Parliament of the Hindu New Year opens in Trinidad

Parliament of the Hindu New Year opens in Trinidad
Photo : Senator Deoroop Teemal

Port-of-Spain: Hindu mandirs must become the haven for vanaprashta—opportunity to serve and be served, according to Senator Deoroop Teemal. He told the Third Sitting of the Hindu Senate on Sunday Feb.23, that the Hindu world view is that of a forest where thousands of species of animals and plants co-exist in a state of mutual interdependence.

“For the Hindu, the forest suggests fertility, plurality, adaptation, interdependence and evolution. The forest is all-embracing and never closed to anyone, newer life forms that migrate into it are welcomed and eventually becomes part of it. The forest’s diversity is an expression of the Divine All-Pervasive Immanence as God is manifested a bird, mammal, plant and scores of other creatures or life forms. Just as infinite processes are constantly under way in the forest, so there are infinite ways of communicating with God,” Senator Teemal, who was recently appointed by the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago as an Independent Senator(legislator) in the Upper House.

According to RaviJi, spiritual leader of the Hindu Prachar Kendra, the purpose of the Senate is to raise a platform for a pointed discussion and articulation of the various community relationships to topics concerning the Hindu community of Trinidad and Tobago, and the Senate was established in 2017.

Senator Teemal said that the continued gradation and forward evolution of the manifested soul in life, the intent of the forest life was thus, “to experience living in such a natural environment in which the unfettered manifestation of the Divine was very visible and away for the relative materialism of the two periods of brahmacharya and grihastha.”

He said that the unity within all creation—the harmony within diversity—the many relationships within a cohesive existence—there were some of the major spiritual lessons waiting to be experienced in a forest environment. “So whilst the contemporary understanding is that it is not practical to access or retire to a forest, it is still imperative to seek the spirit of vanaprashta  and creativity establish it in our lives during this vital period as this will serve the primary intent of the ashrams and allow us the opportunity to enhance and accelerate our spirituality.Simply put, we need to become a forest dweller in the modern and contemporary concrete jungle”.

Also addressing the assembly were Shri Kumar Rambarran and Smti Seeta Mahabir.

Geeta Vahini, president of the Kendra, noted that the ideal for this Vanaprastha is, “a life of selfless service to the community, and the inspired fire of spiritual seeking and practice. The fire is a symbol of intensity of thought, directed towards ever-increasing devoted spiritual practice and service. It is a fire of purpose and focus towards a great vision”.

Smti Vahin pointed out that Varsha Pratipada Sansad (VPS) seeks to expand our understanding of this very unique stage of life, as well to address some of the pressures that are faced by parts of the community, including elderly neglect and lack of purpose which can engulf one after the hustle and bustle of work of life. A glossary of possible avenues were spelt out to address the shortcomings.