October 10, 2017
Experience Paper #1
Experience Report #1 – Hinduism
The experience that I chose for my report was visiting a Hindu temple in Orlando, and attending one of their worship services last Sunday. The temple is specifically called the “BAPS Shree Swaminarayan Mandir”, and it’s located right off Orange Blossom Trail. I chose to do this for my report because my friend is Hindu, and she told me that they have temple on Sunday – where they eat food, worship their gods, say prayers, and sing/talk amongst each other. It’s called a ‘puja’, which means adoration, and this is the main service for worship in the Hindu religion. I’ve always been interested in other religions, but I was very intrigued in seeing how a Hindu service would go, and what it would entail.
I chose to visit a Hindu temple because Hinduism is one of the most ancient living religions, with intellectual and spiritual aspects that I truly found so intriguing. I decided to read up a bit on Hinduism before going to the service, and realized that the religion embodies the freedom to choose your own path and methods of worship. There is not a set standard of how many times to pray a day or what God you choose to worship, but it’s truly just the ability to have faith in something that will help you get through life. I resonate with the holistic and spiritual aspects of this religion, because they believe that if you are a good person, your life will turn out fine. Hinduism is a unique religion, with hundreds of gods and goddesses to worship, but truly there is no set way to practice it. Hinduism emphasizes that being a good person and treating others with respect and love will bring you to Dharma, which is the highest form of success in life, and protection from anything bad in the world. I was motivated to choose this religion to experience because I feel like it’s a religion of peace, and everyone who practices Hinduism would want to teach me more about their experience being Hindu. I truly wanted to learn more about how they worship their gods and pray, so attending a service was the best way for me to do that.
My visit to the BAPS Shree Swaminarayan Mandir was amazing and eye-opening, because there were so many facets that went into the experience, which made it all the better. The temple was huge, with large white pillars, and thousands of flowers and trees surrounding it. I had to take my shoes off before proceeding inside to a huge white room, with marble floors, and insanely beautiful decorations. We all took a seat on the floor, and waited for the service to start. The women were sitting on one side, and the men were sitting on another side of the room. There was a man, called a ‘pujari’, who purifies himself, and then rings a bell to start the service. The pujari offers things to the Gods such as milk, yogurt, and coconut water, and then would speak in Sanskrit and praise the gold statues of the Gods.
Next, there were books...