Responding to growing interest in Hinduism
“Since 9/11, demand for my services has tripled,” explains Acharya Bharat, a popular astrologer, priest, and yoga and Hinduism teacher in the Portland, Oregon, area for 25 years. “There has been a surge of interest in other religions and cultures, with Hinduism topping the list.”
Every year, Acharya is invited to give some 100 lectures on Hinduism at high schools, colleges, universities, interfaith groups, Hindu societies, a variety of private and government institutions and, yes, even hospitals and Christian churches.
“Some denominations are keen to learn about other faiths, and I give them just what they need: a Hindu-Christian point-counterpoint, which I download and print from the Himalayan Academy website. This is my number one text. It generates immediate excitement, as most have never encountered Hindu beliefs before. I hear some saying, ‘Oh! this is what I believe!’ I use about 500 of the booklets every year. Students devour the 10-questions-and-10-answers in particular, and I have given away thousands of them.” Acharya also refers students to the Himalayan Academy and Hinduism Today websites.
Students who show enthusiasm are invited to first read the booklet, Visiting a Hindu Temple then come experience puja, bhajan, meditation and prashadam at Portland’s Hindu temple. Many then come back later, on their own, to pray and meditate. “They delight to see Hinduism in action,” concludes Acharya, “and I can read the genuine enthusiasm in their term papers.”
Acharya has donated a dozen copies of Gurudeva’s Trilogy and about 30 copies of Loving Ganesha to university and college libraries in and around Portland.