Hindu American Seva Charities
UtsavSeva Calendar 2011: Expanding Community Service All Year round
- Invoking Spiritual Values of Festivals through Community Service -
Washington, D.C., – Building on the success of a unique program “UtsavSeva” (FestivalSeva) launched in September to mobilize the Indian American community to perform Seva (selfless service) while invoking the essence of popular Indian festivals, Hindu American Seva has developed the full year Seva Calendar for 2011. It is a strategic initiative to bring Seva to prominence and encourage all Dharmic institutions and people of all Hindu sampradayas (congregations) to perform “UtsavSeva”, as appropriate, in the spirit of our many Utsavs (festivals) that are celebrated through out the year in every part of the world where Hindus live. This program augments the First Lady’s Let’s Move Faith and Communities initiative.
Seva is a cornerstone of Hindu philosophy of Karma Yoga as described in Bhagavad Gita and other sacred literature. Every Utsav offers us an opportunity to offer service to God through those among us who are in need: Nar Seva, Narayan Seva!
Ø In September, we celebrated Janmashtami with “YogaSeva” to honor Krishna, the great Yogi, with a Yogathon all across USA. On Remembrance Day, many temples invoked peace principle with prayers and also remembered the other 9/11: Gandhi’s nonviolence movement launch (1906), Swami Vivekananda's 1893, Chicago welcome address.
Ø In October we celebrated Navratri with “ShaktiSeva”, a focus on women’s empowerment, honoring many aspects of Devi, symbolizing feminine strength. We held a Conference call with White House Council on Women & Girls.
Ø In December we are helping Americans of other faith celebrate their favorite festivals--Christmas, Hanukkah, Muharram, Kwanza, Bodhi --by offering “SarvaDharmaSeva” while fostering interfaith respect and understanding.
“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” said Anju Bhargava, Founder of Hindu American Seva Charities. “These festivals play an important role in expressing the spiritual significance in a celebratory, joyous ways while bringing people together. Seva is an integral component of an Utsav (festival). Through the UtsavSeva initiative, Hindu American Seva Charities aims to make it a more prominent aspect of all Utsav celebrations.” she continued.
HASC is working to develop many Seva Centers in temples, ashrams, college campuses and cities all across America and is urging the community to come together to help create such Seva Centers; a social innovation. A monthly calendar of Utsavs (festivals) for the year 2011, with suggestions for multiple Seva programs that could be performed in Seva Centers each month, is enclosed. We hope that through our monthly suggestions and reminders, Hindus of all sects and Sampradayas (congregations) will be even more inspired to perform “UtsavSeva” that is appropriate in the spirit of each Utsav.
Suggestions for Seva programs include culturally oriented activities that support the President and First Lady’s “Let’s Move” challenge. Hindu American Seva Charities is partnering with Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and AmeriCorps to showcase our community’s engagement in these important national initiatives and request the community to document participation. During 2011, the goal of the “Let’s Move Faith and Communities” is to
Ø Walk a total of three million miles
Ø Complete 500,000 President’s Active Lifestyle Awards (PALAs) or establish new exercise programs (eg yoga)
Ø Host 10,000 community gardens or farmers markets at congregations/community organizations/temples
Ø Host 1,000 new summer feeding program sites at congregations or neighborhood
Hindu American Seva Charities (HASC) is a progressive organization whose mission is to advance Seva or community service and promote pluralism, interfaith dialogue, tolerance, social justice, civic engagement and sustainable activism to ignite grassroots social change and build healthy communities. HASC is a non-religious NGO formed in 2009 under the guidance of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and is a service partner with the Corporation for National and Community Service.
UtsavSeva is a unique social innovation program to mobilize the Hindu American community to serve while invoking the essence of the Hindu and Dharmic festivals, stories and philosophy.
We urge you to support our effort and send your tax deductible check or pay online through paypal at www.hinduamericanseva.org