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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