India-West Staff Reporter
A landmark event organized by Warmadewa University’s Pasemetonan Mahasisya Hindu Dharma – the local Hindu Students’ Organization – brought together Hindu youth leaders from around the world to celebrate Hindu values and mark the announcement of the theme for Hindu Heritage Month to be held in October 2023.
Commenting on the event, Dr. Jai Bansal, the VP of Education of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America and the global coordinator for Hindu Heritage Month, said the aim of the Hindu Heritage Month is to showcase the diversity and richness of Hindu civilization, which the event had beautifully projected on the world stage.
The event adopted a hybrid format, attracting hundreds of attendees, including global virtual participants, Balinese students, academics, and, notably, students from the US who were in Bali to study Sanskrit through a collaborative program with Samskrita Bharati, a Delhi-based nonprofit.
The program commenced with a Rig Vedic invocation by Ida Bhagawan Yogananda, followed by the playing of Indonesia’s national anthem and Warmadewa University’s anthem (Sapta Bayu), symbolizing the unity of Indonesian Hindus with their motherland.
The program featured a panel discussion featuring eight speakers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, India, and the United States. The speakers explored Hindu values that have united the global Hindu community across millennia and continents, fostering valuable contributions in diverse fields, including spirituality and politics.
A significant aspect of the event was the opportunity for attendees to experience the rich culture of Bali. Balinese students showcased a variety of traditional dances characterized by intricate mudras (poses) and rasas (expressions), akin to classical Indian dances like Kathak and Bharatnatyam. The event included a captivating demonstration of traditional Buddhist martial arts. There was also an opportunity for everyone to reflect on the Hindu concept of “Ekam Sat Vipra Bahudha Vadanti” – stated in Balinese scriptures as “Siwa Buddha Sama.” The ancient Upanishadic saying means one God is worshipped in different names.
A highlight of the event was the International Shloka Competition, where participants aged 6 to 23 recited verses from the Bhagavad Gita in both traditional Indic and Balinese styles.