As I prepared to observe Guru Purnima something clicked. Wow! Guru Purnima is observed by the entire Dharmic community -- Buddhists, Hindus, Jains and Sikhs and it also has a strong message of environmental harmony.
For centuries the material offered in Pujas, Hindu mode of worship, was biodegradable (made from natural ingredients), but now, often, these offerings (made of non-biogradeable material like plastic) cause pollution when immersed in the water.
Through HASC's mission, I have found a way to make my Hinduness part of my American life, and to see that my religious heritage inspires innovative solutions for issues and challenges of the society I live in. I feel less isolated.
Given that budget cuts have reduced many social service programs, the conference highlighted the needs of pluralistic communities to step in and offer their services as a way to help the middle class and poor in America.
Hearing these ideas on the same weekend the debt crisis was being fought, it seemed more pertinent than ever to me that religious groups become more empowered to step into the public space where the government can no longer.