Bodhinatha and Shanmuganathaswami have arrived in Trinidad. Here Bodhinatha performs pradakshina around the Shiva and Shiva Lingam prior to entering the Edinburgh Hindu Temple in Chaguanas, Trinidad. He is giving a series of keynote lectures for three nights at the temple to help celebrate its 27th year.
Bodhinatha chats with one of the temple devotees prior to the first night's event.
The August 17 keynote is on general Hinduism and focuses on the nine beliefs of Hinduism.
About 250 devotees attend the keynote. The first keynote was well received as it was informative and colorful, with a balance of traditional and contemporary photos and artwork.
The devotees sit on benches and are allowed to wear shoes in this area. Shoes are not permitted in the temple section where the Deities are located.
Pundit Ramesh Tiwari is the dynamic and charismatic founder, leader and teacher of the Edinburgh Hindu Temple. Here he is presenting awards to five devotees in honor of their service this past year.
Devotees come forward with their families to accept the award from Bodhinatha.
They feel very blessed.
Bodhinatha and Shanmuganathaswami visited a giant 50 foot Hanuman with Pundit Tiwari.
The Hanuman is part of the complex of a South Indian style temple.
This is the entrance of the temple by the sea which was created by Sewdass Sadhu. He was born to poverty-stricken parents in India on January 1, 1903. Yet he was a man with an inexplicable desire to build a house of God against impossible odds and regardless of the consequences to himself and his family. He first came to Trinidad as an indentured laborer for five years. After completing the contract as a cane cutter, he returned to India only to realize he had reentered poverty. So he returned to Trinidad and settled in Waterloo, a predominantly pro-Christian and anti-Hindu village. In 1947 he built the foundation of his dream temple. Hinduism Today covered the story in the April-June 1997 issue.
Jai and Chandra Seecharran came to Trinidad to be with Bodhinatha for his lecture tour. Jai and Chandra are from Guyana and now live in Surprise, Arizona. They are joining Bodhinatha in Guyana as well. Here they enjoy some chit-chat together in the Cara Suites hotel lobby.
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Hindus believe there is one Truth, we just all don't agree on the name and nature of God. To compare Hinduism with other religions, you need to ask the orthodox practioners what their beliefs are. For example, one Christian minister explained that he believes we are fallen beings, not inherently good and need to be redeemed or face eternal Hell. Hinduism believes the opposite: we are divine beings with instinctive, intellectual and intuitive natures. Everyone will eventually become a spiritual being and attain God realization. That is about as far apart as we can get in beliefs. There is really no way that the two can be compared.