This letter is to express our most sincere appreciation for having giving a comprehensive and wide coverage about our Sree Siddaganga Gurukula in your esteemed magazine, HINDUISM TODAY, in the article entitled “Karnataka’s Magnanimous Math” (Apr/May/Jun 2013). We particularly thank Smt. Choodamani Shivaram, correspondent in Bangalore for the successful and nice article she wrote for the magazine. This was possible because of her visit to our holy math and meetings with people here. We do hope that the publication of such articles will certainly go on in a big way in realization of the noble objective of your magazine, to uphold the Hindu tradition. We value your association with us. Thank you.
SREE SREE SIDDALINGASWAMIGALU
SREE SIDDAGANGA MATH
As a long-time subscriber of HINDUISM TODAY, I’m very happy to see the evolution from the paper, to the present glossy, colorful magazine. I anxiously wait for the next issue, as each one is a treasure house of fascinating articles on Hinduism practiced throughout the world. As a practicing Veerashaivite, reading the comprehensive narrations of the feature articles, which covered the two magnanimous Lingayath Mutts, Siddhaganga and Suttur in the present issue and the July 2012 issue, brought back happy memories of my childhood. I wish to thank you for the beautiful pictures, illustrations and detailed explanations on each subject. Best wishes.
PRAMALA SIVAN KUMAR
It was such a fascinating experience to read the lucid and detailed report of the Amarnath Yatra (Apr/May/Jun 2013). The spirit of Rajiv Malik’s writing makes the reader a part of the holy, death-defying journey, encompassing all the devotion, enthusiasm, pain, fear and frustration. Without stepping a foot outside, we experienced every emotion that the writer and photographer felt. After reading the article, I was both mentally elevated and exhausted at the same time. I salute them.
It is sad to note the poor relationship existing between the locals and the Indian paramilitary forces. Denying food at most of the bhandaras to the ponywallas, palanquin carriers and helpers is very unfortunate and probably leads to more alienation and resentment towards India. This practice should be changed. Considering the seasonal nature of yatra, one would think the services of all associated helpers should adhere to fixed fares. This would greatly avoid ill feelings developing between pilgrims and helpers at the very onset of the journey.
RICHMOND, ONTARIO, CANADA
There is a movement among the ayurvedic professional community in the United States to have ayurveda accepted as a licensed profession. This would allow states to monitor and standardize care and provide a means by which ayurveda may be easily accessed by the public. There are possible benefits, but have the costs been evaluated? I believe the biggest risk of seeking licensure for ayurveda is its potential secularization. Ayurveda originates from the Vedas and is therefore Hindu, though I recognize it has been adopted and contributed to by other religious movements. The vaidya (ayurvedic practitioner) may, in one way, be looked at as a sort of priest, who maintains the temple-bodies of the community and guides them in honoring the Agni within. As the main goal of ayurveda is to preserve and prepare the various doshas of the individual so that they may properly perform their dharma, resolve karma and ultimately seek the Self, it is best kept under the jurisdiction and guidance of Hinduism.
SPARTANBURG, SOUTH CAROLINA, USA
I read Hindu Press International’s recently posted article, “Hindu Obituaries and Christian Proselytization” (3/25/2013). I felt the need to write and apologize for such insensitive treatment. I am not, myself, Christian, nor do I belong to a faith that believes in actively seeking out converts. However, what I read disturbed me so much that I wanted to extend a hand and express solidarity. The writer of the article was extremely fair in his summary; I would have been much less patient. I think that it is very important for the recognition and respect of different religions that we voice our dislike of practices such as those mentioned in the article. There is a significant difference between educative exposure and the opportunistic proselytization that the author’s family experienced. The more that we understand each other and the more positive our experiences of each other are, the more likely it is that we can foster cooperation and appreciation among religious groups. Nothing good will ever come of the disrespect that is an undeniable aspect of unsolicited attempts at conversion. I find it particularly distasteful that the author’s family was approached deliberately at a time of grief and vulnerability.
As a devout Hindu who believes in pilgrimage, I was fortunate to visit several renowned temples in India, and my journey to the holy places was extremely beneficial and exciting. I managed to take a close look of the revered temples Deities and felt so blessed. Though I could not spend much time praying or meditating as it was a rush at every prominent temple, I was able to pay close attention to the architecture, design, cleanliness and overall ambience of each one I visited. My overall observation is that temples are paying more attention to the rituals and the ceremonies than to the overall, holistic cleanliness. The Deities are bathed duly, the floors are swept and the drains are cleaned, but the walls, ceilings and paintings never get much attention. The overall look and feel in almost every temple is a matter of great concern for every Hindu.
RAVINDRAN RAMAN KUTTY
I need your help to restore Hinduism in Fiji. I was born there, but now live in America. There is a temple in every Hindu village in Fiji and a school which is run by a South Indian organization called Fiji Sangam. I have read Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami’s book Loving Ganesa, and I read each issue of HINDUISM TODAY. I am now reading Living with Siva. I want these teachings from Gurudeva to reach into Fiji through the Fiji Sangam. The main thing missing in Fiji is the purpose of the temple. Everyone goes to the temple but does not know why. If HINDUISM TODAY and Loving Ganesa can be distributed to schools there, it will change the lives Fiji’s people. With help like this, the Hindu religion can be made stronger. A lot of people are changing their religion to Christianity because they are paid money or helped by the Christian people, and in return must change their religion. It’s just like in India. Please help our people and our religion in Fiji.
HILLSBORO, OREGON, USA
I frequent a Shri Subramaniar temple here in Malaysia. In 2009, the temple underwent repairs and the age-old shrines were replaced due to damages. The temple management was authorised to throw the old statues in the sea according to written advice from Sivachariyars and stapatis from India and Sri Lanka. I have ask for an injunction and have placed these shrines in the temple library museum along with bells, brass ware, photos and other historical archives. I need your advice and guidance to support my efforts and continue.
PETALING JAYA, SELANGOR, MALAYSIA
According to Agamic scholar S.P. Sabharathnam, the Agamas direct that damaged images should be disposed with due rituals in a flowing river or the ocean. But, he advises, there is nothing wrong in collecting such items and keeping them safely in a museum. Such museum, however, should be outside the temple precincts. Under no circumstance should deformed or mutilated images be used for personal or public worship. Photos and manuscripts may be kept in the temple library or in a personal library.
The article, “Animals Have Souls and Feelings, Just Like We Do” (Apr/May/Jun 2013), was thought-provoking and touching. I loved learning about animals that experience emotion, communicate and use tools. Today’s conditions are terrible. Millions of animals endure pain and suffering across the world. They are treated like machines. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “One can measure the greatness of a nation and its moral progress by the way it treats its animals.” Leading a cruelty-free lifestyle, such as being vegan, is a great way to end the suffering and pain of millions of animals.
I’ve been an avid reader of HINDUISM TODAY for the last 16 years of my 24-year life, and I’ve recently taken to writing articles on Hinduism for a small website. Something I have been wondering has to do with HINDUISM TODAY’S commitment to enlightening our surrounding society. I feel that your organization has done a massive amount for creating materials and resources that make the philosophy of Sanatana Dharma more accessible to myself and to my Canadian friends. However, the one obstacle I continuously meet with when trying to promote an understanding of Hinduism is people referencing and quoting flawed Wikipedia articles. I would urge your acharyas to examine these articles that generally portray an antiquated and, often inaccurate version of Hinduism.
In “After 150 Years, the Voice of Vivekananda Still Resounds” (Jan/Feb/Mar 2013), Author Huston Smith’s book on comparative religion was incorrectly titled as The Illustrated World’s Religions. The correct title is simply The World’s Religions.
In the caption on the gatefold image of Parvathy Baul (Jan/Feb/Mar 2013), Rashmi Sahi’s name is incorrectly printed as Rashmi Sahai.
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Giving to the World’s Grandchildren
How to help disseminate wisdom and harmony
IT HURTS US TO SEE SO MUCH CONVERSION going on,” Dr. Narendra Utukuri shared with our Hinduism Today staff upon returning from India. “They bribe them to convert and then teach them intolerance, trading a faith that respects other faiths for one that teaches intolerance! It is urgent to spread the knowledge, and we are grateful to see Hinduism Today picking up the challenge.”
Dr. Utukuri is a professor of electrical engineering and math at DeVry University in Texas. His wife Malathi is a retired accountant who hails from a family of Sanskrit and Telugu scholars. “What the world needs today,” she adds, “is certainly not more intolerance! HINDUISM TODAY is so broad and loving in its vision. We were uplifted to read the Bali article (Apr/May/Jun 2012). We had no idea how much those people love Hinduism, and knowing that makes us feel very good. This is a great service; this is what the world truly needs. And only HINDUISM TODAY is doing it.”
The Utukuris are lifetime subscribers to the magazine. They are generous donors to the Hinduism Today Production Fund of Hindu Heritage Endowment, and they have also made the fund a beneficiary in their life insurance. “We want the magazine to expand into many countries and languages and make a significant difference,” declares Narendra. “And if we and others continue to support this great cause, it can happen soon.”
“I am encouraged to think our grandchildren will grow up seeing and reading the magazine,” Malathi adds, “and their own children after them.”
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We are counting on HINDUISM TODAY: Dr. & Mrs. Utukuri (center, bottom) surrounded by their children and grandchildren, Avanindra, Aadya, Inika and Megha in Toronto; (top) Sai Hemanth, Lekha Isha and Susmita in North Carolina.