While addressing the Class of 2020 for Hindu students, the 39-year-old US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard had reportedly said that one can find certainty, peace and strength in Bhagavad Gita, amidst the uncertain times. She urged the Hindu students to find solace and strength in Bhakti Yoga and Karma Yoga as preached by Shri Krishna in the Hindu Holy book.
“As you think about this new chapter in your lives, ask yourself what is my purpose in life? It is a deep question that if you can recognise now that your purpose is to serve God and God’s children, practicing Karma Yoga, then you can lead a truly successful life,” Gabbard was quoted as saying. Her address came at the backdrop of the violent protests that have taken the United States by storm, following the murder of a black man George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25.
Tulsi Gabbard who ran for the post of President, before giving up her election campaign, said that success could not be defined by accomplishments and material benefits but rather by the happiness one derived through service to the society. She was the first Hindu woman to run for the coveted post and had served as an army veteran in Iraq.
The virtual event was organised for the first time by the Hindu Students Council, the largest Hindu youth organisation in North America founded in 1990, on June 7. The event was held amidst the Coronavirus outbreak, which has infected 2.11 million people in the US and caused 116K fatalities. The event was watched live by thousands of viewers on Facebook and Youtube. Hindu graduates from the US, Canada, UK, India, and Australia took part in the event to commemorate their graduation by celebrating the values taught by Hinduism. The students belonged to several premier universities including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Princeton, and Stanford.
The event primarily focused on timeless themes from Bhagavad Gita, Hindu prayers, symbolic conferral of degrees, besides recitation of graduation message from the Upanishads. The Grand Marshall of the ceremony was Professor Subhash Kak, an Indian-American computer scientist and recipient of the Padma Shri award in 2019. While reading out the names of the graduating students, he said, “I exhort you – the graduating students – to be the leaders of the new world where education is less of the mind of a vessel to be filled with information (usually forgotten after the semester is over), and more of a flame that is lit as envisioned by our Vedic sages.”