• Magazine Web Edition
  • January/February/March 2014
  • Indonesia: Summit Convenes in Hindu Bali
  • Indonesia: Summit Convenes in Hindu Bali

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    RAJIV MALIK

    Bali lays out the red carpet: Puja is performed as the delegates stand in the conference hall
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    INDONESIA

    Summit Convenes in Hindu Bali

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    Leaders from 21 countries joined their Balinese counterparts to cope effectively with the knotty problems facing Hindus around the world

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    REPORTED BY RAJIV MALIK FROM BALI

    AT THE WORLD HINDU SUMMIT II, held in Bali from June 13 to 17, 2013, foreign delegates convened with hundreds more from the island itself to ratify the founding of two institutions: the World Hindu Parisad and the World Hindu Centre. Both entities were foreseen in the Bali Charter adopted at the World Hindu Summit I, held here in 2012. The Parisad is tasked with reinforcing Hinduism worldwide, unifying Hindu communities across the globe and working with governments to help overcome challenges faced by Hindus, both today and in the future. It will be headquartered at the World Hindu Centre, which will be built on land provided by the Balinese government.

    Over one thousand participants attended the Summit opening at the Samuan Tiga Temple. The event was graced by Indonesia’s Minister of Religion, Surya Darma Ali, and other local officials. The opening ceremonies included Balinese music, dance and drama. Since the Summit had been scheduled at the commencement of the month-long Bali Arts Festival, quality entertainment and food were more than abundant. In fact, the foreign delegates were overwhelmed with traditional Balinese hospitality from the moment they arrived at this island paradise.

    June 14 was a working session to outline the functions of the new organizations and receive advice from prominent Hindu religious leaders. Swami Vigyanand of the VHP spoke first, addressing the spector of conversion facing Hindu society in every nation. He warned against complacency in the face of this existential threat.

    Swami Paramatmananda of the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha of India expanded on the same issue, pointing out that the proselytizing religions have adopted modern methods. Here in Bali, he said, Muslim businessmen have mostly taken over the local economy, weakening the position of Hindus. He observed that other religions are well organized, but Hindus tend to work individually—therefore, the kind of organization proposed at the conference is clearly needed. He later told HINDUISM TODAY’S reporter, “Hindus have to make themselves strong first in Bali and then slowly proceed towards taking on the problems of the world.”

    Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, participating by video, said, “Among the religious faiths, the philosophy of Hinduism is one of the richest, broadest and most progressive. It has to be brought forth in its truest essence.”

    At day’s end, a formal declaration establishing the World Hindu Parisad and the World Hindu Centre was ratified by the delegates. Ida Pedanda Gede Ketut Sebali Tianyar Arimbawa was selected as president of the World Hindu Parisad, and Prof. I Made Bakta was appointed its secretary general. They are now tasked with creating the structure of the organization and enlisting capable persons to manage the affairs (visit worldhinduparisad.org).

    The third and fourth days were devoted to addressing specific topics. Speakers included Major General Kulwant Singh on ending war, B. Gupta of India on challenges facing global Hinduism, and John Hagelin of Maharishi University in the US on Vedic science. Several presentations were made on women’s issues. Sivanandini Duraiswamy of Sri Lanka spoke on her work with women through the Hindu Council of Sri Lanka to recover from the decades-long civil war.

    The event concluded with a grand dinner at which the Governor of Bali, Made Mangku Pastika, expressed his support for the nascent organizations. He shared that Bali has a strategic role to play in steering the direction of Hinduism in the decades ahead.

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    COURTSEY WORLD HINDU PARISAD

    Blessings for the conference are sought at Gowa Lawah Temple
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    RAJIV MALIK

    Rishi Vidhyadhar of The Art of Living is greeted in the opening ceremonies
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    RAJIV MALIK

    A traditional Balinese gamelan orchestra at the opening ceremonies
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    RAJIV MALIK

    Swami Parmatmananda Saraswati, General Secretary, Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha
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    RAJIV MALIK

    This delegate is likely a member of the Royal Family in Center Java
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    RAJIV MALIK

    Dr. Swami Muktananda Puri of Rajasthan (left) shares a laugh with Mahamandaleshwar Priyabrat Brahmachari Mahatirth of Bangladesh
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    COURTSEY WORLD HINDU PARISAD

    One of the elegant vegetarian meals provided
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