Exporting Hinduism to India
The article written by Jay Lakhani (Exporting Hinduism To India, HPI, June 30, 2002) about Indian schools needing curriculum materials developed in the UK for teaching Hinduism didn't surprise me. As an Indian Hindu, I have no opportunity to learn about Hinduism in India. I know it is a national shame, but unfortunately it is the truth. Now I am learning Hinduism from Himalayan Academy through their online courses. If anybody can take the initiative to teach Hinduism in India, the Indian Hindus will be grateful.
Concerned over Anti-Hinduism
Your magazine has done much to promote the Hindu cause relative to a generally hostile and misinformed media. Unfortunately, Arun Gandhi's piece (The Wrong Way, Jul/Aug/Sep, 2002) that you published comes from the anti-Hindu group. It is misinformed and prejudicial. It uses unfortunate events in India to attack Hindu groups and does not mention how much Hindus remain the target of both Islamic and Christian aggression in India. Such unfortunate Hindu backlashes as occurred in Gujarat should not be equated with the general aggression of these missionary cults. I have traveled throughout India and seen how Islamic and Christian groups try to sow dissension in Indian society and routinely denigrate the Hindu religion. I remember your magazine's long-term association with Ram Swarup and would urge you to remember his statements on such issues.
Wow! That is the only word I have for the last issue (Jul/Aug/Sep, 2002)! It is so well done. You must have had help from the inner worlds. So many controversial issues addressed, yet all very tactfully done. I loved Mark Twain especially, but then Virginia City and Mark Twain are part of my life. The artwork is exquisite; the new artist is superb! How you will create a better issue next time I do not know, but you will!
Biased Child Labor Reporting!
Please try to put the article in better light (India Losing Child-Labor Battle, HPI, May 9, 2002). When kids in Western countries are employed, they are called self-employed, but if a child works in India where its family genuinely needs a hand in income, it is called child labor. Please try to understand that every human has a right to work and the society should only guarantee that if the person is young he or she is not subjected to some life-risking job. People who bring out such news or write such views are unaware of the difficulties and features of Indian society. Here we don't spend fruitful young age living on doles. Neither does our government sell killer weapons to other nations to pay these doles. Yes, a lot is needed to be done before we talk of eliminating abuses. We must make people understand that the spread of education, at least through the tenth standard, is a must. This is the minimum period between starting school and ending education upon bearing a child. If we keep preaching to remove child labor, it will take 200 years more to make any impact. But if we focus on spreading education, this will be brought under control within 25 years. Thank you for the daily digital newsletter.
More Souls Come from Where?
I most regretfully have to point out your mistake answering the question from the gentleman (More Souls Come from Where, Letters, Jul/Aug/Sep, 2002) about the origin of souls. The Hindu belief that originates from the holy Gita is that souls are eternal. They do not get born or die. Since there is no census of all the life forms on Earth and other numerous planets where life exists, the increase in population of one species is not a reflection on actual increase in souls. They simply migrate from one form to another depending on their deeds
Shashi H. Daveyudistra@aol.com
We presented the monistic theology, held by many Hindus and supported by the Vedas and Agamas, that God is the creator of souls. But it is also held by pluralistic Hindu theologies that souls are not created by God, but are pre-existing, eternal entities. Hinduism embraces divergent views on many such matters.
Practical Teachings Needed
Let me thank you for your outstanding work with HINDUISM TODAY. I always look forward to it. I wanted to make some suggestions for your excellent magazine and website, these are: 1) a "Questions and Answers" section, as I am struggling to get answers to both complex and trivial questions; 2) How to live according to Vedas instead of the regional area's traditions. Dealing with everyday issues like praying, working, dealing with families, friends and even people who you do not get along with; 3) What to do when different occasions arise, e.g., birth, death, marriage, puberty, separations, looking after parents, kids; and 4) How to deal with provocations from racists, other religious atrocities, crime or envies. It would be nice to get practical advice and answers dealing with today's situations. I am sure many people would benefit around the world from this. If you can't do this, could you get me answers to some questions and issues or even point to where I can get these? Thanks. Please let us pray for Hindu unity regardless of caste and language. Let's stop Hindu atrocities and conversions.
Excellent suggestions. In the meantime you may send questions email@example.com our trained staff will do their best to point you to available resources.
Rejoicing in Hindu Revelation
I want to express my gratitude for HINDUISM TODAY. It not only imparts the Vedic knowledge but has also given me the encouragement that I lack at times to hold fast and practice its doctrine and teaching. Dion Scouter Beggs (Conversion /Reconversion, Letters, Jan/Feb/Mar, 2002), said, "One merely has to drop the Christian dogma, and the dharma reveals itself unsullied. It is not so much a matter of conversion or re-conversion, but of reversion to the truth. How easy is that?" So very true! One sees the divine refulgence that Hinduism radiates, its love and respect amongst its people, and the desire to be a part of it becomes almost irresistible. But, as is often the case, past dogmas are so different that unless one lays these influences aside and seeks the wisdom imparted by the Vedas, revelation of truth can be hindered. I rejoice in this revelation of truth, and I am truly grateful and proud of being Hindu. Conversion to Hinduism was only as difficult as my resistance was to the truth, but never, ever has it been regrettable. Continue the great work!
Intolerable Dowry System
We Hindus have to introspect on the prevailing dowry system in Hindu society. I humbly submit: 1) In a marriage ceremony, the father of the bride gives his daughter as daan (charitable present) to the side of the bridegroom. Whose position is superior giver of daan or receiver of daan? Certainly, that of the giver of daan. The parents of the girl who have brought up their daughter with care and affection are handing over their daughter, once and for all, to the bridegroom and his parents and relatives. On what religious understanding? That the boy's side will take good care of the girl as a divine gift, as an incarnation of Goddess Laxmi, who will give prosperity, happiness and all blessings to the house which she enters at the time of marriage. It is a sacred moment. All the religious ceremonies performed at the time of marriage have these implications, whether we understand them or not. The boy is supposed to earn the money himself and maintain his family, including his wife. He is not to prove to be a parasite living on the dowry or income of his wife. This is our Hindu dharma. God in the form of dharma protects those families who observe these rules of dharma. 2) Today's situation is almost one of shame. The boy's side demands dowry and perpetually harasses the girl unless she perpetually manages to get more money from her parents' side, to feed the husband. We should feel ashamed to be tolerating this intolerable situation. 3) From my personal experience, and as advised by our Hindu dharma, one can see that God gives plenty to those who do not accept undeserved money from others, particularly from a girl's parents. Let us not be beggars; let us refuse to behave like beggars who not only expect to receive money from the girl's side but even harass the girl and her parents to squeeze out more and more money. Such goonda-type beggars will ultimately lose their own prosperity, if they have any. It is said, "Bhagawan ke pas der hai, andher nahi hai." (There is justice in God's court, though it may appear delayed, but it is not blind injustice.) Let us Hindus mend the ways of the presently disastrous dowry system. Many Hindu girls are suffering!
Prof. G. C. Asnani, MSc., Ph.D.firstname.lastname@example.org
You Changed My Life
The New Saivite World and its later incarnation as HINDUISM TODAY changed my life. I began reading the New Saivite World in 1979, which had a great spiritual impact on me. My hobby at that time was hunting and fishing. By 1983, I had given up hunting and fishing. In 1995, I gave up meat eating but held on to seafood. Suddenly, in March, 2002, a sudden urge to stop seafood surfaced. Now, at 63, I am a total vegetarian. All this was possible by the teachings of our great spiritual master, the late Gurudeva. Though he has left us, he is still "all over the place," just as he promised us. He lives in my house prayer room. We see each other daily.
K. Thuruvan Seremban, Malaysia