There have been many attempts to hold religious services over the Internet, but even most proponents claim the communal elements of such rituals can’t be easily replicated on-line.
But the Internet and Hinduism may be a better match. Hinduism Today magazine (July) reports on “cyberbhaktis”–devotees soliciting temple Deities’ blessings on the Worldwide Web. Hindus can also view live pujas (worship) from the historic Ganesha temple or they can request special blessings and prayers for themselves. New York’s large Ganesha Temple is likewise planning to put its services on the Web.
So far, at least 50 U.S. Hindu temples have sites on the Web, including the huge Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in London. Another article (in the magazine’s “Digital Dharma” section) reports that the Hindu ritual of Vedic astrology is also easily accommodated on the Internet. Cyber Astro, an online astrology service, offers free horoscopes before committing clients to paid consultation.
Services include relationship analysis, and remedies like chanting and gem therapy for illness. [The individualized temple services and other rituals of Hinduism, as well as occult practices and techniques requiring little communal involvement or sacramental participation may make these faiths and spiritual movements particularly adept at providing services over the computer.]
(Hinduism Today, 107 Kaholalele Rd., Kapaa, Hawaii, 96746-9304)