April/May/June, 2005


COVER: A child’s parents are his first guru; (above) Sri Jayendra Puri (to right of throne) just prior to his coronation as successor to the late Sri Tiruchi Mahaswamigal at ceremonies in Bangalore, India, 12 days after Mahaswamigal’s transition at age 75

april/may/june, 2005 • Hindu Year 5107 Parthiva, the Year of Earthly Prosperity

Feature: Take a Tour of Ujjain, Ancient Sacred City of Hinduism and Host to the Kumbha Mela 18 Disaster: As Rescue Work Winds Down, We Assess the Hindu Response to the 2004 Tsunami 34 Commentary: So, Why Did Newsweek Magazine Disparage the Hindu View of the Tsunami? 36 Transition: Sri Tiruchi Mahaswamigal, Great Saint of Our Times, Attained Mahasamadhi January 14 62

Issues: Did the Nazis Ruin Forever the 5,000-YearOld Use of the Good-Luck Swastika? 61 Books: Meet the Extended Family Behind Motilal Banarsidass, Premier Publishers of Hindu Books 64 Commentary: Swami Kritarthananda Speaks on the Special Merits of Old Age 68

In My Opinion: American Hindus Should Claim and Proudly Teach Religious Identity to Youth 9 Publisher’s Desk: A Hindu View of Natural Disasters 10 Letters 12 From the Vedas: One God, Many Functions 17

Money: Strategies for Investing Your Hard-Earned Money According to the Principles of Dharma 30 Insight: Advice on Raising Children as Good Hindus From Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami 37 Medicine: Get throuth the Flu Season with Minimum Downtime by Following Ayurveda 53 Education: The Innovative YogaEd Teaching Program Is a Useful Model for Hindu Education 58

Diaspora Quotes & Quips 6 14 Digital Dharma 86


Canada . . . . CAD 7.50 Malaysia. . . MYR 10.00 Singapore. . . SGD 7.50 UK . . . . . . GBP 3.75 India . . . . . INR 85.00 Brazil . . . BRL 10.55 Trinidad . . TTD 36.00

Letters to the editor, subscription and editorial inquiries may be sent to Hinduism Today, 107 Kaholalele Road, Kapaa, Hawaii 96746-9304 USA, letters@hindu.org. HINDUISM TODAY (issn# 0896-0801), April/May/June, 2005, Volume 27, No. 2. Editorial: 1-808-822-7032 (ext. 227); subscriptions, copy or bulk orders: (from USA or Canada:) 1-800-850-1008 or (from all countries) 1-808-240-3108, subscribe@hindu.org; advertising: 1-888-4641008, ads@hindu.org. All-department fax: 1-808-822-4351. HINDUISM TODAY is published quarterly by Himalayan Academy, a nonprofit educational institution; Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, Founder; Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, Publisher; Paramacharya Palaniswami, Editor-in-Chief. USA subscriptions: us$35/1 year, $65/2 years, $95/3 years, $155/5 years, $1,001/lifetime. Contact us for international rates. In India: Central News Agency Limited, 4E/4 Jhandewalan Extn., New Delhi, 110055, Tel +91-011-5154-1111, E-mail: subs@cna-india.com. For permission to republish a HINDUISM TODAY article, call 1-808-822-7032 (ext. 227) or fax 1-808-822-4351. Printed in USA. Application to mail at periodicals postage rates is pending at Kapaa, Hawaii and at additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to Hinduism Today, 107 Kaholalele Road, Kapaa, Hawaii, 96746-9304.

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thuraisingam rajasankara

Affirming Sanatana Dharma and Recording the Modern History of a Billion-Strong Global Religion in Renaissance

Inside Ujjain: Siva’s Holy City Inside Ujjain: Siva’s Holy City

This rare double Siva Lingam This rare double Siva Lingam is enshrined at atmonastery is enshrined a a monastery in Ujjain. The larger Lingam in Ujjain. The larger Lingam stone signifies es Lord Siva; stone signifi Lord Siva; the smaller one represents the smaller one represents Goddess Shakti. Ujjain abounds Goddess Shakti. Ujjain abounds in holy temples. See page 18 18 in holy temples. See page

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am pleased to welcome you to the free digital edition of Hinduism Today magazine. It is the fulfillment of a vision held by my Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, founder of Hinduism Today, to bring the magazine’s profound Hindu teachings to the widest possible audience. The text of each issue has long been available on the Web, right back to 1979, but without the photographs and art. Now you have here the entire contents of the printed edition, with all photos and art. Plus, it is interactive—every link is live; click and you go to a web page. You can participate in the magazine in a number of ways, accessed through buttons on the right. And you can help support this free edition in two ways: make an online contribution (even a small one); patronize our specialized advertisers. Explore the resources here, enjoy our latest edition and e-mail us if you are inspired.

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Hindus Speak Out Against Texas Ten Commandments
n december 13, 2004, an amicus curiae brief spearheaded by the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) was filed with the United States Supreme Court supporting the position that the 40-year-old permanent placement of the Ten Commandments on Texas State Capitol grounds violates the First Amendment guarantee of the separation of church and state. Prepared pro bono by Goodwin Procter LLP attorneys, the brief includes Hindu, Jain and Buddhist points of view and was signed also by leading US Hindu, Jain and Buddhist organizations. The case, originally brought by Thomas Van Orden against Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas, in 2003, asks for the removal of the religious monument. The Supreme Court decided to hear the case after the Fifth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals ruled that the monument could remain in place.

National Gallery Siva Puja


India’s premier religious broadcasting station takes flight


Hinduism Enters US TV


astha, the faith channel” entered the US in December, 2004, taken on board by leading US satellite provider, DirectTV, alongside DirectTV’s other South Asian broadcasts, Vijay (Tamil), and three Star channels (Hindi). But Aastha is different. In the words of its promotional brochure: “Aastha is America’s first Asian Indian spiritual and cultural network. It is the only television channel to clock 1,000 hours of realtime live broadcasting of Asian Indian socio-spiritual-cultural events and amass a library of

18,000 hours of content in less than four years.” The Mumbaibased company began with a village audience, spread to Indian cities and now the world from satellites tuned into by 20 million households in 166 countries. Aastha avoids use of the “H” word, but 90% of the content is rooted in Hindu culture. With discourses from swamis, coverage of grand Kumbha Melas, bhajanas, classes in Vedanta, yoga and meditation, there is no question where Aastha is coming from. It’s a great sign–Sanatana Dharma on the air!

Monumental affront in Texas The brief argues, “The lower courts completely ignored the effect of the Ten Commandments monument on non-Judeo-Christians, whose beliefs regarding the nature of God and the relationship between man and God differ greatly from those enshrined in the monument and for whom the monument is clearly and unavoidably ‘sectarian.’ “ out” appears unlikely. Indeed, some denominations are becoming extinct, but others remain strong and are growing. Still, the authors contend that the “massive subjective turn of modern culture has served to fuel the growth of subjective life spirituality and undermine external religion.” They predict that in 40 years participation will equalize to about 3 or 4% of the UK population in each sector. Of course, many meditating Hindus will find this to be a false dichotomy. Hinduism naturally integrates personal spiritual transformation and commitment to traditional religious, community and family values (dharma).

Victoria (NGV) in Australia. An audience of hundreds witnessed a ceremony rarely seen by non-Hindus. Three Hindu priests performed a Ganesha puja, a Lakshmi puja and then the puja to the stone Lingam which had ord siva’s formless form been in NGV storage. NGV Photography Curator, Dr. was front and center in an Isobel Crombie, organized unusual public venue last year. the event with the help of her On December 5, 2004, Sri PreKashmir Saivite guru, Swami makantha Kurukal performed Shankarananda of Shiva Ashan abhishekam and puja to ram, Victoria. The Lingam is a Narmada Siva Lingam at now the focal point of the firstMelbourne’s National Gallery of floor South Asian Study storage display where she and South Asian Art curator Carol Cains perform a daily Siva puja. Dr. Crombie says, “I feel its shakti spreading throughout the gallery as more people become aware of our daily puja, people are joining in and love the ritual.” Premakantha Kurukal performs abhishekam


A new generation of Hindu leaders gather in Bali to face the future



Youth Take a Stand in Bali

he fledgling world Hindu Youth Organization created last year in Indonesia got off to a start with a five-day summit in Bali, November, 2004. Delegates came from Malaysia, USA and other countries. Standing out from the usual

agenda of speeches on Modern Challenges, Position of Women, Social Action, etc., was the Indonesian delegation’s complaint that worship is barred in some Hindu temples in Java, which have been turned into National Monuments and tourist atttractions. The youth resolved to fight the commercialization of temples and restore them as places of worship through nurturing “spiritual tourism” by organizing yatras to Indonesia.

ay u rv e d a


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A Spiritual Revolution?
aul heelas’ and linda Woodhead’s new book, The Spiritual Revolution, Why Religion is Giving Way to Spirituality, (Blackwell Publishing, 2005) is the fruit of the six-year Kendal Project. The authors analyze the claim that traditional forms of religion, especially Christianity, are giving way to New Age, holistic spirituality. They interviewed hundreds of people and groups in the town of Kendal, England, and drew on prior national research on the subject for both Britain and the US. Their thesis points to a shift away from religion that


is focused on an external God and His dogma to a movement of people, first into the realm of “subjective well-being culture” (health, fitness, emotional contentment) and then into the “holistic milieu” where spiritual growth becomes a central concern Hindu groups now occupy some of the just under in both personal twenty UK Christian churches closed each year and associational and are not making up at all for activities (attending “self-transthe overall decrease in churchformation” workshops instead going Christians—now down to of going to Church.) But they only 7.9% of Brits and 24% of conclude we don’t yet have a Americans. revolution per se. The numbers While they conclude Christiof those in the holistic milieu anity is clearly waning, a “zero are too small, just 1.6% of Brits,

Control Your Brain!

rain scientists recently discovered that, in responding to external experience and input, the brain is able to expand, or strengthen, circuits that are used and shrink or weaken those that are rarely engaged. To document the effects of internal experience, scientists went to Tibet in November, 2004, to study Tibetan monks. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, the scientists pinpointed regions that were active during compassion meditation (generating a feeling of loving kindness towards all beings). Most monks who had done more than 10,000 hours of meditation showed extremely large increases in high-frequency gamma waves which underlie higher mental activity, such as consciousness.


harvard medical school study released in the Journal of American Medical Association said that 14 of 70 different Ayurvedic off-the-shelf medicines from India, sold in 30 Boston area stores, had “potentially harmful levels of lead, mercury and/or arsenic.” North American practitioners, concerned that some people now think all Ayurvedic medicines are suspect, responded in India West. Dr. Sivakumar Varma of Vancouver said that “90% of Ayurvedic remedies use no metals and those that do are for serious illnesses like cancer.” He himself only used Good Manufacturing Seal certified products. The proper preparation of medicinal mercury “could take months, even years,” said Wyne Werner, administrator of New Mexico’s Ayurvedic Institute. It is unknown if the high levels are due to soil contamination or improper preparation. New Hampshire based Pandit Ramasamooj said that the JAMA article should be taken seriously as “a wakeup call to all Ayurvedic physicians and the public.”

Fourteen Medicines Found To Have Metal Toxicity


While novices showed only a slight gamma wave increase, in older monks, activity in the left prefrontal cortex (the seat of positive emotions such as happiness) swamped activity in the right prefrontal (site of negative emotions and anxiety), something never before seen from purely mental activity—scientific proof, perhaps, of the ancient Hindu knowledge of vasana (thought pattern) metaphysics.

Implicated in the study—Baidyanatha’s Vilas Ras and Guggulu


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Asanas for Cricketers

minutes of yoga training daily. The goals? Flexibility, concentration and a release from the mental agitations of competition that leads to insomnia causing players to lose their edge. The only other cricket team with a he entry of yoga into yoga trainer is India. the quintessentially British In October 2004, while in sport of cricket is raising eyebrows—another bastion of West- India, Australian batsman Justin Langer, Kate Turner and their ern culture has been breached fitness trainer visited the famed by Hinduism’s ancient science. 85-year-old B.K.S. Iyengar. Australia’s team has added a While many of his own students yoga teacher to their support rarely get an audience, it turns group, Kate Turner, alongside out Iyengar is a cricket fan and their fitness trainer and physiohe gave them two hours. Langer therapist. She offers the team 75 said, “I was a bit taken aback... he put me through every yoga pose there is.” Langer is convinced yoga will lengthen his career. He says the yoga sessions help him balance the “flogging” he gives his body during training and recover from England cricketer Marcus Trescothick does yoga grueling five-day tests. during December, 2004, South African tests



Russian president and 6th degree black belt Judo expert Vladimir Puten uses the anjali mudra before crowds during a visit to India of life-imperiling contagion (the flu). Taken to extremes, handshake phobia could prefigure a revolution in social custom. The standard American greeting would be forever altered. “But to what?” asks the Post. “The alternatives might include bowing, curtsying, nodding he washington post rethe head, saluting, patting each ported in December that other on the back, or hugging. politicians, religious leaders and Other cultures, of course, are albusiness people are avoiding ready there. The Hindu namaste the handshake. With heightgreeting (with anjali mudra), is ened awareness of health issues, simple, elegant and touchless: a “Shaking hands is slowly being slight bow with hands pressed at transformed from a friendly icebreaker into a potential vector the palms near the heart.”
HINDUISM TODAY was founded January 5, 1979, by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami. It is a nonprofit educational activity of Himalayan Academy with the following purposes:1. To foster Hindu solidarity as a unity in diversity among all sects and lineages; 2. To inform and inspire Hindus worldwide and people interested in Hinduism; 3. To dispel myths, illusions and misinformation about Hinduism; 4. To protect, preserve and promote the sacred Vedas and the Hindu religion; 5. To nurture and monitor the ongoing spiritual Hindu renaissance; 6. To publish a resource for Hindu leaders and educators who promote Sanatana Dharma. Join this seva by sending letters, clippings, reports on events and encouraging others. to subscribe.
Founder: Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami Publisher: Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami Editor-in-Chief: Paramacharya Palaniswami Publisher’s Aide: Paramacharya Ceyonswami Deputy Editor: Acharya Kumarswami Managing Editor: Sannyasin Arumugaswami Graphics Director: Sannyasin Natarajnathaswami Production Manager: Sannyasin Sivakatirswami Subscription and Distribution Manager: Sannyasin Shanmuganathaswami Contributing Editor: Yogi Japendranatha Advertising Manager: Sadhaka Jothinatha Correspondents: Choodamani Sivaram, Bangalore; Rajiv Malik, Prabha Prabhakar Bhardwaj, Madhu Kishwar, Delhi; Mangala Prasad Mohanty, Orissa; V. S. Gopalakrishnan, Kerala; Basudeb Dhar, Bangladesh; Archana Dongre, Los Angeles; Lavina Melwani, New York; Dr. Hari Bansh Jha, Nepal; Paras Ramoutar, Trinidad; V. G. Julie Rajan, Philadelphia; Rajesh Jantilal, South Africa; Iraja Sivadas, California; Tara Katir, Hawaii. HPI Staff: Janaka Param, Toshadeva Guhan, Clive Roberts, Easan Katir, Adi Alahan, Chandra Sankara, Shama Vinayaga, Arjana Daswani. Sanskritist: Dr. P. Jayaraman, New York. Artists: A. Manivelu, S. Rajam. Cartoonists: M. Arumugam, Bob Thaves, Ripin Karla. Photo Contributors: Thomas L. Kelly, Stephen P. Huyler, Dinodia, Dev Raj Agarwal, Gilles Flament, Vel Kadressen, Mu Devarayan, Indivar Sivanathan. Web Masters: Nitya Nadesan, Sadhunathan Nadesan. Distribution: USA: Ingram Periodicals, New Leaf, EBSCO Subscription Services, OneSource, Ubiquity. Europe: SWETS Subscription Service. Malaysia and Singapore: Sanathana Dharma Publications. India: Central News Agency Limited, Delhi. Mauritius: CODIP. Trinidad: Pandit Narendra & Ashwinee Ragoonanan. Printer: Banta Publications Group, Kansas City, Missouri

Indian Hindus should be able to openly practice their faith in America, the land of the free
n 1994, the editors of Hinduism Today invited me to share some of the experiences that inspired me to write and illustrate The Vee Family children’s books. Back then, I wanted to define the identity of Indian Hindus in America. I was determined to help bring out “closet Hindus” who were unwilling to live their culture with pride and dignity. Although I felt very strongly that Hindus should practice their faith openly, I also knew why they weren’t. They did not fully comprehend their cultural heritage. The American public also lacked even a basic understanding of Hinduism. Everyone was in desperate need of education. No one knew then that, ten years later, henna (Indian hand painting), Bollywood fashions and Indian pop music would gain popularity in America. Yet, even today the true Vedic roots of Indian culture remain a mystery to most Americans and some Indians as well. In the 21 years that I have lived in this country I have met many Americans who share a good number of the values that I consider important, including humility, courtesy, hospitality, respect and compassion. I have known many Indians, on the other hand, who have embraced a completely different set of values. Ironically, these values are commonly referred to as “American culture.” When Indians coming to America perceive democracy as the absence of boundaries and discipline, it’s no wonder their kids end up confused, uncultured and ashamed of their Indian identity. Unfortunately, this is not just happening in America. It’s happening in India as well. I have been advised on numerous occasions to “assimilate into American culture.” “Assimilate” in this context means something like: “In Rome, do as the Romans do.” This was what early immigrants were intimidated into doing so as to adopt the existing European/Judeo-Christian norms. Whatever happened to freedom and liberty?
m o na v i j ay k a r .

Claiming Hindu Dignity



Will Namaste Replace the Handshake?

TIRUVANNAMALAI REMAINS A place of open worship. In the wake of widespread protests in Tamil Nadu, on January 20, 2005, the Indian Supreme Court called for the withdrawal of the central government’s attempt to make the Arunachaleswarar temple a national heritage monument under the jurisdiction of the Archeological Survey of India. HOMESCHOOLING IS ON THE RISE in the USA. The National Home Education Research Institute, based in Salem, Oregon, estimates that 1.7 million to 2.1 million children were home taught during the 2002-2003 school year, up as much as 13 percent from 2000-2001. IF YOU WANT TO SPONSOR THE Udayasthamana Puja at the

well-known Guruvayoor temple in Kerala, you will have to wait until 2046. The puja (US$1,100) is performed 130 days in a year at the Sree Krishna temple. Paid bookings have been made for the next 42 years! THE LANCET MEDICAL JOURNAL released the results of a 15-year survey involving 3,000 young people. It showed fast-food to be a definite factor in the key chronic diseases of Western civilization—obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. THE BRITISH MINISTRY OF Defense will soon appoint Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh chaplains to the British armed forces. Some 300 Christian chaplains already minister to the 210,000 personnel of the Royal Navy, the army, and the

Royal Air Force. These chaplains are given commissioned rank as officers. There are also honorary Jewish chaplains. The four chaplains to be appointed will, however, be civilian employees of the Ministry of Defense. The four new chaplains will minister to about 740 adherents of the minority faiths in all three services. WORLD RENOWNED INDIAN devotional classical singer, M.S. Subbulakshmi passed away in Chennai on December 12, 2004, at the age of 88. She was considered by many to be the world’s great Carnatic vocalist. MANY STATES, FROM KASHMIR TO Bihar, are embracing English as never before, even if they have to make political concessions for it. Education in the Kashmir valley will never be the same again, as all government schools there, from 2004 onward, have begun teaching English from

the first grade. They are so sure of its success that they are considering running all government schools in Kashmir in English medium. The reason behind such a step is to make up for the damage caused by 15 years of militancy. “We realized that if we want to do well in this competitive world, we have to teach English,” said Harsh Dev Singh, Education Minister, Jammu and Kashmir. IN EASTERN SRI LANKA’S Muslim stronghold of Katthankudy, orthodox Jamiat-ulUlema, influenced by the Saudi Arabian Wahabi sect, protested violently in November, 2004, against a “Sufi” group. They demolished the Rahmaniya and Ibrahimiya madrasas (theological schools) alleging that these schools, run by charismatic Sufi preacher AJ Abdur Rauf Mowlavi, were spreading Hindu ideas and rituals among the Muslims, especially the young.

Well, America is the land of the free, but it is a culture that is young and growing. It’s like a prism that is illuminated by the colors of multiple cultures. We try to send our children out into the world armed with knowledge, hoping this will give them confidence when faced with comments like: “This country was based on Christian values and yet we allow you to come and live here and follow your own traditions.” We Indian Hindus are as much to blame for this sort of ignorance as are the Americans. Many of us allow ourselves to be demoralized by such aggression and retreat into fearful submission rather than face this ignorance with intelligent response. One Indian lady on the PTA board of my children’s school campaigned hard to stall my efforts to correct misconceptions being taught in classes on Indian history. Although that same woman confided to me that she “admired my guts,” she helped engineer a smear campaign against me, accusing me of “religious fanaticism.” Among the Indian families I approached for support in promoting academic accuracy in the presentation of Hinduism in schools, only one in a 100 came forward. Finally, when I brought a case of “academic discrimination” to the school superintendent, my program, “India in Classrooms,” (www.indiainclassrooms.org) was eventually initiated into the curriculum. My children have been fortunate enough to receive love and affection from many of their teachers and friends. However, they have also experienced racism and bigotry as a result of the strong stand I took for Hindu values. Yet, today there is no doubt that the pain we have all endured as a family is but a small price to pay for the priceless treasure of our Hindu dignity. Mona Vijaykar lives in Saratoga, California, with her husband and sons. She can be contacted at indiainclassrooms@yahoo.com.
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Waves of Distress
ver the last few weeks, i have been asked by numerous individuals to share some thoughts on the massive global death and destruction caused by the South Asia tsunami that ravaged such a vast part of the world in the last days of 2004. The first and foremost response, of course, is the need to awaken our compassion and offer our prayerful thoughts to those who have passed on and give expression, inwardly and outwardly, to our deep-felt sympathy for the relatives and friends who survived. This is our response from the heart. The natural second response is to provide practical help as millions face the challenges of the aftermath of this awesome natural catastrophe, the worst in our lifetime. I have noticed a remarkable welling up of such support among devotees of our monastery and the general public in many countries, and seen people go to extraordinary lengths to collect medical supplies, raise funds at work and even offer to fly to the affected areas to provide succor with their own hands. These are life-saving, lifeaffirming reactions, for without the generous financial and in-kind donations that reach the affected areas, many more could die in the weeks ahead for lack of food, clean water, medical supplies and temporary shelter. This is how we respond with our hands. In the medium term, communities need to be rebuilt and resources provided to individuals to enable them to resume supporting themselves through their chosen occupation. For the longer term, governments need to ponder the issues of providing effective warning systems, such as currently exist in the countries in the Pacific Ocean region, to protect their populations against future tsunamis, and to better prepare them for any large-scale disaster, whether from earthquakes, storms, droughts or other threats to security. On all levels, we need to learn from this experience so we will face our next massive threat more prepared. This is our response from the head. On the philosophical level, major disasters in the world cause everyone to stop and think—think about ourselves, our family, friends, community, nation and the world itself. If our faith is not strong, our thoughts can be of a negative nature. You have heard people wondering aloud why God would allow such a thing to happen, why good people are suffering so, how can there even be a God if such tragedy can occur on Earth? However, if our faith is strong, then our reflections and our reactions remain positive. From the Hindu point of view, questions of blame and punishment do not arise. God does not punish, does not visit terrible things upon the Earth. It is, after all, His creation. He did give the natural forces on this Earth immense power, yet even these are forces of change and evolution. For Hindus the most terrific of disasters is not some cosmic chastisement, but the rightful unfold-

The Aftermath, January 7, 2005: Valliumai, age 71, a Sri Lankan survivor, weeps next to the storm-ravaged Hindu temple in Batticaloa where she regularly worshiped itself is a terrible god who eats people and boats...” It is, of course, painful for Hindus to read such misconstrued supposition in the international media, especially as we know how deep is the Vedic perspective on suffering, death and dying. Hindus need to respond, to educate the media, and provoke them toward a truer perception of Hinduism. That means writing letters, informing them that Hindus know there is a purpose in all things in life, not just the good things. We know that God is not vengeful or capricious but an allknowing, all-loving, all-powerful FatherMother Creator whose grace is present in our lives each day and whose blessings are palpably felt by those of awakened sensitivity. As my satguru, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, wrote: “There is a divine purpose even in the existence of suffering in the world. Suffering cannot be totally avoided. It is a natural part of human life and the impetus for much spiritual growth for the soul. Knowing this, the wise accept suffering from any source, be it hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, famine, wars, disease or inexplicable tragedies. So also does suffering offer us the important realization that true happiness and freedom cannot be found in the world, for earthly joy is inextricably bound to sorrow, and worldly freedom to bondage.” The great Hindu saints all teach us that even harsh karma, when faced in wisdom, can be a catalyst for spiritual advancement. No one welcomes suffering into their lives, but when it comes we can choose how to respond. We can allow it to diminish our life or to strengthen and deepen it. That power lies in each one’s hands. We see such resolve in the faces of those who lost loved ones, and yet set about the enormous task of rebuilding their lives. We see it in the global outpouring of compassion and help, a love and shared sympathy that brought the world together for a moment in time, that transcended race and geography, religion and history. While 2004 saw the greatest natural disaster in memory, 2005 is unfolding history’s greatest outpouring of compassionate help. The world does seem a little less divided now, as we reach out to one another in a thousand ways. A moving story provides a glimpse into the human spirit, and the possibility of enormous good flooding out from this calamity. On January 13 National Public Radio reported on the experience of a Los Angeles fireman who was in Sri Lanka helping in the initial relief efforts. He was used to human loss, that being part of a fireman’s daily experience, but this was different. The fireman shared that a Sri Lankan man approached him, amid all of the debris and chaos. He had just lost his entire family, and most of his home. Yet that victim greeted him with a smile and offered the fireman a cup of tea. The fireman was deeply struck by this, his first personto-person encounter with an Easterner. He wondered how a man who suddenly had nothing and must certainly have been filled with sadness and loneliness was offering his rescuers tea, thinking more of them than of himself. He took it as a sign of the resilience of the human spirit and of the East’s unique reply to loss and its special capacity to endure.
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A Practical and Spiritual Response to the Devastating Asian Tsunami of 2004
ing of dharma and destiny. For the devout Hindu, loss and even death, while difficult, are not beyond our ability to accept. After all, our soul is eternal and through its many lives on Earth undergoes a variety of experiences, many joyful, others sorrowful, but it benefits spiritually from all experience, whether seemingly good or bad. However, as Gurudeva, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, said, “Because the fear of death is so much a part of social consciousness today, as ignorance prevails in these matters, sorrow rather than joy is often experienced. In not understanding life in its fullness, many cannot help but misunderstand death. The attitude should be one of joy based on beliefs that come from the knowledge of karma and samsara. Experience of joy and a total release of the loved one would come from a pure understanding of the processes of life. A better word than death is transition, passing into a new form of life—life into life.” My guru’s guru, Siva Yogaswami of Jaffna, Sri Lanka, many years ago foresaw the difficult times the peoples of his country have faced for the past two decades of civil war and the loss of 60,000 lives. Now his nation has suffered in one day, December 26, the loss of over 30,000 lives, with one million, fully five percent of the nation, left homeless. This great sage counseled how to cope with such horrific situations in his Natchintanai hymn, “Nalluran Tiruvadi:” “Even if war and famine come and the world is burnt to ashes, shall we know any fear, O Parrot? Arumugam is our refuge.” In other verses Yogaswami stresses that the atma, our soul, is eternal, that Lord Murugan is our protection, and clinging to His holy feet will cause all distress and anguish to disappear. Yogaswami’s sagely advice is clear—difficulties are a part of life on this planet and the sorrow they bring can be overcome through the worship of God and the Gods. In these times, we find solace in the words of the illumined satgurus, whose vision is wider and deeper than our own. Pramukh Swami Maharaj of BAPS counseled his followers in the aftermath of the 2001 Gujarat earthquake: “Natural calamities like earthquakes have been affecting mankind since time immemorial. It is a natural phenomenon, like rain. It is not the wrath of God. So, whatever has to happen, happens. The good and the painful all are a part of life, and we should accept both with equanimity. When people are facing difficulties and sorrows, our Indian tradition is to offer them solace. We feel that by serving the human beings we serve the Lord Himself.”
p h o t o b y pau l a b r o n s t e i n

Those with strong faith, when confronting a major disaster such as the recent tsunami, have the ability to step back from life’s daily routine and look more deeply at themselves to see if there are changes they could make to add deeper meaning to their life. The physical and psychic power of this tsunami offers such thoughtful people an opportunity to examine and change their own lives, for life-changing moments are rare and are often provoked by something bigger than our day-to-day existence. Perhaps there are changes we have been considering for years but always end up putting off. Now is the time to implement them. Perhaps there are new patterns of life, new habits, new commitments that can take root at this rare moment in our personal and global history. Perhaps our love for family members needs to be verbalized more often. Now is the moment to begin. Perhaps we have plans to improve our community. Now is the time to set these plans in motion. Perhaps we always wanted to deepen our spiritual efforts and expand our charitable work. Now is the time to make such ideals real. In all these ways, we can take the energy surrounding this historic catastrophe and transmute it into something that benefits our lives and our community, rather than diminishes them. Adversity, faced with courage and wisdom, can bring us one step closer to the Source of All. As Gurudeva would often say, “It matters less what happens to you in life than how you react to all that happens.” In the aftermath of the tsunami, the Western media sought to understand how people of different faiths look upon such disasters. They were trying to be helpful, and they were fair to the Buddhists, Muslims and Christians, but when it came to explaining the Hindu response, NEWSWEEK magazine wrote on January 10 that the Hindu Gods are ambivalent and capricious and that “the ocean


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on behalf of his divine holiness pramukh Swami Maharaj of BAPS, I convey my heartfelt congratulations and appreciation for producing a wonderful cover story on the inauguration of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Houston. The issue has beautiful photos describing the divinity of the mandir, its intricacies, volunteer services and festive spirit. Your write-up has captured the event in all its aspects, including a brief intro to BAPS. Kudos to the hard work put in by the Hinduism Today team for producing a wonderful issue. Pramukh Swami Maharaj was also pleased to see the issue and has conveyed a special word of appreciation and prayers for the encouraging and inspiring works you are doing in promoting Sanatana Dharma. The various articles, tidbits of relevant information and news are inspiring and gladdening. It infuses and strengthens pride in all Hindus. The glory of Hindu Dharma and its universal appeal is elegantly displayed through Hinduism Today. Thank you once again and may God bless you all to continue with your spiritual mission.
Sadhu Ishwarcharandas Amdavad, India ∫ info@swaminarayan.org

Houston Temple Opening

nation. For example, the idea of karma and the battle against maya is thoroughly demonstrated in “The Matrix” films. Beyond the theme of reincarnation, “The Matrix” films delve heavily into the topic of control of your own karmic destiny and discovering the Divine within yourself to battle the hordes of demons without. Each film goes through a cycle of confusion, discovery, rebirth, sacrifice and then death based on choice, not nature. The main character, Neo, is set upon his path via his guru(s), The Oracle and Morpheus. Through their teachings, he is able to learn that he is not flesh and blood but rather a divine creature that has complete creative control over his dream life. I feel this is just one example among many. I truly see a great trend in modern movies that creates an aura of spirituality underlying the basic plot and theme.
Adam Doty Fort Collins, Colorado ∫ adam.doty@private-escapes.com

so, it is time to change with changing times by integrating them closely with society!
M. Ganeshadeva Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

we have received the jan/feb/mar 2005 issue of Hinduism Today with the article about our Omkarananda KamakshiDevi Mandir at Rishikesh. It is very beautiful! We wish to thank you and your editors for preparing such a nice report about the temple’s mahakumbhabhishekam ceremony.
Swami Satchidananda Rishikesh, India ∫ satchidananda@omkarananda-ashram.org

Rishikesh Temple Inauguration

value systems that are a benefit to their society and whose voices and opinions should be honored when offered in the spirit of uplifting or even correcting their society. It is time to see the beauty, sacredness and utility of all approaches that attempt to uplift and help each individual while helping the society as a whole. Chauvinism is a concept whose time is long, long past. It is time for constructive, rather than destructive, speech about the world’s religious and ethical practitioners.
Martin Wolff New Milford, New Jersey ∫ vedantin@aol.com

we are fortunate to have hinduism Today through an unknown benefactor and express our grateful thanks for this kind and benevolent act. As a senior citizen, age 72, serving as an honorary vice-president of an educational institution, I find this great magazine informing, educating and enlightening me on Sanatana Dharma, the eternal values of life. I am now able to talk to teachers and students about Hinduism and its eternal and perennial values, remove many misconceptions they have about our customs and traditions and clear their doubts regarding the myriad viewpoints of life—often seemingly opposed and conflicting—encompassed and embedded in this vast ocean of knowledge. Pujya Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami is guiding us all and showing that we can work positively with other traditions and faiths while holding firmly to our own denomination and spiritual path, uplifting the world by the power of our own upliftment—the way of the positive integrated development of all mankind, of the world and nature.
Bhattu Ganesh Sharma Bangalore, India

Thanks for Hinduism Today

i enjoyed reading the article “hindu Concepts in the Movies” (Jul/Aug/Sep, 2004). However, I believe the author would see many more similarities to Hindu concepts if the scope was broadened beyond reincar-

More Hindu Concepts in Movies

recently while in bali, i had the good fortune to be invited by a close Balinese friend to a ceremony at his house. I was deeply touched by the fatherly attitude of the priest and the respect, reverence and high esteem the devotees had for him. At the end of the ceremony, when the priest was given a tray full of fruits and some money for his services, he took a token few fruits and part of the money offered and told the devotee to keep the rest for his family. He also advised the devotee not to overspend on ceremonies and to save some money for his children’s future. This was a refreshing experience for me, as many Hindu priests in Malaysia depend on tips left by devotees to make ends meet, owing to the meager salaries paid to them by the temple committees. Many of the priests are very knowledgeable in Hinduism but very few of them give talks to devotees on Hinduism. They probably suffer from low self-esteem due to their poor economic status and do not feel up to the task of preaching to devotees to whom they look for tips. The temple committees should probably spend less on extensive renovations and beautification of their temples and raise the self-confidence, image and selfesteem of our priests by paying them decent salaries comparable to those paid to priests of other religions. Such a move will certainly perk up the flagging spirits of our priests and help foster a mutually close and caring bond between our priests and devotees. Perhaps it is time for some soul-searching. Have we lost some endearing values of Hinduism that the Balinese have managed to retain? Or has our brand of Hinduism always kept priests at arm’s length from the devotees? If

Are We Treating Priests Well?

in the oct/nov/dec 2004 issue the article “Cow Dung’s Many Uses” explains the role of cow dung and urine in Hindu rituals and common practice in India. While I have no qualm with any exposition on its uses, it ends with the statement that “houses coated in cow dung are insulated from…and even, so they say, nuclear radiation.” Statements of support can be found for many things; while they may be an indicator of a general belief, they are not scientific support or refutation. You seem to imply that since you haven’t found anyone who has tested their claim that negates cow dung’s use as a protection against nuclear radiation, it is true. Unless you have a fundamental qualm with how science and theory work, which you may, one does not assume truth based on a single piece of research. Instead, it is supported by overwhelming experimentation that can be replicated under standard conditions. Cow dung does not provide any protection against nuclear radiation, and adding something dubious not only detracts from the real uses, it displays a disregard for accuracy.
Vivek G. Sahani New Brunswick, New Jersey ∫ sahani@rutgers.edu

Cow Dung and Nuclear Radiation

being an avid reader of hinduism today since its inception in 1979, I am very pleased to state that I am now a better Hindu. Many, many years ago, when information was scarce and there was hardly any religious education on Hinduism, I used to feel very frustrated. But today, with knowledge derived from reading Hinduism Today, I stand tall with my head high. I love reading the “Letters” column where views of readers all over the world are expressed. My humble request is that Hinduism Today allocate more space for letters, which will mean that more letters are published. Your article “Solidarity in Diversity” (Jan/ Feb/Mar, 2005) states that conversion is effectively contained in Malaysia through solidarity with the help of the Malaysia Hindu Sangam. There are numerous welfare homes and orphanages run by Christian bodies.

Beware of Welfare Homes

The majority of children in these homes are Hindu. The poor, innocent Hindu children are taught to despise Hindu Gods. They are told that Hindu Gods are demons and that some of them are holding weapons. They are further told that Hindus are stupid to pray to images of stone and metal or to pictures of Gods. Parents are oblivious to this threat, as they are happy that the burden of raising their children is in the safe hands that promise to turn their children into successful youth. The little children are not allowed to pray to Hindu Gods; instead they attend Christian religious indoctrination. I know that what I report is true because I have spoken to these children myself. So, conversion in Malaysia is raging on under the disguise of orphanages. The Malaysia Hindu Sangam should take note of this serious situation and take necessary action to protect our great religion from shadowy Christian organizations that are actually instruments of conversion.
K. Thuruvan Seremban, Malaysia

a home where her mother was Hindu and father was Buddhist. All the children were strongly discouraged from learning, practicing or appreciating their one-half Hindu origins—they were, in effect, “raised in the religious life and culture of only one of the parents,” as Ms. Verwey recommends. The result of this myopia? None of them became strong Buddhists, and except for my wife, none embraced or learned of the richness of their mother’s tradition. They only knew half of their heritage and mourned for the missed opportunity to experience the second of their two ethnic and religious worlds. I’m happy to see my nephews growing up feeling comfortable and knowledgeable whether in a mosque, temple or church. They don’t feel confused or unbelonging, but comfortably shift between religions as easily as changing from Tamil to English to Sinhala to Arabic, depending on which family member they are addressing. And one won’t find any religious intolerance in them.
Kailash Dhaksinamurthi Minneapolis, Minnesota ∫ kailash@searchbeyond.com

jennifer verwey’s experiences of growing up in an ethnically and religiously Letters with writer’s name, address and daymixed familiy (“Growing Up Mixed Up,” time phone number, should be sent to: Letters, Hinduism Today Jan/Feb/Mar, 2005) may be more endemic 107 Kaholalele Road to Western liberalism and an absence of Kapaa, Hawaii, 96746-9304 USA cultural diversity in her childhood neighor faxed to: (808) 822-4351 or e-mailed to: letters@hindu.org borhood than a weakness in religious diversity training. I’ve personally witnessed as Letters may be edited for space and clarity many people wounded by sectarianism and and may appear in electronic versions of parochialism as distressed by pan-religious Hinduism Today. insecurities. My wife grew up Buddhist in ∫ indicates letters received via e-mail

Growing Up Mixed Up

“The Best Gift I Could Give Him”
Offering the Young a Lifetime of Dharma
ecently dr. nigel subramaniam Siva, a Principal Engineer at Sparta, Inc., Maryland, USA, offered his son, Henry Ragavan Siva, a lifetime subscription to Hinduism Today. We asked him why he was doing it. “It’s the best gift I could give him!” he said. “Modern life tends to blur and distance us from our heritage. Hinduism Today reconnects us. And it’s a refuge from the turbulence of karma and life in this world. I reread old issues, especially the editorials; they always have wisdom to give. They are powerful, there is prana in them, parampara power in them. And I just want my son to share in that heritage. It helps to see life in a different way, in a way that makes a positive difference rather than sitting around and worrying. It brings out issues that nobody talks about but touch everyone, such as anger and child abuse. I share them around, and it soothes and comforts every time. I also chose to give him this as a way of helping Hinduism Today and doing good for the world.” We encourage all our readers to make such a gift to a young person who will receive Hinduism Today wherever in the world he or she may live for a lifetime. It is a fine financial investment. But it is an even more potent investment in the beneficiary’s education, well-being and happiness. Hinduism Today has published continuously for 26 years now, and the various Hindu Heritage Endowment funds in its name guarantee its existence far into the future. The lifetime subscription donation of US$1,001 is placed into the Hinduism Today Life-

the article “the beginning of the End of Christianity in Australia?” (HPI, December 23, 2004) is on a very sensitive and interesting subject: what the religious say about other faiths. I praise the Australian law and the judge’s power of discrimination. It is time, here in America also, for those who feel strongly about their own chosen religion to completely abandon vilifying others’ chosen paths. Whether they are referred to as infidels, heathens, outcastes or other disparaging terms, the effect is the same—divisiveness and discouragement. Even those who profess agnosticism and atheism are often people with very fine

Ending Religious Denigration

Sharing the heritage: Dr. and Mrs. Subramaniam Siva with their son, Henry Ragavan, at the Murugan Temple in Lanham, Maryland, USA time Fund of Hindu Heritage Endowment. Grants support the costs of each subscription and further strengthen Hinduism Today in other ways. A donation for a lifetime subscription offered as a gift is fully tax deductible in the USA. www.hinduismtoday.org www.hheonline.org/ht/plannedgiving/ 808-822-3012, ext 244 hhe@hindu.org
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“It’s better to see God in everything than to try to figure it all out.”
Neem Karoli Baba (ca 1900-1973), North Indian sadhu mystic ent brings the mid-morning snack for the children. Chidambaram soon observes that some of the kids eat things that he and his family do not, such as meat and eggs. Sensing the importance of vegetarianism in his life, he takes it upon himself to find out exactly what’s in the snack each day. One day, Chidambaram’s mother and grandmother take him to lunch at a Mexican resWith the coming of the tsunami, we have realized the limitations of human effort. In the face of something like this, even science is rendered helpless. Only God’s grace can help us. This is a time to invoke love and compassion in our hearts and to work with our hands. Mata Amritanandamayi Ma, Kerala-based hugging saint who pledged us$22 million for relief “The atman in you is that which indwells all things.” “Tell me, Yajnavalkya, about this atman that indwells all things.” “It is that which transcends hunger and thirst, sorrow and delusion, old age and death.” Brihadaranyaka Upanishad III, 5A Make sure you work in return for the disaster relief you are getting, for I do not want my countrymen to become beggars. Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), following a 1934 earthquake in Bihar in which more than 10,000 people died Sri Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950), South Indian mystic Upon dying, a man is greeted on the other side by Lord Yama, who immediately begins helping him determine his next step in the inner worlds. Lord Yama says, “Your karmic record is not clear to me. Is there something exceptional you have done that I should know about?” The man responded, “I was walking down the street with my wife. Several thugs drove up on mopeds and insulted her. I walked over to the leader, reached up, ripped the earring out of his ear, grabbed him by the throat and told him, ‘That’s no way to speak to a lady!’” “Impressive,” Yama said. “When did this happen?” The man replied, “Oh, a couple of minutes ago.”
© mike baldwin/cornered

India Was Once the Richest Country in the World
ccording to economist Angus Maddison in The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective, the region that today comprises the Indian subcontinent held the largest share of the world’s gross domestic product until the beginning of the sixteenth century, when it was rivaled by China, and then again throughout most of the eighteenth century. At the end of the sixteenth century, India’s great wealth sustained a population of more than one hundred million people. In “India, the Silicon Jewel of the East” (Digital Journal, May 13, 2004), Paul William Roberts states, “There was an abundance of arable land, and the state of Indian agriculture compared favorably with any of the Western European countries. Right down to the subsistence-oriented peasant, everyone saw a good return on land and labor. There was a large and vigorous skilled workforce turning out not just cotton but luxury items for the barons, courts and ruling classes. Consequently, the economy produced a fabulous financial surplus.” From the early eighteenth until the beginning of the nineteenth century, when India enjoyed a 24.4 percent share of the world’s gross domestic product (see table, right), economic historian Paul Bairoch confirms, the region enjoyed a 25 percent share of the global trade in textiles. It was the world’s leading manufacturer of handicrafts and handloom textiles. Bairoch writes, “More important, there was a large commercialized sector with a highly sophisticated market and credit structure, manned by a skilful and in many instances very wealthy commercial class.” Paul William Roberts adds, “Methods of production and of industrial and commercial organization could stand comparison with those in vogue in any other part of the world. India had developed an indigenous banking system. Merchant capital had emerged with an elaborate network of agents,

Opulence: An elephant ambles with attendants in raja-style attire near the Jal Mahal, a pleasure spot of the royal family of Jaipur

Gross Domestic Product in Millions of Dollars
YEAR 1000 1500 1600 1700
angus maddison

India China Western Europe

33.8 26.6 10.2

60.5 61.8 44.3

74.3 96.0 66.0

90.8 82.8 83.4

Those from a religious background who believe that “There is only one life and when it’s over, it’s over” generally cry and have a very unhappy time over the departure of a loved one. This is very disturbing To the growing soul, to the spirit to the loved one from where they within us, may not difficulties, are in the inner world wonderobstacles, attacks be a means of ing, “Why the grief?” Because they growth, added strength, enlarged “I’m your waiter and a vegetarian. are fine. They are happy, and they experience, training for spiritual Let’s try to do this without anyone getting hurt.” are free of a lot of karmas, a lot of victory? The arrangement of things worries, a lot of conflict, ready to start a may be that, and not a mere question of taurant as a special treat. Chidambaram’s new life. Those with a pure Asian religious the pounds, shillings and pence of a disgrandmother reads the menu to him and tribution of rewards and retributory missuggests, “Perhaps you’d like the Kiddy En- background, who understand reincarnation, dharma, karma and the existence of God fortunes! Sri Aurobindo Ghose (1872-1950), chilada?” Little Chidambaram looks at his Indian philosopher speaking on karma mother in horror and exclaims with author- everywhere, will smile contentedly and say to themselves, “What a wonderful life and disasters ity, “We don’t eat kitties!” By Valli Sendan, the departed had!” and be joyous in the his grandmother new world that the departed loved one is A three-year-old boy named Chidambaram, now experiencing. Satguru Sivaya Subraliving in the United States, attends a parent Just as a big banyan tree sprouts from a muniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of co-op nursery school several days a week tiny seed, so the wide universe with names Hinduism Today with his mother. Each day a different parand forms sprouts forth from the heart.

brokers and middlemen. Its bills of exchange were honored in all the major cities of Asia.” Maddison studied numerous sources and derived historical world gross domestic product (GDP) totals by assem-

bling evidence on changes in population, retaining the 1990 international dollar as the temporal and spatial anchor in the estimation of movements in GDP and per capita GDP, and filling holes in the evidence with proxy estimates.

Tirukural 291: What is truthfulness? It is speaking words which are totally free from harmful effects. 293: Let one not speak as true what he knows to be false, for his conscience will burn him when he has lied.
a. manivel

294: One who lives by truth in his own heart truly lives in the hearts of all people. 297: Not lying, and merely not lying, is beneficial for those who cannot or will not practice other virtues. 298: Water is sufficient to cleanse the body, but

truthfulness alone can purify the mind. 299: Not all lamps give light. The lamp of not-lying is the learned man’s light. 300: Among all great truths we have ever beheld, not a single one rivals the goodness of telling the truth.


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The Svetasvatara Upanishad elucidates the nature of the Supreme Being
econciling the co-reality of a single Supreme Being and of a multitude of worshipful Gods continues to be a challenge. Imagery of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva performing the acts of creation, preservation and destruction as three separate beings has wrought confusion for elementary school children, all the way up to Internet forums where Western academics pontificate on Hindu polytheismmonotheisim-henotheism, while missing the point altogether, which is: all of the above are true. There is only one Supreme Being, Who creates preserves and destroys. There are also many great Mahadevas who are not mere diverse mental projections of the Supreme, but who are real Purushas, Persons, living in the causal plane, as souls, as real as you or I. Let us refer to our Vedas on the matter: The one who spreads the net, who rules with his ruling powers, who rules all the worlds with his ruling powers, who remains one (identical), while (things or works) arise and continue to exist, they who know that become immortal. Truly Rudra is one, there is no place for a second, who rules all these worlds with his ruling powers. He stands opposite creatures. He, the protector, after creating all worlds, withdraws them at the end of time. That one God, who has an eye on every side, a face on every side, an arm on every side, a foot on every side, creating Heaven and earth forges them together by his arms and his wings.He who is the source and origin of the gods, the ruler of all, Rudra, the great seer, who of old gave birth to the golden germ (Hiranya-garbha), may He endow us with clear understanding. Rudra, your body which is auspicious, unterrifying, showing no evil—with that most benign body, O dweller in the mountains, look upon (manifest yourself to) us. O Dweller among the mountains, make auspicious the arrow which thou holdest in thy hand to throw. O Protector of the mountain, injure not man or beast. Higher than this is Brahman, the supreme, the great hidden in all creatures according to their bodies, the one who envelopes the universe, knowing Him, (men) become immortal. I know the Supreme Person of sunlike color (luster) beyond the darkness. Only by knowing Him does one pass over death. There is no other path for going there. Than whom there is naught else higher, than whom there is nought smaller, naught greater, (the) one stands like a tree estabThe Supreme Godhead, depicted as a threefaced, single Being, creating (left), preserving (right) and destroying (center). lished in Heaven, by Him, the Person, is this whole universe filled. That which is beyond this world is without form and without suffering. Those who know that become immortal, but others go only to sorrow. He who is in the faces, heads and necks of all, who dwells in the cave (of the heart) of all beings, who is all-pervading, He is the Lord and therefore the omnipresent Siva. That person indeed is the great lord, the impeller of the highest being. Reaching the purest attainment, the ruler, the imperishable light. A person of the measure of a thumb is the inner self, ever dwelling in the heart of men. He is the lord of the knowledge framed by the heart and the mind. They who know that become immortal. The person has a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, a thousand feet. He surrounds the earth on all sides and stands ten fingers’ breadth beyond. The person is truly this whole world, whatever has been and whatever will be. He is also the lord of immortality, and whatever grows by food. On every side it has a hand and a foot, on every side an eye, a head and a face. It has an ear everywhere. It stands encompassing all in the world. Reflecting the qualities of all the senses and yet devoid of all the senses, it is the lord and ruler, it is the great refuge of all. Subtler than the subtle, greater than the great is the Self that is set in the cave of the (heart) of the creature. One beholds Him as being actionless and becomes freed from sorrow when, through the grace of the Creator, He sees the Lord and His majesty.

One God, Many Functions

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He who is the source and origin of the gods, the ruler of all, Rudra, the great seer, may He endow us with clear understanding.





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Inside Ujjain, Inside Ujjain, Siva’s City Siva’s City
jjain is one of the seven cities of India said to grant pilgrims liberation from rebirth. It is today a bit off the beaten path—60 kilometers from the nearest airport, for example. But in ancient times it sat at the crossroads of India as a key political, military, economic, literary and scientific center. One of our calendars, the Vikram era, began when the warrior king Vikramaditya repulsed an invasion of Ujjain. Among the “nine gems” of his court were Kalidasa, argu-


ably the greatest Sanskrit poet and dramatist, and the astrologer and mathematician Varahamihira. Today, Ujjain remains great in religious terms, one of the four sites for the Kumbha Mela, and site of the temple of the great Lord of Time, Siva, Mahakaleshwara. Hinduism Today’s team of journalist Rajiv Malik and photographer Thomas Kelly explored Ujjain while covering the April, 2004, Kumbha Mela attended by 30 million pilgrims over a ten-day period. This is their story.

Mahakal: Ujjain’s famed temple to God Siva as Lord of Time rises majestically behind the temple tank; (right) closed-circuit TV shot of the early morning bath of the Siva Lingam with sacred ash, a special observance of the temple; (far right) King Vikramaditya ruled from Ujjain in ancient times
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Rajiv and Thomas spent ten days in Ujjain during their coverage of the Kumbha Mela, as recounted in the October, 2004, issue. For this report, we pick up their narrative as they set about exploring the city, beginning with a visit to the place Lord Krishna was educated as a youth 5,300 years ago. They proceeded on from there to the temple dedicated to the planet Mars, then to the liquordrinking Deity of the Kal Bhairav temple. Another day’s exploration takes them to the Gadhkalika Goddess Temple, associated with Kalidas, and then Bhartrihari’s Caves, sacred to the Natha Sampradaya tradition. The high point of their pilgrimage comes with two visits to the Mahakal Temple, culminating in the unique early morning worship of the Siva Lingam with sacred ash.
B Y R AJIV M ALIK , D ELHI e got our first chance to explore the holy sites of Ujjain on April 21, 2004, our third day at the Mela, when we went to the Maharishi Sandipani Ashram in the Ankpaat area. Here in ancient times Lord Krishna came to study with his brother Balaram and friend Sudama. This is one of the most popular and significant places in the city, and there was a crush of pilgrims. Roopam Vyas, a young priest who manages the temple where the icons of Maharishi Sandipani and the trio, Lord Krishna, Balaram and Sudama, are kept, told us that fifty thousand to one hundred thousand people were visiting the place every day during the Mela, while normal daily attendance is in the thousands. Roopam and his family are descendents of Maharishi Sandipani, able to trace their family tree back 2,000 years. “Lord Krishna,” Roopam said, “came here at age 11. He learned the 64 arts and 14 streams of knowledge in a disciplined and humble manner. Today, parents whose children are slow learners come here for the patti puja (worship blessing the slate, patti, upon which children learn to write). It has special meaning done at this place where Lord Krishna studied as a child. Our whole family is dedicated to the maintenance of this ashram. Without our help, devotees and pilgrims would have a lot of problem worshiping. The vibrations of this place are so powerful that we remain in the bhava (ecstatic devotion) of Krishna all the time. This happens automatically. We do not have to make any effort to be in such a state of consciousness. So we keep chanting ‘Radhe Radhe’ (the name of Krishna’s consort) all the time.” From Sandipani Ashram we moved to Mangalnath Temple where again a large rush of pilgrims was waiting, despite the hot weather, in long serpentine queues. Our Kumbha Mela press passes came in handy


Ujjain is known as a city where people take time to prepare for worship, as are these two devotees, weaving garlands for their offering baskets outside a temple.
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The Mangalnath Temple (left) is a Siva Lingam temple with a special connection to Mangal, the planet Mars. Devotees prepare offerings of marigolds in baskets as part of their sacred bath in the Sipra River which flows past the temple.

at all these places. At Mangalnath Temple we bypassed the long queue of pilgrims and spoke to one of the priests, Pandit Diptesh Dubey, a young man like Roopam Vyas. At most temples in Ujjain I came across a young generation of priests who were personable, soft spoken and knowledgeable. It was a pleasant experience to interact with them. Diptesh said two to three hundred thousand people were visiting the temple daily during the Mela. Diptesh recounted the magical origin of the temple in a battle between Lord Siva

and the demon Andhkasur. As a result of that battle, which involved the planet Mangal (Mars), a Siva Lingam formed at the place where the temple is now. He said, “All over the world this is the only place where Lord Mangal appeared. A special worship ceremony offering curd and rice is performed here for people who have an inauspicious placement of Mars in their birth chart (Mangal dosha, or Mars affliction). Mangal planet is also known for blessing couples with a child. For childless couples we worship a left-handed swastika symbol. When

the couple is blessed with a child, they come back and worship the right-handed swastika symbol.” Two days later, on the 23rd, we set out for the ancient Kal Bhairava temple. The worship of the eight Bhairavas, fearsome attendants to Lord Siva, is a part of Saivite tradition, and the chief among them is Kal Bhairava. Located on the banks of the Shipra and built by King Bhadrasen, the temple finds mention in the Skanda Purana. Worship of Kal Bhairava is believed to have been integral to the Kapalika and Aghora

Pawan explained, “Kal Bhairav is worsects. Ujjain was a prominent center for these two traditions. Even today shiped in three ways—sattvic, rajasic and liquor is offered as a part of the ritual tamasic. In the sattvic (pure) worship, flowto Kal Bhairava. We came to know ers and fruits are offered. In the rajasic that beautiful paintings in the Malwa (passionate), ornaments of gold are offered style once decorated the temple walls, to him and in the tamasic (dark or dense), but only traces are visible now. The Bhairava is offered liquor. On normal days village of Bhairagarh, famous for its around two-hundred-fifty bottles are ofblock printing on fabric, takes its fered. During the Mela, the number goes as name from this temple and is located high as one thousand bottles per day, as up to 400,000 pilgrims may come in a day. When nearby. Thousands of pilgrims and devotees the liquor is offered to the ancient stone idol were there in a long queue waiting of Bhairava, a tantrik mantra is chanted by their turn for worship of Kal Bhairav. us. The liquor disappears, and no one knows Here we came across a young priest, where the liquor goes. Pawan said researchPawan Chaturvedi, who is attached to ers are amazed at the consumption of thouKal Bhairav Temple. He took us inside sands of bottles of liquor by the Kal Bhairav. the main chamber where the statue It is only Bhairav Ji who is worshipped in of Kal Bhairav stands and gave us the all the three ways, most days the worship is opportunity to shoot pictures from a very done in sattvic and rajasic ways only.” Devotees are supposed to come to this close distance. Before taking us inside, he made us wait for some devotee to come with temple first, before going to the Mahakalesha liquor bottle as offering so that we could war temple, according to Pawan. “That is photograph Kal Bhairav consuming the li- because Mahakaleshwar, Lord Siva, is the quor. We did see it quickly disappearing as king, and Bhairava is the head of Lord soon as it was placed near the lips of Kal Siva’s army, whose permission is needed to Bhairav. The phenomenon defies any scien- meet the king.” As with the Mahakaleshwar tific or logical explanation. Pawan said liquor Temple, the royal Scindia family helped give offerings had been made for the past 5,600 the temple its present look and stature. “Our years—perhaps plausible enough given that family has been serving this temple for the distillation of liquor can be traced to 2500 last sixteen hundred years, of which we have record of eight generations. Only priests in bce in India.
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The great poet Kalidas was one of the “nine gems” of the court of King Vikramaditya over 2,000 years ago. His poetry and dramas remain widely admired. The Kalidasa Akademi, under the direction of Dr. Kamlesh Datta Tripathi (far left), is intended to project the genius of the entire classical tradition, with Kalidas as the apex.

The family of Sri Vijay Guru (left) has served as priests of Mahakal Temple since ancient times. They work in shifts through a busy schedule of worship that starts at 2:30am and ends at 11:30 at night in service of hundreds of thousands of devotees.

HEAD PRIEST OF UJJAIN’S FAMED MAHAKALESHWARA TEMPLE HEAD PRIEST OF UJJAIN’S FAMED MAHAKALESHWARA TEMPLE to the Sampradaya so that all their saints who come here during the Mela can be served food and looked after in a good manner.” Bhartrihari’s Caves: Just above the bank of the Shipra near the temple of Gadhkalika are the caves of Bhartrihari. Here also there was a big rush of pilgrims. According to popular tradition, this is the spot where Bhartrihari, the step-brother of King Vikramaditya, lived and meditated after renouncing worldly life. Everyone in Ujjain narrates how he became a saint after coming to know that his extremely beautiful wife, whom he loved so much, was unfaithful to him. Bhartrihari is revered as a great scholar and poet. His famous works Shringarshatak, Vairagyashatak and Nitishatak are known for their exquisite use of the Sanskrit language. Bhartrihari was a disciple of Guru Gorakshanatha, a historical figure and a disciple of Guru Matsyendranatha. His yogic system is perhaps the most prominent in India. An innumerable number of yogis constitute the line of Guru Gorakshanatha, whose impact, especially on medieval literature and spiritual practices, is impossible to overestimate. Near the Bhartrihari Caves is the final resting place of Guru Matsyendranatha. I saw people running towards the Bhartrihari Caves. Even children and old people were running. I thought this to be something rather unusual and mysterious. I understood the secret behind it only when I removed my shoes and stepped barefoot on the floor. Then I started running myself, because the pavement was so hot from the sun that you just could not walk on it without burning the soles of your feet! All around the caves were huge tents in which Natha sadhus were camping. As we approached, most were sitting around their dhunis (ritual fires). These sadhus wear very heavy earrings as their special trade mark. They are permanent residents, not here just for the Mela as most of the other sadhus. We recounted our experience with these sadhus in the Kumbha Mela article in October, 2004, issue. Only the Datta Akhara order of sadhus has a larger permanent presence in Ujjain. Mahakal Temple: It wasn’t until the 26th that we got our first chance to visit the Mahakal Temple. A comprehensive website on the city of Ujjain, www.ujjain.nic.in/mpdistrictsroot.htm, poetically describes the temple: “The presiding Deity of Time, Siva, in all His splendor, reigns eternal in Ujjain. The temple of Mahakaleshwar, its shikhara (central tower) soaring into the skies, an imposing façade against the skyline, evokes primordial awe and reverence with its majesty. The Mahakal dominates the life of the city and its people, even in the midst of the busy routine of modern preoccupations, and provides an unbreakable link with past traditions. One of the 12 Jyotir Lingams in India, the Lingam at the Mahakal is believed to be svayambhu (born of itself), deriving currents of power (shakti) from within itself as against the other images and Lingams which are ritually established and invested with power through mantras. The icon of Mahakaleshwar is known to be Dakshinamurti, facing the South. This is a unique feature, upheld by tantric tradition, to be found only in Mahakaleshwar among the 12 Jyotir Lingams. The icon of Omkareshwar Siva is consecrated in the sanctum above the Mahakal shrine. The images of Ganesh, Parvati and Karttikeya are installed in the west, north and east of the sanctum sanctorum. To the south is the image of Nandi. On the day of Mahashivaratri, a huge fair is held near the temple, and worship goes on through the night.” Thomas and I very much looked forward to our visit and the opportunity to attend the famed Bashma Aarati, worship of the Siva Lingam with holy ash. While there were large queues of devotees and pilgrims at the temple, we entered through a VIP entrance and within minutes we were in front of the Mahakal Siva Lingam. Just the sight of the Siva Lingam is elevating. While one senior sadhu was allowed to go inside the sanctum sanctorum, Thomas, myself and a few others, including two sadhus accompanying us, were only allowed to have the darshan of Mahakal from a distance of 25 to 30 feet. After darshan of Mahakal, we proceeded to the small and compact chamber of priest Vijay Guru and interviewed him there. Temple lore: Vijay Guru explained to us that the history of the worship here goes back to earlier yugas. There are four yugas in the Hindu system, each many thousands of years long. They are the Sat, Treta, Dwapara and Kali. Presently we are in the Kali yuga. Vijay Guru said that in the Sat and Treta yugas, the temple’s Siva Lingam was worshiped with ashes from the cremation of God-Realized yogis who had left their bodies through the power of mantras. Nowadays there are none who so left their bodies, so this practice is not followed. Today the ash used for the worship is cow dung burnt in the sacred fire. It is known as bhasma or vibuthi. Several people in Ujjain told us that cremation ash is used,
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DR. KAMLESH DATTA TRIPATHI, DIRECTOR, KALIDASA AKADEMI, UJJAIN this lineage are allowed to perform the worship here,” stated Pawan. Gadhkalika Temple: From Kal Bhairav Temple we moved to Gadhkalika Temple, situated two miles from the present town. Though here also there was a constant flow of pilgrims, there were no long lines. The Deity at Gadhkalika, a form of Goddess Kali, was worshipped by Kalidasa in olden times. Legend states that he was an idiot, but by his devotion to the Goddess he was transformed into a great literary genius. We were also told by the priest that Emperor Harshvardhan renovated the temple in the 7th century. There is further evidence of renovation being done during the Paramara period. In modern times it was rebuilt by the erstwhile Gwalior State. Here also the temple priests were accommodating and allowed Thomas to take the pictures from wherever he wanted, even from near the Deity where normally only priests are allowed to go. According to priest Manohar Nath Pujari, the temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peeths, a specific set of temples dedicated to the Goddess in India. “This is a great center for tantra. All the tantrics who come to Ujjain during the Mela worship the Goddess here. Due to the Mela, fifty to one hundred thousand people visit the temple every day. This temple has been managed by the Natha Sampradaya for the past ten generations. Because it is a huge place, pilgrims have no problem in having the darshan (sight) of the Deity. For nine days during the Mela we invite the Nathas to come and manage the worship. Whatever offering is collected at the temple during these nine days is also given


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THE SIVASIVA LINGAM OF MAHAKAL TEMPLE IS COVERED WITH HOLY ASH (LEFT), THEN WORSHIPPED WITH CAMPHOR LAMPS THE LINGAM OF MAHAKAL TEMPLE IS COVERED WITH HOLY ASH (LEFT), THEN WORSHIPPED WITH CAMPHOR LAMPS but Vijay Guru said this is not so. In fact, he God resides. That portion opens just once Temple and to Vaishnavas because Lord said, “A clarification on this was finally giv- a year and the worship is done by sadhus Krishna was educated here. In the Surya en when the people belonging to Congress of the Mahanirvani Akhara. The temple Siddhanta, the oldest scripture on astrolParty came to offer the ashes of Mahatma was built originally by King Vikramaditya ogy, Ujjain was the zero meridian for time, Gandhi, after his death, for the Bhasma but renovated by many kings since. It was as is Greenwich today. “The university Lord Aarti of Mahakal. To deal with this situation destroyed, along with the rest of Ujjain’s Krishna attended had over ten thousand stua shastrartha [a dialogue] was held among temples, in 1235 ce by the Delhi Sul- dents,” he said. “Ujjain was a center of eduthe scholar priests. The decision was clearly tan Shamsuddin Iltutmish. In the recent cation more than 5,000 years ago.” He, too, conveyed that it was not possible to use the past, one of the scions of Gwalior Estate, had magical stories to recount. “We Hindus ash of any dead body for the worship in the Shri Ram Chander Ji, did the renovation.” believe there are eight people who are imAfter this first visit to the temple, we met a mortal, including Lord Hanuman and Ashpresent times. It would be a crime to offer the ashes of any individual or leader for the prominent personality of Ujjain, the astrolo- wathama, who figures in the Mahabharata ger and Vedic scholar Pandit Anand Shankar War. Our grandfather used to sleep outside purpose of Bhasma Aarti.” “For generations we have been serving Vyas. Pandit lives in a joint family of around the temple so as to attend the Bhasma worMahakal,” said Vijay Guru. “Our record of forty members in their ancestral home a ship. Many times, an hour before the doors service is 5,000 years old. We have letters few feet from Mahakal Temple. Pandit took were to open at 4:00 am, he used to hear of several kings who wrote that as long as us to the Bade Ganesh Ka Mandir, which the sound of someone walking in wooden this creation exists, our lineage will keep was built and maintained by his ancestors. sandals. This person would go to the temple doing the service of Mahakal. There are This temple has a huge artistic sculpture tank, collect water in a earthen pot, return sixteen brahmin families in the temple’s of Ganesh, the son of Siva. An icon of this to the temple and enter the sanctum. He service. Around 80 serve on a rotating basis. size and beauty is rarely found. The middle tried to see who it was through the window, Those who do the Bhashma worship in the of the temple is adorned by an icon of the but all he could see was someone well built, morning are on duty till noon, and like that five-faced Hanuman. The temple was full of who he took to be Ashwathama offering his pilgrims and devotees when we visited it in prayers to Mahakal.” through the day and evening.” Continuing, Punditji said, “Lord Siva is “The temple has been built in three parts,” the evening. Punditji is quite a repository of informa- the creator of Natya Shastra, the foremost said Vijay Guru. “Below is Mahakaleshwar. In the middle portion above is Om- tion on Ujjain. He recounted how the city scripture on dance and drama. There was kareshwar and in the uppermost portion is is sacred to Saivas because of the Mahakal a time when the worship here included muthe Nag Chandereshwar where the Snake Temple, to Shaktas because of Siddhi Devi sic and dance. During the rule of Gwalior

Bhasma Aarati is the most famous of all rituals at the Mahakal Temple. It begins at 2:30 am every day with the ceremonial opening of the inner sanctum. In addition to the normal offerings, the Siva Lingam is bathed in holy ash, then decorated and worshiped. Thousands of pilgrims in Ujjain for the Kumbha Mela streamed through the temple constantly during the early morning.

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A devotee rings the bell at the Gadhkalika temple. The Deity is a form of Goddess Parvati. It is said that the great Sanskrit poet and dramatist Kalidas achieved his literary genius by worship of the Goddess.

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THE SNAKE-ENCIRCLED SIVA LINGAM OF MANGALNATH TEMPLE State, they had arranged for a dancer when Mahakal is paraded round the city. A dancer also used to perform during the worship at Mahakal in ancient times. In his famous poem, “Meghadoot” (“Cloud Messenger”), Kalidasa has given an elaborate description of Mahakal. Kalidasa tells the cloud, whom he has implored to take a message to his wife, to go to Ujjain even though it is off the route to his home. He asks the cloud to stay at night at the Mahakal and see the female dancer performing her dance during the evening worship and listen to the sound of various musical instruments.” Astute observations: Turning to practical matters, Punditji said, “I am a member of the managing committee of the Mahakal Temple and the committee is doing a good job. From a religious angle if some guidance is to be sought it is taken from me. One of the committee members is a professor with the Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya and another member is a priest at the temple. History has it that at one point of time Mahakal was destroyed by the Muslims. It was the erstwhile Scindia royal family that reestablished the temple in the 19th century. The Jyotir Lingam was found inside the Koti Teerth Kund [reservoir] adjacent to the temple. “Now there are two schools of thought on preserving the ancient heritage/temples in our country. There is a set of people who are of the view that the ancient archeology should be preserved as it is and should not be disturbed. But I and many others feel that the popular ancient places of worship need to be expanded in terms of infrastructure. To that extent their originality may not be maintained. I think this is a fairly reasonable and practical approach. We must have a liberal viewpoint in this regard. We should preserve the principles of the Shilpa Shastras, scriptures on temple architecture, upon which the temple was built. At the same time we should be able to expand it for the convenience of the pilgrims.” He also clarified a confusion which comes up with regard to the Kumbha Mela. The timing of the Mela is based upon the position of Jupiter, so is usually held every twelve years. “But every year, in the circle of the Sun and Jupiter, there is a difference of four days, which in 84 years accumulates to one year. Therefore, once in 84 years, the gap between the Melas needs to be 11 years instead of twelve. This effects the Melas at Haridwar, Nashik and Prayag also.” Punditji is not happy with the education of priests today. “Priests are not paying attention to their education. They are not as scholarly as they should be. This is not just confined to Ujjain, but is found all over. I pilgrimaged to Badrinath Temple and engaged a priest to conduct worship on my behalf. But I found that his knowledge was not that good. Even his pronunciation was incorrect. Ultimately, I had to politely request him to allow me to do the worship myself.” Finally, Punditji lamented, “Hinduism, I regret to say, has become an orphan religion. There is no one to speak on behalf of Hinduism. When it comes to Islam, the Kazis preach it. Gurudwaras impart education about their religion to the Sikhs. Christians are given education about their religion by their churches. But where is the education


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The Mangalnath Temple is associated with the planet Mars. Those with poor placement of Mars in their horoscope do special worship here. Also a ceremony is done here for childless couples to be blessed with offspring. Kal Bhairav is considered the leader of Siva’s celestial armies. He is worshipped in this temple in three fashions, sattvic, rajasic and tamasic. In the tamasic or lowest form of worship, devotees offer bottles of liquor which are poured into the Deity’s mouth, and the liquor disappears. The temple has a powerful spiritual vibration to it and most pilgrims to Ujjain will come here prior to going to Mahakal Temple.


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YOUNG PRIESTS ANDAND SADHUS NEAR OPEN WATER TANK BESIDE MAHAKAL TEMPLE YOUNG PRIESTS SADHUS NEAR THE THE OPEN WATER TANK BESIDE MAHAKAL TEMPLE about Hinduism being given to Hindus? In the past we had school textbooks which had a lesson on Pandavas. We had lessons on the good qualities of Lord Rama. But today, in the name of secularism, the government is becoming bereft of dharma. What is happening under them is that they are removing the lesson on Ganapati and replacing it with a lesson on a donkey. Even in ancient times no Muslim opposed the lesson on Ganapati. Even those who are anti-religion had never opposed it. Who are the people opposing these things? They are all these politicians. They started shouting, ‘communalism, communalism.’ And they even destroyed the very basic teachings about Hinduism. The older generation is still educated and aware about Hindu dharma. But, tell me, from where is the new generation of Hindus getting education about their dharma? I think it is high time that the top sadhus and saints sit together and have a discussion on the situation that is prevailing in present times. Individuals like me are making efforts and raising their voice, but there is need for a collective thinking and action on these issues.” After leaving Panditji, we visited the Harsiddhi Temple of Goddess Parvati, which is close to Mahakal Temple. Harsiddhi is said to be the Deity whom King Vikramaditya used to worship daily, and there are a number of stories connecting the two. We took time also to visit the Kalidasa Akademi. We met with its director, Dr. Kamlesh Datta Tripathi. “The government wanted to institutionalize the study of Kalidas,” said Tripathi, “so the Kalidasa Akademi was set up. To understand Kalidasa, it is essential to understand the whole past Indian thought processes and art traditions. Our academy covers all Indian classical art, folk art, music, sculpture, painting, architecture, literature and scripture.” Bhasma Aarti: We were determined to attend the following morning’s Bhasma Aarti worship at Mahakal. Normally this would require no special arrangements, but in the crush of the Kumbha Mela we had to go through the Madhya Pradesh government’s Public Relations department. Through the good graces of that office, we were included in the VIP contingent for the very next day. We were told to be at the temple at 2:30 am sharp. One has to take a bath early in the morning to attend the Bhasma Aarti, and stitched clothes cannot be worn. Only a dhoti can be worn, keeping the upper body bare. Mostly the brahmins enter the chamber and the sacred thread is their identity. It is said that, though there are no official restrictions, members of the scheduled castes do not attend Bhasma Aarti. We could barely sleep this night, and on April 28 were at the temple right on schedule. The VIPs included prominent saints,

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The observatory of Raja Jai Singh is still in use today to track the position of the stars and planets, as well as tell time.

At each temple of Ujjain one meets well-trained and enthusiastic young priests such as these who are standing with sadhus visiting for the Kumbha Mela. There are hundreds of priest families in Ujjain, attached to the various temples for centuries.
place where they were being kept did not get blocked completely. Finally, we felt absolutely blessed when we got the opportunity of praying to the sacred flame brought to us by the priest along with the prasad. Without a doubt, this was the high point of our pilgrimage to Ujjain. A quaint encounter: As we wound up our stay in the city, we met Vivek Chaurasia, a young Ujjain-based journalist for the Dainik Bhaskar, a leading daily of Madhya Pradesh. He offered his evaluation of the city and its residents. “There are many types of people residing in Ujjain. One of them is the typical pure resident of Ujjain. I include myself in this category. This typical, pure-at-heart resident of Ujjain loves to eat sitting on the floor. He can have food while sitting at the table also, but he will really enjoy his meal if he is served while sitting on the floor. He loves to walk and see the temples and their tops; he will have a look at their flags. Such a person loves to spend time on the Ram Ghat along the Shipra River and inhale the fresh air there. If he spots a gulmohar tree, he will spend some time having a look at its flowers. Every Sivaratri he will go for worship of the Mahakal. He will see all the seven processions of the Deity that long night, though they may all look alike. He will go for this again even though he has been watching them for the past twenty-five years. And if he does not go, his soul pinches him and tells him that Mahakal is on procession and he did not go to have the sight. This is how a typical, pure-at-heart resident of Ujjain would be, like myself. The pace of life here is very slow. We are not much bothered about what is happening in the outside world. We live in a blissful world of our own.” ∏π
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politicians, senior bureaucrats and judges. The fifty of us were allowed to sit in the first couple of rows in front of the sanctum, while other devotees could only file by and catch a few minutes glimpse of the worship. Despite requests, Thomas was not allowed closer than 25 feet from the sanctum to take photos. I was lucky enough to get a seat with a clear view of the priests. The recitation of the mantras and intermittent loud chanting of “Jai Mahakal” was keeping everyone focused. The place was full of positive and energizing vibrations. The fact that I was witnessing a tradition that has been going on since times immemorial made me completely blissful and withdrawn. Everything was happening at a hectic pace. A

dozen priests were running from one end to the other frantically. They proceeded through the offerings of the sixteen items of worship—lamps, incense, food, flowers, etc. Throughout the worship, the priests chanted Sri Rudram from the Vedas continuously, and almost everybody was listening in total awareness with eyes closed. I felt as if a spell had been cast on us all—that we were one with the Mahakal and time was of no significance. And this seems natural because Mahakal, “Great Time,” rules and transcends time. Finally it came time for the head monk of the Mahanirvani Akahara to offer the sacred ash, bhashma or vibuthi, over the Lingam. Soon the whole inner sanctum was filled

with bhasma over the Lingam and billowing in the air. With the continuous loud chanting, this was the most mesmerizing and uplifting moment of the unique worship. The devotioinal frenzy of was at its peak. I felt that for a moment I was also a tiny speck of bhasma. I was up in the air, mingling with the sacred ash that was floating around Mahakal. At the final peak of the worship, the priests came forward and accepted the puja material and cash which those attending the worship wanted to offer at the feet of the Lord. Only now I realized there were thousands of people behind us in a big queue. Ever swelling seemed to be their clan, offering their puja material at one particular point and being given the blessed prasad (food offered to the Siva Lingam) in return. A large number of assistants quickly removed the abundant offerings so that the


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Hindus are discovering how to help themselves by helping others as they follow Vedic principles to invest hard-earned money responsibly, yet profitably
By Lois Elfman, New York or hindus raised in the warm glow of principled, Vedic living, the uncertainty of today’s fast changing times should generate more than enough impetus to seek a spiritually and financially secure future within the time-tested wisdom of their own religious heritage. First-class advice on the dignified and profitable investment of money is nestled right within Hindu scripture, especially in the teachings of karma and dharma. The relevant principle here is that one can be honest, wealthy and religious—all at the same time. With this kind of philosophical backbone, one might think that Hindus would be first in line to invest their money in a socially responsible way. Surprisingly, they are not. Catholics, Muslims, Mennonites, Lutherans, Methodists (who have a 200-year -year old history of managing money) and other Christian denominations all invest in specially tailored mutual funds organized to Working together: screen out the support and promotion of Steve Schueth and his network activities and values that conflict with their refer investors to a group of about 130 religious beliefs. A 2004 survey of 151 Cath- socially conscious advisors across the USA olic institutions, including colleges, dioceses, The common sense to invest money conreligious orders and hospitals, shows that the Roman Catholic Church is being more and scientiously and responsibly is at least as more diligent in assuring that their dollars old as stocks and bonds. About 30 years ago, are not funding media enterprises that pro- however, it was codified as an investment mote sex and violence through mainstream strategy and formally named “Socially Responsible Investing.” Since then, it has beentertainment industries. Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, leader come a movement of sorts, with a momenof Saiva Siddhanta Church, is responsible for tum that has consistently grown. “Socially responsible investing is one of making investment decisions for the Church and the five-million-dollar funds of Hindu those things that developed organically,” Heritage Endowment. Working closely says Steve Schueth, who is affiliated with with financial advisors, he maintains a list the First Affirmative Financial Network and of companies whose activities or corporate was the president of the Social Investment policies he feels make them unsuitable for Forum. “It started in the living room of a investment by a Hindu organization. Draw- person’s home in Boston. A bunch of people ing inspiration and wisdom from ancient were sitting around and talking about the Hindu scripture, he contends that working need for social change in a variety of areas to reap financial benefits from investments of our society. They recognized that monmade honestly, ethically and responsibly is ey is kind of the lifeblood of the economy. in sync with the Hindu belief structure. Ac- What if you could get money flowing in a cording to the Vedas, the four main goals of different direction? What if you could redilife are dharma, artha (wealth), kama and rect the flow of investment capital in ways that would make a positive contribution to moksha. “Love and wealth are goals for all man- the quality of life across all aspects of socikind,” he says. “Dharma is not really a sepa- ety? The intent that grew out of that was to rate goal from artha and kama but rather begin to organize and begin to offer choices governs the way we pursue them. Are we to investors.” A Google search on the words “socially honest or dishonest in the way we acquire wealth? If we are honest, then we are fulfill- responsible investing” turns up considerable resources that include mutual funds. A ing the goal of dharma.”
rt cou esy fa f n

Investing Investing
Turning Gold to Good: Like the couple above, Hindus are discovering that moneys invested according to their values allow the family to do well while also doing good.

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mutual fund is an investment company that offers to use your money to buy a diverse group of stocks or bonds from other companies. Also included in your simple Web search would be a variety of investment advisers ready and willing to help you direct your money into mutual funds and/or companies that would meet your standards, be they religious, moral or ethical. “Socially responsible investing is an investment process that considers the social and environmental consequences of investments, both positive and negative, within the context of rigorous financial analysis,” reads the 2003 Report on Socially Responsible Investing Trends in the United States published by the Social Investment Forum (www. ( socialinvest.org). socialinvest.org “It is a process of identifying and investing in companies that meet certain standards of corporate social responsibility and is increasingly practiced internationally.” The Social Investment Forum conducted its first industry-wide survey in 1984 and found a total of us$40 billion involved in social investing. In 1995, that figure rose to $639 billion. By 2003, despite a market downturn, social investing assets were at $2.16 trillion. Some mutual funds have their own social research departments. There are also organizations that specialize in social research. “We work with investors who want to match their personal values—maybe it’s religious values—with their investments,” says Schueth. “Researching actual companies is not an inexpensive process. We design custom portfolios of stocks, bonds and mutual funds for investors. We make sure that we’re meeting their financial goals and doing it in a way that’s consistent with their personal, moral and ethical values.” The First Affirmative Financial Network (www.firstaffirmative.com) is connected to about 130 individual financial advisors across the United States, to whom they can refer investors. “I’ve never heard of anyone in the Hindu realm getting involved in socially responsible investing,” says Schueth. “That doesn’t mean they aren’t out there.” Schueth says that if a Hindu were to specify his or her desires, a customized portfolio could be established. Because there are no established Hindu mutual funds, the investment advisor would need to do his own screening, so there would be additional
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fees involved. Screening here refers to analyzing a mutual fund for specific activities or affiliations that would not be acceptable to Hindus. “The portfolio managers and their analysts do the financial research like any mutual fund company would do. The added thing is we have a social research department,” says Mariann Murphy, vice president of marketing for Pax World (www. paxworld.com), in explaining how her com), pany screens. In 1971, two Methodist min, isters, Luther Tyson and Jack Corbett, who were also economists and lobbyists, launched the Pax World Fund in response to a letter they’d received from a woman in Ohio who said she simply did not want to invest her money in any company that supported warrelated industries. Anita Green, vice president of social research for Pax World, screens for subjects like weapons, tobacco, gambling, liquor, corporate pollution, corporate fair hiring policies and environmental issues. “If there are any questions, she will call the company,” says Murphy. Pax World also engages in corporate activism and advocacy. In that area, they sometimes collaborate with other socially responsible investing organizations. Recently, they got together with the Calvert Group and the Citizens Fund, and approached Michael Dell of Dell Computers to talk with him about “recycling.” “We spoke about their recycling initiatives,” Murphy explains. “Computer recycling is a very dicey endeavor, because there are so many chemicals in them. A lot of companies are saying they’re doing recycling while they are really shipping them off to Third World countries where the stuff is now seeping into the land. There are not the same rules and regulations there that we have in the USA about how to do it safely. We definitely did not want to see that happening. Dell has been very, very receptive. All they needed was someone to come in.” Murphy cautions people who expect socially responsible investing to cover all of their values. She directs people to check out Pax World’s Web site as well as www.socialfunds.com and www.socialinvest.org and get a sense of what possibilities exist. Pax World does have a private account division, where each specification of an individual investor can be taken into consideration, but the minimum investment for that would be $250,000—quite a bit more than the $250 minimum required to invest in a basic Pax Fund. While a Pax Fund investor may not have the same comprehensive control as with a private account, there are extensive opportunities to ask questions, and feedback is constantly being sought. In 2002, Pax World did a shareholder survey to gauge share-

Selective screening: Mariann Murphy of Pax World says her company goes looking for weapons, tobacco, gambling and more holder concerns and desires. “Our shareholder base is both very loyal and very vocal, which is great,” Murphy says. “We send out a newsletter three or four times a year and try to profile different companies in the portfolios. A lot of people don’t know what good things a company is doing.” A regular flow of information is available from www.socialfunds.com, which updates constantly and puts up news reports three or four times a week. They also provide a weekly newsletter. “There is a wide range of topics we can cover,” says Mark Thomsen of Social Funds. “It’s been proven many times over that investing with your values has a neutral effect on performance. So you can do it and not lose money. It seems some people still don’t believe it, but there is academic evidence. Because it limits your options for investment, it can increase the risk, but an investor can take steps to mitigate that risk.” Money manager Sekhar Vemparala, who describes himself as a devout Hindu, says that—other than people indicating they don’t want to invest in tobacco companies— he rarely receives requests for any sort of socially conscious screening. “If a client asks or restricts or encourages me to go after certain markets,” Vemparala says, “my response is: ‘If you want to be an absolute purist and you want me to do or not do certain things, I will follow your requests.’ ” Although Vemparala is a trustee at a Hindu temple, he will not give advice concerning that temple’s investments. “I don’t want to have a conflict of interest,” he states. “I do not get involved with other trustees. I don’t take the temple or any of the board members as clients.” Vemparala says he has not had a single

Hindu client ask him to make faith-based investments, nor does he make any of his own personal investments restricted by any sort of religious conviction. “Your investments must support you and certainly you may support causes, but these things should not go together,” he says. “A lot of people combine things and the outcome is less than desirable. If you want to support a cause, do it independently.” Easan Katir, a Hindu with more than 20 years of experience as a money manager, does make personal investment decisions within the perimeters of his religious convictions. “I personally believe that ahimsa, nonviolence, is the best way to proceed through life,” he says. “I avoid investing in companies that promote violence in the world. That includes manufacturers that create weapons or inflict harm upon animals in any way. In making my decisions, I weigh the company in my mind. If their primary business is meat processing, for example, it’s off my list. But if it’s a restaurant chain that serves good food but some non-vegetarian items, I’ll still consider it. One can get too fanatical.” In addition to managing money, Katir works with Ed Seykota, conducting workshops that explore the psychological components of investing. “Computer technology has made investment analysis about 95 percent efficient,” Katir notes. “As far as the emotional, psychological side of investing is concerned, I think people are only maybe 20 to 30 percent efficient. There are methods we share that can bring that from 20 percent to around 50 percent or more. That’s a quantum leap.” Bodhinatha agrees with Katir with regard to maintaining a balanced view in making investment choices.“We also screen for meat processing, which is direct involvement,” he says, “but not for restaurants or supermarkets which sell meat. That would be too much. But if a company’s activity is slaughter, it is reasonable not to invest in it.” Bodhinatha strenuously emphasizes the necessity of patience in investing. “In our opinion, the core area of dharmic investing is to control risk and avoid excessive speculation in your overall investment portfolio,” he says. “If this is not done, you are risking your family’s or institution’s wealth, and investing becomes a form of gambling. Gambling is definitely not a part of dharma. The first thing is understanding and abiding by the time frame of your investment. For example, funds that you may need to spend for emergencies are savings and not investments. As such, they should not be placed in an investment program but kept in a savings vehicle. This is because you do not want to be forced to withdraw funds for an emergency from an investment when the invest-

In addition to screening out companies ment has lost significant value. No one can by Morning Star, which is a rating agenaccurately predict the short-term movement cy. That’s rated against all balance funds, engaged in tobacco and gambling or gamof financial markets. Investments all need to whether they’re socially responsible or not.” ing, Hindu Heritage Endowment adds the Trusting the advice of professionals does concern that Hinduism has for protecting be long-term to avoid being the nature of not diminish an individual’s responsibility animals. Thus, they would avoid pharmagambling.” While Bodhinatha does not give specifics for doing research. Bodhinatha has taken ceutical companies that engage in animal for seeking financial advice, he does advo- the time to familiarize himself with com- testing as well as companies in the food cate consulting with an investment profes- panies and funds and make informed deci- industry that have a significant amount of sional to minimize risk. He also suggests sions. This is particularly applicable when business revolving around packaged meat, fish or fowl. diversification in investments and mentions Bodhinatha does not really investigate mutual funds. It is this approach that he utihow much a corporation may give in terms lizes in overseeing the funds of the Hindu of charitable donations or community inHeritage Endowment (www.hheonline.org, volvement. founded in 1994), which is handled by 79 “Charity is a valid consideration, though fund managers. not one to us,” he says. “For one thing, how Saiva Siddhanta Church maintains its does one measure it and against what staninvestments separately. While personal redard? It also doesn’t work for global investlationships are nice and trust is essential, ing. Nike has companies all over the world, he maintains that it is usually in one’s best Socially responsible so which local community do we want to interest to remain dispassionate. investors screen for consider? Similarly with the environment, “Our experience is that it is best to leave how does one measure it? All industries are manager selection to a professional,” he says. activities that conflict involved in pollution to one degree or anoth“Otherwise, if we make the choice, it may be with their values, er. Our strategy is deliberately simple, usbased on our friendship with the manager ing screens that are accurately measurable rather than his skill, or on our biases for or including: and not gray. We don’t screen for defense or against certain types of investments rather weaponry because we believe in the value than a professional’s objective approach and of a strong military. It is the nature of where lack of bias.” we are. Every country needs a military. Bodhinatha also maintains that profession“My overall advice to Hindus is that if you als can strengthen resolve when it comes to feel strongly about certain values, you can patience, since they will routinely advise invest accordingly. That’s how other religions against rash decisions to sell off investments look at it. We know a person in Malaysia who due to market fluctuations. He also asserts handles investments for Muslims. They have that, while investment decisions should not a number of screens, including no banks be fueled by emotions, they can be fortified and no hotels, which they consider immoral. by conviction. Professionals can assist you “If one is a strong vegetarian, one could in matching your convictions with sound find a way to implement that in one’s investinvestments. ments. Vegetarianism is a powerful part of Schueth says, “The academic research many Hindus’ lives, but there are, to my and real-world interaction with mutual knowledge, no mutual funds based on vegfunds and asset managers that have been etarianism. If someone created a vegetarian doing this for a long time essentially have fund, it could be popular and find Hindus dispelled the myth that if you’re going to participating.” invest in a socially and environmentally reFortunately, the world of socially responsponsible way you’re going to have to give sible investing is making it more and more up something. I’m not sure where that myth possible to combine the values by which you comes from, but somehow we’re wired to live your life with your investment strategy. automatically expect that. What we’ve done “It’s been a fast growing trend for the last 15 over the last 15 years is to prove otherwise. years,” says Schueth. “Socially responsible There are now probably a couple of dozen investing is typically growing faster than academic studies that have been published, the market in general, which means that all of which conclude that there is no reason we’re gaining market share. That is one of to expect any kind of give-up.” Pax World offers four different funds. investing in companies, rather than mutual the things the trend reports consistently show us.” There is the balance fund, which is a mix funds, which have screening plans in place. Hindus are just learning they can see their “When individuals or institutions choose of stocks and bonds. There is a growth fund, which consists of all stocks. There is a high to hold individual securities in their port- religion’s values strengthened by simply diyield fund, which is a bond fund. And there folios, they then have the opportunity to verting their money into dharmic investscreen out companies that are engaged in ments. Its a way of doing well while doing is a money market fund. ∏π “We have some investors who are just look- activities they consider to be harmful, such good. ing for a good balanced fund. The screening as the manufacture of cigarettes,” he says. was just a plus. However, most investors are “Though we usually hold only institutional Lois Elfman is a freelance editor and writer in because of the screening,” says Murphy, mutual funds, whenever we do hold indi- based in New York. She is the former editorwho estimates that Pax World Funds have vidual securities, we apply social screens by in-chief of Women’s Basketball and Internaabout 65,000 shareholders. “Our balanced excluding a specific list of companies from tional Figure Skating magazines. She can be reached at ElfmanEd1@aol.com. fund is rated five stars (the highest rating) our holdings.”


Tracking Trouble



pa x esy


Abortion Gambling Tobacco Pornography Violent games Violent films Animal testing Meat packing Cattle ranching Fur & leather


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Shelter and treatment: (left) medical team from Japan treats a lady in Kalmunai, eastern Sri Lanka; (right) Volunteer workers set up temporary shelters for families of fishermen in Nagapattinam village anar Gurukulam near Thirukovil the plan was quickly abandoned. It didn’t in Batticaloa province. Just meters help that the organization posted statements from the ocean, it was directly in the on their web site to the effect that these 300 path of the tsunami. A smaller wave orphans would be trained as missionaries came first, and then the second was and sent back to Bandh Aceh as adults to sighted. The director of the orphan- convert the province to Christianity. The immediate rescue and relief opage yelled to the 43 boys to run, and alerted the nearby villagers as well. Run the erations, though harried and difficult, are boys did, and all but one, who was handi- relatively straightforward in means and obcapped, survived. Four adult staff perished. jective—shelter and feed the victims, treat Many of their neighbors had stopped to get the wounded and cremate or bury the belongings at their home and drowned. Ev- dead. Actual restoration of the communierything except one building was destroyed ties is another matter. Take the example of at the orphanage. Now funds are being col- the Batticaloa orphanage. Construction on lected to build a new facility further inland. replacement facilities can begin straightAn interreligious problem surfaced a few away, because they already own land in a weeks into the relief work—Christian con- suitable location. But the Sri Lanka govversion efforts directed at survivors. This is, ernment has decreed no homes within of course, nothing new. Christian evangeli- 300 meters of the shoreline, meaning the cal organizations have for decades made use previous site has to be abandoned, or used of disasters to “spread the Gospel.” The dif- only during the day. Other residents along ference now is the worldwide attention the the coast now have to acquire new land. BAPS workers acquired a lot of experipractice has garnered. Critical articles appeared in the New York Times and other ma- ence with this stage of reconstruction foljor US papers, as well as on the wire servic- lowing the Gujarat earthquake. One of their es and, surprisingly, even in the Indian press, swamis explained to Hinduism Today that normally so loathe to denounce Christians. organizations had built new housing, but Two hundred tsunami victims in the town failed to secure title to the land, making it of Samanthapettai in Tamil Nadu, accord- impossible for the intended beneficiaries ing to a report in The Pioneer, “saw the to take possession. Others built unsuitable, dark side of Christian charity as mission- barracks-style housing that no one wanted aries stomped out of their village without to live in. Many worked for a while in the distributing relief after residents refused reconstruction and then simply left. BAPS’ their faith-for-food deal.” Even the Chris- experience is that it requires very close cotian organizations which subscribe to the ordination with the local government, and a Red Cross policy of not using disasters to clear understanding of the needs of the peoadvance any political or religious agenda ple to accomplish satisfactory reconstruction. Prayers and spiritual solace from around still hoped those helped would later be inthe globe are a significant part of the reterested in changing their faith. The attempt by one Christian organiza- covery, as families adjust to the devastattion to transport 300 orphaned children out ing change brought into their lives, without of Bandh Aceh to be raised in a Christian warning, from the normally innocuous and ∏π orphanage in Jakarta enraged Muslims and bountiful ocean.

Body and soul: Food blessed at a fire ceremony for survivors (inset) is distributed at Erethur village in Tamil Nadu on January 21


What Now? The Long Road to Recovery
Money and manpower pour into tsunami-afflicted areas of India and Sri Lanka
elief efforts commenced imim mediately at the Mata Amritanandamayi Ashram on the Kerala coast—even before the tsunami water receded from the ashram’s grounds on December 26, 2004. Though right on the ocean, the well-built center easily withstood the waves, and the 10,000 ashramites gathered for a special program immediately began rescue efforts among the neighboring villages where many had been killed or injured. Similarly, across South India and Sri Lanka, Hindu religious organizations joined government efforts and those of secular and religious non-governmental organizations in instant response to the disaster. Overseas, nearly every Hindu organization commenced fund raising in some form

or another. The US-based India Development and Relief Fund was approaching US$1 million by late January. The Amritanandamayi Ashram has pledged the huge sum of $23 million—more than many nations—to the reconstruction effort. Small initiatives abounded also. In India itself, young professionals launched an immediate campaign via text messaging. In New York, one Hindu family collected a container load of supplies from local hospitals. Boy Scouts went door to door, and employees passed the hat at work. Some organizations have well-honed skills in disasters, particularly the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), India’s largest volunteer social service organization. Trained like an army to march toward the sound of battle, their local workers in Tamil Nadu arrived

in the stricken areas less than two hours after the tsunami washed ashore at 8:45 am. Over the coming days they were joined by volunteers from all over India. Many local Hindu organizations, including Chinmaya Mission, the Ramakrishna Mission and Vivekananda Kendra, to name just a few, immediately joined the effort. Chinmaya Mission focused on providing food for survivors and relief workers. The RSS, after initial rescue operations, set about the monumental and unpleasant task of collecting bodies and trying to provide dignified last rights. The RSS was one of the very few organizations able to operate in the Andaman islands. More organizations rolled in, such as the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), with their extensive expertise in relief work gained in

the 2001 Gujarat earthquake and Orissa cyclone. Swami Chidanand Saraswati (Muniji) of Parmarth Niketan in Rishikesh arrived and immediately adopted the heavily damaged village of Cuddalore. A contingent of Sikhs arrived from Punjab and set up langaars, free kitchens. In Malaysia, the Malaysia Hindu Sangam brought together many Hindu organizations for fund raising, material gathering and to send workers to afflicted areas. P. Wahthamoorthy of the Vivekananda Youth Movement, Seremba, arrived in Chennai on January 1 with a team. So great had been the Indian domestic response that they were told to go on to Sri Lanka, where the devastation was much greater. Once there they hooked up with local organizations including the Hindu Seva Sangam (the overseas branch of the RSS) who martialed a thousand volunteers. Meanwhile, temples and organizations across Malaysia raised money for the work. On a worldwide basis, Tamils in many countries sent money through the Tamils Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), which was formed to help victims of the country’s long-running civil war and is able to operate in rebel-controlled areas. It was in Sri Lanka where the tsunami hit closest to home for Hinduism Today. Our founder, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, was ordained by Siva Yogaswami of Jaffna Sri Lanka as his successor and has maintained close links with the Sri Lankan Hindus ever since. One special project of his was support of the Thirunavukkarasu Nay-


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A Newsweek article, inspired by an academic “expert,” leaves a mess of misconceptions
Many Hindus were outraged when they read Kenneth L. Woodward’s article entitled Countless Souls Cry Out to God, published in Newsweek on January 10, 2005. Referring to the tsunami of December 26, 2004, as “a cataclysm of Biblical proportions,” Woodward bemoans the plight of “poor fishing communities whose inhabitants—mostly Hindus—are untutored in refined theological speculation on life and death” and believe that “life is controlled by the play of capricious deities.” To fathom the mind set of these common Hindu folk, Woodward consults not a Hindu but “a specialist in South Asian Hinduism” from Bard College in New York named Richard Davis. Davis says, “Hindus use the deities to think about and explain happenings like the tsunami as destructive acts of god. Relating to the local deity and cooling her anger through propitiation is more important than thinking about personal or collective guilt for what has happened.” When Aseem R. Shukla of the Hindu American Foundation in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, wrote a letter to the editor of Newsweek respectfully attempting to clarify some of Hinduism’s more fundamental concepts like karma and reincarnation—which were relevant to the article but not mentioned by Woodward or Davis— Newsweek published a portion of his letter with a rejoiner which stated, “Newsweek recognizes that in all religious traditions, including Hinduism, there are differences between popular piety and intellectually sophisticated spiritual reflections. Our article specifically stated that we were describing the outlook and reactions of the inhabitants of poor fishing communities, mostly Hindus….’” Although the same article also mentioned the effects of the tsunami on Buddhists and Muslims, it consulted theologians and did not try to convey the views of their “untutored” followers. Shukla was not the only Hindu offended enough to complain about the work of Woodward and Davis. Darshak Jeyanandarajan, a Sri Lankan American Hindu, born and raised in America, shares his thoughts on the Newsweek article: irst, i wish to thank newsweek for its coverage of the disaster. It brings some measure of relief to know that the world is being informed. Yet, I was surprised, disappointed and offended to see the characterizations of Hindus in Kenneth Woodward’s article. It is clear that Mr. Woodward has no comprehension of the philosophy, depth and power of Hinduism. There are volumes of Hindu philosophical works dedicated to the issues of life and death, which include thorough discussions of such basic concepts as karma, reincarnation and samskaras (mental impressions that manifest particular tendencies in an individual), to name but a few. I would also like to inquire about the quotation in the article from Richard Davis. Woodward and Davis both seem to be characterizing the affected Hindus as unsophisticated thinkers that just blindly go and pray to a woman when they should be thinking of why it is their personal and collective fault that this happened!

Next Time, Ask a Hindu

In response, let me first say that Hindus have no problem acknowledging the feminine principle of the universe. There are many archetypes of the feminine, and the teachings surrounding it are tailored to every level of aspirant, from the child to the college professor. Unlike in the West, there is no problem with thinking of God as a woman. God is man, God is woman, God is man and woman, and God is beyond both man and woman. Hence, there is consistency in thought regarding the omnipresN ence of God in Hindu philosophy. Except for Buddhism, there is no religion on Earth that accepts as much responsibility for the content and context of life as Hinduism. It is not a matter of blame, guilt, the dominance of a wrathful God or even the fact that we might be deserving such a horrible tragedy. Hinduism acknowledges a larger perspective from which all situations may be understood in the light of the soul’s growth toward a merging back into the Ultimate Source. From this point of view, adversity may be approached as the ultimate teacher, rather than as a calamity in which foolish people are “controlled by the play of capricious deities.” Humanity should be humbled by the people of any faith who lose everything, yet in their loss—even if only for a few moments in a broader scale of time—bring the world together in compassion. What other event in recent memory has drawn people of all races and religions together to help one another to such an extent as this? It is unfortunate that we still live in a time that requires a catastrophe to awaken empathy and kindness. Countless souls are crying to God, but perhaps this is God crying to us. Newsweek is in a unique position to inform and bring people together, but misinformed articles like Mr. Woodward’s serve only to exacerbate misunderstanding and create tensions through erroneous characterization. A printed apology by Newsweek and Mr. Woodward to the Hindus of the world would be appropriate. The people in South Asia have suffered enough without having to see one of their great philosophies reduced to superstitious insanity in the international press.


parents are the first gurus in religion and character building









Darshak Jeyanandarajan (33) is a novelist who lives with his parents in California

any Hindu families visiting our Hawaii monastery, particularly those with young children, ask if I have any advice for them. I usually respond with one or two general suggestions. I always stress the importance of presenting Hinduism to their children in a practical way so that it influences each child’s life for the better. Hindu practices should, for example, help children get better grades in school and get along well with others. Of course, there is not enough time in a short session to present all the many guidelines that a parent would find useful. Therefore, I decided to write up a full complement of suggestions to be handed to Hindu families in the future who want to know ways to present Hinduism to their kids. You hold the results in your hands. It is based on the teachings of my satguru, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, founder of HINDUISM TODAY.
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Table of Contents
IMPARTING BELIEFS AND ATTITUDES Part 1 • Teach and practice Hinduism in your home. Part 2 • Teach about the soul and our purpose on Earth. Part 3 • Teach them about Hinduism’s greatness. Part 4 • Teach about Hinduism and other religions. Part 6 • Teach How Hinduism lets us know God. Part 5 • Teach how to live positively in the world. BUILDING GOOD CHARACTER Part 1 • Cultivate nine key spiritual qualities. Part 2 • Guide your children with love, not fear.

kids learn primarily through observation.

boring compared to the all-pervasive and ever-more-compelling secular forms of entertainment that are available. So, parents are challenged more than ever to answer kids’ puzzling queries—as grandparents did not have to do—by giving sensible, pragmatic explanations to temple worship and Hinduism’s rich array of cultural and mystical practices. Kids today want answers that make sense to them. They are not at all content with “That’s the way we have always done it.” When parents are unable to meet this challenge, Hinduism does not become a meaningful and useful part of their children’s lives. Many youth today do not view the practice of their faith as important to making their life happier, more religious and more successful. This is the challenge every Hindu parent faces. But all is not lost. New generations are eager to hear the lofty truths, and those truths can be explained in ways that engage and inspire young seekers, counterbalancing the powerfully magnetic influences of the modern world.


Establish a shrine in the home.
Hinduism is in no way more dynamically strengthened in the lives of children and the family than by establishing a shrine in the home. The home shrine works best when it is an entire room. That way it can be strictly reserved for worship and meditation, unsullied by worldly talk or other activities. This is the ideal. However, when that is not possible, it should at least be a quiet corner of a room, and more than a simple shelf or closet. Naturally, as important as having a shrine is worshiping there daily. In the shrine room offer fruit, flowers or food. Visit your shrine when leaving the home, and upon returning. Worship in heartfelt devotion, clearing the inner channels to God and the Gods, so their grace flows toward you and loved ones. Make the shrine a refuge for all family members, where they can find peace and solace, where they can connect with the Gods and offer their praise, prayers and practical needs. Train your children to worship in the shrine before any important event in life, such as a major exam at school, or when faced with a personal challenge or problem. Following this simple, traditional practice in a sacred space within the home will do much to make Hinduism relevant to them on a day-to-day basis.

Take responsibility for being the primary teachers of Hinduism to your children.
It is wonderful that many temples have in place educational programs for the youth that are both effective and popular. However, it is important for parents to have the attitude that these programs supplement but do not replace the need for them to teach Hinduism to their children in the home. Parents are indeed the first guru. They teach in many different ways, such as by example, explanation, and giving advice and direction. The child’s deepest impressions come from what the parents do and say. Therefore, if the parents follow a systematic approach to teaching the child Hinduism as he or she grows up, Sanatana Dharma will be fully integrated into his or her life, making it less likely to be side-lined or abandoned in adult years.

Without your help, there is no guarantee that your children will follow their faith as adults.
Look around at the younger generation of Hindus and you will find many who have no interest whatsoever in practicing the Hindu religion. One hundred years ago, before movies, television and computers, in the cities and villages of India and Hindu communities in other countries, the Hindu temple was the most interesting place in town. Besides the festivals, there were dramas, dances and

musical concerts. The temple was a social and educational center as well. In our modern world we do have movies, television and computers, and many Hindu children would much rather spend their free time enjoying them with their friends rather than being at the temple. Why is this? There are many reasons. Families are not so close and trusting. And it used to be far easier to get children to come to the temple, since it was the center of village life. Times are different, and today’s children often consider the temple


cultivate nine spiritual qualities
Parents can consciously and systematically develop key qualities in their children that will help them to be happy, religious and successful when they reach adulthood. A wise mother wrote to me once on e-mail saying, “I truly believe we live out part of our karma through our children, and we grow and improve as they do.” Though parents may think they are just helping their children be more happy, successful and religious, in truth parents cannot separate themselves from their children. The child’s growth and spiritual evolution is the parents’ as well. There are nine key qualities we want our children to possess. We will explore each of these to see what children should be taught, or not taught, by parents to develop that quality. The nine qualities are: ❖ Positive Self-Concept ❖ Perceptive Self-Correction ❖ Powerful Self-Control ❖ Profound Self-Confidence ❖ Playful Self-Contentment ❖ Pious Character ❖ Proficiency in Conflict Resolution ❖ Parental Closeness ❖ Prejudice-Free Consciousness

develop a positive self-concept
A positive self-concept arises when we think of ourselves as a worthy individual deserving of a wonderful life. How is this accomplished? It is through being generous with your praise and appreciation, making children know they are loved and valued, that who they are makes a difference and life is full of promise. Unfortunately, many children reach adulthood with a negative self-concept, feeling that others are better than they are and life has little to offer. A negative self-concept is developed through verbally running down a child through teasing, joking or insulting remarks. This, of course, needs to be stopped and replaced with encouragement and praise. When it comes to correcting misbehavior, it is wise to distinguish between the person and the behavior. The behavior was foolish, not the person. For example, you can tell your children when they misbehave, “What you did was very foolish, but you are smart, and I’m sure you now know better and won’t do that again.” Parents should also not allow their children to call each other names, such as “fat” or “lame.” Having a positive concept about one’s outer self allows the child to accept the Hindu teaching that one’s inner self is a divine being, a radiant soul. My Gurudeva wrote: “Praise your children. Celebrate their Divinity. Enjoy them and enjoy good times with them.”
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teach and practice hinduism in your home

your example as a parent is what they learn from the most.

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the whole family should enjoy at least one formal meal together each day.

going to the temple regularly. Specifically, some of the religious atmosphere of the temple can be brought home with you if you simply light an oil lamp in your shrine room when you return from the temple. This sacred act brings devas who were at the temple right into the home shrine room, where from the inner world they can bless all family members and strengthen the religious force field of the home.

attain an ever-deepening God consciousness. This process of life eventually culminates in moksha, liberation from the cycle of birth, death and rebirth.

Teach that, among humans, there are young souls and old souls.
Each soul is emanated from God, as a spark from a fire, and thus begins a spiritual journey which eventually leads it back to God. All human beings are on this journey, whether they realize it or not, and, of course, the journey spans many lives. One might ask, if all are on the same journey, why then is there such a disparity among men? Clearly some act like saints and others act like sinners. Some take delight in helping their fellow man while others delight in harming him. The Hindu explanation is that each of us started the journey at a different time, and thus some are young souls, at the beginning of the spiritual path, while others are old souls, near the end. Our paramaguru, Jnanaguru Siva Yogaswami, in speaking to his devotees, described life as a school, with some in the M.A. class and others in kindergarten. Knowing the differences in spiritual maturity, he gave to each accordingly. Hindus do not condemn some men as evil and extol others as good but rather see all as divine beings, some young, some old and some in the intermediary stages. If children are taught this central Hindu principle, they will be able to understand and accept the otherwise confoundingly wide range of differences among people as part of God’s cosmic plan of spiritual evolution.


teach about the soul and our purpose on earth
Teach that life’s purpose is spiritual advancement.
The Hindu view of life is that we are a divine being, a soul, who experiences many lives on Earth, and that the purpose of our being here is spiritual unfoldment. Over a period of many lives we gradually become a more spiritual being and are thus able to experience spiritual consciousness more deeply. This eventually leads to a profound experience of God consciousness which brings to a conclusion our pattern of reincarnation on Earth. This is called moksha, liberation. A great lady saint of North India, Anandamayi Ma, stated the goal of God Realization quite beautifully: “Man is a human being only so much as he aspires to Self Realization. This is what human birth is meant for. To realize the One is the supreme duty of every human being.”

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Worship together in the home shrine each morning.
A popular saying in English is “The family that prays together stays together.” In Hinduism, ideally this refers to all members of the family participating in the morning worship in the home shrine before breakfast. The children can be trained to always bring an offering of a flower or at least a leaf. The exact routine followed depends on the family’s religious background and lineage. Typical practices include a simple arati or a longer puja, singing devotional songs, repeating a mantra, reading scripture and then meditating or performing simple sadhanas and yogas. As the children get older, they can take on greater responsibilities during the morning

worship. A number of Hindus have told us that what kept them a staunch, practicing Hindu, despite exposure in their youth to other religious traditions, at school and elsewhere, was the fact that the entire family practiced Hinduism together in the home.

Teach about man’s three-fold nature.
Man’s nature can be described as three-fold: spiritual, intellectual and instinctive. One or more of these aspects predominate uniquely in each of us according to our maturity and evolution. The spiritual nature is the pure, superconscious, intuitive mind of the soul. The intellect is the thinking, reasoning nature. The instinctive aspect of our being is the animal-like nature which governs the physical body and brings forth strong desires and lower emotions such as anger, jealousy and fear. The goal is to learn to control these animal instincts as well as the ramifications of the intellect and the pride of the ego and to manifest one’s

Teach the four traditional goals of life.
The four traditional Hindu goals of life are duty (dharma), wealth (artha), love (kama) and liberation (moksha). The Hindu has the same ambitions as do others. He or she wants to experience love, family and children, as well as a profession, wealth and respect. Dharma enjoins the Hindu to fulfill these ambitions in an honest, virtuous, dutiful way. However, these three are not ends in themselves, but they do provide the environment and experiences which help the embodied soul mature over many lives and

Worship together as a family at a local temple once a week.
Attending a puja at the temple every week allows us to experience the blessings of God and the Gods on a regular basis. This helps keep us pure as well as strong in our religious commitments. The religious vibration of the home shrine is also strengthened by

develop perceptive self-correction
Perceptive self-correction is evident when we are encouraged to learn to reflect on the possible effects of are able to quickly learn the lesson from their behavior before acting. Such wisdom can be nurtured each experience and resolve not to through encouraging self-reflection by asking the child to repeat our mistakes. How do parents think about what he did and how he could avoid making that develop this quality in children? By mistake again. Perceptive self-correction enables young ones teaching them that making mis- to quickly learn from their inevitable mistakes, refine their takes is not bad. Everyone makes still-developing behavior accordingly and thereby make more mistakes. It is natural and simply rapid progress on the spiritual path. Gurudeva observed: shows we do not understand some- “Children are entrusted to their parents to be loved, guided thing. It is important for the parent and protected, for they are the future of the future. However, to determine what understanding the children can be a challenge to raise up into good citizenship. child lacks and teach it to him without There are many positive ways to guide them, such as hugblame. When parents discipline through ging, kindness, time spent explaining, giving wise direction natural and logical consequences, children and setting the example of what you want them to become.”

develop powerful self-control
Powerful self-control is the ability to restrain destructive emotions, such as anger, when we are tempted to express them. How is such control cultivated in children? It is through parents’ never expressing such emotions themselves. Children learn, by observing their parents, whether it’s acceptable to behave emotionally or not. It is by referring often to the ten restraints of Hinduism’s Code of Conduct, known as the yamas, finding illustrations of these ideals in daily life, on television and in movies. The yamas are noninjury, truthfulness, nonstealing, divine conduct, patience, steadfastness, compassion, honesty, moderate appetite and purity. Self-control is also cultivated through emphasizing, from an early age, the traditional Hindu imperative to maintain chastity until marriage. Self-control leads to self-mastery, enabling one to be more successful in achieving outer and inner goals. Gurudeva noted: “Children who see their mother and father working out their differences in mature discussion or in the shrine room through prayer and meditation are at that moment given permission to do the same in their own life when they are older. They become the elite of society, the pillars of strength to the community during times of stress and hardship. These children, when older, will surely uphold the principles of dharma and will not succumb to the temptations of the lower mind.”
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spiritual nature. It is the instinctive nature in man that contains the tendencies to harm others, disregard the prudent laws of society and stir up negativity within the home, the nation and beyond. Those who are expressing such tendencies are young souls who have yet to learn why and how to harness the instinctive forces. It may take such a person many lives to rise to a higher consciousness and live in his spiritual nature. Thus the Hindu approach to such a man, which children can be taught from an early age, is not to label him as evil, but rather to focus on restraining his hurtfulness and helping him learn to control these instincts and improve his behavior. Gurudeva describes this in an insightful way: “People act in evil ways who are not yet in touch with their soul nature and live totally in the outer, instinctive mind. What the ignorant see as evil, the enlightened see as the actions of low-minded and immature individuals.”

when parents are harmonious, children tend to get along as well.

ence of perfection. There is, in this true Hinduism, a solution to every individual, social, national and international problem. True Hinduism is the Sanatana Dharma of the Upanishads.” Children whose peers do not value Hinduism will take heart in Swami’s pride-instilling words.

The traditional Hindu vegetarian diet has many benefits, both personal and planetary.
More and more individuals are switching from the meat-eating diet of their parents to a vegetarian diet as a matter of conscience based upon their personal realization of the suffering that animals undergo when they are fettered and slaughtered. This is, of course, also the Hindu rationale for a vegetarian diet. It is based on the virtue of ahimsa: refraining from injuring, physically mentally or emotionally, anyone or any living creature. The Hindu who wishes to strictly follow the path of noninjury naturally adopts a vegetarian diet. A common saying that conveys this principle to even the smallest child is, “I won’t eat anything that has eyes, unless it’s a potato.” A second rationale for vegetarianism has to do with our state of consciousness. When we eat meat, fish, fowl and eggs, we absorb the vibration of these instinctive creatures into our nerve system. This chemically alters our consciousness and amplifies our own instinctive nature, which is the part of us prone to fear, anger, jealousy, confusion, resentment and the like. Therefore, being vegetarian is a great help in attaining and maintaining a spiritual state of consciousness, and some individuals take up vegetarianism for this reason alone. A third rationale for vegetarianism is that it uses the planet’s natural resources in a much wiser way. In large measure, the escalating loss of species, destruction of ancient rain forests to create pasture lands for livestock, loss of topsoil and the consequent increase of water impurities and air pollution have all been traced to the single fact of meat in the human diet. No one decision that we can make as individuals or as a race can have such a dramatic effect on the improvement of our planetary ecology as the decision to not eat meat. Many seeking to save the planet for future generations have become vegetarians for this reason. By teaching the value of a vegetarian diet to our youth, we pro-


teach of hinduism’s greatness
Instill in your children a pride in Hinduism based upon its wise precepts for living.
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Since the middle of the twentieth century, Hindu teachings have become more widely understood throughout the world. As a result cardinal aspects of the Hindu approach to living have been taken up by many thoughtful individuals of diverse religions and ethnicities far beyond India. This is because they find them wise and effective ways of living. Hindu precepts that are being universally adopted in the 21st century include: ❖ Following a vegetarian diet ❖ A reverence toward and desire to protect the environment ❖ Solving conflicts through nonviolent means ❖ Tolerance towards others

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Teaching that the whole world is one family The belief in karma as a system of divine justice The belief in reincarnation The practice of yoga and meditation Seeking to personally experience Divinity

Teach your children how the unique wisdom of their born faith, especially in the principles listed above, is being more appreciated and adopted by spiritual seekers than ever before. Swami Chinmayananda, in his first public talk in 1951, made a powerful statement about the effectiveness of Hinduism: “The true Hinduism is a sci-

develop a profound self-confidence
Profound self-confidence is exemplified when a child is confronted with a difficult task and his first response is the certainty that he can accomplish it. Unfortunately, many children reach adulthood lacking self-confidence and have as their first response the feeling that they will be unable to accomplish the task, as it is too difficult. How is profound self-confidence cultivated? Firstly, through being sure the child possesses a positive selfconcept. Secondly, through helping the child be repetitively successful at progressively more difficult tasks as he or she grows up. A pattern of many successes going into our subconscious mind is what produces the sense of self-confidence and the feeling that we will be equal to any task. For example, a father teaches his son carpentry from age ten through eighteen. Each year the father helps the son make something that is more complex, never giving him a project that is too advanced, praising each achievement. Self-confidence is cultivated by watching for failures at school or at home and compensating for them. If the child is shy and has trouble at school with public speaking, work personally or through a tutor to overcome that shyness so he or she can speak comfortably before groups of people in any situ tat ion. Self-confidence makes developing youth magnetic to success in both outer and inner endeavors.

%develop a playful self-contentment
Playful self-contentment is expressed when a child’s usual mood is fun-loving, happy and satisfied. How is this developed? It is through the parents’ living and verbalizing the philosophy that life is meant to be lived joyously. It is by holding the perspective that happiness does not depend on external circumstances but is a consciousness we can claim, whether life is free of or filled with challenges. It is by teaching the children to be satisfied with what they have in the present rather than dissatisfied about what they don’t have. It is nurtured by the family spending time together filled with play and laughter. The ability to remain playful, joyful, secure and content enables one to face with far greater equanimity the ups and downs of life. Gurudeva described the contentment, santosha, that we should teach children: “True santosha is seeing all-pervasiveness of the one divine power everywhere. The light within the eyes of each person is that divine power. With this in mind, you can go anywhere and do anything. Contentment is there, inside you, and needs to be brought out. It is a spiritual power. So, yes, do what makes you content. But know that contentment really transcends worrying about the challenges that face you. Santosha is being peaceful in any situation. The stronger you are in santosha, the greater the challenges you can face.”
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tect their health, lengthen their lives, elevate their consciousness and preserve the Earth that is their home.

Hindus hold a deep reverence toward planet Earth and toward all living beings that dwell on it.
Many thoughtful people share the Hindu view that it is not right for man to kill or harm animals for food or sport. They believe that animals have a right to enjoy living on this planet as much as humans do. There is a Vedic verse in this regard that says: “Ahimsa is not causing pain to any living being at any time through the actions of one’s mind, speech or body.” Another Vedic verse states, “You must not use your God-given body for killing God’s creatures, whether they are human, animal or whatever.” Hindus regard all living creatures as sacred—mammals, fishes, birds and more. They are stewards of trees and plants, fish and birds, bees and reptiles, animals and creatures of every shape and kind. We acknowledge this reverence for life in our special affection for the cow. Mahatma Gandhi once said about the cow, “One can measure the greatness of a nation and its moral progress by the way it treats its animals. Cow protection to me is not mere protection of the cow. It means protection of all that lives and is helpless and weak in the world. The cow means the entire subhuman world.” Many individuals are concerned about our environment and properly preserving it for future generations. Hindus share this concern and honor and revere the world around them as God’s creation. They work for the protection of the Earth’s diversity and resources to achieve the goal of a secure, sustainable and lasting environment. Children today, as never before, have a native understanding of the place of mankind as part of the Earth, and it is our duty to reinforce this in their young minds.

children need to be valued as part of the family team.

Dr. King, after decades of careful thought on the problem of racial discrimination in the United States, selected the Hindu principle of ahimsa, as exemplified by Mahatma Gandhi’s tactic of nonviolent resistance, as the most effective method for overcoming the unjust laws that existed in America at the time. In 1959 Dr. King even spent five weeks in India personally discussing with Gandhi’s followers the philosophy and techniques of nonviolence to deepen his understanding of them before putting them into actual use. Children learn conflict resolution at an early age, establishing patterns that will serve them throughout life. Some learn that fists, force and angry words are the way to work things out. Others are taught that diplomacy and kindly speech serve the same purpose more effectively and yield longer-lasting results. Children pick up these things largely through example in the home, by witnessing how mom and dad work out their differences.

Hindus do not believe that some individuals will be saved and others damned, nor in a chosen people, nor in a starkly divided world of good and evil filled only with the faithful and the infidels. Hinduism respects and defends the rights of humans of every caste, creed, color and sex, and it asks that those same rights be accorded its billion followers. Hindus think globally and act locally as interracial, international citizens of the Earth. They honor and value all human cultures, faiths, languages and peoples, never offending one to promote another. This is taken one step further in the ancient verse “The whole world is one family.” Everyone is family oriented. All our efforts are focused on benefiting the members of our family. We want them all to be happy, successful and religiously fulfilled. And when we define family as the whole world, it is clear that we wish everyone in the world happiness, success and religious fulfillment. The Vedic verse that captures this sentiment is “May all people be happy.” By teaching our children this broad acceptance of peoples, even those who are very different from ourselves, we nurture in them a love for all and a compassionate tolerance that will serve them well throughout their lives.

Mahatma Gandhi’s strong belief in the Hindu principle of ahimsa and his nonviolent methods for opposing British rule are well known throughout the world. The nonviolent approach has consciously been used by others as well. Certainly one of the most well-known exponents of nonviolence was Dr. Martin Luther King.

develop a pious character
Pious character is evident when we naturally treat others with kindness, generosity and appreciation. It is fulfilled when we seek the blessings of God, Gods and guru throughout life. How can this be cultivated in children? It is through the parents’ demonstrating these qualities themselves. Children learn that this behavior is expected of them by observing their parents’ actions. It is by referring often to the ten observances of Hinduism’s Code of Conduct, known as the niyamas, and pointing out their relevance in daily life, on TV and in movies. The niyamas are remorse, contentment, giving, faith, worship of the Lord, scriptural listening, cognition, sacred vows, recitation and austerity. Pious character is nurtured by teaching the child to worship and pray in the home shrine or at the temple before important events, such as beginning a new school year or before final examinations. Pious conduct brings into our children’s lives the joys of Divine blessings. Gurudeva outlined the ideal: “Hindu children are always treated with great respect and awe, for one does not always know who they are. They may be incarnations of a grandmother, grandfather, aunt or uncle, dearly beloved mother, sister, brother, respected father, a yogi or rishi returned to flesh to help mankind spiritually. We must ask, ‘Who are these souls? What is their destiny in this life? How can I help?’ “

develop proficiency in conflict resolution
Proficiency in conflict resolution is exemplified when we work out disagreements with others by using intelligence and seeking for a win-win situation. How is this cultivated in youth? It is through the parents’ demonstrating these qualities themselves. Children learn that this behavior is expected of them by observing their parents’ actions. It is by sitting down with children any time they use anger, physical force or verbal injury to prevail in a conflict and discussing with them how it could have been settled with intelligence rather than violence. It is through replacing the idea of “I want me to win and you to lose” with that of “I win when everybody wins.” Kids can learn from parents that it is through taking a humble attitude, rather than a dominant position, that conflicts are resolved smoothly and easily. Illustrations of what to do and what not to do can be drawn from the people they see in television and movies. Proficiency in conflict resolution is nurtured by parents’ following the wisdom of resolving their husband-and-wife disagreements before going to sleep, as this teaches by example the importance of facing and solving a conflict rather than fleeing from it. Mastery of resolving differences keeps our young one’s lives sublime and their subconscious minds free of the disturbances caused by memories of unresolved disagreements.
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Hinduism is respected for solving conflicts through nonviolent means.

In the second half of the twentieth century Hindu concepts beIn the world of the twenty-first century, a prime came more and more popular and influential in the West. For concern is the many wars and clashes between example, every year thousands of Westerners take up the belief peoples of different religions, nationalities and in karma and reincarnation as a logical explanation of what they ethnicities based on hatred on one or both sides. observe in life. A contemporary expression of the law of karma is The opposite of hatred is tolerance, and in that “What goes around comes around.” Karma is the universal principle Hinduism excels. The Hindu belief that gives rise of cause and effect. Our actions, both good and bad, come back to to tolerance of differences in race and nationality us in the future, helping us to learn from life’s lessons and become is that all of mankind is good, we are all divine be- better people. Reincarnation is the belief that the soul is immortal ings, souls created by God. Therefore, we respect and takes birth time and time again. Through this process, we and embrace the entire human race. The Hindu have experiences, learn lessons and evolve spiritually. Finally, we practice of greeting one another with “namas- graduate from physical birth and continue learning and evolving kara,” worshiping God within the other person, is on inner planes of consciousness without the need for a physical a way this philosophical truth is practiced on a body until, ultimately, we merge in God. The belief in karma and daily basis. reincarnation gives children a logical explanation to what other-

Hinduism has great tolerance and considers the whole world to be a family.

Many people throughout the world firmly believe in karma and reincarnation.

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wise may seem an unjust, indifferent or Godless world. They can be taught that challenging questions such as the following all have logical explanations when viewed through the beliefs of karma and reincarnation. ❖ ❖ ❖ ❖ Why do some innocent children die so young? Why are some people so much more talented than others? Why do some people act in evil ways? Why is it that a mean-spirited person may succeed and a good-hearted person fail?

taking time to teach and share builds confidence and closeness.

Hinduism boldly proclaims that man can experience God.
Throughout the world today, many who are on the mystical path want to have a personal spiritual experience. They want to see God. Hinduism not only gives them the hope that they can achieve their goal in this lifetime, but it gives them the practical tools, such as the disciplines of yoga and meditation, through which this goal eventually becomes a reality. The focus of many religions is on helping those who do not be-

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Belief in a single life makes it hard to reconcile such things, causing one to question how a just, benevolent God could allow them to happen. But an understanding of karma as God’s divine law which transcends this one incarnation and brings to bear our actions from many past lives on Earth offers profound insight. That innocent child may have been a child murderer. That musical genius may have so perfected his art in a past life that he inherits a rare talent at birth and becomes a child prodigy. The beliefs of karma and reincarnation give a spiritual purpose to our life. We know that the reason we are here on Earth is to mature spiritually and that this process extends over many lives. We know that karma is our teacher in this process, teaching us both what to do and what not to do through the reactions it brings back to us in the future. So, our current incarnation—the nature of our body, family, inclinations, talents, strengths and weaknesses—is specifically designed by us to help us face the fruits of our past actions, both positive and negative, and thus learn and evolve spiritually.

from any one of them until he met Sri Ramakrishna. During his second meeting with Sri Ramakrishna he asked the great sage, “Sir, have you seen God?” Calmly Sri Ramakrishna replied, “Yes, I see Him as clearly as one sees an apple in the palm of the hand; nay, even more intently. And not only this, you can also see Him.” This deeply impressed the young Vivekananda, who soon after accepted Sri Ramakrishna as his guru. By teaching children about Hinduism’s stress on personal Godly experience, we set them on a path of self-understanding, self-perfection and discovery of the Divine that does not rely on the beliefs or reports of others. This gives them an appreciation of each step in life—be it pleasant or unpleasant—as an integral part of a joyous spiritual journey.


teach about hinduism and the other world religions
Teach about the Vedic statement “Truth is One, sages describe it variously.”
Hinduism is often misunderstood as being polytheistic, worshiping many Gods, none of which is supreme. It is important to correct this misconception in the minds of children. They can be taught that Hindus revere the great beings of light, called Mahadevas, just as the Catholics honor the Archangels of Heaven. But Hindus all worship the one Supreme Being, known in the various denominations by different names. Even more than that, Hindus believe that the immanent-transcendent Lord they worship is indeed the same God worshiped by all peoples of all faiths and religions of the world. As a country only has one king, we can school the young ones, so the universe has only one Supreme Being. The oneness of God is easily understood when we see that the different religions use various names to describe the same Truth. Teaching this to our young ones resolves many misconceptions, both within Hinduism itself and between Hinduism and the varied faiths of the world.

lieve in God to believe in God. Belief in God, in such faiths, is the beginning and the end of the process. Once you believe in God there is nothing more to do. However, in Hinduism belief is only the first step. Hindus want to move beyond believing in God to experiencing God. To the Hindu, belief is but a preparatory step to divine, daily communion and life-transforming personal realization.

There is a classic story from the life of Swami Vivekananda, one of Hinduism’s most well known modern teachers, that illustrates the Hindu perspective of experiencing God. When Vivekananda was still a university student, he asked many of the foremost religious leaders in the Calcutta area where he lived if they had seen God. However, he never got a clear and authoritative answer

develop parental closeness
Parental closeness finds fulfillment when children reach adulthood and choose to spend time with their parents because they really enjoy being with them. A strong bond of love and understanding exists. Sadly, the opposite is often the case. How then is parental closeness developed? It is through expressing love by hugging and saying often the three magic words “I love you.” Distance is developed by never expressing love. Closeness is nurtured by correcting a child’s misbehavior with positive discipline methods, such as time-out and appropriate, natural and logical consequences. The use of physical violence, anger, irrational punishments, blame and shame cause distance. Closeness comes when quality time is spent together in activities that all members of the family enjoy. It is developed by the father’s binding with his sons and the mother’s binding with her daughters, through developing common interests in hobbies or games and working on them together. It is protected when parents create in the home a nonthreatening atmosphere of love in which their children feel free to tell them everything they have done without fear of the consequences. They know their parents love them, no matter what. A loving parental closeness is powerfully reflected in all subsequent relationships children develop, even their relationship with God.

develop a prejudice-free consciousness
Prejudice-free consciousness manifests when we see God in everyone and embrace differences of ethnic background and religion. Are we born with prejudices? Absolutely not! These are all learned, at home, at school and elsewhere. How is a prejudice-free consciousness developed? It is through teaching our children that the whole world is our family and all human beings are divine beings. It is through complete avoidance of remarks that are racially or religiously prejudiced. It is through discussing with our children any prejudice they hear from others at school and elsewhere and correcting it. It is by teaching children to avoid generalizations about people and, instead, to think about specific individuals and the qualities they have. Television and movies can provide useful situations to discuss. It is through having our children meet, interact and learn to feel comfortable with children of other ethnicities and religions. Tolerant individuals help communities function with less friction and misunderstanding. Gurudeva teaches us: “Every belief creates certain attitudes. Our attitudes govern all of our actions. Belief in karma, reincarnation and the existence of an all-pervasive Divinity throughout the universe creates an attitude of reverence, benevolence and compassion for all beings. The natural consequence of this belief is ahimsa, nonhurtfulness.”
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Teach the correct meaning of the Vedic statement “Truth is One, paths are many.”
Some Hindus teach their children that all religions are one, thinking this is a way to describe Sanatana Dharma’s broad vision. However, this is a problematic distortion of the Hindu belief that truth is one, paths are many. Teaching this to children will cause them to be half-hearted Hindus, never fully committed to their faith and not inspired to pass it on to their offspring. I have seen this attitude create indifferent Hindus who passively attend their non-Hindu spouse’s church, presumably thinking it doesn’t really matter, and who think it is best to raise their children “in both religions.” The correct teaching is that Hindus believe that all religions worship the same truth, the same Supreme Being. However, this does not mean that all religions are identical and it doesn’t matter which religion you follow. The beliefs and practices of the world religions are, in fact, quite different. The God they worship is one, but each of the many paths is quite distinct. This knowledge will help children see the world’s array of faiths in a realistic light while pursuing their Hindu path with full dedication.

not proselytize, Hinduism does, and always has, accepted new members into the religion who seek to participate at its deepest levels. It is simply not true, as uninformed commentators too often say, that you have to be born a Hindu to be a Hindu. When asked by a devotee about this idea, Swami Vivekananda responded, “Why, born aliens have been converted in the past by crowds, and the process is still going on.“ Hindus who marry a non-Hindu spouse who is interested in the Sanatana Dharma wisely encourage him or her to study and eventually enter the faith so they can together raise their children as devout Hindus, rather than being torn between two faiths.

take time for celebration & appreciation.

Belief in God is only the first step in Hinduism. Beyond that, it offers four ways to personally experience God. The first two ways involve seeing the Divine in other people.
In some religions the ultimate experience offered is to have a strong belief in the existence of God. In Hinduism, however, believing in God is only a preliminary, though important, step toward an ever deepening personal experience of God’s presence. Perhaps the easiest place to start is to see God in great religious teachers. We feel a spiritual aura about them that is different, uplifting and inspiring. We see a light in their eyes and feel a love in their presence we do not find in others. The second way to see God is to look deeply into the eyes of another person. Look beyond his or her personality, deeper than the intellect, and see the individual’s pure life energy as God. In Hindu culture we have an opportunity every time we greet other people through the traditional gesture of namaskara to practice looking deeply enough into their eyes to see God within them as the Life of their life. This practice is an excellent way for children to learn that all people are divine beings.


teach how hinduism grants experience of god
Hinduism has advanced practices within it that many religions do not have.
If you simply want to live a virtuous, pious life and be part of a community of fellow believers, you will discover that all religions are similar at that basic level. But if you have the desire to personally experience God, you will only find the advanced practices that lead to that divine experience in a few religions. A good example of this fact has been occurring in Catholic monasteries for decades. Some of the monks in these monasteries have the desire to personally experience God. What do they do to pursue this? They turn to Hindu scriptures, such as Patanjali’s Yoga Aphorisms, for guidelines in deep meditation and inner spiritual attainments, as there are no such teachings in Christianity. More than that, such teachings are regarded by the Catholic Church as heretical, and the Vatican has directed monks and nuns to cease all yoga practices and return to the path of prayer. Applying a modern analogy, one could say that all religions are computers designed to answer our questions about life and God. However, some religions are

Hindus believe that all of the major world religions are valid paths and everyone is well placed in their chosen faith.
Hindus do not proselytize, meaning they do not try to convert members of other religions to Hinduism. Proselytizing is based upon the belief that one’s religion is the only true religion and therefore everyone in another religion should join it. Hindus hold the opposite point of view, which is that all faiths are good and the members of those religions are just fine remaining in the religions they are in. Each religion has its unique beliefs, practices, goals and paths of attainment, and the doctrines of one often conflict with those of another. Even this should never be cause for religious tension or intolerance. Hindus respect all religious traditions and the people within them. They know that good citizens and stable societies are created from groups of religious people in all nations. However, it is important to teach children that while Hindus do

The third and fourth ways we can experience God are through temple worship and meditation.
The third way to see God is through the Deity’s image in the Hindu temple. This is the devotional, or theistic, approach. Gods and devas are in the inner, spiritual worlds and are able to bless us through the image in the temple. The image is like a temporary physical body they use during temple ceremonies. Though occasionally a devotee may have a vision of the God, the more common way we experience the Gods and devas is as an uplifting, peaceful, divine energy, or shakti, that radiates out from the image. It is easiest to feel their blessings at the high point of the puja when the flame is held high. If taught the joys of temple worship while toddlers, children will develop a devotional relationship with the Deities which will strengthen and guide them throughout life.

personal computers, some are minicomputers, others are mainframe computers, but Hinduism is a supercomputer.

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guide children with love, not fear
Children make mistakes not because they are bad, but because they lack knowledge or training.
For all of mankind, no matter where one is on the path, spiritual advancement comes from improving one’s behavior. We do this by learning from our failures as much as from our successes. Unfortunately, this process is often inhibited by the idea that somehow we are not supposed to err. We grow up being scolded for our mistakes by our parents. Some teachers ridicule and beat students when they make mistakes. Supervisors yell at workers when they make a mistake. No wonder many adults feel terrible when they make a mistake. Therefore, to spiritually benefit from our mistakes, we need a new attitude toward them which opens the door for insight, which leads to improvement. We can view them instead as wonderful opportunities to learn. In disciplining our children, it is important to focus on finding out what lack of knowledge or necessary train-

ing caused their misbehavior and then providing them with the needed guidance. This process can be understood in the light of desire, action and wisdom. We desire that our children behave well, but if our actions in correcting them create fear, resentment or feelings of inferiority, then they will not improve and we will have subverted our goal. By treating a child’s errant behavior as described above, we discover our own wisdom in handling kids, and we help them grow to a healthy maturity, equipped to guide their own children with love and wisdom.

he or she can grasp and remember. This is a far more time-consuming process than a swift slap on the behind, but leads to far more permanent and positive results.

There are better forms of discipline than corporal punishment and verbal abuse.
When children seriously misbehave, punishment, of course, needs to be part of the response. There are many forms of corporal or physical punishment and verbal abuse: spanking, hitting, pinching, using harsh or angry words. These all cause the child to become resentful and fearful, and in this state of mind he is unable and unwilling to focus on the lesson the parent intends to provide. Such punishments inevitably create a distance between parent and child and lower the child’s sense of self-worth. On the other hand, the alternative forms of punishment—loving, positive strategies, such as time-out, logical consequences and denial of privileges—are more effective and conducive to the child’s learning the lesson from the experience, cooperating with the parents in a wholesome way and not repeating the behavior again.
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Focus on solutions instead of punishment.
For some parents, disciplining their children for misbehavior is simply a matter of punishment. But discipline means “to teach,” so punishment misses the point if it is not accompanied by taking a moment to gently teach and kindly help the child, to encourage, uplift and inspire. In many cases the child who erred simply does not know or understand something. Otherwise he never would have made the mistake. There is some knowledge the child is missing, and thoughtful parents need to figure out what that knowledge is and teach it to the child in a way


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The fourth way to see God is in meditation, which is a form of internal worship. This is the monistic, or unitive, approach to experiencing God—going deeply enough into our inner consciousness to find the essence of our soul, which is identical with God. In meditation we first experience God as peaceful, blissful energies and feelings, later as a brilliant, clear white light and later still as truth, consciousness and bliss, called Satchidananda, which permeates all of existence. Ultimately, under a satguru’s careful guidance, we realize God as the absolute and transcendent reality that is timeless, formless and spaceless. In Hinduism, this is regarded as the summit of all knowing, the highest spiritual attainment which leads to moksha, spiritual liberation. Children can be taught the basics of meditation at an early age, including sitting up straight, regulating the breath and performing hatha yoga to quiet the mental and physical energies. These practices will help them remain centered, and they will mature naturally into deeper inner experiences as they grow up.

enjoying music as a family brings devotion into daily life.

a child learns much about what is expected by his faith. ❖ Service is the second category. Service, also called karma yoga or seva, refers to religious service given without the least thought of reward, which has the magical effect of softening the ego and bringing forth the soul’s innate devotion. An example of service is performing simple chores at the temple, such as sweeping the floors or polishing the brass. Another form of seva is holding religious feedings at a temple once a month. Children love to be helpful and can be encouraged to find religious expressions of this urge. ❖ Devotion is the third category. Devotion, or bhakti yoga, centers around regularly worshiping the Deity at the temple and inwardly striving to awaken a profound love of God in our hearts, soften our intellect and develop a deep sense of humility. It includes devotional singing, pilgrimage and performing our own puja in the home shrine room. For children, this can be as simple as bringing a flower to the shrine each morning before school. Kids love the Gods, especially Lord Ganesha, and they can, even as toddlers, be taught to hold hands in namaskara, prostrate at the shrine and learn songs and chants in praise of their favorite Deity. ❖ Meditation is the fourth category. Meditation is also called raja yoga, or ashtanga yoga as it consists of eight limbs. The practice of meditation begins with asana—sitting quietly in yogic posture—and pranayama, breath control. Pratyahara, sense withdrawal, brings awareness into dharana, concentration, then into dhyana, meditation. Dhyana finally leads to samadhi, God Realization. Jnana yoga is also a type of meditation that involves philosophical study and discrimination between the Real and the unreal. Children can follow the first phases of meditation for short periods, learning to sit in lotus posture, to breathe diaphragmatically and to quiet their mind and emotions through attention and concentration. When they are more mature, you can take them to a swami or yoga teacher to learn the deeper aspects.

Hinduism focuses on personal, spiritual transformation through the regular practice of disciplines, called sadhana.
Reading spiritual books is certainly part of progressing on the Hindu path. However, much more important is the regular practice of religious disciplines. Our emotional, intellectual and spiritual natures are all significantly enhanced and developed through performing such disciplines regularly over a period of many years. The more consistently we practice, the greater the speed of our progress. Establishing good patterns of spiritual practice, called sadhana, begins in childhood, in the home. The most successful pattern in the home is for parents to have their young children join them in their morning devotionals and, as they mature, invite them to also participate in the meditations.
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control and meditation. Hinduism’s array of spiritual practices can be divided into four categories: good conduct, service, devotion and meditation.

❖ Cultivating good conduct is the foundational practice. Cultivating good conduct, or developing good character, is the It is fair to say that no other religion contains such a vast wealth foundation of all other practices in Hinduism. Good conduct beof spiritual practices, from such fundamental virtues as noninjury, gins with overcoming basic instinctive patterns, such as the tentruthfulness and honesty to the advanced yoga practices of breath dencies to become angry and hurtful. The ten classical restraints,

Hinduism’s spiritual practices fall into four categories.

called yamas, help us overcome such tendencies. These are: noninjury, truthfulness, nonstealing, divine conduct, patience, steadfastness, compassion, honesty, moderate appetite and purity. Following the yamas naturally leads into ten religious observances, called the niyamas: remorse, contentment, giving, faith, worship of the Lord, scriptural listening, cognition, sacred vows, recitation and austerity. Good conduct includes performing one’s duty to family and community, honoring holy men, respecting elders and atoning for misdeeds. By simply memorizing these twenty ideals,

Teach children how they can wisely respond to their mistakes through a four-step process.
The most common first reaction to making a mistake is to become upset, get emotional about it or, if it is a serious mistake, to feel terribly burdened and even depressed. That is a natural first reaction, but if it is our only reaction, it is not enough. We need to cope with the emotional reaction to the action and move on to the second step, which is the learning stage. A good second step to resolving a mistake is to think clearly about what happened and why, and find a way to not repeat the same error in the future. Perhaps we were not being careful enough, and resolving to be more careful next time will prevent the problem from recurring. Perhaps we were simply uninformed or we didn’t think things through. But with the additional knowledge learned from our blunder we can resolve to do better the next time a similar situation arises. Perhaps we created unintended negative consequences for ourselves or others. Now that we are aware of those consequences, we certainly won’t follow that path again. Recently a group of chil-

dren in Australia started a fire in a small forest where several innocent people were seriously burned. The children were caught, and as part of their discipline the judge directed them to visit the victims in the hospital to see the consequences of their actions. This impressed them deeply. By evaluating such situations and committing to a new approach, we are able to teach young ones to move from regretting “I shouldn’t have done it” to pledging “I won’t do it again.” A third step may be needed if our mistake directly involved other people. Perhaps we have hurt their feelings or created a strain between us. A personal apology can fix this if we know them well. However, in many situations we are not close enough to the individual to verbally apologize. In that case, a generous act can adjust the flow of feelings back into a harmonious condition. For example, children can be taught to include those they have hurt or offended among a group of friends invited to a party or with whom they share some cookies or candy. A fourth step may be needed if the mistake is a major misdeed, for example, if we did something that was dishonest. In this case, even if we resolve to not repeat the misdeed and apologize to those involved,

we may still feel bad about having done it. In this case we need to perform some form of penance, prayaschitta, to rid ourself of the sense of feeling bad about our actions. Typical forms of penance for adults are fasting, performing 108 prostrations before the Deity or walking prostrations up a sacred path or around a temple. These are too severe for younger children, but they can do simpler penances such as skipping dessert one meal or renouncing a favorite TV program one night.

Help your children perfect the art of learning quickly from mistakes.
The spiritual path is a series of experiences, and sometimes those experiences are mistakes that we make. If we teach our children to be self-reflective, they can learn from their mistakes quickly, avoid making them again and progress more quickly on the spiritual path. If children are constantly making the same mistakes over and over and over again, they are not making good progress. This is something for parents to be alert to, for it is parents who can set the patterns for resolution of karmas in their kid’s lives.
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teach children how to live positively in the world.
Train children that the world is a positive place filled with opportunities for growth.
The world in this sense refers to the arena of life, including where we interact with people the most, such as the home, school and our place of work. In Western thought these are not considered spiritual places. However, in Hinduism they are. There is no sharp distinction between the sacred and the secular. In the words of our paramaguru, Siva Yogaswami, “The world is an ashram—a training ground for the achievement of moksha.” What is it that transforms the world from a secular place into a spiritual one? It is the understanding that it is through the process of experiencing life that we unfold spiritually. It is the knowing that through fulfilling our natural duties, honestly and to the best of our ability, we make spiritual progress. Why? Through interacting with others, we learn important lessons and, as a result, gradually deepen our understanding, improve our behavior and become more spiritual. In the process, we work through karmas we created in the past and create new karmas to be faced in the future. Our daily activities, encounters and emotional reactions contribute to our spiritual progress just as much as attending pujas in the temple, studying the holy texts, meditating and worshiping in our home shrine. Paramaguru Yogaswami captured the essence of this perspective when he said, “All work must be done with the aim of reaching God.”

Teach about the three great powers: desire, action and wisdom.
Important insights into the soul’s maturing process can be gained by looking at the three shaktis of God—iccha, the power of desire, kriya, the power of action and jnana, the power of wisdom—which are also the three powers of the soul. We first have a desire, and when the desire becomes strong enough we act. In young souls the action may be ill-conceived and wrongful, or adharmic, lacking in wisdom. For example, we want a computer, so we simply steal one. We need money, so we borrow with no intention to repay. The soul is repeating a cycle of similar experiences, moving back and forth from desire to action, desire to action. In the case of the adharmic action of stealing, eventually the soul will learn the lesson that theft is not the best way to get what


A balanced immune system is your best friend in the quest for health and the conquest of disease
veryone has respiratory infections. statistics show that an average adult can expect to get two to three colds per year. When the body is invaded by disease, the immune system makes every effort to destroy both the germs and the infected cells. Because we are surrounded by bacterium and viruses constantly, even when we are healthy, these impurities can’t be the sole cause of disease. Otherwise, we would always be sick. We become ill when there is a breakdown in our immune system due to some physical imbalance. Ayurvedic medicine is a science of balance. Whenever we have a disease, there is an imbalance inviting that disease to occur. Ayurvedic medicine believes that the digestive system, especially the stomach, plays an important role in our overall health. We create stress on our digestive system when we fail to follow the laws of nature. Such failure would include the consumption of unhealthy foods, food taken in improper combinations or food incorrectly prepared. Excessive use of sugar can also cause problems. Other factors, such as stress resulting from work, family discord or environment influences, can also have a negative effect. These imbalances create ama (the ayurvedic term for a kind of undigested mucus toxin). Because this mucus is a natural breeding ground for viruses and bacteria, it can become a cause for upper respiratory infections. Medical science has recognized several hundred different types of viruses and bacterium which can cause these afflictions. As we’ve seen this year, flu shots are limited. I feel that vaccinations are only important for the elderly, especially if their natural immunity has been compromised due to cancer, heart disease, asthma, lung infections, smoking or bronchitis. These patients have a high mortality rate due to pneumonia. If a young person who has not been vaccinated contracts an upper respiratory infection, he or she generally recovers more quickly than those who have been vaccinated. Similarly, patients who take antibiotics experience delayed healing as compared with those who receive herbal medicines. Most upper respiratory infections are viral and do not need antibiotics. During my twenty-four years of practice, I have never used influenza vaccinations for myself or my family. In spite of exaggerated exposure to these germs, I have warded off the flu with care and natural remedies only. Most people recover from a common cold or the flu within a week. When I am asked how these common illnesses might be avoided, this is the advice that I give: • Perform breathing exercises (outside if possible), and circulate more fresh air throughout your home. Exercise regularly. Walking for 45 minutes a day will increase the body’s immune defense mechanism. However, do not over-exert yourself. Exercising longer than 90 minutes per day may actually increase your risk of upper respiratory infections. • Reduce the “allergenic load” in your house. Carpets, gas heaters, wood burning fireplaces, fungi, mold and chemicals of any kind can

Preventing Colds & Flu

Teach that life is a classroom in which we learn important lessons.
Life is a process of learning through trial and error and thereby advancing spiritually. Gurudeva has an insightful explanation of this process: “Life is a series of experiences, one after another. Each experience can be looked at as a classroom in the big university of life if we only approach it that way. Who is going to these classrooms? Who is the member of this university of life? It’s not your instinctive mind. It’s not your intellectual mind. It’s the body of your soul, your superconscious self, that wonderful body of light. It’s maturing under the stress and strain.” Children live much of their day learning, often in a classroom, so the idea that all of life is a school for our soul will come easily to them, and it will teach them to value lessons wherever they come from.

Working together on projects is an ideal way to pass on your beliefs, attitudes, values, insights, skills and wisdom.
we need or want. This may come from the difficult experience of being caught, or by seeing the suffering our actions cause in others. Such learning is the jnana shakti, soulful wisdom, coming forth and causing one’s behavior to improve. This process works for virtuous, or dharmic, actions as well. For example, we volunteer at the temple to teach children’s classes once a month. We are uplifted by the feeling that helping others gives us and decide to help out every week and even participate in meetings to plan out the classes. Selfless action and the reaction it has on us brings an inner joy. Therefore, jnana guides us to decide to undertake even more service and thus feel more joyful. We have again improved our behavior. If children are taught about these three basic forces at work in their life, they will seek to understand desire, think about action and strive for wisdom.

o, here we have it: the parent’s guidebook of minimum teachings to convey to children, based on Gurudeva’s insights gained from over 40 years of closely working with hundreds of families in a score of nations. This booklet presents a grid-


work of character-building designed to augment any tradition or denomination. The key is this: start teaching early and don’t stop until your children leave the home. Even if you did nothing more than what is outlined in these 16 pages, that would be enough to send

them on their way as good Hindus, wellequipped to live as happy, effective citizens of the modern world. Reprints of this parenting guide are available at:

weaken your immune system. Consider using electrostatic and charcoal filters in your house to clean the air. • Reduce your sugar and dairy intake. Eat fruits and vegetables instead. Winter is a holiday season when we tend to consume a lot of sugar. According to published studies, seven tablespoons of sugar a day retards the immune system dramatically. One can of soda pop contains nearly four tablespoons of sugar. Avoid foods you are allergic to. You may need to ask your doctor what these are. • Take antioxidants! My personal favorite is Amla Plex, available from my company, Ayush Herbs Inc. It is a natural source of anti-oxidants and an excellent immune builder. Take one teaspoon three times a day during the winter. Add to this vitamin C (up to 1,000 mg), vitamin E (400 IU), selenium (200 mcg), and natural carotenoids (25,000 IU). Ayurvedic herbs can also be taken, such as trifala (500 mg three times per day), holy basil standardized extract (250 mg three times per day) and turmeric extract (250 mg three times per day). When you have a cold or an upper respiratory infection, drink ginger, licorice and holy basil tea. Garlic and green tea also have immune balancing properties. Drink plenty of warm fluids. • Wash your hands frequently. At Purdue University, in a study of 60 day-care centers, researchers found that people who washed their hands frequently got 50 percent fewer colds than those who didn’t. I do not like antibacterial soaps because they sometimes force the body to develop drug-resistant bacteria. Avoid frequent touching of your nose, eyes and ears. • Get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep can increase your chances of catching a cold. • For many, the holiday season can be stressful. Mental and emotional weaknesses have an effect on the physical system and actually increase the risk of catching cold. Perform yoga or tai chi and spend quality time with your friends and family. Surround yourself with people you care about and those who care about you. A Carnegie Mellon study published in The Journal of American Medical Association found that people who report three or less social ties, such as with friends, family, coworkers or community groups, are more than four times at risk of catching a cold than those with six or more such ties. • Do not use antibiotics indiscriminately. Antibiotics have no benefits and can weaken your immune system. According to a study published by The Journal of American Medical Association, 50 percent of the patients suffering with colds, upper respiratory infections and bronchitis demanded antibiotic prescriptions. Most of the upper respiratory infections are caused by viruses. Antibiotics are effective against bacteria. Overuse of antibiotics may lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria which can be life threatening. The key is to keep a balance in all that you do. It can come from a healthy mind and body, with meditation, stress reduction, exercises and eating nutritious foods. A few exceptions are fine, as long as they are not in excess. Learn to listen to your body’s needs. Your body is your best doctor.


www.himalayanacademy. com/teachingtools/

dr. virender sodhi holds an M.D. (Ayurveda) from India and a N.D. from Bastyr College of Nauropathic Medicine, USA. E-mail: drsodhi@ayurvedicscience.com. Web: www.ayurvedicscience.com.
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Saint: Sri Sri Sri Tiruchi Mahaswamigal, 1929–2005

Samadhi: Sri Jayendra Puri (at right, holding tray), Tiruchiswami’s successor, performs last rites inside the Sri Chakra temple sanctum


Tiruchiswami Attains Mahasamadhi
Sri Jayendra Puri Swami succeeds great saint who passes away at age 75
By Choodie Shivaram, Bangalore
he temple of rajarajeshwari at Rajarajeshwarinagar in Bangalore is known for its spiritual prowess–“When you pray at this temple, your prayers are answered, your troubles are alleviated” is the total belief of devotees. What a great devotee and what godly powers Jagadguru Sri Sri Sri Shivarathnapuri Bhagavat, popularly known as Tiruchi Mahaswamigal, must have possessed to bring Goddess Rajarajeshwari to this place. By evening on January 14, 2005, this ashram-temple complex had swelled into a sea of devotees. The atmosphere at the temple and ashram was unusually serious and solemn. The architect of this spiritual sanctuary and pontiff of Sri Kailash Ash-

rama Mahasamsthana, Sri Sri Tiruchi Mahaswamigal had at age 75 attained Mahasamadhi, as is termed the dropping off of the physical body of a great soul. In failing health for some years, Swami suffered an apparent stroke on the morning of the 14th and died soon afterwards, at 1:30 pm. His body was transported to the ashram from Mallya Hospital and prepared for internment beneath the massive Sri Chakra (see photo below) in a chamber built for this purpose at his direction a few years ago. Prominent swamis, including Sri Balagangadharanathaswami and Koviloor Swami, and political leaders, including former Indian prime minister, Deve Gowda, and Karnataka state chief minister Dharam Singh, rushed to the ashram for the ceremonies. The body was placed in the chamber and covered first with vibhuti (holy ash), lotus flowers and herbs, then the chamber was filled with sand and the floor stone replaced. Sri Jayendra Puri performed worship with lights, and the ceremonies ended diagram. Final worship followed and then the traditional feeding of all devotees. around midnight. Nine days later, on January 23, Sri JayenBy mid-morning of the next day, the temple craftsmen had replaced the Sri dra Puri Swami was officially installed as Chakra’s pedestal. Gold and gems were head of the ashram as part of the Moksha placed on the pedestal top by the swamis, Deepa Aradhana ritual (photos next page). then the craftsmen replaced the heavy panchalogam (five metal) Sri Chakra, a three- Consecration: (left to right) The Sri Chakra pedestal has been placed over the chamber; the dimensional form of the famous mystical Sri Chakra itself returned to its place; then decoration and worship with lights and flowers
courtesy kailash ashrama

Devotees adjust: It is true that the passing away of a yogi is not to be mourned, because he continues to live–he attains Mahasamadhi and merges with God. But with the physical absence of Mahaswamigal hundreds of devotees felt orphaned. “Appa” (father), who had guided them through thick and thin, was no longer going to hear them, talk to them and soothe their tormented minds or give them solace. That endearing, comforting presence of Appa would be absent forever. When I visited the ashram on the 15th, devotees were sobbing uncontrollably. The seat from where Swamiji gave darshan (literally, “sight,” in this case being in the presence of the guru) was adorned by a photograph instead of the person. Never was there a time when Swamiji did not give darshan to his devotees– despite his ill health. I never heard Swamiji speaking of his health or uneasiness. Legacy continues: The Rajarajeshwari temple, sculptured in typical Dravidian style, is immaculately built, with every stone placed to perfection. The greenery around, the young energetic children of the veda patasala school in their dhotis and neatly tucked tufted hair, the well-maintained cow shed—everything bears the stamp of the Tiruchi Mahaswamigal’s eye for detail, perfec-

photos: thuraisingam rajasankara

Internment: (left to right) Tiruchiswami’s body was kept first at the ashram entrance; then brought to the Sri Chakra temple; then set in a chamber with of holy ash, herbs, flowers and sand

photos: thuraisingam rajasankara


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photos: thuraisingam rajasankara

Let Old Be Gold
t is a common experience of life that a child makes a hero of his father and dreams of the day when he himself will grow up so he can be “the boss.” That child does indeed grow up through adolescence and youth to finally become a mature adult individual, but life turns out differently than he expects. Little by little, his responsibilities increase and he tastes the bitter-sweet fruits of the world as they are served up in a seemingly never-ending continuum. His childhood dreams are shattered, and he begins to wish he had never grown old. Certainly, the challenges of life can inspire a dread of old age. There is that burdening sense of responsibility, that fear of insecurity, that seemingly insatiable desire for worldly enjoyment and that frustrating loss of spiritual inspiration. All of this can render a grim picture of the reality of living and the inescapable eventuality of dying. The difficulties of old age are deceptively shielded and move in slowly. Yet they do most surely come and cannot be avoided. The key to facing them positively is learning to live in the present. Most of the time we don’t do this. Usually we keep ourselves quite busy either remembering the past or planning the future. In order to live in the present we must strive to practice mindfulness. To be mindful, we must dismiss worry about the past and concern for the future as we endeavor to accept and deal positively with the inevitable changes of life. Because this is difficult, most of us approach our sunset years with a cumbersome sense of apprehension. Thankfully, the experiences of life naturally breed maturity, and this maturity yields a certain security. Still, much conscious effort must be made to properly preaj s. r am

Our sunset years should offer a new life in an inner world where the sky is the only limit

tion and planning. No devotee leaves with- from our sub-sect who had deeply influ- (left) On January 23, saints and devotees out receiving the hospitality at the ashram. enced Tiruchi Swamiji. We were spellbound. witnessed the installation of Sri Jayendra From my frequent interactions and vis- Puri as the new head of Kailash Ashrama: In attaining Mahasamadhi, Tiruchi Mahaswamigal was not just leaving behind a its to the ashram and temple I have seen (right) Sri Jayendra assumes Tiruchi great institution but a perfectly groomed people of immense faith and belief. They Mahaswamigal’s seat, his guru’s sandals successor in Sri Sri Jayendra Puri Swamiji. vouch that the powers of this place are re- are placed on his head (now in his hands), Already on the 15th, everything was in sponsible for their well-being. “We were and then he is crowned and blessed by the routine at the ashram. Pujas at the temple, in doldrums after suffering huge losses in priests and swamis administrative activities, and hospitality to business. We sought the blessings of Devi every visitor, everything was taken care of. (Goddess) and Swamiji here. We came out “By the grace of the Divine Mother and Lord Swami Jayendra Puri, besides giving darshan of it, and God has kept us well ever since. Subramanya, a glorious son will be born to to devotees, was continuously receiving and There is great power in this Goddess, and you. He will be a teacher and benefactor for attending to pontiffs of other monasteries that is because of Swamiji,” said Chaitanya all mankind.” Born in 1929, young Palaniswawho came to offer their respects and devo- Kumar, an old neighbor and friend of mine. mi was drawn to religious life right from his “Swamiji disliked indulging in worldly af- childhood. While in his 20s, he traveled to tees who came from far off places on hearing of the great passage. Conducting himself fairs and refused to comment on matters of Nepal and was initiated as Jagadguru Sri Sri with poise, Jayendra Puri Swami was seen current developments. Yet politicians, bu- Sri Shivarathnapuri Bhagavat. Tiruchi Swami was instructed by his guru, consoling devotees while resolutely fighting reaucrats, professionals, and layman alike had immense faith in him. He was the be- Shivapuri Baba, to return to India, propaback tears from his own welling eyes. Tiruchi Mahaswamigal was a stickler for nign reliever of their troubles. His spiritual gate dharma and build a temple. Before principles. His advice to his successor was powers lay hidden deep inside and only a returning, Swamiji went to Mount Kailash. dharma prachara (propagation of righteous devotee could feel the vibration,” says Mr. There he had a vision of Goddesses Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati, who told him, “Proliving). “This was the word he always used. Krishnan, a regular visitor to the ashram. Since his early days, Swamiji has worked ceed south, and establish an ashram there.” ‘Follow Vedas and be immersed in Bhagavanthana chintana (thought of God)–do not methodically for the revival of Hinduism. Swamiji had a divine inspiration to start the deviate from the dharma’ was his advice,” He’s improved temples by raising money for ashram and temple near Bangalore. Unlike other renunciates, Swamiji was recounted Jayendra Puri Swamiji. “His way construction and renovation. Kailash Ashof looking at things was philosophical—he’d rama has spawned a number of subsidiary always attired in white and not in saffron. say, ‘What is the use of discourses? Have spiritual centers in Karnataka and Tamil “He was given permission by his guru not to you attended to the personal need of the Nadu. But more importantly, and a reflec- change the color of his attire. Earlier, an eltormented devotee who is seeking your tion of his far-sightedness, his ashram’s pa- derly lady who nurtured Swamiji as a young darshan?’ Swamiji took personal interest tasala schoot has graduated a steady stream boy and wielded tremendous spiritual influin the well being of the devotees. He knew of proficient priests since its founding in ence over him had advised Swamiji to be a every devotee’s family tree at least three 1976. Some of the patasal boys, after thor- true sadhu. She had advised him to refrain generations upwards and down to present. ough religious training at the ashram, opted from wearing saffron just for outwardly There was a personal touch he lent. He to become monks. They joined Kailash or opulence of a sannyasi,” explained Jayendra knew the sampradaya (tradition) to which another ashram, greatly improving the re- Puri. “True to this, Swamiji never wore safthe devotee belonged and spoke to each ligious teaching and leadership. Prominent fron or rudraksha, never wore stitched or devotee in his own language,” says Jayendra among these are Jagadguru Sri Sri Sri Balag- ironed cloth, never used a telephone, never Puri. Swamiji was a linguist, and was profi- angadharanatha Swami of Adi Chunchanag- took coffee or tea.” A yogi passing away from the material world cient in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, iri Mutt in Bellur, Swami Sivananda Bharati, Marathi and Hindi. Jayendra Puri himself is head of Siddharudanatha Math and Kuma- never leaves a void. But for the multitude of fluent also in several languages and speaks raswamy, head of the Thiruchi Swami Math. monks, devotees, staffers at the temple and Early life: Sri Tiruchi Mahaswamigal was ashram, young students at Gurukula, and immaculate English. In fact, Tiruchi Mahaswamigal surprised destined to be a monk. While traveling at particularly for his ardent student-successor me in my very first meeting, by guessing my Kanya Kumari, a place of great religious sig- Sri Jayendra Puri, it will be a long while besub-sect. He spoke glowingly about a promi- nificance in South India, his parents were fore they reconcile to the absence of the silent nent spiritual savant (Holenarsipur Swamiji) informed by a stranger near the Devi temple, stalwart who was their beacon of light. ∏π

pare for old age. Maturity develops more completely as we learn to live with others and as we learn to live with ourselves. Of these two challenges, the latter is more important for the elderly, for there are times during the last years of life when all of society seems to turn a cold shoulder, and solitude is all that exists. Rather than falling prey to depression during such trying times, we can strive to discover a deeper life within ourselves. History is full of people who have done this successfully and experienced happiness because of it. If we wish to seek out this deeper, inner existence, we must learn to listen to our inner voice. This requires that we properly identify and evaluate our emotions, for these are the powerful forces that can get in our way and obstruct the clarity of our inner perception. Because reviewing our emotional experiences is generally unpleasant, our tendency is to suppress them instead. Unfortunately, this is just a temporary fix, for it is only a matter of time before they boomerang back around, causing havoc among family and friends. This is why it is important to learn to face our fears as we approach old age. Fear can best be dispelled by boldly confronting its cause. This sort of self reflection is most easily accomplished through deliberate effort. For this reason, it is often suggested that one periodically retire to a solitary place for the purpose of meditation and introspection. This practice paves the way toward a deep and allabiding faith in God. With this faith, we can continue our spiritual journey with unshakable vigor, easily conquering all obstacles that arise along the way. As we get older, the process of making new friends can also help bring about a contented inner existence in another way. Isn’t it true that every genuine friendship involves the development of an interpersonal relationship in which one’s own ego receives second priority? Clearly, the humility derived from such an endeavor is a firm ally in the achievement of any spiritual goal. Old age should be the fulfilment and consummation of life, bringing peace, wisdom and understanding. From a spiritual standpoint, man’s best years occur after the age of sixty. This is when the soul nature shines forth naturally. The first half of life is dominated by unconscious drives and the delusion that youth, beauty and virility are meant to be enjoyed selfishly. As we grow older, we become more clearly aware of the forces acting in and around us. Although our peak work performance can no longer be sustained, we can still enjoy good health and our minds can continue to develop. This is a time when spiritual far-sightedness begins to manifest and peace of mind is an obvious result. True love can now be experienced, unconfused with the sexual drives, and the experience of the unity of all existence is easily obtainable. And so it is that the last years of life can be spent delving into the science of inner discovery and the art of graceful living. Truly, it may be said that “old is gold” for those who choose to take full advantage of their potential. However, just as pure gold must be blended with a modicum of dross—that is, base metal—in order to make it usable, so also must the vigor and enthusiasm of youth be mixed in proper proportion with the wisdom and maturity of old age for the maintenance of a harmonious and productive society. Young people and old people have much to offer each other. Let there be no doubt, they are meant to merge, just as thousands of rivers are sure to blend into the sea. Swami Kritarthananda has been a monk in the Ramakrishna Order for 27 years. He currently resides at the Belur Math in West Bengal, India.
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Taking Hatha Yoga to School
The Yoga Ed. curriculum, successfully adapted yoga into the US public school setting, could augment temple youth teaching programs as well
oga ed.’s curriculum arrives as a three-inch-thick binder bulging with a ream of printed paper. It is a complete course description for 35 classes a year through eight grades in hatha yoga, with related techniques teaching mind and emotion control and positive interaction with fellow students. In our April, 2004, issue we profiled one of its authors, Tara Guber, long-time school teacher, hatha yoga enthusiast and wife of Hollywood producer Peter Guber of “Batman” fame. In that article we described her successful attempt, along with fellow author Leah Kalish, to develop and introduce a program of hatha yoga to The Accelerated School in South Central Los Angeles. In the 1990s, this was a depressed, crimeridden area, birthing ground of the infamous Crips and Bloods gangs and flash point for the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Blacks largely left the area following the riots, to be replaced with an influx of Latinos. It remains a tough neighborhood. The school’s setting is important to an evaluation of the course, both to appreciate the bold task the authors took on and to understand why some parts of the course seem aimed at children “old for their age.” Then again, perhaps children are all old for their age these days, and childhood should no longer be “presumed innocent.” A curriculum, for those not familiar with the world of education, is a manual for teachers which lays out everything they need to teach a particular course. The Yoga Ed. curriculum is divided into three sections: a teacher’s guide, lesson plans and resources. The course’s stated mission is “to inspire, educate, facilitate and support children in developing physical health, emotional stability and self-awareness through informed and experiential study, self-exploration and yoga.” The philosophy, methods and goals of the program are explained. It lists in detail how Yoga Ed. qualifies to be part of the state of California’s physical education program— the niche it occupies in that state’s public school system. A great deal of good advice and teaching methods for the professional teacher are conveyed. After discussing the contents of the curriculum further, we’ll go into the teacher qualifications, then how to apply the program in a Hindu setting. Class structure: A typical 45-minute class has an inquiry which provides a theme for the day, for example, “How do I breathe? Why does yoga focus on breathing?” The students begin with a “time in”—“five minutes of silence which supports students in transitioning from outer attention to inner awareness.” In other words, the teacher tries to get the students to calm down. Time in is followed by a discussion for five to ten minutes, for example, of the process of breathing and how it is used as the focus of yoga. Next is a warm up for five minutes, then 15 to 20 minutes of yoga postures. “This is the heart of the class,” the curriculum states, “The day’s inquiry or theme should be the focus during the physical and mental experience and exploration demanded by the yoga.” The postures are followed by five minutes of games or “partner work.” Partner work consists of poses that require two people, such as “elevator” which starts with the students

courtesy yoga ed

New playground action: Tara Guber’s novice group gamely explores a variety of interpretations of the warrior pose during a Yoga Ed. class

a line and stands side-to-side leavsitting back to back on the floor ing about a foot of space between with their arms interlocked. They players. Everyone (with the excepthen try to stand up in unison. Next tion of the end player) gets into the comes “rest and visualization” for downward facing dog pose. Make five minutes. For young students, sure players have formed a tunnel this might be “beanbag bodies,” in with their bodies. The player at the which the students lay on the floor end of the line gets into the cobra and try to completely relax. The pose and, using hands and foreteacher moves among the group arms, pulls him/herself through the and tests the “beanbag bodies” by dog tunnel.” This continues on until lifting a foot or hand, which should each student has had a chance to show no resistance, just like a beancrawl through the tunnel. bag. If the child is stiff, then he is Yoga classes are normally voluncoached to “breathe into that part tary. Everyone who comes wants to and try to be completely relaxed.” be there. But when Yoga Ed. is a The session concludes with a class required part of a school’s physical project, such as a collage of student education program, the yoga teachdrawings of poses. Simple homeer may encounter something new: work may be assigned, for example, unwilling students. The curriculum “Do slow breathing for five minutes offers advice on how to engage such before going to sleep. Record what students and get them to recognize you observed about yourself and the value of the yoga. how you slept.” When interviewing Tara Guber The class outlines are just a page for this article, she emphasized the apiece, but they reference the need to present yoga as fun and advice given in the curriculum’s playful and to create a special vifirst sections and the appendix on bration around the yoga class. Idegames at the end. There are 280 ally, the class should have its own lesson plans in all, enough for a full permanent space, and a peaceful year of study each through eight atmosphere can be established in grades. this space. Creating the right atmoThis is a course in hatha yoga sphere, she explained, was critical primarily, and the curriculum describes dozens of poses and nine Hands on: The teacher makes adjustments to a decent attempt for dealing with student’s behavioral issues. breathing methods. The pose names at triangle pose. Note the class project posters on the wall. Teaching qualifications: Yoga Ed. is are in English, corresponding most The metaphors are quite creative teach- part of the regular State of California curof the time to the Sanskrit. There are three variations on Sun Salutation, triangle poses, ing devices. One is called “Rocks and Feel- riculum at The Accelerated School. As such, warrior pose, downward dog, tree, etc. The ing.” “Bring in several palm-size rocks to it would be taught by professional teachers. instructor is expected to be a certified yoga represent negative feelings. Name the feel- Yoga Ed. requires teachers to be a certified teacher, able to teach the poses while work- ings and give examples of what might have yoga teacher (“or equivalent,” which is not caused the feelings as you place rocks one defined). We searched the Internet for cering within the student’s abilities. Before and after the hatha yoga, classes at a time in someone’s hand or pocket. Dis- tification courses and found they are govmake use of visualizations, games and meta- cuss how it feels to carry those rocks around. erned in the US by the Yoga Alliance (www. phors. Several visualizations, a kind of fan- Decide appropriate and loving ways to let go yogaalliance.org/), an organization of yoga tasy roll playing, begin with the “Sunbeam of those rocks that don’t involve throwing or teachers. One of the minimal programs meeting their requirements is the Basic Opening Story.” It goes in part, “Close your dumping them on others.” Another metaphor easily adapted to the Hatha Yoga program of the Integral Yoga eyes, adjust to the dark and then notice the sunny sky above you. It feels warm and different age levels teaches finesse. “Give Institute founded by Swami Satchidananda. inviting. One of the brilliant sunbeams is the students a scarf or string with a knot in The month-long resident program requires reaching down toward you. The light beam it and then coach them to use finesse to get a minimum of six months prior practice of fills up your whole body, from the top of it out, especially as they get frustrated! Walk hatha yoga. It costs us$2,600 for the classes, your head all the way down your spine and them through slowing down, breathing eas- housing and meals. Courses offered by othout through your fingers and toes. You know ily, noticing everything they can about the ers were comparable in price (except the and feel that you are safe and that nothing knot and figuring how to work with it in- one done completely by e-mail, a questionwill ever harm you here. In your imagina- stead of against it.” By varying the thickness able bargain). These minimum programs tion, you open your eyes and start down the of string and complexity of knot, students of are called the “200-hour certification,” referring to the class hours, and are what is beautiful path at your feet. As you reach any age can benefit from this. The games are drawn from an appendix required for Yoga Ed. your garden gate, reach into your pocket Qualified teachers can then take the and put any trouble or worry you may have entitled “Games for Life,” written by Leah on your Trouble Tree. Now open the gate Kalish and Diane Spahn. Beanbag bodies is three-day Yoga Ed. teaching training course, and step into your garden.” From this, the one of the games. Several are based on the which costs $1,200 and includes a copy of visualization is developed, for example, into hatha yoga poses, for example, “Dogs and the curriculum. In fact, taking the course imagining a magic deer in your garden who Snakes.” “This game is a fun way to com- is the only way to get a copy—it is not sold takes you on a ride into the sky that cleans bine two different yoga poses into a move- separately. To put the cost in perspective, a ment activity for a group. The group forms common social studies or history curricuand energizes you.
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Raising the energies: Tara Guber warms up a class of youngsters in preparation for elementary hatha yoga sequences. Still naturally flexible, children enjoy the various poses. lum book alone costs $300 to $400, even as high as $700. The schedule for these teacher training programs, which are conducted in several US locations, is available at www.yogaed.com. The training covers how to set up a program at a school, create lesson plans, adapt yoga to the children’s developmental levels and to improve their focus, concentration and relaxation. It also includes an ambitious goal to “integrate yoga into the school culture.” Evaluation: Yoga Ed. works wonders in The Accelerated School, making a difference in the lives of children, improving their physical and emotional health, and making them better adjusted students. It is, however, a professional program. It requires an experienced teacher who is sufficiently trained in hatha yoga to safely conduct a class of rank beginners. Someone knowledgeable in hatha yoga might make a go of it without any prior experience teaching young children. But even Tara said, “At the beginning, nothing worked. We had to create the room, get mats, convince everyone to take off the shoes, etc. When something’s not working, you have to ask yourself if it is because of you or because of the kids and then make the necessary changes.” In a Hindu Setting: How could the program be used as part of a Hindu religious education program? It hasn’t been so used, so we make a few conjectures. If a temple or ashram already conducts classes in Hindu religion, Yoga Ed. could be an excellent addition. Its physical activity provides a welcome break from just sitting in a classroom, and its introspective and relaxation exercises will increase the students’ attentiveness during other classes. Temple devotees who are already trained yoga teachers could become qualified for Yoga Ed., or a local yoga teacher could be solicited for the job. Philosophically, with the course taught in a Hindu context, the Hindu origins of yoga could be brought forward. The course, for example, talks about karma, but doesn’t use the word. It talks about chakras, but doesn’t really discuss the soul body. Likewise, key Hindu concepts important for understanding the mind, such as reincarnation and the existence of higher worlds beyond this physical world, are absent and would have to be added. The course is used in the California

public school system. It has to limit itself to the physical hatha yoga exercises and class projects and techniques that can be used to improve social skills, develop insight and be a better person. It can’t go into overtly religious concepts. But this limitation disappears when taught in a Hindu context, and in many ways puts the course’s teachings and methods into their natural environment. It’s not necessary to uncritically accept all the methods given. For example, there are a number of exercises based on guiding the children through mental visualizations of a fantasy world inhabited by wonderful talking animals. The intent is to get the children to be in a secure and happy place inside themselves. We don’t have any experience with this method, and the teacher would have to judge for himself or herself how useful it is. Other meditation methods, however, are quite creative, such as teaching concentration to very young children by having them just follow the second hand on the clock for two minutes. A few methods which may be new to the teacher, such as the use of affirmations, are also quite acceptable. Hinduism Today founder, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, highly recommended affirmations as a means of reprogramming one’s subconscious mind. Western classical or New Age music recommended for some exercises can be replaced with creative selections from traditional Hindu music to the same effect. A certain amount of cultural adjustment would be required. Anyone instituting the program would have to go through it and identify activities which are not considered culturally appropriate in their community. Some might not be comfortable, for example, with partner yoga pairing older children of the opposite sex. A few of the exercises may be a bit lost on those unfamiliar with the “New Age”—preparation of an “aromatherapy sachet,” for example. There’s also an identifiable, though not objectionable, current of developing acting ability—perhaps a result of the course’s development in close proximity to Hollywood. What we found most inspiring about the course was its very existence in such a comprehensive form. A lot of work went into developing this course for eight grades. Even more work was required to actually institute the program at The Accelerated School, train teachers, organize classrooms, gain acceptance from the parents and community and so on—all requiring highly motivated leadership. Leah Kalish and Tara Guber have shown it is possible to create and institute a course containing real spiritual training for young children. Yoga Ed. can serve as a model to both incorporate and work from in developing comprehensive curriculums for teaching Hinduism to Hindu children. ∏π

The East’s right to this millennia-old global mark of good fortune suffers from decades of abuse as the symbol of the Nazi Party and racial supremacy
naturally want to look away after a second this offensive Nazi symbol displayed on a By Jane Srivastava or two. The pain I feel when looking at the wedding invitation?” I knew that the Nazis South Carolina, USA he swastika is as holy to the swastika is as strong as if I had lived through stole the symbol from the ancient cultures, particularly India. However, I had assumed Hindus, Jains and Buddhists as it is the war myself. When I first saw a swastika on an Indian that, after World War II, the evil associated evil to people from the West. When a symbol represents diametrically oppo- greeting card, I was taken aback: “Why is with the symbol prevented the original cultures from using it. site concepts to different groups As I am learning more about the of people, a natural conflict arises. Indian culture and religion, I am Asians who immigrate to the United becoming more curious about the States encounter obstacles when symbolism of the swastika and the trying to incorporate the swaspresent-day conflict surrounding it. tika into their religious ceremonies. Swastika is a Sanskrit word, su Here in America, like in the rest meaning “good,” asti meaning “to of the Western world, the Hindus’ be” and ka, a suffix. It is translated and Jains’ most cherished and holy as “good being,” “fortune,” literally symbol is viewed only as a legacy of “it is well” or “conducive to well-bethe atrocities and murders commiting.” For Hindus, the swastika is a ted under the Nazi black swastika. symbol of auspiciousness, prosperMany Americans do not know the ity and good fortune. It also reprehistory or the importance of the sents the sun and the cycle of life. symbol to Hindus. The results of In Loving Ganesha, Satguru Sivaya this ignorance are real. Hindu temSubramaniyaswami, founder of ples have been vandalized, religious Hinduism Today, explains the sigceremonies displaying swastikas innificance of the swastika to Hindus: terrupted and upright devotees ac“The swastika’s right-angled arms cused of neo-Nazism. The swastika reflect the fact that the path toward is such a ubiquitous symbol of goodour objectives is often not straight, ness throughout the East that many but takes unexpected turns. They less-educated Asians are themselves denote also the indirect way in unaware that the swastika could sigwhich Divinity is reached—through nify any evil concept. intuition and not by intellect. SymMy great-grandparents were bolically, the swastika’s cross is said murdered by the Nazis. As a Jewish to represent God and creation. The person raised in Europe, for most four bent arms stand for the four huof my life I have associated the man aims, called purushartha: righswastika with the Nazis and Nazi teousness, dharma; wealth, artha; heritage—extermination of millions love, kama; and liberation, moksha. of people, destruction of countries Symbol of prosperity: (top) Children light lamps in a swasThis is a potent emblem of Sanatana and superior racist ideology. The tika pattern on the eve of Deepavali in the Indian city of Dharma, the eternal truth. It also sight of a swastika alone rouses Chandigarh, November 11, 2004; A 1930s American greetrepresents the world wheel, etersuch strong feelings in me that I ing card bearing swastikas and a horseshoe for “good luck”
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The Jews are understandably sensitive to nally changing around a fixed center, God. of good fortune in the United States, appearThe swastika is regarded as a symbol of the ing ubiquitously on such items as greeting the swastika. Anti-Semitism was central to muladhara chakra, the center of conscious- cards, magazine covers, book jackets, post- the Nazi movement. In Mein Kampf, Hitness at the base of the spine, and in some ers, playing cards, poker chips, jewelry, fruit ler described the symbolic meaning of the yoga schools with the manipura chakra at wrappers and business logos. Even the Boy Nazi flag: “In red we see the social idea of the navel, the center of the microcosmic sun Scouts issued a “Swastika Thanks Badge,” to the movement, in the white the nationalis(Surya). Hindus use the swastika to mark be given to anyone who had done a kind- tic idea, in the swastika the mission of the the opening pages of account books, thresh- ness to a scout. Before the Nazis, the swasti- struggle for the victory of the Aryan man olds, doors and offerings. No ceremony or ka sign had never been used to represent an and, by the same token, the victory of the sacrifice is considered complete without it, evil concept or racist ideology. After World idea of creative work, which as such always for it is believed to have the power to ward War II, Western cultures no longer used has been and always will be anti-Semitic.” the symbol as they had prior to the Third As an ethnic group targeted for systematic off misfortune and negative forces.” For the Jains, the swastika represents four Reich. Most Europeans and Americans still elimination under the mark of the black types of birth which an embodied soul might perceive any swastika as a Nazi or neo-Nazi slanted swastika, all Jewish people had been attain. The swastika has been adopted as symbol, despite differences in its color and touched by the Holocaust. It is hard, therefore, for any Jew to see a sign of good fortune part of a single symbol to represent the Jain the direction in which it points. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth in a scrawled swastika on a door or wall. community. In the Buddhist tradition, the Thus, a conflict arises between the sigswastika symbolizes the feet or footprints of century, the swastika became a common the Buddha. It is often used to mark the be- symbol of German nationalism, meant to nificance that Hindus assign to the swastika ginning of texts. Modern Tibetan Buddhists represent a long Germanic/Aryan history. and the treatment of the sign by most Westuse it as a clothing decoration. In China and As well it became a symbol of many anti- erners as a symbol of hatred inherited from Japan, the swastika has been used to repre- Semitic organizations. Adolf Hitler adopted the Nazis, intensified as so many people the swastika when the German National from India and Asia arrive to work or live sent abundance, prosperity and long life. Before the Nazis stole the swastika from Socialist Party (Nazi Party) was formed in in Europe and America. Those immigrants include simple, uneducated people from ruthe ancient world, various cultures through- 1919-1920. The Nazis regarded themselves a superior ral areas who do not know of the prevalent out Asia, Europe and the Americas had been uniform in assigning some positive and fa- race. Based on information from Hitler’s stigma of the swastika in the West. Just as vorable meaning to the symbol. For the most pet archaeologist Gustaf Kossinna, Hitler Westerners are unaware of the positive hispart, these peoples had used the swastika believed and propagated the idea that Ary- tory of this ancient symbol, many less edusign in their religious practices to symbolize ans (from arya, “superior being” or “noble”) cated Asians do not know that it could be life, the sun, good fortune and prosperity. In were a master race of Indo-Europeans liv- anything but auspicious. Because of the difthe decades before World War II, the swas- ing in Eurasia, Nordic in appearance and ference in the meaning of the symbol for the two cultures, people from India who display tika was used as a design motif and symbol directly ancestral to the German people.

For Some, a Symbol of Hate and Intolerance

the sign may lose their job, be ostracized or and harmonization. So how do we recthreatened, even become victims of hate oncile the importance of the swastika for Hindus, Buddhists and Jains with its negacrimes. Often when something is written in the tive legacy in the West? How can we reWestern media about the possibility of duce the conflict and promote acceptance? Education is the only thing that might bringing back the ancient symbol of the swastika notwithstanding its Nazi signifi- promote a better understanding between cance, such words as redemption or reha- the Hindus living in the Western world and bilitation are used. Even Hindus and Jains their new countryuse similar words in their appeal to “reha- men. It is imporbilitate” their sacred symbol. Some authors tant that in the discussing the return of the swastika opine that once the swastika is used for evil purposes, it cannot be redeemed. “Certain symbols might easily exist ambiguously or with multiple meanings, but ultimately not the swastika. For what once exemplified good fortune now manifests malevolence. What was once innocent is forever guilty… As long as it embodies even an iota of evil, it will never again be redeemed,” declared graphic design guru Steven Heller in his book The Swastika: Symbol Beyond Redemption? To redeem something means to extricate from an undesirable state or make up for defects. To rehabilitate means to bring something back to its previous normal conUnited States there dition, to cure it. None of these words seems be more written appropriate. There was nothing wrong with and said about the the swastika that we now need to make up for its defects or cure it. It got into the meaning of the symbol to Asian cultures wrong hands which used it as a symbol for and religions. Such an education should their hateful deeds and ideology in perhaps start in schools where Hindu, Christian what was the world’s most effective, inte- and Jewish kids are taught world religions. grated propaganda campaign. Thus, more When discussing Hinduism, the swastika appropriate words to describe what needs and its important place in Hinduism must to be done with the swastika’s image would be taught to children. Learning more about be acceptance, education, reconciliation Asian cultures and religions will result in tol-

erance and respect for other cultures’ ways of life and their religious practices. The swastika is not the only symbol whose original godly and favorable significance was used for evil purposes. Under the Christian cross, brutal crusades to convert masses to Christianity took place, during the Medieval Inquisition millions of heretics were burned in fires, and in the United States, black Americans were persecuted and murdered by the Ku Klux Klan. However, the cross has not become a forever detested and condemned symbol. Because of our differences in geography, culture and experience, people from different parts of the world will treat symbols differently. As an Eastern European immigrant, I don’t believe I can disassociate the swastika from the meaning I grew up with. But after learning about Hindu culture, I have become aware of the importance of the swastika to Hindus and now deeply respect the symbol’s significance and holiness. With knowledge and understanding, people from the Western world, while not forgetting their countries’ experiences, can embrace the swastika as an auspicious sign of the Asian world. As education and awareness replace prejudice, intolerance and narrow-mindedness, there is hope people will start to see the historical richness as well as the present-day significance of the swastika, and not just its Nazi past. ∏π Jane Srivastava holds a bachelor’s degree from Vilnius State University, Lithuania, and a degree from the Albany Law School, Albany, New York.

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Modern problem: (left) German soldiers gather under giant swastika banners to listen to Hitler’s May Day speech, 1934; (inset) The Nazi swastika; (right) a member of the Jewish community in Herrlisheim, France, inspects graves vandalized by anti-Semites, May, 2004

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Festive design: Rangoli, or kolam, often containing swastikas, are traditional floor decorations made from colored rice powder
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Honoring a Century of Excellence in Publishing
Five brothers face the age of the Internet with an unwavering commitment to a scholarly readership
By Rajiv Malik, New Delhi n 1903, a man named moti lal jain established a small religious bookshop in a portion of Punjab which is now part of Pakistan, with his son, Banarsi Dass. It was an unusual business venture for these two gentlemen from a distinguished family of jewelers well established in the court of the Sikh king, Maharaja Ranjit Singh. But the store was immediately successful, and the two men were quite happy until Motilal passed away just a few years later. When Banarsi Dass also died shortly after that in 1915, the responsibility for running the bookstore went to his younger brother, Sundar Lal Jain. Sundar Lal was soon joined by Shanti Lal, the only son of Banarsi Dass. It was this uncle-nephew team that built that small bookshop into the towering empire that came to be known even beyond the shores of India as Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. The first branch of the business was established in Patna (Bihar) in 1937. After Partition in 1948, when the Jain family home and publishing house were burned to the ground during the riots, the Jains moved their headquarters to their branch office in Patna. Three years after that, they relocated to Varanasi. In 1958, they moved one final time to New Delhi. Sundar Lal was a scholar of Sanskrit, an educationist, a philosopher and a philanthropist. When he took over the business, he began publishing serious works authored by respected scholars and attracted the cultured friendship and assistance of such eminent Indians as Dr. Rajendra Prasad and Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, both champions of Indian culture and heritage. In New Delhi under Sundar Lal’s distinguished leadership, Motilal Banarsidass flourished as never before. By featuring serious literature, the book

company has earned the respect of universities, researchers and historians around the world. Its books fill the libraries of virtually every institute of higher learning where Indology is studied. The Motilal trademark is a unique combination of scholarship, quality production and moderate costs, something major universities and struggling professors worry about. The Motilal book list covers a wide gamut of subjects: Indian languages and linguistics, literature, art, drama, music, history, religion, epigraphy, iconography, social themes, astronomy, astrology, ayurveda and yoga. The catalog is so extensive—over 2,000 titles—that more branches have come up in Patna, Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi, Banares, Mumbai, Kolkata and Pune to handle distribution. Now there are sales offices in London, and the US Library of Congress has made Motilal their authorized dealers for supplying Indological works from India. Sundar Lal Jain passed away in 1978, Shantilal in 1997. Shantilal’s five sons—and now, two of his grandsons—currently handle different aspects of the family business.

Are you training anyone to take your place as the Managing Director of Motilal Banarsidass Publishers? The person who will take over from me is my youngest brother, Rajeev. When we sit together, we discuss what is to be published and how many copies. Now, he is learning which authors are to be picked up. Do all of the five brothers work harmoniously together? There is no power struggle going on in our organization. If there were, we would be living in five different houses with five different businesses. By the blessings of our ancestors and our gurus, we are united. We all love and respect each other very much. In your estimation what are the finest books published by Motilal Banarsidass? The criterion we currently follow in choosing books to publish is that they should feature the teachings of Hinduism, Buddhism or Jainism. Of these three main streams of knowledge, Bud-

dhism is the most popular for us, because Buddha ventured beyond India. Today, we are the largest publisher of Buddhist teachings in the world. If you ask me which of our books is best, my choice may not have been our best seller. It may not have sold at all. How do you feel about New Age literature and music? We have been selling New Age publications for about five years now. While it is true that they are currently popular and have an unlimited potential for growth, our financial stability is already established. For more than 100 years, Motilal Banarsidass has featured books that are scholarly and academic. Our sales are consistent in this market. Most of these New Age books are also paperback, which makes them very economical. Popular books are always reasonably priced. The people of India will buy books only when the price is reasonable. Now, the youth are turning to these New Age publications.

N.P. Jain (below) is the Managing Director of Motilal Banarsidass. At 65, he is the oldest of the five Jain brothers. Hinduism Today talked with him about the way it was and is, good books and bad, spiritual life, worldly life and the future of publishing in the age of the Internet.


Current king: N.P. Jain is the eldest of the five brothers and is currently in charge of the Motilal Banarsidass dynasty. (Above) The late Sundar Lal, younger brother of Motilal, was almost single-handedly responsible for building the publishing empire.

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The four younger Jain brothers: (From left to right) Ravi P., director of finance; J.P., director of showrooms and press; R.P., director of public relations and special projects; and Rajeev P., director of exports and New Age publications—and heir apparent

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Do you get many requests for publication? We receive so many manuscripts. We try to select the best ones for publication. Out of ten submissions, we might publish two. I am the first one to go through these, but I do so with the help of specialists on the topics of books submitted. Sometimes when I think that a book is of an outstanding nature but needs some work, I will commission an author, an editor or a scholar to come in. What are your views on the changing world of book publication? As businessmen we should expand. But we like to think of ourselves as publishers who are scholarly and academic. We are more concerned with quality than quantity. In India, the general emphasis is more on quantity. If you go through our catalogue, you will find that most of our authors are Western scholars. When Western scholars start a project, they put their body, mind and

soul into it and take the work very seriously. Does book publication have a future? There was a time, not too long ago, when book publishing all around the world was suffering. Today things are looking a lot better. Trends start overseas. Then India copies them. When television came into the world, people stopped reading books. Then there was the Internet. For a time, it seemed all but lost. Yet miraculously, people are now slowly starting to read books again. As usual, this started in the West and is only just now coming to India. Even the youth are coming back to books. Look at Harry Potter. Our sale of educational books will always be secure, but scholarly and academic publications have never been lucrative. This is why scholars seek grants for publication. They cannot raise the neces-

sary funds from book sales alone. About twenty percent of the books that I publish are by authors who are working on grants. It is generally understood that your family approaches publishing almost as if it were a spiritual mission of sorts. Is this true? Publishing as a spiritual mission has been a tradition in this family. Actually, we think of it more as the dissemination of Indian culture. We have even been recognized and honored with awards for this work. We can maintain this attitude of service because we keep our personal requirements limited. This is part of the philosophy of Jainism. We follow the path of aparigraha, which means non-possessiveness. Gandhi followed this path. His spiritual guru was a Jain whose name was Shrimad Raj Chandra. Can you talk a little about the joint family structure? Running a family requires a lot of sacrifice. Most of the problems that occur in a joint family are not because of the men, but because of the women. This has my mother worried. She says that women under the influence of modern culture want freedom but no work. I believe that the division of this family will occur eventually. It might have happened quite some time ago, if it had not been for my father. He wanted to keep the family together. When he passed away eight years ago, my mother and I inherited the responsibility for running the family. Finally, when we thought we could not wait any longer, we bought five houses in a colony. But now nobody wants to shift. Everyone is saying, “We are happy here.” God is great, you see! We are still together. There is another reason why we are still together. Many spiritual people come to our home as guests. They bring stability and unity. Do you have any special interests as you prepare to retire? I am now only interested in spiritual life. If I come to know of some spiritual person traveling through, I try to meet him. I do not claim to have realized Here we have 27 people living under one roof. The five brothers all share a blood relationship whereas their wives all come from different families. So far, everyone agrees that the advantages of the joint family far outweigh the disadvantages. Now my grandchildren are getting married and the family is expanding even more. I feel that the time has finally come for us to start planning to live separately. But this separation should take place while I am alive. Otherwise, who will solve the disputes. — Leelavati Jain, 75, wife of the late Shanti Lal and Jain family matriarch

God, but I am clear in my understanding of my soul and my life. I know who I am, where I came from and where I am going. I firmly believe that what we are supposed to do is live a selfless life. While good deeds bring joy and bad deeds bring suffering, selfless deeds bring liberation. This is my belief. I feel that if one goes deeply into the study of Jainism, one will find the spiritual path. Likewise, if one goes deeply into Hinduism or Buddhism, one will also find nothing but the path of spirit. People generally do not go into this kind of depth. For this reason, most of us are more religious than spiritual. As a respected elder advisor, do you have any advice for the youth? Our youth of today need to get the right type of education. Modern education is not complete. We must seek a type of education that improves the quality of life. This is my message to our youth. The entire curriculum of our schools has to be changed so as to include an instruction from our ancient literature. Unfortunately, I do not see this happening.
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readers will gradually become interested in our other books. Where do you make your most money today? We are surviving today due to the international markets. Scholars and institutions outside India are supporting us. Thirty percent of our sales go to institutions. For them, Indian books are cheap. America is one of the largest buyers. England, Germany and France are also good. We also have a large number of people buying from us through the Internet and our online bookstore. Is publishing a commercially viable business today? Publishing is in our blood. We are not interested in any other business. However, I cannot say that publishing is a commercially viable business. In publishing, your stock has to be at least three times that of your turnover. When you print, you don’t just print one book, you print a thousand or more. Whether you are able sell them or not, your money is already spent on production. Then you need places to store these books—and more places to sell them. So there is this huge cost for infrastructure. To start a publishing house like ours in today’s times would be an act of foolishness. How do you see the future of Motilal Banarsidass Publishers? My own dream is that our younger generation should be groomed so that they are happy, healthy and wise. Our parents and elder brothers have worked much harder than we have and left us a structure which is now profitable and growing. I would like to do the same for our next generation. I would hope that our growth would be slow and steady, but not extravagant. Though I am not a very spiritual person, I go to our Jain temple almost every evening. This gives me peace. I do not want to be an aggressive and angry person. Our whole family is vegetarian and we are teetotalers. It is my belief that any success we enjoy is only a reflection of the good and wholesome life we try to live. ∏π have put into Motilal Banarsidass through the years, we might be much richer by now. Our first priority has always been to stay together and get along well with each other. Contentment and satisfaction are the key principles by which we live. Living this way, we may move slowly but we move together in mutual support. One of the reasons we are more easily able to take this leisurely approach could be that in the field of Indology, we don’t have much competition. I can proudly say that, so far as the books on Indology are concerned, we are the number-one publishing house in the world. —Ravi P. Jain, 47, Director of Finance
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Future boss: Rajeev P. Jain, the youngest fits right in with what we are already doing, because actually, there is no “New Age.” There is ancient wisdom coming to this age. What is being called the New Age is really just a repackaging of ancient wisdom—like old wine in a new bottle. When we talk of New Age publications, we are talking about esoteric material made easily understandable and accessible to the masses. These books are meant to inspire the common man and act like a catalyst in teaching him the art of living. New Age books have been my passion for the last 20 years. Now that our children are joining the business, I am promoting the sale of New Age books. If I can make this new division of our operation successful, our next generation of family members will be able to eventually handle it independently. I will then be free to move on to something else. New Age books have more scope for growth than our more academic works. Motilal Banarsidass did 2,000 titles in one hundred years. Now in just five years, our New Age division has already produced 250 titles. About 60 to 70 percent of the content of new age books is based on Hinduism. There is also the chance that our New Age book Because of our tradition of living together and working together, we enjoy the warmth and security that only a family can provide. If even one of us became overly ambitious, we might not be able to live together like we do. So we all share the same ambition. This is probably the secret behind the miracle of us remaining united. For us, what is most important is working and living together with one equal mind. To us this is more important than money. And because of this we are happy. Our forefathers started this company with 27 rupees. If we had invested in some other business the same amount of time and money we

How has the Internet affected reading habits in India? More and more Indians are getting educated now, and the level of education is rising. More education is bound to have a positive affect on the reading habits of people. It is interesting to note that this is due in part to the Internet. Although our whole catalogue is available on the Internet, I have no interest in making the books we publish available on the Web in the shape of E Books. Do your plans to expand include featuring New Age publications? New Age books and music are a part of our expansion plans. It

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The sky is the limit: Eighteen of the 27-member Jain family gather around Leelavati Jain, 75, the grand family matriarch. (Above) The late Shanti Lal is son of Banarsidass, father of the five brothers and husband of Leelavati. He helped Sundar Lal develop the company.

Rajeev P. Jain is heir apparent to the Motilal Banarsidass dynasty. At 45, he is currently in charge of exports and the New Age books division. HINDUISM TODAY talked with him about ages new and old, making money and the future of their family business in the hands of the young.

h i n d u i s m t o d ay

a p r i l / m ay / j u n e , 2 0 0 5

a p r i l / m ay / j u n e , 2 0 0 5


Kauai Aadheenam Monastic Endowment
Anonymous $565.00 Rajendra Giri 10.00 Vijay, Daksha & Neil Mithal 2.00 Other Donations 21,135.92 Himalayan Academy 2,250.00 Total 23,962.92 Rubatharan Sukumaran Vayudeva Varadan Samynaden Veerapen Total 13.00 250.00 34.00 3,150.39

Kumbhalavalai Ganesha Temple Endowment

Manoharan Navaratnarajah Total Anonymous Vinay Aggarwal Total

75.00 75.00 8.33 100.00 108.33

Kauai Aadheenam Religious Art and Artifacts Fund
Anonymous Rajadeva Alahan Total

Ten years after their conversion to Hinduism, Shyamadeva and Peshanidevi Dandapani came forward to open their third endowment (#60) with HHE. The purpose of this fund is to give complimentary copies of Himalayan Academy books to public libraries, libraries of Hindu institutions and worthy individuals who can’t afford to buy them. Titles will include Weaver’s Wisdom, Lemurian Scrolls, Yoga’s Forgotten Foundation, Know Thy Self and more. Here is their life-changing story, which inspired the creation of this fund, excerpted from one of these books, How to Become a Hindu. “In February of 1994 we decided to take a relaxing vacation somewhere in the warm sunshine without a busy sightseeing schedule. Three days into our vacation we went into the Lazarus Used Bookstore, where Peshanidevi, my wife, began collecting books. She soon handed me a pile to purchase. On top was a copy of the second edition of Dancing with Siva (published by Himalayan Academy). I picked it up and looked at it, and on the back was a short biography and picture of the author, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami. Upon reading it, I said to my wife, ‘This author is right here on Kauai, and there is a temple here.’ We bought our books and went back to the hotel. At this point we both seemed to be totally compelled, propelled and impelled to locate Gurudeva and the temple. We found a listing for Subramuniyaswami, Satguru Sivaya, in the local phone directory. Peshanidevi was able to talk with Yogi Rishinatha. She explained that we had found a copy of Gurudeva’s book in the bookstore, told him The Dandapanis sign their new endowment we would like to come to the temple and asked what papers at the HHE headquarters in Hawaii the proper protocols were for visiting. We were both very excited the next morning. With our Safeway flower bouquet in hand, we made our first walk up the path to the temple. Seeing the 16-ton black granite Nandi and the temple for the very first time was breathtaking. We washed our feet and entered the temple. It was beyond words. It was as if we had finally arrived back home after a long and arduous journey. We sat down, the only two people in the temple that morning, as Ceyonswami began the puja. We did not know Sanskrit but somehow seemed to intuit the deeper beauty and meaning of the puja. “After the puja the next day, Swami asked if we would like to meet Gurudeva. ‘Yes, of course!’ When? ‘Wait here.’ We can remember feeling His loving energy before he walked through the curtain. We could feel the love. And then we fully prostrated to our beloved Gurudeva for the very first time. As he sat down in his chair, he looked at us and said, ‘I see you are dancing with Siva.’ At that moment we knew we had found our Guru, our Precious Preceptor, our Teacher. At that moment our lives were forever changed.” Little wonder the Dandapanis want Gurudeva’s books to find their way into many more hands, as they will through this endowment.

Hinduism Today Lifetime Subscription Fund

Hinduism Today Production Fund

37.50 153.00 190.50

Manjung Hindu Sabha Orphanage Fund
Mirta Noemi Cotto Rajendra Giri Dayavati Murugan Niraj Thaker Total

Iraivan Temple Endowment

Anonymous 358.33 P.S. Bob & Bharati Gaitonde 50.00 R. Logeswaran 50.00 Rathinappilai Logeswaran 50.00 Mani & Surya Nallasivan 500.00 Natraj Narayanswami 15.50 Rajkumar Padmanabhan 50.00 S.V. Ravi Rahavendran 706.00 Bharat Rajpara 101.00 Jnana Sivananda 365.00 S Sivanathan 100.00 Niraj Thaker 16.83 Other Donations 18,439.34 Total 20,802.00

Kauai Aadheenam Annual Archana Fund
Kanda Alahan Priya Alahan Vinaya Alahan Anil Ananda Badhwar Sivanathan Batumalai Chandran Chellappa Deva Toshadeva Guhan Suguneswary Gunasegaran Kriya Haran Isanah Kameni Amooda Koothan Egilen Koothan Saravan Koothan Usharani Kuppusamy Thavamalar Lingam Bhaveshan Moorghen Shanda Kumaran Moorghen Udeyadeva Moorghen Umah Rani Palanisamy Kirtideva Peruman Niroshnee Peruman Kasturi Raman P. Raman Shamala Raman Akileiswaran Samuthiran Jayasutha Samuthiran Padmini Samuthiran Loganatha Shivam Palaka Shivam Devaladevi Sivaceyon Nutanaya Sivaceyon Patudeva Sivaceyon Hemavalli Sivalingam K. Sivalingam Kantha Ruben Sivalingam Rohini Sivalingam Dasa Sivam Lavanadevi Sivam Potriyan Sivanathan Girish Skanda Javanya Skanda Subasene Skanda

101.00 96.00 250.00 435.55 65.36 13.00 226.00 252.12 27.36 137.00 13.15 0.71 14.22 0.71 159.47 38.90 1.78 1.78 1.78 90.53 10.66 31.96 5.84 58.42 5.84 2.90 22.62 80.05 200.00 200.00 5.22 5.22 5.22 2.37 30.00 2.37 2.37 106.00 102.00 2.61 20.00 6.00 19.30

Anil Ananda Badhwar 577.56 Sanjay Bajekal 240.00 Surinder M. Bhardwaj 100.00 Sivarama Dandamudi 240.00 Rajul & Heidi Gandhi 111.99 Rajendra Giri 5.00 Isanah Kameni 13.15 Amravadee Kownden 35.85 Ravi & Sevanthi Kumaran 75.00 Rushikesh H. Mehta 99.00 Dibyajyoti Pandit 800.00 Gassa Patten 100.00 Suselah Periasamy 169.42 Adi Sankara Perumal 161.94 Anjeeni Devi Perumal 70.34 Balgrim Ragoonanan 800.00 Linda Seeley 75.00 Jiva Shanmuga 102.00 Vinaya Sharma 240.00 Dasa Sivam 77.00 Lavanadevi Sivam 51.00 Potriyan Sivanathan 5.23 Nagaraj Tanguturu 240.00 Total 4,389.48

Thank You Bodhinatha Fund

Hindu Orphanage Endowment Fund

Anonymous 478.84 Lila Shakti Devi 50.00 P.S. Bob & Bharati Gaitonde 50.00 Rajendra Giri 10.00 Meenal S Khajuria 10.00 Christian Langers 100.00 Vijay, Daksha & Neil Mithal 7.00 Mani & Surya Nallasivan 500.00 Natraj Narayanswami 25.00 Alex Ruberto 45.00 Aran Sendan 51.00 Jutikadevi Sivaraja 324.00 Rodney & Ilene Standen 30.00 Niraj Thaker 16.84 Matthew Wieczork 162.00 Total 1,859.68

Anonymous 108.00 Amarnath Devarmanai 324.00 Rajendra Giri 5.00 Shama Kumaran 108.00 Manoharan Navaratnarajah 150.00 Shanta Devi Periasamy 403.42 Jiva Rajasankara 500.00 Alex Ruberto 45.00 Hitesvara Saravan 309.00 Michael Leonard Smith 100.00 Jeremiah Umakanthan 50.00 Vayudeva Varadan 56.00 Total 2,158.42

30.00 5.00 25.00 16.83 76.83

Pazhassi Balamandiram Orphanage Fund
Rajendra Giri Ganesan & Rajalakshmi Ramalingam Niraj Thaker Total

5.00 100.00 16.83 121.83

Karnataka Temple Development Fund
Anonymous Total

8.34 8.34

Mathavasi Travel Fund
Rajendra Giri Total

5.00 5.00

Sri Ganesha Hindu Temple of Utah Fund
Vijay, Daksha & Neil Mithal Total

Udayan Care Endowment Fund
Rajendra Giri Christian Langers Total

2.00 2.00

Suntheram Family Trust Fund
Suntheram Family Total

Hindu Businessmen’s Association Trust

1,000.00 1,000.00

5.00 100.00 105.00

Hindu Literature Fund
Munmun Sengupta Prabha S. Verma Total

7.00 1,001.00 1,008.00

Paramaseeven Canagasaby Vel Mahalingum Manogaran Mardemootoo Janaka Param Vedapragassen Peruman Total

24.62 21.39 53.47 25.00 21.34 145.82

Hindu Press International Fund

Saivite Hindu Scriptural Fund for the Visually Impaired
Alice R. Anderson Rajendra Giri Mani & Surya Nallasivan Alex Ruberto Hitesvara Saravan Total

Venkatraman A. Nageswaran 50.00 Rajendra Giri 5.00 Total 55.00

Boys School for Iraivan Priesthood
Anonymous Rajendra Giri Bala Sivaceyon Niraj Thaker Total

Loving Ganesha Distribution Fund

20.00 5.00 500.00 45.00 108.00 678.00

Hinduism Today Subscription Fund

Other Donations Hiranya & Saraswathi Gowda Doris G Jorden R.P. & Bharati Lathi Total

5,000.00 654.00 50.00 1,001.00 6,705.00

8.33 5.00 19.34 16.84 49.51

Anonymous 333.33 Rajendra Giri 5.00 Eric Jautee 110.00 Christian Langers 100.00 Manoharan Navaratnarajah 75.00 Gassa Patten 1,203.00 Total 1,826.33

Sri Chandra Madhab Debnath Fund

Shyamal Chandra Debnath Total

50.00 50.00 20.92 20.92 8.34 8.34 15.50 15.50 8.33 500.00 508.33

Himalayan Academy Book Distribution Fund

Manitha Neyam Trust Fund
Bala Sivaceyon Total Anonymous Total

Shyamadeva & Peshanidevi Dandapani 5,001.00 Douglas Mulford 50.00 Janaka & Bhavani Param 201.00 Total 5,252.00

Kauai Aadheenam Matavasi Medical Fund
Anonymous Rajendra Giri Gowri Nadason Niraj Thaker Vayudeva Varadan Total

10.05 5.00 120.12 16.83 54.00 206.00

Swami Agnivesh Endowment Fund
Rajendra Giri Dayavati Murugan Total

Mahajana College Fund
5.00 25.00 30.00 90.00 90.00

Kauai Aadheenam Yagam Fund
Sivakumar & Lavanya Saravan Total Gowri Nadason Satya Palani Barathy Sockanathan Total Total Contributions 900.00 900.00 40.00 50.00 30.00 120.00

Kerala Temple Trust
Natraj Narayanswami Total

Saiva Agamas Trust
Matthew Wieczork Total

Pooled Income Fund Trust (PIF)

Sri Subramuniya Ashram Scholarship Fund

Taos Hanuman Fund

Anonymous Vijay, Daksha & Neil Mithal Total Hitesvara Saravan Aran Sendan Total

8.33 2.00 10.33 108.00 102.00 210.00

Mauritius Saiva Dharmasala Endowment
Natraj Narayanswami Total

15.00 15.00

Anonymous Mani & Surya Nallasivan Total


Sri Subramuniya Kottam Fund

HHE Administrative Fund

Kapaleeshwara Temple Orphanage

Krish Chawla 500.00 Vijay, Daksha & Neil Mithal 2.00 Rajkumar Padmanabhan 50.00 Rakesh Sood 125.00 Total 677.00

Jayanthi Vasudevan Naiker 300.00 Mani & Surya Nallasivan 1,000.00 Natraj Narayanswami 15.00 Ganesan & Rajalakshmi Ramalingam 100.00 Total 1,415.00

Funds at Market Value, December 31, 2004

Total Endowment Funds $5,944,208.66 Total Pooled Income Funds $202,663.97 Grand Total $6,146,872.63

MISSION STATEMENT: Hindu Heritage Endowment is a publicly supported, charitable organization recognized as tax exempt by the IRS on April 22, 1994. Employer ID 99-0308924. Founded by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, its philanthropic mission is to provide secure, professionally managed financial support for institutions and religious leaders of all lineages of Sanatana Dharma. PROFESSIONAL ADVISORS: Halbert, Hargrove/Russell, Investment Counsel; Alvin G. Buchignani, Esq., Legal Counsel; and Hirose, Kato and Co., CPA. HHE is a member of the Council on Foundations, an association of 1,931 foundations which interprets relevant law and management and investment principles.






Two HHE beneficiaries were devastated by the Asian Tsunami. The Swami Vipulananta Children’s Home (fund #57) was spared by the waves, but dozens of children in the area lost parents in the flood and have taken refuge at the overcrowded home. The orphanage plans to add a second story to their building to accommodate the new children, who were temporarily joined by 42 boys from the Tirunavukkarasu Nayanar Gurukulam orphanage (fund #12). Most of this second orphanage was destroyed by the giant waves, and the boys are now displaced and insecure. One boy died, along with four staff members. Nevertheless, the Gurukulam plans to rebuild and continue their religious service in the Batticaloa area. Both orphanages are seeking funds for reconstruction. For an update on the Gurukulam, visit: www.himalayanacademy.com/ssc/srilanka/tng/

existing fund, create a new endowment or request information through the address below. Donations may be made online at www.hheonline.org or use the HHE tear-out card in this magazine to join our family of benefactors who are Strengthening Hinduism Worldwide. Thank you.


107 Kaholalele Road Kapaa, Hawaii, 96746-9304 USA Tel: 808-822-3012 Ext 244 • Fax: 808-822-3152 hhe@hindu.org • www.hheonline.org

Sanskrit Academy
Promoting Sanskrit Language and Culture

Ramanand Shastri, Vedic Astrologer
Jyotish Pundit Ramanand Shastri represents the 41st generation of a traditional family of Vedic astrologers dating back over 1,000 years. He has over 40 years of experience, advising and spiritually uplifting tens of thousands of people in 55 countries. You may meet Pundit Shastri during his upcoming world tour or connect with him by phone, email or fax. He is available for individual, family or group appointments. Many who have met Punditji have been amazed at his accurate insights and his ability to help them to be more happy and successful. This has been so especially with people who were at an important juncture: planning marriage or a turning point in a business, making a career move, having to make a major decision or deal with difficult times, such as illness. Oftentimes people who had felt stressed or confused with their life circumstances felt suddenly relieved and positive, after consulting with Pundit Shastri, which in turn opened doors of abundance within them and good fortune outwardly. For more information, please contact: tel: 1-808-876-1370 (Hawaii, USA)xx fax: 1-808-876-1580 ● shastriinternational@yahoo.comxx

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TRI-HEALTH offers the finest Ayurvedic Herbs, Food Supplements, Medicinal Oils, Aristhams, Leyhams and other Rasayanas (Rejuvenators) prepared in strict accordance with the sacred classical texts. And... when on Kauai (Hawaii) be sure to experience our luxurious South Indian Massage Treatments. Free Catalogue and new product updates: TRI-HEALTH INC., PO Box 340, Anahola HI 96703-0518 USA tel: 800-455-0770 or 808-822-4288 ● oilbath@aloha.net ● www.oilbath.com

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individuals or groups by correspondence with continuous guidance elementary, intermediate or advanced levels
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Contact: Dr. Sarasvati Mohan, Director Sanskrit Academy sanskrit_academy@yahoo.com www.samskrtam.org

107 Talks on Sankara's Crest-Jewel of Discrimination by H.H. Swami Chinmayananda 33 DVDs • 96 hours


wami Chinmayananda’s 96 hours of commentary on Sankara’s Vivekachudamani (Crest-Jewel of Discrimination) were professionally recorded in Sidhabari, Himachal Pradesh, India in the fall of 1992. These 581 verses of Adi Sankaracharya are the cream of the Upanishads and the Bhagavad-Gita. Here, the poet in Sankara vies with the philosopher to give us the essence of the subtle philosophy in lucid, rhythmical and entrancing verses. Swami

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Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training
Two 4-week intensives in the Sierra foothills of California. May 8-June 5 & Oct 2-Oct 30, 2005. Asanas • Pranayama Meditation • Mantras Raja yoga • Vedanta Bhagavad Gita & more. For free brochure: Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm 14651 Ballantree Ln., Grass Valley, CA 95949 • Tel: 800469-9642/415-681-2731 • www.sivananda.org • yogafarm@ sivananda.org • founded by Swami Vishnudevananda, pictured


Self-Realization and Planetary Transformation
Dr. David Frawley
Yoga and the Sacred Fire explores the evolution of life and consciousness according to the cosmology and psychology of Fire, viewing Fire not only as a material but also as a spiritual principle. It shows how Yoga’s deeper fire wisdom can help us move forward to an enlightened planetary age, where humanity and nature can again be one in a higher awareness. “David Frawley continues to bring the ancient wisdom of Vedic knowledge to contemporary readers with impeccable clarity. Yoga and the Sacred Fire will accelerate your journey to enlightenment.” —Dr. Deepak Chopra, Author, How to Know God
ISBN 0-940985-75-6 312 pp pb $19.95 (+$2.50 s/h)

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American Institute of Vedic Studies: 505.983.9385 • vedicinst@aol.com • www.vedanet.com




Chakrapani Ullal, Vedic Astrology
World-renowned teacher and advisor, Chakrapani Ullal, consults internationally with people from all walks of life. As the founding honorary chairman of the ACVA (American Council of Vedic Astrology), he has played an active role in bringing together the Eastern Indian Vedic astrologers and Western astrologers. Considered a teacher of teachers, he travels widely as an author, lecturer and consultant. Born into a traditional Hindu lineage of astrologers in South India, Chakrapani began his training at an early age and enjoyed associations with many of India’s most revered and celebrated saints and sages. With over 45 years of experience, his depth of knowledge and unique understanding of how astrological principles apply to different cultures are sought out by people from all over the world. For more information and a schedule of his upcoming itinerary, please contact: Chakrapani Ullal • 12044 Kearsarge Street Los Angeles, CA 90049-4113 USA Tel: 310-476-9942 • Fax: 310-471-3205 info@vedicastrology.com • www.chakrapani.com

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Life Insurance and Estate Planning
In an increasingly complex field of laws and available financial strategies, it is wise to rely on professional counsel for retirement and estate planning. For information, contact one of the most highly trained financial advisors in the USA: Niraj P. Baxi, MSI, CLU, ChFC 19925 Steven’s Creek Blvd Cupertino, CA 95014 Tel: 800-686-8436/408-725-7117 nbaxi@insuranceplanning.com

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Expand your horizons in Vedic and Hindu Dharma. Practical teachings of Vamadeva Shastri (Dr. David Frawley). Authentic Vedic knowledge in a clear modern idiom. Books, courses, conferences and research information from the ancient Rig Veda to India in the Planetary Age. Dr. Frawley’s latest books: • Yoga and the Sacred Fire: Self-realization and Planetary Transformation • The Rig Veda and the History of India • How I Became a Hindu: My Discovery of Vedic Dharma Courses from the Institute: • New Advanced Yoga and Ayurveda Distance Learning Program • Ayurvedic Healing Course for Health Care Professionals • Astrology of the Seers, Vedic Astrology Course. American Institute of Vedic Studies PO Box 8357, Santa Fe, NM 87504-8357 USA tel: 505-983-9385 • fax: 505-982-5807 info@vedanet.com • www.vedanet.com (Note our Vedanet resource guide and on-line books and information.)

A Glimpse of Divinity
By Mukund M. Hanumante, PhD

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March/April 2005

World Tour

Know Y our

Hidden Potential


—Sri Mahamandaleshwar Paramahans Swami Maheshwarananda


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USA and Canada 703-299-8946 Australia and New Zealand (02) 9518-7788

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U.S. Immigration for Hi-Tech Clients
Initial telephone or e-mail consultation is complimentary! Areas handled: • US Immigration matters, with emphasis on employment based and business related visas. • Matters concerning Indo-US joint ventures, government liaison work in India, international law & trade.

To Uplift People and Communities

Links to charitable and worthy institutions worldwide.


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1. Make donations to the institutions of your choice via Kindle Life (in accord with US regulations). 2. Apply for inclusion of your favorite charities. 3. Contact us to learn about-other possibilites in giving—or to help us to develop them. 4. Visit site to access Hindu scriptures. Located in an ideal setting immersed in nature’s peace and silence where you can enjoy the bliss of ancient Oriental culture.
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The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service of others. —Mahatma Gandhi

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A New Organization For Protection and Preserving Hinduism / Vedic Culture And Sharing The Universal Dharma


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The Yoga of the 18 Siddhas: An Anthology

The Yoga of Siddha Avvai The Yoga of Siddha Boganathar Vol. 1 & 2

You are invited to Join! Membership is Free VFA, Box 15082 Detroit, MI 48215 USA

Illuminating works of kundalini Yoga and Tantra, translated from ancient Tamil into English for the first time, with commentary and index. Kriya Yoga Publications • 196 Mountain Road PO Box 90, Eastman, PQ J0E 1P0 Canada www.babaji.ca tel: 1-888-252-9642 or 450-297-0258


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The Yoga of the Bhagavad Gita
Swami Sri Atmananda’s course on the Bhagavad Gita. Inner meaning, commentary, glossary, chanting tape. Brochure: Satyachetana—USA, POB 20903, Reno, NV 895150903 USA • satyachetana@iname.com

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Bhakti yoga - theory and practice of love and devotion as a spiritual path. www.devipress.com 866-531-5967 toll free.

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Siddhar Selvam, or Dr. Commander Selvam, is the only Atharva Veda scholar in North America for Indian Astrology, Indian Vaasthu, ancient Indian Holy Massage and alternative medicine. Atharva Veda is the only Veda that deals with application of Yantra, Tantra, and Mantra Saastra. He has written 27 books on the Vedas and has a weekly column in leading US newspapers. He was initiated by his Guruji Akasthiya Maamani Sri Chinnappa “Siddhar” at 5 years of age and is now Guru Parampara, the 126th Mattathipathi of Sri Akasthiyar Siddhar Peedam, India. Siddhar Selvam has helped countless families to relieve stress and live balanced lives, following dharma, growing in meditation, devotion and more. Yagya/havan/homam is performed in his Ashram for people worldwide who will receive prasadam including video and audio of the event on a CD. Please contact him for more information and for his upcoming itinerary and schedules in USA, Canada, Fiji and Singapore.
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this time to...


january 2006 new zealand


In the Four Chambers Of My Heart

This fever will not go. This desire will not die. I burn in the fires of My longing for Thee, My Infinite Muruga.

On the cold slopes of Dolma Pass The porters thought I had gone insane. But my guide, she alone knew— My cry was reverberating Thy Name In the silent skies above.

I walked on glaciers; Climbed rocks and boulders. Reached the plateau Tapawan breathless; Searching for Thee in The Wilderness
Innersearch is a time to leave behind your usual life for a while and take flight to a new and extraordinary corner of the world with an enlightened master. Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami will lead this 2-day educational and spiritual cruise to two of the most beautiful countries in the world. Every day will be a rare opportunity to explore with a living satguru, through meditations, discourses and informal sharing, the day-to-day practicalities of living a dynamic Hindu life in a modern world. Our program includes all meals and accommodation onboard Princess Cruises' Diamond Princess, classes with Bodhinatha and his monks, shore excursions, onboard entertainment and group activities. For more information, to request a brochure or to register, please contact Himalayan Academy at -808-822-302, Ext. 239 or e-mail innersearch@hindu.org

Deep silence reigns As my forlorn eyes gaze At the horizon of my hope: My Lord promised to come To-Day.

Has its own painful tenderness.

retreat ~ explore ~ meditate discover Hinduism Down Under
In remembrance of my Infinite Muruga, by Dr. Arjunan Subramaniam, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 15th August to 27th August, 2004.

Visit www.hindu.org
w w w. d i v i n e l i f e s o c i e t y. o r g

Mona Vijaykar Targets Schools


An ocean of teachings for all aspects of spiritual life and sadhana

ransforming misrepresentations and stereotypes about Indian history and culture is a big challenge. India in Classrooms, (www.indiainclassrooms.org), the brainchild of Mona Vijaykar, an energetic Indo-American mother, is a

progressive strategy to insert accurate knowledge into schools through classroom instruction content and multicultural activities. She is working to spark a grassroots teacher support network designed to dispel myths and misunderstandings, thus improving the way Indians and Hindus are perceived in America. Check out her extensive site and teaching aids, get involved, join hands with Mona, for the sake of Hindu children.


prolific author, swami sivananda saraswati, founder of the Divine Life Society, wrote hundreds of books carrying the message: “Serve, love, give, purify, meditate, realize. Be good, do good. Rise up and discover your own divine nature. Strive ceaselessly. Never despair. God and guru are with you always.” The dissemination of these spiritual teachings was his mission, a priority within his organization. Taking advantage of the Internet to further these goals, the Divine Life Society (www.divinelifesociety.org) has posted the teachings, sadhana and dozens of books by Swami Sivananda and his successors. This is a “two-thumbs up” site with a wealth of teachings from the Sanatana Dharma. and New Age fare. But with mystical plots, references to reincarnation and happy endings, they can be a step up from mainstream movies and many mindless, sometimes gory, weekly series.

w w w. i n d i a i n c l a s s r o o m s . o r g

Sivananda: Deep and Practical

Power point modules, networking links, strategy, FAQs and more


Uplifting TV!

Class Crafts From India


“Before, hardly anyone got to see the year’s best movies.”

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o you long for shows with more meaning than mass market movies? www. SpiritualCinemaCircle.com/ comes to the rescue. For a low subscription fee, you receive two DVDs monthly with spiritual films that are yours to keep and share. The short films and feature movies may not be for everyone. They range from uplifting family entertainment to art-house


hat could be more delightful than a successful family-owned Internet business that makes beautiful, collectible, handcrafted dolls? Dolls of India (www.DollsOfIndia.com) is full of exquisitely crafted dolls, representative of Hindu Gods and Goddesses, classical Indian dancers, and extraordinary members of Indian society. Most of the dolls are made to order by Madhuri Guin, a recognized doll artiste for over 30 years. The site is enhanced with jewelry items, Hindu apparel, tribal arts and a small but excellent library of Custom Odissi dancer doll, articles on topics related to In- metal earrings—fabulous dolls dian culture and arts. and personal accessories
w w w. d o l l s o f i n d i a . c o m

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