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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"Temples with multiple deities can be confusing, especially for today's Hindu youth. For clarity, we need to bring forward a more precise understanding of the different Hindu denominations and how the different Gods are viewed from within each denomination. For spiritual advancement it is best to focus on one deity and get to the vibration that deity. When we hear teachings from various Hindus, it is important to understand and identify which denomination they are speaking from. This will avert confusion when that teaching gets contradicted in a different context where someone is talking about the same subject but from a different philosophical background."
Bodhinatha reviews the main characteristic of Saivite philosophy and practice with an indepth focus on the four stages of religions evolution, chariya, kriya, yoga and jnana. He highlights how this shows that Saiva Siddhanta is unique and quite from the modern practice of Hinduism as Vedanta