Lokadharma program to spread Dharma awareness

Karma Yoga in Action: Temple cleaning underway in Chennai by  Lokadharma volunteers
Karma Yoga in Action: Temple cleaning underway in Chennai by
Lokadharma volunteers

HOUSTON, TX: Dr. Bala Aiyer, a medical professional and a co-founder of the Lokadharma program said that the bedrock of Dharma traditions is adhyatmic (spiritual) pursuit by individuals, and in households.

Addressing a seminal presentation at a Dharma education seminar held here he added that due to distractions of modern life, individual pursuit of adhyatmic practices get a backseat and this needs to be changed. “Many observe rituals and celebrate festivals without knowing their adhyatmic purpose and connectivity to the larger Dharma cultural context. Without this background knowledge, over time, individuals drop practices at home, resulting in an irreparable loss of Dharma traditions,” he observed.

The Lokadharma education and training program is designed specifically for parents with young children, to educate and spread Dharma awareness, in addition to providing necessary training on how to pursue the rituals and celebrate festivals in households. The program is also a useful resource for those in American mainstream who want to partake the pursuit of adhyatma (Dharmic spirituality) without the baggage of “organized” religion.

The Dharma Education curriculum under Lokadharma is the only program of its kind that includes exposition and training in both aastika and naastika darsanas and practices. Further, it is one of the kinds that is not tied to a single guru or personality, and not organized as a western-style single-guru single-deity congregational sampradaya. Cornerstone of Lokadharma program is integrated Dharma education and training that sees Artha, Kama and Moksha as a Dharma continuum, and validates both aastika and naastika darsanas as ways to pursue adhyatma.

As a step into an integrated view of Dharma traditions, Dr. Aiyer informed the seminar participants, about the Temple cleaning program currently undertaken by Lokadharma program participants in India. He said that most temples in India are un-kept and unclean and hence, Aradhana program participants have taken up the task of temple cleaning in parallel with doing regular pujas at temples.

Dr. Aiyer also introduced the “Dharma Roots” program which intends to connect overseas Dharma practitioners to villages in India, wherein one or more families in the US can adopt their ancestral village in India for both socio-economic development and cultural empowerment. At present the Dharma Roots program is available in the state of Tamil Nadu, but can be easily extended to other parts of India.
The seminar was also addressed by, Dr. Narayan Joshi, a distinguished scholar of Vedas and Sanskrit. Dr. Joshi presented his new research on Sanskrit showing that Sanskrit was integral part of the ancient Indian culture and Vedic traditions. Sanskrit occupies the same exalted position in modern day Dharma practice. Using his modern scientific knowledge of sound waves he illuminated the hidden perspective of Sanskrit shabdas based on the Varnavaada (phonemic symbolism). This symbolism is not random but based on the solid foundation of physical properties of the articulated sounds produced by human vocal tract. Sanskrit plays an important and a unique role, and cannot be replaced by any other language, he observed.

The seminar was concluded by a crisp presentation on Makar Sankranti by Sri Chenniyangiri Kuzhanthaiswami, a young Dharma practitioner. His presentation detailed the background and significance of Makar Sankranti to Dharma practice, along with elaborate ways to observe the same at home.

Lokadharma program in the U.S. is offered through Loka Dharma Seva Foundation of America, which is a tax-exempt faith-based integrated community development organization.

India Post News Service

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