Regarding my article “Meet the Maithil Women Artists of Nepal” in the Jul/Aug/Sep 2021 issue, the artists were so grateful for the magazines that you sent for them. [See photo of the Maithil artists above, holding the magazine gatefold showcasing their artwork.] I told them about your donation for a pizza dinner! They were grateful for that, too, but suggested they use the money to purchase raw materials for their products, since after being closed down during Covid the center is low on funds. It is a great help to have these funds to reboot the center. With all my best wishes and for peace in the world.
Claire Burkert, founder of Janakpur
Women’s Development Center and
Author of Himalayan Style
Addressing Common Questions
I found the content of the Jan/Feb/Mar 2022 issue meaningfully informative, as always. The Educational Insight “14 Questions People Ask about Hinduism” is particularly useful for its practical application in day-to-day life for many, like me, who wish to effectively address queries on the religion thrown at them by various people (including those with malefic intent), but find themselves ill-equipped to do so. This is a highly useful reference compendium, fulfilling a long-pending need! I am going to preserve this for future reference, and for equipping others to field these queries. I have added my own reflections to each. Thanks and regards.
Founder of Powerful Perspectives
Reading “The Day Robertson Vilified Hinduism” by Dr. Julie Rajan (Jan/Feb/Mar 2022), I reflected—fast forward from 1995 to today, and Christians continue to vilify Hinduism. Just last month, while in India, I emailed the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of the Government of India about videos on YouTube calling yoga a demonic practice. Such videos are too numerous to count. They uniformly refer to Hindu Gods as demons, and many of them feature converts to Christianity stating that they had finally discarded the demonic practice of Hinduism. These videos are extremely offensive and are clearly hate speech. There are instances of yoga studios in America being attacked, perhaps instigated by such videos. I emailed the Ministry to research this issue and order YouTube to remove such offensive videos, at least in India. I have not received a reply. Other readers may want to contact them as well (www.mib.gov.in). Let us take a firm stand and resolve to stop this abuse.
Raja G. Bhat, MD
Control of India’s Hindu Temples
Regarding the excellent book review by Vidyasagar Tontalapur of Temple Management in the Agamas by Dr. Deepa Duraiswami (Jan/Feb/Mar 2022): during a recent four-month stay in India, I found it heartening to learn that clear steps are being taken to remove our precious devasthanams from the control of state and central governments. Your recent article about how the great temple institution at Chidambaram was finally being released from government control was encouraging. It was in 1925 that the British established the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Board. It is deeply distressing that the independent government of India continued it as a law, as a source of revenue. The constitution of India protected minority religions but left Hinduism and its precious temples wide open. It is only with a clear amendment to the Indian constitution that this huge injustice can be resolved.
Raja G. Bhat, MD
Lingayats in America
Anyone who wants to learn about Lingayats in America can begin with this article: “Veerashaivism Threatened, But Surviving in North America” (Hinduism Today, Oct. 1986). It traces the history of the Lingayats’ crisis and the solutions found by adherents in the US. Still, an elaborate and scholarly article on the migratory patterns, history and contemporary life of Lingayats of the US is badly required.
Daily Rites of Worship
I was very happy and proud to read the article on performing sandhya vandanam by Sri Gunap Ganesh in your Apr/May/Jun 2022 issue. The young author has done a good service to the Hindu society by writing about this sacred practice and its benefits. Two ideas in the article struck me as powerful truisms: 1) The performance of the worship has declined considerably due to the apathy of adult Hindus; and 2) Parents can ignite enthusiasm in their children by doing the daily ritual themselves. Thanks for a most worthy article!
President of Devi Temple of Florida
The article “Join Us for Ganesha Chaturthi” (Jan/Feb/Mar 2022) was a lovely way of describing the Ganesh festival, its preparations, the values it brings to Hindu communities, typical puja rituals and festive foods. It also shows readers how visiting other Hindu homes to receive Lord Ganeshji’s blessings is one of the means of binding everyone together.
Surviving College as a Hindu
I have received many congratulations on my article about surviving college as an American Hindu (Apr/May/Jun 2022). A few have emailed me personally and asked if they could reproduce my article. Apparently, it has already been reproduced in Samvad and one individual from South Africa has asked to publish it on the website hindasa.org. Regards,
Nice article! Here’s my experience with similar challenges. I am a born Hindu Indian living in the US for 30 years, with ties to family in India. When I criticize practices in the US such as corruption or racism, I am often asked what I think of India’s corruption or caste system. My answer is two parts: First, “I am an American citizen paying taxes and can criticize US without having to simultaneously explain my opinion of any other country’s policies.” I may add, “Is it because I am brown that this additional burden is placed on me?” Second, “If you are curious about my opinion of India’s situation, I need thirty minutes to explain the context and thirty minutes for my nuanced/non-trivial opinion. Let me know if you have time. Additionally, I can provide the same for South Africa or the UK. Let me know.” Often people get the point and back off or start talking about weather. Thanks for your courage.
Journey to Murugan
This is a beautiful article full of inner experiential devotion expressed by the author. Anyone interested in Lord Murugan’s temples and their significance should read this for sure (“Journey to Murugan,” Oct/Nov/Dec 2007).
Despite Appearances, Humanity Is Slowly Advancing
How you can help dharma continue to nurture and guide this progress
In our last issue publisher satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami submitted that Hinduism Today deserves to be appreciated for its journalistic integrity, a cardinal virtue rarely seen today. He has since explained that there is another major reason to appreciate and support the magazine, especially at this time of violence and heightened worldwide insecurity.
“Hinduism Today has consistently brought forward Hinduism’s golden ethical principles,” he explained, “as well as the perspectives and practices passed on through the millennia that have helped souls live positively and at peace within themselves—even through trying times.”
Readers regularly say such expositions in the magazine have meant a great deal to them. Longtime subscriber and advertiser Sri Mukund Hanumante, co-founder of the Akkalkot Swami Samarth in New Orleans, recently shared, “Each one of us should do our best to support our magazine so that we are reminded of the wisdom, the magnificence that is our heritage, to put it all into practice daily, and uplift our lives.” According to Pandit Vamadeva Shastri (Dr. David Frawley), the magazine’s effect is also societal. He has said, for example, “An aspect of your success is in showing how to use an English idiom that avoids the distortions we find elsewhere. Most importantly, the magazine has upgraded Hinduism’s image at a media level, which plays an important role in the India context as well.“
Humanity has made some undeniable improvements since Hinduism Today’s founding in 1979, and much of what was then inconceivable has become ordinary today. Yoga is all over the world, in every country, for example, and there is an annual International Yoga Day. Another example is India’s pioneering emphasis on soft power in dealing with other nations. These are new and encouraging signs for the future, if we all keep at it.
Hinduism Today is not alone, of course. There are many hands on that same stout rope, pulling the great chariot and keeping it rolling. Our point is that Hinduism Today is one of those strong and enduring hands. It has spoken, proclaimed and shouted those same great truths for 43 years, and it is just getting started.
We believe along with Sri Hanumante that Hinduism Today does deserve your support. You can donate through your estate plan, for long-term stability. Or, even more pertinently at this time of soaring expenses, you can donate now, at the end of the year, or occasionally to help meet ongoing expenses.
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