Letters

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LETTERS

Hinduism and Science

I commend you for publishing Dr. Alok Kumar’s article, “Sciences of the Ancient Hindus” in the January 2015 issue. This well written article provides a great deal of useful information. I also liked your coverage of Hindu and Buddhist temples in Java. Keep up the good work. Yours is the best Hindu magazine.

PROFESSOR MADAN LAL GOEL
UNIVERSITY OF WEST FLORIDA, FLORIDA, US

Thank you HINDUISM TODAY for the excellent article “Sciences of the Ancient Hindus” by Prof. Alok Kumar, who has fulfilled the need for a book on the pioneer work of ancient Hindus in all the branches of science. It makes me proud to be a Hindu. I will ask my children, grandchildren and all others to read it and discuss the contents in groups to spread the truth and remove the cloud of doubt in educated and illiterates all over the world.

DR. SHRIHARSHA SHARMA
NOTTINGHAMSHIRE, UK

I read the article “Sciences of the Ancient Hindus,” and I happen to be reading his book, but I didn’t know about his reasons for self-publishing it. My congratulations to him for sticking to his convictions. Instead of being ashamed of their heritage, Hindus, especially scholars, must defend their valuable culture. Due to the efforts and courage of many Hindus, myself and others have come to know this rich history of ancient India. I truly think that some day the West will honor and recognize India as the cradle of civilization.

ROBSON GUIA CHEPKASSOFF CHAVES
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL

During the holiday season I read HINDUISM TODAY’s book review “Sciences of the Ancient Hindus” (Jan/Feb/Mar, 2015) by Prof. Alok Kumar. Having read the book entirely, I would recommend it to any Hindu. Not only is it written by a trained scientist, but it has precise references from Hindu scriptures, Hindu and non-Hindu scientists and scholars; and it has an extensive bibliography. The book is organized by subject: mathematics, physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology, yoga, medicine, etc.

I got the book because of my interests in the sciences, and because of the conviction Prof. Kumar has shown by not changing Hindus to Indians in the title and throughout the book, in spite of publisher after publisher demanding him to make the change. Professor Kumar’s book makes for an easily accessible reference for Hindus to speak with confidence and with verifiable facts; making it easier for people to talk about the contribution of Hinduism to science.

I will be giving the book to my two children on their birthdays and I suggest readers secure a copy for their personal libraries. Request your local library to get at least one copy, and request your local universities and colleges to keep at least two copies. Consider giving this book as a gift to your children, grandchildren, and graduating high school or college students, family members and friends.

RAM SIDHAYE
ATLANTA, GEORGIA, US

For Teachers and Parents

I found your magazine in graduate school while in Wisconsin many years ago, while also reading many different magazines from other organizations. What is unique about HINDUISM TODAY is that—while having its own sampradaya’s outlook—it is a universally Hindu magazine. It caters to Hinduism in a way that allows any Hindu to identify with the issues. Why? Because you see yourself represented in this magazine at different levels, whatever organization you come from.

I’ve discovered in these pages some of the most remote, unknown kinds of things. For example, the Hindus of Java. Not many Hindus would know about them. Here I read about Hinduism in Mauritius, Trinidad and on occasion see a feature about East Africa, South Africa and my own country of Guyana. HINDUISM TODAY is truly something that has been needed in the Hindu world for a long time. As a teacher of teachers, I also regard it as an important resource in acquiring authentic Hindu knowledge. In preparing our students in Guyana for the important Caribbean Examinations Council Exam in London, we have found HINDUISM TODAY and the books The History of Hindu India and What Is Hinduism? an enormous help.

SWAMI AKSHARANANDA
ESSEQUIBO ISLANDS-WEST DEMERARA, GUYANA

Living an Ahimsa Lifestyle

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article, “Religious Comparisons” (Jan/Feb/Mar, 2015). However, on page 43 it states: “God is pure love and consciousness but may be terrifying as well.” This may fit the description of a “Personal God” (Saguna Brahman), but not of the Ultimate Truth, Nirguna Brahman, or “Impersonal God,” that transcends as well as emanates the universe. For Brahman is infinite (Ananta) and of the nature of Satchitananda (Existence-Consciousness-Bliss), and where there is Infinite Bliss, there can be no fear or terror; there is nothing but pure love.

PRADEEP SRIVASTAVA
ALBANY, CALIFORNIA, US

Temple Visions

I liked reading “Bringing Gods to Earth Through Stone” (Jan/Feb/Mar, 2015). When I saw the picture of the 18-foot Ananta Padmanabha (sleeping Vishnu), I remembered having seen this statue at the workshop of Perumal Sthapati in Mamallapuram.

It was in 2006 that I visited Mamallapuram with my husband, but the image of Ananta Padmanabha is still vivid in my memory. I recall Perumal Sthapati as one of the most gifted and devout stone carvers we have in India. His sincerity towards his craft comes forth in the article when he is quoted saying, “When I am asked to carve a Ganesha murti, I get totally merged into the carving and become Ganesha himself.” His devotion to his guru is evident when he states that he feels his guru is still standing beside him and guiding him in his work every day—even after his guru had passed away.

Journalist R. Kesav Mallia has done justice to Perumal by incorporating his achievements in a lucid and earthy article. Last but not the least, I was inspired to learn about Kauai’s Iraivan Temple—the only hand-made granite temple built in the US. What’s deeply motivating is Gurudeva’s (Sivaya Subramuniyaswami) vision of the temple and his willingness to wait patiently for over 25 years for that vision to come to fruition. We need such examples to build a better world for the next generation.

POOJA MITRAS
MAHARASHTRA, INDIA

I was delighted to read your article in the January 2015 issue about Perumal Sthapati. Superbly written, it is an excellent tribute to a remarkable man and his phenomenal artistry. Thank you for doing this work. My work with Indian artisans throughout the subcontinent has been extensive for these past 43 years, and it is always a joy to reconnect with artists of Perumalji’s stature. It feels good to see such a positive affirmation about how his work shines above others.

STEPHEN HUYLER
CAMDEN, MAINE, US

Change Of Faith

I found the article by Dr. J. J. Gordon, “How Ganesha Became Our Life’s Pilot” very interesting and inspiring. On seeing the Ganesha murti, he—a militant atheist, British citizen, and highly educated person—suddenly changed to become a Hindu. That establishes two things: One, that the Swayambu Ganesha has some potent, tremendous power; and two, that Dr. Gordon already had some unknown potential to accept the great challenge of that sudden and enormous change in his faith.

In a similar example, a bright youth named Narendra was already ripe for a change when he approached Sri Ramakrishna. He would later become a swami known as Vivekananda. Hundreds of others who saw Ramakrishna did not become world-known swamis, only Narendra became such, upon his initiation. He was loaded with positive karma from previous lives; it just needed a spark.

HINDUISM TODAY is doing an excellent service to the world by re-publishing Dr. Gordon’s story.

PRABHAKAR JOSHI
LIBERTYVILLE, ILLINOIS, US

Understanding Hinduism

I have enjoyed reading HINDUISM TODAY since its beginnings in San Francisco a few decades ago. Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami had a vision of promoting ancient Hindu wisdom and inspiring a Hindu renaissance.

Young Hindus today observe rituals being performed at home and in temples, but are not informed about the significance or meaning behind them. Very few understand that Hinduism is much more than external ceremony. It’s unfortunate that youth often read biased and distorted views about Hinduism in their school textbooks and get turned away from their religion.

ARUN J. MEHTA
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA

Vikram Samwat

I want to wish a happy, healthy, wealthy and prosperous Vikram Samwat to the valuable readers of HINDUISM TODAY. The year 2072 of the Vikram Samwat [one of India’s main lunar calendar systems], will start on Chaitra Shukla Pratipada, ­corresponding to March 21, 2015 and ending on April 7, 2016. The Christian New Year starts and ends on the same calendar day each year without adjusting to the slight, yearly astrological shifts. You can get the current Vikram Samwat by adding 57 to the Christian year.

In the US, the Chinese and Mexican New Year’s days are celebrated with great enthusiasm, and both holidays are officially observed in public schools. Unfortunately, Indian teachers and students are uneducated when asked about the Indian New Year. Even most Indians abroad do not know that we have a new year other than the Gregorian New Year.

The new Samwat is celebrated in India as an auspicious day on which people clean their houses and don new clothes. Puja, bhandara, arati and havanas are performed at temples and in homes. Donations and alms are given to the poor. On the auspicious occasion of Samwat Day, the holy cities of Haridwar, Mathura, Prayag, Kashi and others are crowded with devotees who travel from near and far to take a holy dip in the rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Brahma Sarovar of Kurukshetra. Those who cannot travel take a bath at a local river, canal, pond or spring. Vikram Samwat has been observed in many parts of India for many years. Before the performance of a samskara or puja, the Samwat is used for astrological calculations by priests.

It is believed that the cosmos was created on this day; hence this being the first day of the year and also the beginning of the Shrishti Samwat—or “world calendar” according to the Vedas.

MADAN LAL GUPTA
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, US

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Letters with writer’s name, address and daytime phone number should be sent to:

Letters, Hinduism Today

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Kapaa, Hawaii, 96746-9304 USA

or faxed to: (808) 822-4351

or visit: www.hinduismtoday.com/letters

Letters may be edited for space and clarity and may appear in electronic versions of HINDUISM TODAY.

Science and Religion Agree: Giving Is Good for You

How generous souls bless the world and themselves at the same time

THE WISE ONES KNEW IT ALL ALONG, but now scientists have proved it to be true—giving is good for you.

“Giving affects our brain chemistry,” reports Arthur Brooks in The New York Sun. “It induces endorphins that produce very mild euphoric sensations… Charity also lowers the stress hormones that cause unhappiness.

“Generous people were found to have dramatically lower levels of the stress hormones cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine in their brains. The bottom line is that giving is not just good for your favorite cause; it’s good for you, too. For relief from stress and depression, it’s probably more cost-effective than whatever your doctor might prescribe. And it’s not illegal or fattening...”

Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, HINDUISM TODAY’S founder, taught that “You can’t give anything away but that it comes back to you, in one form or another, tenfold. That is the law.” He explained that the door that opens within you when you give is the same door that lets abundance in. When you have cracked open that one door, it is cracked open. When you leave it open wide, it is open wide. The guru was giving us a great gift with those words.

He established the HINDUISM TODAY Production Fund as a channel for those who would share the magazine’s vision, and want to keep it alive and thriving. We invite you to join those noble ones and keep that door to good fortune flung wide open by giving generously to the Production Fund.

If you have given before, please give again.

An especially potent way to give is to include the Fund in your estate plan. Estate planning offers many varied ways of giving, some of which you will find to be just right for you, even beneficial. They can lead to substantial tax savings, for example. See our website www.hheonline.org and click on “ways to give” for a clear and simple overview of planned giving’s many opportunities.

Contact us anytime at or 1-808-634-5407. You can also ask for our informative Hindu Heritage Endowment and Production Fund newsletters at gurudeva.org/email-news.

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S. RAJAM

Creating a will and keeping it updated is the way to craft your life’s mission statement and uplift whatever you deem most worthy


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