The first weekend of August was a busy schedule for Hindus of Bhutanese community in Louisville thanks to the three days religious event of preaching, lecturing and discussion on basic tenets of Hindu philosophy, alongside the rituals of Shrimad Bhagawat Puran and other religious texts.
In the big hall of Freedom Adult daycare, a raised makeshift platform was well decorated by colorful drapes, silk robes and photographs of respective Hindu deities, gurus of Kirat, Manav dharma, Lord Buddha and infront sat the eighteen puranas visibly captioned each.
The religious congregation hosted jointly by Bhutanese American Hindu Society (BAHS) based in Louisville and Global Bhutanese Hindu Organization (GBHO) aimed at raising funds to support Nepali language classes run by BAHS.
For three days, August 3-5, devotees thronged to the facility of adult day health care located at 4511 Bardstown road to listen to the sermon of some distinguished religious gurus including Puroshottam Sapkota, former host of Dharmik karyakram at Radio Nepal.
The first day opened with kalash yaatra, offering of prayers and lighting diyo by all religious groups- Manav Dharma, Kirat and Buddhist – included in Omkar spectrum of eastern faith. Swami Chakrapani Prapanna (Sita Ram Adhikari) led the sermon. Dr. Laxmi Narayan Dhakal, a noted linguistic activist delivered his lecture on the ways to promote use of Nepali language and its pedagogy.
The second day was marked by presence of pundits, young and old, from across the states. Most remarkable was Pundit Mohananda Ghimirey’s explanation of practical aspects of Bhagawat Geeta, its implication on the lives of modern human being, the power of Geeta knowledge continuing to influence people’s actions.
Pundit Bedanidhi Subedi and Pundit Purushottam Sapkota highlighted on more philosophical underpinnings of Shrimad Bhagawat Puran relating to various anecdotes described in those holy texts.
The sermon on third day by Pundit Arjun Shankar produced vibration of inclusive nature of Hindu Philosophy not merely within the sects of Hinduism but advocating on universal brotherhood across religions. According to him, some superficial explanations of Bhagawat Puran and Bhagawat Geeta has created fissures within the society; that division does not have any basis to rely on.
In a closed door conversation with BNS, the organizers claimed that this was the first ever kind of inclusive Hindu religious sermon among Bhutanese community. Bishnu Pokhrel, president of BAHS is satisfied that it worked well, all volunteers worked hand in glove and no untoward incident occurred.
In the same conversation, Buddha Subedi, secretary of BAHS enlisted plans to operate the Nepali language class with more inputs of materials and incentive to the volunteers. He, however, did not mention the ways and methods to be used for improvement of language learning. According to him, manuals will be developed for the volunteer teachers, every penny raised will be used only for operating the classes.
Both Buddha and Bishnu claimed that the class is open to everyone whether to learn just the language or learn cultural and religious components of Hinduism.
“We have been talking to all sections and head of ethnic groups to send their children to class, purely for learning Nepali language but not for other cultural training,” Bishnu emphasized.
GBHO handed over a check of 5000 dollars to BAHS for this noble endeavor of running Nepali class. GBHO president Kamal Dhimal was optimistic about the change of socio-cultural attitude and behaviour of many people of Bhutanese descent. “So many anomalies of cultural affair prevails, we need to correct this, which otherwise will cause harm to our societal bond. It is however not a radical change of society akin to left ideology but reinventing the unbiased principles and colorful fabric of vedic knowledge,” he said to BNS.
“We are very much exalted and encouraged by the success of this inclusive religious event, so we are going to handover research materials to young people to find more truth of Hindu scriptures and teachings of vedas or geeta. That will definitely encourage our younger folks to be the torch bearer of cultural and religious traditions we have lived through ages.”
Had it not been the Yoga session led by Ghanashyam Regmi and his brothers on 4th and 5th, there would not have been so much energy among those elderly attendees for digesting the hot humid languor of ninety degrees temperature.
The congregation concluded almost one and half hour later than stipulated time with appreciation certificates and saffron shawls to all volunteers, dancers and management team members. Auspicious lakh baati (one hundred thousand cotton wicks) was lighted wishing for global peace and harmony among all human beings.
GBHO president Kamal Dhimal announced a donation of five thousand dollars to BAHS in his concluding address to the congregation.
Cars and vans packed with religious singing and music groups poured in from Pittsburgh, Columbus and Reynoldsburg of Ohio, Nashville TN, Cincinnati and St.Louis, Missouri.
The excellent quality of the sound system provided by Raju Rasaily and his dedicated volunteer work all three days made the event lively.
Food was prepared and served on the venue with bulk of the materials donated by individuals and Nepali and Bhutanese businesses in Louisville.