Hastinapur in Argentina is a sprawling complex of 12 acres about 50 kms from Argentina capital,Buenos Aires, is known to very few Indians and its population consists of a dozen Indian gods and an equal number of Argentine human beings.
As one visits here they can see an Abode created for Hindu God near Buenos Aires, as some of the Indian gods reside in authentic temples filled with the scent of Indian agarbatties while others stay outdoor enjoying the fragrance of the flowers from the garden. Some are sitting or standing on the pedestals and others hang on the sides of walls and pillars.It is clearly a place for Gods and some Gods have their own temples like seen for Ganesha,Shiva, Narayana,Krishna and Surya.In a serene setting where the only sound comes from the hundreds of birds nesting on the Rosewood trees in the green garden with the background of soft music of devotees singing bhajans,a dozen Argentinians living in Hastinapur look after the Gods and place. When we peep into our history about Hastinapur,it has the temple for Pandavas as well.It is indeed a divine place which inspires sacred thoughts and holy spirit. Ganesh is standing out in white against the greenery of the garden in the picture below.
The complex, functioning under the Hastinapur Foundation, was established in 1981 madam Ada Albrecht who indtroduced Indian philosophy to the Argentinian people. An Indophile,she has authored several books,such as The Saints And Teachings of India and The Teachings of the Monks from Himalayas. The foundation's chief objective is "to realise,promote and teach the existence of God and the divine spiritual essence of human beings,using Spiritual Universalism as the means".
Hastinapur is called in Spanish ciudad de la sabiduria(City of Wisdom). Sculptures of Saraswati,the Goddess of learning,can be seen all over the place. Argentinians come here for wisdom, to learn philosophy,read in the library,practise yoga and meditation and sing bhajans. On the other side of the fence, there are cows grazing in the shed(Goshala) and praying to the Indian Gods peeping from there without the fear of any harm done to them as it is purely Vegetarian.The inmates cook vegetarian food and share with the children from poor families in the neighbourhood.
The City of Wisdom is not the ultimate destination. It does not prescribe wisdom doses.It is an instituition to pursue pure wisdom, peace and divinity. It simply helps people to seek, find and pursue their own path to wisdom. They give classes in yoga, meditation, philosophy, devotional singing and sacred drama. They organise workshops, seminars and retreats. Neither in the city nor in the website names of those who run the place are given. The founders and directors of the Hastinapura Foundation do not seek publicity.Those who run the place pursue various professions,such as company managers,engineers or professors,volunteering time and talent for the foundation.
The Hastinapur Foundation has expanded to run 16 centres in Buenos Aires and three more in the rest of Argentina,with centres also in Uruguay, Bolivia and Colombia.Hastinapur is an authentic Ashram and respects all the religions and beliefs. Their ten temples include one for Buddha, one for Virgin Mary, one for the Greek god Demeter and another one called as the the Temple of All Faiths. Their library has books of all religions and schools of thought.It has published a number of books on Indian Philosophy and translated into Spanish the Bhagavad Gita. Bhakthi Sutras,Upanishads,Srimad Bhagvatam and Yoga Sutras.Their next project is to broadcast through radio. Information on the Foundation and its activities can be seen at their
Over 2500 students are studying yoga and philosophy in the Foundation's centres,taught by 100 teachers on philosophy and 120 teachers on yoga, with the classes held only on weekends. The Foundation also runs a post-graduate course in yoga which takes three years to complete.
Gustavo Canzobre, one of oldest stundents of Madam Ada, is now the director of the Hastinapur College of Professors. He was 17 years old when he became interested in Indian Wisdom and is now a manager in local company for living and dedicates the rest of his time to the Foundation.
He is knowledgeable about the Vedas and Upanishads,and during third festival of India organise by Indian Embassy in Beunos Aires in November 2010,gave a talk on the temple architecture of South India.
During weekends, there is large congregation of visitors to the place nearly one hundred.They celebrate joyously many Indian festivals, such as Ganesh Chathurthi and Baisakhi.
Unlike, in India there are no priests or other middlemen between the gods and worshippers nor Hundi(money collection box) as seen in Hindu Temples in India like Tirupathi.People visiting this temple pray, recite mantras and sing devotional songs individually or in groups.
Here is an example of spiritual oneness based on the timeless concept of universality of spirit taught by our Ancient Rishis,practised thousands of miles away from India.
Latin Americans are, of course, known for fun and fiesta. At the same time, there are thousands of Latin Americans who take Mahabharatha and Meditation more seriously than many Indians.