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Jews and Hindu in Indology


Posted on 2017/3/22 19:10:17 ( 517 reads )

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, March 22, 2017: HPI Note: "Jews and Hindus in Indology" is in continuation of the lengthy critique of German Indology presented in The Nay Science by Vishwa Adluir (professor of religion as Hunter College) and Joydeep Bagchee Freie Universitat Berline). In this paper available on academia.edu (source above), they explore the particular situation of Jewish scholars in an academic field dominated by German Protestants. Their conclusion of the 69-page paper reads:

"The analysis presented here lets us now appreciate the full scope of The Nay Science's project. Our aim in this work was to ask four questions about Indology as it is currently practiced.

"The first was epistemological: how was German Indology a science? How did it generate certain, universally valid propositions? Here we showed that Indology did not correspond to any acceptable definition of science. Even though the Indologists claimed that their work was objective and scientific as compared with the allegedly arbitrary interpretations of native commentators, their work was not any more scientific. Rather, it was based on racial, anti-Semitic, and anti-Brahmanic principles.

"The second question we asked was ethical: how did the German Indologists address these problematic aspects of their history? Were they cognizant of them? Had they engaged in a self-critique? Had they corrected for the historical-critical method's anti-Judaic bias? Once again, we found that, far from addressing these problems, the Indologists were obsessed with defending an institutional hegemony. They failed to acknowledge either their discipline's involvement in Nazism or their share of responsibility in legitimating Aryanism.

"The third question we asked was pedagogic: how did German Indology contribute to pedagogy? What was its value to students? Here we showed that the discipline did not actually aim to make texts accessible and transparent. Indeed, it rejected philosophical interpretation as incommensurable with the "scientific" task. Although German Indologists claimed to be part of the humanities, their work favored an arcane, technical style, that restricted these texts to other disciplinary "initiates." Their work set aside both ethics and pedagogy as beyond Indology's ambit, and posited a fantastic objectivity instead.

"The fourth question we asked concerned German Indology's public value: if the discipline contributed neither to science nor to ethics nor to pedagogy, what function did it serve? Why was it funded? Here we found that Indology's main function consisted of oversight over the Brahmanic (read: priestly) tradition.German Indologists had failed to evolve a single positive justification for their discipline, other than offering a counterpoint to the tradition. Yet, although they claimed to be historically self-aware, they could not answer a simple question: in what way was their scholarship "critical"? Parasitic on the Indian tradition, using their corporate status to compel respect from the Indians, and yet incapable of dialoguing with them, the Indologists thus represent a failed chapter in German intellectual history. They survive merely on the strength of their institutional arrangements, that is, what Ringer terms "legality."

"The present paper brought these points together and showed how, on the back of a supersessionist narrative of liberation from Brahmanism, the German Indologists actually constituted themselves as a new priesthood. Their example is instructive for anyone concerned with the university's future direction."



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2017/3/22 19:09:59 ( 339 reads )

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Men who can brave death on the battlefield are common; but rare are they who can face an audience without fear.
-- Tirukural 723



Hindu Students Express Strong Opposition to CNN's "Believer" Episode


Posted on 2017/3/16 19:36:13 ( 1014 reads )

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NEW JERSEY, U.S., March 13, 2017 (Press Release): Hindu students from all over the United States have expressed strong disappointment and opposition towards CNN's "Believer" Episode on Hinduism, which aired on March 5th and showed a heavily derogatory and out-of-context depiction of Hinduism and India. In the episode, contributor Reza Aslan visits the Hindu holy city of Varanasi, India to learn about Hinduism and ends up focusing on the stereotypes commonly associated with Hindus, while eating brain parts and covering a tiny sect that is supposedly cannibalistic. Aslan also declares the holy river the Ganges as "one giant toilet" and the city of Varanasi as the "City of the Dead."

"Reza Aslan's 'Believer' uses images of a 'cannibalistic Baba' for the sake of shock value, risking conflation of 'extreme practices' with mainstream Hinduism, much like what happened with 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,'" remarked Parth Parihar, Hindu Students Council (HSC)'s General Secretary, who also wrote an article in the Huffington Post critiquing the Hinduism episode. "Worse, by continuing to refer to the Aghoris as the unique sect trying to 'upend the caste system embedded within Hindu spirituality,' the episode continues to spread the idea that caste discrimination is sanctioned by and inherent in Hindu practice - a blatant falsehood."

HSC sat down with noted author and public intellectual Rajiv Malhotra (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vB9JqlUiYUk) to analyze various clips of the episode and show why such over the top, inaccurate and inflammatory depictions do nothing more than spread hatred and misconceptions about a tradition that many Americans are vaguely familiar with. Shyam Bhatt, the president of HSC at Stony Brook University expressed his concerns. "Aslan's 'Believer' painted the already misrepresented Hinduism in a barbaric light. On a college campus with a liberal climate where someone like Aslan is revered, his words had a huge impact on reinforcing the misunderstanding and prejudices already faced by Hindu American students."

More at "source" above.



More Than 500 Sculptures to Be Made for Cremation of Thailand's Late King


Posted on 2017/3/16 19:36:02 ( 500 reads )

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BANGKOK, THAILAND, March 14, 2017 (South China Morning Post): Thailand's best craftsmen are hard at work producing monuments to King Rama IX. "The graceful walk of Ratchasi (a mythical lion) implies that Thai people must move on after our late King Bhumibol Adulyadej passed away," said sculptor Nopparat Bunmee.

Craftsmen are now hard at work at the sculptural hall of the Fine Arts Department's Traditional Arts Office in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand. Sharing the same working space are a dozen artisans assigned to create more than 500 sculptures for decorating Phra Merumat, the palace-like structure where the royal urn will be housed at the royal cremation later this year.

One of the eye-catching sculptures is a 9 foot tall Hindu God Narayana, which also has some facial features of the late king. Based on traditional beliefs, the king is an avatar of Narayana. Next to the Narayana sculpture is a 6.5 foot tall sculpture of one of four heavenly kings known in Thai as Thao Chatulokkaban, a 6.5 foot tall standing Garuda, which is Narayana's vehicle, a seated angel, sacred oxen and Kotchasi, the mythical elephant.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2017/3/16 19:35:50 ( 515 reads )

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Common men talk bagfuls of religion but do not practice even a grain of it. The wise man speaks a little, even though his whole life is religion expressed in action.
-- Sri Ramakrishna (1836-1886), famed guru of Swami Vivekananda



Hinduism Today's April/May/June Issue Is Now On-Line


Posted on 2017/3/14 17:23:46 ( 876 reads )

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KAUAI, HAWAII, March 10, 2017: Hinduism Today's latest issue has gone to press and is now available online free of charge at source above. You can also download our free Hinduism Today app and get the entire magazine (and seven back issues) on your mobile device at bit.ly/HT-APP.

Our feature story this issue is a tour de force taking you to and through the seldom seen culture and countryside of Assam. We call it "Awesome Assam," and the awesomeness is in full view through the creative lens of photographer Thomas Kelly and in-depth interviews of correspondent Rajiv Malik. Experience the diverse religious, linguistic and cultural milieu of the state's native tribal peoples and the later migrants from elsewhere in India.

Our 16-page Insight section is Acharya Vamadeva Shastri's lucid unraveling of the four states of consciousness: waking, dreaming, deep sleep and samadhi. He particularly explores the subtle worlds of sleep, dreams and their importance in life and relationship to the higher states of mind. There are also excerpts from the writings of Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami on the astral world, and selected quotes from the Upanishads on the four states of consciousness.

In his Publisher's Desk editorial, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami addresses the power of our words, specifically the importance of kindly speech. He parses four kinds of unkind speech--gossip, backbiting, joking and teasing--then shows us how to avoid these habits through focusing on courtesy, tact and sensitivity.

Science and mind studies are big in this issue. Is there a new science of consciousness evolving today? We think so, and since it has such deep resonance with Hindu mystical thought, we bring you the past, present and future of the unfolding revelations about consciousness, human perception, non-local being and more. Varun Khanna begins the journey for us in a lengthy discussion of Hinduism's contribution to the new "Science of Consciousness." Then Deepak Chopra, Rudy Tanzi and others guide the way. This field may have a tectonic impact on our future, on understanding what it is to be human, to be aware, to be evolving. A summary review of the three-day "Sages and Scientists Symposium" held in Los Angeles last September is provided by members of our editorial staff who attended.

We visit Bali for a festival of gratitude that features huge chariot-like structures called Dangssil pulled through the village. Then we explore Delhi for a survey of that city's plethora of veggie food options, Mumbai to see how the world's grandest Ganesha festival is run, and Durban to learn about an amazing TV series called "Sadhana--the Inward Path." This half-hour weekly show, the country's only Hindu series, is produced with world-class reporting and visual content.

There's more inside the magazine, including our fun Quotes & Quips with cartoon, an excerpt from recently translated Agama verses, Anant Rambachan's take on the future of Hinduism in America, and the amazing documentary film work of Benoy Behl on India's religion and traditions.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2017/3/14 17:23:36 ( 535 reads )

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Do not run away. Face the world and get hit by the world. Let the world drop you again and again. It is the means to destroy the Ego.
-- Swami Chinmayananda (1916-1993), founder of Chinmaya Mission



Reza Aslan's "Believer"- An Exhibit of Unconcealed Hinduphobia


Posted on 2017/3/10 20:55:17 ( 1105 reads )

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UNITED STATES, March 9, 2017 (Indiafacts by Prashant Parikh): From colonial times, Indians have been characterized as predominantly savage, otherworldly, uncivilized, and by implication, in need of civilizing. These long perpetuated portrayals of Hindus did not remain merely confined to voluminous tomes and academic cliques, but rapidly percolated into the wider pop-cultural domain. This is quite evident through films such as "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom", portraying Hindus as a bloodthirsty, violently ritualistic cult, with a penchant for consuming live snakes, and "chilled monkey brains" served on a chalice--intact head and all. Indeed, few communities have been subjected to this level of ridicule, vilification, exaggerated caricatures, and miscast definitions through media and academia, as the Hindus have.

In CNN's "Believer", host, Reza Aslan, approaches the topic of Hinduism from a similar perspective, presenting not only a contemptuously scornful, patronizing and exoticized view, but also negligently misrepresenting the Hindu traditions in his commentary and voice-over.

Through this article, I wish to address two areas. First, being a general critique of the content, and second, the deleterious consequences such portrayals would have on the Hindu community- especially the diaspora living abroad. Now, there is also no denying that the many topics touched upon here lend themselves to different interpretations, even within the broader section of the Hindu community. Pluralism in viewpoints is not the problem. My concern, and that of many Hindus who have voiced their disapproval over the documentary, is that Aslan has consistently managed to cherry pick only the most egregious of interpretations, made sweeping generalizations, and painted a skewed, sordid and unflattering image of Hindus, in what ought to have been a respectable overview of the Hindu culture for an international audience. The sensationalism on display here would befit a "reality show", not an expert documentary. The bar of journalistic integrity set by CNN sinks very low, indeed.

Much more of this in-depth article, including excerpted videos from the episode hosted on the CNN website, at "source" above.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2017/3/10 20:55:06 ( 674 reads )

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Dharma can be defined as the opposite of chaos, the order behind everything that exists.
-- Swami Satyananda Saraswati, head of Advaitavidya, Barcelona, Spain



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2017/3/9 19:40:00 ( 480 reads )

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Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life--think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success; this is the way great spiritual giants are produced.
-- Swami Vivekananda,



Behind Charade of Charity, Compassion International Was Conducting Religious Conversions


Posted on 2017/3/9 19:34:38 ( 669 reads )

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INDIA, March 8, 2017 (Swarajya, by Aravindan Neelakandan): Compassion International, a US organization leading and funding Christian proselytization in India, has recently declared that it would shut down its operations in the country after facing tough restrictions related to foreign funding. Here is an account of how the Christian organisation has been secretly pursuing its missionary work in India under the pretense of "releasing children from poverty."

In 2015, Income Tax officials disclosed that Caruna Bal Vikas (CBV), one of the chief recipients of Compassion International funding of Rs 10 million every year, used only 10 percent of its funding for child development and diverted the rest to 300 other organisations. The officials discovered the discrepancies as early as 2013, one year before the present government took over.

At the time, Compassion International had moved ahead with an astonishing money-routing strategy. The CBV centre was closed, and another body, Adhane Management Consultants Private Limited, was opened immediately and registered as a non-governmental organisation (NGO). Adhane featured the same team as that in CBV, and Compassion International began directing money to all its organisations through this new NGO. This was in May 2014. It's evident from this series of events that Compassion International is more occupied with strategic operations rather than a group motivated by pure compassion.

The Christian charity says that local churches are so well-respected in multi-religious communities that they do not consider 'forced conversion' of children an issue at all. Even as they say this, they add that they 'do not force conversions'. However, the officials also concede that "yet honestly seek to present the Christian message of hope and the opportunities that it presents". It is unclear how much of "honestly seeking to present" Christianity to non-Christian children would be considered as 'forced'.

Compassion International's hidden agenda is even a problem in the United States for other religionists and humanists. Joshua Lewis Berg, the director of community programming at Jewish Educational Alliance in Savannah, Georgia, points out that though the aid organisation's website says they do not require people to believe or convert, there was no doubt that that was their goal. He also points out that their advertisements hid their Christian agenda well.

So, then, what kind of child development does Compassion International aim at?

Dr Brewster is director for child advocacy for Compassion International in Asia. In a 2011 document, Brewster, while discussing the child ministry in Asian countries including India, quoted another evangelist Peter Hohmann, associated with Boys and Girls Missionary Crusade. The child should be given "a missionary worldview," he said, adding, "We can give children no greater purpose ... to make His name known in all the world. This is the purpose stated in Bible. This is the purpose we need to impart to our children."

In other words, the aim of Compassion International is to make use of poverty in India to create foot soldiers for evangelism.

Given the historical context, and the multi-religious environment, of India, it would be foolish for any secular government to allow a US-based evangelical organisation to take advantage of the poverty in a country to recruit children, or foot soldiers for the religious right in the West.



Tulsi Gabbard Criticizes CNN Program on Hinduism


Posted on 2017/3/8 20:00:00 ( 675 reads )

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UNITED STATES, March 8, 2017 (Twitter): Following is the statement of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard released on Twitter:

While good people across our country are working hard to increase mutual understanding and respect between people of different religions, I am very disturbed that CNN is using its power and influence to increase people's misunderstanding and fear of Hinduism.

CNN on Sunday aired the first episode of a new series called "Believer" hosted by Reza Aslan. For this episode, Aslan apparently sought to find sensationalist and absurd ways to portray Hinduism. Aslan and CNN did not just throw a harsh light on a sect of wandering ascetics to create shocking visuals--as if touring a zoo--but repeated false stereotypes about caste, karma and reincarnation that Hindus have been combating tirelessly. CNN promotional materials and trailers that included a scene showing a group of Hindus under a caption, "CANNIBALS," perpetuated bizarre and ugly impressions of Hindus and their religion.

CNN knows well that sensational, and even false reporting about religions only fosters ignorance that can lead to terrible consequences. Indeed, Hindus are still reeling after witnessing terrible hate crimes in the last few weeks alone. Our nation celebrates religious pluralism and diversity, and CNN must do more to foster greater respect for people of different religions. It is my sincere hope that CNN and Aslan will engage with the Hindu community moving forward to resolve the pain and outrage that the "Believer" episode on Hinduism has engendered in the community.



Himachal Govt Makes Fresh Bid to Persuade Temples to Melt Gold


Posted on 2017/3/8 19:54:13 ( 420 reads )

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HIMACHAL PRADESH, INDIA, March 7, 2015 (Hindustan Times): The Himachal Pradesh government is making a fresh bid to mobilize cash-stashed temples in the state to monetize their gold and silvering offerings, lying idle in the vaults. Taking a cue from Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu, Himachal government's department of language, art and culture amended a legislation three years ago, allowing temple managements to melt gold and silver ornaments to turn them into souvenirs and allow its sale to devotees visiting the shrines.

The state government aims to bring an estimated six quintal (one quintal is 100 kilos) of gold and 200 quintal of silver lying idle with temples others into the financial system in return for a regular interest payout and the market-linked appreciation value. So far, the response from the temples has remained lukewarm. Temple managements fear loss of precious metal during the purification process and melting of ornaments donated by devotees may hurt religious sentiments.



Compassion: Why We're Leaving India, But Still Have Hope


Posted on 2017/3/8 19:54:02 ( 521 reads )

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UNITED STATES, March 1, 2017 (Christianity Today): HPI Note: At issue here is foreign funding coming into India and being used for the purpose of conversion of Hindus to Christianity. Compassion International only works through evangelical churches (as stated in this full article), churches whose aim is conversion. The 2011 crackdown on foreign funds entering India was intended to limit those meant for conversion work, including, in the case of Compassion International, such work was done under the guise of "child development."

This story in Christianity Today magazine reads in part:

The child development ministry confirmed today that after 48 years, its final day of operation will be March 15. That means shutting the doors of 589 Indian-staffed development centers caring for more than 145,000 children, more than any other of the 25 countries where it works.

"I feel frustrated," president and CEO Santiago "Jimmy" Mellado told CT. That's because Compassion has worked every angle to try to stay open in India since last February, when India's Ministry of Home Affairs put it on a list of organizations needing prior approval before transferring funds into the country. Then the government refused to grant such approval.

The government's move can be traced back to 2011, when it changed its Foreign Contribution Regulation Act so that it could regulate NGOs it disagrees with philosophically, Mellado said. "In the middle of all this, we were pouring significant resources into local evangelical Christian churches," Mellado said. "You can see where we would hit the radar screen."

More at "source" above.

See also: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/07/wor ... harity-closing-india.html



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2017/3/8 19:53:52 ( 352 reads )

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Whatever world the man of purified mind desires, whatever desires he wishes to fulfill, all these he attains. Therefore, let whoever is desirous of prosperity worship the man of Self Realization. The man of Self Realization knows the supreme Brahman upon which the universe is based and shines radiantly.
-- Atharva Veda, Mundaka Upanishad 3.1.10

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