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Be Proud, Informed Americans

I always enjoy your magazine. the articles on parenting, vegetarianism, yoga, allied traditions and Hinduism are fantastic. As a Hindu, I have faced some harrassment after the September 11 attack. I believe that Americans need to be informed about the discrimination and suffering we have undergone and continue to go through in Fiji, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Every public library should have a copy of Lajja (Shame) by Taslima Nasrin, to expose some of what was done. Since September 11, I have been wearing a tikka (tilak forehead mark) and have gotten a lot of interest and questions. I use such queries as an opportunity to explain Vedic culture and Hinduism. We should give pictures of the Gods and books to libraries and friends. We should proudly wear the tikka, both men and women, and explain it to those who don't understand. We should display Hindu items and offer these items along with magazines for sale in their businesses and make gifts to friends to help demystify Sanatana Dharma. Do this for the children, if not for yourself.

Shiva Sookhaishivasookhai_2000@yahoo.com

Thank God for Siva's Descent

Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha. Hinduism Today is such an exquisite magazine. Exactly what we needed! Who else will stand up to "one-way" religions proselytizing violence? Thank God for Lord Siva's descent as Gurudeva and his sacred, prolific genius.

Nataraja BabaSivamandir@aol.com

Heavenly Journeys to God

I was spellbound by Lavina Melwani's expression of her childhood feelings and thoughts (The Joys of Pilgrimage, Nov/Dec, 2001). Being a devout Hindu, (not a vegetarian yet), I see and share the same. I am a complete devotee of Lord Ayyappa. For many years I made my yearly yatra (pilgrimage) to Sabarimala during the Makarajothi festival, but unfortunately, due to a death in the family, I had to miss this year's yatra. Believe meÑthe feelings during the yatra are completely beyond words, where you seclude yourself for the 48 days, observe complete vegetarianism and take the yatra from the river Pampa and walk for 72 km over two-and-a-half days. I am married and now have two beautiful children. When we had lost all hope of having our first child, the Lord Himself came in my dreams and assured that we will have our first child that very year. And when my wife had to undergo an operation after the second child, the doctor informed me that the chances of survival for the mother and child will be 50-50, the Lord came again. Like the song goes: "Kallum mullum kaluku mathai, Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa." ("Stones and thorns form a mattress for my feet. Take refuge in Lord Ayyappa.")

Mohan Poduvalkeyestrad@yahoo.com

Vegetarianism Is Evolution

I appreciate your article on vegetarianism which is so much in tune with the need to usher in this new age of sensitivity and to give out our path of light. I draw my argument for vegetarianism from our quest to being more civilized. The more civilized we humans get, the more sensitive we become! All civilizations must have decided to change from being nomadic to settling down the moment agriculture provided a more secure source of food. And with settling down, man must have actually taken his first step as a civilized being capable of growing and choosing his food for the day. As we grew into a more civilized society, humans must have begun expressing more sensitivity to life around due to surplus of agricultural produce and divine insight to life. This force of sensitivity must have pervaded into extremes, as in Jainism which goes beyond vegetaranism to extend sensitivity to roots of plants forbidden to be eaten. As civilization grows, divine insight would most naturally bring out the Godly attributes of mankind as subtle intellectual inputs over time. This statement of mine is a wish for optimism at the time of Kali Yuga!

Adhipen Boseadhipen@aol.com

Gurudeva's Spirit. Send More.

Thank you very much for the great issue (Apr/May/Jun, 2002, Gurudeva Memorial Issue) capturing the incomparable contributions and accomplishments of Gurudeva, to help the world better understand Hinduism. The issue presents the spirit and persona of our beloved Gurudeva in a most befitting manner. We shall not only treasure this issue, but also refer to it for inspiration, peace of mind and to invoke Gurudeva's spiritual presence in our individual, family and community lives. Now, I need 10 additional copies to share with our away-from- home children, friends, neighbors, visitors to our Shiva Vishnu Temple in Livermore, California. Gurudeva helped us start the temple and encouraged us to complete it. We always remember him with gratitude and fond memories of his precious visits to the temple which is prospering beyond our dreams and shining as Gurudeva wished it would.

G. S. and Katyayini SatyanarayanaaGssatya1@aol.com

We printed 1,000's of extra copies of the Gurudeva Memorial Issue. These are available at cost. Contactjothi@hindu.org

I received the recent issue of Hinduism Today and I am very impressed with the information on Gurudeva. I really admire how much he has done for the Hindu religion. He is really great. Looking at him brings tears to my eyes. I am so lucky to have seen him at Ceylon Temple in Singapore to get his blessing. My wish and dream was to see Gurudeva at Kauai. Now I still want to visit the ashram and hope Gurudeva will help me to make my dream come true.

"Dewie"Dewie@jel.com.sg

It Is "Deepavali," Not "Diwali"

Why is the Hindu festival of lights spelled "Diwali"? Should it not be "Deepavali," which reflects the description of the essence of this celebration. The word deepa means "light" and avali means "rows." The observance of this festival is to celebrate the significance of Hinduism. Lighting of lamps has the meaning of eliminating the darknessin the literal sense, and metaphorically it means to overcome and gain the knowledge of Enlightenment. So, it seems that "Deepavali" would be the appropriate spelling.

Jumuna VittalMvittal@aol.com

I live in Tampa, Florida. i am not a hindu but a Catholic. However, I love to read Hinduism Today and I found Mrs. Rama Devagupta's article (Sep-Oct, 2001, The Inner Light) most helpful. For me, this was my first year learning about Deepavali, and I have received cards from my friends. I also have sent many cards to them. I was mainly aware of the association of Rama and Lakshmi with Deepavali. Your article helped me to better understand just what my friends are observing this time of year. I applaud Hinduism Today for being one of the best resources for learning about one of the world's greatest religions.

Bill RogersWondermagazine@aol.com

HPI - Tell It Like It Is!

Your daily e-mail news, hpi, is getting better and better with an ever-widening range of topics,http://www.hinduismtoday.com/hpiand I find myself reading every story that you write. I am very grateful that you also write about the shameful things that some Hindus do, as when you wrote about some Hindus who attacked a priest and disrupted a Mass. I want to know both the bad and good that we are capable of, so that we can praise the good, and support those who worked for it to work more to create more good; and I want to know about the bad so that we can condemn it as behavior not worthy of our religion and of our people.

Mira S. Ghoshalmirasghoshal@aol.com

I am indeed grateful to you for including my e-mail address on the Hindu Press International list. Without doubt, you are providing a unique and incredible service to Hindus all around the World. Please keep it up despite difficulties. I hope myself and others should be able to contribute in due course towards sharing the financial costs involved in this invaluable service.

Vinod Prakash, PhD, President, India Development and Relief Fundvinodsarla@aol.com

More Souls Come from Where?

I am taking a religion course at the University of Toledo and one of my classmates asked the followingabout reincarnation. How does population increase? If there are X amount of souls at any given time, then a soul would be reincarnated when it dies someone/thing would only be born if someone/thing dies. Then how do we explain steady population increase? Can new souls be created?

Thomas Drewyourtdrewyour@email.toast.net

God continually creates new souls.

The Jihad Lie

The whole planet has become intensely aware of that aspect of the planet called jihad, whose leaders claim a special alliance with God and who are quick to declare a holy war and inspire their youth to become martyrs by blowing themselves up and taking a few of the "enemy" with them, which they believe earns them a place in eternal heaven. Last week I read where an 18-year-old Muslim girl did this to earn a special place in heaven. What a tragic lie to buy into. All of the civilized world, including Muslims, who are a little bit into the heart chakra should condemn martyrs as murderers who will suffer the fate of murderers in this world, in the astral plane and in their next birth. The leaders who inspire the youth and the youth themselves are the perpetrators of all the terrorism. I think it needs to be leaked into the higher consciousness of the mass mind what really happens to these leaders and their misguided youth. I suspect they go back and forth very quickly from a murderous life to a quick death to a murderous life in a long loop of many short, pain-filled lives until they have experienced enough pain to break that murderous cycle. But I know that if they really knew the consequences of their deeds and what was really in store for them on the other side and in their next life, they would not be doing what they're doing, and their leaders wouldn't be motivating them to do it and glorifying it after it has been done. It would further motivate higher conscious Muslims, Hindus and Christians to strongly train their children that this kind of behavior leads to nothing but pain for a lot of people, which irrevocably comes back to the sender of that pain, the so-called martyr, the murderer, for more than just one or two lives, whether they be Muslim, Hindu, Christian, atheist or agnostic. If the real consequences were known, it would help put a quicker end to this low-life behavior in the name of any God of any religion.

Brahmachari Diksha Kandarstudent@nsccux.sccd.ctc.edu

Abolish Misunderstandings

I would like to thank the staff of Hinduism Today for their quality work and dedication to the Hindu community. This magazine's devotion to its purpose and strong commitment to their community has helped Hindus and others around the world understand this great religion. There are so many illusions and misunderstandings that your publication helps to abolish. Without your commendable works, our people would be at a great loss. Thanks!

Sanjay Goyalsanjaykgoyal@yahoo.com

The Roots of Euro-Americans

I hear that many Hindus have wondered why many Americans and Europeans are rejecting Christianity in order to convert to Hinduism. "Why would someone reject their own culture to embrace someone else's?" There are very specific reasons why this is the case. At one time, the people of the European countries did not practice Christianity. They practiced religions that were very similar to Hinduism. In fact, Hinduism and the various forms of Paganism that were practiced in Europe have a common root, hence the terminology "Indo-European." In fact, if you were to compare the Elder Edda (the sacred text of the ancient Northern Europeans) to the Rig Veda, you would find striking similarities. Christianity, on the other hand, is not really a Western religion. It was directly spawned from Judaism. Later on it was embraced by power hungry Ceasers and Popes of Rome who in turn used this religion as a means of spiritual, mental, and physical domination. All who did not agree with their veiwpoints were murdered, burned, raped, and destroyed. Missionaries were sent to other countries outside of Rome as a means to spy on other religions as well as seduce leaders into giving up their native religions (usually with bribes of gold and land) and to join the Ceaser/Pope in their unholy mission of destroying others cultures (which they perceived as helping).

I would like to address a few points made by Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamigal regarding conversion to Hinduism in his interview for your March/April, 2001, article "On Dharma, the Pope, Kids, and More..." He said, "When foreigners approach my guru's guru, Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati, seeking conversion to Hinduism, he advises them to 'become better Christians. That is the essence of Hinduism. If you cannot find solace in your religion, you will never be able to find it in any other religion.' "

I agree with the statement to a certain extent. True, folks should seek out their own roots first and foremost. However, Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati may not realize that there is no solace or substance in Christianity for such seekers, as it does not truly resonate the soul of the American or European, because it has roots outside of our blood and soul. If Euro-Americans or Europeans are ever to find solace and substance in anything, it will be found in the pre-Christian European religions. The reason for foreigners being attracted to Hinduism is based on the fact that it is more in line with their blood/soul than Christianity is (which has Semitic/Middle-Eastern roots).

If you wish to direct non-Indians away from Hinduism towards something that is of their own blood and soul, then direct them towards the elder ways of Europe, which capture the same spirit of polytheism, animism, mysticism, and philosophical thought that is found in Hinduism.

Grimulfr LaugrssonJarnawulf@cs.com

Kashmir, the Pawn

Thank you for your coverage on Kashmir (Jan/Feb/Mar, 2002, Kashmir's Crisis). Your team boldly shed light on the Kashmir crisis and talked about the plight of the Kashmiri Hindus suffering in the refugee camps. Four hundred thousand Kashmiri Hindus, because of their religion, have faced systematic removal, killing and ethnic cleansing at the hands of Islamic terrorists in the valley since 1989, resulting in a mass exodus of hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri Pandits from their homeland. I would also like to point out a significant happening omitted in the article on Kashmir's saga, namely that the wills and wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir were lawfully enshrined in the Jammu and Kashmir's constitution of 1957 that irrevocably bound the state to India.The map of India in this article incorrectly labels the state of Jammu and Kashmir as Kashmir (Map of Jammu and Kashmir ref:http://www.indianembassy.org/policy/kashmir/kashmir_map.htm.Your article erroneously mentioned that the Indian leaders were interested in retaining Kashmir, while the facts mentioned below prove otherwise. In the book on the Jammu and Kashmir constitution (http://ikashmir.org/LegalDocs/140.html) by Justice A. S. Anand, ex-chief justice of India records, "According to Mr. Mahajan, Mr. Nehru was interested not so much in the accession of the state to India as in the power being given to the popular leaders." Mr. Mahajan was a former prime minister of Jammu and Kashmir and later became the chief justice of India. Alan Cambell-Johnson writes on page 223 of his Mission with Mountbatten (Robert Hale Ltd, 1951): "...the State's Ministry, under Patel's direction, went out of its way to take no action which could be interpreted as forcing Kashmir's hand and to give assurances that accession to Pakistan would not be taken amiss by India." The above quote refers to Sardar Patel, the architect of free India. Mountbatten, the Governor General of India, in his speech to the members of East India Association on June 29, 1948, said "Had he, [the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir] acceded to Pakistan before August 14, the future Government of India had allowed me to give His Highness an assurance that no objection whatever would be raised by them." (Reproduced in Lord Mountbatten's Time to Look Forward, p. 269). I hope you will continue publishing articles that affect Hindus worldwide.

Irma Razdanirma_raz@yahoo.com

Appologies to the author, a bad link was removd from this letter

Keep the Flame!

I am a lifetime subscriber to your immensely worthwhile magazine and also have contributed some articles. It has made a change in my life. It made me bolder and to believe in my religion, Hinduism, more fervently. Gurudeva was a true ambassador of our religion. He has done more for it in a positive way than a lot of other spiritual giants. Of course, it helped that he was a Westerner; he was fully aware of it and used it to the maximum advantage. His books are masterpieces. We here in Nashville give them as gifts to our chief guests at the Sri Ganesha Temple. The edition remembering him is written up so lovingly. His successor, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami will, I am sure, do full justice to the Hindu cause. We welcome him with open arms. Keep the flame of goodness and truth and purity burning through your magazine.

Rita Frenchman Gavankar, M. D.frenchita@worldnet.att.net


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