One-sixth of Oman's 3,000 Hindus came on each to ten consecutive days from July 1-10 to receive the special darshan of the dedicated sannyasin, Swami Paramanand Bharati. It's often a challenge for Hindus in non-Hindu nations to maintain a good understanding and practice of their religion. Swamiji spent many years as an accomplished teacher prior to becoming an exemplar sannyasin, and his talents were put to good use, explaining with crystal clarity the Hindu heritage, including the existence of God, the aim of life, the theory of rebirth and the origin of the Vedas and Vedanta.

Swami Bharati is one of a new breed of sannyasins who travel worldwide to promote Hindu causes. For such outreach work, he was named Hindu of the year in 1990. He drew international attention when he led hundreds of the world's spiritual, scientific and political leaders, including Mikhail Gorbachev, in chanting the sacred Sanskrit mantram AUM three times in Moscow's Kremlin during the Global Fourm for World Peace in 1990. The Soviet Union has since disappeared, but reverberations of AUM continue to resound wherever Swamiji travels.

Oman is Muslim monarchy facing the Arabian sea. It has a population of nearly one million. Muslim-ruled countries are not often known for their religious tolerance, yet Oman is an exception. Oman's Sultan in the early 1800's was a practical man who opted to cater to the needs of wealthy Hindu traders who sailed there with ships full of Indian goods. He even built a Shiva temple for them on the palace grounds which still stands today. The parent Sultan, His Majesty, Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, is equally hospitable in seeing to the needs of Hindus who have settled there.

Article copyright Himalayan Academy.