I have always had the urge to learn about other cultures and religions. As a Sikh, I understand that it is important to respect other people’s values and way of life. Sikhism originated from the roots of Hinduism and I have always had the interest to visit a Hindu religious centre. Last week, my long awaited plan was accomplished which was to visit the Hindu Heritage Centre in Mississauga, Ontario.
Swati Gupta, a Volunteer coordinator of Peace Welcome Club, and her family invited me to join them at a religious event, called Sunderkand Paath. I had a great time learning about Hindu sanskara or rituals, Hanuman Pooja and giving donations. “Always give with the right hand,” said priest Acharya Surender Shastri of Hindu Heritage Centre.
Sunderkand Paath is a chapter in the Tulsi Ramayana and is considered to be promising to read because it is to recite Hanuman Chaalisa. In this paath, Jambavan reminds Hanuman Ji that he has great powers that no one is aware of. One such trait of Hanuman Ji’s powers is his ability to fly. His flight is necessary for him to cross the mighty ocean in order to save Sita from Raavan. Sunderkand commences with Hanuman’s departure for Lanka in search of Sita and ends with Rama and his army’s preparation to reach Lanka across the sea. The entire episode is referred to as sundar or beautiful because every act described in it is elevating the human mind and promoting right human values.
After Hanuman Pooja, there was a Kirtan for two hours in praise of Lord Hanuman and to reflect upon his contribution and message to humanity. Being a part of Hanuman Pooja was exceptional and it was revitalizing. It was interesting to see how Hanuman was worshipped and dressed to compliment the Pooja done for him. I had an enjoyable time being a part of the Pooja and hearing Shastri Ji pray on behalf of us. The Kirtan was a great way to conclude the Pooja and it lasted for two hours. Kirtan consisted of Shastri Ji and his colleagues singing rhythmically and citing verses to successfully conclude the Pooja and paath that had been done.
“God can be reached through, the intense internal spirituality you perform whether it’s through Islam, Christianity, Judism, Sikhism and Hinduism,” concluded Acharya Surender Shastri.
Overall, I had a great time learning and exploring the Hindu Heritage Centre and I also enjoyed the delicious samosas and dhoklas that were served as refreshments as well.
(Photo: Krish, Harnoor and Acharya Surender Shastri)
BY HARNOOR GILL
Grade 10 student
Christ The King Catholic Secondary