A HIGHER STANDARD
Excellent April/May/June, 2016, issue of HINDUISM TODAY. In my ten years of membership, I have found this issue the most impressive. The article by Shri Rajiv Malik on “The Sacred City of Haridwar” is beautifully written, with wonderful photographs and with facts not known to many people, even those from Haridwar. The concise excerpt from “The Secrets of Indian Gastronomy,” with rare facts and figures, gave us a lot of insights in our daily meals. I have explained the gist to a number of our senior clubs, to benefit them from day to day.
I was overwhelmed with the “Sanskrit-Tamil Harmony” article with Acharya Vamadeva Shastri’s inscription. The last article, “Masterful Carvers of Rajasthan,” was unbelievable. To find such art in India was new information for me. While kudos goes to this publication, I shall highly appreciate if this standard is kept up in future issues!
KEDAR NATH GUPTA
We are happy to see the latest magazine with Sant Kabir Ji (July/August/September, 2016). You have done great work for the international community and young generation who was not very much familiar with this great saint. This seva benefits the present as well as future generations. I am happy to see our name and reference in this magazine.
DR. RAJANI KANT
THE BATTLE FOR SANSKRIT
Regarding the vociferous attempt by some Tamil speakers to distance themselves (and others) from the Sanskrit language, it must be remembered that “divide and conquer” has been a classic strategy of aggressors from time immemorial. Classic, because it has proven so very effective.
I don’t know how this hubbub got started, but I suspect the idea was first put forth by non-Hindus with the intent of weakening our great religion by creating an artificial separation among its members. Unfortunately, human beings—however well-meaning—have always been susceptible to such tactics, energetically taking up the false banner of separation.
KAUAI, HAWAII, US
SHIRDI SAI ON THE RISE
The latest issue of HINDUISM TODAY has an excellent coverage on the life of beloved Sai Baba of Shirdi. The article rightfully mentions that Shirdi Sai Baba’s popularity is on the rise. We have seen over the years in California, the acceptance and installation of his statutes in a number of local temples attracting Sai devotees. Many newer temples of Sai Baba have also sprung up in California and in different parts of United States. Sekhar Boddupalli aptly pointed out that 1977 Bollywood film “Shirdi Ke Sai Baba,” with popular actors of yesteryear, was instrumental in popularizing the life and miracles of Sai Baba.
SAN BRUNO, CALIFORNIA, US
The article, “Banking 0n Lord Rama” in the April/May/June, 2016, issue is very interesting. I know many people that just like to write God’s name continuously. This article will be very useful to them.
My question for Hinduism Today is: what is the source of income for the organizers/workers of the Bank? How do they survive? Who covers the cost for the ever-expanding storage facility?
LIBERTYVILLE, ILLINOIS, US
From the author of the article:
The Bank is under the control of Sri Maniram Ki Chhavani Trust. It is a trust registered under the law of the land and gets donations from religious and philanthropic Hindus whose contribution not only helps run the bank but also serves the requirement of sadhu samaaj who can reside at the chhavani during their stay in Ayodhyaji free of cost.
The organizers/workers provide selfless service for which they aren’t paid anything but their complete requirement is taken care of by the Trust.
The Valmiki Temple where the office is located is a huge complex and it has rooms which are comparable with the strong room of a bank where these Ramanama are stored. Visitors and pilgrims can visit this room. There is also a basement in the temple where the Ramanama are stacked in racks neatly tied with red cloths. One important piece of information I could collect is though rat infestation is rampant in and around the place where these Ramanama are stored, they do not cause any damage to the Ramanama. Nor are these infested by white-worm.
SARI, NOT SORRY
The article “Sartorial Statement” from the last issue was an interesting read. I applaud Tanya Rawal for focusing on the positive aspects of Indian culture, especially saris. It’s ironic that while most Indian women in India are choosing Western outfits while discarding saris, many Indian American women are embracing them. I always found saris to be very colorful, feminine and graceful. I know many Indian American women who look forward to attending weddings and formal parties where they can wear saris. On the contrary, I have learned that in India, saris are out of fashion and only older women and maid servants wear them. What a shame!
ACCESSIBLE TO ALL
Recently, it has occurred to me how important it is that all Hindu temples and religious establishments maintain premium access and services for those with disabilities. As many temples here in the United States, perhaps similarly elsewhere, are non-profit organizations exempt from taxes to varying degrees and committed to serving the public, for the sake of hospitality these temples should ensure that they are doing their due diligence in meeting and far exceeding the regulations established by the Americans with Disabilities Act, and similar laws in other jurisdictions. While I am not professionally adept at critiquing the preparedness of institutions, and nor am I disabled, I have visited several temples in which a concern of equal access and opportunity has arisen.
Just wanted to thank you and the staff in Kauai for the excellent job you did with my Kali material. The layout is beautiful. Just great! Love how you even worked in the color photos.
ASHLAND, OREGON, US
“IT’S NOT IN BOOKS, YOU FOOL”
Thank you for the wonderful article on dance and the spiritual path in the July/Aug/Sep, 2016 issue. A real reminder that Hinduism is an experiential religion, and that all experience, seemingly ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is actually good when one holds a refined perspective. I enjoyed the analogy that one does not become a good dancer by reading about dance; practice, persistence and perseverance are required—that is putting into motion the theory one has read.
A dancer will encounter challenges and mistakes in the quest to become a great dancer, or as it was conveyed beautifully in the article, opportunities to learn and exert willpower to surmount seeming imperfections. So great is our religion that finds joy in every circumstance. In reading Hinduism Today, our mystical teachings become alive with pragmatic wisdom which is applicable to life today in a cosmopolitan city as it was in times of yore. This article provided much inspiration to keep moving forward, keep learning and keep striving to perfect our nature.
Nandri for such a positive reminder to hold the notion we are divine beings on the path of experience.
Thanks for the in-depth news about the Hindu philosophy and culture.
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THE INNER REASON HINDUS PROSPER AND SHINE EVERYWHERE
How a family of first- , second- and third-generation Hindu Americans reclaimed their faith
WHEREVER IN THE WORLD HINDUS LIVE, they seem to prosper,” observes noted Florida surgeon Dr. Suresh Rajamanickam. “They are statistically the wealthiest, enjoy the best lifestyles, and are often acclaimed for success in their field, be it IT, medicine, academia, science, whatever.”
“This comes naturally to them, I am convinced, as result of their shared Hindu background. Whether they acknowledge it or not, deep inside, it is there, inducing a positive outlook, a sense of confidence, self-worth and a feeling of all’s-well-with-the-world. These are the bases of creativity and success.
“But I know from personal experience that it’s easy to float, out there, and deny our background even when we enjoy the benefits—there are a lot of forces in the world today working for that denial, especially among young people. It’s often easier for a Western person to take an interest in Hinduism than for a born Hindu.
“I was in that position myself for a long time,” admits Suresh who, in 1968, at the tender age of two, landed in Manhattan from India with his parents. At that time there were virtually no Indians in the USA. “My childhood was quite a challenge, and I Americanized as fast as I could.”
He eventually did well in his studies, succeeded and, typically enough, rose to the top of his field, where he finds himself today. Still, despite parental proddings, he did not particularly value his spiritual heritage—until recently.
“The worldwide trend of openness to all things Hindu, especially on the part of millennials, began to affect me. And I was deeply intrigued by so many earthshaking scientific breakthroughs that are perfectly in line with our ancient teachings. My thinking began to change. Then I discovered Hinduism Today magazine, and it all came together wonderfully.
“Here it all was: my heritage, who I am, where I come from, and what all this is about. Here were my answers in more precise detail, clarity and inspiration than I ever dreamed of. ‘This is what we all need,’ I thought. I bought the complete collection of issues going all the way back to 1996—and, while maintaining my busy career, spent months devouring every article of every issue, imbibing gem after gem of our marvelous faith. I could not stop. I was reconnecting. Everything for my family and me has since bloomed. We now have a shrine room where we perform daily sadhana, whose undeniable benefits we enjoy through the rest of the day.
“Hinduism gives vision and courage; it takes your cares away and gives equanimity in the face of the world’s concerns and fears. This invaluable benefit makes Hinduism and the carrier of its message, Hinduism Today, urgently needed, today and tomorrow. In the more than 37 years of its existence, no other journal like it has appeared. Therefore I expect none will appear in the next 100 years, either. It is up to us make sure it continues and prospers on into that far future.”
To that end, Suresh and his family have donated generously to the Hinduism Today Production Fund and plan to include it in their estate plan. “It is our dharma, we who have had the good fortune to tap into this wellspring of positiveness, to give back—and pay it forward, too, for our contemporaries, for the children, the grandchildren, and for ourselves, too, a better world to enjoy when we come back in a future life.
“We Hindus are wealthier than average; and we do give to charities—so let us be sure to include Hinduism Today and its Production Fund among them in our estate plans, as well as in our current giving.”
Read about the Production Fund at www.hheonline.org/productionfund [http://www.hheonline.org/productionfund].
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