Dear Sevaks, Friends and Partners,
The White House Council report’s chapter on Interfaith Collaboration, which we co-authored, called for recognition of the needs of America’s cultural and religious diversity. Recently, on July 14th, the White House identified major progress on Council recommendations http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/07/14/major-progress-council-recommendations including activities we are participating in:
· Advancing interfaith and community service in colleges and campuses and selected communities. (HASC assisted the White House expand outreach to diverse Dharmic groups).
· Providing support in response to our need for assistance (particularly as the New American) in developing our capacity to serve our community and the community at large through our faith-based institutions, our temples, gurudwaras, etal.
· Training session hosted by USAID with HASC to educate the Indian American community as our community noted that we were ready to serve internationally, but did not know how.
We are at the next stage of our development and need community support to advance it. We invite you, in the temples and ashrams, to host and participate in the Yogathon, an exciting new nationally coordinated seva initiative to support the United We Serve initiative – Let’s Read, Let’s Move. Consequently we will hold a proud light to the traditions and seva capacity for America to recognize. We suggest you have an open house at the temples that day. We know Yoga is beyond asanas as is commonly understood in the U.S. Yoga is an integral part of our tradition and our sadhana, the practice of Hinduism. Let us on this September 11th, the National Day of Remembrance, pray in our tradition while we observe Ganesh Chaturthi (removal of obstacles), and also highlight Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyagraha launch, a focus on the non-violence movement.
Open your doors to both Indian and non-Indian community at large and invite them to experience Hinduism first hand in an interfaith setting. Activities could include introductory information sessions on basic Hindu philosophy, yoga, ayurveda, health, and meditation. Join us in showing the community what a temple looks like, and revitalizing its role as a center of seva and religious discovery. Introduce your temple to the community, explain yoga and its connection with Hindu thought, philosophy and tradition, and have a workshop on yog-asanas.
HASC and its partners will provide support in the form of information, yoga teacher volunteers and other vital assistance to make sure that each temple has what it needs to provide its guests with a meaningful experience. Our nationwide event will be promoted by various channels including the Corporation for National and Community Service. We hope you and your temple community will join us in making this initiative a success!
We will work with the community to
1. Conduct a Yogathon in our temples and ashrams, focused n the youth, accompanied by adults, in a national coordinated event on Sunday August 29th from 1pm to 3pm. (Art of Living yoga teachers will be available to teach at no cost. We have also invited others to provide volunteery teachers. We will provide talking points for helping the “guests” understand Yoga. More details to follow).
2. Hold a prayer or puja service on September 11th in our temples nationwide for the national day of remembrance as well as to highlight Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyagraha movement launched in 1906; an observation of non-violence.
3. We can now have a lasting impact. We have three highly qualified individuals from our community scheduled to start from August 2nd: Dr. Kumud Sane (recently retired physician in Minnesota), Niki Shah (domestic policy and foreign policy issues to foster inter-cultural communication and understanding) and Rema Venkatsubban (active in temple, cultural, interfaith communities), who have stepped forward to work, full time for a year, as Americorps members, to accomplish the following:
· Advance interfaith and community service in colleges and campuses
· Work with temples and ashrams to develop seva centers to serve all (thereby promoting interfaith)
· Augment the existing support provided to Bhutanese refugees and other under-privileged communities.
Last summer, you participated in the first national faith-based seva effort, part of the United We Serve campaign and we reported over 1,300 seva projects around the country. The analysis of HASC‘s Call to Serve effort led to a series of recommendations, which the Council agreed to and included in the report presented to President Obama on March 9th. Because of the seva work YOU accomplished and reported, our voice was heard.
We personally met and handed HASC’s report to President Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretary Clinton, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, USAID Administrator Raj Shah, India Mission Head Erin Soto, White House Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnership Executive Director Joshua DuBois and all the Council members, White House Social Innovation Director Sonal Shah, Ambassador Bagley, Ambassador Roehmer, senior administration officials, state officials and major Dharmic spiritual leaders such as Dalai Lama, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Swami Adveshanand Giri, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Mata Amritanandamayi, Baba Ramdev, Morari Bapu, Rameshbhai Oza, Swami Chidanand Saraswati, Swami Agnivesh, Swami Shantanand, Swami Bodhinatha, Paramacharya Palaniswami, Swamini Pramananda Saraswati, Swami Parmarthananda, Anuttama Dasa, our Seva partners, dignitaries and others. We have apprised Pramukh Swami Maharaj, Dada Vaswani, Sahibji , Swami Tejomayanand, Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swami, Swami Tadatmananda, Dr. Pranav Pandya, Gurudev Nityananda, President Abdul Kalaam and many others as well. All unanimously support our faith based Dharmic Seva.
HASC is now undertaking a comprehensive initiative to strengthen Dharmic capacity building and leverage the talents and resources of the community to in turn, strengthen America. HASC’s effort is focused on implementing the recommendations in partnership with the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships; the AmeriCorps Vista program; Points of Light; Interfaith works and others.
Let us keep the seva momentum and movement going and create a new paradigm of Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation: A New Faith-based Approach to Civic Engagement. Let us begin a tribute to the Life & Legacy of Mahatma Gandhi on his 141st Birth and 104th Satyagraha Anniversary by promoting the philosophies of non-violence, community selfless service and social justice.
Your help is needed to take the seva movement forward now. We need financial support to implement the effort. Can we count on your support and can you please contact your network of friends and organizations to get us the financial commitments we need so we can proceed? Donations are tax deductible. Please contact Hindu American Seva Charities at HASevaUSA@gmail.com to support our Americorp members and to host a Yogathon event at your temples.
Anju Bhargava: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ved Chaudhary Ved.email@example.com
Shekar Narasimhan Shekar@beekmanadvisors.com
Dr. Siva Subramanian Doc4baby@aol.com
Bawa Jain firstname.lastname@example.org
Checks Payable to: Hindu American Seva Charities (a registered 501 (3) c not-for-profit organization)
118 Route 9 North #123, Englishtown, NJ 07726 or 53 Trocha Avenue, Livingston, NJ07039
Yogathon transformed into YogaSeva > Yogathon August 2010 - United We Serve-Let's Read, Let's Move >