Hinduism Today, Dec, 1996 | Paramahansa Yogananda | Religious Conversion

December, 1998 "2.

95
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Affirming Sanatana Dharma and Recording the Modern ftstory of a Billion-Strong Global Religion in Renaissance
MlTA (P) No: 245/04/96
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HINDUISM TODAY was founded on January 5, 1979. py Sotguru Sivoya Submmuni-
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Masters: Devn Seyon: Sodhunathan Nadesnn.
PUBLISHER: Sotguru Sivoya Subramuniyaswnml
ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTOR: Acharya Veylanswami
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Acharya Palaniswami
PUBLISHER'S ASSISTANT: Acharya Ceyonswami
DEPUTY EDITOR: Acharya Kumarswaml
MANAGING EDITOR: 1}agi Arumugaswami
GRAPHICS DIRECTOR: '!Jog! Natarajaswami
PROMOTION/ PRODUCTION: 1Jagi Kalhi rswaml
MANAOING EDITOR'S AID: 1}agi Shanmuganathaswami
lDVERnSINO MANAGER: Sodhaka Jothinatha
SUBSGRIPTION MANAGER: Sadhaka Haranandinatha
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF'S ASSISTANT: Sodhaka Yuganatha
DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR: Yogi Kasinatha
SUMMER INTERN: Brahmachari 10thi Sendan
. DEGEMBER, 1996
COLLECTOR'S EDITION
.. CJ"--:-
COVER: Girls in Kerala decorate in front of their home for annual Onam festiVal
I N T E.R N AT I ON A L
Recognition: Satya Sai Baba is Honored
as 1996's Hindu of the Year 17
Exhibition: National Exhiqit Teaches
Americans How Hindus Worship 22
Science: Impact of Life on Mars 27
Issues: Lord Ganesha in Disneyland 28
Cl;llture: 'tIK Showcases India's South 29
Society: Panduranga Athavale
Mobilizes India's Middle-Class 34
Crisis: Daring Resc iI at Amarnath 40
Milestones: Balis Cosmic Centennial 48
.photography: 35 MM Mega-Memoir 54
:Ll'FESTYLE
Yoga:' kt Enduring Sri Chinmoy 27
Belief, the D"NA of Hinduism 30
.striving: Discovering Our Convictions H
Astrology; Back to the FUture 36
Videos: Three Godly Documentaries 47
Pilgrimage: Remembering My Icy Trek 49
O!pINION
Publisher's Desk
Editorial
My Turn
DIGESTS
Frorm the Vedas
Quotes &; QUips
Briefly
.6 Letters 14
8 Healing 44
10 Minister's Message 50
.-
, 7 Evolutions
9 Dlaspora
Digital Dharma
44
11
52
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,
PUBLISHER'S DESK
Suicide: ' a Case of '
,
Pa{ental pressures
Guiding through intimidation, coercion
and abuse doesn't win respect from kids
BY. SATGURU SIVAYA SUBRAMUNIYASWAMI
EENAGERS ARE SUFFERING
the pangs of sex, desire and
independence and
sOJ.: ts of other emotions.
are as if ill during this
time. In Moscow one cold 1990
winter evening, the astrophysi-
cist Carl Sagan (photo) told me
they are poisoned by their own
hormones. For boys, he called it
"testosterone poisoning." T:his z
observation is nothing new. Over iii '------'"'"
two thousand years -ago, 'the
Greek philosopher Plato lamented, "What is happening to our
young people? They disrespect their elders. They disqbey their
parents. They riot in the street, inflamed with wild l1'6tions. Their
morals are decaying. What is to become of them?" Sound famil-
iar? Parents now, as then, must be the mother, father, nurse and
doctor. I say that because they are as if incapacitated, needing
healing and special care. And not unimportantly, when a patient
is delirious, the nurse does not pay all that much attention to the
ranting and ravings. Similarly, reason does not mean the same
thing to you as it does to your teenager. So, be a friend. Both par-
ents must talk privately together and work out a strategy for the
next seven years, from age 13 to 19. It will be over in only seven
years and all will be well. .
So-en, they .will be raising their children in the very same way
you raised yours, with deep appreciation for how you had the pa-
tience, the willpower, the forbearance and the love-mainly love-
to raise them and endure their unending Those of you who
have children in the testosterone and estrogen years, proceed with
confidence. Keep smiling and keep loving. Keep remembering
your teenage years. That may help unstress the stress that is daily
making you both stronger and, stronger.
When you have successfully performed your seven-year tapas
of stressful fire in bearing up un(ler the strain and pain of the
teenager, ttuly you will enjoy great satisfaction and be able to sit
back and smile. Have compassion and give some leniency" for dur-
ing this time they are all mixed up and emotionally frustrated in-
side; they are, truly they are. They are facing an uncertain future
in an unsure world, becoming adult, keeping in with their' peers,
kee ping in with their parents, striving fOJ.; excellence in education,
facing marriage, job, career and community expectations.
No wonder so many become suicidal, because their pru;ents jtlst
don't understand ana are not there for them at a time when they
truly. need them. Don't let this happen in your family. Please don't.
6 HINDUISM TODAY. DE,<;: EMBER, 1996
Be a stern but loving Mom. Be a
strong but understanding Dad. Be a
gentle nurse. Be a wise doctor. And,
most of all, be a good friend-their
friend, their closest friend-during this
tumultuous, turbulent, troublesome
time called teenage.
Here is a suicide letter a Malaysian
Hindu girl wrote before she attempted
to end her life at age One of the rea-
sons she cited was too much pressure
from her parents. Too much verbal
abuse and, we can assume, physical
abuse, starting with pinching, then slap-
ping, leading to uncontrolled beatings,
as simply a way of life. Is this Hindu
culture? It 'bhreatens to become so. _
Dear Mom and Dad: You'll never un-
derstand why I did vl-iis. Never. In you.r
opinion, you always did what was best
for m.e. You always knew what was best
for me. You always believed I was yowr
naive, irresponsible little girl who al-
ways needed you".- hand to hold onto.
You thought it was necessary to use t he
sharp edge oj your tongue to keep me on
the "right track. "
I never had any say in my own life.
Did you realize that t hat "right track" ,
became a psychological p1"ison fOl- me? That your leading hand,
became a set of chains for me? That the sha1''fJ side of your tongue
got to be a barbed wire t hat was continuously lashing out at me?
No, you never did. Di.dn't you ever stop to think that maybe I
should have some say in what I wanted to do witl1 my life? You
decided which college would be ·right one for me to attend and
what acac!.emic fi eld I should go i:nto. The college, of course, had to
be the most prestigious and elite one so you could brag to your
fri ends about it. You never t lwught that maybe I wanted something
more than school and books, bu.t that was never important to you.
You only wanted me to achieve academically so your friends would
be duly impressed. That was the same reason that you waTJ.ted m.e
to become a doctor. I didn't want anything to do with it.
You never realized that ·maybe I had wanted a social life. To
make friends for once in my life. When I told you tli.at, you
scoffed at me and told me t hat we Indians were so much superior
that we didn't need to deal with "them." There wa$ never anything
in my life that you let me have any control over. When I finally
met som.eone who meant something to me, you two couldn't handle
the fact that maybe someday I would learn to control my own life
and rid myself of your manipulations. So, then you decided who it
was that I was going to see and who it wa$ that I didn't. You
forced me to break the first real rplationship that I ever had in my
life. L was constantly harassed by you about him. You told me that
I was cltisgracing the family name. ':,:.. what would everyone say?"
You destroyed everything for me. This "relationship" between us is
nothing but a farce. And {here is no reason to conUntte it. I have
searched for some way to escape you, but I have come up empty
handed. Now you must live with' this gUilt. I hope you will never
be able to fOl-give YQurself.
She- lived through this ordeal. In contacting' our editors, she tes-
tified that she now knows suicide is not the way out and allowed
the publishing of this very personal letter with the hope that her
battle with suicide would help others-parents and
better with problems before they reach hopelessness. ..
FROM THE VEDAS '*' I
/
Let bJa{mony
Reign
Discord among members
of a family is the most
devastating force in the world.
This fact was no secret to wise
ones thousands of years ago,
as the following verses from
the Vedas record.
F ONE HEART AND MIND I MAKE YOU,
devoid of hate. Love one another as a cow
the calf she has borne. Let the son be
courteous to his father, of one mind with his-
Let the wife speak words that are gentle
and sweet to her husband. Neyer may brother hate
brother or sister hu.rt sister. United in heart and
purpose, commune sweetly together. I will utter a
prayer for Sllch concord among family' members as
binds together the Gods, among whom is no hatred.
Be courteous, planning and working in harness to-
gether. Approach conversing pleasantly, like-mind-
ed, united. 1 0 man and woman, having acquired
knowledge from the learned, proclaim amongst the
I
wise the fapt of your intentions of entering the
married life. Attain to.fame, observing the noble
virtue of nonviolence, and uplift your soul. Shun
crookedness. Converse together happily. Living in
I
a peaceful home, spoil not your life. Spoil not your
progeny. In this world, pass your life happi-ly, on
.' this wide earth full of enjoyment!2
IAtharva Veda Samhita 3.30.1-5. 2S1lllkia Yajur Veda SamMta 5.17.
,
ALL HINDUS ACCEPT THE AUTHORITY Vedas, MANKIND'S OLDEST SCRIPTURES, ETER-
NAL TRUTHS TRANSMITTE D BY GOD THROUGH GREAT CLAIRAUDIENT AND CLAIRVOYANT
RISHIS. ONE OF THE BEST AND MOST ARTICULATE E NGLISH ANTHOWGIES, THE I ,OOO-PAGE
Vedic Experience, IS PUBLISHED IN FULL ON THE I NTERNET AT'. httpJ/wvvw.HinduismToday.
kauai. hi. us! ashramlHimalayanAcademy Publications!VedicExperienceIVEIndex.html
DECEMBER, 1996 HINDUISM TODAY?
/
·
EDITORIAL
then keep both. Smile at it. Better yet,
understand it; best of all, learn from it. And
Critical 'Coflectiori
never, never offer offende'rs qUid pro quo.
End of course. Now that we know how use-
ful criticism can be, here is a short list of
common charges levied against Hinduism:
Downing D lim-rna is an ancient sport,
• Hindus are idol worshippers with far
toa many gods. A trained adept will respond
that Hindus are among the world's most en- .
thusiastic and energetic devotees. By no
means could our worship be judged idle.
Here you can smile innocently, letting the
but few have amassed all the trading cards
BY THE EDITOR
NEMIES OF HINDUISM DON' T GET MUCH SPACE IN OUR
journal, though we do report when Pat Robertson trashes
our religion (as he dia again recently on his Christian
Broadcasting Network). That doesn't mean Sanatana Dhar-
ma is deprived of adversaries. They are plentiful, and I for
one hope they are strong, not caring much for a wimpy rival. It
seems to be the Law of Things that good rivals make for great
achievements, whether in sport or science, politics or religion.
Consider Galileo, Gandhi, Socrates, Appar and Martin Luther
King, Jr., five men whose with fierce opposition made
them better for the experience. I am reminaed 0\ the maxim: ''A
great man-can be measured by the greatness of his enemies."
Wishing one's enemies strength is somehow strength-inducing. In
that spirit, much gratitude is owed to the antagonists of Hinduism.
I have collected their t riticisms, much like others collect first edi-
tio.n novels, baseball cards ·or exotic stamps. You may smile at this,
but remember that a first-rate book will be gone in 500 years or
so, while even a mediocre criticism will last 1,000, usually more.
One I'm particularly fond of is the slanderous story j\merican
missionaries spread in the press to blunt Swami
Vivekananda's unexpected triumph at the 1893
Parliament of World Religions. The
tragic truth, reporters wrote 100 years ago, is
that "Hindoos throw their infant children into
the open mouths of river crocodiles." There is a
kind of evil genius in, the sheer simplicity of that
fatuous indictment.
You might think that folks living,.in these en-
lightened times wouldn't peddle such preposter-
ous You would be wrong. Case in point, a
museum-quality derogation crafted recently by
Chick Publications of Cucamonga, California.
Opening their anti-Hindu, comic book style
pamphlet called "The Traitor," one reads, "This
is a true story, lridia-1982." A many-armed Kali
stands ominously in the darkness, as a man
kneeling at her feet sacrifices his son so the
Goddess will answer his prayers. And that's just
pa'ge one! The gruesome stuff comes .later.
No one teaches us in school hQw to cope
with criticism, turning it to our advantage. They
should
l
but they don't. A gifted few will learn- <
the concert sitarist or aspiring opera singer for whom reproach and
incessant evaluation are a professional imperative. Dancers, actors
and athletes all pay niggling mereenaries 'for the privilege of being
corrected, faulted and verbally assailed. Professionals blossom un-
der it; others wilt and wail.
To rectify tnis, we offer here the world's shortest course on
"Censure Management." Never cringe. before criticism. Take it like
a man, even if you're a woman. Winnow the true from the false,
8 HINDUISM TODAY, 1996
critic wonder if you even fathom his insult.
• Hindus worship cows. They honor cows,
they worship God. Hindus abhor the killing
of any creature on the Earth and one day will:-be esteemed for this
long-held nonviolent ide3I. .
• Hinduism is life-negating and brings poverty to its followers.
One need only visit the slums of New York, Tokyo, Bangkok or
Beirut to know that no religion exists which has eliminated human
suffering, though all make the attempt.
• Hinduism is too ritualistic, complex and contradictory. The
problem here is that an outsider is trying to comprehend Sanatana
Dharma as a single creed, when it is 10,000 independent religions,
each allowed to believe as it chooses. I love ritual, the more elabo-
rate the better. But there are many Hindus who hate the simplest
rites, and no one asks them to betray their' natural inclinations.
• Hinduism has no hell, no understanding of Satan, no real f ear
of God. Nolo contendere. Guilty as charged.
• Hinduism is so fatali stic. Only if your definition of fatalism
includes the belief that all experiences are 9f our own making, that
God is in all things as love, that all of creation is sacred, that all
paths are good and that all beings without exception are destined
to attain oneness with the Divine. If that's fatalism, then Hindus
are incorrigibly fatalistic.
• Hindus animals. I cannot defend
against such a criticism, but can only hope that
whatever few remaining expressions of an ear-
lier time that may still will pass soon.
• Casteism in India is a terrible i11justice.
No pensive person will deny that. So is crime,
homelessness, job discrimination and social!
racial inequality in other nations. Neither one
has anything to do with the peoples Jeligion.
Those are the classic insults. Sadly, they are
old and worn by use. It is rare to find an inno-
vative invective. Not long ago, to my utter de-
light, I stumbled on an award-winning, fresh-
as-the-morning-dew slur. It came courtesy pf
the Witnesses, in their April, 1989,
magazine, Awake. Each month they print ove.(
11 million of these in 54 languages, so
talking global character assassination here.
According to the Jehovah Witnesses, the fatal
flaw in Hinduism is-dare I even whisper it-
tolerance. That's right, Hindus are too open-
minded, excessively sympathetic of another
man's faith, and this tolerance, the article darkly warns, may open
the door to lesser paths, to "bad religions."
This mischief will find a cherished place in my collection.
While the genius of the alligator allegation was its tall (should that
be long?) tale, this one seeRs to hurt Hindus with brute honesty.
Nice try. An intolerant sect calling our faith too tolerant? Ouch! In
a world far too full of hatred, bias and provincial consciousness, let
us pray that we may one day deserve to be called such a name.

4
"There is more to life than increasing its speed."
Mahatma Gand6i (1869-1948)
"111e goai of life is not to do what makes you happy. Its to be liap-
py doing what you have to do." Satya Sai Baba
"Whence was it.born? Whence issued this creation? Even the
Gods came after its emergence. Then who can tell from whence it
came to be? He who surveys it in the highest heaven, He surely
knows-or maybe He does not!" Rig Veda 1.129
"If we want world peace," Swami Beyondananda qUipped, "we
must let go of our attachments and truly live like nomads. That's
where I no mad at you, you no mad at me. That way, there'll surely
be nomadness on the planet."
"Men' never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do
it with religious conviction." Blaise Pascal (-French mathematician,
1623-1662)
KaFMl,a Kat- ... _ ...... _ .. .,,4..... __ ..... __
by Barry Gener
IT SEEMS THAT MORE
AND MORE PEOPLE
ARE BELIEVING IN
REINCARNATION.
"Common men talk bagfuls of religion but act not a grain of it,
while the wise man speaks little, but his whole life is a religion
acted out." Sri (1836-1886) to his followers.
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity,
and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Elnst@ln (1879-19$5)
What do you call a very rich Madras brahmin? A "Million Iyer."
DID YOU KNOW?
Fingers, Forks or ChopsticksP
HE WORLD CAN BE DIVIDED INTO FINGER-FEEDERS,
fork-feeders and chopstick-feeders. Devotees of one
implement often regard others as uncivilized. Fork-feeders
predominate in Europe and North America. Chopstick-
feeders rule most
of Eastern Asia.
Finger-feeders,
most widespread,
prevail in India, Sri
Lanka, Indonesia
and much of
AJJica.111us,fork-
feeders are out-
numbered more
than two to one.
"The turtle lays a thousand eggs and remains silent.The hen lays
just one egg and cackles endlessly. Be like the turtle. Don't behave
like the hen." S\tge (1872-1964) to devotees in his
thatched hut in Jaffna, Sri Lanka.
DECEMBER, 1996 HINDUISM TODAY 9
/
practical,
An BOO-page
HIMAlAYAN 4r"nclJN
BOOKS YOU
. . /
We Need the Vedas
M.o(e Than . Eve {
Their holistiC' wQrldview can end the
battle between religion and science
B Y D R. B. V RAM. A N
HAVE TO RECOGNIZE
that all intelligible reali- '
tv--soalce. time and mat-
-IS an aspect of intelli-
gent consciousness. But in the
Western or modern sciences, we
sI\ecialize and compartmental- g
ize, we grasp aspects of reality z
in isolation-,-space, time, matter,
mind, morality, art, history. In
each sphere we findJorder, but
each sphere slJ.ows itself to be incomplete
and to have "ragged edges" that imply oth-
er realities necessary t<;> give meaning to it.
The mil)d begins to look for a total synthe-
sis that'€an make the universe as a whole
meaningful and self-explanafory. As\the
great Aurobindo says, "The Vedas and
Upanishads are not only the sufficient
fountain of the Indian philosophy and reli-
gion, but of all Indian art, poetry and liter-
ature. It was the soul, the temperament, the
ideal mind which later carved out the great
philosophies, built the structure the
dharma which created so many original
institutions ip science, created so rien a
glow of the aesthetic." The spiritual climate·
of the Vedas an<;l Upanishads became the
inspiration of all later developments in In-
dian culture and civilization in all. the
branches of human activity.
In India today, an undue emphasis is
being laid on the so-called "scientific tem-
per," which means denigrating religious
observances, practices and heliefs, all of
which are erroneously dubbed as.,2upersti-
tion. Religious observances, practices and
beliefs are based oli faith. Does science
exclude faith and belief? Is not belief in the
existence of truth Nature a sustainer of
the scientific spirit? While inculcation of a
scientific attitude may be. desirable, its lim-
itations must be understood and caution
exercized in its overemphasis. An essential
difference 'between the' approach of the
rishis and the modern Western scientists
and their Indian counterparts is
that the f@rmer are comprehen-
s,ive, integral, holistic and spiri-
tual, while the latter are mostly
ad /wc, fragmentary, reduction-
ist and mechanistic.
Toda'y" Indian p6liticalleaders
are at sea, hopelessly flounder-
ing in their search for the prin-
ciples and methods of education
and nation or man building.
The'Work of Veda 'Yyasa provides a won-
derfully suggestive object lesson in the task
of national leaders-but not political lead-
ers-if only they can see the vision tnat lies
clearly embodied in his codification. Sage
Vyasa regar<;led the Vedas as containing a
clear vision and scheme of life to preserve
and hand on to later generations through
cultural media-s-utra, darshana, music,
dance, purana, drama, 'temple architecture,
festivals, customs and wax;; of life. ,
One of the greatest gifts of the Vedic
seers is the point of view that envisages
spiritual knowledge along with s9ientific
knowledge as a one organic whole, with no
gu1f or conflict between them. The Vedas
solved the problem of the right relation
between religion,. and science for India and
the world. Henee, we tjnd the lawgiver I
Manu saying that in the beginning people
of all races or quarters of the Earth came .
here for instruction in the arts of life. India
became the World Teacher in the be'gin-
ning of history on account of the inheri-
tance of the Vedas, which were themselves
the crystallization of an ear.lier epoch. This
view of tolerance and understanding to-
ward all the ultimate points of view em-
bodied in different religions became a still
outstanding characteristic of culture.
DR. B Y RAMAN of Bangalore, India, is a
world-renowned Vedic asttrologer and edi-
tor of The Astrological MagaZine,
j
- DISCONTENT
RiSing
I
NDIA, KNOWN FOR STRONG
traditions of joint fami1y and
community support of individ-
uals, is experiencing a rising
suicide rate. In 1984 only 6.8
per 100,000 Indians ended
their lives-a low rate com-
pared to Russia (65i100M)}
Japan (33/100M) or USA
(27/100lyf) . By 1994, India's
cides rQ"Se to 9.9 per 100,000,
joining its top ten causes of
death. Most alarming: thos'e be-
low age 30 comprise 55% of
the total. High educational, ca-
reer and marital demands on
youth are cited as causing fatal
. . despair. Housewives under -
marital stress, lonely, discontent
with traditional roles, expecting
more from their husbands, are a
new high-risk group.
crisisj ntervention services are
rare in India. But three.out: of
four suicides give advance dis-
tress signals. Vigilant awareness
can spot an'd stop the terminal
despair which leads to self-
killing and the sufferings it en-
genders in the next life. A few
compassionate souls in Bharat '
have begun centers that offer
needed hot lines and cOllnsel-
ing services.
HAWAII
Laoy's Light
i\ N UNEXPECTED COINCI-
, Rdence brought 'India's star
prison reformer, Kirin Bedi, to
Kauai, Hawaii, home of HIN-
DUISM TODAY, Neal Wagatsuma,
of the island's jail, is
running an innovative, holistic
program of prison reform simi-
Prime Minister offersjuice to break Bahuguna's 73-day fast
ENVIRONMENT
Bahuguna Slows Tehri Dam
E
XPERTS CONTINUE TO WARN THAT THE TERRI DAM, A
new "mega-dam" in the Himalayas, threatens one of
mankind's most sacred river systems near the source of the
Ganges in India. Environmentalist Sundar Lal Bahuguna
protested the dam in June with a 73-day "penance" fast, eating
only medicinal bae! fruit , water and honey. Prime Minister
Gowda, fearing the popular watchdogs death, promised a re-
view of the project by a committee of Bahugunas choosing.
Bahuguna broke his fast, and dam construction has halted. The
International Rivers Network claims the dam would displace
100,000 people and submerge 27,000 hectares of Himalayan
land that has been home to sacred Hindu culture and ascetics
for millennia. Built in an earthquake-prone region, if the Tehri
dam failed or caught a landslide from the unstable mountains
above, its flood would destroy the downstream holy towns of
Rishikesh and Hardwar, Idlling tens of thousands.
lar to that begun by Bedi at,
Delhi's 8,000-strong Tihar
Prison, the largest in Asia.
Bedi, Wagatsuma believes in
rehabilitating- criminals, and
not letting jails become training
grounds for criminal careers.
Informed of the local pro-
gram, Bedi included Hawaii in
her Jilly USA tour. She visited
Qlree jails in the state. Finding a
kindred spirit in Wagatsuma,
she declared, "Neal's
program incorporates
much I had hoped to
achieve at Tihar." The
Kauai jail will be in-
cluded in her new
book on prison reform.
.
Neal greets Kirin Bedi
Chinese ,bharata natyam dancers
LITERAYURE
Ramayana
In China
T
HE 1996 INTERNATIONAL
Ramayana Conference of
India's Vishwa Sahitya Sanskriti
Sansthan cOLlvened at the mod-
,
SAN FR A NCISCO
S
IXTY TOP RELIGIOUS AND
lay gathered
the week of June 24 for the
"United Religions Initiative
Conference" in San Francisco.
It was a bold attempt, con-
ceived by Rev. William E.
Swing, Episcbpal Bishop cl' Cal-
ifornia, to create a religious
body parallel to the UN-a kind
of United Religions. Sri Ram
Swarup of New Delhi submitted
a position paper for Hinduism,
and delegate Ravi Peruman of
San Francisco proposed a "Reli-
gious Bill of Rights," declaring
each religions protections, in-
cluding freedom from subver-
sion by others. Input is request-
ed from Hindus.
WRI TE: 406 SKYHARBOUn LANE, BAY
POINT, CALI FORNIA 9 4565 USA.
ern, 13-year-old city of
Shenzhen. Scholars
from Shanghai, Chun-
, king and Guandung
participated. This clas,
sic Hindu ethical tale
proved its power to in-
spire mutual under-
standing and cultural
bonding, this time be-
tween two giant na-
tions. Its central ideals: dharma,
self-sacrifice and rising above
personal and political interests.
Prof. Jin Ding Han of Beijing
University, Chinese translator
of Tulsi's Ramayana, noted that
the epic first appeared in 'China
in the third century C. No Hous-
ton, Texas, will host the 1997
conference in May.
FROM TOP: RAVI BATRA-INDIA EXPRESS,
UNITED RELIGIONS COMMITTEE, LALLAN PRASAD VYAS,
HINDUISM TODAY
DECEMBER, 1996 HINDUISM TODAY 11
N EPA L
Where's
the Beef?
T
HE SLAUGHTER AND
exportation of cows is a
crime in the Hindu na-
tion of Nepal, with sentences
ranging from a 50,000-rupee
fme to six years imprison-
ment. However, for lack of
First Lady prays in India
THE WHITE HOUSE
Calling Gandhi
law enforcement, over 200,000
cows a year are smuggled out
for slaughter in Bangladesh and
India. Bulls, now in short sup-
ply, have doubled in price and
must be imported from India to
meet the demand for ploughing
oxen. Hindus cite their own
lack of organization to fight the
problem and low awareness
among farmers who sell off cat-
tle they cannot maintain. But
last year a government officials
JUSTICE
Swami Jailed
K
IRTANANANOA BHAKTIPA-
da, 58, erstwhile head of
the Hare Krishna New Vrinda-
ban Community in· West Vir-
ginia, was fined $250,000 and
public statement, "It is a vio-
lation of non-Hindus' human
rights to disallow their beef
eating," stoked animal-rights
fires, demonstrations and at-
tacks on smugglers' trucks. A
leading activist, Ganesh Ba-
hadur has founded the Cow
Welfare Association and set
himself a mission to restore
Nepal as a place where cows
are never killed.
H ARISH BANSH JHA in Nepal
fabulous "Palace of Gold," built
to hOFl0r his guru, attracted
250,000 viSitors a year. But then
illegal activities that funded its
projects, such as the sale 0f
caps with trademarked logos,
attracted Federal prosecutors.
There were also reports of
abuse and beating of members.
I In 1983, communi-
SOUTH AFRICA
Baby, Say "Om"
T
HE HINDI SHIKSHA SANGH
of South Africa has pub-
lished a booklet called Sanskrit
Suman, Part 1 of a graded se-
ries on learning Sanskrit, by
Dr. B. Rambilass, for use by
children in "the mainstream
school curriculum." Beautifully
printed on glossy, color stock, it
is an unexpectedly modern
teaching tool. Rambilass' pre-
sentation) s simple and targets
English speakers. It is testimo-
ny to the growing worldwide
movement to bring back San-
skrit as a spoken language.
That might seem an· impossible
dream, but in 1995 Sudara-
charlu and his wife began to
successfully market globally
from Madras their 12-cassette
English workbook, Sanskrit for
Children and Beginners.
FOR SANSKRIT SUMAN: HINDU SHIXSHA
SANGH, 30 OAK AVE., KHARWASTAN
DURBAN, 4092, SOUTH AFRICA
Miniature chariots
MALAYSIA
Tiny Fun Fete
H
INDUS CARRY THEIR GODS
on chariots during festivals.
Often gigantic, they are sur,
rounded by a crush of people,
and small children rarely par- '
ticipate. So, for a class
exercise, the kids in Klang,
I Malaysia, crafted elaborate
miniature chariots. They
I
N 1995 HILLARY CLINTON
brainstormed In the White
House for her new book. She
was guided in imagined con-
versations with Eleanor Roo- I
sevelt and Mahatma Gandhi by
Jean Houston, psychologist and '
leader in the New Age human
potential movement. The US
media went wild over the FIrst-
Lady's "psychic" dabblings. I
Sadly, the expose broke the two '
frlends' association, hurting
them both. If Hillary wants
Gandhi in her'inner dramas,
God bless her. We should all
enjoy such good company.
,began a 20-year
prison sentence in
September for rack-
eteering after
pleading guilty to
conspiracy in two
murders and in-
volvement in illegal-
ly raising millions
of dollars for his
commune. Despite
the plea, he denied
complicity in the
slayings. At senten-
cing he stoically
said, "The body be-
Swami Bhaktipada
,ty dissident
Charles St. Denis
was murdered. In
1986, detractor
Stephen Bryant
was fatally shot in
LA. Aformr;r
devotee, Thomas
Dreshcher, was
convicted of both
murders and testi-
fied they were
carried out on
Bhaktipada's
orders. ISKCON
pulled them arotlDd a local
temple with devotion and all /
the priestly rituals. The exer-
cise was for a lesson in The
Master Course, Saivite Hindu
Religion published by Himal-
ayan Its professional
teacher's guide has a fun flair
that brings religion to life. The
children love it.
longs to God, and He can do
with it as He pleases."
Bhaktipada, an early disciple
of Srila Prabhupada Bhakti-
vedanta, founded the commu-
nity in 1968. At its peak in the
1980s it had 700 membeFs. Its
12 HIN.DUISM TODAY' 1996
expelled the swami in 1987.
Vrindaban spokesman, Gar-
garishi, told HINDUISMTODAY,
"He deviated from the stnct
Vedic tenets and deserves what
'he is receiving." The communi-
ty has since rejoined ISrcCON.
CLOCKWISE FROM
AVINASH PASRICHA-SPAN MAGAZINE
Photo images on
smooth-textured
• contemplative
• inspiring
• long-lasting
Presently available:
Krishna, Satya Sai
Baba, Shirdi Sai
Baba, Mother
Meera, Ramana Maharshi,Yogananda (pictured above),
Yogananda (the '1ast smile"), Anandamayi Ma, Ramakrishna,
Aurobindo, Sarada Devi, Vivekananda, Buddha.
Each: US$20
Custom stones may be ordered:
Please send photo or 35 mm negative of your personal
teacher, deity, symbol, et'c. (The resulting image will be in
black and white).
From a photo: $30 • From a negative: $25.
All prices include shipping. For orders of 3 or more, lower
pricing applies. Call or write for details.
Joel Singer
PO Box 1330
Port Townsend, WA 98368 USA
Tel: 360-385-3748
Roy Eugene Davis,
a Widely-traveled teacher,
author and direct disciple of
Paramahansa Yogananda,
has taught in the kriya yoga
tradition for more than four
decades.
Request information about
his books and classes in the
USA, India, Europe and
other countries.
Center for Spiritual Awareness
p.o. Box 7-H
Lakemont, Georgia 30552
USA
Tel: 706-782-4723 • Fax 706-782-4560
http://web.infoave.netl-csainc • E-mail csainc@stc.net
In India:
A Master Guide to Meditation (Rs. 55)
The Book of Life (Rs. 65) by Mr. Davis.
Motilal Banarsidass
41 U.A., Bungalow Road
Jawahar Nagar, Delhi no 007
• Offices and stores also in Patna, Bangalore, Madras,
Varanasi, Calcutta and Pune.
If by mail, add Rs. 15 each book for postage.
GURUDEVA INSPIRES MURUGAN DEITY PROJECT IN CINCINNATI
Hindu Society of Greater Cincinnati (HSGC) is in the process of finishing a 15,000 sq. ft. temple as part of a major
Center of Hindu Religion and Culture on 100+ acres of wooded lot. A library, meditation room, visitor's guest house and
retirement homes will also be part of this complex.
To accommodate the diversity of Hinduism, twelve five-foot deities: Shivalingam, Venkateshwar, Pillaiyar, Laxmi,
Saraswathy, Durgaiamrnan, Hanuman, Srinath, Laxmi-Narayan, Mahavir, Radha-Krishna, and Sita-Ram, will be housed in
"Individual Temples" on a single platform. The deities, carved in India, have already been received in Cincinnati.
Kumbhabishekam will take place in 1997.
In addition, we will be housing Palamudir Solai Murugan-Valli-Deivanai, and Ayyappan Swami deities in a special wing.
Gurudeva Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami has already blessed this effort by shipping a Murugan Deity from India. This has
generated a new impetus for the project, and a devotee from Bahrain is donating the Ayyappan Deity. However, we need funds
to complete the wing, which is expected to cost $100,000. Therefore, we ask devotees allover the world to donate generously
and be a part of this holy project. In your family name or in memory of loved ones you can donate any amount, adopt a tree
for $1001, or sponsor a brick for $501. All donations are Tax Deductible (Tax 1.D. #31-1017997).
I am enclosing a $ ______ check for: TREE ___ BRICK ___ DONATION
Please make check payable to: HSGC, PO. BOX 19399, CINCINNATI, OHIO 45219
IN THE NAME/MEMORY OF:
___________ ADDRESS:
________ STATE: ___ ZIP: ____ PHONE (W/H): ________ _
For more information please contact: K.R. Anantharaman 1-5.13-753-8556; Ambikaipakan Balasubramaniam 1-513-558-3819 (W),
1-513-794-0141 (H), e-mail: Ambi.bala@uc.edu; Siva Sivaganesan, 1-513-563-2901, e-mail Siva.Sivaganesan@uc.edu;
Laxmi Srivastava 1-513-558-8182 (W), 1-513-474-0533 (H).
Indications
WHAT INTERESTS ME ABOUT HINDUISM
TpDAY is the vast enthusiasm shown by
young Hindus settled in the West. There is
evidence in their queries an4 comments of
an abiding and loving faith in the tradition-
al values and the way of life called Hin-
duism-values which have stood the test of
time. The glories of ancient Babyton, Greece
llJ).d Rome are now found only in museums
and libraries of the world. Bul Hinduism is
still a living faith. HINDUISM TODAY'S unique
role is strengthening the link between Hin-
duism as a faith and the eager-to-be-in-
formed Indian aiaspora. .,
",
S. N ARAYANAN
NEW DELHI, INDIA
In Need of Answers
THERE ARE SEVERAL UNANSWERED QUES-
tions floating in the growing Hindu- popula-
tion such as, what should I do with Gods'
pictures when I do not need them? Why is
there worship of stone? Why do we use co-
conuts, turmeric and kumkuma? What is
their significance? Why do swamis sit on the
tiger's skin but preach ahimsa? We need an-
swers but can't. find them in the scriptures.
Why mantras powerful, in what context,
and who proved their power? These fre-
quently asked questions need to be answered.
Exciting Tool
A . BALA-SUBRAMANIAM
AUBURN,ALABAMA, USA
"aum@aub.mindspring.com
BY I AM ANENGLISHTEA<1HER,
and I have been involved in computer as-
sisted language learning- for 11 years (,'A
Cool, Calculating Computer-Educated Gen-
eration:' PUBLISHER' S DESK, May '96). The
computer can be used by a teacher to create
a rich environment for learning, but the re-
sponsibility to use the medium effectively is
as g]:eat as that of a teacher using a text-
book effectively, or perhaps greater, since
huge amounts of informatIon are available,
and the computer is entrancing and engag-
ing regardless of whether it is being used ef-
fectively.
Forge Ahead
SIMON SERGEANT
SINGAPORE
"Sergeant@singnet.com.sg
THERE ARE MANY LARCiE DAMS IN THE
world, and they are constructed after taking
the opinions of experts' ("Religion and Envi-
ronment Conspire to Tear Down Tehri
Dam," July '96). In case it is necessary, a re-
ligious site may be shifted to a suitable
height after raking the confidence of reli-
gious leaders of t>he region. When the tem-
ple of Jaganath Puri was renovated, the
I
14 ruNDUI.SM TODAY DECEMBER, 1996
LETTERS
deities shifted to another place and re-
turned after performing religious yagnas
and prayers. Hindu religion is very elastic
and has found solutions for shifting even an
important temple coming in the way of de-
velopment. I am of the opinion that such
dams should be finished as early as possible
without any delay.
SHANKERl'RAsA<D S. BHATT
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, USA
No Prohibition in Scripture
OUR SCRIPTURES, FROM VEDAS TO PU-
ranas, including the Ramayana, Mahabha-
rata and Srimad Bhagavatam, have numer-
ous examples of alcohol consumption, both
by celestial and mortal beings ("Unaccept-
able," LETTERS, Aug-Nov '96). Ayurveda
prescribes several wines and spirits of
medicinal value, like draksharistha; asoka-
rishta, mritasanjivanisudha, drakshasava,
to name a few. '
PRASAD BANERJEE
TORONTO KALIBARI, ONTARIO, CANADA
the Aryan Theory
I CONGRATUbATE DINESH AGRAWAL WHO
has exposed this baseless treory tilf Aryan
invasioFl ('/\ryan Invasion , Theory," MY
TURN, July ' 96). Let us cremate the theory
of Aryan invasion of India as promoted by
British rulers, because there is no truth in it. '
DR. S. SHARMA
NOTHINGHAM,ENGLAND, UK
Conversion Right and Wrong
I AM AN ARDENT READER OF HINDUISM
TbDAY, and I feel a sense of pride in being a
Hindu after reading and understanding
Hinduism. I am particularly impressed with
the article Dilip Singh Judev ("Oper-
ation Homecoming," June '96), who is doing
a fantastic job by reconverting the tribals
back to their original religion, i.e.: Hinduism.
By God's grace, I hope there will be more
such people in every country to' perform
such a great service to our religion, Sanatana
Dharma.
R. RAJENDRAN
SINGAPORE
.J
WHEN HINDUS IN INDIA'AND NEPAL FACE
, conversions to Christianity through intimi-
dation a' nd manipulation by missionaries,
they perceive condescension and even dis-
dain, but cannot stop the act of conversion
for die fear of challenging the highly struc-
tured mechanics of Christian evangelism.
Missionaries from tIie rich countries of the
West do not accept Hindus' claims that
their human rights are being violated by the
missionaries of the Christian churches. The
resuitant affect Hindus face is the religious
partitioning of India, where the Christian
converts' demands create ne.w political
po;:kets in India-carrying transformed val-
ues animus to Hindu religion and culture.
Jbe resistance given by Dilip Singh Judev is
a good start, but he alone cannot stop con-
version of the Hindus. He needs his state's
political backing through legislation and.
support of all Hindus frgm home and
abroad.
PRIYA B. MUKHOPADHAY
MONTREAL,QUEBEC, CANADA
I WOllLD AGREE WITH ONE FACT, THAT !f
people are converted by force or by any oth-
er means of cheating, then Hindus have
every right to brIng them back ("WHF Au-
gurs: 21st Century Belongs to Hindus," Aug-
Nov '96). Otherwise, let everybody enjoy
their freedom. It is strange that Nepal has
this law, "No one is allowed to convert one's
faith/ ' This is simply inhuman, anti-Hindu,
and too much interference by the state in a
persons spirituality. It is. true that a huge
amount of money from Western c.ountries is
being spent on conversion in countries like
India and Nepal. This money is as useful for
the country's economy as the billions of dol-
lars sent by NRIs to their countries. I see
that the only real problem with this conver-
sion is, if the remote future, Hindus become
a minority and face the consequences of
perishment. I agree that it is a real threat,
but the solution lies not in reconversion, but
in making these people's lives comfortable
with respect and dignity. If does not
happen, the work of WHF and VHP will
prove to be worthl!Jss.
DR. ASHOK K. JAIN
DALLAS, PENNSYLVANIA, USA
" AKJI@PSUVM.PSU.EDU
Mankind's Origin
I WAS HAPPY TO READ THE ARTICLE ON
the Origin of Man ("How Did Arrive on
Earth?" July '96), and especially noted the \
Vedic references. The declaration by Sage
/ Tirumular in the 2,000-year-old scripture
'Tirumantiram [verse which recapit-
ulates the essence of creation is most appro-
priate, and gives a scientific and logical pre-
sentation to the subject.
SELVA NADARAJAH
KUALA LUMPUR, MAL.AJ'SIA
Letters, w ith writer's address
and daytime phone.rlUmber, should be sent to:
Letters, HINDUISM TODAY
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or faxed to: (808) 822-4351
or e-mailed to:

Letters Il1ay be edited for space and clarity and
may appear in electronic versions of HINDUISM
TODAY. " INDICATES LETIERS RECEIVED VIA E-MAIE.
Books by Swami Shankar
Purushottam Tirtha:
Yoga Vani
Instructions for the attainment
of Siddhayoga during sadhana.
postpaid: US$13.50 (USA)
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Guru Bani
100 ways to attain inner peace.
How to live a spiritual life-for
monks and families.
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Ayurvedic Products Distributors-wholesale or retail
catalog: $1.00 (free via e-mail) • Consultations • I-year
Ayurveda Certification Courses in person or by correspon-
dence (US mail, or e-mail).
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TeVfax: 1-516-628-8200
Ask for Swami Sada Shiva Tirtha
E-mail: ayurvedahc@holistic.com
Web: httpllwww.holistic.com/listings/11709acl.html
Free interactive dosha self-test and articles.
M.arch 14-11, 1991
KEAUHOU BEACH HOTEL,
KaNA, HAWAII
(5 miles south of Kona
on the Big Island)
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• Yoga and Meditation
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• Spiritual communities.
• Catalog of books,
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• Ananda's home-study
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For a free cassette on Mystical Music and Talks
call or write:
Ananda
14618 Tyler Foote Rd
Nevada City, CA 95959 USA
Tel: 916-478-7560 Extension 7025
Ananda Home Page: http://www.ananda.org
E-mail: Ananda@oro.net
Ananda, founded in 1968 by Swami Kriyananda, a
direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, is not
affiliated with Self-Realization Fellowship.
Vedic
Astrology
in Paradise
March 14-17, 1997
for more
infonnation
contact:
CHAKRAPANI ULLAL, DAVID FRAWLEY, DENNIS HARNESS,
CHRISTINA COLLINS, DENNIS FLAHERTY, JAMES KELLEHER,
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The verbatim reprinting of
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just as the great master of yoga first
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truthseekers!
To order or for a free catalog, call
Crystal Clarity Publishers:
1-800-424-1055
Hindu University of America
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by J. Donald Walters
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$10.99
A culmination of nearly 50 years of
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To order or for a free catalog, call
Crystal Clarity Publishers
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Yoga and Meditation Aids
-A Unique Dimension of Hindu Heritage in the West- The hand-crafted
meditation and yoga aids
offered by The Ananda
Collection are designed,
crafted and distributed
from Ananda Village, a
spiritual community in
A'A
The University invites nominations and enquiries for resident,
non-resident and Adjoint Faculty for Graduate Programs in
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and Ayurvedic Sciences leading to Masters and Doctoral
degrees. Contact Dr. Khandelwal, 1-813-943-2114, or Prof
K.G Gupta, 1-303-499-1150, for information. Northern California.
COLLECTION
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8610 Vista Terrace, Orlando, FL 32825-7934 USA
Tel/fax: 1-407-277-5959
Our products include zafu and half moon pillows, zabutons,
meditation mats, as well as padded benches.
For free catalog, call: 1-800-537-8766.
Each person, each business needs a bank that can get
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Think of your banking relationship in broad terms:
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• New York: 460 Ave, New York, NY 10022/ 1-800-6-DIAL-SBI / 1-212-521-3315. Flushing:
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the obligations of offices of State Bank of India in U.S.A. and there is no recourse against the Bank's branches located
outside India.
TRIBUTE
$ai: Hin·du of Year
, -
• I
Receives 1996 "Hindu Renaissance Award"
"
ITH 1,638 CENTERS IN137 COUN-
tries, Satya Sai Baba guides the
largest .Hindu organization in the
world today. Most Hindus remain un-
aware of the depth and breadth of his ex-
tensive worldwide programs spreading the
ancient Vedic teachings. HINDUISM TODAY
bestowed its 1996 Hindu Renaissance Award
upon this remarkable 70-year-old saint for
his 56 years of service. The award carries a
"Hindu of the Year" bronze plaque and a
nominal honorarium of RS51,000.
Since 1990 HINDUISM TODAY has yearly
honored one saint .who has impacted the
faith and spread its' vastness, compassion
and profundity. Dharma's renaissance lead-
ers have been: Swami Param,.ananda Bharati
(,90), Swami Chidananda SQTaswati (,91),
SWami Chinmayananda ('92), Mata Amrita-
nandamayi ('93), Swami Satchidananda ('94)
and Prqmukhswami Maharaj ('95).
Satya Sai Baba's far-reaching activities en-
compass children's education, temple devel-
opment, support of sadktLs and Vedic sch@l-
ars, medicine and rural development. His
first outreach remains the one for which he
··1 '
is best known-bhaJana-begun in 1940
when ·he was 14 years old. Today Sai's fol-
lowers are regarded as masters of devotion-
al music. There is minimal organizational
clutter in the thousands of local Sai groups'.
Followers are of all faiths and propound a
staunch universalism. They collect no mon-
ey and focus on diScipline and purity of pur-
pose. come . together weekly to
sing, returning home without engaging in
soci91izing, gossip or politics. Bhajanas are
sung'in traditionallangliages, but also in 10-
cal languages so all can participate.
(
A worldwide' impact: Sri Satya Sai Baba
oSai's Education in Human Values chil-
dren's course is taught in schools in , 100
countries. With a strong religious orienta-
tion, it expounds five qualities: truth (satya),
righteousness (dharma), peace (shanti), love
(pre.ma) and nonviolence (ahimsa). EHV re-
jects the rote learning, so often thought suf-
for education, emphasizing Indian
techniques-silent sitting, quotation, story-
telJing, song and group activities.
Sai Baba firmly advocates vegetarjanism,
stating, "Meat furthers the demonic quali-
ties in you." Ahead of many in the world, he
is yery clear on the relationship between
poor diet and poor health, and the impact of
farming methods in reducing the
quality of the food grown. His US$18 million
Puttaparthi heart hospital is just the latest in
a vast spectrum of free medical services-
which include even major heart
and brain surgery. He con-
, demns doctors who profit from
illness and advocates the princi-
ples of traditional ayurveda. He
has endeared himself to vi\-
lagers by offering veterinarian
facilities which have prevented
crippling diseases among cattle.
His 1995 project brought safe
drinking water to 800 villages
through pipes and tube wells.
Followers revere Sai Baba as
Avatar, an incarnation of God.
In 1976, he told Blitz magazine,
"The presen( avatar [Sai] has
come invested with the totality
of cosmic power to save dharma
from anti-dharma." Regarding
his powers, he said in the same
interview, "I can cure, save, even
resurrect people, provided they
are in a spiritually receptive
mood. Whatever I will, instantly
materializes." Indeed, millions
profess to seeing him manifest
physical objects. This inspires
intense faith among devotees.
Sai submits, "Miracles belong to
the power of God."
Perhaps Sai Baba's least appreciated pow-
er lies in his preaching. Twice each day he
lectures articulately in Telegu to ample
crowds, explaining with trenchant insight
every aspect of Hinduism. A devotee said
he understood God to be within ,us all. Baba
corrected, "Not exactly. Think of it this way:
you are like a fish swimming in the divine
ocean that is God. God is above you, below
'You, inside and out." •
From 'a Simple Village Life to World Acclaim as Divinity Incarnate
1918 1926 1940 1944 1957 1965 , 1968 1991 1995
Shirdi sal
,,-
Sathyanara- Satya Sai Devotees cre- Sai's all-India Begins col- First Interna- Opens free Millions, in-
Baba, pro)3o- yana Raju'1s Baba tells ate tour attracts leges which tional Sai Sri,Satya Sai cluding the
nent of Hin- born on No- ',family, "My near Sai's widespread are now a Conference, Baba Insti- Prime Minis-
du1Muslim vember' 23rd devotees are home. It is attention. free implementa- tute of Med- ter of India,
harmony, in the remote waiting for Prasanthi Ashrama is university. tion of the ical Sciences attend 70th
dies, proph- village of me." Leaves Nilayam, inundated Promotes all- Education in on 150-acre birthday cele-
esying he will Puttaparthi, home, begins "abffde of with sadhus, fudia Bal Vi- Human Val- campus. p{O- brations in
reincarnate in' Andhra Pra- bhajana suprep1e shastris and har children's ues program motes ayur- Andhra
eight years. desh, India. movement. peace.
" students. program. for schools. veda system. Pradesh.
r
,,-
DECEMBER, 1996 17 HINDUISM TODAY
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Qualified Hindu Priest Sought
The Bhartiya Temple of Lansing, Inc., invites applications
from qualified Hindu priests.
The applicant must be able to perform traditional pujas and
sanskars in Sanskrit, and must be able to speak English and
Hindi. Knowledge of other regional languages is desirable.
The ability to communicate effectively, especially with
children and teenagers as well as previous work experience
in a similar situation is essential.
Application must include:
• bio-data
• work experience
• recent photograph
• two references
The temple will offer assistance for R-l visa if needed for
two years. Salary and other benefits are negotiable.
The temple is located in the greater Lansing area in the state
of Michigan, USA. Lansing is the capital city of Michigan and
home of the Michigan State University About 400 Indian
families have this area as their home. The temple includes
shrines for pariwars of Lord Rama, Shiva and Krishna, as well
as Mata Ambaji and Lord Balaji. Send your applications to:
Bhartiya Temple of Lansing, Inc.
clo S. Kashyap
1841 Yosemite Dr.
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8RIEftl
TItE BRITISH ARE GONE, but the King's Eng-
lish is still colonizing, with 350 ,
Asians now speaking the tongue-more
than in the UK and USA combined. Profes-
sor Braj Kachru of the University of Illinois
told a language conference in Manila that
most former British colonies devel-
oped their own distinctive brand of English
for internal uses. These include the Philip-
pines, Singapore and India.
to preach or advise the eat ing of it." Con-
tact: Madan Lal Gupta, 2912 Freeborn
Street, Duarte, California, 91010, USA.
THE 11TH INTERNATIONAL AIDS Conference
announced that India leads with 2 to 4 mil-
lion of the world's 22-million HIV;:positive
people. India Today reports 20% of high
school students in large cities are sexually
active. of those, 7% have sex with HIV-pos-
itive partners and are at risk. Nine Indo-
IN A MASS MARRIAGE, 103 couples tied the American students have formed VISIONS,
knot at Sawai Madhavsingh Stadium in '" Volunteering International Students in Or-
Jaipur, India. The toughest part was finding ganizing Never-ending Service, spending
103 white mares for grooms to mount, and four-weeks this year in India presenting
a festive challenge required each to catch AIDS education and prevention programs.
the be st horse he could. It's a good thing
they agreed on
the dowry issue.
Negotiating a
dowry even dur-
ing betrothal dis-
cussions violates
the Dowry Pro-
tection Act of
1961, according Marriage en masse
to a new interpre-
tation by India's Supreme Court. The
Khandelwal Vaishya Samuhik Vivaha
Samaroh Samiti, which specializes in
dowry-free weddings, sponsored the event.
BELIEF IN TRANSMIGRATION is blossoming in
Argentina. Acceptance of reincarnation has
jumped from 24% to 39%, according to a
recent poll of religious beliefs. The increase
is credited to the growing -influence of
Asian religions in general, and popular
gurus, like Satya Sai Baba, in particular.
HINDU WOMEN THREATEN to disr.upt a
planned November Miss World beauty
in Bangalore, India, being staged
by Amitabh Bachchan's entertainment
company. The Mahila Jagaina (Forum to
Awaken Women) has threatened to form a
15-member "suicide squad" to disrupt the
contest (by self-immolation, according to
one report). They believe such contests de-
grade women by treating them as sex ob-
jects and are an insult to Indian culture.
Gokarunanidhi, Ocean of Mercy for the
Cow, is now available in E,nglish for US$2
postage. Written in 1881 by S1'i Swami
Dayananda Saraswati, founder of the Arya
Samaj, it focuses on the cow's sacredness
and utility. In a dialog between a Slayer
( meat-eater) and a Protectionist (vegetari-
an), he writeS,' ':Animals would never be
slaughtered if there be none to eat flesh, or
WORSHIPERS
vati amavasya, the dawn of the new moon,
were killed in a stampede down a' staircase
to Mahakalishwara Shiva temple in Ujjain.
The disaster occurred when the flow of
devotees was halted so a VIP and his family
could worship. The states chief minister im-
mediately sacked top temple and police offi-
cials. In Hardwar, 21 were)tram-
pled to..death while crossing a narrow
bridge spanning the holy river Ganga,
whelie nearly two million devotees had
gathered for a festival . Critics blame poor
police control of fervent crowds. Judicial in-
quiries were launched into both incidents.
Festival crowding has killed more than
1,000 Hindus in the last decade.
INITIALLY OFFERING THREE courses, the Sri
Chinmoy Institute of Ayurvedic Sciences
has opened in Bellevue, Washington.
Founder Dr.
Virender Sodhi
writes, "Our main
goal is to provide
high-guality sec-
education
ar;d eventually to
provide licen-
sure to Ayurve- Dr: Sodhi with students
dic
A "CENTER FOR INDIA STUDIES" at the State '
. Universi!J of New York at Stony Brook,
Long Island, is flourishing following
U5$100,000 in pledged support by Indo-
American profeSSionals. The center is being
hailed as an all-too-rare synergy of student
activism, faculty dedication and
ty support.
ONCE WHOLLY HINDU, then gutted by commu-
nal vjolence, Bhola town on Bangladesh's
largest island, is heqling and worshiping
,,-
again at its largest
temple, the
Madan Mohan
Thakur Bari
Mandir, destroyed
in riots in the af-
termath of the
Babri Masjid af-
fair. Now rebuilt, Cererrwnial march
its reconsecra-
tion featured 108 sari-clad, married womet).
iIi a mile-long procession tpat carried holy
water for the rituals, attended by many to-
cal Muslims.
NEW ZEALAND'S NEW ATTITUDES about reli-
gious education may generate a more bal-
anced syllabus. Paul Morris, professor of re-
ligiolls studies at Victoria University,
recommends a change and says the,facts
are that New Zealand no\V has Hindu tem-
ples, Sikh gurudwaras, mosques and syna-
gogues, with more to come. Yet, he says
270,000 primary-school children are given
no opportunity to learn about the religions
of their neighbors.
MAHESH MAHARISHI'S SCHOOL of the Age of
Enlightenment in Fairfield, Iowa, a private
institution of 600 students, recently reaf-
firmed the venerable tradition of single-sex
classes, despite its costing them state book
subsidies. Federal laws also prohibit single-
gender. schools from receiving federal funds.
"We feel single-gender classes are clearly
beneficial for children, and we cannot en-
dorse a policy of compulsory coeducation,"
said school director Ashley Deans. Other
American schools are seeing the advantages,
too. A Manassas, Virginia, middle-school
teacher "knows single-sex classes let hei kids
think with something besides their hor-
mones," reports Newsweek. Teachers are
finding that both test scores and class partic-
-?pation improve.
INTERNATIONAL PEACE UNIVERSITY irl'Berlin,
with 850 founding members from 45 coun-
tries, is dedicated to building bridges "be-
tween inner and outer peace and to support
networking between spiritual and material
values, theory and g,ractice, generations, •
disciplines and cultures." Among this years .
highlights: International Peace
Day in September, and awarding their first
Planetary Consciousness Prize in October.
News briefs are compiled from press, TV
and wire-service reports and edited by
RAVI PERUMAN, award-winning radio
journalist at KGO in San Francisco.
20 ifINDVISM TODAY D E CEMBER, 1996
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: SHYAJ\.iAL CHANDRA DEBNATH, CHINMOY INSTITUTE, SUNDAY
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22 HINDUISM TODAY DECEMBER, 1996
Devotional Chambers in D.C.
The unique format of the exhibit takes visitors
through temple, home and outdoor worship arenas
Bastar
EXHIBI"TION
Pqia in
Washington
Hindu art shakes off its archaic image /at the
Sackler Gallery of Art's sensitive display
. .
By VG. JULIE RAJAN, PHILADELPHJA
RIOR TO THE CURRENT EXHIBIT AT
the prestigious Smithsonian institu-
tion's Saclder Gallery of Art, viewing
Hindu art in a museum was boring at
best. Sure, the aesthetic impact was often
impressive and, to a few initiates, exciting,
but it was still "just a muse-
um." To knowing Hindus, the
art was Olat of context, and
out of touch with the maker's
intent. It felt abandoned, cold,
old and irrelevant.
has effectively made Puja an exhibition as
much about Hindu devotionals as Hindu art.
Once in agreement, Huyler and Ridl€y di-
vided the artifacts into three -categ0ries relat-
ing to the spatial dimensions of Hindu wor-
ship-temple, household arid outdoor shrines
[<;I.iagFam, facing page]. "We wanted to give
While Washington, D.C.'s,
Sackler Gallery is still a mu-
seum, its semi-permanent ex-
hibit, Puja, Expressions of
Hindu Devotion, boldly and
trimrlphantly places Indian z
art, specifically Hindu art, in
proper context as objects of t:
worship. Largely donated ___ == ___ -.l
from the private collection of Sundarar and Paravai:
the exhibit some organizing
principles that made it seem
less foreign," explains Ridley,
who has been working with
the gallery for 11 years. "A ,10t
of Westerners just think that
Hinduism has multiple gods
with multiple arms, and that
is it. But when you say that
worship takes place in the
temple }illd in the home, most
people, no matter what cul-
ture they are froni, can make
a connection. This was im-
portant to all of us. In an art
museum like ours, many of
the objeots for muc:p. of our
audience seem long ago and
Paul Walters with minor Dressed by temple priests
contributions from Georgana
Foster and Dr. David R. Nalin, the 125
pieces iri the exhibit were not originally in-
tended to exemplify Hindu worship at alL
categorizing the objects, co-curators
Stephen P. Huyler and Sarah Ridley slowly
realized that the concept of puja, the Hindu
worship rite, was like a sacred thn!ad bind-
ing the collection together. .
'Rather than displaying the artifacts as ob-
solete histotlcal relics, the sociologically sen-
sitive curators insisted that the exhibit be a
. show of Ilving art, art that is as much a part
of Hindu life today as when it was made.
Huyler, the art historian, ethnologist, writer
and photographer who masterminde"d the
show, told Sackler that he "would only be
willing to co-curate if they were willing to
show objects as they were meant to be
seen rather than as art objects." Sackler con-
curred, cementing a conceptual shift that
far away. Although many items here were
made hundreds of years ago, they still have
significance today. We wanted to show Hin- .
duism toaay, to remind P70ple that these are
Americans who are practicing HinduiSm."
This innovative conceptualization devel-
oped to include on-going free lectures and
demonstrations of Hindu art, music, dance
and worship, along with professional videos
of authentic religious J ituals in India and
the US. "We have been' having a regular se-
ries called 'Puja Tod,ay,' where various Hin-
dus in the Washington, D.C. , area talk
about being a Hindu in the United States,"
Ridley elucidated. The primary exhibition
is considered a long-term addition to the
gallery, not a mere six-month show. Tempo-
rary exhibits, such as photographs
of Indian kolams, Painted Prayers [see cov-
er photo J, were scheduled to enhance and
DECEMBER, 1996 HI' NDUISM TODAY 23
supplement the main displays.
The cathedral-high glass ceiling and the
wide-apen laQby in which cuJtural events
are .often held connate a sense .of space and
apftn-mindedness. During reg,Ylar haurs,
visitars can sit in'a theater and view a
narrated by Natianal Public 1'ladia's Chitra
Raghavan, detailing Hindu warship in the
United States. They clln: browse through lit-
erature an. Sanatana Dharma in a reading
area within the exhibit, or can i;>rawse the
gift shap far baaks, phatagraphs and ather
.objects relating ta the exhibit.' The exhibit's
educatianal impact is enhanced by well-in-
farmed dacents, whase knawledge .of Indian
spiritual cancepts gained by rigarous train-
ing and visits ta' temples in the area will as-
tanish mast practicing Hindus.
Ta accamplish all .of this, Sackler saught
the help .of American Hindus, wha eagerly
taak up the gauntlet. "There was a priest
fmm the Siva-Vishnu temple in Maryland
wha actually came and installed the Siva
Linga and the SuncJarar and Paravai sculp-
tures," details Huyler: "Then we had a mem-
ber .of that temple, Uma Nagarajan" install
the hausehald shrine ta Vishnu. Sackler felt
from the very beginni:ng that H wauld be in-
apprapriate far anyane ather than a tradi-
tianal Hindu ta ,place the .objects."
A val.unteer far almast five years at the
gallery, Uma Nagarajan was involved in the
exhibit fram the .outset as a liaisan between
the lacal Hin'du cammunity and the gallery.
She alsa plays a significant role in the Puja
videa [see page 47], demanstrating the sim-
ple and profaund .of Hindu hame
warship. She described her cammunity's .out-
reach effqrts, "We really gat invalved thraugh
programs twice a mQilth. Other
temples in the area alsa cantributed. Same
.of the participants gave lectures, demanstra-
tians .of devatianal music and things like
that. We are happy that the Hindu religian,
which is a living, practicing religian, is get-
ting same natice and attentian."
Giving the Eternal Path such public
praminence was an early intent .of Huyler,
wha praclaimed that, far him, the purpase
.of Puja is "ta reach the /Western public, bath
NRI and nan-Indian, in the hapes .of bath
readdressing the massive misinterpretatian
.of Hinduism in the cantemparary warld and
ta be able ta laak at it as a late-20th-centu-
ry, innavative, progressive, vital religi'an, and
nat samething that is archaic, third-warld,
remate, Ta shaw that it is living in America.
It is vital ta America, andi'ital ta India. It is
nat just half-way araund the warld."
Capital Idea: This nable gaal is partly
achieved through the shaw's impres-
sive venue. After all, this is the Smithsanian,
an institutian .of the US gavernment and. the
warld's largest museum and research cam-
plex. Nine Smiths ani an museums are clus-
tered an the Natianal Mall between the
24 HINDUISM TaDAY DE' CEMBER, 1996
Washingtan' Manument and the CapitaL
Five .others are scattered elsewhere in
Washingtan. This unique geagraphy gives
Puja cauntry-wide prominence. Attendance
ta the twa side-by-side galleries, Sackler and
Freer, between May 12, 1996, when Puja
.opened, and August 31, is estimated at
200,000-roughly 1,780 art afficianadas per
day. Sackler's staff estimate that half t;he at-
are Hindu.
Puja enchants the press, taa. Enthusiastic
cayerage heralded the .opening. Mast na-
table were a feature in the Washington Post
and an artful ,p'iece by Halland Catter in the
New York Times. The Times has been typi-
cally critical .of Hinduism, but eatter's stary,
"Indian Icans in All Their Fine Clathes,"
. praved a welcame exceptian. The exhibit's
intent Was crystal clear ta him: "Thematical-
ly facused, carefully selected, the spare ex-
planatary wall texts wearing schalarship
lightly, the shaw a religiaus art in
which beauty and functian are
and in which ritual ' use is warmed by the
tauch afhamely affectian. It alsa gently puts
art/history in the right The
spiritual ideals dacumented are as alive ta-
day as they were centuries aga, and even re-
canstituted in a cantext, they
breathe the air .of life."
Creating Sacred Space: Huyler tried hard
ta bring the .displ{y ta life, harder ta
maintain same sanctity, but was stymied by
red tape-perhaps a kind .of asmasis from
the Capital next daar. "We faught far there
ta be deepas lighted; but there are fire : egu-
latians, and it just Gauld nat h.appen. We
wanted peaple ta take .off their shaes when
they entered the exhibitian, but there ,
was a unian regulatian against that. We had
.-temple bells that were gaing ta be hung near
the Lingam that peapJe wauld strike as they
circumambulated, but .our antique pair .of
bells broke at the last minute. We wanted
the exhibitian ta be mare interactive than it
cauld be, but we were hindered by either
museum .or gavernment regulatians." •
Still, credit is Far a first-af-its-kind
exhibit, Puja is a trmmph. Uma NagarajaIl
ptavided lacal a,ssessment. "I think they
have dane a gaad study. What is presented is
in such a way that Hindus cannat find fault
in it. Americans wha da nat understand .our
religian seem ta be very happy and satisfied
because they exactly what it is
thraugh the explanatians given." Huyler has
alsa watched visitors' reactians, He remem-
bers during the .opening, near the extraardi
c
Art's Apt Apostle
contemporary Hinduism, its
vitality and its modem value."
Living in and out of India
and America exposed Huyler to
the truths and discrepancies in
and around Hinduism. "My
understanding of Hinduism has
been on a day-ta-day basis of
just hausehalders all throughaut
the country, staying in Indian
homes and watching devatianal
practices. I watched wamen
and men painting in their
homes as a part .of daily or
seasonal ritual, It had a deep
and heart-opening impact on
me," This ultimately mativated
him to use his artful abilities to
make a difference. '1 really
believe that I was given a trust,
and this exhibit is a way to live
up to that trust and give some-
thing back. It is a chance to
right some of the wrongs that
exist in American and Western
.opinion of India. I fully believe
that India is going to be a lead-
ing power in the 21st century,
and that if Americans continue
to be condescending towards
the culture and the thought
processes of the Indian subcan-
tinent, we're gaing to be left
rapidly behind,"
How an American in love with India
may change the history of Her art
COULD STEPHEN p,
(rhymes with
an American from
small coastal town of
Camden, Maine, offer the Hin-
du world? To start, he could
catalag in exquisite photographs
Indias long underappreciated
sacred folk-art. Hes been doing
just that, living in Bharat four
months out of every year for
the past twenty-five years,
Open any page of the 1994
Painted Prayers, his current
apogee, and you know instantly
the scale and tenderness of his
labors with a camera [see this
months cover and gatefold],
Such photographic feats only
laid the foundation for his latest
revolution, It is, according to
him, "the culmination of my
heart/spirit experience in In-
dia," namely, the Puja exhibit at
the Saclder Gallery of Art '1
Huyler: With Bidulata Hota
think that this is a first of its
kind for Hindu art in America,"
notes Huyler. "It is attempting to
change attitudes, to change the
level of respect towards a belief
system that must be understood
in the West. I think it is about
nary Kashmir crystal Lingams [phata, page
22], ; a waml}Il was-prostrate in front .of it far
. , quite a lang time. It was very strong ta
watch," While explaring the exhibit for this
article, I was persanally struck by the au-
thentic display .of a magnificent granite
Lingam, dated 17th century Tamil Nadu,
that is situated as it wauld be within a tem-
ple. Between the pedestal an which the
adarneg Lingam was placed, the ail lamps
surrounding the Deity and the .offerings .of
fruit and flawers that were placed in fmnt,
I felt a strong impulse ta take .off my shaes irS.
reverence befare approaching.
The significance .of an exhibit an Hin-
duism in the US capital signals mare than
just an artistic shaw, Puja is already func-
tianing as a bridge between the Hindu cam-
munity and the American public, breaking
dawn barriers and discrimin;3.tian caused by
ignarance. T0ur guide Dr. Ken-
nedy explained, "I think it signifies an apen-
, ing .of/the spirit, a trend foward multi-eth-
hicity, and the recagnitian .of the validity .of
ather beliefs, Once yau understand same-
thing, yau can accept it, and there is le'ss dis-
criminatian." ,-
The exhibit alsa serves ta bridge first and
secand-generatian. Hindus, allawing thase
wha are nat as familiar with their religian ta
delve daringly inta their roats. "Nawadays
many' yaungsters seem ta help in the Hindu
' temples that are in every city," nates Na-
garajan. "This may help them ta get invalved
even mare." H)lyler describes this as a pri-
mary mativatian. "One .of my cancerns in
the ver:y beginning was that there wauld be
secand aI).d third-generatian Indians-chil-
dren that receive the camman peer pressure
that laaks at Hinduism as samething biz-
arre-that they w(!lUld be able ta came with
a clas's or bring in a friend and say 'Laak,
this is what and be really excit-
ed abaut it. I taught at Ohia State Universi-
ty, and half .of my students Hindu.
Same .of them were skeptical, and ta watch
the dawning pride graw in them-there was
just this excrtement and understanding that
'Yes. This is samething warthy .of pride,'"
. Puja's aura is clearly ta the
dedication .of the Sackler Gallerys staff, am-
plified by the canscientiaus help rendered
by the lacal Indian cammunity. Ridley
warked .overtime ta establish cantacts and
earn eager assistance .of
such as the United Hindu Temple and Jain
Assaciatian. Through the danatian .of vari-
aus props, the dressing .of the Deities, and
by giving their time ta the interactive pra-
grams, these devatee; have can-
tributed ta the quality and gem:Iineness .of
the exhibit.
Guard and Vanguard: Will this be the
coup de grace far the mistreatment .of Hin-
duism and its sacred art? Huyler thinks it's
a guard against myths surrounding faith,
a gaad beginning, but nat the end. He
saberly tald HINDUISM TODAY, "I wauld like
ta think that it is a gigantic blackbuster, that
everybady will see it. But thats nat the case. '
It is in the Smithsanian",and that in and .of
itself will gain a lat .of notice. But itS: nat a
blackbuster .or a hugely advertised shaw.
Hapefully, what it will da is suggest passibil-
ities far museums elsewhere."
Far the next few years, Hindu families
and thase wha have far India's tra-
ditianal ways have a new place .of pilgrim-
age On the East Ca'lst, .one where learning
carnes in an atmasphere .of spirituality. The
gallery is lacated near the castle-like Smith-
sanian Institutian Building an the Natianal
Mall at 1050 Independence Avenue Sauth-
west in Washingtan, D.c. It is .open every
day except December 25. Haurs are from
1a:aaAM until 5:30PM. Admissian is free.
Telephane: 202-357-4880. ....I
DECEMBER, 1996 HINDUISM TODAY 25
,
I!
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• She also said re-election would be between Nov. 96 and
May 97. Til May 97, there will be no stable central government.
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Fossil: '0e microscopic worm and 4. 5-pound meteorite in Which. it was discovered
SCIENCE
Life on Mars?
"\\'orm" found in' meteorite in Antarctica sets
Earth's theologists pondering the implications
T WASN'T QUITE WHAT WE HAD ALL
been taught to expect, b!lt indeed, it ap-
pears the Martians have landed-not in
spaceships swooping menacingly over-
head, a la this hit alien-invasion
thriller "Independence Day," but inside a
4.5-pound mete0l1ite. Scientists speculate
thafhn asteroid collided with Mars about 15
million years ago, launching the potato"Sized
rock into orbit. Thirteen thousand years ago
it came to rest on our planet, to be found in
1984 in Antarctica. It is one of 12 meteorites
discovered which, when heated,.give off a
pattern of gases kn0wn to be unique to Mars.
NASi)S evidence for life found in this 4-
billion-year-old rock is three-fold: unique or-
ganic molecules usually associated with life;
tiny mineral grains which look like the ex-
cretions of Earth-bound bacteria; and mi-
crofossils similar to the smallest of our bac-
teria. Anyone taken alone might not mean
much; together they are a compelling case
for life. The announcement was met with
worldwide 'excitement, one scientist calling
it "the biggest thing that ever happened."
Hindus have n,o theologicat problem with
finding life elsewhere. Swami Cro.idananda
. Saraswati (Muniji) said, "We believe there is
life in the whole universe." Dr. B. V. Raman,
India's foremost astrologer, points out that
"invariably Bhumidevi (Goddess Earth) fig-
ures in the different stories of the origin of
Mars, either as giving birth to Mars or nour-
ishing Mm. As Earth sustains life, so can
;-
Mars, only it may be not in forms visible or
known to us." Astrologer Chakrapani Ullal
regarded the discovery as "no surprise. This
whole cosmos is a kind oflife energy." Math-
ematician Subhash Kak remarked, "Hindus
accept that life' exists in c.ountless solar sys-
tems in the universe and are not surprised
by 1& on Mars. Hindus also believe in evo-
-lution as a natural principle of nature, but
not in the same way as Darwinian evolu-
tion." Some even read in the Vedas refer-
ences to space ships and intergalactic travel
in ancient times. As to religion, Hindus
would expect the same "eternal truth" to be
present everywhere in the cosmos.
Theol6gians of most other faiths also pro-
fess no problem with the discoveries. Bud-
dhists, Muslims and Jews feel God could just
as well create life on Mars as anywhere else.
Christians are not quite as comfortable with
the possibility. Indeed, 400 years! ago the
Catholic pope ordered Giordano Bruno
burned at the stake for believing in a multi-
plicity of worlds like our own. Modern
Christians focus on the issue of redemption.
. John PolRinghorne, an Anglican clergyman,
wittily put it: "The theological question is
that if Christ died for humankind, what
about little green men?" Most conclude that
God would have done something to ensure
salvativn, even for little green men. \
The discovery has made many pause to
consider humanity's place in the grand
scheme of the still mysterious universe . ...I
INDWELLING POWERS
Yoga of
Endurance
Sri Chinmoy beats 65
GE IS IN THE MIND AND NOT IN THE
heart. With determination we can
conquer the age barrier and go back
to our childlike heart," Sri Chinmoy ".
declared as he approached 65. The master
of understanding through undertaking set
out to celebrate by completing 65 challeng-
ing events, his "rainbow dreams." On June
·16 he performed eight of them in a row.
He began with 7,000 "crunch" sit-ups-
the most demanding kind- completed in 79
minutes without stopping, then proceeded to
"abdomen lift" a 302-pound weight 130
times. Among other feats he walked 250 me-
ters wearing a weighted 100-pound vest, lift-
ed 1,500 pounds on a standing calf-raise ma-
cp.ine, followed with leg extensions of 120
pounds. Professional muscleman and vege-
Beyond limits: 130 abdominal lifts on stage
tarian Bill Pearl, five-time winner of the "Mr.
Universe" body-building contest, :was im-
pressed: "I have been working out for many,
many years, and I do leg extensions with 120
pounds with both legs. He is unbelievably
streng to do repetitions of 120 pounds with .
one leg." Equally-dazzl>d strongman Lee
Haney said, "His feats 'Of strength'"are a
tremendous motivation to people."
Sri Chinmoy lived much of his early life at
Aurobindo Ashram in South India, where he
was a star athlete. S00n he abandoned com-
petitiveness for self-transcendence.
He is known for prodigious achievements in
music, writing and ¥t, most recently com-
pleting a mind-numbing 5 milliON drawings
of peace birds (if he drew ten a minute, this
would take 1,041 eight-hour days). In Ben-
gali-influenced linked words, Sri Chinmoy
summarized the impulse behind his in-
domitable drive: "The old-age bondage-lim-
itations will return to the childhood-free-
dom-dreams." ...I
DECEMBER , 1996 HI NDU ISM TODAY 27
!
i
I
II
Ii

i
!
I
ISSUES
'Ganesha
Graces

-/
Is the Elephant God
getting due respect?
By ARCHANA DONGRE, Los ANGELES
S
PUN OUT OF THE SUPREMELY CRE-
ative imagination of Walt Disney,
Mickey Mouse is the central charac-
ter of the fabled Disneyland. Al-
though endowed w-ith human-like quali-
ties, he is still a mouse, the vehicle of Lord
Ganesha since time immemorial. With
this ironic coincidence, one might won-
der, does the God of abundance and the
anode of all artistic genius lurk some-
where in the ,?prawling 85-acre amuse-
ment gark, casting his benevolent grace
on the more than half-billion' pilgrims of
joy that have passed through the turnstiles
of Disneyland sinee its doors opened in
1@55? He is indeed there-thrice, in fact-
as I a sweltering summer
day's visit. But not all Hindus have been
pleased with His less than dignified circum-
stances. ,
·f I found Him first along the Jungle Cruise
ride in the form of a giant, well-designea
ten-foot grey stone statue, sitting royally
since 1962 against a backdrop of green trop-
ical forest. A few minutes into the ride, our
guide erupted enthusiastically, "And now to
your left you will see the Hindu deity of .. . "
is replete with rustic, even barbar-
ic themes, like cannibals dancing, a tribal
selling human heads, a safari scene and
sights of wild animals ,including hippos and
a python.
What is a refined Deity like Ganesha do-
ing in such a place? Most Hindus I spoke
with actually liked seeing Him there. It was
a touch of their own culture to this master-
minded: worldclass Mecca of entertainment.
What about non-Hindu ,Americans? Their
response was typically, "e!h, its interesting/'
but nothing offered for or against it.
More controversial is Ganesha's appear-
ance in the breath-taking Indiana Jones ride,
opened in 1995. The theme of the ride is es-
sentially the story of a Hindu temple uncov-
ered in the [ungle by Western archaeolo-
gists, who also discover its secret of wealth
and its curse. The entrance of the ride is a
f
28 :HJ: NDUISM TODAY D E CEMBER, 1996
didn't even notice the third
Ganesha stahIe situated outside.
Hindus, however, rarely miss it.
The general consensus of those
I spoke with was, '1t may not be
offensive, but the West needs to
be educated. Once they know
the significance of our Deity,
they will be more careful about
using it in places like this." Oth-
ers, such as Ravi Peruman of
, California, were incensed at the
disrespectful treatment. She-
khar Ganapathy and
Narayan, a young couple frotP
Mumbai, were distressed by the
overall temple piracy
Ready for Packing: Lord Ganeshq sits upon a trolley
arrwng supplies and plunder at the Indiana Jones ride
"No comment," was all John
McClintock, senior public rela-
tions officer for Disney, offered
when questioned about Gane-
sha. He did say, however, that
there are no other religious
icons of any faith in the park;
even the par1.('s "Hunchback of
temple-like structure, not unlike Maha-
balipuram, in South India, though old and
crumbling. Snaking through the hour-long ,
wait in line, I wound through the outside
area where Hindu-looking I;>eities of
stone (.er cast in concrete) appear to have
been removed from the temple and are be-
ing packed for shipping. Shipping where?
One can conjecture they are enroute to mu-
seums or to those art dealers who pirate and
sell fine sculptures from Hindu temples for
hefty, selfish profits.
Notre Dame" cathedral set is devoid of
Christian symbols. Sw8mi Atmarupananda,
head of the Vedanta Society in San Diego,
advised, "Hindus, especially those who are
born into tlie religion, tend to have a let-go
attitude in such situations. But if we do not
stand up for the sacredness of' our Deities,
who will? If the connotation of where the
Ganesha is situated goes against our beliefs
and modes of worship, then we have to tell
them about it." ...
Tall towers with Naga faces
and the Naga theme are seen
Exiting the six-
minute action ride, with its
wild bumping and careening in
a jeep-like, vehicle, one is con-
fronted with another statue of
Lor:d Ganesha on a cart [photo
above]. He is surrounded by or- '
dina;:y paraphernalia of excava-
tion and crates, treated like a
of archeological mer-
chandise.
NEHRU IN DISNEYLAND
Views dif(ered according to
the emotional nature of the on-
looker. To some people, the en!
tire theme is the rape of a Hin-
. du temple, as offensive as the
original':'Indiana Jones and the
Temple of Doom" movie upon
which the ride is based, which
grossly misrepresented the Hin-
du Goddess Kali, the Hindu cul- ,.
ture, even the Hindu cuisine
and eating habits. c L-_____________ ___ __"
People I saw coming out of' Jungle Crulsl.ng: Ganesha isn't the 011:..ly distinguished
the rjde were engrossed in what visitor to Disneyland from India. Here Walt Disney es-
they saw inside or eager to go corts Indian Prime Minister Nehru as he pilots the Jun-
on to the next attraction. Most gle Cruise boat in 1961. Indira Gandhi was also along.
The Taj Group of hotels-the major
sponsor-flew in three of their choicest
South Indian chefs to give the public a ten-
day of deliciously varied but little-
known Southern cuisines.
"?acred Lands, Devoted Lives" was a free
Horniman Museum eXihibition focusing on
South Indian village daily life and religious
practices, including bathing, cooking, culti-
vation, prayer, shrines, temples, Hindu
Deities, pilgrimages, customs and beliefs.
Other exhibit,.s around town ranged from
Tanjore paintings and Chola bronzes dating
from the 17th to 19th centuries to artwork
with ceremonial and workaday artifacts be-
ing produced on site. by contemporary Indi-
an painters, sculptms and' craftsmen.
Ten thousand persons a day gathered at
the open-air stage of Covent Garden Piazza
·for dance and music. "Theatre of Gods" at
Riverside Studios included Kerala's tradi-
tional theater forms of kathakali alo'ng with
Karnata,ka's dance of the demigods, yaksha-
gana. For the first time the awe-insfliring
they am ("pertaining to the Gods") was per-
formed in the UK. Spectators sat enthralled
by the sole performers elaborate makeup in
sprrealistic colors, 12-foot high headdress
and glitteringly onerous 100-pound cos-
tume. In India' the they am dancer enters a
state of trance, being possessed by the God-
dess. He dances in and around the-temple, is
consulted by village elders and beseeched
for cures and prophecies. Only recently was
the ritual adapted to stage presentation.
dancer: London got first look at Kerala>s!zittle-known ritual art
One Londoner observed, "The festival has
nighlighted for me the backwardness of the
materialist West compared to the cultured
and spiritual East." A Jewish Indophile not-
ed, "All the programs t saw out the
distinct and great element of tolerance in
Hinduism." Some lamented that events of-
fered were too many in too short a time, or
that they could not attend those held on
weekdays. A few complained that Andhra
Pradesh and Karnataka were given
less attention than Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
,
CULTURE
UK, Meet South India
Brits indulge in dance, art, song and hot curries
The festival , proposed in 1991, was orga-
nized by World Circuit Arts (a British char- .
·f
By VETCHA RAJESlI , LONDON
W
HEN ANY LONDONER TALKS ABOUT
India," says director Anne Hunt,
"they mention kathak dance, Hin-
dustani music and Mughal paintings.
They don't know anything about South In- _
dia." Now a quarter-million Londoners are
initiated in the artful mag(c of kathakali
dance, carnatic singing and Tanjore bronzes,
. the result of a five-week Festival of India's
-South in May and June overseen by Hunt.
The event, with venues all across London,
offered art and cultural exhibitions, instru-
mental and vocal musical performances, In-
dian film screenings, slide lectures, gallery
talks and, of course, food. Attendance was
. ity) with ..... the help of Asian
high, thanks to. superb ad- Music Circuit, the Vi<: and
vance write-ups in the The Indian governments, the
Times and other major news- British Museum, the univer-
papers. The most popular' sities of Cambridge and Lon-
events by far were the free don and major Indian busi-
outdoor pet formances which nesses."As the mela wound
came alive with the colors down, Ms. Hunt remarked,
. and of the pOikkal "The.festival was a success in
kudhirai hobby horse dance numbers, in prime time me-
of Tamil Nadu, music,. street dia attention and in fulfilling
theater, craft stalls and story- on! Colored powders our 'basic objective of show-
telling. Everyone was given a for, kolam derrwnstration casing South Indian culture."
opportunity at gar- For UK Indian immigrants
land and kolam, the folk craft of I and hundreds of thousands ' of Hindus born
making sacred floor decorations. These the:ce, SUCh events promote much-needed
were a big hit, attracting large crowds of vis- pluralism and tolerance. .,..;
DECEMBER, 1996 HINDUISM TODAY 29
,
INSIGHT
lile DNA of Dharma
Though Hindus are doggedly nondogmatic, they do hold common beliefs
which, like a mental molecular structure, determine who they are
EWPEOPLETODAYPONDER THE SIGNIFI-
cance of belief Nevertheless, Gonvictions
constitute the foundation for every ac-
tion. Webster's defines belief as a "confi-
dence in 1ihe truth or existence of some-
thing not immediately susceptible to rigorous
proof" But ask a Hindu what his all-important
beliefs are, and the illlswer may well elude him.
He is not accustomed to thinking of his religion
as a clearly defined system, distinct and differ-
ent from others, for it encompasses all of life.
Hinduism is so vast, so generously tolerant of conflicting concepts
that to condense a brief list of basic beliefs might seem a vain enter-
prise, Some would assert that Hinduism oould never be limited by
such an ideological inventory- and they would be right Still, an an-
swer is required, Inside India, a clear answer prevents the erosion of
''Hindu'' into a mere geographical concept no different from '1ndian;"
elsewhere, it provides the necessary demarcation from other faiths in
a pluralistic setting, The need for a precise list arises with the cogni-
tion that beliefs forge our attitudes, which determine our overall state
of mind and the feelings we are predisposed to, and that these, in
turn, directly determine our actions. Strong religious beliefs induce
actions that weave uplifting patterns of daily conduct, furthering our
unfoldment In India, the definition of who is a Hindu is critical in le-
gal deliberations, and belief is the keystone of such. determinations.
Therefore, it is meaningful to catalog the convictions that all Hindus
hold in cornmon.
In 1926, Dr, S, Radhakrishnan eloquently elaborated the nature
of Hindu belief in a series of lectures in Oxford, later published as
[[he HinckhView of Life, "Hinduism is more a way oilife than a form
of thought While it gives absolute liberty in the world of thought, it
enjoins a strict code of practice, While fixed intellectual beliefs
mark off one religion from another, Hinduism sets itself no such lim-
its, Intellect is subordinated to intuition, dogma to experience, outer
expression to inward reali-zation, Religion is not the acceptance of
acade1llic abstraotions or the celebration of ceremonies, but a kind
of life or experience of reality." By emphasizing conduct, Radhakr-
ishnan did not deny belief In fact, he provided one of the best ex-
tensive lists [see page 33]. His emphasis is on the absolute freedom
of belief allowed within Hinduism-where the questioning mind is
known as the seeking mind, rather than the errant mind.
The following definitions of Hinduisms shared central beliefs were
garnered from prominent Hindu organizations and individuals of the
20th century-evidence that the imperative to formalize conviction is
a recent phenomenon, Overall, the lists and descriptions are surpris-
ingly similar, echoing certain key concepts-generally, that it is con-
duct, based upon belief in dharma, karma and reincarnation, which
makes one a Hindu. Some of the beliefs listed are not shared by all
Hindus-most prominently the concept of avatar, divine incarnation,
whiCh is a distinctive Vaishnava belief. We shall now cite what has
been collected from distinguished scholars and saints.
8al Ghangadhar Tilak, scholar, mathematician, philosopher and
Indian nationa'list, named "the father of the Indian Revolution" by
Jawaharlal Nehru, summarized Hindu beliefs in his Gitarahasya:
''lI.cceptance of the Vedas with reverence; recognition of the fact that
the means or ways to salvation are diverse; and realization of the
truth that the number of Gods to be worshiped is large, that indeed
is the distinguishing feature of the Hindu religion," This oft-
quoted statement, so compelling concise, is considered au-
thoritative by Eharats €ourts of law,
Sri K. Navarat nam, esteemed Sri Lankan religious
scholar, enumerated a more extensive set afbasic be-
liefs in his book, Studies in Hinduism, reflecting
the Southern Saiva Agamic tradition, 1) A be-
lief in the existence of God, 2) A belief in
the existence of a soul separate from the
body. 3) A belief in the existence of the
finitizing principle known as avidya or
nmya. 4) A belief in the principle. of matter-
prakriti or m a y a ~ 5) A belief in the theory of karma and
reincarnation. 6) A beliefin the indispensable guidanoe of
a guru to guide the spiritual aspirant towards God Real-
ization. 7) A belief in moksha, or liberation, as the goal of
human eJQstence. 8) A belief in the indispensable ne-
cessity of temple worship in religious life. 9) A belief in
graded forms of religiells practices, both internal and
external, until one realizes God, 10) A belief in ahim-
sa as the greatest dharma or virtue, 11) A belief in '"
mental and pbysica'l pmity as imlispeBsable factors l'
f01; spiritual progress. to"
Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi: "I call myself a J
Sanatani Hindu because I believe in the Vedas, .,
the Upanishads, the Puranas and all that goes
by the name of Hindu sGriptures, and tnere-
fore in avatars and rebirth, Above all, 1 call
myself a Sanatani Hiimdu, so Jong as the
Hindu society in general accepts me as such, In a concrete manner
he is a Hindu who believes in God, immortality of the soul, transmi-
gration, the law ofkaFma and moksha, and who tries to practice truth
and ahim.sa in daily life, and therefore practices cow protection in its
widest sense and understands and tries to act according to the law of
vamashrama, "
Sri Pramukh Swami Mahar aj of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar
Purushottam Sanstha (Swaminru::ayan Faith) propounds: 1) Para-
brahman, one supreme all-powerful God: He is the Creator, has a di-
vine form, is immanent, transcendent and the giver of moksha,
2) Avataroad, manifestation of God on Earth: God Himself incar-
nates on Earth in various forms to revive dharma and grant libera-
tion, 3) 'Karmavad, law of action: the soul reaps fruits, good or bad,
according to its past and present actions, which are experienoed ei-
ther in this llie or future lives. 4) Punarjanma, reincarnation: the
mortal soul is continuously born and reborp. in one of the
8,400,000 species until it attains liberation. 5) Mok-
sha., ultimate liberation: the goal of human life. It
is the liberation of the soul from the cycle of births
,../ and deaths to remain eternally in the service of God,
6) Guru-shishya sambandh, master-disciple relationship:
guidance and grace of a spiritually perfect master,
revered as the embodiment of God, is essential for an as-
pirant seeking liberation, 7) Dharma, that which sustains
the universe: an all-encompassing term representing di-
vine law, law of being, path of righteousness, religion,
duty, responsibility, virtue, justice, goodness and truth,
8) Vedpramana, scriptural authority ofthe Vedas: all
Hindu faiths are based on the teachings of the Vedas,
9) Murt'i-puja, sacred image worship: consecrated
images represent the presence of God which is wor-
shiped' The sacred image is a medium to help
devotees offer their devotion to God.
Sri Swami Vivekananda, speaking in America,
said: 'All Vedantists believe in God, Vedantists
also believe the Vedas to be the revealed word of
God-an expression of the knowledge of God-
and as God is eternal, so are the Vedas eternal.
Another common ground of belief is that of
creation in cycles, that the whole of creation
appears and disappears. They postulate the
existence of a material, which they call
akasha, which is something like the ether of
the scientists, and a power which they call prana, "
Sr i Jayendra Sarasvat i: 69th Sbankaracharya of the Kamakoti
Peetham, Kanchipuram, defines in his writings the basic features of
Hinduism as follows. 1) The concept of idol worship and the worship
of God in His nirguna as well as saguna form. 2) The wearing of sa-
Left t o right: Honoring ancestors on t he Ganga; students ofVishva-
bharati Universit y celebrate Holi; Vaishnava Sadhu immersed in
japa yoga; puja crt the Siddhi Vinayaka temple in Malaysia
A Contrast of Convictions
HINDUISM TODAY and CHRISTIANITY TODAY craft a point-counterpoint
":\ ACK IN 1993, OUR EDITORS WERE CONTACTED BY CHRISTIANITY TODAY MAGAZINE TO BE IN-
-I J terviewed for a major story called Hindus in America. Thus began a series of dialogs that added
-1 :\ to their article crucial and often corrective insights to dispel common myths and misinforma-
.J..J tion about the world's oldest religion. Perhaps most significantly, they agreed to publish our own
nine fundamental Hindu beliefs. The editors of CHRISTIANITY TODAY counter-composed nine parallel
Christian convictions, written just before press time in a series of grueling sessions by the best theolo-
gians they could assemble. The resulting point-counterpoint-whose brevity is both its strength and its
weakness-summarizes the cosmic perspective of two of the world's largest faiths.
HINDUS BELIEVE IN THE DIVINITY OF THE VEDAS, 1
the world's most ancient scripture, and venerate the Agamas as
equally revealed. These primordial hymns are God's word and
the bedrock of Sanatana Dharma, the eternal religion which
has neither beginning nor end.
CHRISTIANS BELIEVE THAT THE BIBLE IS THE
uniquely inspired and fully trustworthy word of God.
It is the final authority for Christians in matters of belief
and practice, and though it was written long ago,
it continues to speak to believers today.
HINDUS BELIEVE IN A ONE, ALL-PERVASIVE SUPREME
being who is both immanent and transcendent,
both Creator and Unmanifest Reality.
2 CHRISTIANS BELIEVE IN ONE GOD IN THREE PERSONS.
He is distinct from his creation, yet intimately involved
with it as its sustainer and redeemer.
HINDUS BELIEVE THAT THE UNIVERSE
undergoes endless cycles of creation,
preservation and dissolution.
3 CHRISTIANS BELIEVE THAT THE WORLD WAS CREATED ONCE
by the divine will, was corrupted by sin, yet under God's
providence moves toward fmal perfection.
HINDUS BELIEVE IN KARMA, THE LAW OF CAUSE AND
effect by which each individual creates his own
destiny by his thoughts, words and deeds.
4 CHRISTIANS BELIEVE THAT, THROUGH GOD' S GRACE AND FAVOR,
lost sinners are rescued from the guilt, power and eternal
consequences of their evil thoughts, words and deeds.
HINDUS BELIEVE THAT THE SOUL REINCARNATES, 5
evolving through many births until all karmas have
been resolved, and moksha, spiritual knowledge
and liberation from the cycle of rebirth, is attained.
Not a single soul will be eternally
deprived of this destiny.
CHRISTIANS BELIEVE THAT IT IS APPOINTED FOR HUMAN
beings to die once and after that face judgment. In Adam's
sin, the human race was spiritually alienated from God, and
that those who are called by God and respond to his grace
will have eternal life. Those who persist in
rebellion will be lost eternally.
HINDUS BELIEVE THAT DIVINE BEINGS EXIST IN UNSEEN WORLDS
and that temple worship, rituals, sacraments as well as personal
devotionals create a communion with these deoas and Gods.
6 CHRISTIANS BELIEVE THAT SPIRIT BEINGS INHABIT
the universe, some good and some evil,
but worship is due to God alone.
HINDUS BELIEVE THAT A SPIRITUALLY AWAKENED
master, or satguru, is essential to know the
Transcendent Absolute, as are personal discipline,
good conduct, purification, pilgrimage,
self-inquiry and meditation.
7 CHRISTIANS BELIEVE THAT GOD HAS GIVEN US A CLEAR
revelation of Himself in Jesus and the sacred Scriptures.
HINDUS BELIEVE THAT ALL LIFE IS SACRED, 8
to be loved and revered, and therefore
practice ahimsa, "noninjury."
HINDUS BELIEVE THAT NO PARTICULAR RELIGION 9
teaches the only way to salvation above all others, but that all
genuine religious paths are facets of God's Pure Love and
Light, deserving tolerance and understanding.
He has empowered by his Spirit prophets, apostles, evangelists,
and pastors who are teachers charged to guide us into faith
and holiness in accordance with his Word.
CHRISTIANS BELIEVE THAT LIFE IS TO BE HIGHLY ESTEEMED
but that it must be subordinated in the service
of Biblical love and justice.
CHRISTIANS BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS GOD INCARNATE
and, therefore, the only sure path to salvation. Many religions
may offer ethical and spiritual insights, but only Jesus is the
Way, the Truth and the Life.
cred mwks on the forehead. 3) Belief in the theory of past
and future births in aceordance with the theory of karma.
4) Cremation of ordinary men and burial of great men.
Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, renowned philosopher and pres-
ident of India from 1962 to 1967, states in The Hindu View
of Life: "The Hindu recognizes one Supreme Spirit, though
different names are given to it. God is in the world, though
not as the world. He does not merely intervene to create
life or consciousness, but is working continuously. There is
no dualism of the natural and the supernatural. Evil, error
and ugliness are not ultimate. No view is so utterly erro-
neous, no man is so absolutely evil as to deserve complete
castigation. There is no Hell, for that means there is a place
where God is not, and there are sins which exceed His love.
The law of karma tells us that the individual life is not a
term, but a series. Heaven andRell are higher and lower
-stages in one continuous movement. Every type has its
own nature which should be followed. We should do our
duty in that state of life to which we happen to be called.
Hinduism affirms that the theological expressions of reli-
gious experience are bound to be varied, accepts all forms
of belief and guides each along his path to the common
goal. These are some of the central principles of Hinduism.
If Hinduism lives today, it is due to them."
The Vishva Hindu Parlshad declared its definition in a
Memorandum of Association. Rules and RegulatiOns in
1966: "Hindu means a person believrngin, following or re-
specting the eternal values of life, ethical and spirituaT,
which have sprung up in Bharatkhand [India] and in-
cludes any person calling himself a Hindu."
The Indian Supreme Court, in 1966, formalized a judi-
cial definition of Hindu beLiefs to legally distinguish Hin-
du denominations from other religions in India. This list
was affirmed by the Court as recentl}t as 1995 in judging
cases regarding religious identity. 1) Acceptance of the
Vedas with reverence as the highest authority in religious
and philosophic matters and acceptance with reverence
of Vedas by Hindu thinkers and philosophers as the sole
foundation of Hindu philosophy 2) Spirit of tolerance and
willingness to understand and appreciate the opponent's
point of view based on the realization that truth is many-
sided. 3) Acceptance of great world periods
of maintenance and dissolution follow each oth-
er in endless successioJl- by all six systems of HiIildu phi-
losophy. 4) Acceptance by all systems of Hindu philosophy
of the belief in rebirth and pTe-existence. 5) Recognition
O:E the fact that the means or ways to salvation are many.
6) Realization of the truth that numbers of Gods to be
worshiped may be laFge, yet there being Hindus who do
not believe in the worshiping of idols. 7) Unlike other re-
ligions, or religious creeds, Hindu religions.Jlotoeing
down to any defmite set of philosophic concepts, as such.
The historic intel1minglihg of myriad races, cultures
and religions has exposed usia a kaleidoscopic array of be-
iiefs and practices; yet threads of sameness and agreement
bind them together. Take;n, as a whole, the definitions
above, emphasizing the Vedas, dharma, karma and re-
birth, can help tlS gain clarity and insight into our mm0st
convictions, offering the opportunity to freely and ably
choose the same as our progenitors-or not. That "or not"
may be the greatest freedom a seeker ever had or could ..
ever hope fol'.
"I have come for your darshan:" Panduranga Shastri Athavale on conch-shell stage at Kurukshetra calls crowd to serve one another
SOCIAL CHANGE
To' B'ui'ld a New India
Athavales amazing grassroots movement stresses God with and within man
By RAJIV MALIK, NEW DELHI
HAVE NOT CDME HERE TO TALK TO YOU
or deliver a sp·eech. I have come here just
to meet and be with you. You are all
rishis who have gone from village to vil-
lage and city to city in North India, spend-
ing money from your own pockets, to meet
your brothers and sisters in these villages
and cities, without any interest. I am
here to have your darshan,," proclaimed Shri.
Panduranga Shastri Athavale to the giant
rally at Jyotisar on Match 20th. The assem-
blage near the epic Kurukshetra battlefield
in North India brought together t30,000
well-wishers and 70,000 memberS of'Atha-
vales SwadhYaya Parivar, his "truth-seeking
family" begun fifty years ago by the now 75-
year-old Mumbai brahmin.
34 HiNDUISM TODAY DECEMBER, 1996
/ ----------------------
For the previous four days the Parivar's
suJadhyayes ("truth-seekers"), as they are
known, storrp.ed 5,700 villages and about
100 towns in Harayana, Uttar Pradesh, Del-
hi, Rajasthan and Punjab to fellow hu-
man beings in a spirit of divine brother-
. hood. "We went from hut to hut and heart to
heart of"fhe people," said Mumbai business-
man Praduman P. Thakkar, 38. Their objec-
tive? to "make each man aware of his divine
heritage, that the Lord is with and within
him," instructed Athavale. Once this base of
devotional awakening has formed:the swa-
dhyayes proceed to assist in solving the so-
cial-'and economic problems of the people.
They came in hundreds of buses which
jammed the 150-kilometer G.T. Kamal Road
linking DeIhi and Kurukshetra. Each bus
, ,
/\Vas colorfully decorated with huge banners
announcing the the swadhyayes
hailed from-in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa,
Andhra Pradesh, etc. The kilometers-wide
camp was managed entirely by volunteers;
indeed police sent to help found themselves
expendable. The main point was to
Athavale and inspiration for their
mission of religious preaching and social de:
velopment. \
It was this unique combination of aims
that inspired the popular feature film ''An-
tarnaad" ("Inner Voice"), which powerfully
reveals how the swadhyayes have to work
facing harm and humiliation at the hands of
dacoits, smugglers and a'nti-social elements
while trying to positively transform the lives
of millions living in the 80,000 villages
Sri Athavale won the 1996 Ramon
\ Magsaysay "Asian Nobel
Prize"-, for "tapping lhe ancient well-
spring of Hindu civilization to inspire
spiritual renewal and social trans-
formation" leading followers "to
acts of devotion and gratitude to God."
A quiet, efficient revolution: Athavale during a reflective moment on stage; volunteers at the community kitchen f ed' 200,000 daily
where swadhyaya. holdl sway. The hlm de-
picts touehing real life situations in which
swadhyayes were able to vigorously convey
. . to tKe rural people that God lives in them.
This discovery of the indwelling God em-
powered villagers to transform their lives.
They call these initial encounters bhav
pheri ("devotional trips") , to be followed by
kriti bhakti ("devotional a9tion") .which en-
lists citizens in collective social ventures.
All t4is is done by an organization that ac-
cepts neither donations nor government
grants, charges no membershIp fee, has no
registered trust, no. paid staff and no public
relations office. The swadhyayes, who be-
long mostly to India's educated middle class,
bear all their own expenses and do the work
in their free time for two weeks a year. They
don't even impose upon the hospitality of
the villagers, but arrange their own lodgings
and cook their own food. The social and
economic pmgrams they facijitate- such as
community farms, schools, cottage indus-
. tries, -/ tree plantations, roads, dams and
wells-invoke the initiative and resources of
the villagers themselves. In the, course of the
work, many law-and-order problems are
solved, for, as AtIlavale teaches, "A spiritual-
ly awakened man aware of God with and
within us cannot do to others."
As HINDUISM TODAY met swadhyayes at
the March 20th rally, the diverse facets of
this unique organization became more clear.
Navi6. Shah, 58, an advocate from Baroda,
. explained the movement, "Our ancient tools
of civilization-yagna, padayatra, ekadashi,
brahmin and concepts so nice-
ly conceived by our rishis. We are following
the ris/:l.is' route to a cultural renaissance."
It is neither easy nor without peril. Uday
Motipwa, 37, an industrialist from Mumbai,
who led the motorscooter rally, related how
they nervously entered the city of Meerut,
know'n for its tension between Hindus and
Muslims. They 'ijere told that at the slightest
disturbance the shops would close and riot-
ing begin. "We were scared·," he c6nfessed,
"but when we did our street play at one
place, the Muslims of the neighboring locali-
ties invited'U.s to perform for them. That was
not to be expected in a town like Meerut."
. The street plays, with audiences of a few
hundred ·to a thousand, are a common intro-
ductory technique of the Swadhyaya Pari-
war. The skits raise contemporary soc6J, po-
litical and economic problems and show how
solutions can be discovered through aware-
ness of God and the brotherhood of man.
Amou'g the few hundred non-resident In-
dians p(esent at the rally was Dr. Narendra
Yamadagni, a scientist working at Stockholm
University in Sweden. He explained Atha-
vale's unique approach to village medicine .
Doctors are not simply allowed to go and
treat people. They must first establish a re-
lationship with the populace. Yamadagni re-
counted, "Doctor friends of mine went to a
village. They decided to fly kites with the
young people and have a meal with them.
Now, these are highly qualified profession-
als from the city. You could say it is a waste
of their talent. But it is equally essential to
build the relationship, for that is the spirit of .
swadhyaya. If you caIlpot understand it,
you cannot understand swadhyaya. " -:
According to Gandhian scholar Rajiv Vo-
tra, the Mahatma observed that the modern
scientific, rational, secular civilization was
only built up after God was dethroned .
"The challenge of the times," says Votra, "is
to get rid of this modern satanic civilization.
To do it you have to enthrone God. And
Athavale has shown such a fantastic way. I
think this is the most unique and epochal
movement, which 'has given thoughts, in-
struments and programs that cut across
class, caste, nationality and religions. After
Mahatma Gandhi's, I feel is the only
movement which has given instruments of
total recovery for India." ..
DE C EMBER, 1996 H l'NDUISM TODAY 35
,
STRIVfNG
You Are·
Your B/eliefs
Clashing convictions
can portend problems
I
N 1993 HINDUISM TODAY RECEIVED A
most unusualletteF from a Christian: "I
feel that the nine of Hindo.isr'n as
presented in a recent Christianity To-
day article dng much truer than their
Christian equivalents [see page 32]' Is it
necessary for one wh6 believes in Hindu-
ism to formally become a member and, if "
so, how is this done?" This was a crisis of :<
faith, for to most Christians belief is para- Hindu minister: The authority on belief
mount, and questioning dogma can make
qne apostate to the By comparison,
most Indians never bother about their be-
liefs. Emphasis is placed instead on sadha-
na, religious effort and striving.
. However, when Hindus begin serious
striving, beliefs become important. Viveka-
ASTROLOGY
thought Ramakrishna mad to say he
saw God everywhere. The young man just
didn't believe it. One day Sri Ramakrishna
taught him a lesson: for three days Vivek-
ananda literally Sl!,.W God in everything
around him. Only after gaining this belief
Back to the Future
Sadh,Cina: Examining Beliefs
·0 Study each list of Hineau beliefs on pages
30 to 33, writing down what you believe
by comparison
• Discuss beliefs with family' and friends
• Consciously discard conflicting views
I
would the young mbnk progress further un-
der his guru. Even so, it was not until near
the end of his life that a vision ofShakti sim-
ilarly convinced him of Ramakrishna's real-
ization of the personal God.
Yogis report that conflicts can arise when
,Practicing one path while believing in an-
other. Resolving such dichotomies requires
self-refleotion, even painful reevaluations.
This process of inner discovery is still I
happening. Deva Seyon, a missionary, told
HINDUISM TODAY, ''.I've been working with
seekers for ten years helping them to' find
and understand their spiritual convictions.
The seeds of belief can give a kind of dis-
turbing experience which prevents one from
fully embracing a !?ure set of Hindu beliefs.
Clearly, belief births attitudes which, in
turn, cl.etermine one's daily actions. Once
someone eliminates psychologically conflict-
ing beliefs, they become a spiritual dynamo.
Actually, you are w{tat you believe." wi
Society who proved instru-
mental in bringing Hindu
mysticism to the West. In both
cycles are found serious wars
CCORDING TO ASTROL-
ogers, similar historical
events tend to repeat
when the same plane-
tary positions are reoccurring.
This December, Jupiter enters
Capricorn and continues its
passage throughout 1997. In
astrology the earthly sign
Capricorn on a global scale re-
lates to politics, democracy,
governments, institutions and
big business. Jupiter's expan-
sive spiritual energy will cause
a focus on these issues. This
might lead astrologers to pre-
dict for 1997 big changes in
governments, religious institu-
tions, political ideologies, busi-
ness, as well as the advance-
ment of scientific and spiritual
knowledge. When Jupiter was
last in Capricorn 12 years ago
(1985), Gorbachev became
president of the USSR, and the
world knows how his term
changed the face of Russia.
A second noteworthy combi-
nation occurring in 1997 is the
conjunction of Uranus and
Jupiter ["conjunction" means
the planets form a straight line
with the earth]. Uranus is re-
lated to erratic energy or un-
expected change, earthquakes,
electricity and modern tech-
nology. Combined with
Jupiter, it is said to bring rebel-
lion, war and new discoveries
in science and technology. The
conjunction ofJupiter and
Uranus happens in Capricorn
only every 83 years. For this
occurrence we go back to the
year 1914, when the Archduke
Ferdinand of Austria was as-
sassinated, catalyzing a chain
reaction that led to World War
I. In South India, Sri Swami
Satchidananda-founder of In-
tegral Yoga Institute and pop-
ularizer of hatha yoga in the
West-was born. Going back
another 83 years to 1831, war
broke out between Poland and
Russia, Sikh forces waged a
holy war in Northwest India,
and in Russia was born
Madame H.P. Blavatsky-
founder of the Theosophical
and the birth of a renaissance
mystic who brought the teach-
ings of Hinduism to the West.
There is a less frequent con-
junction occurring in 1997 of
Jupiter and Neptune, some-
thing that has not happened in
36 HINDUISM TODAY 1996
the sign of Capricorn
Jupiter in 19t11 cent ury Rajasthan art since 1843. In April of
that year Hong Kong
became a colony of
Great Britain. Take
note: next July, 1997,
Hong Kong is being re-
turned to China.
We find in these ex-
amples the repetition of
similar themes. On a
personal level, if you
can't remember what
you were doing in 1843,
then try going back to
1985 and take note of
the major issues and fo-
cus of your life in that
year for a glimpse of
your future in 1997.
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38
CLASSIFIED
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Astrology
Consult Vedic Astrologer Jyotish Bhaskar,
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The best software for Hindi, Sanskrit, Gujarati,
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Devotional Supplies
Ganges clayfired Murthies, meticulously hand-
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Tantric Siva Lingams. Genuine Narmadesh-
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Education
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Free educational flow charts about all aspects
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Find God. Please contact Dr. Aruna, 183 Jalan
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dewelry
High quality astrological gems, custom and
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Music and Art
Exquisite Vedic Paintings done to order at very
reasonable prices. Call Pushkar at 904-462-
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East Indian instruments and gift items. Giant
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tiful catalog, send $1 to Encinitas Imports.
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Devotional Paintings
from India. Catalog:
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411 Madison St.,
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South Indian Classical Music Tapes for sale.
Write for complete 25-page catalog: Raju A.,
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Publications
Amar Chitra Katha for children. illustrated col-
orful tales on Hindu mythology Discounts to
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Wanted
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39
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KAPAA. HI 96746-9304 USA
INVESTING IN THE FUTURE OF HINDUISM
Fighting cold and altitude: Pilgrims struggle on. the treacherous path back to base camp
CRISIS
Hima'layan Rascua
;'
Hundreds perish; 9,000 airlifted by helicopters
1
HIS WAS TO BE THE BIG-
GEST year ever for the ap-
nuaJ... pilgrimage to Amar-
nath cave in Jammu. More
than1125,000 ardent pilgrims
were expected to trek to the
12,729-foot cave renowned for
its self-forming ice :tingam of
Lord Siva. For the first time
in years, there was no threat
to the pilgrims from Muslim
rn'ilitants. Wayfarers expected
an arduous journey. Some,
usually among the elderly, die
each year; it is widely regard-
ed as an exalted death.
By official count, 239 died,
but returning witnesses put
the toll at more than a thou-
sand. Bodies, they said, lay
strew along the entire ·mute.
Many old and infirm pilgrims
unab1e to walk anymore
pleaded with passers-by for
help. The latter" struggling to
save their own lives, paid lit-
tle heed, passing by stoically.
PAme Minister Deve Gow-
da ordered the Indian army
and air force to mount a mas-
sive rescue effort. Over 9,000
AMARNATH: pilgrims were airlifted from
46KM higher altitudes . in IS-seat When the initj'al batch of
25,000 departed Pahalgam
base camp on August 16, the Route: 70,000 stranded
mood was festive. Five days
MI-17 helicopters. Soldiers
on foot carried others down. ,
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later, torrential freezing. rains and snow be-
and continued for 62 hours-an un-
precedented. weather pattern for August,
with 70,000 pilgrims stranded along the
path. It was two days before rep'orts reached
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. majority of casualties were among 17,000
trappecr:in sub-zero temperatures at the
cave itself or at Panchtarni, the highest sta-
tion, 6.5KM away. Most still pushed on until
they had darshan of the ice Siva Lingam be-
fore trying to get . down. Anothe; 25,000
were huddled at the 'lower stations 0f Shesh-
nag and Chandanwari. Many died of cold or
exhaustion, others fell off the muddy,
washed-out path into the chasms below, and
an unknown numQer perished when a glac-
ier broke up along the upper reaches.
;,were still trapped, and 70,000 more were
'packed into (population 10,000),
where local Muslim opened theithomes to
them. With the trail still hazardous, the
priests and Chhari Mubarik, the "sacred
mace," were choppered to the cave for the
annual ceremonies .
Weather forecastj.ng in the area had l)een
hampered by the insurgency as
gists could not set up monitoring stations on
militant -controlled mountaintops. The event
was not only a natural disaster, but also an
example of collective karma, wherein the in-
dividual destinies of a large group coincide
in one great happening impacting them all.
Yet nothing will deter riext year's pilgrims
from returning in even greater numbers. •
With VINOD SINGH RAWAT in Delhi
Krishna volunteers feed the needy worldwide, including those in war-torn areas of Chechnya.
Food for Life Reaching Millions
F
rom his room at ISKCON'S international head-
quarters in Mayapur, West Bengal,
SrIla Prabhupada, the society's Founder-
Xcarya, suddenly called for his leading disciples.
When they entered, he was standing with tears
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A short distance away were
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"How hungry they must be;' SrIla
Prabhupada said softly. "We must
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the Hare Krishna Food for Life project began.
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"Food for Life each year distributes millions of
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November 23,1996, marks the
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Throughout 1996 people of
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make this a temple, a house of Lord
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God is everyone's father. How can
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Srfla Prabhupada's compassion set Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya of the
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International Society for Krishna
Because of SrIla Prabhupada's compassion,
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inaugurated the next day. Thus, in March, 1974,
Consciousness and Hare Krishna Food for Life.
You are invited to join in saluting the life and
work of this great soul.
Hare Krishna Food for Life is the World's Largest
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For more information or to offer assistance, call Food for Life Global at 1-301- 983-6826 (USA).
42
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HEALING
Mitigating
Menop?use
..
.
Vegetarian diet, proper supplements and
appropriate exercise can ease the transition
BY DR. DEVANANDA TANDAVAN, M.D.
OF THE MOST ALARM-
consequences of meno-
is the loss of calcium
the bones, leading to
weakening of the .skeleton and
possibly an increase' in fractures.
The solution to this is a correct
meat-free diet high in cakium
and other nutrients, 'at least be-
gInning in one's mid-thirties, for
this is when the problem of osteo-
porosis,really begins, accelerated by the lack
of estrogen at menopause. .
A high-protein diet is acidic, causing
calcium to oe leached from the bones. A
high-fat diet decreases absorption of calci-
um from ingested food. Smoking, alcohol,
colas containing pho§phates, and chronic
stress'all add to this condition. Low mag-
nesium due to too much refined
-,
grain (flours) and lack of ,green, leafy veg- ,
etables contribute to calcium defici:ency.
Thus we see that a well-balanced diet high
in calcium-rich foods such as kale, chard,
turnip gteens, Chinese cabbage and other
green, leafy vegetables.is desirable. The
average woman needs adequate magne-
siuIll' and exposure to sunshine to help me-
tabolize at least 1,500 mg. qf calcium daily.
This may require some supplementation to
the diet, especially if dairy products are
not consumed. Exercise is absolutely essen-
tial to maintain bone strength. Weight-
bearing forms of exercise, such as dancing,
walking, golf, swimming, cycling and Tai
Chi are not too strenuous and wililfeip to
maintain strength and decrease chronic
tension. The possible cardiovascular com-
plications-during menopause can be kept at
a minimum by following an ayurvedic diet
that balances the doshas. Unsettling emo-
tional swings will be lessened by an exer-
cise program of hatha yoga and aerobics
and helped a.great deal by the stress re-
duction of regular meditation.
One of the yommon effects of the de-
I •
44 Il.INDUI.SM TODAY ElECEMBER" 1996
crease in production of estro-
gen during the period
menopause is the thinning of
the mucosa of the female or-
gans and- a decrease ib mucus
and other secretions, leading to
dryness. This causes discomfort
and susceptibility to frequent
infections. The use of synthetic
hormones is not suggested for
treatment of this condition.
Sympt@ms can be alleviated by a diet high
in vitamin E, grains, nuts and cold-pressed
oils from fruit and nuts. Plenty of liquids
and fluid foods, such as melons, greens and
other moist vegetables, are recommended.
The organs Cill be lubricated with cocoa
bujter, vegetable and fruit oils such as
sesame, coconut, almond and cold-pressed
castor oil. In spite of this dryness there can
bloating from water retentioR as well as
tenderness of the tissues and even emo-
tional depression. The necessary diuresis
can be asslJred by the use of the homeo-
pathic cell salt Natrum Sulphurica taken in
four to eight daily doses. Frequent sips of
warm water throughout the day and teas
mad,\} of green tea, corn silk or dandelion
greens may also naturally stimulate the
dij.lresis so that harsh and mineral-deplet-
ing drugs will not be necessary. Cranberry
and watermelon juices are also very good
and have a tendency to decrease possible
urinary tract infections. • . I
Menopause is a normal, natural event iIi
. life. It is not a disease and should not be
treated -a's a disease with harmful
hormone-replacement treatments which
use synthetic and dangerous drugs.
,.
DR. TANDAVAN, 76, retired nuclearphysi-
cian and hospital staff lives in
Ch'(cago, where he specializes in alternative
healing arts. Visit his home page at the
HINDUISM TODAYWebsite.
EVOLUTIONS
FAILED COUP: Trinidads first Hindu
prime minister, Basdeo Panday, sur-
vived an August uprising, stemming
from a long-standing dispute between
his government and
a radical Black
Moslem group, Ja-
maat AI-Moslemeen.
Trinidad is the fifth
nation in the world
to have a Hindu PM,
after India, Nepal,
Mauritius and,
briefly, Fiji. Trinidad's PM
CELEBRATING: Divine Life Society's 60th
year. Founded 1936 in a cowshed on
the banks of
the Ganga at
Rishikesh by
Sri Swami
Sivananda
(1887-1963),
the institu-
tion grew to
its current
Rishikesh anniversary 500 branches
worldwide,
bringing meditation, Sanatana Dharma
and yoga to millions.
TRANSITION: Balasaheb Deoras, 81, in
July, third Sarsanghachalak (head) of
the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
(RSS). A sevak since
11, he took over the
Hindu nationalist or-
ganization in 1973 at
the death of Shri
Guruji. Deoras main-
tained an effective
RSS presence in in-
dia. He is succeeded
by Rajendra Singh,
a former professor RSS chief
of physics at
Banaras Hindu University.
Pandlt Pran Nath, 77, Classical singer in
kirana Hindustani music, died in Cali-
fornia in August, having taught for
decades at D.C. Berkeley. He gave up
life in India as a wandering sadhu at
the request of his teacher, a Muslim.
After a successful career, he migrated
to the US in the 1970s, where he won
recognition and influenced prominent
Western jazz and "minimalist" com-
posers, especially with his gifts of pure
intonation and micro tones. The musi-
cian's passing was noted in a lengthy
retrospective in the New York Times.
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phy is Agamic Saivite, with its focus upon
the progressive path to God through service,
worship, yoga and God Realization under
the guidance.
Pilg".;,mage to Sabarimala is a right-on-tar-
get presentation of Hindu thought and prac-
tice, though ironically its producer, former
film-actor M.M. Alex, is a Christian. Future
film projects by the Vedik-India Society in-
clude In Search of Hinduism with 108
episodes covering Hindu history, scriptures
and and Brahmavidya Yatm, a
tour of India's temples. Contact: Vedik -India
Society, Sapta Swara, 57, First Avenue,
Ashok Nagar, Madras 600043, South India. ",
'Saranill!' Ayyappa!': Replica of Sabarimala inner sanctum crea:ed for pilgrimage video
The Cosmic Dance of Siva: Seldom does so
much information Gome packaged with such
sheer enjoyment. Against a backdrop of fa-
mous Indian Siva temples, producer Deben
·Bhattacharya deftly conveys the profound
mysticism of Siva's dance. His verbal explana-
tions are then delightfully translated mto the
language of dance by virtuoso bharata
natyann performers Raja and Radha Reddy.
Mudra, hand gesture, is explruned, for exam-
ple, then, as we view nothing but Raja's right
hand, he glides through ddzens of mudras-
hplding viewers rapt with nothing but his
bare fingers! In another, he enacts rapid-fire
the eight emofions (rasas)-love, heroism,
sadness, wonder, laughter, fear, disgust, anger
and peace. At the film's climax, the narrator
switches to physics and mathematics. The
Reddy's dance upon a large fractal, a complex
mathematically-generated shape which ap-
proximates forms of nature from snowflakes
to the distribution of galaxies in the universe.
Though new to science, such underlying
rhythms are what Hindus have always called
"Siva's Cosmic Dance.' Contact: Nor-
ton Publishers, Inc., 96 Broad Street, Guil-
ford, Connecticut 06437 USA. wi
VIDEOS ,
Small Screen Sacraments
With these three videos, there is no need to
. -leave to have some quality religious timE1
ILGRIMAGE TO SABARIMALA," A RE-
markable ' video procluction released
two years back by the .Madras-based
rum (pictured) for the filming.
Narrator Ramesh Elaman provides an in-
formative commentary on the history of
Sabarimala and the worship of Lord Ayyap-
pan, as well as detailed philosophic explana-
tions of the practices. For mantra, we are
told, "The vibrations set up by chanting aum
are s6 powerful they arouse and transform
. every atom in the body and awaken the
spiritual power of the mind." The philoso-
Vedik -India Society, is just' circulating in
the West. It combines dramatic footage of
the yearly pilgrimage to the mountain he>me
of LOld in Kerala, with a reenaot-
. " meriI of the 72-kilometer jungle trek to the
shrine. The result is a professional90-minute
film which begins with a swamiye, as each
pilgrim is called, taking vows
and putting" on the sacred chain
to mark his commencement of .
41 days of sadhanas (spiritual
which defme the tra-
ditional pilgrimage. The detail of
preparations before departure
and obsen:ances ell route; make
this practically a "how to" manu-
al for would-be pilgrims. It re-
counts faithfully the Southern
tradition, with its emphasis upon
austerity, strict adherence to the
rules of the yamas and niyamas
and the arduous barefoot and
barechested hike through
mote hill country to the temple. '.
. The idea of driving in and'start-
Museum-Quality Puja
ing a few kilometers away-as
most do these days-is not even
mentioned as an option. The
temple priests ce;operated fully
in the production, even setting.
up a temporary SaNotum
r
ACKLER GALLERY PRO-
duced Puja, Expressions
of Hindu Devotion in
conjunction with their
Washington, D.C., exhibition
of the same name [see page
22-25]. Shown as part of their
tour, the short video is in-
tended to explain the Hindu
way of worship to non-Hindu
exhibition visitors. Scenes
from India and the USA are
interspersed with fIrst and
second-generation American
Hindus explaining worship in
personal ways. Nitya Nagara-
jan, a young international
trade analyst, shared words
she silently utters in prayers
to Lord Ganesha, "OK, I'm
going to start this task Please
make sure that I'm able to
fmish it properly."
This is a useful video for its
artful photography and crisp
and accurate explanations of
contemporary Hindu religious
customs. The main sequence
is about twelve minutes, mak-
ing it suitable for short TV
programming. For the hearing
impaired, a second version
with English-language cap-
tions and a few additional
scenes from India fills out the
half-hour documentary.
Roadside: Video vignettes
Contact: Arthur M. Sackler
Gallery, Smithsonian Institute,
Washington, D.c., 20560 USA.
DECEMBER, <1996 HI' NDUISM TODAY 47
,
first all-stone traditional
South Indian Siva temple is now
being hand caNed in Bangalore,
India, to be shipped to the Garden
Island. Iraivan Temple will crown
the 5 I-acre botanical paradise
of Hindu Monastery.
Hindus from around the globe
are making a yearly pilgrimage to
perform sadhana and enjoy a
unique spiritual experience. Call or
visit our web site for more details.
1-808-639-8886
http://www.HinduismToday.
kauai.hi.us/ashram/lraivan.html
HAWAIIAN
PILGRIMAGE
SAN MARGA IRAlVAN TEMPLE
I 07 KAHOLAlELE ROAD
KAPAA. HI 96746-9304 USA
A TEMPLE BUILT TO LAST 1.000 YEARS
MILES:TONES
Lett the
. .
Universe
.Conti·Due
Praying for peace
on paradise island
By DWIKORA PUTRA, BALI
S
ONOROUS SbUNDS OF CHANTING, BElLS
and prayers of the priests ring out to
glorify God. All day thousands of Hin-
dus wearing traditional white head-
dresses, shirt and yellow sarongs head for
the Temple of Grand· Besakih on Bali's high-
est mountain to witness once-in-a-century
ceremonies for universal welfare.
The complex of 86 temples, the largest
and grandest in Indonesia, is decorated in .
lavish colors and ornaments. These festivi-
ties, stretching from March.l4 to ¥arch 26,
1996, cast a substantial US$212,700. They co-
incide with the final stage of the Karya
Agung Eka Dasa Rudra, a series of unique
religious observances.
The peak day is March 20.
Sacred arts and dance accom-
pany the morning events in
which different animals are,
still and sadly, sacrificed as col-
orful offerings are made. At the
same time, on this exotic island
of temples, 1,300 traditional vil-
lages perform their own rituals.
In the early afternoon the
con.duct die main cere-
mony. Its purpose is to purify
and maintain the harmony be-
twe{n the universe and human
through the wotsliip of
the Almighty Paramasiva.
Besakih Temple, 900 km.
east of is considered by
Balanese to be the center of the
l
universe. An example of exquis-
. ite and beautiful architecture,
it reflects the high respect of
the warm-hearted Balinese
people for their Hindu religion.
Siva's Temple: Center of the Universe
needs." It is testimony to the Balinese ability
to hold fast to traditional culture, practices
and 9ress while mixing with visitors from all
corners of the world. Bali is, as Pandit
Nehru put it, "The mornmg of the world."
The day after, everyone starts their new
year, Nyepi. The island comes to a total halt.
All 2.8 million people-93% Hindus-go
without lights for 24 hours. They don't go
anywhere or engage in any outer activities.
Only hotels and hospitals function. Bali sur-
renders herself to a sacred quietude, peace-
fully expecting the next year. ...,..;
Twb million visitors a year
bask in Bali's spiritual atmos-
phere. Businessman Charlie
Baker, who imports Balinese
crafts tp Hawaii, said, "Through '
unique form of Hinduism __
they make an art .out of life Q Ii:!!
which satisfies the people's Priestly magicians: Invoking Gods, dispelling derrwns
I ,
Holy destination: The ice Lingam forms naturally each August in this high cave

P I L G RIM A G· E
Iqy Trek to
Reminiscing my ascent to Siva's: cave abode
.;
By MEENAKSHI DEW B·HAVANANI,
PONDICHERRY, SOUTH INI)lA
I
I TEARFULLY READ ABOUT THE 200
devotees wno died/tragically in August
on· their Amarnath pilgrimage [see
page 40], I remembered the earuy
. . modling of August 15, 1969. Sixteen of us,
including a 70-year-old American woman,
Rukmani Devi, of Portland, Oregon, had set
off on our ponies and pack horses with our
Muslim guides. "That old lady will die and it
will be a lot of trouble," our grizzled chief
Earthly Petitions
HE SUN HAS NOT YET
risen. A devoted Indian
wife and mother carefully
cleans her doorstep. Witl1
guide Aneez muttered. He himself was 80,
but a veteran of hundreds of trips to Kash-
mir's holy cave, which he too held in rever-
ence. His entire family made their living
from these pilgrimages. "I'm happy to leave
my body here. I already wrote my children,"
Rukrflani retorted gaily, "Siva, here I come."
. Swami Gitananda Ji, my guru-husband
and the head of our troupe, wrapped a
bright orange tmban and chanted
Namah Sivaya{, so loudly the mountains
seemed to tremble. We had spent the
cially at festival
times, the
streets are a joy
to behold. In
front of every
house, as far as
tl1e eye can see,
stretch lines of
beautiful, intri-
night in Pahalgam, a sleepy little village and
the base camp. Our ponies were frisky and
spirits were high in the cool morning air.
ManY,9tl1er pilgrims were also trudging along
the road. We knew we had reached heaven
when we rounded a bend near 4PM, and
stood a small shack with a large sign-
"TEE STAULL." We greedily drank several
cups-paying 50 times the going rate. Light
was receding. It catches one by: surprise in
mountain country how fast the Sun leaves
the Earth and,. how little can be done with-
out the light. We pitched our camp in
Sheshnag in an old log cabin. It was freezing
cold in spite of ample sweaters, many blan-
kets, 'gloves and socks.
Morning came, .warm 'Jal1d soft, and
washed in a shockingly brisk clear stream.
Wide awake-minds crystal clear, we pre-
-pared for the ascent. Smiling pilgrims
thronged everywhere-all in the same fam-
ily on the way to pay our respects to the
same Father Siva. We walked barefoot over
the Kolahoi Glacier, reaching the 12.,729-
foot-high Amarnath cave. Siva was here be-
fore us-within us, without us, in tl1e high
peaks of consciousness, reached after stren-
U9US effort and hardship. The majestic ice
Lingam vibrated with chants of eager devo-
tees. Could thiS exaltation ever be matched
again in one lifetime? "Hara Hara Ma-
hadeo!" How many times did we chant this
rousing spiritual song? How many bodies,
minds and emotions vibrated in resonance?
Even the lofty and austere mountains
seemed full of the holy sounds.
"We must go," Aneez said. "The light is
leaving and we must follow it. Cold comes
soon and paths are But he too was
suffused with awe and wonder ip. the pres-
ence of this majesty. The road down was
much easier; it always is. ..,..;
intense concentration, she dips
her finger into the rice flour
and makes a series of pullis or
dots upon tl1e ground. With
deft fmgers, she draws bold
lines, crafting mind-arresting
patterns, the artform called
kolam. The Goddess Mahalak-
shmi, out for Her morning
walk, pauses to admire the
selflessness, tl1e concentrated
effort and the artistry of Her
devotee. With a benevolent
smile, She enters the house-
hold and blesses it for yet an-
other day. The occupants rise,
stretch happily, filled witl1 a
beautiful sense of well being. cate designs. Tal Pongal: Elaborate kolam design joyfully
Some women created for the four-day haroest festival The kolam decorates tl1e
lives and houses of the Soutl1
India community. It makes
ones heart happy to walk over
a kolam in entering a house,
and tl1us puts one in an elevat-
ed frame of mind when visit-
ing friends and relatives. Espe-
acquire great ex-
pertise. Like magic, tl1ey make
a fantastic, meaningful pattern
appear. One could stand and
gaze for a long time at these
sacred designs, and no won-
der, for tl1ey are indeed man-
dalas, geometric representa-
tions of forces and powers
which cannot be perceived
tl1rough tl1e senses. They have
their own spiritual reality.
M.D.B.
DECEMBER , 1996 HINDUISM TODAY 49
,
I
/
MINISTER'S MESSAGE
The
Of Hiil'duism
Perhaps remarkably, Sanatana
is as and open-minded as ever
BY SRI SWAMI SATCHIDA NANDA
another. We have enough money, enough
land, enough food to feec), clothe and house
everyone. Poverty and hunger are not due
to lack of resources. The reason is that we
are not caring and sharing. We have to
open and change the hearts of the people.
That can be done only through religious
understanding- t6 help them see that we
are all children of that One Absolute God,
one global, divine family There is only one
God who is our Lord, who is the life in us.
Like rain in the river going back to the
ocean, every drop of water that wants to go
back to its source is a religious seeker. God
above is like completely distilled water.
When-it falls down oIt one side of the river,
-it is called Heavenly Father. On the other ·
side, they call it Allah. If it falls in the Hi-
malayas, they call it Siva. We may call this
INDUISM IS A UNIVERSAL RELIGION. IT IS A One God: Brahman, Father, Mother, Ado-
of approaches. Even the name "Hinduism" nai, Cosmic Consciousness, Divibe
late. The original name is Sanatana Dharma, Essence, etc. But we mean the same thIng.
the Eternal Truth. We can pick up and understand God is pleased with any name we give
that Truth in any way we like. In this great religion Him. He doesn't care what we call Him,
we have real freedom of choice in worship, in approaching but rather how we feel about Him.
that one Supreme Entity that we call God. . .\ In the Vedantic part of the Hindu scrip-
In Hindu thought, there is room for everything-not only tures, it'says that G6d has no name or form.
the nice, refined philosophies. Even the simple, ordinary, . So we find it hard to communicate. Due to
I
with a wooden horse, taking it to the water, putting grass into say ':sweetness," ho\Y would you understand
its mouth saying, "Cbme on, horsey, come and eat." You ______ --LJ sweetness? Immediately, you have to think
don't laugh at the child, because that's the way he begins. of sugar or honey or candy Without a form, you cannot under-
Hinduism never rejects or denies anything or It is a big stand sweetness. That is the reason why we try to understand God
ocean. It could be called Sindhuism. "Sindhu" in some-of the Indi- through forms and names. Otherwise God is formless. The Saiva
an languages means "ocean." It never says, "Only Ganga and Go- Saint Manikkavasagar said, "You dop't have a name; You don't have
davari may enter; Missouri and Mississippi must stay out." No, they a form, but we approach You with thousands of names and thou-
all flow in. Even the eity gutter water goes in. It's as if the big sands of forms. You accept all our approaches."
ocean mama says, "Come, my child, I know you went around and The beauty and greatness of Hinduism is that it allows real free-
got dirty Come in, and I will clean you up." Even atheism is ac- dom of choice in worship. There is room for the Vedantin who ap-
cepted. The Hindus J<now that the moment you say, "I.don't be- proaches God within as his own Self without any, form: If you wish
lieve in God," you to accept a God. If there is no God, why to approach God through a form, there is Siva, or Vishnu, or -Kllmara
do you want not to believe? You sa)V that there is a God, but you or as the Goddess, Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati and others. If you don't
don't believe in it. A true Hindu will have no problem in accepting believe in a human form of God, you can worship a tree, a snake
all faiths. He will never say, "Oh, I am only a Hindu. ! am or a stone. You can see God in any form you want, because God
not a-Catholic. I'm not a Buddhist. I'm not a Muslim."· They are all made everything in .His own image; everything is His expression.
based on devotion, the Bhakti Yoga. ocean never denies aI).y It is my heartfelt prayer that we all make this resolution: "From
water; it's all embracing. That is why sometimes I like to call my- this day onward, my life will be all-embracing and harmonious.
self an "Undo," because I would like to undo all limitations. Let me learn to accept all the various approa<a):J.es of people, be,
All of our prqblems today are based on the attitude that, "My cause everyone is looking for the same happiness and joy in life.
way, my approach is the right one. And if you don't follow this, Let me not condemn anybody because he or she looks, thinks or '
you'll be condemned." There is no one way, because each mind is acts a little different. Let me realize the spiritual unity behipd all
different. Each person conceives of God according to his capacity, the .diversities in the creation and remember always that we are
ta'ste and temperament. You have YOHr way. You have the freedom mem,bers of one divine family Th"Lfs, in my own small, humble
and the. right to follow it, but YOW following your way should not way, may.J; contribute to the peace, joy, and harmony of the world."
caHse problems to others. Just as you have your freedom, others
must also have the freedom to find peace and joy in their own way:
It's very to see people hurting each. other, even killing
one another, in the name of God and religion. Even in the name of
Hinduism, you find religious quarrels. People who see God as Siva
dOn't want to see God as Vishnu. Saivites and Vaishnavites quarreL
It is our lack of understanding; we don't see the underlying spiritu-
ai unity behind all the diversities in the creation.
Religion has a very important role to play in the world. 'Unfortu-
nately, it forgets that role, and the different religions fight with one ·
50 HINDUISM TODA.Y 1996
SRI SWAMI SATCHIDANANDA, 81, is a Hindu minister, a master of
yoga, a global spiritiual teacher and ambassador f-or peace. He lives
at Yogaville in Virginia, his main USA center.
Support-A-Child
Would you like to make a difference with $250 per year?
OBJECTIVES:
Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America
Supports over 700 children in Bharat!
You too can join the effort and make a difference,
One Child At A Time!
o To unite Hindus with a view to instilling in them a devotion to the principles and practices of
Hindu Way of Life.
o To cultivate in them a spirit of self-respect for themselves and their way of life and respect for
all the people of all colors, creeds, races and religions.
o To establish and reinforce contacts with Hindus all over the world.
For more information, please contact:
Support-A-Child Program, 21 Harris Circle, Newark, DE 19711
Tel: (302) 369-4131 0(860) 828-4360 0(714) 552-0907 0(713) 561-5988
E-mail addresses - Support-A-Child: http//www.vhp.org/support_a_child/
VHP of America: vhp-a@hindunet.org
VHP: http://www.vhp.org/vhp/
Global Hindu Electronics Networks: www: http://www.hindunet.org
•• •• •• ••
'ITAl .
SPELLS
Cyber
Pagans
,
W
ITCHES ONCE
cast spells at rites
performed in dense,
dark forests-so the tales
go. Now pagans are join-
ing together electroni-
cally on the Internet,
"casting a circle" to en-
act lituals and benign,
healing magic. S0me
Western relIgions decry
such practices and have,
it is wryly suggested, re-
sorted to a computers
spellchecker to counter
any spells effects. Join
the witches at
http:/www.cascade.netla
rachne.
Pagan 1wme page symbol
RELIGION
Facets
Of Faith
T
HE BEST GENERAL
religion site may
well be Facets of Reli-
gion, judged in the top
More than 1,500 color and black-and-white images from India's t raditions
C D - ROM
Hindu Art on the Desktop
I
T REQUIRED SOME PRODDING
by our friends, but HINDUISMTo-
DAY finally assembled the ulti-
mate collection of Hindu clip art.
This CD-ROM contains images
which have graced the pages of this
publication for over 18 years, as well
as those used in our books. Here you
can find dozens of elegantly de-
signed Hindu symbols, 32 forms of
Lord Ganesha, hundreds of creative
'/\urns," pictures for children, a
five percent of all web
sites. It offers a vast ar-
ray of links for :Q.!ajor
modern and ancient
\'i!!i!" iiil@i4 f ... om.:

. (21<)(12 ...
(9k)JO? Sfp. 19961
_l!ah;j'i Fa!!h (BlIJO? Sop. 1996)
mind-boggling collection of village-
style borders and more. The price,
$249, is consistent with professional
clip art disks, and the collection is
offered with no copyright restric-
tions-you can use and adapt this art
for dharmic purposes. It is available
for the Macintosh. Files are in Adobe
illustrator and Photoshop formats. To
order write: Himalayan Academy
Publications, 107 Kaholalele Road,
Kapaa, Hawaii 96746-9304 USA.
SIGHTED SITES
4toSee
S
-UPER AYURVEDA IS
the order of the day
at http://www.theraj.
com, TM's ritzy Iowll
treatment center.
Alain Danielou fans
can visit http://www.
imaginet.fr/ - jcloared
danielou for a compre-
hensive overview of the
life, works and resources
of fhis great'votary of
Saivite Hinduism.
Facets at http://sunfly.ub.uni-freiburg.de/religionl
faiths' lcomparative reli-
gions and interfaith
movements. Scholastic .
resources, authentic reli-
gious organizations, pho-
tographs, scriptures and
more can be found here.
Am6ng the twenty.Hin-
du links are some that
contain far more com-
prehensive listings of
Hindu web sites. And
exploring the other reli-
gions is a revealing exer-
cise in how rapidly each
faith is making its pres-
ence felt in a major way
on the World Wide
Web.
For general informa-
tion and references on
52 HINDUISM TODAY 1996
/
BEWARE
].\ddicted!
I
T'S EITHER THE COM-
puter or me," one hus-
band finally threatened.
His wife-wHo had been
spending 12 hours a day
surfing the Internet and
carrying on typed con-
versations with people
around the planet-di-
'vorced him' rather than
part with her new elec-
tronic world. Psycholo-
gist Kimberly Young of
the University of Pitts-
burgh calls it a case of
"Internet addiction"-and
says it has the same
symptoms and is just as
life-destroying as addic-
tion to drugs or gam-
bling. She found hun-
dregs of people spending
40 hours a week or more
on the Net, some of
whom were serl0usly af-
fecting their careers and
family life.
Bharat, India Connect is'
a good place to start at
http://www.indiacon-
nect.com.
Finally, Spirit-WWW
at http://www.au.
spiritweb.org·is a master
resource for Hindu and
related subjects.
NEW
From Paramahansa Yogananda,
author Of Autobiography of a Yogi ...
Cl"hrough the centuries, the sublime
ennobling counsel of the
Bhagavad Gita has endeared it to
truth-seekers of East and West alike.
Yet its deepest meaning, cloaked in
allegory, has remained obscure.
In God Talks With Arjuna,
Paramahansa Yogananda offers a new
translation and commentary of
"Paramahansa Yogananda brings to
his translation and commentary on the
Bhagavad Gita a staggering sweep of
psychology, spiritual instruction, lin-
guistic discernment , esoteric phys-
iology, cosmology, and yoga doctrine
to show that every individual soul is
a unique and heroi c protagonist en-
gaged in an epic battle for spiritual
realization. "
-Quincy Howe, Ph.D.,
Rmner Professor of Comparative Religion
and Sanskrit, the Claremont Colleges
unparalleled scope and vision.
Exploring the Gita's spiritual,
psychological, and metaphysical
depths, he reveals the innermost
essence of this majestic scripture-
and presents an enlightening and
deeply encouraging guide to who
we are, why we were created, and
our place and purpose in the vast
cosmic scheme of things.
This beautiful book includes
the Sanskrit text of each verse
(in transliteration), 12 full-
color original paintings by
contemporary Indian art-
ists, and Paramahansa
Yogananda's complete
unabridged com-
mentaries.
'A masterpiece of spirhual, literary,
and philosophical work.... Clearly
confirms that what was the truth and
wisdom five thousand years back is
still meaningful and powerful, and will
remain so for countless generations
hereafter." -India Post
"Compelling in its personal immediacy."
-Linda Lam-Easton, Ph.D. ,
Department of Religious Studies,
California State University, Northridse
"An illuminating addition to the vast
literature on the Gita."
- Amit Goswami, Ph.D.,
Professor of Physics, University of Oregon
"Wherever one is on the way
back to God, the Gila wUl shed. its light
on that segment of the journey ....
It is at once a profound scripture
on the science of yoga, union with
God, and a textbook for
everyday Uving. "
-Paramo.hansa Yogananda
TWO-VOLUME SLIPCASED EDlTION
1,224 pages $42.00
Presenting a new revelation
of India's sacred science of Yoga
• An in-depth look at the origin and nature of the cosmos-
including the planes of existence beyond the physical universe
• Striking correlations between the Vedic view of reality and the
discoveries of modem science
• Karma, reincarnation, and the evolutionary cycles of history
• Yoga principles of diet, health, and healing
• Subtle aspects of Kriya Yoga-an ancient science of meditation
lost in the Dark Ages-and how this sacred science awakens
the joy of the soul and hastens human spiritual evolution
- AVAILABLE AT BOOKSTORES OR FROM THE PUBLISHER-
Visa/ MasterCard orders: 24-hour fax 800-801-1952 DepLHTD
or phone 213-342-0247 (9-5 Pacific Time)
Price does not include $7.00 shipping, or sales tax for CA addresses
I
Capturing India: Calcutta's flower vendors ready at dawn; mOther and son in Manipur pmye<rs in sandalwood
PHOTOGRAPHY
35MM Mega':'Memoir
around to Americans in a personal way, it's
no longer intimidating or imposing."
From well-known tourist spots to obscure
outposts, she documents the people, festivals
and color of India. To her, India is not the
Uncommon Chronicle of India's Common Style
city lights of Bombay or Delhi-these are
mere starting places to get to the India that
has remained untouched and <unspoiled by
By LAVINA MELWANI, NEW YORK
HETHER IT IS THE POMP OF DUR-
ga puja in Calcutta, the oolor of
Onam in Kerala or the sheer vitality
of Lai Haraoba being celebrated by
the Vaishnav Methis of Manipur, Canadian-
American photographer Lindsay Hebberd's
camera has recorded it all. Over the years
she 'has shot thousands of images in India.
But don't ask her to shoot pictures of beg-
gars or undernourished children; she is just
not interested in promoting negative stereo-
types. Says she: "Scandal, disaster, plagues,
earthquakes, the sale of child brides to old
men-the American media has done much
damage to India. Their news is always bad
news and overshadows the wonderful cul-
ture, quality oflife and community service."
HeQberd is hoping to bring about a revo-
lution ill people's thinking and change some
misconceptions about India. Her weapon of
choice is the camera. She has created a port-
folio of the cultural diversity and dignity of
:\
: • :
:: 1 ; ... 'W- :: I


. ..... :
the passage of time. She
seeks out remote tribal peo-
ple in little exposed places,
hoping to capture what no
one else has photographed.
A diehard people watcheL',
she specializes in catching
the extraordinary qualities,
in her words, "the spirit and
energy," of ordinary people.
Hebberd expresses con-
cern that "a lot of traditional
cultural beauty is being de-
stroyed by the embrace of
its people. The result of
crisscrossing India, from the
desert to the tropics, from
the Ganges River to the Hi-
malayas, is "Cultural Por-
traits of India"-a powerful
exhibition of images which
will be traveling through In-
dia and the US. The non-
profit project is endorsed by
the government of India and
is being jointly presented by
the East-West Center of the
United States and the Rajiv
Gandhi Foundation of India.
Seizing the Spirit: Lindsay Western civilization and
Hebberd with image morals. Blue jeans are taking
The exhibition begins in
late 1997 and will show in US museums,
schools and corporate galleries. Through it
Hebberd hopes to introduce to mainstream
Americans all Indians, including the ones
who live in the US. She observes, "When
you make friends, it's very hard to have bar-
riers of prejudice. When you show India
over. And look what they're
trading it for! Beautiful garments
and jewelry are being replaoed by commer-
cial clothing and jewelry." Using her camera,
Lindsay Hebberd attempts to deep-freeze
time on film, and preserve and promote the
traditions of India which are endangered by
the steady onslaught of modernization . ...
BehQld the universe in the of CQd:
+-lnd all that lives and moves on !;arth.
LeaVing the tMnsient, -And jQy in the !;te(naL.
SUKLA YAjUR V EDA, Isa Upanishad 1
I

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