After stopping briefly in San Francisco to meet with our IT consultants, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami and Sannyasin Senthilnathaswami are in Texas for the next couple of weeks.
First stop: Houston.
Beginning in the north, we visited The Woodlands on Friday and Bodhinatha gave his first talk on the trip to a group of 60-70 at the new Hindu temple there. Following that we moved to Stafford on Saturday, where Bodhinatha was the honored guest at the first official meeting of the Board of Advisors for the Hindus of Greater Houston, a group that brings together the 30+ Hindu groups in the area to share knowledge, help solve the problems of Houston's 100,000+ Hindu community together and collaborate on projects such as their signature annual Grand Janmashtami event held downtown. The advisors were eager to hear Bodhinatha's thoughts on a number of important subjects, including a few touchy ones. On Sunday the Meenakshi Temple Society in Pearland, down in the South, hosted Bodhinatha for worship and a talk to about 80 devotees. Founded in 1979, this temple is the oldest in the Houston area and one of the oldest traditional Hindu temples in the US. Seeking guidance first from Gurudeva and then from Bodhinatha over the decades, we have always been close. It was a big family reunion of sorts.
Before driving west to San Antonio, we met with the mayor of Stafford, Leonard Scarcella, who is perhaps the best non-Hindu spokesman for Hindus that we have met. We invited him to collaborate with us a little bit on an article for Hinduism Today about the contributions of Hindus to America, and he agreed to write a short op-ed sharing some of his rather profound insights into the wonderful way in which the Hindus in the US have worked to blend with American culture and society in the past three decades.