of Lord Ramachandra killed all the Rakshasha soldiers. Then Lord Ramachandra personally killed Ravana. Mandodari and other wives lamented for Ravana, and in accordance with Lord Ramachandra’s order, Vibhishana performed the funeral ceremonies for all the dead in the family. Lord Ramachandra then gave Vibhishana the right to rule Lanka and also granted him a long duration of life. The Lord delivered Sitadevi from the Ashoka forest and carried her in a flower airplane to His capital Ayodhya, where He was received by His brother Bharata. When Lord Ramachandra entered Ayodhya, Bharata brought His wooden shoes, Vibhishanaa and Sugriva held a whisk and fan, Hanuman carried an umbrella, Shatrughna carried the Lord’s bow and two quivers, and Sitadevi carried a waterpot containing water from holy places. Angada carried a sword, and Jambavan (Riksharaja) carried a shield. After Lord Ramachandra, accompanied by Lord Lakshmana and mother Sitadevi, met all His relatives, the great sage Vashishtha enthroned Him as King.

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Reasons for the Appearance of Lord Rama

Lord Rama, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appeared hundreds of thousands of years ago at a place called Ayodhya, north India. The reason for His advent are told in the Bhagavad-gita, the essence of all the Vedic scriptures, where Lord Krishna tells Arjuna:


yada yada hi dharmasya
glanir bhavati bharata
abhyutthanam adharmasya
tadatmanam srjamy aham (4.7)

Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion—at that time I descend Myself.

paritranaya sadhunam
vinashaya cha dushkrtam
dharma-samsthapanarthaya
sambhavami yuge yuge (4.8)

To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I Myself appear, millennium after millennium.

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Lord Rama’s Qualities



From Shrimad Bhagavatam (9.10) 
By A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

  • People are very fond of the pattern of Rama-rajya, and even today politicians sometimes form a party called Rama-rajya, but unfortunately they have no obedience to Lord Rama. It is sometimes said that people want the kingdom of God without God. Such an aspiration, however, is never to be fulfilled. Good government can exist when the relationship between the citizens and the government is like that exemplified by Lord Ramachandra and His citizens. Lord Ramachandra ruled His kingdom exactly as a father takes care of his children, and the citizens, being obliged to the good government of Lord Ramachandra, accepted the Lord as their father. Thus the relationship between the citizens and the government should be exactly like that between father and son.
  • When Lord Ramachandra, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, was the King of this world, all bodily and mental suffering, disease, old age, bereavement, lamentation, distress, fear and fatigue were completely absent. There was even no death for those who did not want it.
  • Lord Ramachandra took a vow to accept only one wife and have no connection with any other women. He was a saintly king, and everything in His character was good, untinged by qualities like anger. He taught good behaviour for everyone, especially for householders, in terms of varanashrama-dharma. Thus He taught the general public by His personal activities.
  • Eka-patni-vrata, accepting only one wife, was the glorious example set by Lord Ramachandra. One should not accept more than one wife. Lord Ramachandra accepted only one wife and manifested sublime character, thus setting an example for householders. A householder should live according to the ideal of Lord Ramachandra, who showed how to be a perfect person. As Lord Ramachandra is the ideal husband (eka-patni-vrata), mother Sita is the ideal wife. Such a combination makes family life very happy.
  • On return to His Kingdom after killing Ravana and rescuing Sita, Lord Rama was joyously welcomed by His people. The whole city was very nicely decorated with rows of lamps being lit everywhere. ‘Being pleased by the full surrender and submission of Lord Bharata, Lord Ramachandra then accepted the throne of the state. He cared for the citizens exactly like a father, and the citizens, being fully engaged in their occupational duties of varna and ashrama, accepted Him as their father.

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The Diwali Celebration



The festival of Diwali is celebrated over five days and falls in October/November each year.


Day One


This day is known as
 Dhan-Trayodashi or Dhan Teras, which falls on the 13th day of the dark fortnight of the month of Kartik. The word Dhan denotes wealth and the festival has a great importance for the mercantile community. Residences and business premises are renovated and decorated and their entrances are extensively decorated with traditional patterns of Rangoli designs to welcome Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth. Small footprints are drawn with rice flour and vermillion in the houses to show her long-awaited arrival. Lamps are kept burning throughout the night. New utensils and/or gold are purchased by the household. Goddess Laxmi is worshipped in the evening with great pomp and ceremony and traditional sweets are offered to her.

This day is also known as Yamadeepdan and an offering to Yama, the superintendent of death, is made. There is very nice story to illustrate this: a king’s son was cursed to be bitten by a snake on the fourth day after his marriage. When that day came his wife did not allow him to sleep but rather engaged him in hearing many Puranic stories and sang bhajans. She also placed a lot of gold and silver ornaments in a big pile at the entrance of the resting chamber and lighted many lamps. When Yamaraj arrived in the form of the serpent, he was blinded by the glare generated by the lights and the ornaments, which prevented him entering the resting chambers. So he climbed on top of the heap of the ornaments and sat there listening to the wife recounting stories. The next day Yamaraj quietly went away and the power of the curse was over. Thus the young wife saved her husband’s life from the clutches of death. Since then this day is also known as Yamadeepdan. As an offering to Yama lamps are kept burning through out the night in the direction of South.

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Day Two


This day is known as
 Narak Chaturdashi and falls on the 14th day of the dark fortnight of the month of Kartik. On this day Lord Krishna killed the demonic king Bhaumasura, who was also known as Narakasura, happened to be the son of the earth personified.

‘This demon, Bhaumasura, having become very powerful, took by force the umbrella from the throne of the demigod Varuna. He also took the earrings of Aditi, the mother of the demigods. He conquered a portion of heavenly Mount Meru and occupied the portion known as Mani-parvata, plaground of the demi-gods.

"Indra, the king of the heavenly planets, went to Dvaraka and described the demons transgressions to Lord Krishna. Together with Queen Satyabhama, the Lord mounted His carrier Garuda and travelled to the capital of Narakasura’s kingdom, Pragjyotisha-pura.  On a field outside the city He decapitated the demon Mura with His disc. Then He fought Mura’s seven sons and sent them all to the abode of death, after which Narakasura himself entered the battlefield on the back of an elephant. Naraka threw his shakti lance at Shri Krishna, but the weapon proved ineffective, and the Lord cut the demon’s entire army to pieces. Finally, with His sharp-edged disc Krishna cut off Narakasura’s head.

The earth-goddess, Prthivi, then approached Lord Krishna and gave Him the various items Narakasura had stolen. She offered prayers to the Lord and presented Naraka’s frightened son at Lord Krishna’s lotus feet. After pacifying the demon’s son, Krishna entered Narakasura’s palace, where He found sixteen thousand one hundred young women. As soon as they caught sight of the Lord, they all decided to accept Him as their husband. The Lord sent them to Dvaraka along with a great quantity of treasure and then went with Queen Satyabhama to the abode of Indra. There He returned Aditi’s earrings, and Indra and his wife, Shachi-devi, worshiped Him."
(Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.59.1 – purport by A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami prabhupada)

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Day Three


From 'Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead – Worshipping Govardhana Hill' (Chapter 24 ) By A.C. Bhaktivedanta  Swami Prabhupada

This day falls on the 16th day of the dark fortnight of the month of Kartik. On this
Govardhan Pujatakes place. This story is related in the tenth canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam. It tells how Lord Krishna advised His father, Nanda Maharaja, and other cowherd men of Vrindavan not to perform a special ceremony to satisfy Indra, the king of heaven, but to worship the Goverdhan Hill, in order to chastise Indra, who was very much puffed up at being the supreme controller of the heavenly planets.

‘Lord Krishna gave them the following directions. “Prepare very nice foods of all descriptions from the grains and ghee collected for the yajna. Prepare rice, dhal, then halava, pakora, puri and all kinds of milk preparations, such as sweet rice, rabri, sweetballs, sandesha, rasagulla and laddu, and invite the learned brahmanas who can chant the Vedic hymns and offer oblations to the fire. The brahmanas should be given all kinds of grains in charity. Then decorate all the cows and feed them well. After performing this, give money in charity to the brahmanas. As far as the lower animals are concerned, such as the dogs, and the lower grades of people, such as the chandalas, or the fifth class of men, who are considered untouchable, they also may be given sumptuous prashadam. After nice grasses have been given to the cows, the sacrifice known as Govardhana-puja may immediately begin. This sacrifice will very much satisfy Me.”

They performed Govardhana worship and circumambulation of the hill. According to the instruction of Lord Krishna, Nanda Maharaja and the cowherd men called in learned brahmanas and began to worship Govardhana Hill by chanting Vedic hymns and offering prashadam. The inhabitants of Vrindavana assembled together, decorated their cows and gave them grass. Keeping the cows in front, they began to circumambulate Govardhana Hill. The gopis dressed themselves very luxuriantly and sat in bull-driven carts, chanting the glories of Krishna’s pastimes. Assembled there to act as priests for Govardhana-puja, the brahmanas offered their blessings to the cowherd men and their wives, the gopis.

When everything was complete, Krishna assumed a great transcendental form and declared to the inhabitants of Vrindavana that He was Himself Govardhana Hill in order to convince the devotees that Govardhana Hill and Krishna Himself are identical. Then Krishna began to eat all the food offered there. The identity of Krishna and Govardhana Hill is still honoured, and great devotees take rocks from Govardhana Hill and worship them exactly as they worship the Deity of Krishna in the temples.

From that day, Govardhana-puja has been going on and is known as Annakuta. In all the temples of Vrindavana or outside of Vrindavana, huge quantities of food are prepared in this ceremony and are very sumptuously distributed to the general population. Sometimes the food is thrown to the crowds, and they enjoy collecting it off the ground. The people, therefore, collect it and eat with great satisfaction.

This day also known as Varshapratipad, which marks the coronation of king Vikramaditiya. The most popular calendar, vikram samvat, has it’s origins this coronation.

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Day Four


This day is known as
 Bhratra-Dwitiya (bhai Beej) and falls on the falls on the 17th day of the dark fortnight of the month of Kartik. The story related in the Puranas is as follows: Yamaraja, the superintendent of Death, visited his sister, Yamuna Devi. She put the tilak on his forehead, garlanded him and fed him sumptuously with variety of preparations. At the end they exchanged gifts and Yamaraj announced that ‘let every man dine at his sister’s house.’ From that day this day is known as Yama-Dwitiya and it is being observed as a symbol of love between sisters and brothers.

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The Age of Ramayana


The festival of Diwali is usually celebrated with great fervour and enthusiasm in Britain. The popularity and acceptance of this famous celebration has steadily grown over the years  among the indigenous British population. From schools, where the festival forms part of the Religious Education syllabus; to the work place, where it is now common to have Diwali dinners; to coverage of the festival by the media; to the Royal Mail issuing press releases about the last day on which Diwali post can be posted; to the Prime Minister and other dignitaries attending Diwali functions; to diaries & calendars having entries about the festival; Diwali is now an established part of British Life.

When it comes to being cognizant about the time when the story of Ramayana actually took place one encounters many different theories. These ideas are nearly always based on an individual’s research, personal opinions and even speculation. Most of these notions postulate that events in the Ramayana occurred somewhere between 200 BC to 7000 BC. Unfortunately none of them give an opportunity for the tradition to speak for it self i.e. what do the Vedic (Hindu) scriptures say about the date of Ramayana?

We will now look at the evidence from the Vedas to calculate the date of the Ramayana.


kaushalyayam dasharathan
nava-durva dala-dyutih
tretayam avirabhavach
chaturvimse chatur-yuge 
bharatena sumitraya
nandanabhyam ca samyutah 
(Laghu Bhagavatamrta Text 78)

‘Splendid as a new blade of durva grass, and accompanied by Sumitra's two sons and by Bharata, He appeared in the Treta-yuga of the 24th chatur-yuga as the son of Kaushalya and Dasharatha.’


tretayuge chaturvishe ravanastapasah kshayaata 
raamam daasharathim praapya saganah kshayamiyavaan
(Vayu Purana 70.48)

‘Due to his lowly behaviour Ravana was killed along with his friends and relatives 
by Lord Rama, the son of Dasharatha, in the 24th chatur yuga.’


Present time
Kali Yuga in the 28th millennium of the 7th Manu in one particular day of Lord Brahma.

One Chatur-yuga
Satya yuga (1,728,000 years) + Treta yuga (1,296,000 years) + Dwapara yuga (864,000 years) + Kali yuga (432,000 years) = 4,320,000 years

1 Kalpa= 1000 Chatur Yugas

1 Day of Lord Brahma= 1 Kalpa (NB 1 night of Brahma also = 1 kalpa)

Life of Brahma  = 100 years i.e. 7300 Kalpas =311 trillion and 40 billion years

Catur-yugas passed
24th part (roughly half) of Treta & full Kali, 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th till part of Kali-yuga

Years passed (appx.)
432,000 + 432,000 + 4,320,000 + 4,320,000 + 4,320,000 + (4,320,000 – 427,000 left)


=17,717,000 years + or - 432,000

(+ or - 432,000 years is required because we don't exactly know in which period of Treta Yuga, He appeared).

So according to the tradition Lord Rama appeared over 17 million years ago at Ayodhya, North India, to perform His pastimes as recorded by the sage Valmiki, the original writer of the Ramayana.

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Other important historical events coinciding with Diwali


Other important historical events coinciding with Diwali

1.
Goddess Lakshmi's Birthday:The Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi incarnated on
the new moon day (amaavasyaa) of the Kartik month during the churning of the
ocean (samudra-manthan), hence the association of Diwali with Lakshmi.

2.Lord Vishnu Rescued Lakshmi:On this very day (Diwali day), Lord Vishnu in his
fifth incarnation as Vaman-avtaara rescued Lakshmi from the prison of King
Bali and this is another reason of worshipping Ma Larkshmi on Diwali.

3. The Return of the Pandavas: According to the great epic `Mahabharata', it was `Kartik Amavashya' when the Pandavas appeared from their 12 years of banishment as a result of their defeat in the hands of the Kauravas at the game of dice (gambling). The subjects who loved the Pandavas celebrated the day by lighting the earthen lamps.

4. Coronation of Vikramaditya: One of the greatest Hindu King Vikramaditya was coronated on the Diwali day.

 

 

Click here to see a quick clip of Diwali and how its celebrated

 

NCHT UK - August 2012 Update

aum

 

Dear Friends & Colleagues

Namaskar, Jai Mata Ki, Jai Shri Krishna !

Here is a brief overview to date of some of the work NCHT has been engaged in.

1. NCHT successfully organised a unique three day National Hindu Healthcare Chaplaincy event in Hilton Hotel Leicester, highlights of which were televised in a series of programmes. Subsequent to this event NCHT has received very positive feedback and several requests for information on how to become a Hindu Healthcare Chaplain.

NCHT Hindu Healthcare Chaplaincy Conference

2. Our President attended a National Service of Thanksgiving to celebrate HM Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee at St. Pauls Cathedral on 5th June as a world faith representative (Hindu) from NCHT.

3. NCHT have been closely involved in the Campaign against the environmental damage and human suffering due to the pollution and mismanagement of our Sacred river, Mata Yamuna. Our President submitted a petition to clean River Yamuna at the Indian High Commission in London along with other delegates from VHP, HCUK and ISKCON on 8th August.

4. NCHT were invited by the Appointment Committee for consultation regarding the next Archbishop of Canterbury. This meeting was attended by our President and held at Lambeth Palace along with other representatives from the Jewish, Zoroastrian, Muslim and Buddhist communities.

5. As a result of correspondence between the NCHT and the Prime Minister of Hungary, the Government there has established the church status of the Hungarian Society for Krishna Consciousness which represents ISKCON's philosophy in Hungary.

6. NCHT President and General Secretary have been invited to attend the inaugural all day Annual Hindu Convention next month which will take place in London. The organisers have approached NCHT for its input and guidance with regards to this august event for the UK Hindu community. A full report will follow in due course.

7. Our President was jointly invited by London Borough of Hounslow Mayor and the Council Leader as a Hindu faith leader and interfaith protagonist to a cricket match between the Mayor's team and that of Council Officers. The match was followed by speeches and a dinner.

8. The NCHT General Secretary who has been serving as an adviser to the Ministry of Justice since 2010 has now been selected as the Hindu adviser to the National Offender Management Service (NOMS).

9. Our President represented NCHT as one of the chief guests at the Sant Nirankari Mandal UK “Universal Oneness Community Games” held in Hayes Middlesex. The function was highly successful and included a variety of cultural and sporting events enjoyed by all.

10. Our President is representing NCHT as a member of Hindu Christian Forum and has attended meetings at Swaminarayan Temple in Neasden.

11. The NCHT was also invited by Sant Nirankari Mandal UK to attend their “Oneness” event held at NIA Birmingham where the President received darshan and blessings from Nirankari Baba, Mata ji, Raj Mata ji for the continued success and promotion of NCHT.

12. NCHT attended the General Assembly of Hindu Forum of Europe (HFE) in Belgium of which it is a founder member.

13. Next month, NCHT President and General Secretary have been invited by HCUK to attend the Gita Conference at Shri Balaji Temple Tividale.

14. The NCHT President has attended meetings at ISKCON Temple in London representing NCHT organising ways to clean River Yamuna.

15. As an Interfaith initiative to promote harmony, mutual respect and better understanding, our President  has proposed an event to observe joint Shri Krishna Janmashtami and Eid celebrations at the Civic Centre in Hounslow.

16. NCHT Communications Officer Pt. Madhu Shastri ji was requested to commence the HFE Hindu conference held in the European Parliament in Brussels with inaugural prayers. The conference was well attended and included Members of the EU Parliament, Faith leaders, distinguished guests and Hindu delegates from all over Europe. (Refer to photo below)

17. NCHT President and General Secretary have been invited by BOPIO (British Organisation of People of Indian sub-continental Origin) to attend a conference on “Social Cohesion” taking place in November at the University of London.

18. We are proposing to celebrate Diwali at the Civic Centre in the London Borough of Hounslow this year where full amenities are available to accommodate, entertain and care for our guests. Previous venues have been quite restrictive in terms of serving prashad etc.

19. Having co-ordinated many pranpratishtha ceremonies, NCHT General Secretary and President  have been invited by the Executive Committee of the Hindu Temple of Brussels to offer their guidance and expertise to facilitate the installation of the deities acquired from India (murti sthapana).

20. Our President was invited to an event at Hindu Temple Slough hosted by Sadhvi Sushri Bhaktipriya, President of Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan based in Hayes Middlesex. The function was held on the occasion of Guru Poornima and included satsang and pravachan stressing the importance of the Guru/spiritual preceptor in Sanatan Dharma.

21. With his committed and continued work for helping temples and liaising with UK Border Agency (UKBA) on their behalf, NCHT General Secretary has now been appointed by UKBA as an external DEAT committee member and adviser to one of the UK's largest Immigration Removal Centres (IRC), Morton Hall.

22. NCHT General Secretary with other faith representatives was invited by Buckingham Palace to an event hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams & Mrs Williams at Lambeth Palace to mark the inauguration of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee Coronation celebrations and her 60th year of reign.

23. NCHT has continued its contribution to the REC (Religious Education Council) and submitted considerable input to the curriculum and provision of RE within schools. NCHT is a member of a number of SACREs (Standing Advisory Councils on Religious Education).

24. We are committed to preserving harmonious interfaith relations both nationally and on a local level. Our President and General Secretary have represented NCHT in a number of meetings and events organised by the Faith Consultative Committee, Interfaith Network and DCLG.

25. NCHT has been approached by a Hindu-owned business based in the Midlands whose family is connected to Shree Geeta Bhawan Mandir Birmingham to intercede in the case of a Pakistani company threatening to take them to court for using a Hindu word in their trading name. The Muslim family owned business is trying to prevent this Hindu shop owner and anyone else from using this trading title and trying to claim sole rights to it. They have even claimed that the Sanskrit word for worship is not exclusively Hindu and is derived from a Spanish word ! Our General Secretary has worked diligently and is liaising closely with and advising the defendant's legal Counsel. To this end NCHT has submitted an extensive statement to the IPO (Intellectual Property Office) demonstrating the etymology of the word from the Sanskrit language and its affiliation to the Hindu scriptures and Dharma and that its use cannot be restricted to any one establishment.

26. The 2012 Olympics have dominated the media these past few months and NCHT were represented by invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury and LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games) for a tour of the Olympic Village site and to launch the Olympic Faith logo.

27. During the prelude to the opening of the Olympics, NCHT took part in an event arranged by one of our member organisations, International Siddhashram Shakti Centre Harrow under the auspices of Gurudev Dr Rajesh Parmar ji, in association with Metropolitan Police Harrow and Ministry of Defence to welcome the Olympic torch procession in the London Borough of Harrow.

28. NCHT have been involved closely with the Ministry of Defence (MOD) in the training of new recruits at Army Training Centre (ATC) Pirbright. NCHT Executive member Major (Rtd.) Suryaprasad Upadhya ji, our NCHT President  and General Secretary have co-ordinated and participated in whole day presentations to hundreds of new recruits about the Hindu Faith.

 

General Secretary

NCHT (UK)

 

NCHT UK - Diwali 2012 - House of Lords

aum

 

 NCHT UK Diwali 2012 Celebration

House of Lords

 

 

 

More coming soon...!

 


NCHT UK Aims & Objectives

The NCHT UK also act as a resource centre and is one of the main consultative & advisory bodies on all matters relating to the British Hindu community, culture and religion and regularly interacts with the following Government and Statutory Departments:

Home Office, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Education Authorities, Commission on Integration & Cohesion, Dept for Communities & Local Government (DCLG), Dept for International Development (DFID), Dept for Trade & Industry (DTI), Equalities & Human Rights Commission (EHRC), Greater London Authority (GLA), Dept for Works & Pensions (DWP), DEFRA, Food Standards Agency (FSA), Metropolitan/West Midlands Police, Interfaith Network UK, The Faith Communities Forum, RE Council for England & Wales, SACRE, Hindu Christian Forum, Council of Dharmic Faiths UK, Tony Blair Faith Foundation, Hindu Faith Bodies Steering Group, National Association of the Chaplains to the Police (NACP), Multi-Faith Group for Healthcare Chaplaincy,Schools, Colleges, Universities, Local Multi Faith Forums and Councils.

NCHT UK also advises and consults on matters relating to interfaith dialogue, community consultations and capacity building in Temples, and advises and challenges legislation and policies that may affect the Hindu Community in the UK.

 

 

The main aims and objectives of NCHT UK are:

  • To act as an Umbrella organisation to Hindu Temples, Faith Organisations & Groups across the UK;
  • To support andassist with Capacity Building within Hindu Temples, Faith Organisations & Groups;
  • To support Hindu Temple’s applications to be added to the Home Office Borders and Immigration Agency’s Register of Sponsors in order to approve individual Priests’ visa applications to work in Hindu Places of Worship in the UK;
  • To assist Hindu Temples in their search to find appropriate and registeredHindu Priests to work intheir Temples;
  • To recommend and provide contact details of Hindu Priests to conduct weddings, religious functions and ceremonies;
  • To provide advice and informationto Government Departments, Local Councils, Public Bodies and Education Authorities;
  • To arrange Temple visits for Schools, Colleges, Universities and other Organisations;
  • To work with other faith groups for mutual appreciation of each others religion, interfaith dialogueand community cohesion;
  • To promote the advancement, achievements, consensus, cooperation and unity of Hindus in the UK;
  • To establish a position for the Hindu community within UK that is fair and based on Human Rights.

 

Hinduism - A short summary..

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Hinduism is mankind's oldest living religious tradition, which has practiced since time immemorial. One English missionary in India, comparing Hinduism with other world civilisations long since dead, paid tribute to its endurance “...but Hinduism lives on. Age has not decayed it, rivals have not destroyed it."
 
The term ‘Hindu’ is related to the word Sindhu – the name of a river, which is known in English as the river Indus. Because of the difficulty in pronunciation by the Persians the river Sindhu became the river ‘Hindu’.   And the inhabitants living across the river ‘Hindu’ became Hindus and the land became to be known as Hindustan. Hence, the major religion of India (Latin derivative of Hindu), became to be known as Hinduism.

Hinduism became an umbrella description for the multitude of religious ideas in the Indian sub-continent. Some of these ideas adhere closely to the original Vedic tradition, while over the years many have incorporated local influences with regional, linguistic and doctrinal variations. The proliferation of Hindu denominations fall within three main groups: Vaishnavaism, worship of Krishna and His incarnations; Shaivism, worship of Shiva; and the Shaktas who worship Kali. The all-embracing nature of Hinduism often appears confusing for the Western mind, but despite external variety, much philosophy is common for all Hindus.

A notable feature of Hinduism, referred to as Sanatana Dharma (the eternal religion) or Vedic Dharma (pertaining to the Vedas), is that it does not originate from one prophet or teacher. The earliest record of Hindu teaching is found in the Vedas (c. 3000 B.C.), but many authorities claim that Hinduism is as old as the universe, being based upon eternal truths, which have no mortal source. Other great religions - Jainism, Buddhism, and more recently Sikhism - appeared from the Vedic tradition.



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