New Delhi, Aug 29 (IANS) — The organisers include two young Balinese Hindus who are now here meeting community leaders in India to canvass support for the conference that will lead to a World Hindu Youth Organisation (WHYO).
“Our aim is to meet our Hindu brothers and sisters from around the world, network and see what we can learn from them,” said A.A. Arya Wedakarna, 24, a PhD student of Balinese origin who lives in Jakarta.
While Wedakarna is on his third visit to India, his compatriot and fellow student, Ayu Aryani, is visiting the country for the first time.
Hindus officially make up 11 percent of Indonesia’s 250 million people but they are in an overwhelming majority in Bali, Hinduism’s best-known outpost in Southeast Asia.
Indonesia is home to some 1,000 ancient Hindu temples. In Bali itself, there are a dozen major temples and thousands more in varying sizes.
“Everyone in Bali, the young included, believe and follow (Hindu) rituals. But most don’t understand them,” said Arya Wedakarna.
“There is growing (Hindu) consciousness in Bali,” he added. “We are keen to set up a global Hindu organisation to spread Hinduism in the country and elsewhere. We need to introspect, we need to learn (about Hinduism), and we need exposure.”
The organising committee of the Nov 26-30 World Hindu Youth Summit includes leading Indonesia Hindu institutes such as Independent Youth Hindu Intellectual Forum, Hindu Indonesia University, Ashram Gandhi Puri and Indonesia Hindu Youth Association.
Delegates, who will come from such countries as India, Nepal, the US, Britain, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia, will discuss the diversity of Hindu cultures and their uniqueness as well as their originality.
“The event will provide young people of different backgrounds and orientations a common ground to exchange ideas and interact on specific issues affecting the Hindu global community, thus creating a Hindu global culture,” said Ayu Aryani.
A secretariat of the World Hindu Youth Organisation will be opened in Bali and it will have chapters in every country where Hindus live.
The Organisation will also help promote tourism in Bali, which is only now beginning to recover from the savage terror attack that shook the resort island in 2002 and left almost 200 people, mostly Australians, dead.
The conference has the support of Indonesian authorities, including central government ministers in Jakarta, besides the governor of Bali.
“This is a conference that will surely help Hindus in Bali,” said Dr Somvir, an Indian national who teaches Sanskrit and Indian philosophy at Udayana University in Bali, speaking over the telephone from the island.
“Increasingly, the young Hindus of Bali want to understand the Hindu religion and customs. They believe that while Hinduism is alive in Bali, the spirituality can be found only in India.
“So they want to interact with Indian Hindus,” explained Dr Somvir.
© 2004 IANS India Private Limited, New Delhi. Posted on Religioscope with permission.