Guiding Principles of VHP of America
These principles are enunciated in the most ancient spiritual literature called Vedas, considered by many as the eternal source of spiritual and secular knowledge for humanity.
“Truth is One, Sages call It by different names”- The unity or oneness of the destination (or goal) of human existence with diversity of means not only easily accepted but considered necessary.
“This whole world that has moving things, and which itself is moving, is pervaded by one and the same Lord”- The unity of one Spirit in the diversity of nature is captured in this verse.
“For the kind-hearted people of character, the entire creation is one interconnected family”- This captures the essence of universal brotherhood and harmony among people and with the environment.
“Let all be happy, let all be healthy, let all experience goodness, let sorrows be no one’s lot” – A Hindu does not ask God only for his own, his family’s, his community’s or his nation’s happiness, but he prays for the happiness of the entire creation.
We believe that one who takes these as guiding principles in one’s life can not but be secular, non-violent and without bias or bigotry of any kind. Thus, respect for diversity, peaceful and harmonious coexistence with people of different cultures and faiths is the heart and soul of Hindu Dharma (values and codes of conduct). Consequently, Hindu psyche can never be communal, exclusive, fundamentalist, violative of any religious freedoms.
To emphasize that these are not merely nice words of expression to conveniently use in appropriate places and at proper times, Hindus have actually practiced and lived by these principles throughout their long history. People of different faiths – Jews, Christians, Parsees, Muslims and others who were persecuted in their own lands have come and settled in India during last several hundred years. Even today, India is a multi-cultural, secular and a flourishing democracy because of the open and generous outlook of majority Hindus.
Objectives and Activities of VHP of America
Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) of America is a non-profit organization legally registered in USA and has been working with the Hindu community here since 1970. The main objectives of VHPA are:
To educate our next generations about the great human values as envisaged by our ancient sages and seers so they can learn and assimilate the best from both Eastern and Western cultures and become responsible, contributing citizens of their adopted land as well as of the world.
To provide a forum that looks out for and addresses Hindu interests in USA.
Help minimize the misconceptions and misinformation about Hinduism that may exist for whatever reason so that a meaningful, harmonious and mutually respectful coexistence is possible among people of diverse faiths, traditions and cultures.
To provide humanitarian and relief services regardless of race, religion, color, creed, place or any other differences.
In the last 44 years, VHPA has undertaken over 40 different initiatives and programs towards the fulfillment of the above objectives
There is a lot more that can be said about Hinduism – philosophy, its traditions, its rich culture and history, its vast literature but we believe that the important points relevant to the present discussion are captured in the above four axioms.
“Ekam Sat Viprah bahudha Vadanti”- in Sanskrit, and alternatively also as “God is One paths to attain It are many.” Hence, there are hundreds of different belief systems, images of God and methods of praying, what we in the west would call religions that coexist harmoniously and with mutual respect, within the big fold of Hinduism.
“Ishavasya Idam Sarvam, Yatkinch Jagatyam Jagat,”- in Sanskrit. The entire creation is nothing but different manifestations of the same Spirit. Thus, only God exists, and the diversity that the human beings experience is based on the limitations of individual minds and intellects, the logic being that the same world provides different experiences to different individuals.
“Udar Charitanam Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,”- in Sanskrit. This also demonstrates the all-inclusiveness cherished by Hinduism as contrasted with the exclusivity practiced by other faiths and traditions based on following one book or one prophet.
“Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah, Sarve Santu Niramayah, Sarve Bhadrani Pashyantu, Ma Kaschit Dukh Bhagbhavet,”- in Sanskrit. This is the prayer a Hindu recites daily.
They were welcomed with open arms by Hindu majority of India, coexisted peacefully, respectfully and harmoniously, progressed and prospered in various fields of endeavor. In addition, even during the peak of their military and intellectual power, wealth and glory in the millennium preceding the Current Era and a few centuries after, Indian Hindus never attacked or forcibly occupy any foreign territory or impose their religion, practices or customs on others or destroy their indigenous culture. On the contrary, Indian Hindus suffered a great deal at the hands of barbaric Islamists and European merchants who occupied India for several centuries.
Eternal Truths That Inspire Us
- Ekam Sat, Viprah Bahudah Vadanti – is One, Sages speak of it variously.
- Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah – All be happy.
- Krunvanto Vishwa Aryam – Let us strive to make the whole world Noble.
- Aano Bhadraah Kratavo Yantu Vishwato – Let noble thoughts come to our minds from all over.
- Ishavasyamidam Sarvam – There is ONLY Ishwar; period.
- Vasudhaiv Kuthumbakam – The entire Cosmos is interconnected and interdependent.
- Sarva Mangal Mangalyam – Let ALL be at peace and blissful. Let ALL flourish.
- Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah – You sustain and are sustained by Dharma.
- Swayam Eva Mrigendrata – A nation can rise to prominence only through its own virtues, strengths, sacrifices and efforts. Nobody’s approval is needed!
- Sangh Shakti Vijetriyam – Collective thought, collective action, collective voice, collective celebration!
- San gachhadhwam, sam vadadhwam sam vo manaansi jaanaatam – Meet together, talk together, let your minds apprehend alike.