SWAHA International

Hindu based non-profit organisation based in Trinidad & Tobago

Absolute Privacy, Absolute Freedom Never.

1The recent posting of nude and semi-nude photographs of women onto a porn-site has brought home the harsh reality that there is nothing like absolute privacy nor absolute freedom in our society. While these young daughters of our country have been made out to be the victims in this scenario, exposed and embarrassed, it will be worth our while to take the lesson that, despite our rights and privacy, ours is a prying society and prudence is needed in all that we do.
It is a cosmological law that action brings reaction as the universe conspires to bring to light all that happens in the dark. No one can escape from one’s actions. There is a common saying that cause is effect concealed, while effect is cause revealed. Unfortunately, the effects in this instance cannot be reversed. Neither can they be simply deleted. Instead, the repercussions go further as those with acute cases of mind disease spread the information far afield for monetary gains. The germ of sexual attraction and lust is bred, which usually leads to crimes of a different nature by those who live out their fantasies. All this from a picture!
While these young women may have experienced some sensual satisfaction in posing and posting the pictures, such actions begs the question of what prompts an individual to do this. Is it low self-esteem, poor self-worth, a feeble self-image or some other deficiency that will drive these girls to literally bare themselves before others? Is the need for social approval so intense that one will resort to this kind of self- portrait? Or is there some material gain? Whatever is the catalyst that has sparked this kind of self-projection, it is clear that such an aberration speaks to a burning need for self-gratification, for fulfillment or recognition of some kind. Sadly though, the satisfaction of these social needs is sought in the social media where digital modification can easily twist one’s character and the damage is done. The lack of spiritual values in one’s life shifts the focus from SELF to selfie which brings only momentary fulfillment. Lasting achievement however, comes from self-study, from acknowledging one’s divinity within and from realizing that actions bring reactions. Failure to be mindful of this brings regrets.
The immeasurable power of women bears witness to the positive outcomes that have been effected through them from time immemorial. Not only are they the sculptors of a society but they possess the power that can shake the strongest of foundations. The power they wield is second to none. They are the carriers of the wealth of generations and the shapers of destiny. It is said that where women are honoured, progress and prosperity reign. On the other hand, where women are corrupt, the society is doomed. A most potent lesson for all females.
The news of this exposure will soon die, other news will take prominence and they too will be forgotten. However, if it is one lesson that must be taken from this porn matter, it is that absolute privacy is a no-no. We should be prudent and selective in all that we do for we are all subjected to the law of cause and effect. Unlike daily news we should seek to acknowledge the all-encompassing power of the Divine within us. A life of spirituality protects one always.

Paramacharya Pt Hardeo Persad
Spiritual Head

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558655_180887148702939_40913134_nPlease be informed that a television series titled ‘SWAHA’ will begin from this Sunday, June 12, 2016 on GISL TV4. It is a one-hour weekly programme at 6.00am, featuring all SWAHA temples. The first episode features Gyaan Deepak Kirtan Mandali with  Paramacharyaji and Pt Umesh Persad.
Following this, would be Gyaan Jyoti Mandali, on June 19, 2016.
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Swadeshi Awards Ceremony 2016

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Secular State versus Theocracy Arguing for the sake of argument…

Coat_of_arms_of_Trinidad_and_Tobago.svgTrinidad and Tobago is a reactive society, falling victim to varying powers of influence from every -ism one can blurt out, in addition to lexicon rhyming with the suffix –al (political, societal, spiritual and so on). How long will issues regarding matters of state resist globalizing trends? How long will it take for a tiny population to recognize the need for inward reflection? Most importantly, will the state ever be able to accept the tenets of secularism, solely as its mandate for legislative frameworks in Trinidad and Tobago?

True secularism is impossible to achieve whilst theocracy is highly impractical to implement by any governing body. This is the real argument, an argument in which global powers all over the world can never balance nor implement in individual philosophical extremes. The history of Trinidad and Tobago has not and cannot as it stands today bypass or forgo problems when determining which sections of society really hold true authenticity as the “first peoples,” and as a result of some inherent moral authority that comes with such an achievement, effect higher stakes on what is quickly becoming a secular theocracy. Our country has not yet determined for itself what type of governance our ‘special’ democracy demands nor will it ever be able to sustain a delicate balance between religion and legislation in Trinidad and Tobago.

It is crucial as Hindus to appreciate the inner workings of progressive organizations; specifically SWAHA, which aligns itself to morality and integrity. Most importantly, decision-making influenced by scriptural injunctions and the changing cultural, social, psychological and biological subtleties of the human condition. The problem is, has and will never be sourced from a religious perspective, but that of a political enterprise, wreaking havoc on human rights and emotional sensitivities. Hinduism is a religion of change and can be defined safely as a way of life that progresses the conditions of the human being, be it the past, present or future. Why then would a Hindu or religious organizations of similar values be perturbed by this social ‘media’ outcry or the ignorant ramblings of television and radio hosts, whose ratings are of utmost importance, inflicting chaos haphazardly in the minds of people.

The real issue will never be deliberated fairly because a panel of worthy deliberators with objective views and credibility is impossible to find. I have maintained the argument that religion is a business if one entertains selling, buying and comparing scriptures, values, norms and practices as products. What a religion purports is unfortunately aligned and compared to the ideology of another religion, which results in either a relegation or acclimation, as society sees fit. There is no possibility of a ‘utopian’ society following one rule, one God, one law, one people, one ideology or one philosophy, so why should a law be amended to reflect, ‘one?’

The argument that there is commonality in beliefs and practices reflected by ‘many,’ should not be the determining factor when amending legislation, as is the case for failed attempts at creating a secular state. However, if the law is to be amended to protect and reflect what is right, then inherent in such a practice reveals a strong theocratic principle or a moral ideological standpoint-a moral compass-sourced from belief in the supreme. A belief in morality defined by and imposed by the theocratic state cannot enforce democracy; instead, stand in opposition to it. The people of Trinidad and Tobago cannot allow themselves to be swayed by the shifting tides in our systems of power and governance. Arguing for argument sake negates the purpose of the argument. Stand strong, stand powerful and resist the temptations of our young society. In chaos, there is order.

Pt. Varistha Persad.

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Principal of SWAHA Hindu College Retires

Pt. Gyandeo PersadThe retirement function of Pt Gyandeo Persad was held at Swaha Hindu College on Wednesday 25th May 2016, in the presence of the Parmacharya of Swaha Incorporated, Pt. Hardeo Persad, other Pandits of the Dharma Mandal, representative of Swaha Board of Education Chairman, North Eastern Educational District SSIII, Mr. Kendall John and other specially invited guests.

Pt. Gyandeo held the distinguished post of Principal at Swaha Hindu College during the years 2011 to 2016. He was the second principal of the school, the first being Pt Balram Persad.

Punditji was noted for his affable personality, his cordial relationship with staff and students and his firm position on education as a form of individual development towards making Trinidad and Tobago equipped with outstanding citizens.

In his address, Paramcharyaji complimented the outgoing principal for his inner strength, perseverance and determination that distinguished him in every field in which he served.

Acting Principal Pt Ishwar Madho Maharaj described Pt. Gyandeo as one who stood firmly on the pillars of Sanatan Dharma (truth, cleanliness, compassion and charity)and encouraged the entire student body to build their lives upon them.

Pt Gyandeo, in his farewell speech to the student population, parents and other specially invited guests, expressed how grateful he was to contribute 30 years of service to education. He advised students to continue on the path to success.

The entire school bade farewell to Pt Gyandeo as he left the assembly, by wishing him the very best during this new chapter of his life.

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A mother’s love


One day a single mother was engaging in her usual daily routine when she decided to attend to her garden in the backyard. At that same time she had the fire lighting on the chulha, warming the pot of milk for her baby son. While outside she heard a commotion to the front of her house with persons screaming- ” fire fire !”

On hearing this she ran through the back door only to see it was her home on fire.

While she was attending to her garden, apparently one of the fire wood fell onto the floor igniting the carpet and unto the curtains then the roof. Seeing this, she fought back the blinding and choking smoke to fetch her son who was asleep on the hammock.

“Beta ! Beta ! My child !” She screamed ! Fighting all the gathered neighbours around who tried to hold her back. She ran in and saw him still asleep. When she bent to pick him up however, one of the rafters became dislodged and fell right upon her face. She was left scarred.

Many years later, the same son began attending school. However he was not performing well and eventually the mother was sent for. When he brought home the letter to his mother, she felt embarassed and reluctant for the secret that she kept from her son maybe revealed. In this anxiety and anticipation to meet the principal, she proceeded to attend the meeting along with her son. However, along with being a non performer, he was not a nice son to his mother. He told her to walk ahead as he seemed ashamed of her poor tattered clothing with her rubber slippers and bent gait.

Upon arrival, the boy went to play with his friends but extreme curiosity took over. He wanted to know what the principal had to tell his mother. He proceeded to the back door and began eavesdropping. It was actually the same time the principal asked the mother what is the reason in her opinion could be the son”s reason for not performing and being a menace at school.

She bent her head and in a sad soft voice began re telling the incident when she lost her house in the fire. She said ” I may not be the best mother for I work very hard to provide for my child. I may not eat at times but I make sure my child has a meal every time he says he”s hungry. I make sure he is well fed, always has clean clothes and anything that he wants. But despite all this he seems ashamed of me for the scar that I was left with the day of the fire. He would never want to go out with me. He never wants his friends see me. But this scar is a testament to the love I have for him. I wish I can give him more but what I lack materially I know, in my heart, make up for in love.

Hearing this as her son was eavesdropping, began to feel terribly ashamed and in that same moment he kicked open the door with tears in his eyes, ran and jumped unto the lap of his mother and kissed her right on the side where she bore the scar- ” i love you mama!”They embraced. She said this is all I ever wanted my son, for you to love me. From that day on, that scar was his reminder for all that she endured despite their poverty. The mother truly felt what a son”s love was and to her son, no one ever took that special place he put his mother, in his heart.

 Pt. Vasistha Persad

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Why Worship Gangaa Maa?

1453219497Gangaa Dhaaraa is an event that is eagerly anticipated by many Hindus throughout the world. It is a ten-day festival that starts on June 5th this year and culminates with the Gangaa Dashami on June 14th. Here in Trinidad, our ancestors were steadfast in their veneration of Gangaa Maa. Even today, She is venerated and propitiated either directly or indirectly every day of the year. There seems to be an inextricable link between the practice of Sanaatan Dharma and Divine Mother Gangaa. As we approach this blessed occasion, it is appropriate that we delve a little deeper so that we may better understand some of the significant reasons that necessitate Her worship.

Many philosophers have mentioned that India could not be called “India” if it was devoid of the sanctifying presence of Gangaa. The Gangaa, or the Ganges River, is so intimately bound with life in India that for many individuals, families and even entire communities, every important aspect of their life somehow involves Gangaa. This is further emphasised by the fact that almost one out of every ten people in the world live within the area known as the Ganges basin! This blessed river, apart from helping to sustain life, actually adds meaning to life in India. As Hindus, we should all remember that we have five debts to repay – one of which is to the environment. No life can exist without water. Locally, we are familiar with the slogan, “Water is life!” Thus, through the worship of Gangaa Maa we are reminded of the immediate need to actively engage in the protection and preservation of our environment and its priceless natural resources.

Gangaa Maa, as a form of the Devi, is considered to be one of the five mothers in Sanaatan Dharma that is worthy of worship. Throughout our scriptures there are numerous references to instances where devotees have faithfully engaged in Her worship. In the Bhagavad Gita, Shree Krishna endorses such adoration by stating that “I am the Gangaa among rivers.…” In Raamaayan there is the beautiful incident where Seeta Mata prayed to Gangaa to ensure a safe return with Shree Raam and Bhaiyaa Lakshman after the fourteen years of exile while Shree Raam bowed to the blessed Gangaa after having worshipped a clay image of Shiva Bhagwaan. Even today, quite often, the worship of Gangaa and Shivaji are combined – with many performing Shiva puja on the banks of the river for Gangaa Dashami.

Taking a ritual bath in the Gangaa is something that is said to purify the body internally and externally, washing away all accumulated sins, thereby facilitating the liberation of the soul. There are those who will continue to question this pronouncement, but if we simply look at the millions that reverently undertake pilgrimages to Haridwar, Rishikesh and Varanasi, and the subsequent transformations that occur in their lives, we will realise that it is a belief that is undoubtedly rooted in fact. Gangaa is said to have originally flowed over the feet of Vishnu Bhagwan and Her divine potency was further intensified having come into contact with the head of Shivaji. For many such reasons, Her waters are “pavitra paavani” – possessing the innate ability to purify and sanctify whatever it comes into contact with.

Many scientists have marvelled at some of the unexplainable chemical and physical properties of Gangaa jal. One striking observation is the fact that even with all the pollution that occurs daily in Gangaa (just as with other rivers), the lifespan and the rate of reproduction of many disease causing microorganisms found in its waters are significantly less than those of the tributaries that flow into it. This has mystified those who are not soundly rooted in their faith. But, if we consider ourselves to be followers of this great tradition that is Sanaatan Dharma, then we cannot downplay the relevance of the worship of Divine Mother Gangaa in developing spirituality. We encourage devotees to seize opportunities such as Gangaa Dhaaraa to continue to cultivate bhakti that will lead us closer to the supreme reality. Jai Gangaa Maa!

Pt Ishwar Madho Maharaj.

Ag. Principal

SWAHA Hindu College

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