Manava Sevaye Madhava Seva: Toledo Case Study - Dr. Sudershan Pasupuleti (s06a-1)Presentation Transcript
Session 6a Social Services – Hallmark of Hindus Manava Sevaye Madhava Seva: Toledo Case Study Dr. Sudershan Pasupuleti Hindu Temple Of Toledo September 11-13, 2009
Manava Sevaye Madhava Seva
“ The Lord dwells in the hearts of all beings , O, Arjuna, causing them by his illusive power, to revolve, in accordance with their nature, as if they are mounted on a wheel of the body.” --- Bhagwad Gita.
Therefore, helping (serving) other human beings ( Manava Seva ) is a way of serving and worshipping God ( Madhava Seva).
In other words, any service to Jeevatma is service to Paramatma (Narayana), hence it is Narayana Seva .
When one gives of oneself in a spirit of Dana , one is not only relieving the suffering of another , but engaging in an act of spiritual self-upliftment ( renunciation of selfish attachments).
Religion a powerful influence in life, isn’t it?
I keep asking one question to myself:
Why am I the way I am today?
One thing clear in my mind is my upbringing in a “Hindu Family”.
I am not an expert in Hindu religious scriptures to quote and elaborate on what Vedas, Puranas, Bhagwad Gita, Ramayana, Mahabharata, etc. say but I learned through my socialization and practice of Hindu faith.
Hindu religion is rich in philosophy that guides our life on day-to-day basis. The following quotes from the scriptures reflect a gist of that rich philosophy and how Hindu religion views service/charity.
The scriptures underscored the importance of Seva/Service to mankind:
through dāna (charitable giving),
not only for the betterment of the lives of those suffering, and
but also for the giver's own spiritual well being.
Hindu Dharma Emphasizes….. Our context
Service to our faith community and service to larger community is --- service to mankind.
We, as a community, are very engaged with our community we live in by contributing to various ongoing social and outreach activities in the city.
The Hindu community is active with 450 families (about 2500 population) within and outside.
Our larger community is Toledo, a medium-sized city with 300,000 population.
It is pretty diverse community in both ethnic and religious respects.
The town is confronted with unemployment, crime, school drop outs, abused and custody children, homelessness, and health disparities.
Types of Service/Seva Activities
Our service/seva activities I see in two categories:
1. Service to our faith community members
2. Service to larger community we live in
Our service activities within our community include :
Helping elderly persons (giving rides to attend temple, special arrangements for worship and Lord dharshan, and serving food, etc).
Community lunch on every Sunday after religious service.
Organizing pilgrimages and tours for elders and youngsters
Organizing educational service and camps for community children
Celebration of festivals and cultural and social events
Visits and potlucks for community building
Helping new families in move-in and move-out process
Providing assistance (financial and in-kind) in fire, storm, etc.
Visiting our members when they are sick and offering support
Manava Sevaye Madhava Seva through Hindu Community to Toledo Community (1)
Feeding the homeless
preparing and feeding about 60 persons on every Sunday morning.
Giving gifts and clothes to Displaced Children
to celebrate Christmas.
Feeding homeless families with children
during the “Thanks Giving times.
Fundraising and donating nonperishable food items
for Northwest Ohio Food Bank to ensure food supply to soup kitchen in the town.
“ Interfaith Hunger Awareness Event”
sponsor, support, and participate in every year.
Interfaith Blood Drive
helping in in the community.
Volunteering for Service Organizations including Metro Parks, Zoo, etc.
Donated more than 1000 hours a year.
Scholarships to college-bound high school students.
Two temple and one in collaboration.
Manava Sevaye Madhava Seva through Hindu Community to Toledo Community (2)
“ Habitat for Humanity ”
Sponsor, support, participate in build program through Multi Faith Council of Northwest Ohio.
fundraising for families in crisis
Organize for natural calamities, other difficult situations in local community and in India.
“ Free Medical Screening and Counseling Camps”
Organize for homeless people.
Annual fundraising event for ASHA
Organize for India projects.
“ Faith Gardening Program”
Participating in to increase Seva opportunities for children and elders” on the temple premises and donate food to Food Bank and soup kitchens.
Time and Effort
Annually several thousands of dollars and hours of time contributed by community for charity and in service of others.
Starting an elective course, annual lecture and workshops on Hinduism in collaboration with The University of Toledo.
Starting from 2009-10 year
Insights from our experience…
Since we see God in every human being, our view of service should be free from any egoism, attachment, and expectation.
Treat human person with dignity and kindness.
Encourage men and women to be service-oriented, serving the humanity in crisis and need is considered greatest virtue in Hindu tradition.
Since what we do is learned by our children, parents and grand parents need to be role models for our children.
Building our community through our service activities is a great way; please try to create more opportunities for bringing our community together for a cause.
Undertake incremental steps to initiate and institute Seva activities because they build and reflect the character of our community.
“ Sarve Jana Sukhino Bhavanthu! Sarve Jana Sukhino Bhavanthu! Sarve Jana Sukhino Bhavanthu!
Om Shanti Hi… Shanti Hi… Shanti Hi.
Backup - Other Quotes from Scriptures (translated)
“ There is none other who does great good than the one who removes the hunger of those in a difficult situation, helpless, weak, and disturbed”. - Mahabharata XIII.59.11.
“ He who feeds a stranger and tired traveler with joy attains infinite religious merit.” - Mahabharata XIII.7.7
“ Acts of sacrifice, charity and austerity should not be abandoned, but should be performed because sacrifice, charity and austerity are the purifiers of the wise”, - Bhagwad Gita 10.5.
“ Even for the ill-minded, a fondness of giving makes one feel great.”
- Ramayana II.
“ Help, support, charity, gifts, protection, and rescue are all virtues that embody the grace of God.” - Ramayana II.
“ Of the divisions in one’s moral duties, sacrifice, study, and charity form the first.” - Chandogya Upanishad.
“ Give. Give with faith. Do not give without faith. Give with sensitivity. Give with a feeling of abundance. Give with right understanding.” - Taittriya Upanishad.