Chennai: The thing about Hindu spiritualism is that good deeds done by organisations are rarely showcased in public domain. In reality, there is an unbelievable amount of charity work done by them. And a visit to the ongoing Hindu Spiritual and Service Fair at AM Jain College, Meenambakkam, shows that in ample measure.
More than 400 stalls have been set up by religious centres from across the country. A total of 12 lakh peoples have already visited the fair this year (which concludes later today). It is organised jointly by Moral and Cultural Training Foundation (IMCTF) and Hindu Spiritual and Service Foundation.
WHY THE EXPO?
Eminent commentator on social, political and economic issues and one of the key figures behind the Hindu Fair, S Gurumurthy said,”the seeds of the fair were sown way back in 2005 on foreign soil. It was there in the United States”, he recalled, several members of the Indian Diaspora reported a misunderstanding about Hindu spiritualism, that it wasn’t compassionate towards the sufferings of the poor.
“Hence, we planned such a fair to tell the world the good deeds carried out by Hindus silently,” he added.
FOCUS ON STUDENTS
The fair focusses on educating children about the need to protects forests and wildlife, preserving ecology, inculcating family and human values, respect towards women and promoting patriotism.
Also the need to revive traditional games of India were the theme this year. Over 1,000 competitions in about 180 traditional games were conducted in which thousands of school children participated.
HEALTH IS WEALTH
Even before the advent of Allopathy system of medicine, Hindus had their own indigineous methods to treat diseases. They were on display at the fair this time. Herbal and Siddha medicines, traditional food items, a ‘Pathanjali’ stall with their brand of noodles, corn flakes, biscuits and energy bars saw huge crowd.
Another stall offered an alternative form of treatment called ‘Nadi Pareeksha’. “Based on one’s dhosha – vata, pitta and kapha – we prescribe changes in food habits and lifestyle”, said Rajesh S, a Siddha physician.
RARE LITERATURE ON DISPLAY
Literature pertaining to Hindu Dharma were available under one roof at the stalls, at affordable cost. “We sell them at cheaper rates. For us it is not about making money, but ensure the people get to read the great works which lays a path for them to live a good life”, says Kannan , a publisher.
Mahabharathm, Ramayana, Bhagwad Geeta in various languages, works of Swami Chinmayananda, English and Tamil commentaries of various works by Seers like Sankaracharya, Madvacharya, Raghavendra are offered at discounted rates.
OF HINDU CRAFTMANSHIP
“The epitome of Hindu culture is excellent craftsmenship”, says Ramamurthy, who has put a stall replicating ancient temples of India. The stall has replicas of the presiding deities of various shrines including Somnath, Kanchipuram Kamakshi temple, Vellore Golden temple,
Triplicane Parathsarathy temple, Lord Bhairavar from Erode district, Mata Amritanandamayi’s Math among others.
The wax statute of Kanchi acharya Maha Periyava is a big attraction among the steady stream of visitors, who click selfies there. A huge set replicating stories from mythology are catchy, grand and colourful.
SPREADING A MESSAGE
The fair did seem to have another purpose. A much thought has been given to arrest the religious conversions that are prevalent in our society too. A few vigilante organisation have come up with stalls educating people on the need to respect their faith and act against ‘conversions’.
Banners displaying Love Jihad, and various forms of display boards urging the need to stand together as Hindus are put up.
Another striking feature of the Hindu Spiritual and Service Fair this time is their nose for technology. A huge tree erected at the venue called ‘Sanathan Tree’ was well-lit. This tree was made in such a way that it cleared the doubts of mythology and Hindu culture among students by answering the question of students
through an audio-visual presentation.
Also various Hindu organisations registered the WhatsApp numbers of the visitors to ensure that they are connected all 365 days and carry the message and services of the respective organisations.
WHO TOOK PART?
The Mata Amrithanandamayi Math, Ramakrishna Math, Kanchi Kamakotti Peetam, ISKCON, Chinmaya Mission, Seva Bharathy, Sripuram Narayani temple, Adhiparasakthi Siddhar Peetam, Akhila Bharatha Ayyappa Seva Samajam, Arya Samaj and Sri Sri Jagadguru
Shankaracharya Mahasamsthanam were some of the organisations that set up stalls that vividly explained not just their spiritual works but also their commitment to society.