Navigating Tough Times
The article “Navigating Challenging Times” means the world to me, because this is one of the most difficult times of my life. I am incarcerated; my release is soon. However, I am exiting prison and entering an outside pandemic world filled with fear and anxiety in which I must become a productive member of society. I must remember to “face issues of today… rather than dwell on history and the past” and rely on the infinite God, Satyam Jnanam Anantam Brahman! I stay in today, and await my next copy of hinduism Today.
Angelique Mathis, #86158
Boise, Idaho, USA
Ambassadors of Dharma
Namaste Bijay bhai! What an inspirational OpEd (“Why I Became a Dharma Ambassador”) in the Jan. 2021 issue of Hinduism Today! You led the reader from youth in Bharat to early confusion in America, all the way to your successes today, a journey that thousands of others are also undertaking. Your article in this international magazine, combined with Zoom technology, will help and inspire so many more to also become Dharma Ambassadors around the world.
California Advocacy Director
Hindu American Foundation
Diwali for the World
Because of this pandemic, in Trinidad and Tobago we have had to cancel several major cultural and religious programs—namely Divali Nagar, Carnival, Panorama—and even political assemblies. The populace has taken it with great ease and cooperation. This is a commendable sacrifice for which we must applaud ourselves.
Still, it is disheartening to undergo these traumatic times. Let all peoples, regardless of social, economic, cultural or ethnic stock, use the message of Divali to usher the world into order and respect, so that the lights of Divali would become infinite.
We in Trinidad and Tobago must respect and imbibe the teachings that Divali provides, and take a serious look at its message of truth, honesty and integrity as a lesson for a peaceful society and world, devoid of false values, violence and convulsions which take us nowhere.
Paras Ramoutar, Former Councillor
Trinidad & Tobago
Faith and Reason
I read with confusion and disappointment Pradeep Srivastava’s letter to the editor in response to Dakshinamurthy’s response to his previous LTE. Mr. Srivastava makes the claim that “Belief in God is thus indeed a matter of faith. But unlike Abrahamic religions, which rely on blind faith, Hinduism encourages and emphasizes faith stemming from intuition and direct experience that can be felt but cannot be described.”
Is this true? Natural theology, as taught in the Christian faith [distinct from the more mainstream “revealed theology”], relies on no authorities, including the Church or Scripture, but rather natural reason coupled with science. That is not to say that natural theology necessarily contradicts the Church or the Bible, but that the proofs for God’s existence and goodness may be found solely within the bounds of reason and science. The God of Western theism does not contradict or “transcend” the laws of logic. God, according to the Western tradition, cannot do anything logically contradictory, such as squaring a circle. By contrast, the Upanishadic or Vedantic Deity seems to flout the laws of nature by being unknowable through the intellect, and yet one must rely on the intellect of a human guru to gain realization of Brahman. If Brahman is beyond thought, words, etc. then it is literally meaningless to speak of Brahman, as Wittgenstein and the Logical Positivists would say. By contrast, Hindu thinkers such as Sriharsha and Bhartrihari believe that reason is inherently unreliable and that one should simply have faith in the religious authorities who composed the shastras. Even Shankaracharya said that while reason and logic may serve as aides to help one understand scripture, they are not (contra the natural theologians of the Christian tradition) independent means to knowing God. Of course, Chaitanya and Swaminarayan tried to rescue Brahman from absurdity by bifurcating Brahman into Parabrahman (Personal Deity) and Brahman (impersonal effulgent light emanating from God’s personal being, similar to the light emanating from the Holy Spirit). However, there are problems with these Vaishnava interpretations that would take a longer letter to respond to in full.
Deleware, Ohio, USA
Barred from Entering Temples
It is with great dismay, though not surprise, that I read of the pathetic and vulgar behavior of so-called custodians of Hindu shrines, be they in Nepal or India or anywhere in the world, who would allow entry to an Indian of the Abrahamic faith but not an African or white person who is more dedicated to his Hindu belief than most Hindus of Indian origin. This is not racism; it is something worse, and certainly not a behavior endorsed by any Hindu anywhere in the world.
Mansukh M. Chhiba
Eldoraigne, Centurion South Africa
I am looking for information on Telugu poets as part of my research on the Bhakti movement. Your article on Tamil, Kannada and Malayala poet-saints has helped me greatly in getting an insight into their times and works. Can you kindly share a link to articles on Telugu poets, please?
Andhra Pradesh, India
Numerous Telugu poets contributed abundantly to the Bhakti Movement, such as Bammera Pothana (15th c.), who authored the Potana Bhagavatam, a translation of the Sanskrit Bhagavata Purana into Telugu. Telugu Bhakti saints are especially prevalent in the Carnatic music world. Prominent examples include saint-composers Thyagaraja, Annamacharya and Bhadrachala Ramadasu, whose kritis (compositions) form a major part of any Carnatic musician’s repertoire. A wonderful book of English translations of Annamacharya’s poems is God on the Hill (amazon.com/God-Hill-Temple-Poems-Tirupati/dp/0195182847). Thanks for your interest!
Lakshmi Chandrashekar Subramanian
Editor’s note: Below are a few of many comments from our 2020 Digital Dharma Drive donors. Their inspiration adds to our inspiration, by which we hope to inspire others.
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Angels Who Teach What a Good Life Is
How two men help broadcast Hinduism’s calming and inspiring philosophy
Gopal grandhige and darin bahl were both born in the US in 1975. They met in 2002, married in 2009 and now live in Tampa, Florida. Both consider themselves ardent Hindus and enthusiastically support Hinduism Today.
Gopal is a surgeon who was raised in a devout home where, he recalls, “I saw my parents, already so steeped in Hinduism, reading each issue of our magazine cover to cover.”
Darin owns a company that “designs spaces” for events, weddings, galas, etc. He was raised in a Catholic family. “But as soon as Gopal introduced me to Hinduism,” he shares, “it filled my soul. I went to Hindu holy spots; I attended ceremonies; it all changed me forever. And I have a mother- and a father-in-law who are like angels in my life, They are constant reminders of what a good life is. I felt the wisdom of the ages pouring through them as I saw them walk through our situation.”
“Hinduism Today was a big help at that delicate time,” stresses Gopal. “When my parents were trying their best to figure out what to think, the magazine provided a lot of clarity and a lot of peace. We’ll always be grateful for that.
“The regular arrival of issues is in itself a constant reminder that no matter how much you know, there’s still more to discover inside those covers, and inside yourself. It’s a call to action, to walk down the path a little farther.”
“And it is so approachable, so welcoming,” adds Darin, “it makes you want to learn and make progress. Its simple, clear, easy going language brings even the deepest articles within reach. It’s amazing that it is so deep, yet approachable by Hindus and non Hindus alike. We love its live-and-let-live attitudes. It has taught me to do what used to be oh, so hard: looking inward rather than outward. I don’t know how else I would have learned that.”
“We support many charities, but giving to Hinduism Today is special because we feel so close to it and blessed by it. At the same time, we are serving society, helping a truly vital source to thrive, one worthy to calm and inspire others as it has done us. We cannot ourselves broadcast all that wonderful philosophy needing so desperately to be known, but we can help the Hinduism Today staff do it for us, dedicating their whole lives to it as they do.”
You can help Hinduism’s soothing message be heard by supporting Hinduism Today, its voice. Donate at bit.ly/help-HT, Or contact us at: 1-888-464-1008 • email@example.com