CHENNAI: A five-foot-tall statue of Kannappa Nayanar, gouging out his eyes with a stick to offer them to Lord Shiva, welcomes visitors to the Vivekananda Ashram stall at the Hindu Spiritual and Service Fair on A M Jain College grounds in Meenambakkam.
“Kanappa Nayanar was the first from our country to have ever donated eyes. So, we are using his name to encourage our visitors to donate theirs too,” says Sivakumar C, who manages the stall. This is one of the over 400 stalls in the eighth year of the HSSF, jointly organised by the Initiative for Moral and Cultural Training Foundation (IMCTF) and Hindu Spiritual and Service Foundation.
Apart from handloom and publication stalls, several Hindu spiritual organisations set up stalls to propagate Hindutva. P S Subramaniam, who represented the Vedic Sciences Research Centre, said their organisation had undertaken research on several aspects of Hinduism and its science.
“From Chithirai to Panguni, there is a specific reason why a particular festival is celebrated at a particular time of the year. We have brought out the seasonal science behind Hindu festivals in a DVD,” he says, adding that the science of panjangams, the Hindu almanac, is also available on a DVD.
The Mata Amrithanandamayi Math, Ramakrishna Math, Kanchi Kamakotti Peetam and Sri Sri Jagadguru Shankaracharya Mahasamsthanam were some of the organisations gearing up for the week-long fair. Isha Foundation had an array of food products on display along with their publications in their stall, with a linga occupying centrestage.
Another stall offered an alternative form of treatment called Nadi Pareeksha. “Based on one’s dhosha – vata, pitta and kapha – we prescribe changes in food habits and lifestyle,” says Rajesh S, Siddha physician.
The Patanjali stall seemed to be doing brisk business with their brand of noodles, corn flakes, biscuits and energy bars on display.
The fair, which will go on until August 8, was inaugurated by yoga guru Baba Ramdev, Ghese Nawang Samten, a Buddhist scholar, Giani Iqbal Singh, a Sikh scholar, and Veerendra Heggade, a philanthropist.