Dont Have A Cow
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Dont Have A Cow

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Presented by Devshree Joshi and Shankar Vasudevan, Vishwaas (UNSW Hindu Society)

Presented by Devshree Joshi and Shankar Vasudevan, Vishwaas (UNSW Hindu Society)

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  • D: So as a lot of you may have experienced, being a “Hindu” society, we often get stereotyped into all kinds of things. From our experience, we’ve been called a “cult”, “exclusive”, “secular”, “spiritual” all kinds of things. We also get questions such as... From first years.Any experiences to share?SO how do we deal with this??I guess the first thing is appreciating this is an ongoing challenge, and nothing we say or do will instantly fix this issue. But what Shankar and I have tried to do as the execs is just be ourselves and talk to these people. Let them know we are just like them, and probably don’t know much more than most people and this is our way to learn and grow while giving back to others. The key is understanding this is a society like any other and we are part of a much bigger group, but in the end we are just individuals who wish to learn about our culture and have fun along the way.
  • S
  • S
  • D: I guess the essence of our problem lies in the dilemma “How do we educate others on something that we’re not entirely knowledgeable about”? So how do you be a teacher without first being a student. Different opinions and teaching have been passed down families for each member and no one can be branded as right or wrong. We don’t have a text that tells us what to do or how to run the society.And everyone has their own set of interests, so while some are keen on learning about things others might not be, so in the end we have to make a call about what goes ahead, to the best of our capabilities.
  • D: + keep discussions very much open and a place for new ideas and hear what members wantWE DO OUR RESEARCH. Shankar and I are keen on reading up about things like the Ramayana, Mahabharat and we’re looking forward to having some interactive sessions and through our research we eventually aim to educate our members. But once again, Vishwaas isn’t about coming and learning from a teacher (as we by no means are teachers) but more about learning sort of facts and understanding them through discussion.WE WANT TO SEND OUT NEWSLETTERS with upcoming festivals, etc and discussion them.GUEST SPEAKERS are important to us, and we would love to work with HYA to organise more of these sessions.And we are open to suggestions from you guys? Anyone have any ideas?
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  • D: So I guess that is OUR challenge, HOW do we apply Hinduism in our everyday lives?
  • D: Having looked at the issues we face and what we’re doing to overcome them, we will now take a holistic approach toward Hinduism. As you can see, it is more that just the worship of a cow!So if someone came up to us today and asked what Hinduism meant, this is what we would say...S: Paths to realisation in detail

Transcript

  • 1. Don’t have a cow!
    How do we portray Hinduism to the university community?
    Shankar Vasudevan & Devshree Joshi
  • 2. What is Vishwaas?
    • UNSW Hindu Society
    • 3. Formed in 2006
    • 4. Over 150 current members
    • 5. Objectives:
    • 6. To create an environment where like minded people can interact and discuss Hinduism
    • 7. To increase awareness and understanding of Hinduism, and inspire fellow youth
    • 8. To provide a platform for individuals of any religion or background to explore Hinduism in a fun, interactive and non-threatening manner
  • What we do
    Activities include:
    Weekly discussion groups
    Celebration of religious festivals such as Holi, Diwali & Navaratri
    Temple trips & Bushwalks
    Cultural events & performances
    CHYK Garba & Bhangra Night
    Cultural Night
    Vegetarian BBQs
    O-week & International night market food stalls
    Sporting events such as inter-uni cricket & soccer tournaments
  • 9. Vishwaas Productions
    Performing arts branch of Vishwaas
    Runs outside the uni-society itself
    Combines students & alumni from various universities
    www.youtube.com/vishwaasproductions
    Gandhi: The Power of One (August 1st, 2009)
    Raised $8500 for the Medical Student Aid Project (MSAP) of UNSW
    The Legend of Asoka (coming July 31st, 2010)
  • 10. Challenges we face
    Attracting new members
    Sustaining the society
    Promoting Hindu ideals & beliefs
    Balancing religious & non-religious activities
    Putting Hindu values & concepts into action
  • 11. Challenges we face
    Attracting new members
    Sustaining the society
    Promoting Hindu ideals & beliefs
    Balancing religious & non-religious activities
    Putting Hindu values & concepts into action
  • 12. Attracting new members
    Stereotypical perceptions of who we are:
    “Cult”, “Exclusive”, “Hypocritical”, “Secular”
    “I’m not really religious. Will I fit in?”
    “Why should I join? What’s in it for me?”
    How we deal with it?
    Ongoing challenge
    Talk to them & explain what we do
    Any experiences to share?
  • 13. Challenges we face
    Attracting new members
    Sustaining the society
    Promoting Hindu ideals & beliefs
    Balancing religious & non-religious activities
    Putting Hindu values & concepts into action
  • 14. Sustaining the society
    Encouraging new members to get involved
    Coming to events
    Taking an active role in the society
    Motivating existing members to continually participate in our events
    Sustaining the society financially (Uni students don’t always like to spend!)
  • 15. Sustaining the society (cont.)
    How we deal with it?
    Different avenues of promotion (email, website, FB, word-of-mouth)
    Building a network of friends
    “I’ll come to this event because my friends are coming”
    Limit costs incurred for members
    Discussion groups are free!!!
    Discounted prices for members
  • 16. Challenges we face
    Attracting new members
    Sustaining the society
    Promoting Hindu ideals & beliefs
    Balancing religious & non-religious activities
    Putting Hindu values & concepts into action
  • 17. Promoting Hindu ideals & beliefs
    How do we educate others, when we ourselves are not completely knowledgeable?
    Different opinions & teachings that have been passed down
    No set text or curriculum that we follows
    Different levels of knowledge & interest
    How do we cater to everyone
  • 18. Promoting Hindu ideals & beliefs(cont.)
    How we deal with it?
    More of a discussion than a class
    Utilise the collective knowledge of a group rather than 1 individual
    Less intimidating for a new member
    Everyone gets a chance to lead discussion
    Guest presenters (e.g. Br Gopalji from CHYK)
    We do our research, learn and pass on knowledge
    Variety of discussion topics
    Hindu concepts (Karma, Dharma), mythology (Ramayana, Mahabharata), meditation, festivals, rituals, prayers, idol worship, etc.
    Any experiences to share?
  • 19. Challenges we face
    Attracting new members
    Sustaining the society
    Promoting Hindu ideals & beliefs
    Balancing religious & non-religious activities
    Putting Hindu values & concepts into action
  • 20. Balancing religious & non-religious activities
    Digressing from our core aim as a society – Hinduism!
    Catering to all types of people and views
    Incorporating *Hinduism* into our events
    How we deal with it?
    Discussion groups are on-going since start of society
    Address *Hinduism* throughout our events (Diwali) & discussion groups (Holi)
  • 21. Challenges we face
    Attracting new members
    Sustaining the society
    Promoting Hindu ideals & beliefs
    Balancing religious & non-religious activities
    Putting Hindu values & concepts into action
  • 22. Putting Hindu values & concepts into action
    Finding ways of applying Hinduism in today’s world
    How we deal with it?
    Widespread issue (beyond Vishwaas alone)
    Find effective ways to incorporate rituals into our events
    Volunteer work – help everywhere we can (Help at the Temple, soup kitchens)
    Charity work – give back to the community (Vishwaas Productions and Vishwaas Foundation)
    Dealing with people and situations
    Any experiences to share?
  • 23. Hinduism: Taking a holistic approach
    As Hindu youths today:
    Set of values and beliefs
    A rich & vibrant culture
    A way of life
    A set of principle guiding us in how we live and behave
    Path of realisation:
  • 24. Looking ahead
    Continue the growth of Vishwaas every year
    Keep the core of our activities focused on Hinduism and Hindu culture
    Learn, share, educate and grow
    Help our in every way we can: as students, alumni and members of the community
    With HYA: Organise interactive sessions & forums with other uni Hindu societies
    With HYA: Help us teach the others – day where we learn about Indian mythologies & the meaning of our festivals.
  • 25. Questions & comments
    Thank you! 