google-site-verification=mJzyi0LLw_FWwr1InYHKOiQyiKv2jqaHPMXbshTnDjk UA Vedic Society: Keeping traditions alive in Tuscaloosa, USA - Indian Diaspora


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UA Vedic Society: Keeping traditions alive in Tuscaloosa, USA

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  • UA Vedic Society: Keeping traditions alive in Tuscaloosa, USA

    (Tuscaloosa is a town in Alabama state in USA. Located approximately 60 miles from Birmingham, it has a population of about 95,000.)
    By Chandler Padgett

    Nagaraj and his wife kneel before an altar in their apartment, chimes ringing in the air. Laden with colorful deity figurines and ornate art, the altar, or mandir, acts as a small temple for the Hegdes and a vital aspect of their religion, Hinduism.

    Unlike the many churches that fill the Tuscaloosa landscape, the approximately 400 Indians (many of whom are Hindu) primarily worship at small mandirs in their own homes, as mass gathering is not emphasized.

    “A mandir is a place where we can surrender our mind; it’s a small set-up ... this home is an extension of the temple,” said Nagaraj Hegde, UA Vedic Society president and Ph.D. student. “Even though the television waves are everywhere, we still need a TV set to capture it and play it back. We understand that divinity is everywhere, but these are concentrated forms where the deity is present.”

    Before eating, his wife placed food on the mandir.“We offer prayers; we worship them,” Hegde said. “We offer the food, whatever we eat, before, to the divine beings – pray to them please will you accept it, and we will take the remnants.”In addition to domestic mandirs, there is a modest temple in Tuscaloosa and a larger one in Birmingham, which has a larger population of Hindus. People gather there every Sunday.

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