A Hindu temple is a place where visitors are invited to walk whatever path they choose towards the divine. All that is asked of the Hindu is cleanliness of body, thought, and spirit within the temple, and the acceptance of all paths to God as equally valid.
On August 30, participants in the Exploring our Religious Landscapes program will have a unique opportunity to learn about Hinduism at the Sri Venkateswara Hindu Temple in Novi. After shedding their shoes at the door, a tradition originating in dusty India to maintain the cleanliness of the temple, visitors will be invited in to learn about the theology of the 10,000-year-old religion and the cultural traditions associated with it.
Hindu philosophy, recorded in the ancient Sanskrit language in the Bhagvad Gita scriptures, holds that there is one god, and that god expresses itself in many manifestations. Worshippers direct offerings and prayers to whichever manifestation or deity inspires them, praying to the deity like a family member, often offering food to the deity before partaking, seeking a path of universal peace and individual connection to the divine.
It is, according to ERL presenter Chandru Acharya, “like a buffet where you have all kinds of teachings about the creator and the creation and the connection between the two.”
Each person’s path and personal prayer in Hinduism is unique, but visitors will have the opportunity to hear and participate in the Sanskrit chants that bring people together in Hindu prayer, and learn about their meaning.
The Sri Venkateswara Temple is both a religious and a cultural center, emphasizing the value of seva or service, teaching Indian culture, religious festivals and rituals, and promoting understanding and spiritual growth. And the volunteers at the temple are looking forward to creating an opportunity for participants to enjoy a traditional vegetarian Indian meal, experience Indian forms of dance that may include depictions of stories from scriptures presented in the art form – Bharat Natyam or a collective dance of celebration called Garba.
This special experience will include an explanation of yoga and may include a yoga session. Yoga is a Sanskrit word that means “to unite with the divine.” The Bhagvad Gita describes yoga as a practice to balance the mind, an approach to life, and a means to universal peace.
Please join us for the whole series, which includes:
The Jain Temple of Farmington Hills: Tuesday, September 27th– 29278 12 Mile Road, Farmington Hills
The First Church of Christ, Scientist: Tuesday, November 1st– 191 North Chester Street, Birmingham
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Tuesday, November 29th, 37425 Woodward Ave, Bloomfield Hills