Politics in Your Magazine
Regarding “India’s Historic 2019 Election” by Pandit Vamadeva Shastri (HINDUISM TODAY, Oct/Nov/Dec, 2019), I am a firm believer in the benefits of “Separation of church and state,” keeping religion and country’s governance at a distance. This article looks at the recent election from a religious angle and endorses political party BJP and PM Modi, even though the magazine’s primary focus is Hinduism and not politics. The only justification could be that this government seems to be promoting Hinduism in India and is trying to make India a Hindu country! How much of it is true and how many Hindus in India want a Hindu state is up for debate. I believe readers of this magazine are from different political beliefs, but are practicing Hindus who are proud of their religion. For the same reason, I feel it is distasteful to run a one-page advertisement in the same edition welcoming PM Modi to Houston. It is my humble opinion that accepting and running such advertisements, and publishing such articles dilutes the main goal of the magazine and divides Hindus on political lines, which I assume is not what the magazine would like to happen.
RAVI GOGULA, ILLINOIS, USA
✓ We agree with the principle of keeping church and state separate, and have done so avidly for the last 40 years. But here we relented a bit, judging that Vamadeva Shastri’s analysis of the impact of the recent Indian elections on the Hindu religion in India was of value to our readers. Our editors thought it was in line with purpose six of the publication listed on page 13: “to nurture and monitor the ongoing spiritual Hindu renaissance,” which, in Shastri’s view was definitely impacted by the election. As for the ad, it was for an event put on by the Hindus of Greater Houston, “representing over 30 temples and religious organizations,” and billed as a community gathering. Granted, the final event had more politics than anyone expected, but that wasn’t known at the time of our publishing the ad, nor indicated in the ad itself.
Compassion for Cows
My family and I learn so much about Hinduism from HINDUISM TODAY. Thank you so much for spreading the Wisdom and Eternal Truth of life.
The article “Do Hindus Have a Milk Problem?” (Jul/Aug/Sep, 2019) is thought provoking. Panshula Ganeshan is absolutely right when he writes, “Many vegans equate milk with meat, because once the cows stops producing milk, they are slaughtered.” Gandhi wrote, “Cow protection to me is one of the most wonderful phenomena in human evolution. It takes the human being beyond his species.” This comes to my mind when I see milk in temples and superstores in the United States.
For Hindus, ahimsa paramo dharma—nonviolence is the highest dharma. This article will make sure American Hindus realize the violent environment of milk-producing cows in the United States and other countries. Gandhi says, “The greatness of a country and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” My heart overflows with sadness as I vividly remember seeing cows induced with oxytocin hormone to produce more milk in Indian villages. Cows in Western countries are treated as “milking machines.” Fortunately, there are a few compassionate and slaughter-free shelters for cows. Cows are treated lovingly and don’t end in slaughterhouse once they stop producing milk. I hope Hindu Americans explore these options and help cows to lead a normal life.
ATLANTA, GA, USA
Hinduism Never a Threat
Regarding the article “Why Do Christian Missionaries Dislike Modi and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh?” (HINDUISM TODAY, Apr/May/Jun, 2019), Christian missionaries destroyed native culture wherever they went. Giving false hopes to the poor and the downtrodden, they converted them to Christianity by their brainwashing techniques. Hinduism is the most tolerant religion. In the history of India, Hinduism never posed a threat to any religion. Hindus do not impose their faith on anyone.
San Jose, CA, USA
Mindfulness Is Common Sense
I enjoyed reading your article, “A Hindu View of Mindfulness” (HINDUISM TODAY, Oct/Nov/Dec, 2019). To me, mindfulness is not only a part of a spiritual path, it can also be justified simply based on common sense and common knowledge. If “mindfulness is attention in the here and now,” we can easily understand why it is necessary to pay close attention to the task at hand, not only to get the task completed efficiently and effectively but also to enjoy doing that task. It’s hard to enjoy listening to music, or watching a movie, or even eating if one is constantly interrupted by someone who is trying to talk to you. Just as you can’t chase two rabbits at the same time, you cannot do two tasks at the same time. Scientific studies have proven that multitasking is inefficient, ineffective and unproductive.
ALBANY, CA, USA
Refugee Sindhis of Bhopal
It is really heart-touching to read the article, “72 Years After Partition, Hindus Still Flee” (HINDUISM TODAY, Oct/Nov/Dec, 2019). We were spellbound and filled with emotion after reading the sub-heading, “Bhopal, Where Sindhis Have Thrived Since 1947,” which focused on the worst experiences and tough challenges faced by Sindhi communities in Bairagarh (now known as Sant Hirdaram Nagar) post-partition. The noble endeavors run by Jeev Sewa Sansthan and its dedicated team of core volunteers have been excellently presented, awakening readers and inspiring them to make a visit at least once in their lifetime to “Sant Nagari,” better called as “Pilgrimage of Service.”
JEEV SEWA SANSTHAN
BHOPAL, MADHYA PRADESH, INDIA
Scarely Available Materials
It was a wonderful article on the Sindis of Bhupal. It is indeed a good addition to the scarce written material on the subject.
HINDU SINGH SODHA
JODHPUR, RAJASTHAN, INDIA
A Query About BAPS Temples
During my recent visit to USA, I worshiped at all the Hindu temples around the Northeast area where my children live. This helped me study the progress and development of the Hindu community. I also have visited Jain temples, Sikh gurudwaras and three BAPS temples. The recent article, “Akshar-Purushottam School of Vedanta” (HINDUISM TODAY, Oct/Nov/Dec, 2019), helped me to know about the philosophy and origin of the BAPS gurus and disciples.
But I have one basic and vital doubt made from observations during my temple visits. In all their temples, the central and presiding Deities are Parabrahman Bhagwan Swami Narayan and next to him his disciple Aksharbrahman Gunatitanand Swami. These murtis are richly made in marble or metal and adorned lavishly, richly and beautifully.
Meanwhile, Ganesha, Vishnu, Siva, Sakti and a few other Hindu Deities are placed in the flank on both sides of the main Deities, like parivara deivangal, or secondary status in size and placement. The article gives no clue about these other Deities in the BAPS temples. Can anyone please clarify my doubt to know the inner meaning of that concept and arrangement?
✓ This a common question about Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) temples. The editors of HINDUISM TODAY invite insights and comments from readers who may be more familiar with the BAPS temple pantheon.
Letters with writer’s name, address and daytime phone number should be sent to:
Letters, Hinduism Today
107 Kaholalele Road
Kapaa, Hawaii, 96746-9304 USA
or faxed to: (808) 822-4351
or visit: www.hinduismtoday.com/letters
Letters may be edited for space and clarity and may appear in electronic versions of HINDUISM TODAY.