Understanding Hinduism (February 23, 2008)
Continuing in the successful and well-received format that has been established, a day-long conference devoted to Understanding Hinduism took place in February of 2008. The day started early with an optional yoga meditation session, which helped to set the focus for the program to come. Following a welcome and introduction by Dr. Nahid Angha and Dr. Harlan Stelmach, participants received an overview of Hinduism, introducing basic tenets and practices as well as some of the specialized vocabulary of this ancient tradition.
Among the other topics covered during the day were Gods and Goddesses in Hinduism, Vedanta philosophy and music in Hinduism; the audience particularly enjoyed the fact that each of the speakers brought his or her own experience as well as the topical information. The presentations on Hindu family life and practicing Hinduism in a non-Hindu milieu emphasized the reality of living in modern American society while maintaining a tradition and belief system which is sometimes at odds with prevailing values. Once again, audience comments were overwhelmingly positive, noting appreciation for the opportunity to learn from practitioners first hand in a peaceful and comfortable environment, and gaining significant understanding in a relatively short time. Many were struck by the similarities to their own spiritual practice, learning that this unfamiliar tradition is in many ways not so different.
Speakers included : Jeannie Laslo, MA, ERYT, an xperienced Registered Yoga Teacher ;Swami Vedananda, a monk of the Ramakrishna Order of India, and is associated with the Vedanta Society in San Francisco ; Swami Prabuddhananda, minister-in-charge of the Vedanta Society of Northern California in San Francisco; Ardhendu Raha, Ph.D. engineer, a music scholar well known for his service for preservation, education, and promotion of Indian music in USA; Nipun Mehta, the founder of CharityFocus.org, a fully volunteer-run organization that has delivered millions of dollars of web-related services to the nonprofit world for free; Prabha Duneja, the founder and President of Geeta Society; and Dr. Raji Ayyar MD