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April/May/June, 2005 US$5.


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

thuraisingam rajasankara
COVER: A child’s parents are his first guru; (above) Sri Jayendra Puri (to right of throne) just prior to his coronation as succes-
sor 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

IN T ER NAT IONA L Issues: Did the Nazis Ruin Forever the 5,000-Year-
Feature: Take a Tour of Ujjain, Ancient Sacred City Old Use of the Good-Luck Swastika? 61
of Hinduism and Host to the Kumbha Mela 18 Books: Meet the Extended Family Behind Motilal
Disaster: As Rescue Work Winds Down, We Assess Banarsidass, Premier Publishers of Hindu Books 64
the Hindu Response to the 2004 Tsunami 34 Commentary: Swami Kritarthananda Speaks on the
Commentary: So, Why Did Newsweek Magazine Special Merits of Old Age 68
Disparage the Hindu View of the Tsunami? 36
Transition: Sri Tiruchi Mahaswamigal, Great Saint of OPINION
Our Times, Attained Mahasamadhi January 14 62 In My Opinion: American Hindus Should Claim and
Proudly Teach Religious Identity to Youth 9
LIFEST YLE Publisher’s Desk: A Hindu View of Natural Disasters 10
Letters 12
Money: Strategies for Investing Your Hard-Earned
Money According to the Principles of Dharma 30 From the Vedas: One God, Many Functions 17
Insight: Advice on Raising Children as Good Hindus
From Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami 37 DIGESTS
Medicine: Get throuth the Flu Season with Diaspora 6 Digital Dharma 86
Minimum Downtime by Following Ayurveda 53 Quotes & Quips 14
Education: The Innovative YogaEd Teaching

Program Is a Useful Model for Hindu Education 58

Letters to the editor, subscription and editorial inquiries may be sent to Hinduism Today, 107 Kaholalele Road, Kapaa, Hawaii 96746-9304 USA,

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p01-2§ cover Apr 05 §.indd 1 2/7/05 12:16:20 PM


is enshrined
is enshrined at at
a monastery
a monastery
in Ujjain.
in Ujjain.
es es
Goddess Shakti.
in holy
in holy
18 18

t h o m a s k e l ly
photo disc

p03-4§ GATE Apr04 g1.indd 3 2/5/05 5:10:28 PM p05§ GATE Apr04 g1.indd 5 2/5/05 5:11:32 PM
to hinduism today’s digital edition!
am pleased to welcome you to the free digital edition of Hinduism
I Today magazine. It is the fulfillment of a vision held by my Satguru
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An Audio Library
To the Editor Press International, a
Of Inspired Talks
(e-mail) Daily News Summary
australia Victoria (NGV) in Australia.
National An audience of hundreds
witnessed a ceremony rarely
seen by non-Hindus. Three
usa Gallery Hindu priests performed a
Hindus Speak Out Against Siva Puja
Ganesha puja, a Lakshmi
puja and then the puja to
the stone Lingam which had
Texas Ten Commandments L ord siva’s formless form been in NGV storage. NGV
was front and center in an Photography Curator, Dr. A new generation of Hindu leaders gather in Bali to face the future

O n december 13, 2004, an

amicus curiae brief spear-
unusual public venue last year.
On December 5, 2004, Sri Pre-
Isobel Crombie, organized
the event with the help of her bali agenda of speeches on Modern
headed by the Hindu American
Foundation (HAF) was filed
makantha Kurukal performed
an abhishekam and puja to
Kashmir Saivite guru, Swami
Shankarananda of Shiva Ash- Youth Take a Challenges, Position of Women,
Social Action, etc., was the In-
with the United States Supreme a Narmada Siva Lingam at ram, Victoria. The Lingam is donesian delegation’s complaint

India’s premier religious broadcasting station takes flight

Court supporting the position
that the 40-year-old permanent
Melbourne’s National Gallery of now the focal point of the first-
floor South Asian
Stand in Bali that worship is barred in some
Hindu temples in Java, which
placement of the Ten Com-
mandments on Texas State Cap-
Study storage
display where she T he fledgling world
Hindu Youth Organization
have been turned into National
Monuments and tourist atttrac-
Hinduism Enters US TV itol grounds violates the First
Amendment guarantee of the
and South Asian
Art curator Carol
created last year in Indonesia
got off to a start with a five-day
tions. The youth resolved to
fight the commercialization
separation of church and state. Cains perform a summit in Bali, November, of temples and restore them

“A astha, the faith chan-

nel” entered the US in De-
cember, 2004, taken on board
18,000 hours of content in less
than four years.” The Mumbai-
based company began with
Prepared pro bono by Goodwin
Procter LLP attorneys, the
brief includes Hindu, Jain and
daily Siva puja.
Dr. Crombie
says, “I feel its
2004. Delegates came from Ma-
laysia, USA and other countries.
Standing out from the usual
as places of worship through
nurturing “spiritual tourism” by
organizing yatras to Indonesia.
by leading US satellite provider, a village audience, spread to Buddhist points of view and Monumental affront in Texas shakti spreading
DirectTV, alongside DirectTV’s Indian cities and now the world was signed also by leading US throughout the
other South Asian broadcasts, from satellites tuned into by 20 Hindu, Jain and Buddhist orga- The brief argues, “The lower gallery as more ay u rv e d a
Vijay (Tamil), and three Star
channels (Hindi). But Aastha
million households in 166 coun-
tries. Aastha avoids use of the
The case, originally brought
courts completely ignored
the effect of the Ten Com-
people become
aware of our daily Fourteen Medicines Found
is different. In the words of its “H” word, but 90% of the con- by Thomas Van Orden against mandments monument on puja, people are
promotional brochure: “Aastha
is America’s first Asian Indian
tent is rooted in Hindu culture.
With discourses from swamis,
Rick Perry, the Governor of
Texas, in 2003, asks for the
non-Judeo-Christians, whose
beliefs regarding the nature Premakantha Kurukal performs abhishekam
joining in and love
the ritual.”
To Have Metal Toxicity
spiritual and cultural network.
It is the only television channel
to clock 1,000 hours of real-
coverage of grand Kumbha Me-
las, bhajanas, classes in Vedanta,
yoga and meditation, there is no
removal of the religious monu-
ment. The Supreme Court de-
cided to hear the case after the
of God and the relationship
between man and God differ
greatly from those enshrined in tibet
A 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
time live broadcasting of Asian question where Aastha is com- Fifth Circuit Federal Court of the monument and for whom
Indian socio-spiritual-cultural
events and amass a library of
ing from. It’s a great sign–Sana-
tana Dharma on the air!
Appeals ruled that the monu-
ment could remain in place.
the monument is clearly and
unavoidably ‘sectarian.’ “
Control 30 Boston area stores, had “potentially harmful levels of lead,
mercury and/or arsenic.” North American practitioners, con-
cerned that some people now think all Ayurvedic medicines
Your Brain! are suspect, responded in India West. Dr. Sivakumar Varma of
Vancouver said that “90% of Ayurvedic remedies use no met-
united kingdom

A Spiritual
is focused on an
external God
and His dogma
out” appears unlikely.
Indeed, some denomina-
tions are becoming extinct,
B rain scientists recently
discovered that, in respond-
ing to external experience
als 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
to a movement of but others remain strong and input, the brain is able to months, even years,” said Wyne Werner, administrator of New
Revolution? people, first into
the realm of “sub-
and are growing. Still, the
authors contend that the
expand, or strengthen, circuits
that are used and shrink or
Mexico’s Ayurvedic Institute. It is unknown if the high levels
are due to soil contamination or improper preparation. New

P aul heelas’ and linda

Woodhead’s new book, The
Spiritual Revolution, Why
jective well-being
culture” (health,
fitness, emotional
“massive subjective turn
of modern culture has
served to fuel the growth
weaken those that are rarely en-
gaged. To document the effects
of internal experience, scien-
Hampshire based Pandit Ramasamooj said that the JAMA arti-
cle should be taken seriously as “a wakeup call to all Ayurvedic
physicians and the public.”
Religion is Giving Way to Spiri- contentment) of subjective life spiritual- tists went to Tibet in November,
tuality, (Blackwell Publishing, and then into the ity and undermine exter- 2004, to study Tibetan monks.
2005) is the fruit of the six-year “holistic milieu” nal religion.” They predict Using functional magnetic While novices showed only a
Kendal Project. The authors where spiritual that in 40 years participa- resonance imaging, the scien- slight gamma wave increase, in
analyze the claim that tradition- growth becomes tion will equalize to about tists pinpointed regions that older monks, activity in the left
al forms of religion, especially a central concern Hindu groups now occupy some of the just under 3 or 4% of the UK popula- were active during compassion prefrontal cortex (the seat of
Christianity, are giving way to in both personal twenty UK Christian churches closed each year tion in each sector. meditation (generating a feel- positive emotions such as hap-
New Age, holistic spirituality. and associational Of course, many medi- ing of loving kindness towards piness) swamped activity in the
They interviewed hundreds of activities (attending “self-trans- and are not making up at all for tating Hindus will find this to all beings). Most monks who right prefrontal (site of negative
people and groups in the town formation” workshops instead the overall decrease in church- be a false dichotomy. Hinduism had done more than 10,000 emotions and anxiety), some-
of Kendal, England, and drew of going to Church.) But they going Christians—now down to naturally integrates personal hours of meditation showed thing never before seen from
on prior national research on conclude we don’t yet have a only 7.9% of Brits and 24% of spiritual transformation and extremely large increases in purely mental activity—scientif-
the subject for both Britain and revolution per se. The numbers Americans. commitment to traditional re- high-frequency gamma waves ic proof, perhaps, of the ancient
the US. Their thesis points to of those in the holistic milieu While they conclude Christi- ligious, community and family which underlie higher mental Hindu knowledge of vasana Implicated in the study—Baidyanatha’s Vilas Ras and Guggulu
a shift away from religion that are too small, just 1.6% of Brits, anity is clearly waning, a “zero values (dharma). activity, such as consciousness. (thought pattern) metaphysics.

a a s t h at v ; u n k n o w n , s r h e e s a nata n m a n d i r , c l o c k w i s e f r o m t o p : nat i o na l g a l l e r y o f v i c t o r i a , au s t r a l i a
6 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 leicester, uk, liladhar j. bharadia W H Y O ; h i n d u i s m t o d ay, r a j i v m a l i k ; c o r e l p h o t o s a p r i l / m ay / j u n e , 2 005 h i n d u i s m t o d ay 7
sports/yoga minutes of yoga training daily.
Asanas for The goals? Flexibility, concen-
tration and a release from the

Claiming Hindu Dignity

mental agitations of competition
Cricketers that leads to insomnia causing
players to lose their edge. The

T he entry of yoga into

the quintessentially British
only other cricket team with a
yoga trainer is India.
sport of cricket is raising eye- In October 2004, while in
brows—another bastion of West- India, Australian batsman Justin
Indian Hindus should be able to openly practice
ern culture has been breached
by Hinduism’s ancient science.
Langer, Kate Turner and their
fitness trainer visited the famed their faith in America, the land of the free
Australia’s team has added a 85-year-old B.K.S. Iyengar.
yoga teacher to their support While many of his own students HINDUISM TODAY was founded January 5, 1979, B Y M O N A V I J AY K A R
group, Kate Turner, alongside rarely get an audience, it turns Russian president and 6th degree black belt Judo expert Vladimir by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami. It is a
their fitness trainer and physio- out Iyengar is a cricket fan and Puten uses the anjali mudra before crowds during a visit to India nonprofit educational activity of Himalayan n 1994, the editors of Well, America is the land of
therapist. She offers the team 75 he gave them two hours. Langer Academy with the following purposes:1. To Hinduism Today invited the free, but it is a culture that
said, “I was a society of life-imperiling contagion (the foster Hindu solidarity as a unity in diversity me to share some of the ex- is young and growing. It’s like
among all sects and lineages; 2. To inform and
bit taken aback...
he put me Will Namaste flu). Taken to extremes, hand-
shake phobia could prefigure a inspire Hindus worldwide and people interest-
ed in Hinduism; 3. To dispel myths, illusions
periences that inspired me
to write and illustrate The Vee
a prism that is illuminated by
the colors of multiple cultures.
through every revolution in social custom. The Family children’s books. Back We try to send our children
yoga pose there Replace the standard American greeting
and misinformation about Hinduism; 4. To pro-
tect, preserve and promote the sacred Vedas
then, I wanted to define the out into the world armed with

m o na v i j ay k a r .
is.” Langer is would be forever altered. identity of Indian Hindus in knowledge, hoping this will
convinced yoga
will lengthen his
Handshake? “But to what?” asks the Post.
“The alternatives might include
and the Hindu religion; 5. To nurture and mon-
itor the ongoing spiritual Hindu renaissance;
6. To publish a resource for Hindu leaders and
America. I was determined to
help bring out “closet Hindus”
give them confidence when
faced with comments like:
career. He says
the yoga sessions
help him balance
T he washington post re-
ported in December that
politicians, religious leaders and
bowing, curtsying, nodding
the head, saluting, patting each
other on the back, or hugging.
educators who promote Sanatana Dharma. Join
this seva by sending letters, clippings, reports
on events and encouraging others. to subscribe.
who were unwilling to live their
culture with pride and dignity.
Although I felt very strongly
“This country was based on
Christian values and yet we
allow you to come and live
the “flogging” he business people are avoiding Other cultures, of course, are al- that Hindus should practice their faith here and follow your own traditions.”
gives his body the handshake. With height- ready there. The Hindu namaste Founder: Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami openly, I also knew why they weren’t. They We Indian Hindus are as much to blame
during training ened awareness of health issues, greeting (with anjali mudra), is Publisher: Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami did not fully comprehend their cultural for this sort of ignorance as are the Ameri-
and recover from “Shaking hands is slowly being simple, elegant and touchless: a Editor-in-Chief: Paramacharya Palaniswami heritage. The American public also lacked cans. Many of us allow ourselves to be
England cricketer Marcus Trescothick does yoga grueling five-day transformed from a friendly slight bow with hands pressed at Publisher’s Aide: Paramacharya Ceyonswami even a basic understanding of Hinduism. demoralized by such aggression and retreat
during December, 2004, South African tests tests. icebreaker into a potential vector the palms near the heart.” Deputy Editor: Acharya Kumarswami Everyone was in desperate need of educa- into fearful submission rather than face this
Managing Editor: Sannyasin Arumugaswami tion. No one knew then that, ten years later, ignorance with intelligent response.
Graphics Director: Sannyasin Natarajnathaswami henna (Indian hand painting), Bollywood One Indian lady on the PTA board of
Royal Air Force. These chap- the first grade. They are so Production Manager: Sannyasin Sivakatirswami fashions and Indian pop music would gain my children’s school campaigned hard to
lains are given commissioned sure of its success that they are Subscription and Distribution Manager: popularity in America. Yet, even today the stall my efforts to correct misconceptions
rank as officers. There are also considering running all govern- Sannyasin Shanmuganathaswami true Vedic roots of Indian culture remain being taught in classes on Indian history.
honorary Jewish chaplains. The ment schools in Kashmir in Contributing Editor: Yogi Japendranatha a mystery to most Americans and some Although that same woman confided to me
TIRUVANNAMALAI REMAINS A well-known Guruvayoor temple four chaplains to be appointed English medium. The reason Advertising Manager: Sadhaka Jothinatha Indians as well. that she “admired my guts,” she helped
place of open worship. In the in Kerala, you will have to wait will, however, be civilian behind such a step is to make Correspondents: Choodamani Sivaram, Bangalore; In the 21 years that I have lived in this engineer a smear campaign against me, ac-
wake of widespread protests until 2046. The puja (US$1,100) employees of the Ministry of up for the damage caused by 15 Rajiv Malik, Prabha Prabhakar Bhardwaj, Madhu country I have met many Americans who cusing me of “religious fanaticism.”
in Tamil Nadu, on January is performed 130 days in a year Defense. The four new chap- years of militancy. “We realized Kishwar, Delhi; Mangala Prasad Mohanty, Orissa; V. S. share a good number of the values that Among the Indian families I approached
20, 2005, the Indian Supreme at the Sree Krishna temple. Paid lains will minister to about 740 that if we want to do well in Gopalakrishnan, Kerala; Basudeb Dhar, Bangladesh; I consider important, including humility, for support in promoting academic ac-
Court called for the withdrawal bookings have been made for adherents of the minority faiths this competitive world, we have Archana Dongre, Los Angeles; Lavina Melwani, New courtesy, hospitality, respect and compas- curacy in the presentation of Hinduism in
of the central government’s the next 42 years! in all three services. to teach English,” said Harsh York; Dr. Hari Bansh Jha, Nepal; Paras Ramoutar, sion. I have known many Indians, on the schools, only one in a 100 came forward.
attempt to make the Arunach- Dev Singh, Education Minister, Trinidad; V. G. Julie Rajan, Philadelphia; Rajesh Jan- other hand, who have embraced a com- Finally, when I brought a case of “academic
aleswarar temple a national THE LANCET MEDICAL JOURNAL WORLD RENOWNED INDIAN Jammu and Kashmir. tilal, South Africa; Iraja Sivadas, California; Tara Katir, pletely different set of values. Ironically, discrimination” to the school superinten-
devotional classical singer, M.S. Hawaii. HPI Staff: Janaka Param, Toshadeva Guhan, dent, my program, “India in Classrooms,”
heritage monument under the released the results of a 15-year these values are commonly referred to as
Clive Roberts, Easan Katir, Adi Alahan, Chandra
jurisdiction of the Archeologi- survey involving 3,000 young Subbulakshmi passed away IN EASTERN SRI LANKA’S “American culture.” When Indians coming ( was eventu-
Sankara, Shama Vinayaga, Arjana Daswani. Sanskrit-
cal Survey of India. people. It showed fast-food to in Chennai on December 12, Muslim stronghold of Katthan- to America perceive democracy as the ab- ally initiated into the curriculum.
ist: Dr. P. Jayaraman, New York. Artists: A. Manivelu,
be a definite factor in the key 2004, at the age of 88. She was kudy, orthodox Jamiat-ul- sence of boundaries and discipline, it’s no My children have been fortunate enough
S. Rajam. Cartoonists: M. Arumugam, Bob Thaves,
HOMESCHOOLING IS ON THE RISE chronic diseases of Western considered by many to be the Ulema, influenced by the Saudi wonder their kids end up confused, uncul- to receive love and affection from many of
Ripin Karla. Photo Contributors: Thomas L. Kelly,
in the USA. The National civilization—obesity, Type 2 dia- world’s great Carnatic vocalist. Arabian Wahabi sect, protested tured and ashamed of their Indian identity. their teachers and friends. However, they
Stephen P. Huyler, Dinodia, Dev Raj Agarwal, Gilles
Home Education Research In- betes and heart disease. violently in November, 2004, Unfortunately, this is not just happening in have also experienced racism and bigotry
Flament, Vel Kadressen, Mu Devarayan, Indivar Siva-
stitute, based in Salem, Oregon, MANY STATES, FROM KASHMIR TO against a “Sufi” group. They America. It’s happening in India as well. as a result of the strong stand I took for
nathan. Web Masters: Nitya Nadesan, Sadhunathan
estimates that 1.7 million to 2.1 THE BRITISH MINISTRY OF Bihar, are embracing English as demolished the Rahmaniya and Nadesan. Distribution: USA: Ingram Periodicals,
I have been advised on numerous occa- Hindu values. Yet, today there is no doubt
million children were home Defense will soon appoint Bud- never before, even if they have Ibrahimiya madrasas (theologi- New Leaf, EBSCO Subscription Services, OneSource,
sions to “assimilate into American culture.” that the pain we have all endured as a fam-
taught during the 2002-2003 dhist, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh to make political concessions cal schools) alleging that these Ubiquity. Europe: SWETS Subscription Service. Ma-
“Assimilate” in this context means something ily is but a small price to pay for the price-
school year, up as much as 13 chaplains to the British armed for it. Education in the Kashmir schools, run by charismatic laysia and Singapore: Sanathana Dharma Publications.
like: “In Rome, do as the Romans do.” This less treasure of our Hindu dignity.
percent from 2000-2001. forces. Some 300 Christian valley will never be the same Sufi preacher AJ Abdur Rauf India: Central News Agency Limited, Delhi. Mauritius:
was what early immigrants were intimidat-
chaplains already minister to again, as all government schools Mowlavi, were spreading Hindu CODIP. Trinidad: Pandit Narendra & Ashwinee Ra- ed into doing so as to adopt the existing Eu- Mona Vijaykar lives in Saratoga, Califor-
IF YOU WANT TO SPONSOR THE the 210,000 personnel of the there, from 2004 onward, have ideas and rituals among the goonanan. Printer: Banta Publications Group, Kansas ropean/Judeo-Christian norms. Whatever nia, with her husband and sons. She can be
Udayasthamana Puja at the Royal Navy, the army, and the begun teaching English from Muslims, especially the young. City, Missouri happened to freedom and liberty? contacted at

l e f t t o r i g h t : pa p h o t o s , m at t h e w f e a r n ;
8 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 g e n c e f r a n c e p r e s s e , r av e e n d r a n a p r i l / m ay / j u n e , 20 05 h i n d u i s m t o d ay 9
PUBLISHER’S DESK The Aftermath, January 7, 2005: Valliumai,
age 71, a Sri Lankan survivor, weeps next to
the storm-ravaged Hindu temple in Batticaloa

Waves of Distress 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
A Practical and Spiritual Response to the international media, especially as we know
how deep is the Vedic perspective on suffer-
Devastating Asian Tsunami of 2004 ing, death and dying. Hindus need to respond,
to educate the media, and provoke them
toward a truer perception of Hinduism. That
B Y S A T G U R U B O D H I N A T H A V E Y L A N S WA M I means writing letters, informing them that
Hindus know there is a purpose in all things
ver the last few weeks, i have ing of dharma and destiny. For the in life, not just the good things. We know that
been asked by numerous individuals devout Hindu, loss and even death, God is not vengeful or capricious but an all-
to share some thoughts on the mas- while difficult, are not beyond our knowing, all-loving, all-powerful Father-
sive global death and destruction ability to accept. After all, our soul Mother Creator whose grace is present in our
caused by the South Asia tsunami is eternal and through its many lives each day and whose blessings are palpa-
that ravaged such a vast part of the world in lives on Earth undergoes a variety bly felt by those of awakened sensitivity. As
the last days of 2004. The first and foremost of experiences, many joyful, others my satguru, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami,
response, of course, is the need to awaken our sorrowful, but it benefits spiritu- wrote: “There is a divine purpose even in the
compassion and offer our prayerful thoughts ally from all experience, whether existence of suffering in the world. Suffering
to those who have passed on and give expres- seemingly good or bad. However, cannot be totally avoided. It is a natural part

p h o t o b y pau l a b r o n s t e i n
sion, inwardly and outwardly, to our deep-felt as Gurudeva, Sivaya Subramuniya- of human life and the impetus for much spiri-
sympathy for the relatives and friends who swami, said, “Because the fear of tual growth for the soul. Knowing this, the
survived. This is our response from the heart. death is so much a part of social wise accept suffering from any source, be it
The natural second response is to provide consciousness today, as ignorance hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, famine, wars,
practical help as millions face the challenges of the aftermath of prevails in these matters, sorrow rather disease or inexplicable tragedies. So also does
this awesome natural catastrophe, the worst in our lifetime. I have than joy is often experienced. In not suffering offer us the important realization
noticed a remarkable welling up of such support among devotees understanding life in its fullness, many that true happiness and freedom cannot be
of our monastery and the general public in many countries, and cannot help but misunderstand death. found in the world, for earthly joy is inextri-
seen people go to extraordinary lengths to collect medical supplies, The attitude should be one of joy based cably bound to sorrow, and worldly freedom
raise funds at work and even offer to fly to the affected areas to on beliefs that come from the knowledge to bondage.”
provide succor with their own hands. These are life-saving, life- of karma and samsara. Experience of joy and a total release of the Those with strong faith, when confronting a major disaster such The great Hindu saints all teach us that even harsh karma, when
affirming reactions, for without the generous financial and in-kind loved one would come from a pure understanding of the processes as the recent tsunami, have the ability to step back from life’s daily faced in wisdom, can be a catalyst for spiritual advancement. No
donations that reach the affected areas, many more could die in of life. A better word than death is transition, passing into a new routine and look more deeply at themselves to see if there are one welcomes suffering into their lives, but when it comes we can
the weeks ahead for lack of food, clean water, medical supplies and form of life—life into life.” changes they could make to add deeper meaning to their life. The choose how to respond. We can allow it to diminish our life or to
temporary shelter. This is how we respond with our hands. My guru’s guru, Siva Yogaswami of Jaffna, Sri Lanka, many physical and psychic power of this tsunami offers such thoughtful strengthen and deepen it. That power lies in each one’s hands. We
In the medium term, communities need to be rebuilt and years ago foresaw the difficult times the peoples of his country people an opportunity to examine and change their own lives, for see such resolve in the faces of those who lost loved ones, and yet
resources provided to individuals to enable them to resume sup- have faced for the past two decades of civil war and the loss of life-changing moments are rare and are often provoked by some- set about the enormous task of rebuilding their lives. We see it in
porting themselves through their chosen occupation. For the lon- 60,000 lives. Now his nation has suffered in one day, December 26, thing bigger than our day-to-day existence. the global outpouring of compassion and help, a love and shared
ger term, governments need to ponder the issues of providing the loss of over 30,000 lives, with one million, fully five percent of Perhaps there are changes we have been considering for years sympathy that brought the world together for a moment in time,
effective warning systems, such as currently exist in the countries the nation, left homeless. This great sage counseled how to cope but always end up putting off. Now is the time to implement them. that transcended race and geography, religion and history. While
in the Pacific Ocean region, to protect their populations against with such horrific situations in his Natchintanai hymn, “Nalluran Perhaps there are new patterns of life, new habits, new commit- 2004 saw the greatest natural disaster in memory, 2005 is unfolding
future tsunamis, and to better prepare them for any large-scale Tiruvadi:” “Even if war and famine come and the world is burnt to ments that can take root at this rare moment in our personal and history’s greatest outpouring of compassionate help. The world
disaster, whether from earthquakes, storms, droughts or other ashes, shall we know any fear, O Parrot? Arumugam is our refuge.” global history. Perhaps our love for family members needs to be does seem a little less divided now, as we reach out to one another
threats to security. On all levels, we need to learn from this experi- In other verses Yogaswami stresses that the atma, our soul, is eter- verbalized more often. Now is the moment to begin. Perhaps we in a thousand ways.
ence so we will face our next massive threat more prepared. This nal, that Lord Murugan is our protection, and clinging to His holy have plans to improve our community. Now is the time to set these A moving story provides a glimpse into the human spirit, and the
is our response from the head. feet will cause all distress and anguish to disappear. Yogaswami’s plans in motion. Perhaps we always wanted to deepen our spiritual possibility of enormous good flooding out from this calamity. On
On the philosophical level, major disasters in the world cause sagely advice is clear—difficulties are a part of life on this planet efforts and expand our charitable work. Now is the time to make January 13 National Public Radio reported on the experience of a
everyone to stop and think—think about ourselves, our family, and the sorrow they bring can be overcome through the worship such ideals real. In all these ways, we can take the energy sur- Los Angeles fireman who was in Sri Lanka helping in the initial
friends, community, nation and the world itself. If our faith is not of God and the Gods. rounding this historic catastrophe and transmute it into something relief efforts. He was used to human loss, that being part of a fire-
strong, our thoughts can be of a negative nature. You have heard In these times, we find solace in the words of the illumined sat- that benefits our lives and our community, rather than diminishes man’s daily experience, but this was different. The fireman shared
people wondering aloud why God would allow such a thing to gurus, whose vision is wider and deeper than our own. Pramukh them. Adversity, faced with courage and wisdom, can bring us one that a Sri Lankan man approached him, amid all of the debris and
happen, why good people are suffering so, how can there even be Swami Maharaj of BAPS counseled his followers in the aftermath step closer to the Source of All. As Gurudeva would often say, “It chaos. He had just lost his entire family, and most of his home. Yet
a God if such tragedy can occur on Earth? However, if our faith is of the 2001 Gujarat earthquake: “Natural calamities like earth- matters less what happens to you in life than how you react to all that victim greeted him with a smile and offered the fireman a
strong, then our reflections and our reactions remain positive. quakes have been affecting mankind since time immemorial. It is that happens.” cup of tea. The fireman was deeply struck by this, his first person-
From the Hindu point of view, questions of blame and punish- a natural phenomenon, like rain. It is not the wrath of God. So, In the aftermath of the tsunami, the Western media sought to to-person encounter with an Easterner. He wondered how a man
ment do not arise. God does not punish, does not visit terrible whatever has to happen, happens. The good and the painful all are understand how people of different faiths look upon such disasters. who suddenly had nothing and must certainly have been filled
things upon the Earth. It is, after all, His creation. He did give the a part of life, and we should accept both with equanimity. When They were trying to be helpful, and they were fair to the Bud- with sadness and loneliness was offering his rescuers tea, thinking
natural forces on this Earth immense power, yet even these are people are facing difficulties and sorrows, our Indian tradition is to dhists, Muslims and Christians, but when it came to explaining the more of them than of himself. He took it as a sign of the resilience
forces of change and evolution. For Hindus the most terrific of offer them solace. We feel that by serving the human beings we Hindu response, NEWSWEEK magazine wrote on January 10 that of the human spirit and of the East’s unique reply to loss and its
disasters is not some cosmic chastisement, but the rightful unfold- serve the Lord Himself.” the Hindu Gods are ambivalent and capricious and that “the ocean special capacity to endure.

10 h i n d u i s m t o day 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 h i n d u i s m t o d ay 11
LETTERS value systems that are a benefit to their so-
ciety and whose voices and opinions should
The majority of children in these homes are
Hindu. The poor, innocent Hindu children
a home where her mother was Hindu and
father was Buddhist. All the children were
Houston Temple Opening nation. For example, the idea of karma and so, it is time to change with changing times be honored when offered in the spirit of are taught to despise Hindu Gods. They are strongly discouraged from learning, prac-
on behalf of his divine holiness pra- the battle against maya is thoroughly dem- by integrating them closely with society! uplifting or even correcting their society. told that Hindu Gods are demons and that ticing or appreciating their one-half Hindu
mukh Swami Maharaj of BAPS, I convey my onstrated in “The Matrix” films. Beyond the M. Ganeshadeva It is time to see the beauty, sacredness and some of them are holding weapons. They are origins—they were, in effect, “raised in the
heartfelt congratulations and appreciation for theme of reincarnation, “The Matrix” films Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia utility of all approaches that attempt to further told that Hindus are stupid to pray religious life and culture of only one of the
producing a wonderful cover story on the in- delve heavily into the topic of control of your uplift and help each individual while help- to images of stone and metal or to pictures parents,” as Ms. Verwey recommends. The
auguration of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan own karmic destiny and discovering the Di- Rishikesh Temple Inauguration ing the society as a whole. Chauvinism is a of Gods. Parents are oblivious to this threat, result of this myopia? None of them be-
Mandir, Houston. The issue has beautiful vine within yourself to battle the hordes of we have received the jan/feb/mar concept whose time is long, long past. It is as they are happy that the burden of rais- came strong Buddhists, and except for my
photos describing the divinity of the mandir, demons without. Each film goes through a 2005 issue of Hinduism Today with the time for constructive, rather than destruc- ing their children is in the safe hands that wife, none embraced or learned of the rich-
its intricacies, volunteer services and festive cycle of confusion, discovery, rebirth, sac- article about our Omkarananda Kamakshi- tive, speech about the world’s religious and promise to turn their children into success- ness of their mother’s tradition. They only
spirit. Your write-up has captured the event rifice and then death based on choice, not Devi Mandir at Rishikesh. It is very beauti- ethical practitioners. ful youth. The little children are not allowed knew half of their heritage and mourned
in all its aspects, including a brief intro to nature. The main character, Neo, is set upon ful! We wish to thank you and your editors Martin Wolff to pray to Hindu Gods; instead they attend for the missed opportunity to experience
BAPS. Kudos to the hard work put in by his path via his guru(s), The Oracle and for preparing such a nice report about the New Milford, New Jersey Christian religious indoctrination. I know the second of their two ethnic and religious
the Hinduism Today team for producing Morpheus. Through their teachings, he is temple’s mahakumbhabhishekam ceremony. ∫ that what I report is true because I have spo- worlds. I’m happy to see my nephews grow-
a wonderful issue. Pramukh Swami Maha- able to learn that he is not flesh and blood Swami Satchidananda ken to these children myself. So, conversion ing up feeling comfortable and knowledge-
raj was also pleased to see the issue and has but rather a divine creature that has com- Rishikesh, India Beware of Welfare Homes in Malaysia is raging on under the disguise able whether in a mosque, temple or church.
conveyed a special word of appreciation and plete creative control over his dream life. I ∫ being an avid reader of hinduism to- of orphanages. The Malaysia Hindu Sangam They don’t feel confused or unbelonging, but
prayers for the encouraging and inspiring feel this is just one example among many. I day since its inception in 1979, I am very should take note of this serious situation and comfortably shift between religions as easily
works you are doing in promoting Sanatana truly see a great trend in modern movies Cow Dung and Nuclear Radiation pleased to state that I am now a better Hin- take necessary action to protect our great re- as changing from Tamil to English to Sin-
Dharma. The various articles, tidbits of rele- that creates an aura of spirituality underly- in the oct/nov/dec 2004 issue the du. Many, many years ago, when informa- ligion from shadowy Christian organizations hala to Arabic, depending on which family
vant information and news are inspiring and ing the basic plot and theme. article “Cow Dung’s Many Uses” explains the tion was scarce and there was hardly any that are actually instruments of conversion. member they are addressing. And one won’t
gladdening. It infuses and strengthens pride Adam Doty role of cow dung and urine in Hindu rituals religious education on Hinduism, I used to K. Thuruvan find any religious intolerance in them.
in all Hindus. The glory of Hindu Dharma Fort Collins, Colorado and common practice in India. While I have feel very frustrated. But today, with knowl- Seremban, Malaysia Kailash Dhaksinamurthi
and its universal appeal is elegantly dis- ∫ no qualm with any exposition on its uses, it edge derived from reading Hinduism To- Minneapolis, Minnesota
played through Hinduism Today. Thank ends with the statement that “houses coated day, I stand tall with my head high. I love Growing Up Mixed Up ∫
you once again and may God bless you Are We Treating Priests Well? in cow dung are insulated from…and even, reading the “Letters” column where views of jennifer verwey’s experiences of
all to continue with your spiritual mission. recently while in bali, i had the good so they say, nuclear radiation.” Statements readers all over the world are expressed. My growing up in an ethnically and religiously Letters with writer’s name, address and day-
Sadhu Ishwarcharandas fortune to be invited by a close Balinese of support can be found for many things; humble request is that Hinduism Today al- mixed familiy (“Growing Up Mixed Up,” time phone number, should be sent to:
Letters, Hinduism Today
Amdavad, India friend to a ceremony at his house. I was while they may be an indicator of a gen- locate more space for letters, which will mean Jan/Feb/Mar, 2005) may be more endemic 107 Kaholalele Road
∫ deeply touched by the fatherly attitude of eral belief, they are not scientific support that more letters are published. to Western liberalism and an absence of Kapaa, Hawaii, 96746-9304 USA
the priest and the respect, reverence and or refutation. You seem to imply that since Your article “Solidarity in Diversity” (Jan/ cultural diversity in her childhood neigh- or faxed to: (808) 822-4351
Thanks for Hinduism Today high esteem the devotees had for him. At you haven’t found anyone who has tested Feb/Mar, 2005) states that conversion is ef- borhood than a weakness in religious diver- or e-mailed to:
we are fortunate to have hinduism the end of the ceremony, when the priest their claim that negates cow dung’s use as fectively contained in Malaysia through soli- sity training. I’ve personally witnessed as Letters may be edited for space and clarity
Today through an unknown benefactor and was given a tray full of fruits and some mon- a protection against nuclear radiation, it is darity with the help of the Malaysia Hindu many people wounded by sectarianism and and may appear in electronic versions of
express our grateful thanks for this kind and ey for his services, he took a token few fruits true. Unless you have a fundamental qualm Sangam. There are numerous welfare homes parochialism as distressed by pan-religious Hinduism Today.
benevolent act. As a senior citizen, age 72, and part of the money offered and told the with how science and theory work, which and orphanages run by Christian bodies. insecurities. My wife grew up Buddhist in ∫ indicates letters received via e-mail
serving as an honorary vice-president of an devotee to keep the rest for his family. He you may, one does not assume truth based
educational institution, I find this great mag- also advised the devotee not to overspend on a single piece of research. Instead, it is
azine informing, educating and enlightening
me on Sanatana Dharma, the eternal values
of life. I am now able to talk to teachers and
on ceremonies and to save some money for
his children’s future. This was a refreshing
experience for me, as many Hindu priests in
supported by overwhelming experimenta-
tion that can be replicated under standard
conditions. Cow dung does not provide any
“The Best Gift I Could Give Him”
students about Hinduism and its eternal and Malaysia depend on tips left by devotees to protection against nuclear radiation, and
perennial values, remove many misconcep-
tions they have about our customs and tradi-
make ends meet, owing to the meager sala-
ries paid to them by the temple committees.
adding something dubious not only detracts
from the real uses, it displays a disregard for
Offering the Young a Lifetime of Dharma
tions and clear their doubts regarding the Many of the priests are very knowledge- accuracy.
myriad viewpoints of life—often seemingly able in Hinduism but very few of them give Vivek G. Sahani ecently dr. nigel subramaniam and it soothes and comforts every
opposed and conflicting—encompassed and talks to devotees on Hinduism. They prob- New Brunswick, New Jersey Siva, a Principal Engineer at Sparta, Inc., time. I also chose to give him this as a
embedded in this vast ocean of knowledge. ably suffer from low self-esteem due to their ∫ Maryland, USA, offered his son, Henry way of helping Hinduism Today and
Pujya Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami is poor economic status and do not feel up to Ragavan Siva, a lifetime subscription to doing good for the world.” Sharing the heritage: Dr. and Mrs.
guiding us all and showing that we can work the task of preaching to devotees to whom Ending Religious Denigration Hinduism Today. We asked him why he was We encourage all our readers to Subramaniam Siva with their son,
positively with other traditions and faiths they look for tips. The temple committees the article “the beginning of the doing it. “It’s the best gift I could give him!” he make such a gift to a young person Henry Ragavan, at the Murugan Temple
while holding firmly to our own denomina- should probably spend less on extensive ren- End of Christianity in Australia?” (HPI, De- said. “Modern life tends to blur and distance who will receive Hinduism Today in Lanham, Maryland, USA
tion and spiritual path, uplifting the world ovations and beautification of their temples cember 23, 2004) is on a very sensitive and us from our heritage. Hinduism Today recon- wherever in the world he or she may
by the power of our own upliftment—the and raise the self-confidence, image and self- interesting subject: what the religious say nects us. And it’s a refuge from the turbulence live for a lifetime. It is a fine financial time Fund of Hindu Heritage Endow-
way of the positive integrated development esteem of our priests by paying them decent about other faiths. I praise the Australian of karma and life in this world. I reread old is- investment. But it is an even more ment. Grants support the costs of each
of all mankind, of the world and nature. salaries comparable to those paid to priests law and the judge’s power of discrimination. sues, especially the editorials; they always have potent investment in the beneficiary’s subscription and further strengthen
Bhattu Ganesh Sharma of other religions. Such a move will certainly It is time, here in America also, for those wisdom to give. They are powerful, there is education, well-being and happiness. Hinduism Today in other ways. A
Bangalore, India perk up the flagging spirits of our priests who feel strongly about their own chosen prana in them, parampara power in them. And Hinduism Today has published con- donation for a lifetime subscription of-
and help foster a mutually close and caring religion to completely abandon vilifying I just want my son to share in that heritage. It tinuously for 26 years now, and the fered as a gift is fully tax deductible in
More Hindu Concepts in Movies bond between our priests and devotees. Per- others’ chosen paths. Whether they are re- helps to see life in a different way, in a way that various Hindu Heritage Endowment the USA.
i enjoyed reading the article “hindu haps it is time for some soul-searching. Have ferred to as infidels, heathens, outcastes or makes a positive difference rather than sitting funds in its name guarantee its exis-
Concepts in the Movies” (Jul/Aug/Sep, 2004). we lost some endearing values of Hinduism other disparaging terms, the effect is the around and worrying. It brings out issues that tence far into the future. The lifetime
However, I believe the author would see that the Balinese have managed to retain? same—divisiveness and discouragement. nobody talks about but touch everyone, such subscription donation of US$1,001 is 808-822-3012, ext 244
many more similarities to Hindu concepts Or has our brand of Hinduism always kept Even those who profess agnosticism and as anger and child abuse. I share them around, placed into the Hinduism Today Life-
if the scope was broadened beyond reincar- priests at arm’s length from the devotees? If atheism are often people with very fine

12 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 h i n d u i s m t o d ay 13

“It’s better to see God in everything India Was Once the Richest Country in the World
than to try to figure it all out.” ccording to econo-
mist Angus Maddison in
classes. Consequently, the
economy produced a fabulous
Neem Karoli Baba (ca 1900-1973), North Indian sadhu mystic The World Economy: financial surplus.”
A Millennial Perspective, the From the early eighteenth
region that today comprises until the beginning of the
With the coming of the tsunami, we have ent brings the mid-morning snack for the Sri Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950), the Indian subcontinent held nineteenth century, when
realized the limitations of human effort. In children. Chidambaram soon observes that South Indian mystic the largest share of the world’s India enjoyed a 24.4 percent
the face of something like this, even sci- some of the kids eat things that he and his gross domestic product until share of the world’s gross
ence is rendered helpless. Only God’s grace family do not, such as meat and eggs. Sens- Upon dying, a man is greeted on the other the beginning of the sixteenth domestic product (see table,
can help us. This is a time to invoke love ing the importance of vegetarianism in his side by Lord Yama, who immediately be- century, when it was rivaled right), economic historian
and compassion in our hearts and to work life, he takes it upon himself to find out gins helping him determine his next step by China, and then again Paul Bairoch confirms, the

with our hands. Mata Amritanandamayi exactly what’s in the snack each day. One in the inner worlds. Lord Yama says, “Your throughout most of the eigh- region enjoyed a 25 percent
Ma, Kerala-based hugging saint who day, Chidambaram’s mother and grand- karmic record is not clear to me. Is there teenth century. share of the global trade in
pledged us$22 million for relief mother take him to lunch at a Mexican res- something exceptional you have done that I At the end of the sixteenth textiles. It was the world’s Opulence: An elephant ambles with attendants in raja-style attire
should know about?” The man re- century, India’s great wealth leading manufacturer of near the Jal Mahal, a pleasure spot of the royal family of Jaipur
“The atman in you is that which sponded, “I was walking down the sustained a population of handicrafts and handloom
indwells all things.” “Tell me, street with my wife. Several thugs more than one hundred mil- textiles. Bairoch writes, “More Gross Domestic Product in Millions of Dollars
Yajnavalkya, about this atman drove up on mopeds and insulted lion people. In “India, the important, there was a large
that indwells all things.” “It is that her. I walked over to the leader, Silicon Jewel of the East” commercialized sector with YEAR 1000 1500 1600 1700
which transcends hunger and thirst, reached up, ripped the earring (Digital Journal, May 13, a highly sophisticated market
India 33.8 60.5 74.3 90.8
sorrow and delusion, old age and out of his ear, grabbed him by the 2004), Paul William Roberts and credit structure, manned

angus maddison
death.” Brihadaranyaka Upanishad throat and told him, ‘That’s no way states, “There was an abun- by a skilful and in many China 26.6 61.8 96.0 82.8
III, 5A to speak to a lady!’” “Impressive,” dance of arable land, and the instances very wealthy com-
mercial class.” Paul William
Western Europe 10.2 44.3 66.0 83.4
Yama said. “When did this happen?” state of Indian agriculture
Make sure you work in return for The man replied, “Oh, a couple of compared favorably with any Roberts adds, “Methods of WORLD TOTAL 116.8 247.1 329.4 371.4
the disaster relief you are getting, minutes ago.” of the Western European production and of industrial
for I do not want my countrymen countries. Right down to the and commercial organization brokers and middlemen. Its bling evidence on changes in
to become beggars. Mahatma Gan- Those from a religious background subsistence-oriented peasant, could stand comparison with bills of exchange were hon- population, retaining the 1990
© mike baldwin/cornered

dhi (1869-1948), following a 1934 who believe that “There is only everyone saw a good return those in vogue in any other ored in all the major cities of international dollar as the
earthquake in Bihar in which more one life and when it’s over, it’s over” on land and labor. There was part of the world. India had Asia.” temporal and spatial anchor
than 10,000 people died generally cry and have a very un- a large and vigorous skilled developed an indigenous Maddison studied numerous in the estimation of move-
happy time over the departure of workforce turning out not just banking system. Merchant sources and derived historical ments in GDP and per capita
To the growing soul, to the spirit a loved one. This is very disturbing cotton but luxury items for capital had emerged with an world gross domestic prod- GDP, and filling holes in the
within us, may not difficulties, to the loved one from where they the barons, courts and ruling elaborate network of agents, uct (GDP) totals by assem- evidence with proxy estimates.
obstacles, attacks be a means of are in the inner world wonder-
growth, added strength, enlarged “I’m your waiter and a vegetarian. ing, “Why the grief?” Because they
experience, training for spiritual are fine. They are happy, and they
Let’s try to do this without anyone getting hurt.”
victory? The arrangement of things are free of a lot of karmas, a lot of Truthfulness 294: One who lives by truth truthfulness alone can
may be that, and not a mere question of taurant as a special treat. Chidambaram’s worries, a lot of conflict, ready to start a in his own heart truly lives purify the mind.
the pounds, shillings and pence of a dis- grandmother reads the menu to him and new life. Those with a pure Asian religious Tirukural 291: What is in the hearts of all people.
tribution of rewards and retributory mis- suggests, “Perhaps you’d like the Kiddy En- background, who understand reincarnation, truthfulness? It is speak- 299: Not all lamps give
fortunes! Sri Aurobindo Ghose (1872-1950), chilada?” Little Chidambaram looks at his dharma, karma and the existence of God ing words which are totally 297: Not lying, and merely light. The lamp of not-lying
Indian philosopher speaking on karma mother in horror and exclaims with author- everywhere, will smile contentedly and free from harmful effects. not lying, is beneficial for is the learned man’s light.
and disasters ity, “We don’t eat kitties!” By Valli Sendan, say to themselves, “What a wonderful life those who cannot or will
his grandmother the departed had!” and be joyous in the 293: Let one not speak as not practice other virtues. 300: Among all great truths
a. manivel

A three-year-old boy named Chidambaram, new world that the departed loved one is true what he knows to be we have ever beheld, not a
living in the United States, attends a parent Just as a big banyan tree sprouts from a now experiencing. Satguru Sivaya Subra- false, for his conscience will 298: Water is sufficient single one rivals the good-
co-op nursery school several days a week tiny seed, so the wide universe with names muniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of burn him when he has lied. to cleanse the body, but ness of telling the truth.
with his mother. Each day a different par- and forms sprouts forth from the heart. Hinduism Today

14 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 h i n d u i s m t o d ay 15

One God, Many Functions

The Svetasvatara Upanishad elucidates the nature of the Supreme Being
econciling the co-reality of a single The Supreme Godhead, depicted as a three-
Supreme Being and of a multitude of faced, single Being, creating (left), preserving
worshipful Gods continues to be a (right) and destroying (center).
challenge. Imagery of Brahma,
Vishnu and Siva performing the acts of lished in Heaven, by Him, the Person, is
creation, preservation and destruction this whole universe filled.
as three separate beings has wrought That which is beyond this world
confusion for elementary school is without form and without suffer-
children, all the way up to Internet ing. Those who know that become
forums where Western academics immortal, but others go only to
pontificate on Hindu polytheism- sorrow.
monotheisim-henotheism, while He who is in the faces, heads and
missing the point altogether, which necks of all, who dwells in the cave
is: all of the above are true. There is (of the heart) of all beings, who is
only one Supreme Being, Who cre- all-pervading, He is the Lord and
ates preserves and destroys. There therefore the omnipresent Siva.
are also many great Mahadevas who That person indeed is the great
are not mere diverse mental projec- lord, the impeller of the highest be-
tions of the Supreme, but who are real ing. Reaching the purest attainment,
Purushas, Persons, living in the causal the ruler, the imperishable light.


plane, as souls, as real as you or I. Let us A person of the measure of a thumb is
T O A N refer to our Vedas on the matter: the inner self, ever dwelling in the heart of

men. He is the lord of the knowledge framed

The one who spreads the net, who rules with his by the heart and the mind. They who know that
insight ruling powers, who rules all the worlds with his ruling become immortal.
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which thou holdest in thy hand to throw. O Protector of the moun-

tain, injure not man or beast. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan (1888-1975), born in Tamil Nadu, world-
C onquer that shyne ss with the colorf ul, practical bookle ts produced by Higher than this is Brahman, the supreme, the great hidden in
all creatures according to their bodies, the one who envelopes the
renowned philosopher, statesman and President of India, was a
gifted and prolific commentator on Hindu philosophy.
universe, knowing Him, (men) become immortal.
TI O HINDUISM TODAY. They prov ide good answers to just abou t any que stion I know the Supreme Person of sunlike color (luster) beyond the
U darkness. Only by knowing Him does one pass over death. There The Vedas are the divinely revealed and most revered scriptures, sruti, of

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is no other path for going there. Koran (630 ce) or Zend Avesta (600 bce). Four in number, Rig, Yajur, Sama
Than whom there is naught else higher, than whom there is and Atharva, the Vedas include over 100,000 verses. Oldest portions may date
nought smaller, naught greater, (the) one stands like a tree estab- back as far as 6,000 BCE.
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a p r i l / m ay / j u n e , 2 0 0 5 h i n d u i s m t o d ay 17

Inside Ujjain,
Siva’s City
jjain is one of the seven cities of ably the greatest Sanskrit poet and drama-
India said to grant pilgrims liberation tist, and the astrologer and mathematician
from rebirth. It is today a bit off the Varahamihira. Today, Ujjain remains great in
beaten path—60 kilometers from the nearest religious terms, one of the four sites for the
airport, for example. But in ancient times it Kumbha Mela, and site of the temple of the
sat at the crossroads of India as a key politi- great Lord of Time, Siva, Mahakaleshwara.
cal, military, economic, literary and scientific Hinduism Today’s team of journalist Rajiv
center. One of our calendars, the Vikram era, Malik and photographer Thomas Kelly ex-
began when the warrior king Vikramaditya plored Ujjain while covering the April, 2004,
repulsed an invasion of Ujjain. Among the Kumbha Mela attended by 30 million pilgrims
“nine gems” of his court were Kalidasa, argu- 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 obser-
vance of the temple; (far right) King Vikra-
maditya ruled from Ujjain in ancient times

a l l p h o t o s t h o m a s k e l ly
18 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 h i n d u i s m t o d ay 19
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 dedi-
cated to the planet Mars, then to the liquor-
drinking 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, cul-
minating in the unique early morning wor-
ship of the Siva Lingam with sacred ash.


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 Ash-
ram 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 GARLAND MAKING
of Maharishi Sandipani and the trio, Lord
Krishna, Balaram and Sudama, are kept, Ujjain is known as a city where
told us that fifty thousand to one hundred people take time to prepare for sects. Ujjain was a prominent center Pawan explained, “Kal Bhairav is wor-
thousand people were visiting the place ev- for these two traditions. Even today shiped in three ways—sattvic, rajasic and
ery day during the Mela, while normal daily worship, as are these two devotees, liquor is offered as a part of the ritual tamasic. In the sattvic (pure) worship, flow-
attendance is in the thousands. Roopam weaving garlands for their offering to Kal Bhairava. We came to know ers and fruits are offered. In the rajasic
and his family are descendents of Mahari- baskets outside a temple. that beautiful paintings in the Malwa (passionate), ornaments of gold are offered
shi Sandipani, able to trace their family tree style once decorated the temple walls, to him and in the tamasic (dark or dense),
back 2,000 years. The Mangalnath Temple (left) is a but only traces are visible now. The Bhairava is offered liquor. On normal days
a l l p h o t o s t h o m a s k e l ly

“Lord Krishna,” Roopam said, “came here village of Bhairagarh, famous for its around two-hundred-fifty bottles are of-
at age 11. He learned the 64 arts and 14 Siva Lingam temple with a special block printing on fabric, takes its fered. During the Mela, the number goes as
streams of knowledge in a disciplined and connection to Mangal, the planet name from this temple and is located high as one thousand bottles per day, as up to
humble manner. Today, parents whose chil- Mars. Devotees prepare offerings of nearby. 400,000 pilgrims may come in a day. When
dren are slow learners come here for the marigolds in baskets as part of their Thousands of pilgrims and devotees the liquor is offered to the ancient stone idol
patti puja (worship blessing the slate, patti, sacred bath in the Sipra River which were there in a long queue waiting of Bhairava, a tantrik mantra is chanted by
upon which children learn to write). It has their turn for worship of Kal Bhairav. us. The liquor disappears, and no one knows
special meaning done at this place where flows past the temple. Here we came across a young priest, where the liquor goes. Pawan said research-
Lord Krishna studied as a child. Our whole Pawan Chaturvedi, who is attached to ers are amazed at the consumption of thou-
family is dedicated to the maintenance of OFFERINGS MADE NEAR MANGALNATH TEMPLE Kal Bhairav Temple. He took us inside sands of bottles of liquor by the Kal Bhairav.
this ashram. Without our help, devotees the main chamber where the statue It is only Bhairav Ji who is worshipped in
and pilgrims would have a lot of problem of Kal Bhairav stands and gave us the all the three ways, most days the worship is
worshiping. The vibrations of this place are at all these places. At Mangalnath Temple and the demon Andhkasur. As a result of the couple is blessed with a child, they opportunity to shoot pictures from a very done in sattvic and rajasic ways only.”
so powerful that we remain in the bhava we bypassed the long queue of pilgrims and that battle, which involved the planet Man- come back and worship the right-handed close distance. Before taking us inside, he Devotees are supposed to come to this
(ecstatic devotion) of Krishna all the time. spoke to one of the priests, Pandit Diptesh gal (Mars), a Siva Lingam formed at the swastika symbol.” made us wait for some devotee to come with temple first, before going to the Mahakalesh-
This happens automatically. We do not have Dubey, a young man like Roopam Vyas. place where the temple is now. He said, “All Two days later, on the 23rd, we set out a liquor bottle as offering so that we could war temple, according to Pawan. “That is
to make any effort to be in such a state of At most temples in Ujjain I came across a over the world this is the only place where for the ancient Kal Bhairava temple. The photograph Kal Bhairav consuming the li- because Mahakaleshwar, Lord Siva, is the
consciousness. So we keep chanting ‘Radhe young generation of priests who were per- Lord Mangal appeared. A special worship worship of the eight Bhairavas, fearsome quor. We did see it quickly disappearing as king, and Bhairava is the head of Lord
Radhe’ (the name of Krishna’s consort) all sonable, soft spoken and knowledgeable. It ceremony offering curd and rice is per- attendants to Lord Siva, is a part of Saivite soon as it was placed near the lips of Kal Siva’s army, whose permission is needed to
the time.” was a pleasant experience to interact with formed here for people who have an inauspi- tradition, and the chief among them is Bhairav. The phenomenon defies any scien- meet the king.” As with the Mahakaleshwar
From Sandipani Ashram we moved to them. Diptesh said two to three hundred cious placement of Mars in their birth chart Kal Bhairava. Located on the banks of the tific or logical explanation. Pawan said liquor Temple, the royal Scindia family helped give
Mangalnath Temple where again a large thousand people were visiting the temple (Mangal dosha, or Mars affliction). Mangal Shipra and built by King Bhadrasen, the offerings had been made for the past 5,600 the temple its present look and stature. “Our
rush of pilgrims was waiting, despite the daily during the Mela. planet is also known for blessing couples temple finds mention in the Skanda Purana. years—perhaps plausible enough given that family has been serving this temple for the
hot weather, in long serpentine queues. Our Diptesh recounted the magical origin of with a child. For childless couples we wor- Worship of Kal Bhairava is believed to have distillation of liquor can be traced to 2500 last sixteen hundred years, of which we have
Kumbha Mela press passes came in handy the temple in a battle between Lord Siva ship a left-handed swastika symbol. When been integral to the Kapalika and Aghora bce in India. record of eight generations. Only priests in

20 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 h i n d u i s m t o d ay 21
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.


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

22 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 h i n d u i s m t o d ay 23
Bhasma Aarati is the most famous
of all rituals at the Mahakal Temple.
a l l p h o t o s t h o m a s k e l ly

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
LAMPS temple constantly during the early
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 astrol-
Party 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 stu-
a shastrartha [a dialogue] was held among temples, in 1235 ce by the Delhi Sul- dents,” he said. “Ujjain was a center of edu-
the 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 im-
present times. It would be a crime to offer After this first visit to the temple, we met a mortal, including Lord Hanuman and Ash-
the ashes of any individual or leader for the prominent personality of Ujjain, the astrolo- wathama, who figures in the Mahabharata A devotee rings the bell at the
purpose of Bhasma Aarti.” ger and Vedic scholar Pandit Anand Shankar War. Our grandfather used to sleep outside Gadhkalika temple. The Deity
“For generations we have been serving Vyas. Pandit lives in a joint family of around the temple so as to attend the Bhasma wor- is a form of Goddess Parvati. It
Mahakal,” said Vijay Guru. “Our record of forty members in their ancestral home a ship. Many times, an hour before the doors is said that the great Sanskrit
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 poet and dramatist Kalidas
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 achieved his literary genius
doing the service of Mahakal. There are This temple has a huge artistic sculpture tank, collect water in a earthen pot, return by worship of the Goddess.
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
through the day and evening.” pilgrims and devotees when we visited it in prayers to Mahakal.”
“The temple has been built in three parts,” the evening. Continuing, Punditji said, “Lord Siva is
said Vijay Guru. “Below is Mahakalesh- Punditji is quite a repository of informa- the creator of Natya Shastra, the foremost
war. 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 mu-
the Nag Chandereshwar where the Snake Temple, to Shaktas because of Siddhi Devi sic and dance. During the rule of Gwalior RINGING THE BELL AT GADHKALIKA TEMPLE
24 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 h i n d u i s m t o d ay 25
State, they had arranged for a dancer when is to be sought it is taken from me. One of be maintained. I think this is a fairly rea- Punditji is not happy with the education
Mahakal is paraded round the city. A dancer the committee members is a professor with sonable and practical approach. We must of priests today. “Priests are not paying at-
also used to perform during the worship at the Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya and another have a liberal viewpoint in this regard. We tention to their education. They are not as
Mahakal in ancient times. In his famous member is a priest at the temple. History should preserve the principles of the Shilpa scholarly as they should be. This is not just
poem, “Meghadoot” (“Cloud Messenger”), has it that at one point of time Mahakal was Shastras, scriptures on temple architecture, confined to Ujjain, but is found all over. I pil-
Kalidasa has given an elaborate description destroyed by the Muslims. It was the erst- upon which the temple was built. At the grimaged to Badrinath Temple and engaged
of Mahakal. Kalidasa tells the cloud, whom while Scindia royal family that reestablished same time we should be able to expand it a priest to conduct worship on my behalf.
he has implored to take a message to his the temple in the 19th century. The Jyotir for the convenience of the pilgrims.” But I found that his knowledge was not that
wife, to go to Ujjain even though it is off the Lingam was found inside the Koti Teerth He also clarified a confusion which comes good. Even his pronunciation was incorrect.
route to his home. He asks the cloud to stay Kund [reservoir] adjacent to the temple. up with regard to the Kumbha Mela. The Ultimately, I had to politely request him to
at night at the Mahakal and see the female “Now there are two schools of thought on timing of the Mela is based upon the po- allow me to do the worship myself.”
dancer performing her dance during the preserving the ancient heritage/temples in sition of Jupiter, so is usually held every Finally, Punditji lamented, “Hinduism, I
evening worship and listen to the sound of our country. There is a set of people who twelve years. “But every year, in the circle regret to say, has become an orphan reli-
various musical instruments.” are of the view that the ancient archeology of the Sun and Jupiter, there is a difference gion. There is no one to speak on behalf of
Astute observations: Turning to practi- should be preserved as it is and should not of four days, which in 84 years accumulates Hinduism. When it comes to Islam, the Ka-
cal matters, Punditji said, “I am a member be disturbed. But I and many others feel to one year. Therefore, once in 84 years, the zis preach it. Gurudwaras impart education
of the managing committee of the Mahakal that the popular ancient places of worship gap between the Melas needs to be 11 years about their religion to the Sikhs. Christians
Temple and the committee is doing a good need to be expanded in terms of infrastruc- instead of twelve. This effects the Melas at are given education about their religion by
job. From a religious angle if some guidance ture. To that extent their originality may not Haridwar, Nashik and Prayag also.” their churches. But where is the education

a l l p h o t o s t h o m a s k e l ly

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.

26 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

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 hap-
pening 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, com-
munalism.’ 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 get-
ting 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 col-
lective thinking and action on these issues.”
After leaving Panditji, we visited the Har-
siddhi 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 num-
ber of stories connecting the two.
We took time also to visit the Kalidasa Aka-
demi. We met with its director, Dr. Kamlesh
Datta Tripathi. “The government wanted to
a l l p h o t o s t h o m a s k e l ly

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, The observatory of Raja Jai Singh is still At each temple of Ujjain one meets well-trained and enthusiastic
sculpture, painting, architecture, literature in use today to track the position of the young priests such as these who are standing with sadhus visiting
and scripture.” stars and planets, as well as tell time. for the Kumbha Mela. There are hundreds of priest families in
Bhasma Aarti: We were determined to Ujjain, attached to the various temples for centuries.
attend the following morning’s Bhasma Aar-
ti worship at Mahakal. Normally this would OBSERVATORY OF RAJA JAI SINGH FROM THE 18TH CENTURY
require no special arrangements, but in the with bhasma over the Lingam and billowing place where they were being kept did not loves to walk and see the temples and their
crush of the Kumbha Mela we had to go in the air. With the continuous loud chanting, get blocked completely. Finally, we felt abso- tops; he will have a look at their flags. Such
through the Madhya Pradesh government’s this was the most mesmerizing and uplifting lutely blessed when we got the opportunity a person loves to spend time on the Ram
Public Relations department. Through the politicians, senior bureaucrats and judges. dozen priests were running from one end moment of the unique worship. The devotio- of praying to the sacred flame brought to us Ghat along the Shipra River and inhale the
good graces of that office, we were included The fifty of us were allowed to sit in the to the other frantically. They proceeded inal frenzy of was at its peak. I felt that for by the priest along with the prasad. With- fresh air there. If he spots a gulmohar tree,
in the VIP contingent for the very next day. first couple of rows in front of the sanctum, through the offerings of the sixteen items a moment I was also a tiny speck of bhasma. out a doubt, this was the high point of our he will spend some time having a look at its
We were told to be at the temple at 2:30 am while other devotees could only file by and of worship—lamps, incense, food, flowers, I was up in the air, mingling with the sa- pilgrimage to Ujjain. flowers. Every Sivaratri he will go for wor-
sharp. catch a few minutes glimpse of the worship. etc. Throughout the worship, the priests cred ash that was floating around Mahakal. A quaint encounter: As we wound up our ship of the Mahakal. He will see all the sev-
One has to take a bath early in the morn- Despite requests, Thomas was not allowed chanted Sri Rudram from the Vedas contin- At the final peak of the worship, the stay in the city, we met Vivek Chaurasia, a en processions of the Deity that long night,
ing to attend the Bhasma Aarti, and stitched closer than 25 feet from the sanctum to take uously, and almost everybody was listening priests came forward and accepted the puja young Ujjain-based journalist for the Dainik though they may all look alike. He will go for
clothes cannot be worn. Only a dhoti can photos. I was lucky enough to get a seat with in total awareness with eyes closed. I felt as material and cash which those attending the Bhaskar, a leading daily of Madhya Pradesh. this again even though he has been watch-
be worn, keeping the upper body bare. a clear view of the priests. The recitation if a spell had been cast on us all—that we worship wanted to offer at the feet of the He offered his evaluation of the city and its ing them for the past twenty-five years. And
Mostly the brahmins enter the chamber and of the mantras and intermittent loud chant- were one with the Mahakal and time was Lord. Only now I realized there were thou- residents. “There are many types of people if he does not go, his soul pinches him and
the sacred thread is their identity. It is said ing of “Jai Mahakal” was keeping everyone of no significance. And this seems natural sands of people behind us in a big queue. residing in Ujjain. One of them is the typi- tells him that Mahakal is on procession and
that, though there are no official restrictions, focused. The place was full of positive and because Mahakal, “Great Time,” rules and Ever swelling seemed to be their clan, of- cal pure resident of Ujjain. I include myself he did not go to have the sight. This is how
members of the scheduled castes do not at- energizing vibrations. The fact that I was transcends time. fering their puja material at one particular in this category. This typical, pure-at-heart a typical, pure-at-heart resident of Ujjain
tend Bhasma Aarti. witnessing a tradition that has been go- Finally it came time for the head monk of point and being given the blessed prasad resident of Ujjain loves to eat sitting on the would be, like myself. The pace of life here is
We could barely sleep this night, and on ing on since times immemorial made me the Mahanirvani Akahara to offer the sacred (food offered to the Siva Lingam) in re- floor. He can have food while sitting at the very slow. We are not much bothered about
April 28 were at the temple right on sched- completely blissful and withdrawn. Every- ash, bhashma or vibuthi, over the Lingam. turn. A large number of assistants quickly table also, but he will really enjoy his meal what is happening in the outside world. We
ule. The VIPs included prominent saints, thing was happening at a hectic pace. A Soon the whole inner sanctum was filled removed the abundant offerings so that the if he is served while sitting on the floor. He live in a blissful world of our own.” ∏π

28 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 h i n d u i s m t o d ay 29

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 mutual fund is an investment company that

or hindus raised in the warm offers to use your money to buy a diverse
glow of principled, Vedic living, the group of stocks or bonds from other com-
uncertainty of today’s fast changing panies. Also included in your simple Web
times should generate more than search would be a variety of investment ad-
enough impetus to seek a spiritually visers ready and willing to help you direct
and financially secure future within the your money into mutual funds and/or com-
time-tested wisdom of their own religious panies that would meet your standards, be

heritage. First-class advice on the digni- they religious, moral or ethical.

art by s. rajam

fa f
fied and profitable investment of money is “Socially responsible investing is an in-

nestled right within Hindu scripture, espe- vestment process that considers the social

cially in the teachings of karma and dharma. and environmental consequences of invest-

The relevant principle here is that one can ments, both positive and negative, within
be honest, wealthy and religious—all at the the context of rigorous financial analysis,”
same time. With this kind of philosophi- reads the 2003 Report on Socially Re-
cal backbone, one might think that Hindus sponsible Investing Trends in the
would be first in line to invest their money United States published by the
in a socially responsible way. Surprisingly, Social Investment Forum (www. (
they are not. “It is a process of
Catholics, Muslims, Mennonites, Lu- identifying and investing in compa-
therans, Methodists (who have a 200-year -year nies that meet certain standards of
old history of managing money) and other corporate social responsibility and is
Christian denominations all invest in spe- increasingly practiced internationally.”
cially tailored mutual funds organized to Working together: The Social Investment Forum con-
screen out the support and promotion of Steve Schueth and his network ducted its first industry-wide survey in
activities and values that conflict with their refer investors to a group of about 130 1984 and found a total of us$40 billion
religious beliefs. A 2004 survey of 151 Cath- socially conscious advisors across the USA involved in social investing. In 1995, that
olic institutions, including colleges, dioceses, figure rose to $639 billion. By 2003, despite
religious orders and hospitals, shows that the The common sense to invest money con- a market downturn, social investing assets
Roman Catholic Church is being more and scientiously and responsibly is at least as were at $2.16 trillion.
more diligent in assuring that their dollars old as stocks and bonds. About 30 years ago, Some mutual funds have their own social
are not funding media enterprises that pro- however, it was codified as an investment research departments. There are also orga-
mote sex and violence through mainstream strategy and formally named “Socially Re- nizations that specialize in social research.
entertainment industries. sponsible Investing.” Since then, it has be- “We work with investors who want to
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, leader come a movement of sorts, with a momen- match their personal values—maybe it’s re-
of Saiva Siddhanta Church, is responsible for tum that has consistently grown. ligious values—with their investments,” says
making investment decisions for the Church “Socially responsible investing is one of Schueth. “Researching actual companies is
and the five-million-dollar funds of Hindu those things that developed organically,” not an inexpensive process. We design cus-
Heritage Endowment. Working closely says Steve Schueth, who is affiliated with tom portfolios of stocks, bonds and mutual
with financial advisors, he maintains a list the First Affirmative Financial Network and funds for investors. We make sure that we’re
of companies whose activities or corporate was the president of the Social Investment meeting their financial goals and doing it in

Turning Gold to Good: Like the couple above, Hindus are discovering that moneys invested according policies he feels make them unsuitable for Forum. “It started in the living room of a a way that’s consistent with their personal,
to their values allow the family to do well while also doing good. investment by a Hindu organization. Draw- person’s home in Boston. A bunch of people moral and ethical values.”
ing inspiration and wisdom from ancient were sitting around and talking about the The First Affirmative Financial Network
Hindu scripture, he contends that working need for social change in a variety of areas ( is connected
to reap financial benefits from investments of our society. They recognized that mon- to about 130 individual financial advisors
made honestly, ethically and responsibly is ey is kind of the lifeblood of the economy. across the United States, to whom they can
in sync with the Hindu belief structure. Ac- What if you could get money flowing in a refer investors.
cording to the Vedas, the four main goals of different direction? What if you could redi- “I’ve never heard of anyone in the Hindu
life are dharma, artha (wealth), kama and rect the flow of investment capital in ways realm getting involved in socially respon-
moksha. that would make a positive contribution to sible investing,” says Schueth. “That doesn’t
“Love and wealth are goals for all man- the quality of life across all aspects of soci- mean they aren’t out there.”
kind,” he says. “Dharma is not really a sepa- ety? The intent that grew out of that was to Schueth says that if a Hindu were to spec-
rate goal from artha and kama but rather begin to organize and begin to offer choices ify his or her desires, a customized portfo-
governs the way we pursue them. Are we to investors.” lio could be established. Because there are

DHARMICALLY honest or dishonest in the way we acquire A Google search on the words “socially
wealth? If we are honest, then we are fulfill- responsible investing” turns up consider-
ing the goal of dharma.” able resources that include mutual funds. A
no established Hindu mutual funds, the
investment advisor would need to do his
own screening, so there would be additional

30 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 h i n d u i s m t o d ay 31
fees involved. Screening here refers to Hindu client ask him to make faith-based ment has lost significant value. No one can by Morning Star, which is a rating agen- In addition to screening out companies
analyzing a mutual fund for specific ac- investments, nor does he make any of his accurately predict the short-term movement cy. That’s rated against all balance funds, engaged in tobacco and gambling or gam-
tivities or affiliations that would not be own personal investments restricted by any of financial markets. Investments all need to whether they’re socially responsible or not.” ing, Hindu Heritage Endowment adds the
acceptable to Hindus. sort of religious conviction. “Your invest- be long-term to avoid being the nature of Trusting the advice of professionals does concern that Hinduism has for protecting
“The portfolio managers and their ments must support you and certainly you gambling.” not diminish an individual’s responsibility animals. Thus, they would avoid pharma-
analysts do the financial research like may support causes, but these things should While Bodhinatha does not give specifics for doing research. Bodhinatha has taken ceutical companies that engage in animal
any mutual fund company would do. The not go together,” he says. “A lot of people for seeking financial advice, he does advo- the time to familiarize himself with com- testing as well as companies in the food
added thing is we have a social research combine things and the outcome is less cate consulting with an investment profes- panies and funds and make informed deci- industry that have a significant amount of
department,” says Mariann Murphy, vice than desirable. If you want to sup- sional to minimize risk. He also suggests sions. This is particularly applicable when business revolving around packaged meat,
president of marketing for Pax World (www. port a cause, do it independently.” diversification in investments and mentions fish or fowl., ), in explaining how her com- Easan Katir, a Hindu with more mutual funds. It is this approach that he uti- Bodhinatha does not really investigate

pany screens. In 1971,, two Methodist min- than 20 years of experience as a lizes in overseeing the funds of the Hindu how much a corporation may give in terms

isters, Luther Tyson and Jack Corbett, who money manager, does make personal Heritage Endowment (, of charitable donations or community in-

pa x
were also economists and lobbyists, launched investment decisions within the pe- founded in 1994), which is handled by 79 volvement.

the Pax World Fund in response to a letter rimeters of his religious convictions. fund managers. “Charity is a valid consideration, though
they’d received from a woman in Ohio who
said she simply did not want to invest her
money in any company that supported war-
“I personally believe that ahimsa, non-
violence, is the best way to proceed
through life,” he says. “I avoid investing
in companies that promote violence in
Saiva Siddhanta Church maintains its
investments separately. While personal re-
lationships are nice and trust is essential,
Trouble not one to us,” he says. “For one thing, how
does one measure it and against what stan-
dard? It also doesn’t work for global invest-
ing. Nike has companies all over the world,
related industries. he maintains that it is usually in one’s best
Anita Green, vice president of social re- the world. That includes manufacturers interest to remain dispassionate.
Socially responsible so which local community do we want to
search for Pax World, screens for subjects Selective screening: that create weapons or inflict harm upon “Our experience is that it is best to leave investors screen for consider? Similarly with the environment,
like weapons, tobacco, gambling, liquor, cor- Mariann Murphy of Pax animals in any way. In making my deci- manager selection to a professional,” he says. activities that conflict how does one measure it? All industries are
porate pollution, corporate fair hiring poli- World says her company goes looking for sions, I weigh the company in my mind. “Otherwise, if we make the choice, it may be involved in pollution to one degree or anoth-
cies and environmental issues. weapons, tobacco, gambling and more If their primary business is meat process- based on our friendship with the manager with their values, er. Our strategy is deliberately simple, us-
“If there are any questions, she will call ing, for example, it’s off my list. But if it’s rather than his skill, or on our biases for or including: ing screens that are accurately measurable
the company,” says Murphy. holder concerns and desires. a restaurant chain that serves good food against certain types of investments rather and not gray. We don’t screen for defense or
Pax World also engages in corporate activ- “Our shareholder base is both very loyal but some non-vegetarian items, I’ll still than a professional’s objective approach and weaponry because we believe in the value
ism and advocacy. In that area, they some- and very vocal, which is great,” Murphy consider it. One can get too fanatical.” lack of bias.” of a strong military. It is the nature of where
times collaborate with other socially respon-
sible investing organizations. Recently, they
says. “We send out a newsletter three or four
times a year and try to profile different com-
In addition to managing money, Katir
works with Ed Seykota, conducting work-
Bodhinatha also maintains that profession-
als can strengthen resolve when it comes to
Abortion we are. Every country needs a military.
“My overall advice to Hindus is that if you
got together with the Calvert Group and
the Citizens Fund, and approached Michael
panies in the portfolios. A lot of people don’t
know what good things a company is doing.”
shops that explore the psychological com-
ponents of investing. “Computer technol-
patience, since they will routinely advise
against rash decisions to sell off investments Gambling feel strongly about certain values, you can
invest accordingly. That’s how other religions
Dell of Dell Computers to talk with him
about “recycling.”
“We spoke about their recycling initiatives,”
A regular flow of information is available
from, which updates
constantly and puts up news reports three
ogy has made investment analysis about 95
percent efficient,” Katir notes. “As far as the
emotional, psychological side of investing is
due to market fluctuations. He also asserts
that, while investment decisions should not
be fueled by emotions, they can be fortified
Tobacco look at it. We know a person in Malaysia who
handles investments for Muslims. They have
a number of screens, including no banks
Murphy explains. “Computer recycling is a
very dicey endeavor, because there are so
or four times a week. They also provide a
weekly newsletter.
concerned, I think people are only maybe
20 to 30 percent efficient. There are meth-
by conviction. Professionals can assist you
in matching your convictions with sound
Pornography and no hotels, which they consider immoral.
“If one is a strong vegetarian, one could
many chemicals in them. A lot of companies
are saying they’re doing recycling while they
“There is a wide range of topics we can
cover,” says Mark Thomsen of Social Funds.
ods we share that can bring that from 20
percent to around 50 percent or more. That’s
Schueth says, “The academic research Violent games find a way to implement that in one’s invest-
ments. Vegetarianism is a powerful part of
are really shipping them off to Third World
countries where the stuff is now seeping
“It’s been proven many times over that invest-
ing with your values has a neutral effect on
a quantum leap.”
Bodhinatha agrees with Katir with regard
and real-world interaction with mutual
funds and asset managers that have been Violent films many Hindus’ lives, but there are, to my
knowledge, no mutual funds based on veg-
into the land. There are not the same rules performance. So you can do it and not lose to maintaining a balanced view in making doing this for a long time essentially have etarianism. If someone created a vegetarian
and regulations there that we have in the
USA about how to do it safely. We definitely
money. It seems some people still don’t be-
lieve it, but there is academic evidence. Be-
investment choices.“We also screen for
meat processing, which is direct involve-
dispelled the myth that if you’re going to
invest in a socially and environmentally re-
Animal testing fund, it could be popular and find Hindus
did not want to see that happening. Dell has
been very, very receptive. All they needed
cause it limits your options for investment,
it can increase the risk, but an investor can
ment,” he says, “but not for restaurants or
supermarkets which sell meat. That would
sponsible way you’re going to have to give
up something. I’m not sure where that myth
Meat packing Fortunately, the world of socially respon-
sible investing is making it more and more
was someone to come in.”
Murphy cautions people who expect so-
take steps to mitigate that risk.”
Money manager Sekhar Vemparala, who
be too much. But if a company’s activity is
slaughter, it is reasonable not to invest in it.”
comes from, but somehow we’re wired to
automatically expect that. What we’ve done Cattle ranching possible to combine the values by which you
live your life with your investment strategy.

Fur & leather

cially responsible investing to cover all of describes himself as a devout Hindu, says Bodhinatha strenuously emphasizes the over the last 15 years is to prove otherwise. “It’s been a fast growing trend for the last 15
their values. She directs people to check out that—other than people indicating they necessity of patience in investing. “In our There are now probably a couple of dozen years,” says Schueth. “Socially responsible
Pax World’s Web site as well as don’t want to invest in tobacco companies— opinion, the core area of dharmic invest- academic studies that have been published, investing is typically growing faster than and and he rarely receives requests for any sort of ing is to control risk and avoid excessive all of which conclude that there is no reason the market in general, which means that
get a sense of what possibilities exist. Pax socially conscious screening. speculation in your overall investment port- to expect any kind of give-up.” we’re gaining market share. That is one of
World does have a private account division, “If a client asks or restricts or encourages folio,” he says. “If this is not done, you are Pax World offers four different funds. investing in companies, rather than mutual the things the trend reports consistently
where each specification of an individual in- me to go after certain markets,” Vemparala risking your family’s or institution’s wealth, There is the balance fund, which is a mix funds, which have screening plans in place. show us.”
vestor can be taken into consideration, but says, “my response is: ‘If you want to be an and investing becomes a form of gambling. of stocks and bonds. There is a growth fund, “When individuals or institutions choose Hindus are just learning they can see their
the minimum investment for that would be absolute purist and you want me to do or not Gambling is definitely not a part of dharma. which consists of all stocks. There is a high to hold individual securities in their port- religion’s values strengthened by simply di-
$250,000—quite a bit more than the $250 do certain things, I will follow your requests.’ ” The first thing is understanding and abiding yield fund, which is a bond fund. And there folios, they then have the opportunity to verting their money into dharmic invest-
minimum required to invest in a basic Pax Although Vemparala is a trustee at a Hin- by the time frame of your investment. For is a money market fund. screen out companies that are engaged in ments. Its a way of doing well while doing
Fund. du temple, he will not give advice concern- example, funds that you may need to spend “We have some investors who are just look- activities they consider to be harmful, such good. ∏π
While a Pax Fund investor may not have ing that temple’s investments. “I don’t want for emergencies are savings and not invest- ing for a good balanced fund. The screening as the manufacture of cigarettes,” he says.
the same comprehensive control as with a to have a conflict of interest,” he states. “I do ments. As such, they should not be placed in was just a plus. However, most investors are “Though we usually hold only institutional Lois Elfman is a freelance editor and writer
private account, there are extensive oppor- not get involved with other trustees. I don’t an investment program but kept in a savings in because of the screening,” says Murphy, mutual funds, whenever we do hold indi- based in New York. She is the former editor-
tunities to ask questions, and feedback is take the temple or any of the board mem- vehicle. This is because you do not want to who estimates that Pax World Funds have vidual securities, we apply social screens by in-chief of Women’s Basketball and Interna-
constantly being sought. In 2002, Pax World bers as clients.” be forced to withdraw funds for an emer- about 65,000 shareholders. “Our balanced excluding a specific list of companies from tional Figure Skating magazines. She can be
did a shareholder survey to gauge share- Vemparala says he has not had a single gency from an investment when the invest- fund is rated five stars (the highest rating) our holdings.” reached at

32 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 h i n d u i s m t o d ay 33
p h o t o s ; e pa / s t r

e pa
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.
age yelled to the 43 boys to run, and The immediate rescue and relief op-
the 2001 Gujarat earthquake and Orissa cy- alerted the nearby villagers as well. Run the erations, though harried and difficult, are
clone. Swami Chidanand Saraswati (Muniji) boys did, and all but one, who was handi- relatively straightforward in means and ob-
of Parmarth Niketan in Rishikesh arrived capped, survived. Four adult staff perished. jective—shelter and feed the victims, treat
and immediately adopted the heavily dam- Many of their neighbors had stopped to get the wounded and cremate or bury the
Body and soul: Food blessed at a fire ceremony for survivors (inset) aged village of Cuddalore. A contingent of belongings at their home and drowned. Ev- dead. Actual restoration of the communi-
is distributed at Erethur village in Tamil Nadu on January 21 Sikhs arrived from Punjab and set up lan- erything except one building was destroyed ties is another matter. Take the example of
gaars, free kitchens. at the orphanage. Now funds are being col- the Batticaloa orphanage. Construction on
In Malaysia, the Malaysia Hindu Sangam lected to build a new facility further inland. replacement facilities can begin straight-
DISASTER brought together many Hindu organizations An interreligious problem surfaced a few away, because they already own land in a
for fund raising, material gathering and to weeks into the relief work—Christian con- suitable location. But the Sri Lanka gov-

What Now? The Long Road to Recovery send workers to afflicted areas. P. Wahtha-
moorthy of the Vivekananda Youth Move-
ment, Seremba, arrived in Chennai on Janu-
version 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
ary 1 with a team. So great had been the of disasters to “spread the Gospel.” The dif- only during the day. Other residents along
Money and manpower pour into tsunami-afflicted areas of India and Sri Lanka Indian domestic response that they were ference now is the worldwide attention the the coast now have to acquire new land.
told to go on to Sri Lanka, where the dev- practice has garnered. Critical articles ap- BAPS workers acquired a lot of experi-
astation was much greater. Once there they peared in the New York Times and other ma- ence with this stage of reconstruction fol-
elief efforts commenced im- im or another. The US-based India Develop- in the stricken areas less than two hours af- hooked up with local organizations includ- jor US papers, as well as on the wire servic- lowing the Gujarat earthquake. One of their
mediately at the Mata Amrita- ment and Relief Fund was approaching ter the tsunami washed ashore at 8:45 am. ing the Hindu Seva Sangam (the overseas es and, surprisingly, even in the Indian press, swamis explained to Hinduism Today that
nandamayi Ashram on the Kerala US$1 million by late January. The Amrita- Over the coming days they were joined by branch of the RSS) who martialed a thou- normally so loathe to denounce Christians. organizations had built new housing, but
coast—even before the tsunami nandamayi Ashram has pledged the huge volunteers from all over India. Many local sand volunteers. Meanwhile, temples and Two hundred tsunami victims in the town failed to secure title to the land, making it
water receded from the ashram’s sum of $23 million—more than many na- Hindu organizations, including Chinmaya organizations across Malaysia raised money of Samanthapettai in Tamil Nadu, accord- impossible for the intended beneficiaries
grounds on December 26, 2004. Though tions—to the reconstruction effort. Small Mission, the Ramakrishna Mission and Vi- for the work. On a worldwide basis, Tamils ing to a report in The Pioneer, “saw the to take possession. Others built unsuitable,
right on the ocean, the well-built center initiatives abounded also. In India itself, vekananda Kendra, to name just a few, im- in many countries sent money through the dark side of Christian charity as mission- barracks-style housing that no one wanted
easily withstood the waves, and the 10,000 young professionals launched an immediate mediately joined the effort. Chinmaya Mis- Tamils Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), aries stomped out of their village without to live in. Many worked for a while in the
ashramites gathered for a special program campaign via text messaging. In New York, sion focused on providing food for survivors which was formed to help victims of the distributing relief after residents refused reconstruction and then simply left. BAPS’
immediately began rescue efforts among one Hindu family collected a container load and relief workers. The RSS, after initial country’s long-running civil war and is able their faith-for-food deal.” Even the Chris- experience is that it requires very close co-
the neighboring villages where many had of supplies from local hospitals. Boy Scouts rescue operations, set about the monumen- to operate in rebel-controlled areas. tian organizations which subscribe to the ordination with the local government, and a
been killed or injured. Similarly, across went door to door, and employees passed tal and unpleasant task of collecting bodies It was in Sri Lanka where the tsunami hit Red Cross policy of not using disasters to clear understanding of the needs of the peo-
South India and Sri Lanka, Hindu religious the hat at work. and trying to provide dignified last rights. closest to home for Hinduism Today. Our advance any political or religious agenda ple to accomplish satisfactory reconstruction.
organizations joined government efforts and Some organizations have well-honed skills The RSS was one of the very few organiza- founder, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, still hoped those helped would later be in- Prayers and spiritual solace from around
those of secular and religious non-govern- in disasters, particularly the Rashtriya Sway- tions able to operate in the Andaman islands. was ordained by Siva Yogaswami of Jaffna terested in changing their faith. the globe are a significant part of the re-
mental organizations in instant response to amsewak Sangh (RSS), India’s largest volun- More organizations rolled in, such as the Sri Lanka as his successor and has main- The attempt by one Christian organiza- covery, as families adjust to the devastat-
the disaster. teer social service organization. Trained like Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam tained close links with the Sri Lankan Hin- tion to transport 300 orphaned children out ing change brought into their lives, without
Overseas, nearly every Hindu organiza- an army to march toward the sound of battle, Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), with their dus ever since. One special project of his of Bandh Aceh to be raised in a Christian warning, from the normally innocuous and
tion commenced fund raising in some form their local workers in Tamil Nadu arrived extensive expertise in relief work gained in was support of the Thirunavukkarasu Nay- orphanage in Jakarta enraged Muslims and bountiful ocean. ∏π

34 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 h i n d u i s m t o d ay 35
OPINION In response, let me first say that Hindus
have no problem acknowledging the femi-

Next Time, Ask a Hindu nine 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
parents are the
A Newsweek article, inspired by an academic college professor. Unlike in the West, there
is no problem with thinking of God as a first gurus in
woman. God is man, God is woman, God
“expert,” leaves a mess of misconceptions is man and woman, and God is beyond religion and
both man and woman. Hence, there is con-
sistency in thought regarding the omnipres- character
BY DA R S H A K J E YA NA N DA R AJA N ence of God in Hindu philosophy.
Except for Buddhism, there is no religion
Many Hindus were outraged when they read Kenneth L. Wood- on Earth that accepts as much responsibility for the content and CA
ward’s article entitled Countless Souls Cry Out to God, published context of life as Hinduism. It is not a matter of blame, guilt, the


in Newsweek on January 10, 2005. Referring to the tsunami dominance of a wrathful God or even the fact that we might be
of December 26, 2004, as “a cataclysm of Biblical proportions,” deserving such a horrible tragedy. Hinduism acknowledges a larger N

Woodward bemoans the plight of “poor fishing communities whose perspective from which all situations may be understood in the G H

inhabitants—mostly Hindus—are untutored in refined theological light of the soul’s growth toward a merging back into the Ultimate
speculation on life and death” and believe that “life is controlled by Source. From this point of view, adversity may be approached as
the play of capricious deities.” the ultimate teacher, rather than as a calamity in which foolish
To fathom the mind set of these common Hindu folk, Woodward people are “controlled by the play of capricious deities.” Humanity
consults not a Hindu but “a specialist in South Asian Hinduism” should be humbled by the people of any faith who lose everything,
from Bard College in New York named Richard Davis. Davis says, yet in their loss—even if only for a few moments in a broader scale
“Hindus use the deities to think about and explain happenings like of time—bring the world together in compassion. What other event
the tsunami as destructive acts of god. Relating to the local deity in recent memory has drawn people of all races and religions to-
and cooling her anger through propitiation is more important than gether to help one another to such an extent as this?
thinking about personal or collective guilt for what has happened.” It is unfortunate that we still live in a time that requires a ca-
When Aseem R. Shukla of the Hindu American Foundation in tastrophe to awaken empathy and kindness. Countless souls are
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, wrote a letter to the editor of News- crying to God, but perhaps this is God crying to us. Newsweek
week respectfully attempting to clarify some of Hinduism’s more is in a unique position to inform and bring people together, but
fundamental concepts like karma and reincarnation—which were misinformed articles like Mr. Woodward’s serve only to exacerbate
relevant to the article but not mentioned by Woodward or Davis— misunderstanding and create tensions through erroneous charac-
Newsweek published a portion of his letter with a rejoiner which terization. A printed apology by Newsweek and Mr. Woodward
stated, “Newsweek recognizes that in all religious traditions, in- to the Hindus of the world would be appropriate. The people in
cluding Hinduism, there are differences between popular piety and South Asia have suffered enough without having to see one of their
intellectually sophisticated spiritual reflections. Our article specifi- great philosophies reduced to superstitious insanity in the interna-
cally stated that we were describing the outlook and reactions of tional press.
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, disappoint- any Hindu families visiting our Hawaii monastery, particularly those with young children,
ed and offended to see the characterizations of Hindus in
Kenneth Woodward’s article. It is clear that Mr. Woodward has no ask if I have any advice for them. I usually respond with one or two general suggestions. I
comprehension of the philosophy, depth and power of Hinduism.
There are volumes of Hindu philosophical works dedicated to the always stress the importance of presenting Hinduism to their children in a practical way so that
issues of life and death, which include thorough discussions of such it influences each child’s life for the better. Hindu practices should, for example, help children
d a r s h a k j e ya na n d a r a j a n

basic concepts as karma, reincarnation and samskaras (mental im-

pressions that manifest particular tendencies in an individual), to get better grades in school and get along well with others. Of course, there is not enough time
name but a few.
I would also like to inquire about the quotation in the article in a short session to present all the many guidelines that a parent would find useful. Therefore, I
from Richard Davis. Woodward and Davis both seem to be char- decided to write up a full complement of suggestions to be handed to Hindu families in the future
acterizing the affected Hindus as unsophisticated thinkers that just
blindly go and pray to a woman when they should be thinking of Darshak Jeyanandarajan (33) is a novelist who who want to know ways to present Hinduism to their kids. You hold the results in your hands. It
why it is their personal and collective fault that this happened! lives with his parents in California
is based on the teachings of my satguru, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, founder of HINDUISM TODAY.
36 h i n d u i s m t o d ay a p r i l / m ay / j u n e , 2 00 5 a p r i l / m ay / j u n e , 2 0 0 5 h i n d u i s m t o d ay I-1
Table of Contents boring compared to the all-pervasive and ever-more-compelling
secular forms of entertainment that are available. So, parents are
IMPARTING BELIEFS AND ATTITUDES challenged more than ever to answer kids’ puzzling queries—as
Part 1 • Teach and practice Hinduism in your home. grandparents did not have to do—by giving sensible, pragmatic
Part 2 • Teach about the soul and our purpose on Earth. explanations to temple worship and Hinduism’s rich array of cul-
tural and mystical practices. Kids today want answers that make
Part 3 • Teach them about Hinduism’s greatness. sense to them. They are not at all content with “That’s the way we
Part 4 • Teach about Hinduism and other religions. have always done it.” When parents are unable to meet this chal-
kids learn lenge, Hinduism does not become a meaningful and useful part
Part 6 • Teach How Hinduism lets us know God.
primarily of their children’s lives. Many youth today do not view the prac-
Part 5 • Teach how to live positively in the world. through tice of their faith as important to making their life happier, more
religious and more successful. This is the challenge every Hindu
BUILDING GOOD CHARACTER observation. parent faces. But all is not lost. New generations are eager to hear
Part 1 • Cultivate nine key spiritual qualities. the lofty truths, and those truths can be explained in ways that
Part 2 • Guide your children with love, not fear. engage and inspire young seekers, counterbalancing the power-
fully magnetic influences of the modern world.

Establish a shrine in the home.

PART ONE Hinduism is in no way more dynamically strengthened in the lives
teach and practice 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
hinduism in your home your example way it can be strictly reserved for worship and meditation, unsul-

all photos by dinodia

as a parent is lied 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
Take responsibility for being the primary what they learn room, and more than a simple shelf or closet.
teachers of Hinduism to your children. from the most. Naturally, as important as having a shrine is worshiping there
It is wonderful that many temples have in place educational pro- daily. In the shrine room offer fruit, flowers or food. Visit your
grams for the youth that are both effective and popular. However, shrine when leaving the home, and upon returning. Worship in
it is important for parents to have the attitude that these pro- heartfelt devotion, clearing the inner channels to God and the
grams supplement but do not replace the need for them to teach Gods, so their grace flows toward you and loved ones. Make the
Hinduism to their children in the home. Parents are indeed the Without your help, there is no guarantee that musical concerts. The temple was a social and educational center shrine a refuge for all family members, where they can find peace
first guru. They teach in many different ways, such as by example, your children will follow their faith as adults. as well. In our modern world we do have movies, television and and solace, where they can connect with the Gods and offer their
explanation, and giving advice and direction. The child’s deepest Look around at the younger generation of Hindus and you will computers, and many Hindu children would much rather spend praise, prayers and practical needs. Train your children to wor-
impressions come from what the parents do and say. Therefore, find many who have no interest whatsoever in practicing the Hin- their free time enjoying them with their friends rather than being ship in the shrine before any important event in life, such as a
if the parents follow a systematic approach to teaching the child du religion. One hundred years ago, before movies, television and at the temple. Why is this? There are many reasons. Families are major exam at school, or when faced with a personal challenge
Hinduism as he or she grows up, Sanatana Dharma will be fully computers, in the cities and villages of India and Hindu communi- not so close and trusting. And it used to be far easier to get chil- or problem. Following this simple, traditional practice in a sacred
integrated into his or her life, making it less likely to be side-lined ties in other countries, the Hindu temple was the most interesting dren to come to the temple, since it was the center of village life. space within the home will do much to make Hinduism relevant
or abandoned in adult years. place in town. Besides the festivals, there were dramas, dances and Times are different, and today’s children often consider the temple to them on a day-to-day basis.


develop a positive self-concept
cultivate nine spiritual qualities A positive self-concept arises when we through verbally running down a child through teasing, jok-
Parents can consciously and systematically develop key qualities in their children that will help think of ourselves as a worthy individual ing or insulting remarks. This, of course, needs to be stopped
them to be happy, religious and successful when they reach adulthood. A wise mother wrote to deserving of a wonderful life. How and replaced with encouragement and praise. When it comes
me once on e-mail saying, “I truly believe we live out part of our karma through our children, and is this accomplished? It is through to correcting misbehavior, it is wise to distinguish between
we grow and improve as they do.” Though parents may think they are just helping their children being generous with your praise the person and the behavior. The behavior was foolish, not
be more happy, successful and religious, in truth parents cannot separate themselves from their and appreciation, making chil- the person. For example, you can tell your children when
children. The child’s growth and spiritual evolution is the parents’ as well. There are nine key quali- dren know they are loved and they misbehave, “What you did was very foolish, but you are
ties we want our children to possess. We will explore each of these to see what children should be valued, that who they are makes a smart, and I’m sure you now know better and won’t do that
taught, or not taught, by parents to develop that quality. The nine qualities are: difference and life is full of prom- again.” Parents should also not allow their children to call
❖ Positive Self-Concept ❖ Pious Character ise. Unfortunately, many children each other names, such as “fat” or “lame.” Having a positive
❖ Perceptive Self-Correction ❖ Proficiency in Conflict Resolution reach adulthood with a negative concept about one’s outer self allows the child to accept the
❖ Powerful Self-Control ❖ Parental Closeness self-concept, feeling that others are Hindu teaching that one’s inner self is a divine being, a radi-
❖ Profound Self-Confidence ❖ Prejudice-Free Consciousness better than they are and life has little to ant soul. My Gurudeva wrote: “Praise your children. Celebrate
❖ Playful Self-Contentment offer. A negative self-concept is developed their Divinity. Enjoy them and enjoy good times with them.”

I-2 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 h i n d u i s m t o d ay I-3
going to the temple regularly. Specifically, some of the religious attain an ever-deepening God consciousness. This process of life
atmosphere of the temple can be brought home with you if you eventually culminates in moksha, liberation from the cycle of birth,
the whole family should simply light an oil lamp in your shrine room when you return from death and rebirth.
enjoy at least one formal the temple. This sacred act brings devas who were at the temple
meal together each day. right into the home shrine room, where from the inner world they Teach that, among humans, there are
can bless all family members and strengthen the religious force young souls and old souls.
field of the home. 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
PART TWO 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
teach about the soul and among men? Clearly some act like saints and others act like sin-
our purpose on earth ners. 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
Teach that life’s purpose is spiritual advancement. souls, at the beginning of the spiritual path, while others are old
The Hindu view of life is that we are a divine being, a soul, who ex- souls, near the end. Our paramaguru, Jnanaguru Siva Yogaswami,
periences many lives on Earth, and that the purpose of our being in speaking to his devotees, described life as a school, with some
here is spiritual unfoldment. Over a period of many lives we gradu- in the M.A. class and others in kindergarten. Knowing the differ-
all photos by dinodia

ally become a more spiritual being and are thus able to experi- ences in spiritual maturity, he gave to each accordingly. Hindus
ence spiritual consciousness more deeply. This eventually leads do not condemn some men as evil and extol others as good but
to a profound experience of God consciousness which brings to rather see all as divine beings, some young, some old and some in
a conclusion our pattern of reincarnation on Earth. This is called the intermediary stages. If children are taught this central Hindu
moksha, liberation. A great lady saint of North India, Anandamayi principle, they will be able to understand and accept the other-
Ma, stated the goal of God Realization quite beautifully: “Man is a wise confoundingly wide range of differences among people as
human being only so much as he aspires to Self Realization. This is part of God’s cosmic plan of spiritual evolution.
what human birth is meant for. To realize the One is the supreme
Worship together in the home shrine each morning. worship. A number of Hindus have told us that what kept them duty of every human being.” Teach about man’s three-fold nature.
A popular saying in English is “The family that prays together stays a staunch, practicing Hindu, despite exposure in their youth to Man’s nature can be described as three-fold: spiritual, intellec-
together.” In Hinduism, ideally this refers to all members of the other religious traditions, at school and elsewhere, was the fact Teach the four traditional goals of life. tual and instinctive. One or more of these aspects predominate
family participating in the morning worship in the home shrine that the entire family practiced Hinduism together in the home. The four traditional Hindu goals of life are duty (dharma), wealth uniquely in each of us according to our maturity and evolution.
before breakfast. The children can be trained to always bring an (artha), love (kama) and liberation (moksha). The Hindu has the The spiritual nature is the pure, superconscious, intuitive mind
offering of a flower or at least a leaf. The exact routine followed Worship together as a family at a same ambitions as do others. He or she wants to experience love, of the soul. The intellect is the thinking, reasoning nature. The
depends on the family’s religious background and lineage. Typical local temple once a week. family and children, as well as a profession, wealth and respect. instinctive aspect of our being is the animal-like nature which
practices include a simple arati or a longer puja, singing devotion- Attending a puja at the temple every week allows us to experi- Dharma enjoins the Hindu to fulfill these ambitions in an hon- governs the physical body and brings forth strong desires and
al songs, repeating a mantra, reading scripture and then meditat- ence the blessings of God and the Gods on a regular basis. This est, virtuous, dutiful way. However, these three are not ends in lower emotions such as anger, jealousy and fear. The goal is to
ing or performing simple sadhanas and yogas. As the children get helps keep us pure as well as strong in our religious commitments. themselves, but they do provide the environment and experi- learn to control these animal instincts as well as the ramifications
older, they can take on greater responsibilities during the morning The religious vibration of the home shrine is also strengthened by ences which help the embodied soul mature over many lives and of the intellect and the pride of the ego and to manifest one’s

develop perceptive self-correction develop powerful self-control

Perceptive self-correction is evident when we are encouraged to learn to reflect on the possible effects of Powerful self-control is the ability to restrain conduct, patience, steadfastness, compassion, honesty,
are able to quickly learn the lesson from their behavior before acting. Such wisdom can be nurtured destructive emotions, such as anger, when moderate appetite and purity. Self-control is also cultivated
each experience and resolve not to through encouraging self-reflection by asking the child to we are tempted to express them. How is through emphasizing, from an early age, the traditional Hin-
repeat our mistakes. How do parents think about what he did and how he could avoid making that such control cultivated in children? It is du imperative to maintain chastity until marriage. Self-con-
develop this quality in children? By mistake again. Perceptive self-correction enables young ones through parents’ never expressing such trol leads to self-mastery, enabling one to be more successful
teaching them that making mis- to quickly learn from their inevitable mistakes, refine their emotions themselves. Children learn, in achieving outer and inner goals. Gurudeva noted: “Chil-
takes is not bad. Everyone makes still-developing behavior accordingly and thereby make more by observing their parents, whether dren who see their mother and father working out their dif-
mistakes. It is natural and simply rapid progress on the spiritual path. Gurudeva observed: it’s acceptable to behave emotionally ferences in mature discussion or in the shrine room through
shows we do not understand some- “Children are entrusted to their parents to be loved, guided or not. It is by referring often to the prayer and meditation are at that moment given permission
thing. It is important for the parent and protected, for they are the future of the future. However, ten restraints of Hinduism’s Code of to do the same in their own life when they are older. They
to determine what understanding the children can be a challenge to raise up into good citizenship. Conduct, known as the yamas, finding become the elite of society, the pillars of strength to the
child lacks and teach it to him without There are many positive ways to guide them, such as hug- illustrations of these ideals in daily life, community during times of stress and hardship. These chil-
blame. When parents discipline through ging, kindness, time spent explaining, giving wise direction on television and in movies. The yamas are dren, when older, will surely uphold the principles of dharma
natural and logical consequences, children and setting the example of what you want them to become.” noninjury, truthfulness, nonstealing, divine and will not succumb to the temptations of the lower mind.”

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spiritual nature. ence of perfection. There is, in this true Hinduism, a solution to
It is the instinctive nature in man that contains the tendencies when parents are every individual, social, national and international problem. True
to harm others, disregard the prudent laws of society and stir up harmonious, children tend Hinduism is the Sanatana Dharma of the Upanishads.” Children
negativity within the home, the nation and beyond. Those who to get along as well. whose peers do not value Hinduism will take heart in Swami’s
are expressing such tendencies are young souls who have yet to pride-instilling words.
learn why and how to harness the instinctive forces. It may take
such a person many lives to rise to a higher consciousness and The traditional Hindu vegetarian diet has many
live in his spiritual nature. Thus the Hindu approach to such a benefits, both personal and planetary.
man, which children can be taught from an early age, is not to More and more individuals are switching from the meat-eating
label him as evil, but rather to focus on restraining his hurtfulness diet of their parents to a vegetarian diet as a matter of conscience
and helping him learn to control these instincts and improve his based upon their personal realization of the suffering that animals
behavior. undergo when they are fettered and slaughtered. This is, of course,
Gurudeva describes this in an insightful way: “People act in evil also the Hindu rationale for a vegetarian diet. It is based on the vir-
ways who are not yet in touch with their soul nature and live to- tue of ahimsa: refraining from injuring, physically mentally or emo-
tally in the outer, instinctive mind. What the ignorant see as evil, tionally, anyone or any living creature. The Hindu who wishes to
the enlightened see as the actions of low-minded and immature strictly follow the path of noninjury naturally adopts a vegetarian
individuals.” diet. A common saying that conveys this principle to even the small-
est 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
PART THREE consciousness. When we eat meat, fish, fowl and eggs, we absorb
teach of hinduism’s greatness 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,
Instill in your children a pride in Hinduism jealousy, confusion, resentment and the like. Therefore, being
based upon its wise precepts for living. vegetarian is a great help in attaining and maintaining a spiritual
Since the middle of the twentieth century, Hindu teachings have state of consciousness, and some individuals take up vegetarian-
become more widely understood throughout the world. As a re- ism for this reason alone.
photos by dinodia

sult cardinal aspects of the Hindu approach to living have been A third rationale for vegetarianism is that it uses the planet’s
taken up by many thoughtful individuals of diverse religions and natural resources in a much wiser way. In large measure, the esca-
ethnicities far beyond India. This is because they find them wise lating loss of species, destruction of ancient rain forests to create
and effective ways of living. Hindu precepts that are being univer- pasture lands for livestock, loss of topsoil and the consequent
sally adopted in the 21st century include: 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
❖ Following a vegetarian diet ❖ Teaching that the whole world is one family Teach your children how the unique wisdom of their born faith, we can make as individuals or as a race can have such a dramatic
❖ A reverence toward and desire to ❖ The belief in karma as a system of divine justice especially in the principles listed above, is being more appreciated effect on the improvement of our planetary ecology as the deci-
protect the environment ❖ The belief in reincarnation and adopted by spiritual seekers than ever before. Swami Chinma- sion to not eat meat. Many seeking to save the planet for future
❖ Solving conflicts through nonviolent means ❖ The practice of yoga and meditation yananda, in his first public talk in 1951, made a powerful statement generations have become vegetarians for this reason.
❖ Tolerance towards others ❖ Seeking to personally experience Divinity about the effectiveness of Hinduism: “The true Hinduism is a sci- By teaching the value of a vegetarian diet to our youth, we pro-

develop a profound self-confidence %develop a playful self-contentment

Profound self-confidence is exemplified sively more difficult tasks as he or she grows up. A pattern Playful self-contentment is expressed when they don’t have. It is nurtured by the family spending time
when a child is confronted with a dif- of many successes going into our subconscious mind is what a child’s usual mood is fun-loving, happy together filled with play and laughter. The ability to remain
ficult task and his first response is the produces the sense of self-confidence and the feeling that and satisfied. How is this developed? playful, joyful, secure and content enables one to face with
certainty that he can accomplish it. we will be equal to any task. For example, a father teaches his It is through the parents’ living and far greater equanimity the ups and downs of life. Gurudeva
Unfortunately, many children reach son carpentry from age ten through eighteen. Each year the verbalizing the philosophy that life described the contentment, santosha, that we should teach
adulthood lacking self-confidence father helps the son make something that is more complex, is meant to be lived joyously. It is by children: “True santosha is seeing all-pervasiveness of the
and have as their first response the never giving him a project that is too advanced, praising holding the perspective that happi- one divine power everywhere. The light within the eyes of
feeling that they will be unable to each achievement. Self-confidence is cultivated by watching ness does not depend on external each person is that divine power. With this in mind, you can
accomplish the task, as it is too diffi- for failures at school or at home and compensating for them. circumstances but is a conscious- go anywhere and do anything. Contentment is there, inside
cult. How is profound self-confidence If the child is shy and has trouble at school with public speak- ness we can claim, whether life is you, and needs to be brought out. It is a spiritual power. So,
cultivated? Firstly, through being ing, work personally or through a tutor to overcome that free of or filled with challenges. It is yes, do what makes you content. But know that contentment
sure the child possesses a positive self- shyness so he or she can speak comfortably before groups of by teaching the children to be satis- really transcends worrying about the challenges that face
concept. Secondly, through helping the people in any situ tat ion. Self-confidence makes developing fied with what they have in the pres- you. Santosha is being peaceful in any situation. The stronger
child be repetitively successful at progres- youth magnetic to success in both outer and inner endeavors. ent rather than dissatisfied about what you are in santosha, the greater the challenges you can face.”

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tect their health, lengthen their lives, elevate their consciousness Dr. King, after decades of careful thought on the Hindus do not believe that some individuals will be saved and
and preserve the Earth that is their home. children need to be valued as problem of racial discrimination in the United others damned, nor in a chosen people, nor in a starkly divided
part of the family team. States, selected the Hindu principle of ahimsa, as world of good and evil filled only with the faithful and the infidels.
Hindus hold a deep reverence toward planet Earth exemplified by Mahatma Gandhi’s tactic of non- Hinduism respects and defends the rights of humans of every
and toward all living beings that dwell on it. violent resistance, as the most effective method caste, creed, color and sex, and it asks that those same rights be
Many thoughtful people share the Hindu view that it is not right for overcoming the unjust laws that existed in accorded its billion followers. Hindus think globally and act locally
for man to kill or harm animals for food or sport. They believe America at the time. In 1959 Dr. King even spent as interracial, international citizens of the Earth. They honor and
that animals have a right to enjoy living on this planet as much as five weeks in India personally discussing with value all human cultures, faiths, languages and peoples, never
humans do. There is a Vedic verse in this regard that says: “Ahimsa Gandhi’s followers the philosophy and techniques offending one to promote another.
is not causing pain to any living being at any time through the of nonviolence to deepen his understanding of This is taken one step further in the ancient verse “The whole
actions of one’s mind, speech or body.” Another Vedic verse states, them before putting them into actual use. world is one family.” Everyone is family oriented. All our efforts are
“You must not use your God-given body for killing God’s creatures, Children learn conflict resolution at an early focused on benefiting the members of our family. We want them
whether they are human, animal or whatever.” age, establishing patterns that will serve them all to be happy, successful and religiously fulfilled. And when we
Hindus regard all living creatures as sacred—mammals, fishes, throughout life. Some learn that fists, force and define family as the whole world, it is clear that we wish everyone
birds and more. They are stewards of trees and plants, fish and birds, angry words are the way to work things out. in the world happiness, success and religious fulfillment. The Ve-
bees and reptiles, animals and creatures of every shape and kind. Others are taught that diplomacy and kindly dic verse that captures this sentiment is “May all people be happy.”
We acknowledge this reverence for life in our special affection for speech serve the same purpose more effectively By teaching our children this broad acceptance of peoples, even
the cow. Mahatma Gandhi once said about the cow, “One can mea- and yield longer-lasting results. Children pick those who are very different from ourselves, we nurture in them
sure the greatness of a nation and its moral progress by the way it up these things largely through example in the a love for all and a compassionate tolerance that will serve them
treats its animals. Cow protection to me is not mere protection of home, by witnessing how mom and dad work well throughout their lives.
the cow. It means protection of all that lives and is helpless and out their differences.
weak in the world. The cow means the entire subhuman world.” Many people throughout the world firmly
Many individuals are concerned about our environment and Hinduism has great tolerance and believe in karma and reincarnation.
properly preserving it for future generations. Hindus share this considers the whole world to be a family. In the second half of the twentieth century Hindu concepts be-
concern and honor and revere the world around them as God’s In the world of the twenty-first century, a prime came more and more popular and influential in the West. For
creation. They work for the protection of the Earth’s diversity and concern is the many wars and clashes between example, every year thousands of Westerners take up the belief
resources to achieve the goal of a secure, sustainable and last- peoples of different religions, nationalities and in karma and reincarnation as a logical explanation of what they
ing environment. Children today, as never before, have a native ethnicities based on hatred on one or both sides. observe in life. A contemporary expression of the law of karma is
understanding of the place of mankind as part of the Earth, and The opposite of hatred is tolerance, and in that “What goes around comes around.” Karma is the universal principle
it is our duty to reinforce this in their young minds. 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
Hinduism is respected for solving conflicts is that all of mankind is good, we are all divine be- better people. Reincarnation is the belief that the soul is immortal
through nonviolent means.

photos by dinodia
ings, souls created by God. Therefore, we respect and takes birth time and time again. Through this process, we
Mahatma Gandhi’s strong belief in the Hindu principle of ahimsa and embrace the entire human race. The Hindu have experiences, learn lessons and evolve spiritually. Finally, we
and his nonviolent methods for opposing British rule are well practice of greeting one another with “namas- graduate from physical birth and continue learning and evolving
known throughout the world. The nonviolent approach has con- kara,” worshiping God within the other person, is on inner planes of consciousness without the need for a physical
sciously been used by others as well. Certainly one of the most a way this philosophical truth is practiced on a body until, ultimately, we merge in God. The belief in karma and
well-known exponents of nonviolence was Dr. Martin Luther King. daily basis. reincarnation gives children a logical explanation to what other-

develop a pious character develop proficiency in conflict resolution

Pious character is evident when we naturally movies. The niyamas are remorse, contentment, giving, faith, Proficiency in conflict resolution is exempli- violence. It is through replacing the idea of “I want me to
treat others with kindness, generosity and worship of the Lord, scriptural listening, cognition, sacred fied when we work out disagreements with win and you to lose” with that of “I win when everybody
appreciation. It is fulfilled when we seek vows, recitation and austerity. Pious character is nurtured by others by using intelligence and seek- wins.” Kids can learn from parents that it is through taking a
the blessings of God, Gods and guru teaching the child to worship and pray in the home shrine or ing for a win-win situation. How is this humble attitude, rather than a dominant position, that con-
throughout life. How can this be cul- at the temple before important events, such as beginning a cultivated in youth? It is through the flicts are resolved smoothly and easily. Illustrations of what
tivated in children? It is through the new school year or before final examinations. Pious conduct parents’ demonstrating these quali- to do and what not to do can be drawn from the people
parents’ demonstrating these quali- brings into our children’s lives the joys of Divine blessings. ties themselves. Children learn that they see in television and movies. Proficiency in conflict
ties themselves. Children learn that Gurudeva outlined the ideal: “Hindu children are always this behavior is expected of them by resolution is nurtured by parents’ following the wisdom
this behavior is expected of them by treated with great respect and awe, for one does not always observing their parents’ actions. It of resolving their husband-and-wife disagreements before
observing their parents’ actions. It is know who they are. They may be incarnations of a grand- is by sitting down with children any going to sleep, as this teaches by example the importance
by referring often to the ten obser- mother, grandfather, aunt or uncle, dearly beloved mother, time they use anger, physical force or of facing and solving a conflict rather than fleeing from it.
vances of Hinduism’s Code of Conduct, sister, brother, respected father, a yogi or rishi returned to verbal injury to prevail in a conflict and Mastery of resolving differences keeps our young one’s lives
known as the niyamas, and pointing out flesh to help mankind spiritually. We must ask, ‘Who are these discussing with them how it could have sublime and their subconscious minds free of the distur-
their relevance in daily life, on TV and in souls? What is their destiny in this life? How can I help?’ “ been settled with intelligence rather than bances caused by memories of unresolved disagreements.

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wise may seem an unjust, indifferent or Godless world. They can taking time to from any one of them until he met Sri Ramakrishna. During his
be taught that challenging questions such as the following all second meeting with Sri Ramakrishna he asked the great sage,
have logical explanations when viewed through the beliefs of teach and share “Sir, have you seen God?” Calmly Sri Ramakrishna replied, “Yes, I
karma and reincarnation. builds confidence see Him as clearly as one sees an apple in the palm of the hand;
and closeness. nay, even more intently. And not only this, you can also see Him.”
❖ Why do some innocent children die so young? This deeply impressed the young Vivekananda, who soon after
❖ Why are some people so much more talented than others? accepted Sri Ramakrishna as his guru. By teaching children about
❖ Why do some people act in evil ways? Hinduism’s stress on personal Godly experience, we set them on
❖ Why is it that a mean-spirited person may suc- a path of self-understanding, self-perfection and discovery of the
ceed and a good-hearted person fail? 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
Belief in a single life makes it hard to reconcile such things, caus- unpleasant—as an integral part of a joyous spiritual journey.
ing 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 ac- PART FOUR
tions from many past lives on Earth offers profound insight. That
innocent child may have been a child murderer. That musical ge-
teach about hinduism and
nius may have so perfected his art in a past life that he inherits a
rare talent at birth and becomes a child prodigy.
the other world religions
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 Teach about the Vedic statement “Truth
spiritually and that this process extends over many lives. We know is One, sages describe it variously.”
that karma is our teacher in this process, teaching us both what to Hinduism is often misunderstood as being polytheistic, wor-
do and what not to do through the reactions it brings back to us shiping many Gods, none of which is supreme. It is important to
in the future. So, our current incarnation—the nature of our body, correct this misconception in the minds of children. They can be
family, inclinations, talents, strengths and weaknesses—is specifi- taught that Hindus revere the great beings of light, called Ma-
photos by dinodia

cally designed by us to help us face the fruits of our past actions, hadevas, just as the Catholics honor the Archangels of Heaven.
both positive and negative, and thus learn and evolve spiritually. But Hindus all worship the one Supreme Being, known in the
various denominations by different names. Even more than that,
Hinduism boldly proclaims that Hindus believe that the immanent-transcendent Lord they wor-
man can experience God. ship is indeed the same God worshiped by all peoples of all faiths
Throughout the world today, many who are on the mystical path and religions of the world. As a country only has one king, we can
want to have a personal spiritual experience. They want to see lieve in God to believe in God. Belief in God, in such faiths, is the There is a classic story from the life of Swami Vivekananda, one school the young ones, so the universe has only one Supreme
God. Hinduism not only gives them the hope that they can achieve beginning and the end of the process. Once you believe in God of Hinduism’s most well known modern teachers, that illustrates Being. The oneness of God is easily understood when we see that
their goal in this lifetime, but it gives them the practical tools, such there is nothing more to do. However, in Hinduism belief is only the Hindu perspective of experiencing God. When Vivekananda the different religions use various names to describe the same
as the disciplines of yoga and meditation, through which this goal the first step. Hindus want to move beyond believing in God to ex- was still a university student, he asked many of the foremost re- Truth. Teaching this to our young ones resolves many misconcep-
eventually becomes a reality. periencing God. To the Hindu, belief is but a preparatory step to di- ligious leaders in the Calcutta area where he lived if they had tions, both within Hinduism itself and between Hinduism and the
The focus of many religions is on helping those who do not be- vine, daily communion and life-transforming personal realization. seen God. However, he never got a clear and authoritative answer varied faiths of the world.

develop parental closeness develop a prejudice-free consciousness

Parental closeness finds fulfillment when time-out and appropriate, natural and logical consequences. Prejudice-free consciousness manifests when prejudice they hear from others at school and elsewhere
children reach adulthood and choose to The use of physical violence, anger, irrational punishments, we see God in everyone and embrace dif- and correcting it. It is by teaching children to avoid gen-
spend time with their parents because blame and shame cause distance. Closeness comes when ferences of ethnic background and reli- eralizations about people and, instead, to think about spe-
they really enjoy being with them. A quality time is spent together in activities that all members gion. Are we born with prejudices? cific individuals and the qualities they have. Television and
strong bond of love and understand- of the family enjoy. It is developed by the father’s binding Absolutely not! These are all learned, movies can provide useful situations to discuss. It is through
ing exists. Sadly, the opposite is with his sons and the mother’s binding with her daughters, at home, at school and elsewhere. having our children meet, interact and learn to feel comfort-
often the case. How then is parental through developing common interests in hobbies or games How is a prejudice-free conscious- able with children of other ethnicities and religions. Tolerant
closeness developed? It is through and working on them together. It is protected when parents ness developed? It is through teach- individuals help communities function with less friction and
expressing love by hugging and create in the home a nonthreatening atmosphere of love in ing our children that the whole misunderstanding. Gurudeva teaches us: “Every belief cre-
saying often the three magic words which their children feel free to tell them everything they world is our family and all human ates certain attitudes. Our attitudes govern all of our actions.
“I love you.” Distance is developed by have done without fear of the consequences. They know beings are divine beings. It is through Belief in karma, reincarnation and the existence of an all-per-
never expressing love. Closeness is nur- their parents love them, no matter what. A loving parental complete avoidance of remarks that vasive Divinity throughout the universe creates an attitude of
tured by correcting a child’s misbehavior closeness is powerfully reflected in all subsequent relation- are racially or religiously prejudiced. It is reverence, benevolence and compassion for all beings. The
with positive discipline methods, such as ships children develop, even their relationship with God. through discussing with our children any natural consequence of this belief is ahimsa, nonhurtfulness.”

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Teach the correct meaning of the Vedic not proselytize, Hinduism does, and always has, accepted new Belief in God is only the first step in Hinduism.
statement “Truth is One, paths are many.”
take time for Beyond that, it offers four ways to personally
members into the religion who seek to participate at its deep-
Some Hindus teach their children that all religions are one, think- est levels. It is simply not true, as uninformed commentators too celebration & experience God. The first two ways involve
ing this is a way to describe Sanatana Dharma’s broad vision. often say, that you have to be born a Hindu to be a Hindu. When appreciation. seeing the Divine in other people.
However, this is a problematic distortion of the Hindu belief that asked by a devotee about this idea, Swami Vivekananda respond-
truth is one, paths are many. Teaching this to children will cause ed, “Why, born aliens have been converted in the past by crowds, In some religions the ultimate experience offered is to have a
them to be half-hearted Hindus, never fully committed to their and the process is still going on.“ strong belief in the existence of God. In Hinduism, however, be-
faith and not inspired to pass it on to their offspring. I have seen Hindus who marry a non-Hindu spouse who is interested in lieving in God is only a preliminary, though important, step to-
this attitude create indifferent Hindus who passively attend their the Sanatana Dharma wisely encourage him or her to study and ward an ever deepening personal experience of God’s presence.
non-Hindu spouse’s church, presumably thinking it doesn’t really eventually enter the faith so they can together raise their children Perhaps the easiest place to start is to see God in great religious
matter, and who think it is best to raise their children “in both as devout Hindus, rather than being torn between two faiths. teachers. We feel a spiritual aura about them that is different, up-
religions.” lifting and inspiring. We see a light in their eyes and feel a love in
The correct teaching is that Hindus believe that all religions their presence we do not find in others.
worship the same truth, the same Supreme Being. However, this PART FIVE The second way to see God is to look deeply into the eyes of
does not mean that all religions are identical and it doesn’t matter another person. Look beyond his or her personality, deeper than
which religion you follow. The beliefs and practices of the world
teach how hinduism the intellect, and see the individual’s pure life energy as God. In
religions are, in fact, quite different. The God they worship is one,
but each of the many paths is quite distinct. This knowledge will
grants experience of god Hindu culture we have an opportunity every time we greet other
people through the traditional gesture of namaskara to practice
help children see the world’s array of faiths in a realistic light while looking deeply enough into their eyes to see God within them as
pursuing their Hindu path with full dedication. Hinduism has advanced practices within the Life of their life. This practice is an excellent way for children
it that many religions do not have. to learn that all people are divine beings.
Hindus believe that all of the major world If you simply want to live a virtuous, pious life and be part of a
religions are valid paths and everyone community of fellow believers, you will discover that all religions The third and fourth ways we can experience God
is well placed in their chosen faith. are similar at that basic level. But if you have the desire to person- are through temple worship and meditation.
Hindus do not proselytize, meaning they do not try to convert ally experience God, you will only find the advanced practices that The third way to see God is through the Deity’s image in the
members of other religions to Hinduism. Proselytizing is based lead to that divine experience in a few religions. A good example Hindu temple. This is the devotional, or theistic, approach. Gods
upon the belief that one’s religion is the only true religion and of this fact has been occurring in Catholic monasteries for decades. and devas are in the inner, spiritual worlds and are able to bless
therefore everyone in another religion should join it. Hindus hold Some of the monks in these monasteries have the desire to per- us through the image in the temple. The image is like a tempo-
the opposite point of view, which is that all faiths are good and the sonally experience God. What do they do to pursue this? They rary physical body they use during temple ceremonies. Though

photos by dinodia
members of those religions are just fine remaining in the religions turn to Hindu scriptures, such as Patanjali’s Yoga Aphorisms, for occasionally a devotee may have a vision of the God, the more
they are in. Each religion has its unique beliefs, practices, goals and guidelines in deep meditation and inner spiritual attainments, as common way we experience the Gods and devas is as an uplift-
paths of attainment, and the doctrines of one often conflict with there are no such teachings in Christianity. More than that, such ing, peaceful, divine energy, or shakti, that radiates out from the
those of another. Even this should never be cause for religious teachings are regarded by the Catholic Church as heretical, and image. It is easiest to feel their blessings at the high point of the
tension or intolerance. Hindus respect all religious traditions and the Vatican has directed monks and nuns to cease all yoga prac- puja when the flame is held high. If taught the joys of temple
the people within them. They know that good citizens and stable tices and return to the path of prayer. Applying a modern analogy, worship while toddlers, children will develop a devotional rela-
societies are created from groups of religious people in all nations. one could say that all religions are computers designed to answer personal computers, some are minicomputers, others are main- tionship with the Deities which will strengthen and guide them
However, it is important to teach children that while Hindus do our questions about life and God. However, some religions are frame computers, but Hinduism is a supercomputer. throughout life.

CHAR ACTER BUILDING, PART TWO ing caused their misbehavior and then providing them with the needed he or she can grasp and remember. This is a far more time-consuming
guidance. This process can be understood in the light of desire, action process than a swift slap on the behind, but leads to far more perma-
guide children with love, not fear and wisdom. We desire that our children behave well, but if our actions
in correcting them create fear, resentment or feelings of inferiority, then
nent and positive results.

they will not improve and we will have subverted our goal. By treat- There are better forms of discipline than
Children make mistakes not because they are bad, ing a child’s errant behavior as described above, we discover our own corporal punishment and verbal abuse.
but because they lack knowledge or training. wisdom in handling kids, and we help them grow to a healthy maturity, When children seriously misbehave, punishment, of course, needs to
For all of mankind, no matter where one is on the path, spiritual advancement equipped to guide their own children with love and wisdom. be part of the response. There are many forms of corporal or physi-
comes from improving one’s behavior. We do this by learning from our failures cal punishment and verbal abuse: spanking, hitting, pinching, using
as much as from our successes. Unfortunately, this process is often inhibited by Focus on solutions instead of punishment. harsh or angry words. These all cause the child to become resentful
the idea that somehow we are not supposed to err. We grow up being scolded For some parents, disciplining their children for misbehavior is simply a and fearful, and in this state of mind he is unable and unwilling to
for our mistakes by our parents. Some teachers ridicule and beat students when matter of punishment. But discipline means “to teach,” so punishment focus on the lesson the parent intends to provide. Such punishments
they make mistakes. Supervisors yell at workers when they make a mistake. misses the point if it is not accompanied by taking a moment to gently inevitably create a distance between parent and child and lower the
No wonder many adults feel terrible when they make a mistake. Therefore, to teach and kindly help the child, to encourage, uplift and inspire. In child’s sense of self-worth. On the other hand, the alternative forms of
spiritually benefit from our mistakes, we need a new attitude toward them many cases the child who erred simply does not know or understand punishment—loving, positive strategies, such as time-out, logical con-
which opens the door for insight, which leads to improvement. We can view something. Otherwise he never would have made the mistake. There sequences and denial of privileges—are more effective and conducive
them instead as wonderful opportunities to learn. In disciplining our children, it is some knowledge the child is missing, and thoughtful parents need to the child’s learning the lesson from the experience, cooperating with
is important to focus on finding out what lack of knowledge or necessary train- to figure out what that knowledge is and teach it to the child in a way the parents in a wholesome way and not repeating the behavior again.

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The fourth way to see God is in meditation, which is a form of enjoying music as a a child learns much about what is expected by his faith.
internal worship. This is the monistic, or unitive, approach to ex- family brings devotion
periencing God—going deeply enough into our inner conscious- ❖ Service is the second category.
ness to find the essence of our soul, which is identical with God. In into daily life. Service, also called karma yoga or seva, refers to religious service
meditation we first experience God as peaceful, blissful energies given without the least thought of reward, which has the magical
and feelings, later as a brilliant, clear white light and later still as effect of softening the ego and bringing forth the soul’s innate
truth, consciousness and bliss, called Satchidananda, which per- devotion. An example of service is performing simple chores at
meates all of existence. Ultimately, under a satguru’s careful guid- the temple, such as sweeping the floors or polishing the brass.
ance, we realize God as the absolute and transcendent reality that Another form of seva is holding religious feedings at a temple
is timeless, formless and spaceless. In Hinduism, this is regarded once a month. Children love to be helpful and can be encouraged
as the summit of all knowing, the highest spiritual attainment to find religious expressions of this urge.
which leads to moksha, spiritual liberation.
Children can be taught the basics of meditation at an early age, ❖ Devotion is the third category.
including sitting up straight, regulating the breath and perform- Devotion, or bhakti yoga, centers around regularly worshiping
ing hatha yoga to quiet the mental and physical energies. These the Deity at the temple and inwardly striving to awaken a pro-
practices will help them remain centered, and they will mature found love of God in our hearts, soften our intellect and develop
naturally into deeper inner experiences as they grow up. a deep sense of humility. It includes devotional singing, pilgrim-
age and performing our own puja in the home shrine room. For
Hinduism focuses on personal, spiritual children, this can be as simple as bringing a flower to the shrine
transformation through the regular practice each morning before school. Kids love the Gods, especially Lord
of disciplines, called sadhana. Ganesha, and they can, even as toddlers, be taught to hold hands
Reading spiritual books is certainly part of progressing on the Hin- in namaskara, prostrate at the shrine and learn songs and chants

photos by dinodia
du path. However, much more important is the regular practice in praise of their favorite Deity.
of religious disciplines. Our emotional, intellectual and spiritual
natures are all significantly enhanced and developed through per- ❖ Meditation is the fourth category.
forming such disciplines regularly over a period of many years. Meditation is also called raja yoga, or ashtanga yoga as it consists
The more consistently we practice, the greater the speed of our of eight limbs. The practice of meditation begins with asana—sit-
progress. Establishing good patterns of spiritual practice, called ting quietly in yogic posture—and pranayama, breath control.
sadhana, begins in childhood, in the home. The most successful control and meditation. Hinduism’s array of spiritual practices can called yamas, help us overcome such tendencies. These are: non- Pratyahara, sense withdrawal, brings awareness into dharana, con-
pattern in the home is for parents to have their young children be divided into four categories: good conduct, service, devotion injury, truthfulness, nonstealing, divine conduct, patience, stead- centration, then into dhyana, meditation. Dhyana finally leads to
join them in their morning devotionals and, as they mature, invite and meditation. fastness, compassion, honesty, moderate appetite and purity. samadhi, God Realization. Jnana yoga is also a type of meditation
them to also participate in the meditations. Following the yamas naturally leads into ten religious observances, that involves philosophical study and discrimination between the
❖ Cultivating good conduct is the foundational practice. called the niyamas: remorse, contentment, giving, faith, worship Real and the unreal. Children can follow the first phases of medita-
Hinduism’s spiritual practices fall into four categories. Cultivating good conduct, or developing good character, is the of the Lord, scriptural listening, cognition, sacred vows, recitation tion for short periods, learning to sit in lotus posture, to breathe
It is fair to say that no other religion contains such a vast wealth foundation of all other practices in Hinduism. Good conduct be- and austerity. Good conduct includes performing one’s duty to diaphragmatically and to quiet their mind and emotions through
of spiritual practices, from such fundamental virtues as noninjury, gins with overcoming basic instinctive patterns, such as the ten- family and community, honoring holy men, respecting elders and attention and concentration. When they are more mature, you can
truthfulness and honesty to the advanced yoga practices of breath dencies to become angry and hurtful. The ten classical restraints, atoning for misdeeds. By simply memorizing these twenty ideals, take them to a swami or yoga teacher to learn the deeper aspects.

Teach children how they can wisely respond to dren in Australia started a fire in a small forest where several inno- we may still feel bad about having done it. In this case we need to per-
their mistakes through a four-step process. cent people were seriously burned. The children were caught, and as form some form of penance, prayaschitta, to rid ourself of the sense of
The most common first reaction to making a mistake is to become part of their discipline the judge directed them to visit the victims in feeling bad about our actions. Typical forms of penance for adults are
upset, get emotional about it or, if it is a serious mistake, to feel ter- the hospital to see the consequences of their actions. This impressed fasting, performing 108 prostrations before the Deity or walking pros-
ribly burdened and even depressed. That is a natural first reaction, them deeply. By evaluating such situations and committing to a new trations up a sacred path or around a temple. These are too severe for
but if it is our only reaction, it is not enough. We need to cope with approach, we are able to teach young ones to move from regretting “I younger children, but they can do simpler penances such as skipping
the emotional reaction to the action and move on to the second step, shouldn’t have done it” to pledging “I won’t do it again.” dessert one meal or renouncing a favorite TV program one night.
which is the learning stage. A third step may be needed if our mistake directly involved other
A good second step to resolving a mistake is to think clearly about people. Perhaps we have hurt their feelings or created a strain between Help your children perfect the art of
what happened and why, and find a way to not repeat the same us. A personal apology can fix this if we know them well. However, in learning quickly from mistakes.
error in the future. Perhaps we were not being careful enough, and many situations we are not close enough to the individual to verbally The spiritual path is a series of experiences, and sometimes those
resolving to be more careful next time will prevent the problem from apologize. In that case, a generous act can adjust the flow of feelings experiences are mistakes that we make. If we teach our children to be
recurring. Perhaps we were simply uninformed or we didn’t think back into a harmonious condition. For example, children can be taught self-reflective, they can learn from their mistakes quickly, avoid making
things through. But with the additional knowledge learned from our to include those they have hurt or offended among a group of friends them again and progress more quickly on the spiritual path. If children
blunder we can resolve to do better the next time a similar situation invited to a party or with whom they share some cookies or candy. are constantly making the same mistakes over and over and over again,
arises. Perhaps we created unintended negative consequences for A fourth step may be needed if the mistake is a major misdeed, for they are not making good progress. This is something for parents to
ourselves or others. Now that we are aware of those consequences, example, if we did something that was dishonest. In this case, even if be alert to, for it is parents who can set the patterns for resolution of
we certainly won’t follow that path again. Recently a group of chil- we resolve to not repeat the misdeed and apologize to those involved, karmas in their kid’s lives.

I-14 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 h i n d u i s m t o d ay I-15
Teach about the three great powers:
AYURVEDA weaken your immune system. Consider us-
ing electrostatic and charcoal filters in your
PART SIX house to clean the air.
desire, action and wisdom.
teach children how to live
positively in the world.
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
Preventing Colds & Flu • Reduce your sugar and dairy intake.
Eat fruits and vegetables instead. Win-
ter is a holiday season when we tend to
consume a lot of sugar. According to pub-
are also the three powers of the soul. We first have a desire, and lished studies, seven tablespoons of sugar
when the desire becomes strong enough we act. In young souls A balanced immune system is your best friend in a day retards the immune system dramati-
Train children that the world is a positive the action may be ill-conceived and wrongful, or adharmic, lack- cally. One can of soda pop contains nearly
place filled with opportunities for growth. ing in wisdom. For example, we want a computer, so we simply the quest for health and the conquest of disease four tablespoons of sugar. Avoid foods you
The world in this sense refers to the arena of life, including where steal one. We need money, so we borrow with no intention to are allergic to. You may need to ask your
we interact with people the most, such as the home, school and repay. The soul is repeating a cycle of similar experiences, moving doctor what these are.
BY DR. VIRENDER SODHI • Take antioxidants! My personal favorite
our place of work. In Western thought these are not considered back and forth from desire to action, desire to action.
spiritual places. However, in Hinduism they are. There is no sharp In the case of the adharmic action of stealing, eventually the is Amla Plex, available from my company,
veryone has respiratory infections. statistics Ayush Herbs Inc. It is a natural source of
distinction between the sacred and the secular. In the words of soul will learn the lesson that theft is not the best way to get what
show that an average adult can expect to get two to three anti-oxidants and an excellent immune
our paramaguru, Siva Yogaswami, “The world is an ashram—a colds per year. When the body is invaded by disease, the builder. Take one teaspoon three times
training ground for the achievement of moksha.” immune system makes every effort to destroy both the a day during the winter. Add to this vita-
What is it that transforms the world from a secular place into a germs and the infected cells. min C (up to 1,000 mg), vitamin E (400
spiritual one? It is the understanding that it is through the process Because we are surrounded by bacterium and viruses con- IU), selenium (200 mcg), and natural ca-
of experiencing life that we unfold spiritually. It is the knowing stantly, even when we are healthy, these impurities can’t be the rotenoids (25,000 IU). Ayurvedic herbs
that through fulfilling our natural duties, honestly and to the best sole cause of disease. Otherwise, we would always be sick. We can also be taken, such as trifala (500
of our ability, we make spiritual progress. Why? Through inter- become ill when there is a breakdown in our immune system mg three times per day), holy basil stan-
acting with others, we learn important lessons and, as a result, due to some physical imbalance. Ayurvedic medicine is a sci- dardized extract (250 mg three times
gradually deepen our understanding, improve our behavior and ence of balance. Whenever we have a disease, there is an im- per day) and turmeric extract (250 mg
balance inviting that disease to occur. three times per day). When you have a
become more spiritual. In the process, we work through karmas
Ayurvedic medicine believes that the digestive system, es- cold or an upper respiratory infection,
we created in the past and create new karmas to be faced in the pecially the stomach, plays an important role in our overall health. drink ginger, licorice and holy basil tea. Garlic and green tea also
future. Our daily activities, encounters and emotional reactions We create stress on our digestive system when we fail to follow have immune balancing properties. Drink plenty of warm fluids.
contribute to our spiritual progress just as much as attending pu- the laws of nature. Such failure would include the consumption • Wash your hands frequently. At Purdue University, in a study
jas in the temple, studying the holy texts, meditating and wor- of unhealthy foods, food taken in improper combinations or food of 60 day-care centers, researchers found that people who washed

shiping in our home shrine. Paramaguru Yogaswami captured the incorrectly prepared. Excessive use of sugar can also cause prob- their hands frequently got 50 percent fewer colds than those who
essence of this perspective when he said, “All work must be done lems. Other factors, such as stress resulting from work, family didn’t. I do not like antibacterial soaps because they sometimes
with the aim of reaching God.” Working together on projects is an ideal way to pass on your discord or environment influences, can also have a negative effect. force the body to develop drug-resistant bacteria. Avoid frequent
beliefs, attitudes, values, insights, skills and wisdom. These imbalances create ama (the ayurvedic term for a kind of touching of your nose, eyes and ears.
Teach that life is a classroom in which undigested mucus toxin). Because this mucus is a natural breeding • Get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night. Stud-
we learn important lessons. ground for viruses and bacteria, it can become a cause for upper ies have shown that a lack of sleep can increase your chances of
we need or want. This may come from the difficult experience
respiratory infections. Medical science has recognized several catching a cold.
Life is a process of learning through trial and error and thereby of being caught, or by seeing the suffering our actions cause in hundred different types of viruses and bacterium which can cause • For many, the holiday season can be stressful. Mental and
advancing spiritually. Gurudeva has an insightful explanation of others. Such learning is the jnana shakti, soulful wisdom, com- these afflictions. emotional weaknesses have an effect on the physical system and
this process: “Life is a series of experiences, one after another. Each ing forth and causing one’s behavior to improve. This process As we’ve seen this year, flu shots are limited. I feel that vaccina- actually increase the risk of catching cold. Perform yoga or tai chi
experience can be looked at as a classroom in the big university works for virtuous, or dharmic, actions as well. For example, we tions are only important for the elderly, especially if their natural and spend quality time with your friends and family. Surround
of life if we only approach it that way. Who is going to these class- volunteer at the temple to teach children’s classes once a month. immunity has been compromised due to cancer, heart disease, yourself with people you care about and those who care about you.
rooms? Who is the member of this university of life? It’s not your We are uplifted by the feeling that helping others gives us and asthma, lung infections, smoking or bronchitis. These patients A Carnegie Mellon study published in The Journal of American
instinctive mind. It’s not your intellectual mind. It’s the body of decide to help out every week and even participate in meetings have a high mortality rate due to pneumonia. Medical Association found that people who report three or less
your soul, your superconscious self, that wonderful body of light. to plan out the classes. Selfless action and the reaction it has on If a young person who has not been vaccinated contracts an social ties, such as with friends, family, coworkers or community
It’s maturing under the stress and strain.” us brings an inner joy. Therefore, jnana guides us to decide to upper respiratory infection, he or she generally recovers more groups, are more than four times at risk of catching a cold than
quickly than those who have been vaccinated. Similarly, patients those with six or more such ties.
Children live much of their day learning, often in a classroom, undertake even more service and thus feel more joyful. We have
who take antibiotics experience delayed healing as compared with • Do not use antibiotics indiscriminately. Antibiotics have no
so the idea that all of life is a school for our soul will come easily again improved our behavior. If children are taught about these those who receive herbal medicines. Most upper respiratory infec- benefits and can weaken your immune system. According to a
to them, and it will teach them to value lessons wherever they three basic forces at work in their life, they will seek to understand tions are viral and do not need antibiotics. During my twenty-four study published by The Journal of American Medical Association,
come from. desire, think about action and strive for wisdom. years of practice, I have never used influenza vaccinations for my- 50 percent of the patients suffering with colds, upper respiratory
self or my family. In spite of exaggerated exposure to these germs, infections and bronchitis demanded antibiotic prescriptions. Most
I have warded off the flu with care and natural remedies only. of the upper respiratory infections are caused by viruses. Antibiot-
Conclusion Most people recover from a common cold or the flu within a week.
When I am asked how these common illnesses might be avoid-
ics are effective against bacteria. Overuse of antibiotics may lead
to antibiotic-resistant bacteria which can be life threatening.
ed, this is the advice that I give: The key is to keep a balance in all that you do. It can come
o, here we have it: the parent’s work of character-building designed them on their way as good Hindus, well-

• Perform breathing exercises (outside if possible), and circulate from a healthy mind and body, with meditation, stress reduction,
guidebook of minimum teach- to augment any tradition or denomi- equipped to live as happy, effective more fresh air throughout your home. Exercise regularly. Walk- exercises and eating nutritious foods. A few exceptions are fine, as
ings to convey to children, nation. The key is this: start teaching citizens of the modern world. Reprints ing for 45 minutes a day will increase the body’s immune defense long as they are not in excess. Learn to listen to your body’s needs.
mechanism. However, do not over-exert yourself. Exercising longer Your body is your best doctor.
based on Gurudeva’s insights gained early and don’t stop until your children of this parenting guide are available at: than 90 minutes per day may actually increase your risk of upper
from over 40 years of closely working leave the home. Even if you did nothing respiratory infections. dr. virender sodhi holds an M.D. (Ayurveda) from India and a
with hundreds of families in a score of more than what is outlined in these 16 www.himalayanacademy. • Reduce the “allergenic load” in your house. Carpets, gas heaters, N.D. from Bastyr College of Nauropathic Medicine, USA. E-mail:
nations. This booklet presents a grid- pages, that would be enough to send com/teachingtools/ wood burning fireplaces, fungi, mold and chemicals of any kind can Web:

I-16 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 h i n d u i s m t o d ay 53
Saint: Sri Sri Sri Tiruchi Devotees adjust: It is true
Mahaswamigal, 1929–2005 that the passing away of a yogi
is not to be mourned, because
rama Mahasamsthana, Sri Sri he continues to live–he attains
Tiruchi Mahaswamigal had at Mahasamadhi and merges
age 75 attained Mahasamadhi, with God. But with the physi-
as is termed the dropping off cal absence of Mahaswamigal
of the physical body of a great hundreds of devotees felt or-
soul. In failing health for some phaned. “Appa” (father), who
years, Swami suffered an ap- had guided them through thick
parent stroke on the morning and thin, was no longer going
of the 14th and died soon after- to hear them, talk to them and
wards, at 1:30 pm. His body was soothe their tormented minds
transported to the ashram from or give them solace. That en-
Mallya Hospital and prepared dearing, comforting presence
for internment beneath the of Appa would be absent for-
massive Sri Chakra (see photo ever.
below) in a chamber built for When I visited the ashram
photos: thuraisingam rajasankara

this purpose at his direction a on the 15th, devotees were

few years ago. Prominent swa- sobbing uncontrollably. The
mis, including Sri Balagangad- seat from where Swamiji gave
haranathaswami and Koviloor darshan (literally, “sight,” in
Swami, and political leaders, this case being in the pres-
including former Indian prime ence of the guru) was adorned
minister, Deve Gowda, and by a photograph instead of

courtesy kailash ashrama

Karnataka state chief minister the person. Never was there
Dharam Singh, rushed to the a time when Swamiji did not
ashram for the ceremonies. give darshan to his devotees–
The body was placed in the despite his ill health. I never
chamber and covered first with heard Swamiji speaking of his
Samadhi: Sri Jayendra Puri (at right, holding tray), Tiruchiswami’s successor, performs last rites inside the Sri Chakra temple sanctum vibhuti (holy ash), lotus flow- health or uneasiness.
ers and herbs, then the cham- Legacy continues: The Raja-
TRANSITION ber was filled with sand and rajeshwari temple, sculptured
the floor stone replaced. Sri in typical Dravidian style, is

Tiruchiswami Attains Mahasamadhi Jayendra Puri performed wor-

ship with lights, and the ceremonies ended diagram. Final worship followed and then
around midnight. the traditional feeding of all devotees.
immaculately built, with every
stone placed to perfection. The greenery
around, the young energetic children of the
By mid-morning of the next day, the Nine days later, on January 23, Sri Jayen- veda patasala school in their dhotis and neatly
Sri Jayendra Puri Swami succeeds great saint who passes away at age 75 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
tucked tufted hair, the well-maintained cow
shed—everything bears the stamp of the Ti-
placed on the pedestal top by the swamis, Deepa Aradhana ritual (photos next page). ruchi Mahaswamigal’s eye for detail, perfec-
then the craftsmen replaced the heavy pan-
By Choodie Shivaram, Bangalore Sri Sri Sri Shivarathnapuri Bhagavat, popu- ashram-temple complex had swelled into chalogam (five metal) Sri Chakra, a three- Consecration: (left to right) The Sri Chakra pedestal has been placed over the chamber; the
he temple of rajarajeshwari at larly known as Tiruchi Mahaswamigal, must a sea of devotees. The atmosphere at the dimensional form of the famous mystical Sri Chakra itself returned to its place; then decoration and worship with lights and flowers
Rajarajeshwarinagar in Bangalore is have possessed to bring Goddess Rajarajesh- temple and ashram was unusually serious
known for its spiritual prowess–“When wari to this place. and solemn. The architect of this spiritual
you pray at this temple, your prayers By evening on January 14, 2005, this sanctuary and pontiff of Sri Kailash Ash-
are answered, your troubles are alleviated”
is the total belief of devotees. What a great Internment: (left to right) Tiruchiswami’s body was kept first at the ashram entrance; then
devotee and what godly powers Jagadguru brought to the Sri Chakra temple; then set in a chamber with of holy ash, herbs, flowers and sand

photos: thuraisingam rajasankara

54 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 h i n d u i s m t o d ay 55
OPINION pare for old age. Maturity develops more
completely as we learn to live with others
and as we learn to live with ourselves. Of

Let Old Be Gold these two challenges, the latter is more

important for the elderly, for there are

photos: thuraisingam rajasankara

times during the last years of life when all
of society seems to turn a cold shoulder,
Our sunset years should offer a new life in and solitude is all that exists. Rather than
falling prey to depression during such
trying times, we can strive to discover a
an inner world where the sky is the only limit deeper life within ourselves. History is full
of people who have done this successfully
and experienced happiness because of it.
S WA M I K R I TA R T H A NA N DA If we wish to seek out this deeper, inner
existence, we must learn to listen to our
t is a common experience of life that a child inner voice. This requires that we properly identify and evaluate
makes a hero of his father and dreams of the day when he our emotions, for these are the powerful forces that can get in
himself will grow up so he can be “the boss.” That child does our way and obstruct the clarity of our inner perception. Because
tion and planning. No devotee leaves with- from our sub-sect who had deeply influ- (left) On January 23, saints and devotees indeed grow up through adolescence and youth to finally reviewing our emotional experiences is generally unpleasant, our
out receiving the hospitality at the ashram. enced Tiruchi Swamiji. We were spellbound. witnessed the installation of Sri Jayendra become a mature adult individual, but life turns out differently tendency is to suppress them instead. Unfortunately, this is just a
In attaining Mahasamadhi, Tiruchi Ma- From my frequent interactions and vis- Puri as the new head of Kailash Ashrama: than he expects. Little by little, his responsibilities increase and he temporary fix, for it is only a matter of time before they boomer-
haswamigal was not just leaving behind a its to the ashram and temple I have seen (right) Sri Jayendra assumes Tiruchi tastes the bitter-sweet fruits of the world as they are served up in ang back around, causing havoc among family and friends. This is
great institution but a perfectly groomed people of immense faith and belief. They Mahaswamigal’s seat, his guru’s sandals a seemingly never-ending continuum. His childhood dreams are why it is important to learn to face our fears as we approach old
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), shattered, and he begins to wish he had never grown old. Certainly, age. Fear can best be dispelled by boldly confronting its cause.
Already on the 15th, everything was in sponsible for their well-being. “We were and then he is crowned and blessed by the the challenges of life can inspire a dread of old age. There is that This sort of self reflection is most easily accomplished through
routine at the ashram. Pujas at the temple, in doldrums after suffering huge losses in priests and swamis burdening sense of responsibility, that fear of insecurity, that seem- deliberate effort. For this reason, it is often suggested that one peri-
administrative activities, and hospitality to business. We sought the blessings of Devi ingly insatiable desire for worldly enjoyment and that frustrating odically retire to a solitary place for the purpose of meditation and
every visitor, everything was taken care of. (Goddess) and Swamiji here. We came out “By the grace of the Divine Mother and Lord loss of spiritual inspiration. All of this can render a grim picture of introspection. This practice paves the way toward a deep and all-
Swami Jayendra Puri, besides giving darshan of it, and God has kept us well ever since. Subramanya, a glorious son will be born to the reality of living and the inescapable eventuality of dying. abiding faith in God. With this faith, we can continue our spiritual
to devotees, was continuously receiving and There is great power in this Goddess, and you. He will be a teacher and benefactor for The difficulties of old age are deceptively shielded and journey with unshakable vigor, easily conquering all obstacles that
attending to pontiffs of other monasteries that is because of Swamiji,” said Chaitanya all mankind.” Born in 1929, young Palaniswa- move in slowly. Yet they do most surely come and cannot be arise along the way.
who came to offer their respects and devo- Kumar, an old neighbor and friend of mine. mi was drawn to religious life right from his avoided. The key to facing them positively is learning to live As we get older, the process of making new friends can also help
tees who came from far off places on hear- “Swamiji disliked indulging in worldly af- childhood. While in his 20s, he traveled to in the present. Most of the time we don’t do this. Usually we bring about a contented inner existence in another way. Isn’t it
ing of the great passage. Conducting himself fairs and refused to comment on matters of Nepal and was initiated as Jagadguru Sri Sri keep ourselves quite busy either remember- true that every genuine friendship involves the development of an
with poise, Jayendra Puri Swami was seen current developments. Yet politicians, bu- Sri Shivarathnapuri Bhagavat. ing the past or planning the future. interpersonal relationship in which one’s own ego receives second
consoling devotees while resolutely fighting reaucrats, professionals, and layman alike Tiruchi Swami was instructed by his guru, In order to live in the present we must priority? Clearly, the humility derived from such an endeavor is a
back tears from his own welling eyes. had immense faith in him. He was the be- Shivapuri Baba, to return to India, propa- strive to practice mindfulness. To be mind- firm ally in the achievement of any spiritual goal.
Tiruchi Mahaswamigal was a stickler for nign reliever of their troubles. His spiritual gate dharma and build a temple. Before ful, we must dismiss worry about the Old age should be the fulfilment and consummation of life,
principles. His advice to his successor was powers lay hidden deep inside and only a returning, Swamiji went to Mount Kailash. past and concern for the future as we bringing peace, wisdom and understanding. From a spiritual
dharma prachara (propagation of righteous devotee could feel the vibration,” says Mr. There he had a vision of Goddesses Durga, endeavor to accept and deal posi- standpoint, man’s best years occur after the age of sixty. This is
living). “This was the word he always used. Krishnan, a regular visitor to the ashram. Lakshmi and Saraswati, who told him, “Pro- tively with the inevitable changes when the soul nature shines forth naturally. The first half of life
‘Follow Vedas and be immersed in Bhaga- Since his early days, Swamiji has worked ceed south, and establish an ashram there.” of life. Because this is difficult, is dominated by unconscious drives and the delusion that youth,
vanthana chintana (thought of God)–do not methodically for the revival of Hinduism. Swamiji had a divine inspiration to start the most of us approach our sunset beauty and virility are meant to be enjoyed selfishly. As we grow
deviate from the dharma’ was his advice,” He’s improved temples by raising money for ashram and temple near Bangalore. years with a cumbersome older, we become more clearly aware of the forces acting in and
recounted Jayendra Puri Swamiji. “His way construction and renovation. Kailash Ash- Unlike other renunciates, Swamiji was sense of apprehension. around us. Although our peak work performance can no longer
of looking at things was philosophical—he’d rama has spawned a number of subsidiary always attired in white and not in saffron. Thankfully, the experi- be sustained, we can still enjoy good health and our minds can
say, ‘What is the use of discourses? Have spiritual centers in Karnataka and Tamil “He was given permission by his guru not to ences of life naturally continue to develop. This is a time when spiritual far-sightedness
you attended to the personal need of the Nadu. But more importantly, and a reflec- change the color of his attire. Earlier, an el- breed maturity, and begins to manifest and peace of mind is an obvious result. True
tormented devotee who is seeking your tion of his far-sightedness, his ashram’s pa- derly lady who nurtured Swamiji as a young this maturity yields love can now be experienced, unconfused with the sexual drives,
darshan?’ Swamiji took personal interest tasala schoot has graduated a steady stream boy and wielded tremendous spiritual influ- a certain security. and the experience of the unity of all existence is easily obtainable.
in the well being of the devotees. He knew of proficient priests since its founding in ence over him had advised Swamiji to be a Still, much conscious And so it is that the last years of life can be spent delving into
every devotee’s family tree at least three 1976. Some of the patasal boys, after thor- true sadhu. She had advised him to refrain effort must be made the science of inner discovery and the art of graceful living. Truly,
generations upwards and down to present. ough religious training at the ashram, opted from wearing saffron just for outwardly to properly pre- it may be said that “old is gold” for those who choose to take full

There was a personal touch he lent. He to become monks. They joined Kailash or opulence of a sannyasi,” explained Jayendra advantage of their potential. However, just as pure gold must be

knew the sampradaya (tradition) to which another ashram, greatly improving the re- Puri. “True to this, Swamiji never wore saf- blended with a modicum of dross—that is, base metal—in order to

s. r
the devotee belonged and spoke to each ligious teaching and leadership. Prominent fron or rudraksha, never wore stitched or make it usable, so also must the vigor and enthusiasm of youth be
devotee in his own language,” says Jayendra among these are Jagadguru Sri Sri Sri Balag- ironed cloth, never used a telephone, never mixed in proper proportion with the wisdom and maturity of old
Puri. Swamiji was a linguist, and was profi- angadharanatha Swami of Adi Chunchanag- took coffee or tea.” age for the maintenance of a harmonious and productive society.
cient in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, iri Mutt in Bellur, Swami Sivananda Bharati, A yogi passing away from the material world Young people and old people have much to offer each other. Let
Marathi and Hindi. Jayendra Puri himself is head of Siddharudanatha Math and Kuma- never leaves a void. But for the multitude of there be no doubt, they are meant to merge, just as thousands of
fluent also in several languages and speaks raswamy, head of the Thiruchi Swami Math. monks, devotees, staffers at the temple and rivers are sure to blend into the sea.
immaculate English. Early life: Sri Tiruchi Mahaswamigal was ashram, young students at Gurukula, and
In fact, Tiruchi Mahaswamigal surprised destined to be a monk. While traveling at particularly for his ardent student-successor Swami Kritarthananda has been a monk in the
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 be- Ramakrishna Order for 27 years. He currently
sub-sect. He spoke glowingly about a promi- nificance in South India, his parents were fore they reconcile to the absence of the silent resides at the Belur Math in West Bengal, India.
nent spiritual savant (Holenarsipur Swamiji) informed by a stranger near the Devi temple, stalwart who was their beacon of light. ∏π

56 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 h i n d u i s m t o d ay 57
sitting back to back on the floor a line and stands side-to-side leav-
with their arms interlocked. They ing about a foot of space between
then try to stand up in unison. Next players. Everyone (with the excep-
comes “rest and visualization” for tion of the end player) gets into the
five minutes. For young students, downward facing dog pose. Make
this might be “beanbag bodies,” in sure players have formed a tunnel
which the students lay on the floor with their bodies. The player at the
and try to completely relax. The end of the line gets into the cobra
teacher moves among the group pose and, using hands and fore-
and tests the “beanbag bodies” by arms, pulls him/herself through the
lifting a foot or hand, which should dog tunnel.” This continues on until
show no resistance, just like a bean- each student has had a chance to
bag. If the child is stiff, then he is crawl through the tunnel.
coached to “breathe into that part Yoga classes are normally volun-
and try to be completely relaxed.” tary. Everyone who comes wants to
The session concludes with a class be there. But when Yoga Ed. is a
project, such as a collage of student required part of a school’s physical
drawings of poses. Simple home- education program, the yoga teach-
work may be assigned, for example, er may encounter something new:
“Do slow breathing for five minutes unwilling students. The curriculum

courtesy yoga ed

courtesy yoga ed
before going to sleep. Record what offers advice on how to engage such
you observed about yourself and students and get them to recognize
how you slept.” the value of the yoga.
The class outlines are just a page When interviewing Tara Guber
apiece, but they reference the for this article, she emphasized the
advice given in the curriculum’s need to present yoga as fun and
New playground action: Tara Guber’s novice group gamely explores a variety of interpretations of the warrior pose during a Yoga Ed. class first sections and the appendix on playful and to create a special vi-

courtesy yoga ed
games at the end. There are 280 bration around the yoga class. Ide-
E D U C AT I O N lesson plans in all, enough for a full ally, the class should have its own
year of study each through eight permanent space, and a peaceful

Taking Hatha Yoga to School

grades. atmosphere can be established in
This is a course in hatha yoga this space. Creating the right atmo-
primarily, and the curriculum de- sphere, she explained, was critical
scribes dozens of poses and nine Hands on: The teacher makes adjustments to a decent attempt for dealing with student’s behav-
breathing methods. The pose names at triangle pose. Note the class project posters on the wall. ioral issues.
are in English, corresponding most Teaching qualifications: Yoga Ed. is
The Yoga Ed. curriculum, successfully adapted yoga into the US public of the time to the Sanskrit. There are three The metaphors are quite creative teach- part of the regular State of California cur-
variations on Sun Salutation, triangle poses, ing devices. One is called “Rocks and Feel- riculum at The Accelerated School. As such,
school setting, could augment temple youth teaching programs as well 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
oga ed.’s curriculum arrives appreciate the bold task the authors took on contents of the curriculum further, we’ll go ing within the student’s abilities. caused the feelings as you place rocks one defined). We searched the Internet for cer-
as a three-inch-thick binder bulging and to understand why some parts of the into the teacher qualifications, then how to Before and after the hatha yoga, classes at a time in someone’s hand or pocket. Dis- tification courses and found they are gov-
with a ream of printed paper. It is a course seem aimed at children “old for their apply the program in a Hindu setting. make use of visualizations, games and meta- cuss how it feels to carry those rocks around. erned in the US by the Yoga Alliance (www.
complete course description for 35 age.” Then again, perhaps children are all Class structure: A typical 45-minute phors. Several visualizations, a kind of fan- Decide appropriate and loving ways to let go, an organization of yoga
classes a year through eight grades in hatha old for their age these days, and childhood class has an inquiry which provides a theme tasy roll playing, begin with the “Sunbeam of those rocks that don’t involve throwing or teachers. One of the minimal programs
yoga, with related techniques teaching mind should no longer be “presumed innocent.” for the day, for example, “How do I breathe? Opening Story.” It goes in part, “Close your dumping them on others.” meeting their requirements is the Basic
and emotion control and positive interac- A curriculum, for those not familiar with Why does yoga focus on breathing?” The eyes, adjust to the dark and then notice the Another metaphor easily adapted to the Hatha Yoga program of the Integral Yoga
tion with fellow students. In our April, 2004, the world of education, is a manual for teach- students begin with a “time in”—“five min- sunny sky above you. It feels warm and different age levels teaches finesse. “Give Institute founded by Swami Satchidananda.
issue we profiled one of its authors, Tara ers which lays out everything they need to utes of silence which supports students in inviting. One of the brilliant sunbeams is the students a scarf or string with a knot in The month-long resident program requires
Guber, long-time school teacher, hatha yoga teach a particular course. The Yoga Ed. transitioning from outer attention to inner 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
enthusiast and wife of Hollywood producer curriculum is divided into three sections: a awareness.” In other words, the teacher tries 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,
Peter Guber of “Batman” fame. In that ar- teacher’s guide, lesson plans and resources. to get the students to calm down. Time in is your head all the way down your spine and them through slowing down, breathing eas- housing and meals. Courses offered by oth-
ticle we described her successful attempt, The course’s stated mission is “to inspire, followed by a discussion for five to ten min- out through your fingers and toes. You know ily, noticing everything they can about the ers were comparable in price (except the
along with fellow author Leah Kalish, to educate, facilitate and support children in utes, for example, of the process of breathing 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 question-
develop and introduce a program of hatha developing physical health, emotional sta- and how it is used as the focus of yoga. Next will ever harm you here. In your imagina- stead of against it.” By varying the thickness able bargain). These minimum programs
yoga to The Accelerated School in South bility and self-awareness through informed is a warm up for five minutes, then 15 to 20 tion, you open your eyes and start down the of string and complexity of knot, students of are called the “200-hour certification,” re-
Central Los Angeles. and experiential study, self-exploration and minutes of yoga postures. “This is the heart beautiful path at your feet. As you reach any age can benefit from this. ferring to the class hours, and are what is
In the 1990s, this was a depressed, crime- yoga.” The philosophy, methods and goals of of the class,” the curriculum states, “The your garden gate, reach into your pocket The games are drawn from an appendix required for Yoga Ed.
ridden area, birthing ground of the infamous the program are explained. It lists in detail day’s inquiry or theme should be the focus and put any trouble or worry you may have entitled “Games for Life,” written by Leah Qualified teachers can then take the
Crips and Bloods gangs and flash point for how Yoga Ed. qualifies to be part of the state during the physical and mental experience on your Trouble Tree. Now open the gate Kalish and Diane Spahn. Beanbag bodies is three-day Yoga Ed. teaching training course,
the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Blacks largely left of California’s physical education program— and exploration demanded by the yoga.” 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
the area following the riots, to be replaced the niche it occupies in that state’s public The postures are followed by five minutes of visualization is developed, for example, into hatha yoga poses, for example, “Dogs and the curriculum. In fact, taking the course
with an influx of Latinos. It remains a tough school system. A great deal of good advice games or “partner work.” Partner work con- 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
neighborhood. The school’s setting is impor- and teaching methods for the professional sists of poses that require two people, such 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
tant to an evaluation of the course, both to teacher are conveyed. After discussing the as “elevator” which starts with the students and energizes you. ment activity for a group. The group forms common social studies or history curricu-

58 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 h i n d u i s m t o d ay 59
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 disap-
pears 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 talk-
ing 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 use-
ful it is. Other meditation methods, however, The East’s right to this millennia-old global mark of good fortune suffers
are quite creative, such as teaching concen-
tration to very young children by having from decades of abuse as the symbol of the Nazi Party and racial supremacy
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 By Jane Srivastava naturally want to look away after a second this offensive Nazi symbol displayed on a
of affirmations, are also quite acceptable. South Carolina, USA or two. The pain I feel when looking at the wedding invitation?” I knew that the Nazis
Hinduism Today founder, Satguru Sivaya he swastika is as holy to the swastika is as strong as if I had lived through stole the symbol from the ancient cultures,
Subramuniyaswami, highly recommended Hindus, Jains and Buddhists as it is the war myself. particularly India. However, I had assumed
affirmations as a means of reprogramming evil to people from the West. When a When I first saw a swastika on an Indian that, after World War II, the evil associated
one’s subconscious mind. Western classical symbol represents diametrically oppo- greeting card, I was taken aback: “Why is with the symbol prevented the original cul-
courtesy yoga ed
or New Age music recommended for some site concepts to different groups tures from using it.
exercises can be replaced with creative se- of people, a natural conflict arises. As I am learning more about the
lections from traditional Hindu music to the Asians who immigrate to the United Indian culture and religion, I am
same effect. States encounter obstacles when becoming more curious about the
A certain amount of cultural adjustment trying to incorporate the swas- symbolism of the swastika and the
would be required. Anyone instituting the tika into their religious ceremonies. present-day conflict surrounding it.
Raising the energies: Tara Guber warms up a class of youngsters in preparation for el- program would have to go through it and Here in America, like in the rest Swastika is a Sanskrit word, su
ementary hatha yoga sequences. Still naturally flexible, children enjoy the various poses. identify activities which are not considered of the Western world, the Hindus’ meaning “good,” asti meaning “to
culturally appropriate in their community. and Jains’ most cherished and holy be” and ka, a suffix. It is translated
lum book alone costs $300 to $400, even as you or because of the kids and then make Some might not be comfortable, for example, symbol is viewed only as a legacy of as “good being,” “fortune,” literally
high as $700. The schedule for these teacher the necessary changes.” with partner yoga pairing older children the atrocities and murders commit- “it is well” or “conducive to well-be-
training programs, which are conducted in In a Hindu Setting: How could the pro- of the opposite sex. A few of the exercises ted under the Nazi black swastika. ing.” For Hindus, the swastika is a

a j ay v e r m a
several US locations, is available at www.yo- gram be used as part of a Hindu religious may be a bit lost on those unfamiliar with Many Americans do not know the symbol of auspiciousness, prosper- The training covers how to set up education program? It hasn’t been so used, the “New Age”—preparation of an “aroma- history or the importance of the ity and good fortune. It also repre-
a program at a school, create lesson plans, so we make a few conjectures. If a temple or therapy sachet,” for example. There’s also an symbol to Hindus. The results of sents the sun and the cycle of life.
adapt yoga to the children’s developmental ashram already conducts classes in Hindu identifiable, though not objectionable, cur- this ignorance are real. Hindu tem- In Loving Ganesha, Satguru Sivaya
levels and to improve their focus, concentra- religion, Yoga Ed. could be an excellent ad- rent of developing acting ability—perhaps a ples have been vandalized, religious Subramaniyaswami, founder of
tion and relaxation. It also includes an ambi- dition. Its physical activity provides a wel- result of the course’s development in close ceremonies displaying swastikas in- Hinduism Today, explains the sig-
tious goal to “integrate yoga into the school come break from just sitting in a classroom, proximity to Hollywood. terrupted and upright devotees ac- nificance of the swastika to Hindus:
culture.” and its introspective and relaxation exercis- What we found most inspiring about cused of neo-Nazism. The swastika “The swastika’s right-angled arms
Evaluation: Yoga Ed. works wonders in es will increase the students’ attentiveness the course was its very existence in such is such a ubiquitous symbol of good- reflect the fact that the path toward
The Accelerated School, making a differ- during other classes. Temple devotees who a comprehensive form. A lot of work went ness throughout the East that many our objectives is often not straight,
ence in the lives of children, improving their are already trained yoga teachers could be- into developing this course for eight grades. less-educated Asians are themselves but takes unexpected turns. They
physical and emotional health, and making come qualified for Yoga Ed., or a local yoga Even more work was required to actually unaware that the swastika could sig- denote also the indirect way in
them better adjusted students. It is, however, teacher could be solicited for the job. institute the program at The Accelerated nify any evil concept. which Divinity is reached—through
a professional program. It requires an expe- Philosophically, with the course taught in School, train teachers, organize classrooms, My great-grandparents were intuition and not by intellect. Sym-
rienced teacher who is sufficiently trained a Hindu context, the Hindu origins of yoga gain acceptance from the parents and com- murdered by the Nazis. As a Jewish bolically, the swastika’s cross is said
in hatha yoga to safely conduct a class of could be brought forward. The course, for munity and so on—all requiring highly mo- person raised in Europe, for most to represent God and creation. The
rank beginners. Someone knowledgeable in example, talks about karma, but doesn’t use tivated leadership. Leah Kalish and Tara of my life I have associated the four bent arms stand for the four hu-
hatha yoga might make a go of it without the word. It talks about chakras, but doesn’t Guber have shown it is possible to create swastika with the Nazis and Nazi man aims, called purushartha: righ-
any prior experience teaching young chil- really discuss the soul body. Likewise, key and institute a course containing real spiri- heritage—extermination of millions teousness, dharma; wealth, artha;
dren. But even Tara said, “At the beginning, Hindu concepts important for understand- tual training for young children. Yoga Ed. of people, destruction of countries Symbol of prosperity: (top) Children light lamps in a swas- love, kama; and liberation, moksha.
nothing worked. We had to create the room, ing the mind, such as reincarnation and the can serve as a model to both incorporate and superior racist ideology. The tika pattern on the eve of Deepavali in the Indian city of This is a potent emblem of Sanatana
get mats, convince everyone to take off the existence of higher worlds beyond this phys- and work from in developing comprehen- sight of a swastika alone rouses Chandigarh, November 11, 2004; A 1930s American greet- Dharma, the eternal truth. It also
shoes, etc. When something’s not working, ical world, are absent and would have to be sive curriculums for teaching Hinduism to such strong feelings in me that I ing card bearing swastikas and a horseshoe for “good luck” represents the world wheel, eter-
you have to ask yourself if it is because of added. The course is used in the California Hindu children. ∏π

60 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 h i n d u i s m t o d ay 61
nally changing around a fixed center, God. of good fortune in the United States, appear- The Jews are understandably sensitive to the sign may lose their job, be ostracized or and harmonization. So how do we rec- erance and respect for other cultures’ ways
The swastika is regarded as a symbol of the ing ubiquitously on such items as greeting the swastika. Anti-Semitism was central to threatened, even become victims of hate oncile the importance of the swastika for of life and their religious practices.
muladhara chakra, the center of conscious- cards, magazine covers, book jackets, post- the Nazi movement. In Mein Kampf, Hit- crimes. Hindus, Buddhists and Jains with its nega- The swastika is not the only symbol whose
ness at the base of the spine, and in some ers, playing cards, poker chips, jewelry, fruit ler described the symbolic meaning of the Often when something is written in the tive legacy in the West? How can we re- original godly and favorable significance was
yoga schools with the manipura chakra at wrappers and business logos. Even the Boy Nazi flag: “In red we see the social idea of Western media about the possibility of duce the conflict and promote acceptance? used for evil purposes. Under the Christian
the navel, the center of the microcosmic sun Scouts issued a “Swastika Thanks Badge,” to the movement, in the white the nationalis- bringing back the ancient symbol of the Education is the only thing that might cross, brutal crusades to convert masses to
(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 swastika notwithstanding its Nazi signifi- promote a better understanding between Christianity took place, during the Medi-
the opening pages of account books, thresh- ness to a scout. Before the Nazis, the swasti- struggle for the victory of the Aryan man cance, such words as redemption or reha- the Hindus living in the Western world and eval Inquisition millions of heretics were
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 bilitation are used. Even Hindus and Jains their new country- burned in fires, and in the United States,
sacrifice is considered complete without it, evil concept or racist ideology. After World idea of creative work, which as such always use similar words in their appeal to “reha- men. It is impor- black Americans were persecuted and mur-
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.” bilitate” their sacred symbol. Some authors tant that in the dered by the Ku Klux Klan. However, the
off misfortune and negative forces.” the symbol as they had prior to the Third As an ethnic group targeted for systematic discussing the return of the swastika opine cross has not become a forever detested and
For the Jains, the swastika represents four Reich. Most Europeans and Americans still elimination under the mark of the black that once the swastika is used for evil pur- condemned symbol.
types of birth which an embodied soul might perceive any swastika as a Nazi or neo-Nazi slanted swastika, all Jewish people had been poses, it cannot be redeemed. “Certain Because of our differences in geography,
attain. The swastika has been adopted as symbol, despite differences in its color and touched by the Holocaust. It is hard, there- symbols might easily exist ambiguously culture and experience, people from differ-
part of a single symbol to represent the Jain the direction in which it points. fore, for any Jew to see a sign of good fortune or with multiple meanings, but ulti- ent parts of the world will treat symbols dif-
community. In the Buddhist tradition, the In the late nineteenth and early twentieth in a scrawled swastika on a door or wall. mately not the swastika. For what ferently. As an Eastern European immigrant,
swastika symbolizes the feet or footprints of century, the swastika became a common Thus, a conflict arises between the sig- once exemplified good fortune now I don’t believe I can disassociate the swasti-
the Buddha. It is often used to mark the be- symbol of German nationalism, meant to nificance that Hindus assign to the swastika manifests malevolence. What was ka from the meaning I grew up with. But
ginning of texts. Modern Tibetan Buddhists represent a long Germanic/Aryan history. and the treatment of the sign by most West- once innocent is forever guilty… As after learning about Hindu culture, I
use 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 long as it embodies even an iota of have become aware of the importance
Japan, the swastika has been used to repre- Semitic organizations. Adolf Hitler adopted the Nazis, intensified as so many people evil, it will never again be redeemed,” of the swastika to Hindus and now
sent abundance, prosperity and long life. the swastika when the German National from India and Asia arrive to work or live declared graphic design guru Steven Heller deeply respect the symbol’s signifi-
Before the Nazis stole the swastika from Socialist Party (Nazi Party) was formed in in Europe and America. Those immigrants in his book The Swastika: Symbol Beyond cance and holiness. With knowledge
the ancient world, various cultures through- 1919-1920. include simple, uneducated people from ru- Redemption? and understanding, people from the
out Asia, Europe and the Americas had been The Nazis regarded themselves a superior ral areas who do not know of the prevalent To redeem something means to extri- Western world, while not forgetting
uniform in assigning some positive and fa- race. Based on information from Hitler’s stigma of the swastika in the West. Just as cate from an undesirable state or make up their countries’ experiences, can em-
vorable meaning to the symbol. For the most pet archaeologist Gustaf Kossinna, Hitler Westerners are unaware of the positive his- for defects. To rehabilitate means to bring brace the swastika as an auspicious sign of
part, these peoples had used the swastika believed and propagated the idea that Ary- tory of this ancient symbol, many less edu- something back to its previous normal con- the Asian world. As education and aware-
sign in their religious practices to symbolize ans (from arya, “superior being” or “noble”) cated Asians do not know that it could be dition, to cure it. None of these words seems United States there ness replace prejudice, intolerance and nar-
life, the sun, good fortune and prosperity. In were a master race of Indo-Europeans liv- anything but auspicious. Because of the dif- appropriate. There was nothing wrong with be more written row-mindedness, there is hope people will
the decades before World War II, the swas- ing in Eurasia, Nordic in appearance and ference in the meaning of the symbol for the the swastika that we now need to make and said about the start to see the historical richness as well as
tika was used as a design motif and symbol directly ancestral to the German people. two cultures, people from India who display up for its defects or cure it. It got into the meaning of the symbol to Asian cultures the present-day significance of the swastika,
wrong hands which used it as a symbol for and religions. Such an education should and not just its Nazi past. ∏π
their hateful deeds and ideology in perhaps start in schools where Hindu, Christian

For Some, a Symbol of 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
Jane Srivastava holds a bachelor’s degree
from Vilnius State University, Lithuania,
and a degree from the Albany Law School,

Hate and Intolerance 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-
Albany, New York.
h u lt o n g e t t y p h o t o a r c h i v e

christian hartmann

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 Festive design: Rangoli, or kolam, often containing swastikas, are traditional floor decorations made from colored rice powder

62 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 h i n d u i s m t o d ay 63
BOOKS company has earned the respect of univer- Are you training anyone to take your place dhism is the most popular for us, because
sities, researchers and historians around the as the Managing Director of Motilal Banar- Buddha ventured beyond India. Today, we

Honoring a Century of
world. Its books fill the libraries of virtually sidass Publishers? The person who will are the largest publisher of Buddhist teach-
every institute of higher learning where In- take over from me is my youngest brother, ings in the world. If you ask me which of our
dology is studied. The Motilal trademark is Rajeev. When we sit together, we discuss books is best, my choice may not have been
a unique combination of scholarship, quality what is to be published and how many cop- our best seller. It may not have sold at all.
production and moderate costs, something ies. Now, he is learning which authors are to

Excellence in Publishing
major universities and struggling professors be picked up. How do you feel about New Age literature
worry about. The Motilal book list covers and music? We have been selling
a wide gamut of subjects: Indian languages Do all of the five brothers work New Age publications for about
and linguistics, literature, art, drama, music, harmoniously together? There five years now. While it is true
history, religion, epigraphy, iconography, so- is no power struggle going on that they are currently popu-
cial themes, astronomy, astrology, ayurveda in our organization. If there lar and have an unlimited
Five brothers face the and yoga. The catalog is so extensive—over
2,000 titles—that more branches have come
were, we would be living in
five different houses with
potential for growth, our fi-
nancial stability is already
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Banares, Mumbai, Kolkata and Pune to han-
five different businesses.
By the blessings of our an-
established. For more than
100 years, Motilal Banarsi-
with an unwavering dle distribution. Now there are sales offices
in London, and the US Library of Congress
cestors and our gurus, we
are united. We all love and
dass has featured books
that are scholarly and aca-
commitment to a has made Motilal their authorized dealers respect each other very demic. Our sales are consis-
for supplying Indological works from India. much. tent in this market.
scholarly readership Sundar Lal Jain passed away in 1978, Shan- Most of these New Age
tilal in 1997. Shantilal’s five sons—and now, In your estimation what are books are also paperback,
two of his grandsons—currently handle dif- the finest books published by which makes them very economi-
By Rajiv Malik, New Delhi ferent aspects of the family business. Motilal Banarsidass? The criterion we cal. Popular books are always reason-
n 1903, a man named moti lal jain currently follow in choosing books to publish ably priced. The people of India will buy
established a small religious bookshop N.P. Jain (below) is the Managing Director is that they should feature the teachings of books only when the price is reasonable.
in a portion of Punjab which is now of Motilal Banarsidass. At 65, he is the Hinduism, Buddhism or Jainism. Of these Now, the youth are turning to these New

part of Pakistan, with his son, Banarsi oldest of the five Jain brothers. Hinduism three main streams of knowledge, Bud- Age publications.
Dass. It was an unusual business ven- Today talked with him about the way it
ture for these two gentlemen from a distin- was and is, good books and bad, spiritual Current king: N.P. Jain is the eldest of the five brothers and is currently in charge of the
guished family of jewelers well established in life, worldly life and the future of Motilal Banarsidass dynasty. (Above) The late Sundar Lal, younger brother of Motilal,
the court of the Sikh king, Maharaja Ranjit publishing in the age of the Internet. was almost single-handedly responsible for building the publishing empire.
Singh. But the store was immediately success-
ful, and the two men were quite happy un-
til 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 estab-
lished in Patna (Bihar) in 1937. After Parti-
tion in 1948, when the Jain family home and
publishing house were burned to the ground
during the riots, the Jains moved their head-
quarters to their branch office in Patna. Three
years after that, they relocated to Varanasi.
In 1958, they moved one final time to New
Sundar Lal was a scholar of Sanskrit, an
educationist, a philosopher and a philan-
thropist. When he took over the business,
he began publishing serious works authored
by respected scholars and attracted the cul-
amit kumar

tured friendship and assistance of such emi-

nent Indians as Dr. Rajendra Prasad and Dr.
S. Radhakrishnan, both champions of Indian
culture and heritage. In New Delhi under
amit kumar

The four younger Jain brothers: (From left to right) Ravi P., director of finance; J.P., di- Sundar Lal’s distinguished leadership, Mo-
rector of showrooms and press; R.P., director of public relations and special projects; and tilal Banarsidass flourished as never before.
Rajeev P., director of exports and New Age publications—and heir apparent By featuring serious literature, the book

64 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 h i n d u i s m t o d ay 65
Do you get many requests for publication? soul into it and take the work very seriously. sary funds from book sales alone. About God, but I am clear in my understanding readers will gradually become interested in
We receive so many manuscripts. We try to twenty percent of the books that I publish of my soul and my life. I know who I am, our other books.
select the best ones for publication. Out of Does book publication have a future? are by authors who are working on grants. where I came from and where I am going.
ten submissions, we might publish two. I am There was a time, not too long ago, when I firmly believe that what we are supposed Where do you make your most money today?
the first one to go through these, but I do book publishing all around the world was It is generally understood that your family to do is live a selfless life. While good deeds We are surviving today due to the interna-
so with the help of specialists on the top- suffering. Today things are looking a lot bet- approaches publishing almost as if it were bring joy and bad deeds bring suffering, self- tional markets. Scholars and institutions
ics of books submitted. Sometimes when I ter. Trends start overseas. Then India copies a spiritual mission of sorts. Is this true? less deeds bring liberation. This is my belief. outside India are supporting us. Thirty per-
think that a book is of an outstanding them. When television came into the Publishing as a spiritual mission has been I feel that if one goes deeply into the study cent of our sales go to institutions. For them,
nature but needs some work, I will world, people stopped reading a tradition in this family. Actually, we think of Jainism, one will find the spiritual path. Indian books are cheap. America is one of
commission an author, an editor books. Then there was the In- of it more as the dissemination of Indian Likewise, if one goes deeply into Hinduism the largest buyers. England, Germany and
or a scholar to come in. ternet. For a time, it seemed culture. We have even been recognized and or Buddhism, one will also find nothing but France are also good. We also have a large
all but lost. Yet miraculous- honored with awards for this work. We can the path of spirit. People generally do not number of people buying from us through
What are your views on the ly, people are now slowly maintain this attitude of service because go into this kind of depth. For this reason, the Internet and our online bookstore.
changing world of book pub- starting to read books we keep our personal requirements limited. most of us are more religious than spiritual.
lication? As businessmen again. As usual, this start- This is part of the philosophy of Jainism. We Is publishing a commercially viable busi-

amit kumar
we should expand. But we ed in the West and is only follow the path of aparigraha, which means As a respected elder advisor, do you have ness today? Publishing is in our blood. We
like to think of ourselves as just now coming to India. non-possessiveness. Gandhi followed this any advice for the youth? Our youth of to- are not interested in any other business.
publishers who are scholarly Even the youth are com- path. His spiritual guru was a Jain whose day need to get the right type of education. However, I cannot say that publishing is a
and academic. We are more ing back to books. Look at name was Shrimad Raj Chandra. Modern education is not complete. We must commercially viable business. In publishing,
concerned with quality than Harry Potter. seek a type of education that improves the Future boss: Rajeev P. Jain, the youngest your stock has to be at least three times that
quantity. In India, the general Our sale of educational Can you talk a little about the joint family quality of life. This is my message to our of your turnover. When you print, you don’t
emphasis is more on quantity. If books will always be secure, structure? Running a family requires a lot youth. The entire curriculum of our schools fits right in with what we are already do- just print one book, you print a thousand
you go through our catalogue, you but scholarly and academic of sacrifice. Most of the problems that oc- has to be changed so as to include an in- ing, because actually, there is no “New Age.” or more. Whether you are able sell them or
will find that most of our authors are publications have never been lucra- cur in a joint family are not because of the struction from our ancient literature. Unfor- There is ancient wisdom coming to this age. not, your money is already spent on produc-
Western scholars. When Western scholars tive. This is why scholars seek grants for men, but because of the women. This has tunately, I do not see this happening. What is being called the New Age is really tion. Then you need places to store these
start a project, they put their body, mind and publication. They cannot raise the neces- my mother worried. She says that women just a repackaging of ancient wisdom—like books—and more places to sell them. So
under the influence of modern culture want old wine in a new bottle. there is this huge cost for infrastructure. To
The sky is the limit: Eighteen of the 27-member Jain family gather around Leelavati Jain, freedom but no work. I believe that the divi- Rajeev P. Jain is heir apparent to the When we talk of New Age publications, start a publishing house like ours in today’s
75, the grand family matriarch. (Above) The late Shanti Lal is son of Banarsidass, father sion of this family will occur eventually. It Motilal Banarsidass dynasty. At 45, he is we are talking about esoteric material made times would be an act of foolishness.

of the five brothers and husband of Leelavati. He helped Sundar Lal develop the company. might have happened quite some time ago, currently in charge of exports and the easily understandable and accessible to the
if it had not been for my father. He wanted New Age books division. HINDUISM TODAY masses. These books are meant to inspire How do you see the future of Motilal
to keep the family together. When he passed talked with him about ages new and old, the common man and act like a catalyst in Banarsidass Publishers? My own dream
away eight years ago, my mother and I in- making money and the future of their teaching him the art of living. is that our younger generation should be
herited the responsibility for running the family business in the hands of the young. New Age books have been my passion for groomed so that they are happy, healthy
family. Finally, when we thought we could the last 20 years. Now that our children are and wise. Our parents and elder brothers
not wait any longer, we bought five houses How has the Internet affected reading hab- joining the business, I am promoting the sale have worked much harder than we have and
in a colony. But now nobody wants to shift. its in India? More and more Indians are get- of New Age books. If I can make this new di- left us a structure which is now profitable
Everyone is saying, “We are happy here.” ting educated now, and the level of education vision of our operation successful, our next and growing. I would like to do the same for
God is great, you see! We are still together. is rising. More education is bound to have a generation of family members will be able our next generation.
There is another reason why we are still positive affect on the reading habits of peo- to eventually handle it independently. I will I would hope that our growth would be
together. Many spiritual people come to our ple. It is interesting to note that this is due then be free to move on to something else. slow and steady, but not extravagant.
home as guests. They bring stability and in part to the Internet. Although our whole New Age books have more scope for Though I am not a very spiritual person, I
unity. catalogue is available on the Internet, I have growth than our more academic works. Mo- go to our Jain temple almost every evening.
no interest in making the books we publish tilal Banarsidass did 2,000 titles in one hun- This gives me peace. I do not want to be
Do you have any special interests as you available on the Web in the shape of E Books. dred years. Now in just five years, our New an aggressive and angry person. Our whole
prepare to retire? I am now only interested Age division has already produced 250 titles. family is vegetarian and we are teetotalers.
in spiritual life. If I come to know of some Do your plans to expand include featuring About 60 to 70 percent of the content of new It is my belief that any success we enjoy
spiritual person traveling through, I try to New Age publications? New Age books and age books is based on Hinduism. There is is only a reflection of the good and whole-
meet him. I do not claim to have realized music are a part of our expansion plans. It also the chance that our New Age book some life we try to live. ∏π

Here we have 27 people living under one Because of our tradition of living together have put into Motilal Banarsidass through
roof. The five brothers all share a blood and working together, we enjoy the warmth the years, we might be much richer by now.
relationship whereas their wives all come and security that only a family can provide. Our first priority has always been to stay
from different families. So far, everyone If even one of us became overly ambitious, together and get along well with each other.
agrees that the advantages of the joint we might not be able to live together like Contentment and satisfaction are the key
family far outweigh the disadvantages. we do. So we all share the same ambition. principles by which we live. Living this way,
Now my grandchildren are getting mar- This is probably the secret behind the we may move slowly but we move together
ried and the family is expanding even miracle of us remaining united. For us, in mutual support. One of the reasons we
more. I feel that the time has finally come what is most important is working and liv- are more easily able to take this leisurely
for us to start planning to live separately. ing together with one equal mind. To us approach could be that in the field of In-
But this separation should take place this is more important than money. And dology, we don’t have much competition. I
amit kumar

amit kumar

while I am alive. Otherwise, who will because of this we are happy. Our forefa- can proudly say that, so far as the books on
solve the disputes. thers started this company with 27 rupees. Indology are concerned, we are the num-
— Leelavati Jain, 75, wife of the late If we had invested in some other business ber-one publishing house in the world.
Shanti Lal and Jain family matriarch the same amount of time and money we —Ravi P. Jain, 47, Director of Finance

66 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 h i n d u i s m t o d ay 67
Kauai Aadheenam Rubatharan Sukumaran 13.00 Kumbhalavalai Ganesha Kauai Aadheenam Religious Manjung Hindu Sabha
Monastic Endowment Vayudeva Varadan 250.00 Temple Endowment Art and Artifacts Fund Orphanage Fund
Anonymous $565.00 Samynaden Veerapen 34.00 Manoharan Navaratnarajah 75.00 Anonymous 37.50 Mirta Noemi Cotto 30.00
Rajendra Giri 10.00 Total 3,150.39 Total 75.00 Rajadeva Alahan 153.00 Rajendra Giri 5.00
Vijay, Daksha & Neil Mithal 2.00 Total 190.50 Dayavati Murugan 25.00


Himalayan Academy
Hinduism Today
Lifetime Subscription Fund
Hinduism Today Production Fund
Anonymous 8.33 Thank You Bodhinatha Fund
Niraj Thaker
Total 23,962.92 Anil Ananda Badhwar 577.56 Vinay Aggarwal 100.00 Anonymous 108.00
Sanjay Bajekal 240.00 Total 108.33 Amarnath Devarmanai 324.00 Pazhassi Balamandiram
Ten years after their conversion to Hinduism, Shyamadeva and Peshanidevi Dandapani came for- Iraivan Temple Endowment Surinder M. Bhardwaj 100.00 Rajendra Giri 5.00 Orphanage Fund
Anonymous 358.33 Sivarama Dandamudi 240.00 Hindu Orphanage Shama Kumaran 108.00 Rajendra Giri 5.00
ward to open their third endowment (#60) with HHE. The purpose of this fund is to give compli- P.S. Bob & Bharati Gaitonde 50.00 Rajul & Heidi Gandhi 111.99 Endowment Fund Manoharan Navaratnarajah 150.00 Ganesan & Rajalakshmi
R. Logeswaran 50.00 Rajendra Giri 5.00 Anonymous 478.84 Shanta Devi Periasamy 403.42 Ramalingam 100.00
mentary copies of Himalayan Academy books to public libraries, libraries of Hindu institutions and Rathinappilai Logeswaran 50.00 Isanah Kameni 13.15 Lila Shakti Devi 50.00 Jiva Rajasankara 500.00 Niraj Thaker 16.83
Mani & Surya Nallasivan 500.00 Amravadee Kownden 35.85 P.S. Bob & Bharati Gaitonde 50.00 Alex Ruberto 45.00 Total 121.83
worthy individuals who can’t afford to buy them. Titles will include Weaver’s Wisdom, Lemurian Natraj Narayanswami 15.50 Ravi & Sevanthi Kumaran 75.00 Rajendra Giri 10.00 Hitesvara Saravan 309.00
Rajkumar Padmanabhan 50.00 Rushikesh H. Mehta 99.00 Meenal S Khajuria 10.00 Michael Leonard Smith 100.00 Karnataka Temple
Scrolls, Yoga’s Forgotten Foundation, Know Thy Self and more. Here is their life-changing story, which S.V. Ravi Rahavendran 706.00 Dibyajyoti Pandit 800.00 Christian Langers 100.00 Jeremiah Umakanthan 50.00 Development Fund
Bharat Rajpara 101.00 Gassa Patten 100.00 Vijay, Daksha & Neil Mithal 7.00 Vayudeva Varadan 56.00 Anonymous 8.34
inspired the creation of this fund, excerpted from one of these books, How to Become a Hindu. Jnana Sivananda 365.00 Suselah Periasamy 169.42 Mani & Surya Nallasivan 500.00 Total 2,158.42 Total 8.34
S Sivanathan 100.00 Adi Sankara Perumal 161.94 Natraj Narayanswami 25.00
Niraj Thaker 16.83 Anjeeni Devi Perumal 70.34 Alex Ruberto 45.00 Mathavasi Travel Fund Sri Ganesha Hindu Temple
Other Donations 18,439.34 Balgrim Ragoonanan 800.00 Aran Sendan 51.00 Rajendra Giri 5.00 of Utah Fund
“In February of 1994 we decided to take a relaxing vacation somewhere in the warm sunshine Total 20,802.00 Linda Seeley 75.00 Jutikadevi Sivaraja 324.00 Total 5.00 Vijay, Daksha & Neil Mithal 2.00
Jiva Shanmuga 102.00 Rodney & Ilene Standen 30.00 Total 2.00
without a busy sightseeing schedule. Three days into our vacation we went into the Lazarus Used Kauai Aadheenam Annual Vinaya Sharma 240.00 Niraj Thaker 16.84 Udayan Care
Archana Fund Dasa Sivam 77.00 Matthew Wieczork 162.00 Endowment Fund Hindu Literature Fund
Bookstore, where Peshanidevi, my wife, began collecting books. She soon handed me a pile to Kanda Alahan 101.00 Lavanadevi Sivam 51.00 Total 1,859.68 Rajendra Giri 5.00 Munmun Sengupta 7.00
Priya Alahan 96.00 Potriyan Sivanathan 5.23 Christian Langers 100.00 Prabha S. Verma 1,001.00
purchase. On top was a copy of the second edition of Dancing with Siva (published by Himalayan Vinaya Alahan 250.00 Nagaraj Tanguturu 240.00 Suntheram Family Trust Fund Total 105.00 Total 1,008.00
Anil Ananda Badhwar 435.55 Total 4,389.48 Suntheram Family 1,000.00
Academy). I picked it up and looked at it, and on the Sivanathan Batumalai 65.36 Total 1,000.00 Saivite Hindu Scriptural Fund Hinduism Today
Chandran 13.00 Hindu Businessmen’s for the Visually Impaired Subscription Fund
back was a short biography and picture of the author, Chellappa Deva 226.00 Association Trust Hindu Press International Alice R. Anderson 20.00 Other Donations 5,000.00
Toshadeva Guhan 252.12 Paramaseeven Canagasaby 24.62 Fund Rajendra Giri 5.00 Hiranya & Saraswathi
Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami. Upon reading it, Suguneswary Gunasegaran 27.36 Vel Mahalingum 21.39 Venkatraman A. Nageswaran 50.00 Mani & Surya Nallasivan 500.00 Gowda 654.00
Kriya Haran 137.00 Manogaran Mardemootoo 53.47 Rajendra Giri 5.00 Alex Ruberto 45.00 Doris G Jorden 50.00
I said to my wife, ‘This author is right here on Kauai, Isanah Kameni 13.15 Janaka Param 25.00 Total 55.00 Hitesvara Saravan 108.00 R.P. & Bharati Lathi 1,001.00
Amooda Koothan 0.71 Vedapragassen Peruman 21.34 Total 678.00 Total 6,705.00
and there is a temple here.’ We bought our books and Egilen Koothan 14.22 Total 145.82 Loving Ganesha
Saravan Koothan 0.71 Distribution Fund Sri Chandra Madhab
went back to the hotel. At this point we both seemed Usharani Kuppusamy 159.47 Boys School for Anonymous 333.33 Debnath Fund Himalayan Academy
Thavamalar Lingam 38.90 Iraivan Priesthood Rajendra Giri 5.00 Shyamal Chandra Debnath 50.00 Book Distribution Fund
to be totally compelled, propelled and impelled to Bhaveshan Moorghen 1.78 Anonymous 8.33 Eric Jautee 110.00 Total 50.00 Shyamadeva & Peshanidevi
Shanda Kumaran Moorghen 1.78 Rajendra Giri 5.00 Christian Langers 100.00 Dandapani 5,001.00
locate Gurudeva and the temple. We found a listing Udeyadeva Moorghen 1.78 Bala Sivaceyon 19.34 Manoharan Navaratnarajah 75.00 Manitha Neyam Trust Fund Douglas Mulford 50.00
Umah Rani Palanisamy 90.53 Niraj Thaker 16.84 Gassa Patten 1,203.00 Bala Sivaceyon 20.92 Janaka & Bhavani Param 201.00
for Subramuniyaswami, Satguru Sivaya, in the local Kirtideva Peruman 10.66 Total 49.51 Total 1,826.33 Total 20.92 Total 5,252.00
Niroshnee Peruman 31.96
phone directory. Peshanidevi was able to talk with Kasturi Raman 5.84 Kauai Aadheenam Swami Agnivesh Mahajana College Fund Kauai Aadheenam Yagam Fund
P. Raman 58.42 Matavasi Medical Fund Endowment Fund Anonymous 8.34 Sivakumar & Lavanya
Yogi Rishinatha. She explained that we had found a Shamala Raman 5.84 Anonymous 10.05 Rajendra Giri 5.00 Total 8.34 Saravan 900.00
Akileiswaran Samuthiran 2.90 Rajendra Giri 5.00 Dayavati Murugan 25.00 Total 900.00
copy of Gurudeva’s book in the bookstore, told him Jayasutha Samuthiran 22.62 Gowri Nadason 120.12 Total 30.00 Kerala Temple Trust
The Dandapanis sign their new endowment Padmini Samuthiran 80.05 Niraj Thaker 16.83 Natraj Narayanswami 15.50 Pooled Income Fund Trust (PIF)
we would like to come to the temple and asked what Loganatha Shivam 200.00 Vayudeva Varadan 54.00 Saiva Agamas Trust Total 15.50 Gowri Nadason 40.00
papers at the HHE headquarters in Hawaii Palaka Shivam 200.00 Total 206.00 Matthew Wieczork 90.00 Satya Palani 50.00
the proper protocols were for visiting. We were both Devaladevi Sivaceyon 5.22 Total 90.00 Taos Hanuman Fund Barathy Sockanathan 30.00
Nutanaya Sivaceyon 5.22 Sri Subramuniya Ashram Anonymous 8.33 Total 120.00
very excited the next morning. With our Safeway flower bouquet in hand, we made our first walk Patudeva Sivaceyon 5.22 Scholarship Fund Mauritius Saiva Dharmasala Mani & Surya Nallasivan 500.00
Hemavalli Sivalingam 2.37 Anonymous 8.33 Endowment Total 508.33 Total Contributions $78,011.80
up the path to the temple. Seeing the 16-ton black granite Nandi and the temple for the very first K. Sivalingam 30.00 Vijay, Daksha & Neil Mithal 2.00 Natraj Narayanswami 15.00
Kantha Ruben Sivalingam 2.37 Total 10.33 Total 15.00 Kapaleeshwara Temple Funds at Market Value,
time was breathtaking. We washed our feet and entered the temple. It was beyond words. It was as Rohini Sivalingam 2.37 Orphanage December 31, 2004
Dasa Sivam 106.00 Sri Subramuniya Kottam Fund HHE Administrative Fund Jayanthi Vasudevan Naiker 300.00 Total Endowment Funds $5,944,208.66
if we had finally arrived back home after a long and arduous journey. We sat down, the only two Lavanadevi Sivam 102.00 Hitesvara Saravan 108.00 Krish Chawla 500.00 Mani & Surya Nallasivan 1,000.00 Total Pooled Income Funds $202,663.97
Potriyan Sivanathan 2.61 Aran Sendan 102.00 Vijay, Daksha & Neil Mithal 2.00 Natraj Narayanswami 15.00
people in the temple that morning, as Ceyonswami began the puja. We did not know Sanskrit but Girish Skanda 20.00 Total 210.00 Rajkumar Padmanabhan 50.00 Ganesan & Rajalakshmi Grand Total $6,146,872.63
Javanya Skanda 6.00 Rakesh Sood 125.00 Ramalingam 100.00
somehow seemed to intuit the deeper beauty and meaning of the puja. Subasene Skanda 19.30 Total 677.00 Total 1,415.00

“After the puja the next day, Swami asked if we would like to meet Gurudeva. ‘Yes, of course!’
MISSION STATEMENT: Hindu Heritage Endowment is a publicly supported, charitable organization
When? ‘Wait here.’ We can remember feeling His loving energy before he walked through the cur-
recognized as tax exempt by the IRS on April 22, 1994. Employer ID 99-0308924. Founded by Satguru
tain. We could feel the love. And then we fully prostrated to our beloved Gurudeva for the very first
Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, its philanthropic mission is to provide secure, professionally managed
time. As he sat down in his chair, he looked at us and said, ‘I see you are dancing with Siva.’ At that
financial support for institutions and religious leaders of all lineages of Sanatana Dharma.
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 PROFESSIONAL ADVISORS: Halbert, Hargrove/Russell, Investment Counsel; Alvin G. Buchignani,
way into many more hands, as they will through this endowment. Esq., Legal Counsel; and Hirose, Kato and Co., CPA. HHE is a member of the Council on Founda-
tions, an association of 1,931 foundations which interprets relevant law and management and invest-
Two HHE beneficiaries were devastated by the Asian Tsunami. The Swami Vipulananta Children’s existing fund, create a new endowment or request information through the address below. Dona-
Home (fund #57) was spared by the waves, but dozens of children in the area lost parents in the tions may be made online at or use the HHE tear-out card in this magazine to
flood and have taken refuge at the overcrowded home. The orphanage plans to add a second story join our family of benefactors who are Strengthening Hinduism Worldwide. Thank you.
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 HINDU HERITAGE ENDOWMENT
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
107 Kaholalele Road
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469-9642/415-681-2731 • • yogafarm@ • founded by Swami Vishnudevananda, pictured


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Dr. David Frawley

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Born into a traditional Hindu Planetary Transformation
lineage of astrologers in A Glimpse of Divinity Custom Tours to India • The Rig Veda and the History of India
By Mukund M. Hanumante, PhD
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of how astrological principles apply to different cultures the mind on its Godward path.” Professionals • Astrology of the Seers, Vedic Astrology
are sought out by people from all over the world. For more —Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami
appropriate to
structure an itinerary appropri-
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A vision of life that transforms...
more information, contact:Ave PO Box 8357, Santa Fe, NM 87504-8357 USA
Chakrapani Ullal • 12044 Kearsarge Street We felt the horizon of Joy ever widening
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PHONE USA and Canada 703-299-8946
Australia and New Zealand (02) 9518-7788

76 77
A traditional Hindu ashram Working Together
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