Teaching Tool
Thank you again for the lovely service you’re providing in enabling us readers to partake of this veritable feast of Hindu dharma. Every Saturday morning my wife, Rita, and I sit down with our two children, Siddharth and Rashmi (16 and 10), to pray and sing bhajanas together. After that, I read to them something inspiring for a few minutes. Often, I choose something from Hinduism Today which is appropriate for their level of maturity and understanding. I find it a wonderful way to make them aware of their glorious Hindu roots.
Swaran Kapur

I enjoy reading your magazine. there is so much information for our Hindu family in it. I was very impressed with the “miracle” of the grandmother and the child. It was very touching [“Baby Massage,” Jan. 2000]. Please continue your good work.
Leela Rampersad

More on Ceremonies
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those behind this wonderful magazine Hinduism Today which is comprehensive and makes Hindus, like myself, feel proud to be born as a Hindu. However, there are some aspects of the Hindu culture which I feel have been neglected. I would much appreciate if there were issues on the various traditions like ear-piercing, house-warming ceremonies, etc., explaining the purpose of these customs and their origins. Such articles would enlighten many youngsters, like myself, on the significance of such ceremonies. I would also be delighted with details and pictures of all the Hindu Gods and Goddesses. I hope my requests can be fulfilled much to the benefit of not just me, but also many other people.
Jegadeesh Vengadasalam

It was disturbing to read about the goings on in Nepal (“My Turn,” Oct. 1999), the last Hindu state. With this backdrop what your organization is doing is commendable! As Subramuniyaswami has indicated in the article (“Insight,” Jan. 2000), conversions have always been part of Hinduism and should be. Religion has two purposes: to provide a tool to elevate the human soul to the next level, and to provide a forum for a society to survive. Unless we counter the other religion’s intensity with equal vigor, Hinduism will be a footnote in history. I do not believe in hostility towards other faiths. Being a practicing Hindu, tolerance is in my psyche. But, I strongly believe that conversion to Hindusm should be regarded as normal.
Chakravarti Desikan

I visited Nepal in 1997. I was wild with the idea that Nepal is the only Hindu country. I honestly believed that we Hindus had a country where Hinduism is practiced and endorsed by the government. All that has been dashed when I read the “My Turn” on Nepal. I learned about the increase in the number of Christians and Muslims and their audacity to call for a declaration of Nepal as a Muslim state. Why must we tolerate this? Is Hinduism such a deplorable religion that to be a Hindu and to be associated with Hinduism is a shameful state? Perhaps we have only ourselves to blame. The lack of teachings of Hinduism to our youngsters, the lackadaisical approach to practice, our ill-knowledge of Hinduism, or for that matter of religion in general. So why must one convert from one religion to another? Is it because our desires or wishes are not fulfilled? Or is it because we don’t have peace and contentment and a group to practice Hinduism with? Or because there is no pastor who will hold our hands and pray with us when we need all the solace in the world in times of our worse state of emotion?
Kalaichelvi M Kuppusamy

Your web site truly makes it easy to learn about the basics of Hinduism. I greatly appreciate the strong emphasis of severing your old religion before accepting Hinduism into a person’s life. I believe that should be true for any religion, not just Hinduism. The most insulting thing to a person is to force a religion on them!
Aja Athilda

Pope’s Visit to India
The pope made a great blunder in India. For years the Catholics there had tried to cover over his conversion motivation. Now they cannot do so. He warned his opponents of an impending attack! Since Indians are more likely to become priests and nuns, owing to their Hindu devotional training, I think the pope wants to get Indian priests to bring Catholicism to China, which appears to be his real goal. Western priests are still perceived as foreigners and colonialists, so he wants Indian priests for the job in China. The result of his visit is that now we have a fairly well organized and articulate Hindu response to the conversion attack.
Vamadeva Shastri

It would be unwise to lose sight of the evil inherent in missionary zeal that targets the weak, the poor, the sick and the underprivileged, that has decimated millions and wiped out numerous native cultures around the world in the course of history. The latest outburst of this crusading spirit occurred recently in New Delhi. On Deepavali day, no less, the pope boldly declared that Christians have the right to convert and the duty to do so. Displaying neither religious sensitivity nor diplomatic decorum, he called on leaders of other faiths to respect religious choice even though the basic premise of his call to conversion is lack of respect and refusal to accept the choice made by adherents of other religions. This signals an ominous assault on traditional Hindu tolerance and hospitality, and should be recognized for what it is–religious aggression. Hindus better beware and take action now through social, economic, political reform or whatever else. That includes a sincere attempt to understand Sanatana Dharma in all its aspects–historical, spiritual, religious and philosophical, and being ready with reasoned, effective response whenever and wherever Hindus and Hinduism are maligned or misrepresented.
R.V. Subramaniam, Emeritus Professor
Washington State University
Greenbelt, Maryland

“Frankenstein” Food
Biotechnology has developed so fast that man has started to genetically modify naturally occurring living organisms to express a certain trait it never had. The world community is alarmed with these “Frankenstein” foods, as we do not know their effect on human health, the environment or biological diversity. Is genetic modification acceptable in Hinduism or in other religions? The genetically modified food is not being segregated or labeled, and we are consuming it unknowingly! I hope this issue could be covered in the future editions
Kangayatkarasu Nagulendran

Letters, with writer’s name, address and daytime phone number, should be sent to:
Letters, Hinduism Today
107 Kaholalele Road
Kapaa, HI 96746-9304 USA
or faxed to: 808.822.4351
or e-mailed to:letters@hindu.org

Letters may be edited for space and clarity and may appear in electronic versions of Hinduism Today.