Even when they disagree with something we have printed in HINDUISM TODAY, letters to the editors are always read with interest. Disagreement is controversy, and we love it. Controversy causes us all to think, evaluate and come to conclusions. Keep those letters coming. I have opened up more space on page three, most of it, to receive them. "My Turn" is there, and that is a long letter to the editor and most special. We would like you who are reading at this moment to take your turn.
Last month we received a couple of letters suggesting changes in the paper. Our publisher in Malaysia did an informal survey and found out that readers there go immediately to the Letters, Publisher's Desk and the editorial. My feelings were hurt, just a little, because your letters are read more than mine. He thought that we should have more letters, a suggestion we have heard many times, so we are making changes in the design of our opinion-editorial pages two and three to give mere space. For those of you who did not see your letter published, write again. It's now twice as likely that your letter will get printed.
"News in Brief" is another popular column. In a short space you can read two dozen short stories around the world, some major, some not so important, but all interesting. It was voted fourth on the list of most read articles. So we are also increasing "News in Brief to a half page, about fifty percent more short news clips.
Then there was a suggestion to get more news from India. We agree, especially at this time in history when so many people in India are talking about a Hindu country. Mr. B.M. Sinha in New Delhi is doing a fantastic job of professional journalism there. His story about Adi Sankarachariya's ancestral home in May, the environmentalism report on Maneka Gandhi in June and the July issue article of swamis involved in politics were all coups. We met in New Delhi and are working together to get more journalists in India. If you know of one, send his or her address.
There was one suggestion we did not take. That was to cover the socio-political developments in India more thoroughly. The reason is that we are not a political paper, and never will be. There are others who do, can do and will always do a better job at that than we. For political news and insights, there are our friends at AsiaWeek and India Today, India West and India Abroad, all excellent sources, and there are the many daily and weekly papers in India. Our goal has never been to compete with these publications but to keep alive the religious side of life. We know what we do well, and we intend to stick with that. We just would not be a great political publication. Our focus is on the metaphysical over the political, on the spiritual life of Hindus and not the material. Sometimes they do overlap, and we can't help that. The swamis that staff my newspaper keep the inner vision rather than the outer perspective. That is our strength. Good businessmen go with their strengths.
While in India in late July, we had the opportunity to spend some time with the Honorable Venkantaraman, President of India. It was a very good meeting, I must say. We enjoyed fresh fruit and warm milk together and spoke of many things, which included HINDUISM TODAY, of course. In Mauritius the ministry of Education, Art and Culture sponsored an eleven-day Hindu Solidarity Festival, complete with five to six satsangs and lectures each day from six in the morning until midnight. We had great meetings and discussions with the Governor General, the Prime Minister and many others, all the Hindu religious leaders in the country and sponsored an interfaith meeting that turned out to be very rewarding for everyone.
Himalayan Academy recently released a new book called Living with Siva, Hinduism's Nandinatha Sutras. It was written by me and is addressed to my followers and those who want to know exactly what we do and expect of others, how we live and expect followers to live. It is richly illustrated and definitely an in-house book. But we have been given a gift of a thousand copies to give away. If you would like one, write to Living with Siva, P.O. Box 1030, Kapaa, HI 96746. Here are two of the book's 365 sutras.
"My followers shall be stewards of trees and plants, fish and birds, bees and reptiles, animals and creatures of every shape and kind, and become the trusted friends of humans of every caste, creed, color and sex. Aum." "My monastics must never look upon themselves as grander than any yogi, swami or guru of other orders. They serve all preceptors, promote their good causes, revere their efforts and enhance their names. Aum."
Article copyright Himalayan Academy.