एकम् सत् विप्रा बहुधा वदन्ति
ekam sat vipraa bahudhaa vadanti
Truth is One. Paths are Many.
One God. Many Forms.
The Hindu Society of North East Florida (HSNEF) is the longest-standing faith-based organization in the region that brings together the Hindu community under a unified umbrella, sustaining worship practices, community & culture-building events, along with growing activities nurturing our youth. Everyone is warmly welcome into the Society. At the core of the Society is our Mandir (Temple) facility, where learned priests conduct daily worship services and offer special rituals with sanctity in line with Vedic traditions. Supporting diverse regional groups, the Mandir conducts events and offerings on auspicious days, all with an intent to bring harmony, uplift, and energize the community.
In shaping all our community programs, our intent is to bring deeper connections, bridging virtues, traditions, and culture that positively impact the broader North East Florida population. The Society is guided entirely by a committed set of volunteers who have been our Founders, benefactors, Advisory Council, and is actively run by an elected set of volunteer Executive Board members, who are further supported by various organized sub-committees. Being a registered Non-Profit, we strive for transparency, safety, and everyone’s collective welfare -- we are guided by our established By-Laws and depend on the community’s feedback, ongoing contributions, and on all types of support for our continued growth.
We rely on the community’s donations and recurring purpose-driven contributions and also much upon Annual & Life Membership dues - which ensure covering our operational overheads. Visits and Participation and Membership into the Society is open to any individual or family having interest, affinity, and curiosity into the Hindu-oriented principles, practices, and philosophy.
Included below is a list of regular services and events facilitated by HSNEF:
- Celebrations of Hindu Festivals
- Annual Food Festival – Anand Bazaar
- Cultural Programs
- Eat for a Good Cause
- Children’s Carnival
- Annual Community Gala
Hinduism: The oldest continuously lived spiritual tradition in the world, Hinduism is currently practiced by more than 1.35 billion people. The correct term for this faith/tradition is Sanatan Dharma or Eternal Righteousness or Right way of living.
Vedas: Hinduism is based on scriptures called Vedas (knowledge). There are 4 Vedas that are in Sanskrit. the mother of lndo-European languages. Vedas and a large numbers of texts including ltihasas (History) of Ramayana & Mahabharata, Puranas, Agamas, Upavedas, and many others constitute the Hindu scriptures. The exalted Bhagavad Gita draws on the essential teaching of the Vedas, and the Upanishads.
Salient Features of Hinduism: Not founded by one particular person, or a prophet. Motivated for Spirituality - Not an organized religion. No Pope equivalent. No concept of original sin or eternal damnation. Not based on dogma. In the strictest sense, Hinduism is a view, an approach to raising inner consciousness, and a way of life-based 0n the vision of the Vedas.
Essential Principles & Beliefs
1. Non-Exclusive: Hinduism is a very broad inclusive spiritual tradition.
2. Freedom to Choose: It does not advocate a single spiritual path for all but accepts all genuine spiritual paths & grants the seeker full freedom to follow the most appealing path. Broadly there are 4 non-exclusive spiritual paths: Bhakti (Devotion); Karma (Selfless Service); Raj (Penance, yoga, meditation); Gyana (Intellectual Understanding).
3. Concept of God: Hindus believe that God or the Supreme Reality is One, but may be called by many names and worshiped in many forms; you bring transformation within and impact your surroundings, through devotion and offerings to the deities, who represent Divinity and are symbolized by positive energy radiating Images, Murthis (Deities) or Vigrahas (Not Idols) such as those in the Temple or in the altar at home.
4. Pursuits & Goals of Human Life (Purusharthas): Dharma (righteous living); Artha (security); Kama (pleasurable activities); Moksha (ultimate spiritual understanding & merging with the Divine)
5. Karma is the law of cause & effect of ones' actions/deeds. Effectively it says, "as you sow, so shall you reap."
6. Reincarnation/Rebirth/Continuation of the Cycle of Life: The divine spirit, which enlivens the body never dies but transmigrates to enliven another body per the laws of karma. Death is not an end but a transformation in an ongoing spiritual journey.
7. Avatars: Hindus believe that Lord Vishnu incarnates on Earth from time to time to eradicate evil forces; & to restore Cosmic Order. There have been nine incarnations so far, and the tenth is unfolding.
8. Hinduism in daily life: The philosophy, beliefs, view of God & the world reflects in every aspect of the daily life of the Hindus, whether in music, dance & art; symbolism as in "namaste", "bindi/tikka" on the forehead, the symbol OM ॐ; in the Poojas & rituals; in celebration of Festivals or in Values lived such as Ahimsa: Non-Violence (In Thoughts, Speech & Action), and also reflecting in pro-vegetarianism.