Bodhinatha shares some observations about his recent trip to Mauritius, Malaysia and Singapore, speaking of the many children, of the youth committee projects and of how the Aadheenam is collaborating with the Senpaga Vinayagar Temple in Singapore on Saiva Siddhanta lessons for children. He also notes the importance of the four sects of Hinduism in understanding the faith overall, and how we need to keep educating people on this point.
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A little trip story since the talk is so short! I think each country we went to, there was something new developing and different.
In Mauritius, the children stood out. There were lots of them and they sang beautifully and got along beautifully, really enjoyed one another's company. This was apparent at gatherings at the Spiritual Park, as well as, at the different Kutumba meetings. Most of the children are children of members but some of them are just children of Friends of the Spiritual Park, children of students or old members. It was quite a large group and so we are focusing this coming year on our teaching program, which is on Saturday at the Dharmasala. It is going to start up again in January. It has taken a short break. We are working with Rajan Manick and will also be working with one of our newer members Logadasan Peruman, in developing a nice course for the children there, utilizing the material.
So, that is very nice to see and it is a nice potential for future growth for the Church there.
In Malaysia, there is the Core Youth Committee, CYC as they call themselves. A nice aspect of the group there is, there are a number of youth which in Malaysia is anyone up to 30, approximately. Youth is about 18 to 30. Under Arvind Raj's coordination, they are focusing on teaching the Master Course Trilogy and the age group they are focusing on is 16 to 21. They have developed a series of 26 classes to be held every other week for a year. They are just about to launch. They plan to launch in either November or January. They have all of the classes outlined and have shared the outlines with me and made some suggestions, so they are ready to go. It is about 20 in the group that attend the teacher's meetings. They are very serious about doing this in a very organized and precise way. They have a seminar that leads into the classes, a Master Course seminar, that they can hold anytime and then the classes. Once someone starts out, it is every other week for a year. That is the cycle.
They are going to just start with one class in the Klang area and go through that for a year, as a test to work out all the bugs in the system, perfect the materials. Then, after the year is over update the material and we will also look at the material once again more closely and then they will start teaching in multiple places, throughout Malaysia. They want to start a class up in the Penang area, as well.
That is a nice development there, coming up all from this group themselves. They are just really interested in basically bringing in other youth into the Church. That is their motivation. They feel they are the best group qualified, rather than their parents, to bring in other youth. No generation gap! So that is a healthy sign, which should lead to some new members there in a few more years.
Then in Singapore, we had a new phenomenon, the Senpaga Vinayagar Temple there, a Sri Lanka Ganesha Temple, it is on Ceylon Road, is looking to us in developing a children's course that they want to release in November. It is kind of an unheard of time frame. They want it all done in a couple of months. We were talking to them and the Course is in the Tamil language, so the children are also learning Tamil at the same time. We were talking about the Course and finally I asked the direct question, "Well, how would you describe the Course? What is its focus? How do you envision it?" They said, "Oh, we wanted a Course on Saiva Siddhanta." This is unusual because most temples don't want to teach Saiva Siddhanta. They just teach some general form of Hinduism or something. It is the first temple that said we wanted a Course on Saiva Siddhanta.
We emailed back immediately right during the meeting. We sent one of the monks there to email back from the room to get some materials sent over. So they are going to be using our Saivite Hindu Religion Children's Course as well as other materials we are providing, copy of the Tamil translation of 'Dancing with Siva' that we have and the Modern Tamil 'Tirukural', as well. They have never seen that! Other things will be sent over in the next few weeks as well.
That was really inspiring that they are turning to us. Of course, the Hindu Center in Singapore already turned to us for help in their children