Americans Welcomed into Sanatana Dharma in Historic Event
- Eight Americans Welcomed into the Sanatana Dharma Tradition
June 1, 2008
Omaha, NE, USA
In a historic religious event that occurred on Saturday, May 31, 2008,
eight Americans were formally welcomed into the ancient tradition of
Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) in a sacred initiation (diksha) ceremony at
the Hindu Temple of Nebraska.
The ceremony was overseen by Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya (Dr. Frank
Morales, Ph.D.), the Resident Acharya (Spiritual Preceptor) of the
temple, and Professor Alekha Dash, who conducted the traditional fire
ceremony (yagya) central to any authentic Hindu initiation rite.
Though Hinduism is not a religion that overtly seeks converts, many
Americans and Europeans have nonetheless enthusiastically embraced the
tradition in the past. This represents the first time in history,
however, that such a large number of Americans have been welcomed into
the tradition at one time.
In accepting Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya as their guru (spiritual
teacher), these newly committed American Hindus vowed to devote
themselves to living a Dharma lifestyle, to meditate upon God each
day, and to express compassion toward all they encounter.
Included among the new initiates were: two professors, a practicing
psychiatrist, a retired lawyer, and a nurse, among others.
First Non-Indian Women Awarded with Brahmana Thread
In a related historical development, Ms. Heather "Tulasi" Mortensen
was awarded brahmana initiation during the same ceremony, and awarded
with a sacred thread. Though traditionally Hindu women were known to
have been given sacred threads during Vedic times, this practice came
to a stop at some point in the history of Hinduism. Thus, this
thread-giving ceremony (known as upavita-samskara in Sanskrit)
represents the very first time in world history that a non-Indian
woman has been awarded such a sacred thread. Sri Acharyaji stated to
the large audience observing this event that "I know that this
historic precedent is only the beginning of the reclamation of an
ancient and important Vedic tradition. My hope is that this
represents only the first of many thousands of women who I will see
awarded the sacred thread in my lifetime."
The two hour event was followed by a celebration dinner in the
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