Hindu students celebrate their elementary school gurus


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SOUTH BRUNSWICK – Hindu American students celebrated Teachers Appreciation Week and National Teachers Day at the South Brunswick Public Library as part of a Guru Vandana event on May 14.

Two dozen teachers, one principal and more than 100 guests attended the program hosted by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, USA (HSS).

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Hindu culture considers the Guru as the “Supreme Being” who invokes and sustains the light of knowledge while eliminating the darkness of ignorance, according to a prepared statement. To acknowledge and appreciate these Gurus who silently shape lives, HSS volunteers across the nation celebrate this occasion as Guru Vandana.

The program started with a ceremonial lamp lighting and Ganesh Vandana (prayer to Lord Ganesha), followed by the performances on six different musical instruments by the students.

“What a beautiful tribute. Blown away. You don’t know how much we appreciate you doing this for us,” Theresa Castrantas (Foster), a second grade teacher from Brunswick Acres Elementary School, said in the statement.

The complete program was planned and executed by the students, starting from explaining the significance of Guru by reciting ancient Sanskrit verses (mantras) which compared the Guru to God, and pointing out the Guru’s role in achieving the supreme knowledge.

HSS Northeast Regional Director Gaurav Singhal shared the message of vasudhaiva kutumbakam: The whole world is one family; and, teachers are the ones who are actually practicing and implementing this ancient thought.

Students explained the significance of each step of the ceremony, which included applying the ceremonial tilak (red dot that is applied on the forehead by Hindus), Aarti (a Hindu way of worshiping with lamps), children prostrating at the feet of their teachers seeking their blessings, and finally presenting them a memento/gift of a book “Darshana: A Glimpse into Hindu Civilization.”

Jaime Maccarone, Brooks Crossing Elementary School principal, shared “what an honor to be here. I am learning a little bit more about Hindu culture and everything that was being part of today’s program,” according to the statement.

The program ended with peace invocation mantra which meant “May all be happy, May all be free from illness, May all see what is auspicious, May no one suffer, Om Peace, Peace, Peace.”

* This information was provided by Sushrut Sarpotdar, a freshman at South Brunswick High School.

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