Spirituality Spices Hindu Gathering

May 27, 2007

Author: Cheryl Johnston Sadgrove

Source: News & Observer


RALEIGH - Hindu morning prayers and yoga topped the day's schedule at one Umstead State Park campsite Saturday.

More than 30 college students and young professionals from around the country are camping in the park this weekend to learn about Hindu spirituality and culture. The N.C. State University chapter of the Hindu Students Council, a national organization of college students, is hosting the event, which aims to help preserve the spiritual traditions of Hinduism.

The travelers gathered in a mess hall before breakfast, sitting barefoot and cross-legged on blue and green sheets spread on the wooden floor.

Sudeep Roy lit tea lights and an incense stick on a bench draped with a light burgundy cloth that served as an altar. Flickers of candlelight glanced off ornate images of Ram, Krishna and Ganesha, some of the best-known Hindu gods, as the fragrance of incense settled across the dim room.

Roy, 24, who flew in from San Francisco, explained the light and some of the mantras he led in Sanskrit chants.

Roy first came to the camps as an undergraduate studying Indian culture and languages to learn more about the tradition in which he was raised. Now he returns to the annual event to lead prayers and discussions.