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Amanpreet Atwal

Project # 1
COMM-2150-400

Overview
The culture that I chose to discover was Hinduism. To pursue this discovery, I
visited the Sri Ganesha Hindu Temple in South Jordan and had an amazing
experience. I spoke to Priest Satish Kumar and he was really helpful and
informative. I started off by asking Priest Kumar to tell me a little bit about
the history of the temple. After the history, I asked the Priest if he could tell
me ways to do arathi, as well as name all the different Deities (Gods)
present in the temple. Out of the 14 Deities, I only knew a little bit about 2 of
the Deities. Priest Satish Kumar was really nice about me visiting the temple
and since it was my very first time at a Hindu Temple, he guided me through
and showed me how to give my prayers to the God. I chose to compare my
experiences to the Value Orientation Theory that was developed by
Kluckholm and Strodtbeck. After my experience at the temple, I can say that
the beliefs Priest Satish Kumar believes in would relate to the beliefs my
family and I would also relate to and believe in. My experience from the
temple has gotten me even more interested in Hinduism.

Religion
Hinduism has been a culture that I have been interested in learning because
I have always noticed some similarities in language and greetings after
watching Hindi movies. To me, its amazing how Punjabi people and Hindi
people both greet people with their hands folded together. The differences in
our greetings would be what we say when we actually greet people. We,
Punjabis say Sat-Sri-Akal, while Hindu people say Namaste. Hinduism
has said to be formed around 2000 BC with neither a specific moment of
origin nor a specific origin. Hinduism has said to be a collection of sacred
texts known as Sanatana Dharma which translates to The Eternal
Teachings. The Hindu Worldview is based on the doctrines of samsara or
the cycle of rebirth and karma which are the universal laws of cause and
effect. They also believe that ones own actions determine ones life, both
current and future. Hinduism is divided into 4 major sects: Shaiva who are
devotees of the God Shiva, Vaishnava who devotees of the God Vishnu,
Shakta who are devotees of the goddess, and Smarta who are Brahmins.
The 4 sacred texts are called Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and
Epics. Out of all of these sacred texts, the only one that I have heard of is
the Bhagavad Gita due to watching a lot of Hindi Movies. In Hinduism, there
are certain times and days to hold important events. The times and days are
determined by careful consultation of the calendars by the priests. The most
common religious act in Hinduism is termed puja which translates into
worship. Puja is done to honor and entertain the deity. This can be done in
several ways but there are certain steps that have to be followed to do the
puja. Hinduism society is based on caste systems. There are 4 different
castes. Starting from the top are the Brahmins, or the priestly caste. Next
are the Kshatriya who are a traditionally warrior caste. Then are the
Vaishya who are a caste of merchants and farmers. At the bottom of the list
are the Shudra who are manual laborers. I had heard about this caste
system but never knew the differences between each caste until now.

Religious and Cultural Function


When I visited the Sri Ganesha Hindu Temple in South Jordan, I was a little
nervous but really excited. I was nervous because this was my first time ever
visiting a Hindu Temple. I literally had no idea how to give my prayers to the
God. There was this really sweet lady there and after I told her that I wasnt
Hindu but I wanted to see the temple, she helped me around and told me
what to do. There were many deities present at the temple but the one that
was in the center of the temple was Sri Ganesha. When I visited the temple,
there was nobody there so I think that was to my benefit because I didnt
want to make a fool out of myself. Right when you enter the temple, there is
a big bell that your supposed to ring right when you enter. I asked Priest
Kumar why that is the first thing you do when you enter a temple. His
response was really interesting to hear. He stated that the first thing you do
to enter the temple is ring the bell because the sound of om will purify your
mind and bring a holy atmosphere to the surroundings. After the bell, I asked
Priest Kumar if he could share a little bit about the history of the temple. I
was actually talking to the Priest in Hindi since I knew the language. Priest
Kumar said that the temple is 22 years old. For the 1st 8 years, the temple
was actually present in someones basement. Those people then raised a
fund so that they could make the temple that is present now. I think that is
really interesting and the temple is a fascinating place to visit. In fact, since
the last 2 years, the temple has still been expanding and Priest Kumar said
that in the next 4 months, the temple should be fully completed. Priest
Kumar said that at first people only came on the weekends, but now people
come every day. There are certain times when the temple is open though.
From Monday-Friday, the temple is open from 8:30 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. and
again from 5:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. On Saturdays and Sundays, the temple is
open from 8:30 A.M. to 9:00 P.M. Right next to the temple, attached, is an
Indian Cultural Events Hall in which people are welcome to hold functions for
religious prayers or Indian festivals. There are a total of 13 Deities present in
the temple with Sri Ganesha being the Deity that is present in the center of
the temple. There is another Deity present outside of the temple. Priest
Kumar said that that temple is a temple of the Snake God. I didnt get a
chance to see the Snake God Temple but it looked really amazing from the
outside. To end my visit, Priest Kumar gave me his blessings and gave me
the holy offering which included an apple and an offering that was specially
ordered from a big Hindu Temple in India. I felt really honored to get those
offerings. That was an amazing experience that I will always remember,
thanks to this project!
Value Theory
The Value Theory that I decided to relate my experience to was the Value
Orientations Theory by Kluckholm and Strodtbeck. Researchers Florence
Kluckholm and Fred Strodtbeck studied contemporary Dine (Navajo) and
descendants of Spanish colonies and European Americans in the Southwest
in the 1950s (Martin & Nakayama, 2013). They wanted all cultural groups to
be able to answer these 5 questions:
What is human nature?
What is the relationship between humans and nature?
What is the relationship between humans?
What is the preferred personality?
What is the orientation toward time?
According to Kluckholm and Strodtbeck, there are three possible responses
to each question as they relate to shared values. Kluckholm and Strodtbeck
believed that, although all responses are possible in all societies, each
society has one, or possibly two, preferred responses for each question that
reflect the predominant values of the society (Martin & Nakayama, 2013).

Analysis
My analysis would go along with Kluckholm and Strodtbecks Value
Orientation Theory answering the question, What is human nature? When I
was talking to Priest Kumar, I asked about the significance about tilak that
is applied before you start praying. A tilak is a red colored powder applied to
your forehead before praying and red is considered a sacred color. Priest
Kumar said that this sacred color, once applied to your forehead, will guide
you towards the right direction. God will show you light and make you either
go the right path or wrong path. I think this statement can fall underneath
the mixture of good and evil response that could be one of the answers to
the question on human nature. Once in the temple, you can either make your
thoughts go towards the right direction or you can go the wrong direction
which falls under evil.

Reflection
This experience has been an amazing experience. I had always wanted to
visit a Hindu Temple and due to this project, I ended up actually visiting one.
I was a little nervous before going to the temple but after I left, I was really
happy and honored due to all the respect I got while going to the temple.
While visiting the temple, I got to find out a little bit about all the Deities that
were present at the temple. One of the Deities named Navgra represents the
9 planets. Outside the temple is a Snake Temple. I have heard about Nag
Devta (name of Snake God) before and how powerful this God is but never
imagined that I would have the opportunity to actually see one. That was a
great experience. The theory did help me better understand this culture
because it allowed me to critically think about the human nature and how I
could relate it to my visit. I would definitely say that his experience boosted
my intercultural communication. I dont talk much Hindi because I dont
belong to that culture but finally I had an experience to talk Hindi with
someone one-on-one. I have always been really interested in different
cultures and backgrounds and after my experience here, I think I would
definitely want to visit more cultural events in different cultures.

References
Kumar, Satish. (2017, February 15). Visit to Sri Ganesh Hindu Temple.
(Amanpreet Atwal, Interviewer)
Martin, J.N., & Nakayama, T.K. (2013). Intercultural Communication in
Contexts, Sixth Edition, New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Hinduism origins, Hinduism history, Hinduism beliefs. Retrieved from
February 17, 2017, from Religion Library: Hinduism,
http://www.patheos.com/Library/Hinduism.

The information I got online was from


http://www.patheos.com/Library/Hinduism this website as well as other links
in the same website that told different things about Hinduism like sacred
texts, sacred times etc. That is why I only cited that one website instead of 3
or 4 different ones.