I have been to the temple in Maryland where Siva and Vishnu are worshiped, near by there is a temple for Sri Subramanya or Murugan He is affectionately called by Tamilians. Both temples are impressive, well run and worship in traditional manner get conducted. We should not underestimate importance of having our temples as well as priests to access for our people abroad. Many of those who remain indifferent while in India to observe any ceremonies associated with say birth of a child , or a marriage, seeing their compatriots to contine the Dharmic rites in US , in turn get influenced. Hence temples are flourishing in US which is truly secular.Neither Churches, nor Mosques are run by any Govt appointed bureaucrats. In US even though they are ‘Hindu’ temples they also have same freedom , they are autonomous not subject to Govt appointed boards like in India that is not Bharath but made into a composite culture entity.
Siva Vishnu temple in Lanham, Maryland, USA
Murugan temple nearby in same locality. Eric Trump ( Son of President Trump) receiving blessings at a
Hindu temple in Florida.
Both out going Democractic President, Barrack Obama and now incoming Republican President honored the temple priest of Siva, Vishnu temple in Lanham , Maryland, receiving blessings in White House and now in the interfaith congregation assembled for the express purpose of seeking God’s help for new administration headed by Trump, in various ways and modes of prayers.
There are many religious practices and their devotees in India too. Only one who sought their blessing was, India’s first President Rajendra Prasad. He went to Varanasi on becoming President where he washed the feet of scholarly priests there got blessings. As far as India’s traditions go this was natural and normal. No matter how powerful and vast is a king’s empire, he bows his head and receives with due honors the priest who does not command any divisions or run any kingdom. In fact the coronation ceremony itself illustrates the relative position of royalty vis a vis Dharma. Three times during the ceremony King to be declares that he is supreme, each time he is tapped on his head by the priest , saying , no you are not but Dharma (or Law) is supreme. But those were the days India was not secular, hence Rajendra Prasad’s gesture received stern objections from Nehru, nevertheless Rajendra Prasad did his duty as head of state that preserved Veda, ancient most yet ever new Dharma. Also appropriate at the time , as usual against objections of Gandhi, Nehru was renovation of temple at Prabhas Teerth, in Saurashtra, the famous Somanath temple which was destroyed 17 times and got rebuilt 18 times !
Vivekananda is right, when he said that learning the story of our temples will tell us history of India much better, we may add , than hired historians belonging to Marxist-Macaulay school of suppresio veri , suggestio falsi.
There are many things people of India take to imitate American fashions, from long gone bell bottom pants to recent fad of wearing jeans preferably torn at knees, but if similar custom, tradition like seeking blessings by any new govt in state or center in a formal ceremony like the one below , it will do good immense good to unity in diversity rather than hypocritical harangues on secularism by avowed secular leaders who invariably go to temples if not send their families , away from public view.
At least now earlier inhibitions , restrictions like Vandemataram being recited in Indian Parliament got lifted starting at time of non Gandhi-Nehru PM, PV Narasimha Rao who himself went to jail for singing it in public during British raj, other salutary measures like formal offerings of prayers at temples by any new Prime Minister and President of India also could become a tradition .
Newly elected President, Trump at present , of USA goes to St James Church in Washington DC before he starts his Presidency, and head of state, Her majesty Queen of England herself is also head of Anglican Church. Sessions of US Congress as well as British Parliament begin with prayers offered by Chaplains.
There are far more powerful forces that run this universe while politicians can only govern their respective states.Like any one else, they too, highly placed may be ,need help. At present the only way we can harness those energies of the universal forces is through prayers. Vedic or Hindu Dharma is ancient most practitioner of this art and science, in fact you can find unmistakable traces of origin of all other systems of prayers in our Hindu Dharma.