October Declared as Hindu Heritage Month in Several U.S. States, Cities

Source: October Declared as Hindu Heritage Month in Several U.S. States, Cities » INDIAWEST | Author: India-West Staff Reporter

Several states and cities across the U.S. have declared October as National Hindu Heritage Month, including the cities of Irvine, Anaheim, and Riverside in Southern California.

In Irvine on Oct. 19, 31 Indian American Hindus, on behalf of several Hindu groups, received a city proclamation designating the month as Hindu Heritage Month in Irvine.

On the occasion, several speakers spoke on Hinduism, said a press release, including Divya Prabha, a representative from the Hindu Sevak Sangh, who eloquently shared the Sanskrit shloka “Vasudeva Kutumbakam,” which means “the whole world is one family.” She also offered a second concept, “Sarve bhavantu sukhinah, sarve santu niramaya,” which means “May all humans be happy, healthy and prosperous.” Finally she spoke of “Seva,” which means serving humanity,” Prabha was quoted as saying in the release.

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October is Hindu Heritage Month. Here’s why Apu of ‘The Simpsons’ would have approved!

Source: October is Hindu Heritage Month. Here’s why Apu of ‘The Simpsons’ would have approved! » RNS Religion News Service | Author: Richa Gautam

“Hindu! There are 700 Million of us!”

This was Apu Nahasapeemapetilon’s slightly indignant reply when a Reverend identifies all Homer’s neighbors by major religions but fails to remember Apu’s faith.

The Simpsons never shies from tackling major social issues and Apu’s quip above is also a telling social reality regarding the low level of awareness about Hinduism as a religion and as a culture.

Arguably, the height of cancel culture was when Apu was taken off air.

The producer Mr. Shankar who has an ear to the ground, related his understanding of the issue, ‘When a lot of people hear ‘The Problem with Apu’ (2017 documentary by Hari Kondabolu) they roll their eyes, ‘there is no problem with Apu, it’s these millennials, they’re out of control.’ No one asked the average Indian American what he thought of Apu, who was their sole voice on TV, for a very long time.

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Indian Diaspora Instrumental in Promoting Indic Values and Culture

Source: Indian Diaspora Instrumental in Promoting Indic Values and Culture » INDICA SOFTPOWER | Author: Arunima Gupta

In many states across the US, October has been declared as the Hindu Heritage Month, marking the cultural and spiritual contributions of Hinduism as well as the role of the Hindu diaspora community in the USA’s social and economic milieu. As per the Hindu American Foundation, a US-based diaspora association and advocacy platform, there are 2.23 million Hindu Americans, spread across the country. However, the total numbers of Indian diaspora including People of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Non-Residential Indians (NRIs) account to be approximately four million in the US, adding significantly to the country’s sociocultural, political and economic progress. This diaspora community is a consumer and promoter of Indian soft power through cuisine, films, crafts and art forms, literature and more. Additionally, diaspora members also propound indigenous ideas, values and practices rooted in their traditions and thus enhancing Indian cultural footprint across the globe.

The proclamation of the Vermont State, released by the Office of Governor Philip B Scott demonstrates the influence of Indic values and philosophy. The document mentions, “Hinduism was officially introduced to the United States by Swami Vivekananda at the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago, and he founded the Vedanta Society in San Francisco, in 1900 … “Hindu Americans promote the ideals of pluralism, religious freedom, and mutual respect, which are inherent to their teachings. The Vedas, the ancient sacred texts of Hinduism, provide the basis for these core principles: “Truth is one, the wise call it by many names” (Ekam sat viprah bahudha vadanti).”

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An Open Letter To Mr. President, Joe Biden

Source: An Open Letter To Mr. President, Joe Biden » Kreately | Author: Satparashar

Dear Mr Joe Biden,

It is now common knowledge that more than a dozen States of the United States of America have declared October 2021 as the Hindu Heritage Month. This is to essentially recognize and celebrate the numerous positive contributions made by Hindu Americans to all aspects of American society, including business, education, science, medicine, politics, spirituality, and more.

The proclamations, one after another have gone on to put on record that “the Hindu heritage, culture, traditions, and values provide invaluable solutions to many of life’s problems and often serve as a source of inspiration , reflection and contemplation for the millions of individuals who look to the teachings of Hinduism for guidance.”

How come that you are so slow to declare October 2021 as the Hindu Heritage Month at the Federal Level? By looking at the table below, you would realize that States representing more than half the population of the United States of America have already declared October 2021 as the Hindu Heritage Month.

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Readers Write: Mayor Jacob Frey, ‘strong mayor’ amendment, police reform, Hindu Heritage Month

Source: Readers Write: Mayor Jacob Frey, ‘strong mayor’ amendment, police reform, Hindu Heritage Month » StarTribune | Author: Vijendra Agarwal, Inver Grove Heights

People of diverse cultures and heritage make Minnesota stronger and better. As a practicing Hindu, I am pleased that Governor Waltz has proclaimed October as Hindu Heritage Month (HHM). It recognizes the contributions by thousands of Hindus economically, socially, and culturally to vibrant Minnesota.

Hindus trace their rich heritage to ancient Bharat (now India) with deep seeded belief in Sanatan Dharma, a religion, philosophy, and a way of life. We believe in love, compassion, and gratitude for all, the Karma, and teachings like Vasudev Kutumbakam (The World is One Family). Our mantra.’ Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah’ (May All be Happy) embodies what is needed most in an environment of gun violence, social unrest, and global terrorism.

HHM in October is very fitting because many Hindu festivals fall in this month. For example, during nine days of Navratri we invoke nine incarnations of Goddess Durga (symbolizing women power). Another is Vijay Dashami meaning the victory of good over evil. The third iconic festival Deepawali, the festival of lights, will be celebrated by Hindu Mandir this month. The HHM will engage, inspire, and infuse Hinduism tenets and raise awareness among Hindu youth and Minnesotans at large.

Like most cultures, food and fun are part of Hindu heritage. India’s regional diversity like Durga Puja from the East, the folk-dance, Garba, from the West, and classical dances, Bharatanatyam and Kathak, from the South and North, respectively, will be part of local Hindu festivals.

The ancient Indic civilization symbolizes endurance which Hindus have sustained and survived for thousands of years. The yoga, meditation, and spirituality, nurturing the mind, body, and soul, are the legacies of Hinduism to the world. I hope and believe that HHM will endure in perpetuity and continue to enrich Minnesota.

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America will celebrate Hindu Heritage Month… the impression of Vedic tradition will be seen

Source: अमेरिका मनाएगा हिंदू हेरिटेज माह… दिखेगी वैदिक परंपरा की छाप » Hindusthan Post | Author: karunashankar Tiwari, Mumbai

वैदिक ज्ञान अपने अंदर धर्म और ज्ञान का अटूट मेल संजोए हुए है। जब गैलीलियो ने टेलिस्कोप की रचना की तो उससे सदियों पहले सनातनी नौ ग्रहों को जान चुके थे। वे जीवन प्रणाली में इन ग्रहों के प्रभाव की गणना करते थे। यही नहीं, जब सुपर सोनिक और हाइपर सोनिक रॉकेट का विकास हुआ, उससे हजारो वर्ष पहले से हिंदू धर्मग्रंथ पुष्पक विमानों का उल्लेख करते हैं। ये मात्र कहानियां नहीं हैं, बल्कि एक विज्ञान है, जिसे अमेरिका में बसे भारतवंशियों ने अनुभूत किया और उसका दर्शन अमेरिका और अपनी नई पीढ़ी को कराने के लिए अब हिंदू हेरिटेज माह का आयोजन किया है।

अक्टूबर माह को हिंदू हेरिटेज माह के रूप में मनाने के लिए अमेरिका के दस से अधिक राज्यों ने घोषणा कर दी है। यह उस सनातन संस्कृति का संचार है जो वसुधैव कुटुंबकम, जीव सेवा जैसे नैतिक मूल्यों को आधार मानता है। अमेरिका के जिन राज्यों ने इस संदर्भ में घोषणा की है उसमें टेक्सास, प्लोरिडा, जॉर्जिया, न्यूजर्सी, ओहियो आदि का समावेश है। इस माह भर में हिंदू परंपराओं पर आधारित विभिन्न कार्यक्रम पेश किये जाएंगे जो इस अक्टूबर को त्यौहार का माह बना देंगे।

अमेरिका में कार्यरत लगभग सभी हिंदू संगठनों ने सामुहिक रूप से राष्ट्रपति जो बाइडेन से पत्राचार के माध्यम से अक्टूबर को हिंदू हेरिटेज माह घोषित करने की विनंती की है। जिसमें उन्होंने लिखा है कि तीस लाख सशक्त हिंदू अमेरिकी समुदाय की आकांक्षाओं के अनुरूप और भारत के साथ अच्छे संबंधों को विकसित करने के लिए हम आप से निवेदन करते हैं कि औपचारिक रूप से अक्टूबर माह को हिंदू हेरिटेज माह घोषित करें।

अमेरिका में मनाए जा रहे हिंदू हेरिटेज माह के लिए प्रत्यक्ष अप्रत्यक्ष रूप से देश की बहुसंख्य संस्थाओं का योगदान है, विश्व हिंदू परिषद ऑफ अमेेरिका (वीएचपीए), वर्ल्ड हिंदू काउंसिल ऑफ अमेरिका, हिंदू स्टूडेंट काउंसिल, एकल विद्यालय, कोहाना, हिंदू पैक्ट, एचएसएस, अमेरिकन स्टोर ओनर असोशिएशन, इंडिक प्रेस, इस्कॉन, चिंगारी, स्वामी नारायण संस्थान आदि शामिल हैं।

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Hindu Heritage Month as Indian’s Octoberfest

Source: HINDU HERITAGE MONTH AS INDIA’S OCTOBERFEST » PGurus | Author: Vijendra Agarwal, Inver Grove Heights, MN

What I am calling India’s Octoberfest, unlike the Oktoberfest rooted in Bavarian culture of Germany since 1810, is a novel tradition to nurture the soul and mind of the world community and celebrate the rich culture, history, and heritage of an emerging New India. The Indian diaspora in the United States, particularly the believers in and followers of Hinduism, deserve accolade in getting more than a dozen States and communities (including Minnesota where I live and others such as New Jersey, Texas, Florida, Virginia, Washington, D.C., just to name a few) proclaim October as Hindu Heritage Month (HHM). To the best of my understanding, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA) in collaboration with numerous organizations and Hindu leaders led the successful HHM campaign. Reportedly, a serious campaign is underway to have the White House and/or the U.S. Congress to also proclaim October as the HHM. Given the excellent reputation of Indian Americans in professional, political, and financial sectors, it is only a matter of time when HHM is proclaimed nationally.

Today, on October 1, the United States community had the first ever inaugural (virtual) event to celebrate HHM covering the vastness of our heritage including more than a thousand-year-old history, art, music, and culture rooted in the true unity of diversity. One of our ancient ethos, Vasudev Kutumbakam (The World is One) was the guiding principle throughout the event. In fact, a beautifully choreographed dance titled, “One and the Same,” summed up our Heritage and History, all in one, exemplifying our progressive world view as Hindus. At the risk of being exclusive in this highly inclusive event, I cannot do without acknowledging Vindhaya Adapa for releasing her beautiful video for this very special event. Moving forward, everyone hopes that the proclamation of HHM will gain momentum and become the momentous global event.

I asked myself why October and that is how I conceived the title Octoberfest (with a “c”) alongside HHM. Historically, October is the beginning of many festivals and cultural events from the ancient times. For example, in the ancient Dharmic history of Bharat, the Navratri, the nine days of fasting and prayers, are observed by most Hindus worldwide. India’s ancient scriptures have description of Ayodhya, the birthplace of Ram, one of the revered Hindu Gods. The day he triumphed over demon king of Sri Lanka, Ravan, is celebrated as Dussehra or Vijay Dashami in October. Most communities, large and small, celebrate about two-week long Ram Leela showing the life history of Ram which is seen by tens of millions in India and elsewhere. In Independent India, October 2 is celebrated as the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of peace and non-violence. It is also the birthday of the former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, who did not live long for India to benefit from his statesmanship.

It is equally striking and fitting that everyone subscribing to Hindu way of life are recognized as Bandhus (male gender) and Bhagini (female gender) as equals on the poster. In fact, those of us celebrating Navratri pray different incarnation of Goddess Durga (signifying the women power) each night. Also, the ancient India before being invaded and deprived of Hindu heritage and culture by external forces, there was no such thing as is the need for “women empowerment” in the contemporary world. Ancient Hindu culture valued women in every sense of the word until they had to find ways to protect women dignity and honor from the barbaric invaders.

The essence of HHM is to protect, preserve, and promote Hinduism for the betterment of humanity. In the spirit of World is one family, HHM is aimed at spreading the essence of Hindutva, Hinduism, and Hindu philosophy as a way of life among all, especially non-Indians, non-Hindus, and next generation Indian Americans. We must inspire, infuse, engage, and inculcate the message of Hinduism being a very open architecture which includes spirituality, compassion, diversity, equality, and mutual respect for all.

The proclamation of HHM in the United States is also the beginning of the long-awaited recognition for the lost identity of the only surviving civilization for over 1300 years. Countless invaders and colonial rulers made all out attempts to destroy, decimate, and dismantle Hinduism and its ancient heritage, culture, history, education system. However, with our deep roots embedded in Sanatan Dharma, Hinduism not only continued to breathe, then survive for centuries, and only now it is beginning to thrive in the emerging ‘New India’ under the current political climate. It was just last week when Prime Minister Modi told the world from the podium at UNGA that based on his own experiences, “Democracy can deliver and democracy is delivering.” He was clearly speaking about India.

The speakers in the inaugural event also spoke about the recent callous and sinister efforts of holding a conference titled Dismantling Global Hindutva (DGH). By all accounts, it failed to even attract the audience because the world knows better than what the DGH was unsuccessfully preaching. Many organizations collaborating for HHM had put together another conference which was at least an order of magnitude more successful and well attended. All in all, the handful of likeminded academicians in DGH were spreading the venom against Hindus, Hinduism, and Hindutva under the cover of academic freedom. We, the Hindus, and Hindu believing friends globally must thank DGH for bringing us together and build an extraordinary momentum of collaboration, cooperation, and unity for getting Hindu culture, traditions, and heritage being acknowledged with HHM proclamations. The truth about Hinduism prevailed at the end. However, we must remain cautious and let the momentum like HHM grow because the DGH players must be seeking different avenues to attack Hinduism.

It is also important to mention that almost all other ethnic groups in the United States have had their recognition with similar proclamations. For example, the Hispanic Heritage Month has been in place as official celebration for those with ancestry traced back to Spain, Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean. Their festival lasts from September 15 to October 15 every year which had started in 1968 as just a weeklong celebration. This year, the House of Representatives also proclaimed July as the Muslim American Heritage Month. Thus, it is very fitting, appropriate, and timely that Hindus get their identity recognized for contributing to the American society. They are well represented and respected in academia, corporate world, engineering, medicine, sciences, and innovation, and now beginning to make inroads in politics.

The beauty of HHM and its inaugural event is that while dozens of organizations and communities with diverse geographical, philosophical, and religious background came as ONE, they are free to observe HHM when and how it suits them. The organizers were very clear about upholding the unity of diversity and celebrate Hindu Heritage in their own way. Based on my own experiences, however, it is predictable that common observances during HHM will include Garba (a colorful and dynamic dance form from the State of Gujarat during Navratri), the World Bindi Day on October 7, Dussehra on October 15, and the Karva Chauth observance for the long life of wedded couples on October 23. The festival dates may vary in some communities. Additionally, the communities may feature speakers discussing the virtues and values of Hinduism and ancient Sanatan Dharma, India in the 21st century, offering yoga and meditation classes as gifts of Hinduism to the global community, engagement in social causes, and raising awareness about Vasudev Kutumbakam and other ancient teachings.

It must be underscored that Hinduism has gone through many cultural genocide and spiritual jihad over centuries. The antiquity of its history and heritage is yet to be fully discovered, documented, and understood after it was incessantly dismantled for centuries. Thus, while HHM proclamations are for October, ancient Hindu culture, values, and traditions are perpetual and go far beyond, before and after, October.

October 1 in the United States was the beautiful beginning of what we all are embracing as HHM but we certainly hope there is no end to it in time and space. Hindus and believers in Hinduism irrespective of their own geographical, gender, racial, and social identity are welcome to embrace our ethos and virtues such as the World is One. As stated earlier, Hinduism is the most open way of life and our goal is not only celebrating Hindu Heritage but engaging, inspiring, and inculcating intellectual discussion on what we stand for, our Dharmic values, and belief in Karma.

Let me conclude by saying that my choice of India’s Octoberfest is not meant to distract the HHM proclamations as practiced in the U.S. traditions. The most attractive part of HHM is Hindu in it but, who knows, the communities in other parts of the world seeking and valuing diversity may find India Octoberfest (with ‘c’ and not ‘k’) more appealing. Another option may just be calling it I-FEST. What I took away from the concluding remarks is the critical need for restoring our heritage and lost history associated with Hinduism, Hindutva, and Hindu philosophy. What we call our campaign does matter but what matters more is the long overdue recognition of Hindu values whether and what they stand for.


Celebrating Hindu Heritage Month: October 2021

Source: Celebrating Hindu Heritage Month: October 2021 » Kreately | Author: Richa Gautam

The motto of the Hindu Heritage month in 2021 is Vasudev Kutumbakam a Sanskrit phrase meaning One world one family. Please register at www.Hindumonth.org and follow us on Social Media to participate.

The Hindu American population is currently estimated to be 4 million strong and is the fastest-growing immigrant group in the country. Having reached the critical mass, it naturally wants to spread its wings and build a proactive outreach. To create a broader understanding of what Hinduism stands for and what Dharma offers to the world, The World Hindu Council of America (VHPA) has partnered with various organizations in North America and aims to raise awareness and celebrate the true ethos and culture of the Hindu civilization and the Hindu American Community.

One such step is to celebrate October as Hindu Heritage Month (HHM), to highlight one of the most auspicious months in the Hindu Calendar. As many as 50 Indian American organizations have already joined hands with World Hindu Council to celebrate Hindu Heritage Month (HHM). Many more are expected to engage in the coming weeks.

“I am excited to know that the time may come when people will know Diwali and Navaratri, as well as they, know Hannukah, Christmas, and Kwaanza,” said Shreya, one of the students associated with (Hindu Student Council) HSC a participating organization.

Dr. Jai Bansal, vice president of WHC asked a valid and pertinent question. “How many times have you attended a multi-faith religious gathering, to find that the Hindu voice is conspicuous by its absence? It is our own fault as we do not share our culture enough with the world or build representation. Lack of knowledge about Hinduism will create misconceptions and leave us on the sidelines. Hence events such as HHM are vital to assimilate the growing Hindu American population into the American melting pot.”

As many Hindu Americans settle in as US citizens, they represent significant cultural diversity in the country and are a bulwark in the financial, technological, and academic worlds. Their strong family values, high educational qualification, and deep respect for the law make Hindu Americans quiet but strong contributors to the social fabric of United States.

Celebrating Hindu Heritage Month is a way to highlight the lesser-known facts about Hindu Dharma and bring out positive elements of their cultural heritage. The focus this year is to weave some unique concepts of Hinduism like The Sacred Feminine, Fasting, Sustainability, and their religious symbols such as Bindi, Tilak, Swastika, and Om.

Hindu traditions offer a year-round opportunity for celebration, fasting, sustainable living, and positive symbolism like Swastika and Om. However, these symbols are most prominently displayed during the months of Asvina & Kartik (months of the Hindu lunar calendar roughly coinciding with September and October months of the Gregorian calendar) when a series of festive occasions are celebrated, such as the 9 days of Navratri, Vijay Dashami, Karwa Chauth and Diwali.

The Sacred Feminine: The feminine as a complementary force is central to the worship of the Goddess in Hinduism. As Tagore said, “Where there is Woman, there is Magic…For women are not only the deities of the household fire but the flame of the soul itself.” The Hindu scriptures are replete with sacred verses celebrating Shakti (roughly translated as energy or motive force), an attribute considered to be feminine in Hindu tradition.

The 9-day festival of Navaratri is a women-centric celebration and highlights the important role of women as the giver and sustainer of life, including elements like a seed, water, food, and land in pre-colonized India. As such Vandana Shiva, the relentless crusader for sustainability and the right to save seeds has always maintained that women power in Asia and Africa, and their intervention in agriculture helped the Sustainability process and kept earth and air and water sacred, pure, and revered due to a sense of collective cooperative ownership. It saved the exploitative and corrupt corporate style of extraction economies. Inherent to the concept was the idea that we are keepers of the earth and its resources, not the owners.

Duty before self.

As such that idea of Dharma driven by a sense of sacrifice and service is central to ancient Hindu society unlike modern concepts of entitlement. Fasting was thus important to Hindu society. In fact, 200 days were offered as a choice for fasting, and most people fasted on certain holy days, with Navaratri being one of the key time zones for fasting. The benefits of Fasting with no food for the entire day are well known and well researched.

Swastika Finally, many Hindu organizations are keen to use this opportunity to educate people about the variously different connotations of the Swastika, which in Sanskrit means “good symbol” Swastika at one point was a universal symbol and called by various different names in various traditions and faiths. The conflation of Swastika with Hitler’s Hakenkreuz or hooked Cross is unfortunate and pervasive and causes much confusion and pain for followers of Buddhism, Hinduism Jainism, and even Native Americans and other cultures that associate Swastika with well-being, spirituality, and good fortune. Hindu Heritage Month may offer a good opportunity to host workshops that will clear these misconceptions.

The motto of the Hindu Heritage month in 2021 is Vasudev Kutumbakam a Sanskrit phrase meaning One world one family. Please register at www.Hindumonth.org and follow us on Social Media to participate.

Hindus- Through The Eyes Of Americans

Source: Hindus- Through The Eyes Of Americans » Kreately | Author: Sat Parashar

More than one hundred years back, Swami Vivekanand introduced Hindu, Hinduism and Hindustan to Americans. Americans, when addressed as “Sisters and Brothers of America” by Swami Vivekanand in 1893, tasted the unique inclusiveness of Hinduism.

In 2021, When Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, met POTUS, Joe Biden, he spelled 5Ts of US- India ties in the years ahead. The five T’s included Tradition, Talent, Technology, Trade, Trusteeship. That is and that has been Hindu, Hinduism and Hindustan (aka India, Bharat), steeped in tradition but in the forefront of change.

Indeed, Hindus through the eyes of Americans have been seen exactly the same way. The proof lies in the superlative language used in the declaration of more than one State of the United States of America, October as the Hindu Heritage Month.

Please sample (as of the day of publication):

Excerpts from the State of Florida Declaration:

“Whereas Hindu Americans have made significant contributions across all fields, including Science, education, medicine, law, Politics, business, culture, sports, and more”

“Whereas Hindu heritage, culture, traditions, and values have enriched our great State”

Excerpts from the State of Texas Declaration:

“Hinduism has contributed greatly to our State and Nation through its unique history and heritage”

Excerpts from the State of Ohio Declaration:

“Whereas, during the month of October, the culture, history, traditions, achievements and contributions of Hindus are recognized and celebrated throughout the United States, and Whereas American Hindus have made numerous positive contributions in all aspects of society, from Science to business to politics to spirituality”

Excerpts from the State of Massachusetts Declaration:

“Whereas Hindus Represent one of the newest and the fastest growing immigrant communities in the United States, backed by a rock-solid family structure and love for education, they are fully integrated into every aspect of their adopted society, and”

“Whereas the Hindu heritage, culture, traditions, and values provide invaluable solutions to many of life’s problems and often serve as a source of inspiration , reflection and contemplation for the millions of individuals who look to the teachings of Hinduism for guidance.”

Excerpts from the State of New Jersey Declaration:

“The Leaders and members of the Hindu community throughout this State are especially commended for their active participation in our cultural, political, economic and social life, as well as making profound and noteworthy contributions to our ongoing prosperity.”

Excerpts from the State of Georgia Proclamation:

“Whereas the Hindu heritage, culture, traditions, and values provide invaluable solutions to many of life’s problems and often serve as a source of inspiration , reflection and contemplation for the millions of individuals who look to the teachings of Hinduism for guidance.”

“The vibrant Hindu American Community has contributed tremendously to the vitality of the State of Georgia by enriching the lives of its citizens.”

The State of California has been, year after year, declaring October as the month of Hindu American Awareness and Appreciation Month.

It is not the first time that Hindu heritage, culture, values and contributions have been recognized and celebrated. It has been going on for many year in USA and even across the borders.