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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat represented at Hindu Mandir Executive Conference 2012!

Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat, the worldwide mission of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj, represented at Hindu Mandir Executive Conference 2012!
(Re-blogged from www.RadhaMadhavDham.org/blog)

Swami Nikhilanand, sanyasi disciple and pracharak of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj at HMEC 2012

360 delegates from 95 Hindu Mandirs and Hindu organizations gathered for the 7th annual Hindu Mandir Executive Conference (HMEC) in San Jose, CA on August 17 and 18, in a spirit of friendship. “It feels so good to be cooperating and helping each other instead of viewing each other as competitors,” expressed one of the representatives. There are more than 600 Hindu Temples in North America – when you put it all together, that's a vast amount of experience and resources. HMEC gives Hindu Temples a chance to pool that experience and come up with solutions to common problems, and support every Temple’s goal of perpetuating Hinduism’s message to Indians living in America.

The focus of this year's conference was on how Temples can be more effective tools in passing on the teachings of Hinduism to the next generation of young Hindus in America. Representing Radha Madhav Dham, Swami Nikhilanand, a sanyasi disciple and pracharak of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj, shared his experiences and observations from having visited hundreds of Temples in his last 10 years of preaching across the U.S.

First and foremost, let us all put our efforts in giving kids good, lasting memories when they visit the Temples, whether that is done through teaching traditional music or dance at the Temple, or by creating a fun experience for them during the festivals and celebrations. Even if they never progress beyond that initial phase, at least they will have a positive outlook towards Hinduism.

Working from this base...

he explained further,

...the youth can be invited to participate in ongoing religion classes where they will learn the basic principals of Hinduism. There are many Temples that have established successful educational programs, and we can learn from them what the most important common elements are.

When asked,

What is the one most important thing teachers should keep in mind when addressing a youth class on Hinduism?

Swami Nikhilanand, sanyasi pracharak of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj answered,

Don't be afraid to say 'I don't know'. If someone asks a question you don't know how to answer, do not give the traditional answer 'that's just the way it is'. Tell them that you don't know and that you'll be happy to help them find the answer.

He also went on to caution,

Please don't just send them online to find the answer, because then they'll only know what Wikipedia says. Talk to a real person.

Then, indicating the 14 Mahatmas and Pandits who had joined the conference from various organizations, he concluded,

Make use of our extensive human resources – get in touch with one of these great sources of knowledge.

At the 2010 HMEC, Swami Nikhilanand gave the keynote speech, All Religions Are Not The Same, a summary of which was published by a leading spiritual magazine in the U.S. (Hinduism Today).

HMEC, in the recent past, has successfully laid the groundwork for several networking groups such as the Coalition of Hindu Youth – formed after the 2009 HMEC to provide a forum for Hindus between the ages of 13 and 35 to share ideas on common issues (www.chynetwork.org); and the Bal Vihar Network – formed after the 2010 HMEC to provide a means for the leaders of the different educational programs at Temples across North America to share ideas (www.chynetwork.org/index.php/bvnetwork/). At the 2011 HMEC, the idea for a Hindu Pandits Conference (HMPC) was put forth.

This year, the very first HMPC happened in Pittsburgh, PA. The conference was arranged to encourage Pandits to come up with ways to better relate to their congregations, especially the youth. They worked to develop communication tools that would allow Pandits to connect with the people visiting Temples, and make their experience of coming to a Temple a more personal and understandable experience. This year's HMEC was hosted by the Fremont Hindu Temple of California. The conference, held in a different city every year, is an initiative by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America. This year, the event concluded on Sunday, August 19, with the annual India Day parade in Fremont, CA, where over 80,000 people gathered to celebrate India's independence. For more information on HMEC, visit www.myhmec.org

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