An Invaluable Resource
This is in grateful appreciation of your magazine for all it has done to enhance the scope of my understanding. When I initially began to explore Sanatana Dharma and seriously consider that it might be my path, I searched every bit of available information. When I found this magazine, I was ecstatic. There is so much to like and learn. Initially, I enjoyed reading it online; and the one article that really hooked me was the July/August/September, 2012, story on the five powers of Siva, which were thoroughly explained and depicted in various forms, giving deeper insight into how we might worship.
Other helpful and spiritually enhancing stories were “Understanding the Layers of Existence” (Jan/Feb/Mar, 2017), “How the Major Religions View God, Soul and World” (Jan/Feb/Mar, 2015) and “Anger Management,”with information from the Tirukural, (Apr/May/Jun, 2014), just to name a few.
Each edition of this magazine contains relevant educational articles for those of us who want to know more about all aspects of our spiritual and cultural path. In many ways Hindu culture and spirituality entwine so that understanding and appreciating one helps us fathom the other. HINDUISM TODAY really gets this, and integrates aspects of both, presenting them beautifully to both East and West as a complete package. Thanks to this magazine, I feel more than superficially connected to my ethnic Hindu family.
One of the practices I note regarding Christianity is the plethora of educational offering,s such as Bible study classes and scriptural discussion groups. I am sorry there aren’t many such opportunities for Hindus in the West. HINDUISM TODAY helps to fill this gap and offers me and others of my ilk informative explanations to enhance understanding of the deeper aspects of our spirituality.
Each quarter I eagerly await my mailed copy and save each one for future reference. I have listed this magazine on my blog, theinvisiblehindu.com, as an invaluable resource. Please keep up the good work, and thank you for such a superb publication.
SURPRISE, ARIZONA, US
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article, “The Beginning and the End of All Beingness” (October/November/December, 2017). The Mandukya Upanishad, which the article addresses, has always been one of my favorites. This Upanishad states, “Mandukya alone is sufficient for an aspirant to reach liberation.” The most remarkable thing about the Mandukya Upanishad is that it examines life in its entirety, as opposed to a run-of-the-mill philosophy that covers only the waking state of a person. The Mandukya Upanishad describes the four states of consciousness, namely, wakefulness, dreaming, dreamless sleep and transcendental consciousness.
The model provided by Mandukya Upanishad correlates well with the Taittiriya Upanishad. Wakefulness corresponds to a person’s gross body, which in turn corresponds to the “food sheath” plus the “vital air” sheath, as mentioned in the Taittiriya Upanishad in the section on the five bodily sheaths, or panchakosha. Dreaming corresponds to a person’s subtle body, which in turn corresponds to the mental sheath plus the intellectual/emotional sheath, as cited in the Taittiriya Upanishad. Dreamless sleep corresponds to a person’s causal body, which corresponds to the bliss sheath. Transcendental consciousness corresponds to Atman or the Supreme Self.
ALBANY, CALIFORNIA, US
Our Sacred Cows
In Hinduism, cows are worshiped as a mother. They are consider as Lakshmi, the Goddess that controls this universe through Her Shakti, the powerful feminine element. Many Hindu households in India consider the cow to be part of their family. These intelligent beings are taken care of from the beginning of their lives to the end. They are loved for their personalities and given elaborate names, treated like humans, and respected for the resources they provide.
A zebu cow’s milk is believed to be sattvic and purifying. Hundreds of different foods like ghee (clarified butter) are prepared from this pure milk she provides. The ghee is said to enhance memory, alleviate arthritis and disorders in the eyes, and is known to contain various antibacterial and antiviral properties. Cow dung is used as a fertilizer rich in minerals, and as fuel for fires and a disinfectant in many homes. Cow urine is used for medicinal purposes because it has amazing germicidal powers.
The ancient verses of Rig Veda consider cattle among the most important animals. In Rig Veda 3.33.1, cows figure frequently as symbols of wealth and are compared with river goddesses: “Like two bright mother cows who lick their young, Vipas and Sutudri rush forth with their waters.” The importance of the cow is not stressed over other animals; rather it is to show that the cow—because of is amazing gifts—is a central representation of the kind of compassion we must show to all living beings. It is through the cow we perceive the beauty of all animals and of all creation.
An Empty Nest
I’ve found Vatsala Sperling’s article in the July/August/September, 2017 issue of HINDUISM TODAY to be not only accurate to life, but also superbly written. My wife and I have been retired from our full-time, paid teaching positions since 1997. Our son and grandchildren are grown and have gone to different places, though we do remember and contact them often. We ourselves have never had a feeling of an empty nest. For five years we offered a voluntary service to Maharishi University, where we were fully engaged in promoting Hindu festivals in addition to other work there. For the last ten years or so we have been continuously engaged in reading, writing, thinking and lecturing about Hindu dharma. As Vatsala suggests, with such an active life there is no vacant time to sit around, feeling lost within an empty nest. As a result of our activities, we continue to receive commendations and encouragement, along with a knowing that we are marching forward on our eternal road of spiritual development.
LIBERTYVILLE, ILLINOIS, US
Gratitude from Malaysia
HINDUISM TODAY publisher Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami’s article in the October/November/December, 2017 issue entitled “One God, Many Divinities” was most enlightening and a joy to read. I also enjoyed the “In My Opinion” piece by Shawn Binda. I like his approach of leveraging YouTube to awaken pride in young Hindus and his active community involvement in teaching youth.
I would also like to mention Himalayan Academy’s recent publication, Path to Siva, A Catechism For Youth, which is based on Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami’s Master Course Trilogy. I think this book is a must for every family, in order that we may pass our traditions on to the next generation, especially given the ever growing diaspora worldwide.
As I write, Deepavali celebrations and accompanying Skanda Shashti observances are taking place at Murugan temples worldwide. I hope that HINDUISM TODAY will have special coverage on the significance of this week—maybe discussing devotees’ fasts and personal disciplines which culminate in chariot processions and worship.
Kantha Swamy Temple in Scott Road, Kuala Lumpur, has mounted annual celebrations, and one of their elders, Dr Thilagawathy, has video-recorded their significance in English, which is worthy of viewing. Like the Arupadai Veedu temples of Tamil Nadu, Murugan temples here are holding elaborate celebrations. For instance, the Sri Palanimalai Murugan Temple is organizing discourses on the Kantha Puranam by Professor Meenachi Sundram of Madurai University, South India. Also, Kalamandapam Hall is holding a seminar with Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami to encourage future Hindu leaders. These are but a few examples of how communities can inform and educate. All the best. I hope everyone gets to read HINDUISM TODAY.
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA
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“I Am in Awe to Have Found this Teaching”
How to help searching souls find their way forward
“HOW DID YOU COME TO SUPPORT HINDUISM TODAY so devotedly?” we asked Aran Sambandar of Walnut Creek, California. To answer, he went back to his youth, when he had several powerful inner experiences and visions—starting at age 10. “They filled me with wonder. I felt fortunate, but also insecure. I had no idea what they meant. Why was I was so different? What would people say if they knew? Who was I?
“I never dared speak of that until 1967, when, at age 25, I trusted someone enough to open up to and ask for guidance. This was Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, founder of HINDUISM TODAY. He answered my deepest questions, and said my experiences were not strange at all. They were well known signposts along Sanatana Dharma, the eternal path to illumination. Hinduism understood all that had happened to me. It knew who I was and what I should do next. I was overjoyed to realize I’d inwardly been a Hindu all along. I’m in awe to have found this teaching.”
Aran became a Hindu officially, changed his name, was a monk for several years, lived and pilgrimaged in India for a time, then taught school in the US until recently, when he retired. His personal life has been, and continues to be today, one of reclusion, meditation, contemplation, and other daily sadhanas, including the yogas and mental disciplines he learned in the monastery. “I’ve put everything into these teachings and practices. It’s my life.”
All the while, Aran has generously supported HINDUISM TODAY and its Production Fund. “It is vitally important to support this fund to keep the magazine prospering and assure its longevity. The world needs to know Hinduism’s ability to enrich life, its kindness and wisdom. HINDUISM TODAY, in print and digital versions, is uniquely qualified to do justice to the subject. Being founded by a great mystic, it carries immense spiritual power that ever points toward the path to realization. I like to imagine that my gift makes the teachings more widely available, reaching people at a delicate juncture, perhaps, where they need the guidance to go confidently forward as I once did. I see them finding whatever they may be thirsting for, among those blessed pages.”
You can donate to the Production Fund at www.hheonline.org/donate_pf 1-888-464-1008 •