On May 22, educators from Carmel Clay Schools, Hamilton Southeastern Schools, and Westfield Washington Schools gathered in Founders Park in Carmel for the Guru Vandana, a program organized in their honor by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh. HSS, USA is a voluntary, nonprofit, social and cultural organization. Sangh, as the organization is popularly known, aims to organize the Hindu community in order to preserve, practice and promote Hindu ideals and values among Hindu Americans.
Guru Vandana translates to “reverence to the teacher,” and in this ceremony, local students honored their teachers from this school year.
The program commenced with the lighting of a ceremonial lamp by guest speaker Chandru Acharya Ji. An elaborate, cultural program was put together by students to showcase various Indian art forms, such as classical, Indian singing and dancing. Students also demonstrated Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutations) yoga postures.
Following the cultural program, teachers were invited to take center stage so they could be ceremoniously felicitated as prescribed by Hindu tradition. During the felicitation ceremony, students applied Tilak, a vermillion mark, on their teachers’ foreheads, presented them with a memento for keepsake, and then, as a gesture of reverence, touched their feet.