Kudos for Courage
I want to congratulate you. Any journal that can publish articles like the one by Madhu Kishwar (Women of Vision, Nov. '98) addressing such issues as Lord Rama, Lord Siva and the ideal husband has a great future. The article on Lal (History, Nov. '98) was also excellent, though I would hope in the future you can provide more references, postal or email addresses, for readers who would like to pursue the subject in depth.
Prof. S.N. Sridhar
State University of New York
* Contact: Dr. B. B. Lal, F7 Hauz Khas Enclave, 110016 New Delhi, UP, INDIA
Peeved by Men in Suits
At any Indian function, most women wear Indian dress, while the men invariably come in Western garb. But when it comes to preaching about traditional dress (Letters, Dec. '98, Dr. Murthy V.S. Andavolu, Bindi On!), some men seem to hold women responsible for "losing" traditions. I don't understand why these "men" are writing pep talks for women to "wake up and smell the tradition" while they have been asleep a much longer time than women! When someone writes "be different, wear bindi, wear sari"--invariably, it is a man. How come they feel that it is important for women to wear the sari or bindi or both, while they are very comfortable in "Western" clothes? Also, we know from religious classes that some kids feel embarrassed when their moms come to school wearing Indian dress. So, please be considerate of your kids while going out with them. After all, they are growing up here, and they have their peers to deal with.
Subha Varma Pathial
Wonderstruck by Nakshatras
The information and issues presented monthly in your magazine take one to a different plane of thought. I offer my deep appreciation to the whole editorial team and pray to the Lord to grant you all the strength and wisdom to carry on spreading the message of the Sanatana Dharma. I was truly wonderstuck at the November issue's nakshatra artforms. Salutations to the artist (A. Manivel of Chennai).
What about Sikhs and Jains?
We observe that you give a lot of exposure to Buddhism, who do not class themselves as Hindus. However, Jainism and Sikhism, also born of Hinduism, are very rarely given any exposure. For unity's sake, we feel it necessary to give exposure to all three: Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs. This will remind them of their roots. If it were not for the great sacrifices of the Sikh Gurus, Bharat would no longer be Bharat. Sikhs, even now play a vital role in the Indian army.
Suresh M. Rajpura
Aum School of Hindu Studies, UK
Shocked by the Swastika?
I was shocked to see the swastika mistaken for the sudharshana in your article (Symbol of God and Evil, Nov. '98). The swastika is anti-sudharshana--the sudharshana is spinning anti-clockwise and the swastika--clockwise. So this makes it something like the opposite of the "benevolent sudharshana." This was pointed out during World War II, that for the Nazis, just going against the sudharshana alone would destroy them. Why is the author of the article repeating this mistake?
* Ancient cultures across the globe used both clockwise and counter-clockwise forms, and both forms are auspicious. Stitched into a Navaho blanket or a Nazi flag, the same swastika appears both ways from different sides. Only the recent moral imperative to denounce Nazi atrocities and stigmatize Hitler's use of the swastika, while simultaneously trying to "save" its original auspicious symbolism, has led to a "good" and "evil" polarization of the two forms, a modern myth. The Nazis did standardize their usage at a 45 degree angle, with arms counter-clockwise. Association with Nazi genocide and its symbolism cannot and should not be lightly dismissed. The current proposal (by Jains) is a "global policy" to use only the 45¡ form in Nazi related imagery and label it "Nazi Swastika." Never would the square forms be used in such contexts, allowing the swastika to retain its ancient place as a symbol of Divine auspiciousness.
Karnataka not Kerala
"In the Lap of the Mother" by Nikki Lastreto (Dec. '98) mentioned the Mukambika Temple, in Kollur, "a typical South Indian village in Kerala State." It is actually in Kundapur Taluk, Udipi District, Karnataka State, 140 kilometers north of India's famous west coast port city, Mangalore. The detailed account of this temple is given in Skanda Puranam under the title "Kolapura Mahatmyam." Maharshi Vedavyasa reveals the greatness of this temple, and the original name Kolapuram is attributed to the great yogi Kola Maharshi who found a swayambhu (self-manifested lingam) and did intense puja here and was blessed by Lord Siva. The overwhelming majority of the devotees come from Kerala by bus and thus the author thought that Kollur is in Kerala.
Sunanda and Uppunda V. Bhat
Plainsboro, New Jersey
First I must say that your magazine is absolutely beautiful. The amount of information in its pages is surprising. I would like to suggest including more for those interested in Hinduism. I recently started studying Hinduism and find poor resources for anything other than basic Hindu beliefs. I wish to know about why and how holidays are celebrated. Which holidays are celebrated in which areas? What courses are good to learn how to say the mantras? I realize this is asking a lot, but I do not expect all these things would be covered at once. Clues as to where to start and research would be very helpful.
Michelle A. Acquaire
Malaysia Hindus Need Upgrade
As a regular Temple goer, I feel sad and disgusted to see all sorts of dress other than the dhoti. If a Chinese man can get used to wearing a dhoti (Letters, Nov. '98) Hindu men have no excuses. Another sore spot for me was the recent Deepavali celebration which here was a day for feasting on meat and liquor. In Malaysia Deepavali has become a holiday instead of a holy day.
Shocking Unlawful Conversions
I would like to draw your readers' attention to an old article in India Today, March 30, 1998, entitled "Change of Faith," reporting on 12 Christian missionaries who used unlawful means to spread hatred and violence while converting tribals in the Krishnapur area. Though arrested, no subsequent action was taken and the tribals are left unprotected. Hindus must unite to fight for their rights and protect their culture.
Randolph, NJ, USA
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@HinduismToday.kauai.hi.us
Letters may be edited for space and clarity and may appear in electronic versions of Hinduism Today.