Where: Kelang, Selangor State, Malaysia. Pop. 113,000. 7% Hindu.
Name: Saiva Siddhanta Church Kelang Mission
When: Begun January 12, 1986
Movers & Shakers: Assiriyar A. Krishnan; Assiriyai Radha Krishnan.
Major Activities: Sadhana Camp for teenagers, teaching programs for Hindu children in Christian schools, Saiva Siddhanta classes, publications.
This mission is noted for its very active teaching program - actually hundreds of children and adults are participating in one program or another: Saiva Siddhanta Classes, Sadhana Camp or the school Friday programs.
The 2nd annual Sadhana Camp was hold by Kelang Mission Dec. 4th to 7th at the Sri Pantai beach resort in Morib. Fifty Saivite youths attended the strenuous four-day program, arising every morning by 5:30 am. Their study encompassed temple worship, home puja, yoga asanas, meditation, devarams, bhajan, Saiva Siddhanta philosophy and ethics, such as respect for elders and teachers. Leadership training and first aid instruction complemented the religious work. Their mission report gives the spirit of the event: "On the third day of the Camp a campfire was held at night, where the participants sat around the fire in a circle, under the moonlight singing bhajans in praise of our mahadevas and Lord Siva. This was a beautiful experience for them because while singing all their thoughts were focused on the song and God, making them forget themselves." This very successful program at Sri Pantai is schedule to dovetail with December's India Odyssey Pilgrimage to allow Gurudeva to participate.
In Hindu Solidarity, they performed bhajan in "carolling" fashion. Deepavali is a national holiday in Malaysia, a time when Hindus invite all their friends, Hindu and non-Hindu alike, to celebrate with them. Other major festival activities included a five temple Maha Sivaratri pilgrimage arranged in conjunction with the Kepong Mission.
In a bold outreach program, members of this mission have succeeded at setting up Friday classes for Hindus attending Christian schools. One teacher, Mariappan, at the Catholic LaSalle Boy's School has 100 of the 150 Hindu boys in the school attending his class. The classes at a Protestant girl's school involve 40 Hindu girls. There is considerable opposition within that school - so much that we can't mention the people involved. This shows that though such classes are required by government regulations if 15 Hindu children request one, in practice getting them going is difficult. But media pressure resulted in those two classes with a total of 140 Hindu boys and girls. These schools were giving Christian training to their Hindu students in contravention of the law - the school coached students to not tell their parents what was happening!
Mission members have established a hospital visitation program, giving out vibuthi packets and consoling patients on a fortnightly basis. Also going is a dynamic Jnana Dhana program of giving out free pamphlets, plus future plans for a number of Church publications.
1987-88 promises to be a great year for this busy teaching Church in Kelang.