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1) Many of our people seem confused and think that being Hindu is merely a matter of calling oneself by that

name. This approach might be called "definition by naming". So long as someone uses the right name, its ok. I find this shallow and troubling. I know many who call themselves Hindus, but who are in one or more of the following categories of counterproductive persons:

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Using Hindu community to boost their own political status or raise self importance to get some appointment, etc. Obsessed with occupying some position of importance for which they are utterly unqualified, thereby denying someone better qualified the chance to serve us better. Happy to get digested; promoting digestion out of naivete/stupidity; seeing this as a sign of glory: "We have arrived on the world stage". Confused with ideas of sameness, as substitute for having to study hard to understand what dharma is.

2) So if naming cannot be the criteria for defining who is Hindu, another option many use is history centrism. Hinduism defined as a specific history in a specific geography. I reject this as well. It limits Hinduism's claim of universalism by defining it this history centric way. For one thing, it excludes many segments and movements which have separate histories (e.g. Swaminarayanan) and/or do not consider any unique history to be the basis at all (e.g. Kashmir Shaivism, Tantra, Yoga). This approach has been used for political expediency turning Hinduism into a Semitic religion of sorts. It becomes a claim that downgrades us. It is tempting because it is simple to explain and propagate - look at the success of Christianity and Islam due to this method of definition. We would need to construct the equivalent of a single book similar to the Bible with a single linear history, and abolish everything else that does not fit into it - just like the Bible and Qur'an did to destroy the diversity of faiths in their lands. 3) Definition by distinct principles and practices. This the approach BD follows. Here, I found it important to combine both positive and negative principles. Examples of positive principles are karma-reincarnation and non-translatables that are specific and shared by the diversity of dharma approaches. Negative principles are what we reject. These negative principles are is critical to formulate carefully so as to have non-digestible differences. Examples of negative principles: I reject the claim that God's manifestation on earth has been limited via one son and no other way. I reject the claim that God has decreed a given person to be his final prophet and that all other claims of pramana (means of acquiring truth) must be rejected as infidels. These negative principles are what the other faiths CANNOT ACCEPT BECAUSE IF THEY DO, THEIR VERY FOUNDATION WOULD GET FINISHED. 4) So the combination of positive-negative principles define us.
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The positive ones root and ground us, in a manner that all (or almost all) dharma groups can accept; hence we get a unified platform. The negative ones prevent us from getting digested into some other religion that is lurking around sending its "good cops" to entice and us and fool us. The poisontipped quills of a porcupine prevent the tiger from eating him because the tiger would die if he tried to swallow and digest such a porcupine.

5) The cunning tiger would like to separate the quills of the porcupine from the meat, reject the former and digest the latter. If the porcupine is foolish and accept the tiger's offer and

drops his quills, he will surely get eaten and digested. The smart porcupine must NEVER SEPARATE THE QUILLS FROM THE REST OF HIS BODY. The positive-negative principles come as one package, never to get separated. 6) Swami Vivekananda's greatness is because he followed the above method #3. I have been reading through his collected works now for a second time lately, because I realized that the AAR panelists' attack on BD was based on those scholars' lifelong attacks of Swami Vivekananda. The central problem these scholars face is any claim of unity of Hinduism. They know how to deal with #1 and #2 approaches. #1 is simply trivial and easy to appease such fools by simply using the Hindu name. #2 has been attacked as Hindutva and hence they have lots of weaponry and soldiers trained to start firing. But #3 is very tough for them. This is why they have worked since 1950 to undermine Swami Vivekananda as a champion of unity using #3 approach. Digestion is one of their most aggressive and successful methods because Hindus get fooled into thinking the tiger is paying them a compliment. 7) I have a list of top tier scholars who have made their careers attacking Swami Vivekananda and now I am writing a response to their attacks on BD. Their attacks on BD use the same approach as their attacks on Swami Vivekananda. Basically, anything philosophical (not political) that unifies dharma, is seen as dangerous. Why? Because such a foundation for unity is very robust as a foundation for nation-building. To destroy India they must destroy every viable method of its unity. Modern economic growth is insufficient to hold a massive diverse country together when it faces crises and catastrophes. Only a shared set of dharmic principles can hold it together. Hence, this academic cabal has targeted Vivekananda, Aurobindo, Gandhi, B.G. Tilak, Radhakrishnan, etc. - calling them "Neo-Hindus" to imply that they lack authenticity. I have been lumped into that lineage as the latest thinker causing them trouble. What an honor, I say! Thanks for putting me in that league. I am a small fry exploring dharma creatively for my own benefit. 8) I welcome sincere and COMPETENT help in this latest project of mine.I am working on it non stop 7 days/wk amidst some personal challenges. But any offer of help must be based on several factors:
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willingness to follow the plan I have and not go off on their own separate plan. tough deadlines requiring heavy reading/writing on specific items that are well defined. complete confidentiality no expectations of funding or other tangible reward. The work itself is the reward. approach me offline by private email giving specific areas and types of help. Not generic "I want to help but dont have a clue what i might be good for."

Regards, rajiv