Friday, August 12, 2011

Hindu Temple In Africa

This Hindu Temple located at Accra in Ghana is not one founded by Hindus from India but by indigenous Africans. Ghana's first indigenous African Hindu Temple was established by Swami Ghanananda Saraswati. Swami Ghanananda was born in a village in Ghana. It was his quest to find answers to mysteries of nature and life that brought him closer to Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism).

Today, the Hindu Temple at Ghana serves more than fifty families who practice Hinduism along with native Ghanaian faith and Christianity.

As Hinduism is not a missionary religion there is no conversion and people of all faith come to the temple to find peace and solace. Attracted by the teachings of Hindu religion, now many people have not adopted it as their main faith.

Today, there are more than 2000 indigenous African Hindus in Ghana. Apart from this there are Hindus from India, especially Sindhis. There is also a Sindhi Temple in Ghana which was established in 1940s.


BBC reports about this unique Hindu temple in Ghana

The devotees here have no links with India and have never visited the country. Still they strictly follow religious rules and observe rituals in traditional Hindu way.

They say they have all converted to Hinduism but many still use their Christian names and African surnames.

However, they give their young ones Hindu names like Rama or Krishna.

Come evening and the devotees gather in the temple hall for evening prayer rituals. Holy offerings to the gods are distributed after prayers.
In the temple, Diyas or little lamps are lit in obeisance to the gods. Surprisingly, there is even a picture of Jesus Christ amid the idols of Hindu deities.

Swami Ghanananda Saraswati, the man who established Ghana's first African Hindu Monastery in 1975, oversees the prayers sitting in a high chair.

"I was born in a village nearby into a native Ghanaian faith," he says.

But his parents converted to Christianity. "From a very early age I would think about the mysteries of the universe and try to find the answers in religious texts. But I failed," Swami Ghanananda says.

Then he read some books on Hindu faith and embarked upon a new journey which took him to Rishikesh in north India.

He spent some time there with a spiritual guru who suggested him to open the monastery in Accra.

Ask Swami Ghanananda his original name and the reply comes promptly: "My real name is Guide!"

"We don't ask anyone to convert to Hinduism. Those who seek the truth enquire about the Hindu monastery. We write articles in newspapers before we observe big Hindu festivals like Navaratri or Dipawali," says DG Otchere, manager of the temple.
From BBC News

1 comment:

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