Veer Hanuman Yatra uncovers youth leadership and unity in the community

Veer Hanuman Yatra uncovers youth leadership and unity in the community

Photo : Dr Vijay Narinesingh joins hundreds of devotees at Veera Hanoman Yatra at Divali Nagar

Mayor of Chaguanas, His Worship Alderman Gopaul Boodhan shared his concerns for the rising crime rate in the country and hope that the Veera Hanoman Yatra would help to bring some relief to citizens who are living under tremendous stress.

Rooknath Lakpat stands holding torch below the majestic Flying HanumanMayor Boodhan was the feature speaker at the closing of the all-day Veera Hanuman Yatra at the Divali Nagar on Sunday July 01, 2018. He appealed to the devotees to “direct your devotion to fight the negative forces in the society.”  The Mayor also urged devotees “to emulate the commitment and dedication of Hanuman to duty.” He concluded: “Our country needs commitment now more than ever before.” The Yatra went throughout Central Trinidad to strengthen unity among mandirs and communities.

Rain was no deterrent for the hundreds of devotees assembled at the Divali Nagar to celebrate the closing session of the all-day Veer Hanuman Yatra sponsored by the Trinidad and Tobago Federation of Hindu Organization (TTFHO).

The Yatra started at 5:00 am at the Divali Nagar with pooja to the chariots dedicated to Lord Hanoman, Sri Satya Sai Baba, Ganapathi Satchitananda, Swami Chinmayananda and Kripallu Maharaj and other gurus. Leading the procession was a music truck followed by the chariots. At hand were motor cycle riders, and devotees in their vehicles and maxi taxis.  Also in the procession was the majestic Flying Hanunan sponsored by Harry Persad and Sons of St Helena.

Pandit Amar Seepersad, President of TTFHO, saw the Yatra as “an opportunity to build unity among devotees and the various communities.”  I asked about the co-operation of the various mandirs and he responded that they were very enthusiastic. Among the forty mandirs visited were Edinburgh Mandir, Hindu Prachaar Mandir (HPK), Dattatreya Hanuman Monument, Chinmaya Mission, Orange Valley Vishnu Mandir and the Chaguanas Hindu Mandir which provided lunch for all.

Mayor of Chaguanas, Gopaul Boodhan, addresses devotees at Divali NagarPandit Amar Seepersad expressed disappointment that the Secretary General of the SDMS barred his mandirs from opening their doors to welcome the Yatra. When Gyan Ramlogan querried his decision, he remarked that “I don’t recognised Amar Seepersad as a Pandit.” Not deterred, Amar was pleased with the support TTFHO was getting from the independent mandirs.

No stranger to the chanting of the Hanuman Chalisa, the TTFHO has been engaging in the chanting of the Hanuman Chalisa at temples across the country forth nightly for several years.  “Today Veera Hanuman Yatra is being held to demonstrate unity among the people. I am happy with this beginning and I am looking forward to a successful Yatra,” Pandit Amar concluded.

Rooknath Lakpat accepted the responsibility to carry the torch to light the lamp of unity from temple to temple. A pracharak (missionary), Lakpathji studied for two years at the HPK under the watchful eyes of Raviji. This was combined with field work for nine (9) months. Subsequently, Lakpatji went to India and studied Vedanta with a personal tutor for four months.

Several young pandits and devotees were at hand working to ensure everything went smoothly.  Visiting the mandir had to be done according to schedule. At each stop there was the lighting of the flame and the chanting of one round of the Hanuman Chalisa. Traffic had to be directed and at hand for this job was the dedicated Soan Ramnath. His dedication to the service of dharma is legendary!

Among the hundreds of devotees that braved the bad weather to be present for the closing ceremonies were Dr Vijai Narinesingh and his wife Siroomani. Other special guests were Dr Bhoe Tewarie, the Member of Parliament for Caroni Central, and his wife Kamla Tewarie. Dr Mandraka Bahal and his wife were also in the motorcade earlier in the day.

Pandit Amar Seepersad, President of the T &T Federation of Hindu Organization, addresses devotees at Divali Nagar.Photo : Pandit Amar Seepersad, President of the T &T Federation of Hindu Organization, addresses devotees at Divali Nagar.

What I found most inspiring was the number of young pandits and devotees at the forefront in organising the event. This Yatra has convinced me that the Hindu community still has the capacity to throw up leadership when it is needed. I am conscious of the aging and elderly at the forefront of leadership in the community and have been wondering aloud: “Where is the next generation of leaders coming from?” Now I discovered that they are here and ready to serve if only they are provided the opportunity to do so. The TTFHO has provided that forum through this Veera Hanuman Yatra and the youth have risen to the challenge and have performed with distinction!

Bhoe Tewarie and his wife KamlaPhoto : Bhoe Tewarie and his wife Kamla

The devotees that braved the bad weather to follow the Yatra throughout the day and the hundreds that came to join at the closing session demonstrated that they are ready to make the sacrifices for their dharma against all odds. And more so, they have heeded the exhortation of Hanumanji that “NO TASK IS TOO GREAT TO ACCOMPLISH” in the name of Sri Ram.