Students Explore Hinduism In Formal Instruction Amid Culture Clash

October 9, 2009

Author: Bob Smietana

Source: The Tennessean

One Sunday afternoon at the Sri Ganesha Temple in Bellevue, the air was filled with the sounds of prayer and laughter.

Two dozen worshippers stood near the shrine of Lord Ganesha, their hands clasped in reverence as a priest chanted in Sanskrit. Other devotees celebrated the festival of Navarati, a nine-day event honoring the mother goddess Shakti for triumphing over evil. Not far away, a silent worshipper prayed before Sri Parvati, another deity.

All the while, children could be heard playing on the temple's lower level. That brought a smile to Sahi Denduluri's face.

"I was raised very religiously — we went to temple every Sunday," said Denduluri, who's a pre-med student at Vanderbilt. "Those little kids running around downstairs — that was me."

A group of eight Vanderbilt students visited the temple recently, to pray and to take part in a discussion on reincarnation. The visit was organized by Vandy Karma, one of the university's newest student groups.