The formation of the South African Hindu Maha Sabha as the national body representing the cultural and religious aspirations of South Africa’s Hindu community was the brainchild of an outstanding Sannyasin (monk) who visited South Africa in 1908. He was Swami Shankaranandaji who visited this country at the invitation of the Arya Samaj movement in Natal.
Est. since 1912
On 31 May 1912 a conference of all interested Hindu organisations and individuals was convened. Delegates attending the conference arrived from all provinces in South Africa. Women and children were also included and participated enthusiastically in the proceedings as all delegates present witnessed the establishment of the South African Hindu Maha Sabha.
The South African Hindu Maha Sabha will promote Hindu Dharma through observing the best principles of Hindu religion, philosophy, ethics, values and culture according to the highest tenets of Hindu teachings. View the SAHMS constitution by clicking here.
It is the mission of the SA Hindu Maha Sabha to work towards the advancement of all members of the Hindu faith among all Hindu linguistic groups in a spirit of respect, unity and brotherhood. For more information, view the SAHMS constitution by clicking here.
As early as 1944 the Sabha realised that temples as centres of worship could play an important role in spreading religious ideas to the masses. In January 1944, the Maha Sabha organised and convened in Durban, the first Conference on Hindu Temples in South Africa. For one or two days the conference discussed various matters dealing with temples. The need for the improvement of the conditions existing in the temples and for the holding of regular Sunday services, the effective use of temples for propagating religious ideas and other relevant matters, engaged the attention of the representatives of twenty-seven temples, who attended the conference.
Today, the Maha Sabha provides a forum for all Hindus – Sanathanist, Savite, Arya Samajist, Vaisnavite, Shakta, Advaita, Visisthadvaita, Dwaita, Mimansaka, to meet, discuss their common problems, exchange views and ideas and renew the perennial faith. The Maha Sabha does not direct what its constituent members should believe in or practice but instead tries to unite the Hindus as stated in the famous quotation “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.”
For the past 104 years the Maha Sabha has endeavoured to serve as a democratic forum for Hindus in South Africa. During this period many men and women have served the Maha Sabha with dedicated distinction.
THE VALUES ON WHICH THE MAHA SABHA BASES ITS ACTIVITIES ARE SELFLESS SERVICE, ACCOUNTABILITY, RESPECT, FAIRNESS, CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT AND UNITY