By Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami
Last year, in our January issue we honored our “women of vision in a man’s world.” Now we offer our respects to our men of vision in an increasingly woman’s world. What kind of a world would we have but for the men and the women, especially the mothers? There is no competition between them. It is the working togetherness that makes the recording of the Hindu renaissance a virtual reality. This month we take great pleasure in introducing to you a remarkable team of contributors whose in-depth insights into problems and farsighted suggestions for solutions have, over the past 20 years created an invincible Hindu front. The visionary nature and inherent sensitivity of these men, along with our very special women journalists, have inspired leadership far beyond expectations in over 80 nations.We call our journalists the “renaissance team,” as they monitor and guide the global, eternal renewal of the world’s oldest faith. Of course, there are other men, not featured here, who have been and will continue to be instrumental in the Hindu renaissance. In our universe they include thinker Ram Swarup of New Delhi, astrologer Chakrapani Ullal of California; artist and author Harish Johari of Haridwar; Vamadeva Shastri, Vedic astrologer, New Mexico; cartoonist Mario Miranda of Goa; A. Manivel, artist of Chennai; and many others. To anyone we have neglected, pardon us for not mentioning you, but you know who you are and how dearly you hold the vision of Hindu Dharma. We honor you and the many more who will volunteer their efforts in the future.
Rajiv Malik, of Delhi, with diplomas in Sales and Marketing Management, has specialized in the sale of textiles in his own showrooms since 1984, and “strayed” into journalism ten years back. He writes, “My association with Hinduism Today has given a new meaning to my life, a new sense of direction and purpose. I had never taken my being a Hindu as something which was of great consequence. While working for Hinduism Today I underwent wonderful and mystical experiences. Especially my visits to various Kumbha Melas had a profound impact on my life and thought process as I sat at the feet of holy men and women. While working on the story on Indian child labor, I came across the heart-rending conditions of Indian children. I realized that Hinduism has the solutions to all the extremely complex problems that face mankind today and therefore Hinduism Today has an extremely challenging role to play in shaping the future. I would like to see Hinduism Today become the voice of downtrodden and weak Hindus who suffer as a silent majority in different parts of the world. It is the job of a magazine like Hinduism Today to convey the eternal message of the Vedas and Puranas–that we are not just these perishable bodies but are a part of the Divine. In fulfilling this, I will act as a humble soldier of the HT team for years, generations and births, till the goal is achieved.”
Dr. Devananda Tandavan of Chicago, author of our monthly healing column, is a retired nuclear physician and hospital staff president. In recent years he has taken a deep interest in alternative healing arts. He explains, “My vision for the future is that all physicians will gradually learn of the Alternative and Complementary methods of healing. For healing is the true goal. This may be physical, mental or spiritual. Many of the doctors have already become healers, some in spite of their science. With the new emphasis on proper nutrition and diet, the body will become well again. The natural state of the body is to be without disease. If we convince people to follow a good diet with the proper attention to nutrients, wellness will become commonplace. We are safe in saying that all of our physical diseases (even genetic, which come from past life karma) are of our own doing, caused by poor diet, poor mental states, very little spirituality, sedentary living and the readiness to ignore the facts of health. But as the body heals, so will the mind and spiritual aspects, because the people will begin to know and live the truth.”
Dr. Hari Bansh Jha lives with his wife and three children in Nepal. After serving for 23 years as Professor of Economics at Tribhuvan University, he has turned to writing books, conducting research and serving weaker sections of the society, including women and children. “There is a great freedom within Hinduism. But this is not digestible to alien faiths. So there are deliberate attempts to attack this Hindu way of life. I wish to serve the Hindus who are immersed in problems in Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and other parts of the globe. There is a lot that Hinduism could contribute to the world in its spiritual growth and also for the maintenance of peace on the Earth. If my God allows, I might actively concentrate on some of these core issues through Hinduism Today. To me, Hinduism Today means purity, peace, love and an attempt to develop oneness with Lord Siva. I am part of the Hinduism Today family because I feel that I am able to improve myself day by day, particularly in the spiritual arena.”
Mangala Prasad Mohanty, born in a devout family in the village Batagaon, near Puri town, lives with his wife and son in Delhi. A seasoned journalist, published throughout India, he speaks on All India Radio, and translates poetic works into English and Oriya. In Puri he has registered a Non-Governmental Organization(NGO) called Society for Environmental Action and Restoration of Cultural Heritage (search). He shares, “The world is full of hunger, disease, poverty, violence and hatred, and the worst crime, that perpetrated in the name of caste, religion and creed. But I believe in Divinity and Grace. I strongly advocate that by positive thinking and action, the world would turn better, positive, a place worth living in peace and prosperity. I believe in the ancient Hindu philosophy, vasudhaiva kutumbakam (‘the world is one family’). I adore diversity, love, peace and Hinduism. Since childhood I was fond of visiting temples and meeting saints. The same old habit made it possible for me to meet Sri Gurudeva, founder of Hinduism Today. Little did I know that meeting would lead to a lifetime affair in creativity and spirituality. My lifestyle has undergone tremendous change. I am more compassionate, peaceful, calm and devoted to what I do. I have greater respect towards elders, brahmins, saints and priests. I take an active role in the promotion of our value system and morality. Attaining moksha, liberation, remains the sacred and ultimate goal in life.”
Vrindavanam S. Gopalakrishnan, based in Kerala, has been a professional freelance journalist since 1983. He had the distinction of covering the 1987 Military Coup in Fiji and the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 for the international media. “I would say my bitter experience abroad meted out to me by the organized religions coupled with my luck to meet His Holiness Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami has transformed me totally. The efforts of Hinduism Today from the West to enlighten those crawling in the darkness of ignorance have drawn me further closer. I offered my humble service to become part of Hinduism Today’s endeavor for affirming Sanatana Dharma and recording the modern history of a billion-strong religion now in renaissance. In fact, it had enlightened me as it was happening in a scenario where the Hindu organizations, born and brought up in Hindustan with the basic tenets of Sanatana Dharma (Vedanta philosophy) started disowning their heritage–whereas the sannyasis behind Hinduism Today have exhibited the courage to say “We are Hindus.” The attitude and approach of these noble and saintly men could definitely instill confidence and courage in the minds of many Hindus around the world.”
Nautam Raval, born in Kenya, moved to the UK in 1975, where he resides with his wife and two daughters, Priti and Anju. At age 60, after a career in Law and Commerce, he now takes life at a relaxed pace. As UK correspondent, he compiled the profile of the Swaminarayanan Temple in Neasden for our December issue on temples. Nautam says, “When I first read Hinduism Today, I was very impressed with the simplicity and breadth of its articles. This year I became a part of the Hinduism Today family so I could do some useful work towards Hindu renaissance. Hinduism Today explains Hinduism in simple and understandable words and therefore appeals to every section of Hindus. I want to make it known to the younger generations so they appreciate that they are the inheritors of a vast and deeply spiritual faith. More and more women read and appreciate the magazine, which is very encouraging. Hinduism is a storehouse of spirituality, and Hindu scriptures are in a class of their own. But I find everybody is searching elsewhere for that which only religion can give. For us Hindus, our faith has the answers. By making Hinduism Today widely read, more people can take a dip into the great reservoir that Hinduism is. May God bless me so I can continue to write and be a part of the Hinduism Today family for many, many years to come.”
Anil Mahabir is a graduate from the University of the West Indies, with a BSC [Honors] degree in Politics, Sociology and History. He is a pre-University teacher in West Indian, European and American History and Sociology. He also writes a newspaper column on social and political issues facing Trinidad and Tobago for the Friday version of the “Trinidad Express” [www. trinidadexpress.com]. He lives with his wife, a Fisheries Biologist for the government, in the quiet rural setting of Cunupia in central Trinidad. He has been frequently highlighting instances of discrimination against Indo-Trinidadians in his country and has constantly used his column to call upon the authorities to embark upon equality legislation. “I got involved with Hinduism Today the day I purchased a copy of the magazine from a bookstore in Port-of-Spain. Three hours later I sent a fax from my home to the editor of the magazine about how truly impressed I was about the content and layout. Hinduism Today will go a long way towards dispelling the myth, the propaganda, that Hindus and Hinduism are backward. My mission is to get more young people involved in and interested in the magazine, via the Internet because many Hindu households in my country now have computers which are on-line. It’s called mission www.hindu.org… and it is not impossible. May God bless Gurudeva, the publisher of Hinduism Today. May he live very long.”
Bashudeb Dhar writes from Dhaka: “I became a member of the Hinduism Today family in 1996. I consider it as a rare honor not only for me, but also for the Hindus of Bangladesh, who have been struggling for decades. I am trying to project their struggle. Bangladesh is constitutionally an Islamic country, but Hindus constitute 12 percent of the 130-million population. From 1941 the Hindus here have faced an uncertain future, with deprivation in all sectors of life. There is a wide communication gap among Hindus throughout the world regarding their religious thinking, culture and tradition. None took initiative to foster Hindu solidarity among all sects and lineages seriously. It is reported that dozens of organizations and institutions are working to this end, but the result is not encouraging. Hinduism Today is an exception in this regard. It is not only a magazine, but an institution working to present Hinduism in its real perspective. This I think will go a long way to unite the followers of Sanatana Dharma all over the world, bridging the communication gaps sincerely.”
An invitation: If you are a talented writer and lover of dharma, please contact our editorial offices. Sannyasin Arumugaswami would love to hear from you, as it is his mission, his vision, to add many more fine souls to our Hinduism Today family!