Carriers of Culture

While reading the Oct/Nov/Dec, 2016, article and letter to the editor on saris, I remember my wife, Savita, wore saris throughout her professional careers.

 We came to America in 1963. She got her PhD in 1965 and taught in colleges and universities for over 25 years. In social gatherings, meetings and conferences, she was often asked by Indian women, “Dr. Joshi, do you wear saris while teaching?” When she said yes, they wondered and exclaimed! They used to say that many of them would wear pants and shirts and have their hair cut to mix with the American ethos. 

Savita continued throughout her career and while she was a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from South Carolina. We caught buses, trains, and airplanes hundreds of times and walked hundreds of miles; Savita was always in a sari, even when playing tennis or other sports. We are the carriers of our culture. If we do not carry that responsibility, who will?

Prabhakar Joshi

Libertyville, Illinois, us

Thanks for your superb magazine. Regarding your letters to the editor on saris, I would like to add some of the swaminis themselves don’t wear the sari, so how can the young girls get inspired? It seems to some youth that saris are tedious to put on, and it also seems the swaminis are quietly agreeing! 

Nethra Kanagasabai

Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

All Is Brahman

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article, Six Streams of Hindu Philosophy, Oct/Nov/Dec, 2016. It seems to me that all the six streams of Hindu philosophy pour into the ocean of Hindu wisdom, thereby enriching and enhancing its glory and magnificence. And they supplement, rather than supplant each other. They only appear to contradict each other because they perceive the Ultimate Truth (Brahman) from different reference points. Except for Vedanta, all the other five streams of Hindu philosophy seem to be viewing Brahman with the eyes of the mind, assuming that body and mind are real. 

Pradeep Privastava

Albany, California, us

Thank you for publishing an excellent article on Hindu philosophy by Mahamaho­padhyaya Swami Bhadreshdas. Being an ardent student of Vedanta for many years, I also wanted to know about other streams of the Hindu philosophy, and this article provided just that in a very clear, concise and succinct way, packed with excellent facts, references and easy-to-understand illustrations. It also shows the greatness of Sanatana Dharma in accepting various different darshanas as perceived and cognized by the seers.

Murali Naidu

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Dharma Bee, Not Spelling

Aditya Tyagi advises Hindu parents (In My Opinion, Oct/Nov/Dec, 2016) to involve their children in Hindu dharma activities rather than expend energy on spelling bee competitions. I agree with him. When raising our daughter, we made a conscious decision to do exactly that, and we are happy to have done so. Growing up, she took part in Kaon Baneya Ramayan Expert and Dharma Bee competition instead. Both were held in Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh chapters throughout the US. And, as Mr. Tyagi points out, school textbooks depict Hinduism negatively, so it is all the more important that we Hindus spend our time wisely.

Anand Bemra

Indiana, us

From the Heart

The Oct/Nov/Dec, 2016, Vrindavan article is wonderful! Well written and succinctly wide-ranging, the most pertinent aspects of the holy land as well as contemporary issues are covered with due attention, respect and love.

Brahmachari Vrajvihari Sharan

Washington, DC, us

India Art Festival

The article on the Delhi art festival in the Jul/Aug/Sep, 2016, issue is just amazing. It is one of the most complete articles for the event, for which I was the main organizer. I had plenty of coverage, but most was based on releases and news point of view—whereas the write-up by Hinduism Today’s Rajiv Malik is complete as self experienced. Thank you for the wonderful space.

Ankit Nagpal

Delhi, India 

Hinduism in Kenya

I enjoy reading Hinduism Today and am always anxious to read the next one. Hindus in Kenya have a rich history, and I note that very little, if any, is mentioned about the Indians, temples and history of Hinduism in various small towns in Kenya. Having visited the monastery in Kauai, I can really say it is heaven on earth.

Rajnikant Acharya

Nairobi, Kenya, Africa

Thank You, Hinduism Today!

I love to read Hinduism Today. Though I was born a Hindu, I completed my studies in Catholic schools. By the time I passed higher secondary school, I hardly knew anything about my religion. This magazine and the book titled How to Become a Hindu have helped me learn more about my religion. Now I read from the mobile app. I would like to thank all the people who work hard to bring out this magazine. This is the best magazine about Hinduism in the world. Unlike most, it’s well designed and not at all boring.

Jishnu. S


Modesty in Hinduism

With regard to Hindu clothing, you mentioned that Hindu women never expose breasts, navel or thighs. I would like to know the reason behind this. I had a discussion with some of my friends, and I was supporting this view of yours. But I was termed judgmental by them. From that point on, I really wanted to know the reason behind this.

Sai Ravi Kiran Mallampati

Seattle, Wa, us

✔This statement on Hindu clothing appears in the Nandinatha Sutras written by Hinduism Today’s founder, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami. He meant that elegant Hindu clothing was to be worn in a dignified manner, and not in a manner intended to convey a more base, instinctive message. 

Offensive Text

Thank you for your great website and all the hard work and activities to spread Hinduism around the world. 

I found the following content on your web resource “Fourteen Questions People Ask about Hinduism” (, the fourth question, “Why do Hindus worship the cow?” bothersome. It reads in part, “Who is the greatest giver on planet Earth today? Who do we see on every table in every country of the world— breakfast, lunch and dinner? It is the cow. McDonald’s cow-vending golden arches and their rivals have made fortunes on the humble cow. The generous cow gives milk and cream, yogurt and cheese, butter and ice cream, ghee and buttermilk. It gives entirely of itself through sirloin, ribs, rump, porterhouse and beef stew. Its bones are the base for soup broths and glues. It gives the world leather belts, leather seats, leather coats and shoes, beef jerky, cowboy hats—you name it.” I regard this as an insult to all Hindus and request you to please remove it. 

Bharat Vala

West Chester, Oh, us

✔Your point is well taken. Now that you have raised the issue, we find ourselves surprised that no one else has flagged this in the twenty years since it was first published. The intent was to point out the irony that people obtain so many products from the cow but then wonder why Hindus want to honor this gentle creature. It was never our intent to imply approval of the use of any product which requires taking the life of animals. But since this is a possible interpretation, we have deleted the material in question, leaving only “The generous cow gives milk and cream, yogurt and cheese, butter and ice cream, ghee and buttermilk.” 

Results of Kavadi

I am enclosing a quote which appeared in an article on the financial page of the prestigious magazine, The New Yorker, on July 25, 2016 (page 19):

“Dimitris Xygalatas, an anthropologist at the University of Connecticut, who studied the effects of [extreme] rituals, ran a fascinating experiment with people who were undergoing kavadi—a Hindu ritual that commonly involves piercing the skin with sharp objects and then making a long procession while carrying heavy objects. Xygalatas found that people who did kavadi, and even people who just joined in the procession, donated more to charity than people in a control group. And those who gave the most painful descriptions of the experience donated the most.”

What I think Dr Xygalatas is attempting to show is that those who enter what he regards as “extreme” spiritual practices also develop a deeper sense of compassion and an ethic of responding to the needs of others.

 Carl Vadivella Belle

Adelaide, Australia