01 Apr 2008


For 83 years, … night and day, … the beat has never stopped.  It is expected to continue uninterrupted for another 917 years.  The devotion appears to be unending to those in this Hindu temple as they seek to deny themselves in order to please their gods.  Since the beginning of this worship in 1920, they have worn out over 500 drums, sprinkled holy water from the Ganges River every 10 minutes, consumed tens of thousands of candles, and faithfully and carefully attend to the likeness of their god.  Many musicians have grown old and died not knowing what awaits them in the next life.

 All of the five rules of the puja prescribed by the ancient scriptures come together as they worship here. The most important of these, … the mantra, … is repeated many times during the day. The mantra is the sound that signifies the beginning of the universe.

 This group  … of over 600,000 followers …  calls Jagobondhu their god, meaning friend of the world.  The small house where he meditated in complete solitude for 16-1/2 years is enshrined in the temple.   This is just one of the millions of gods that the Hindus worship. 

The leader of this group is Bondhu, … a well-educated man in his late 30’s.  He remains unmarried – instead giving his full love to his god.   A large staff supports him and the worship activities here at the temple grounds near Faridpur,  … a medium sized city in the west central part of Bangladesh. Construction of a new worship center and paving of the driveway inside the temple compound indicates an expansion of their influence in the area.

 It is here in the Southwest part of the country that most of the Hindus of Bangladesh live. Hindus, however, are found throughout the country.  In a temple located at a public school in Dumuria, … down an alley way and up to the second story of an apartment building in Banderban, … within the family compound of the faithful in Kaligoni, … along a busy street in Kuhlna, … and in a small building along the roadside near Terakhada.  Occasionally, they can be observed returning from the cremation of a recently deceased family member. The Hindus, 12 million in all, feel oppressed and set aside since they represent only about 14% of the population of the country.  The 85% Muslim majority dominates the political, economic, social and religious activities of Bangladesh.

 The  beliefs of the Hindu’s began in the hearts and minds of the people in India long before Mohammad established Islam.  The most important sacred teachings, the Vedas, were written nearly a thousand years before Jesus was born. The teachings of the Vedas existed centuries before they were written and are considered older than the sacred writings of any other major religon.  … Still …  people like this caretaker who has been here for 40 years … or those who are worshipping at this sacred tree … understand little of the religion that captures their devotion.  There is no teaching of the doctrines and principals of Hinduism in the places of worship.  Instead, … they are taught that if they are good, … someday there is the possibility of being reincarnated as a higher-class person and ultimately reaching the peace and tranquility of the highest level of heaven.

 Hindus consider the temples as buildings dedicated to one or more of the 330 million gods. Most Hindu temples have many shrines, each of which is devoted to a divinity. Each temple also has a principle shrine dedicated to a single important god or goddess. Each and every day the images are washed, dressed, and provided with food.

In Boyra Temple located in the city of Khulna preparations are underway for the puja.  This Brahman, … the priest of the Temple, … oversees the preparations.  Food consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables is prepared for the deities.  The sacred utensils are washed and set up.  The five elements of the Hindu worship are all included in these activities. … The pot containing water that represents the human body. … The flower, fruit, or leaf that represents nature.  …  The picture or statue of the deity. …  The mandala, or sacred pattern that encompasses the universe, is stamped on the foreheads of the worshippers.  Most important is the mantra …  or the sound that is the beginning of the universe. … The mantra activates the worship and any ceremony is useless without the sound.

 As a people, the Hindus consider themselves as ones who seek to live in harmony with others as well as nature, but many of their deities and sacred writings portray their gods with a violent and vindictive nature. Kali (KAH-lee), one of the principle gods, is the goddess of destruction.  This inconsistency extends into the spirit world. Even with the apparent devotion to their gods, they continue to be fearful of evil spirits. The brown mark on the child’s forehead is said to keep evil spirits from entering his body. The amulets worn around this four-day-old boy serve a similar purpose. They continue to wear the amulets for many years. The string around the waist has bells attached and is used to ensure fertility as the child grows to adulthood. The most frightening of their rituals is working with poisonous snakes. Snake charmers capture cobras in the wild and use them in these rituals. Many of the Hindu shrines include an image of a cobra. 

 The Hindu religion divides their people into four castes, the Brahman who are the priests and scholars, … the Koitrio or rulers and warriors, … the Boishno or the merchants and professionals … and the Nomoshurdo or farmers and fishermen. Because of the oppression by the Muslims, most of the upper three castes have left Bangladesh, leaving the lowest caste. This caste is divided into still a lower caste known as the Rishis.  It is those in this lowest of the bottom caste that have been the most receptive to the Gospel.

 The Hindus need your prayers.  Select one of the following individuals and pray for that person.

 (Scenes of individuals with hymn Holy, Holy, Holy sung in Bengali)

 The Hindus are a large group with millions just like these who are lost and with no hope.   Please come and help us as we share the Gospel.

 {Closing scene Church at 1365}

Ending – scroll of Holy, Holy, Holy since the congregation is singing this hymn.



Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty!

Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;

Holy, Holy, Holy!

Merciful and Mighty!

God in Three persons, blessed Trinity!



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