Bodhinatha and Shanmuganathaswami are staying at the Chinmaya Mission in Trinidad. It has a central location and they are able to get to all the events while having the opportunity to be lovely ashram environment.
Here is a report by Shanmuganathaswami from August 6th activities
Bodhinatha is enjoying his sabbatical away from email and living the ashram life in quiet solitude away from the world of electronic mail.
We have settled nicely into our ashram routine here. In the morning various individual will come to visit after breakfast Breakfast at 7:30 starts the day, and we are joined at meals by various interesting individuals.
The main event today began at 9:45. After a short bharat natyam performance Bodhinatha was introduced to a crowd of about 150. Ashwinee Ragoonanan, wife of Pandit Narendra gave a comprehensive introduction to Bodhinatha as well. She is quite one with us, and you see her handing out her Hinduism Today business cards on occasion. The Ragoonanans have been promoting the publications of Himalayan Academy and Hinduism Today in Trinidad for nearly twenty years.
Bodhinatha gave a three part seminar on Prayer, Meditation and Values which was well received. Everyone was captivating the modern slide transitions in the onscreen keynote presentation.
Our Hinduism Today and book sales team were wearing their orange Hinduism Today T-shirts and working the table of books and magazines in the back.
I am the sound and projector technician and arrive early to set up the projector and do sound checks on the mic before Bodhinatha arrives.
The ITV film crew filmed the whole event for showing on TV after Ramadan is over. The camera man is Leroy Smart. Leroy has very long dreadlocks and is typical of a Rastifarian in Trinidad. He filmed our event at Pundit Ragoonanan’s temple last year. He is usually very reserved and prodessional filming these three hour events, but on occasion he will make a positive comment on a point Bodhinatha has just made in his presentation. The Rastis follow a God called “Jah.”
In the afternoon we met with four leaders of Hindu groups in Trinidad for some informal discussion on the state of Hinduism in Trinidad. Discussions centered on how to get more Hindu solidarity going between the different Hindu organizations in Trinidad which currently work independently.
After this discussion, we drove to meet with Swami Ganapati Satchidananda. On the way our driver Vivek received a call from Ashweenee who warned us that the Prime Minister of Trinidad was meeting with Swamiji and that security was tight.
We arrived at Swamiji’s temple, a large South Indian style temple with a very large Hanuman statue outside. The place was packed with smartly dressed devotees awaiting to see Swamiji’s famously elaborate festival like events. We waited in the “interview” room for a few minutes and then were called to meet with Swamiji and Kamla, the prime minister, who were making there way to the Hanuman temple which is very near by the giant Hanuman. The combination of the prime minister, Swami Ganapati Satchidananda, Bodhinatha and myself created a frenzy with the crowd. They were rushing forward with their cell phone cameras, pushing gently against the “secret service” of the prime minister, chanting and singing to Lord Hanuman, with hoards of reporters flashing cameras and taking videos. We slowly made our way to stand right in front of the inner sanctum of the Hanuman temple with the prime minister. Swamiji garlanded Kamla and gave an apple to Bodhinatha and myself. The crowd was estatic by now, and the cacophony of the musical instruments, the chanting, the darshan of the Hanuman Deity and the presence of three swamis had its magical effect on the prime minister, who was visibly quite captivated by the whole scenario.
Then Swamiji told us he was going to the music hall, a signal that we had just had our meeting with him, and it was time to go. We quietly walked to our car and parted ways with the crowd which was making its way to anxiously waiting devotees inside.
At dinner we were brought up to speed with the progress of placing Dancing with Siva in the primary schools, something the minister of education had announced the year before. We also discussed our book sales options for getting more books into Trinidad.