This month our color poster venerates the oh-so-ancient Yajur Veda, the sacredly revealed scripture intoned by Hindu priests in temples and shrines great and small the world over. The name of this Veda indicates its special meaning and importance. Yajur comes from the verb yaj, "to worship, adore or honor, especially with sacrifice or oblations." The Vedas envision a universe where everything, every act, every word and every thought is a sacrifice to the One. Flowers sacrifice their nectar to the bees. Bees sacrifice their honey to the bears. Bears sacrifice themselves to the hyenas. And on and on, life sacrificing itself to life.
On a higher plane, man sacrifices himself to mankind, and ultimately mankind sacrifices itself to God. The oceans sacrifice themselves that clouds may soar above. The clouds sacrifice their being that rains may fall. The rains sacrifice themselves that rivers may flow. The rivers sacrifice their waters that crops may flourish. Thus, in a thousand ways, every part of existence is giving of itself that the rest may exist. Countless dogs, rats, rabbits and cats are sacrificed daily on the altars of the scientist's laboratory to protect and prolong the life of humans. For only in a human body can one attain moksha, the ultimate release from the cyclic woes of karma. This is because the human body has the 14 chakras which no other body in any other world has. Every living creature sacrifices itself to another, but only man to God. Finally, even the Gods are sacrificing themselves to the Supreme God in final merger. Sacrifice is the very nature of the universe. Explain it differently and you will be wrong.
Our little friendly Hindu Family Newspaper welcomes this month a wonderful new Malay-speaking readership. As the chart shows, Malay is the ninth largest language group on earth, more than Japanese and much more than German or French. Ever since 1957, when Malaysia achieved independence from Christian Britain, the country has been working hard to replace English with the indigenous Malay language-first in schools, then universities and lately in government and the courts. This means that our younger generation of Hindus will know of dharma in Malay, will speak more Malay than English. Not only that, but all Hindus in Java and Bali, and millions of Hinduized Indonesians will, for the first time, be able to see in the pages of Hinduism Today what is happening in and to Hinduism globally.
The Malay Supplement, nobly named Akbar Hinduisma, will for a year or so be included along with the Malaysia English edition. Later it will become an independent edition of its own. This magnificent step forward is the brain-child of our Malaysian editor, Pathmarajah Nagalingam. As you can see from the picture taken when he visited our Hawaii ashram in early March, Pathma is more than happy with his new expansion, which is built on a foundation of five years of vigorous and uninterrupted religious service as our very first franchisee, printing and distributing Hinduism Today throughout Southeast Asia.
Sri Pathmarajah Nagalingam, 37, a CPA with a modest practice in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, has been an ardent missionary and seeker since his high-school days, protecting, preserving and promoting Sanatana Dharma. He taught extensively throughout the country, feeling "that every man must contribute to society before he leaves his mortal frame." He wrote me, "I feel that in a single generation, not only can we can reverse the downward trend of Hindu society in Malaysia but actually elevate Malaysian Hindus to a super-exalted community through Hinduism Today. Information alone changes a people. Unbelievable things are happening in today's world that were not dreamt of two years ago. The same things can happen to Hindus here in my country. Again there is the karmic wild card. Just a small team working cohesively for a few years is enough to make a change, for the chain reaction has an astronomic progression." Now Pathma's publications team pushes forth Akbar Hinduisma for the youth, reaching out to Hindu communities in Malaysia, Indonesia and Bali, networking them on dharma's international information highway.
Happily married with two daughters, Pathma affirms the Skanda Purana's exhortation that the wife is a spiritual and material luminary, and bringing up daughters is ten times more meritorious than raising sons. In his spare time, he reads Clavell, plays flute, chants the Yajur Veda, meditates and tinkers with Macintosh computers in his high-rise and high-tech graphic design firm.
World's Top 10 Tongues:
Rank, language, # of Speakers in Millions
1 Mandarin 844
2 English 437
3 Hindi/Urdu 338
4 Spanish 331
5 Russian 291
6 Arabic 192
7 Bengali 181
8 Portuguese 171
9 Malay 138
10 Japanese 124