A Precursor to Hindu Heritage Month in October
It was a big occasion alright. A landmark event organized by Warmadewa University’s Pasemetonan Mahasisya Hindu Dharma – the local Hindu Students’ Organization – brought together Hindu youth leaders from around the world to celebrate
Hindu values and mark the announcement of the theme for Hindu Heritage Month to be held in October 2023.
The event adopted a hybrid format, attracting hundreds of attendees, including global virtual participants, Balinese students, academics, and notably, students from the United States who were
in Bali to study Sanskrit through a collaborative program with Samskrita Bharati, a Delhi-based nonprofit.
The program commenced with a profound Rig Vedic invocation by Ida Bhagawan Yogananda,
also known as Ratu ji, followed by the playing of Indonesia’s national anthem (Indonesia Raya) and Warmadewa University’s anthem (Sapta Bayu), symbolizing the unity of Indonesian Hindus with both their Dharma and Matrabhoomi. It was formally inaugurated after speeches by Nonik Sugita Dewi, Chairman of the Hindu Students’ Organization, Dewa Put Widjana, Rector of Warmadewa University, and Gede Oka Wisnumurti, Chairman of Yayasan Korpri Provinsi Bali.
Individuals honored for their contributions to the Hindu community included Nivedita Singh, the Consulate-General of India, I Made Suniastha Amertha, a prominent Balinese priest, and Rutvij Holay, a member of the international Hindu Heritage Month coordination team. The program featured a panel discussion featuring eight speakers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, India, and the United States. The speakers explored Hindu values that
have united the global Hindu community across millennia and continents, fostering valuable contributions in diverse fields including spirituality and politics.
A significant aspect of the event was the opportunity for attendees to experience the rich culture of Bali. Balinese students showcased a variety of traditional dances characterized by intricate
mudras (poses) and rasas (expressions), akin to classical Indian dances like Kathak and Bharatnatyam. The event included a captivating demonstration of traditional Buddhist martial arts. There was also an opportunity for everyone to reflect on the Hindu concept of “Ekam Sat Vipra Bahudha Vadanti” – stated in Balinese scriptures as “Siwa Buddha Sama.” (The ancient Upanishadic saying means one God is worshipped in different names.)
A highlight of the event was the International Shloka Competition, where participants aged 6 to 23 from around the world recited shlokas (verses) from the Bhagavad Gita in both traditional Indic and Balinese styles. A distinguished panel of
judges, including Sacchitanand Guruji from Maharashtra, Ida Wayan Arjana from Indonesia, and Chandra Sagaran from Malaysia, recognized Gargi Pimpalkar and Dewa Made Bali Sugiharta as winners of the competition.
In the event’s concluding moments, Rutvij
Holay took the stage to express his gratitude to the speakers, organizers, and attendees and unveiled the theme for this year’s Hindu Heritage Month celebrations: “Hindu Values and their Importance
in the World.” The announcement was met with resounding cheers, marking the finale of the celebrations.
The success of this event owes much to the dedication and tireless efforts of the organizing team, particularly Dwija Suastana, who conceived the idea and worked tirelessly to ensure its realization, even while managing personal commitments. It sets the stage for future editions, promising to establish an annual tradition that showcases the diversity and richness of Hindu heritage.
Commenting on the event, Dr. Jai Bansal,
the VP of Education of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America and the global coordinator for Hindu Heritage Month, congratulated all the organizers and the participants for coming together to celebrate their shared heritage. The aim of the Hindu
Heritage Month is to showcase the diversity
and richness of Hindu civilization, which this event has so beautifully projected on the world stage, Bansal said.