I was really disheartened to see this documentary on the extinction of Hinduism in Vietnam: youtu.be/1AqFiJWBflQ. Cham Hinduism in Vietnam is a distinct practice, like Balinese and Javanese Hinduism, different from Hindu practices in the Indian subcontinent. It should be preserved with the help of Hindu missionary work. Vietnam’s ancient pilgrimage sites should become known by Hindus in other parts of the world and be visited by them. This will bring a sense of unity among Vietnamese Hindus, as a part of the broader Hindu culture and civilization. A documentary on Vietnamese Hinduism should be filmed and broadcast to the world on television and the Internet. I am a freelance researcher of Hindu culture and civilization from India. My field of interest is the impact of Vedas and Upanishads on Buddhism and their interrelation. But financially I am not capable of doing this great work. I hope someone will come forward to help in this effort.
Vinod Kumar Yadav
Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
Pranams to the Bhakti Saints!
I enjoyed reading the article titled “Seven Bhakti Saints of North India” (HINDUISM TODAY, April/May/June, 2020) by Lakshmi Chandrashekar Subramanian. The article was thorough and insightful. During the years from 1200 to 1700, when India was under brute foreign rule, the bhakti saints mentioned in the article had a big role in protecting Hinduism and evolving it. The devotional environment that these God-realized saints created in North India resulted in the spiritual rise of numerous humans. Moreover, the saints united Hindus, reformed Indian society, and released Hindu spirituality from the grip of the so-called scholars whose knowledge only came from books and not from authentic religious experience.
Mukul Shri Goel
Kota, Rajasthan, India
Appreciation from Bengaluru
My respects to you and your Siva ganas who have been guiding the “pashus” towards Lord Pashupathi through your selfless service. Here at Bengaluru, His Holiness Sri Sri Ravisankar Gurudev Swamigal and the Sathsang are continuing the sevas. Apart from the regular activities, His Holiness has been giving a helping hand to the needy during this pandemic. On behalf of the institution I express my gratitude to your Aadheenam for having published the detailed article about our Sri Sri Gurukulam (HINDUISM TODAY, July/August/September, 2020). We received the electronic format of the article.
I thank you on behalf of the Agamikas for all your encouraging words towards Agamas, Alayas and the Adisaivas. I have shared the article with all the students. I am sure this will kindle the interest in Agamikas to pursue their traditional studies. It will also inform the mundane world about the system and the people involved in giving the positive energy the world needs. My special thanks to Sri Arumuganathaswamiji for all his guidance and also to Smt. Choodie Shivaram Ji for her understanding and presentation about our institution to the world in the way they may understand. I also appreciate the dedication she showed during her visits to Sri Sri Gurukulam. Thanks once again for all your unconditional love. I am sure with Sri Parameshwara’s grace and His Holiness’s and your blessings we will progress and bring back the divine tradition in practice.
A. S. Sundaramurthy Sivacharyar
Principal of Veda Agama Samskrutha Maha Patashala
Priest Training Flourishes
The article on training priests in the July-Sept 2020 issue of HINDUISM TODAY beautifully explains the daily hard schedule of the trainees. The pictures are impressive as always. It is interesting to read that the students participate in that rigorously disciplined life so enthusiastically. I was heartened to read that they are hired as priests immediately after their graduation. The gurukul will survive and progress due to that demand.
I would respectfully recommend modification in the timings of the students’ dinacharya, i.e., the daily schedule. Breakfast should be around 7am, lunch by 11:30am, and their dinner around 7pm. The students should be allowed about eight hours sleep after their rigorous schedule each day.
Dr. Prabhakar G. Joshi
Libertyville, Il, USA
I Am Proud of Our Traditions
This institution [the Veda Agama Patashala of Bengaluru] teaches us to be ourselves wherever we go. For example, we have this dress code: the dhothi and veshti. This is what we wear all the time. No matter where I go, which country, I am proud of my attire and will never change to suit the world. On the contrary, I have seen that people respect our traditional dress and individuality. We should never let go of our traditions. I find great pride in holding on to them.
Arun Kumar (a Senior Student)
Erode, Tamil Nadu, India
Spirituality’s Wise Faith
I read with interest Kailash Dhakshinamurthy’s letter, “God Exists as the X Factor?” (Hinduism Today, July/August/September, 2020), which was a rebuttal of my letter with the same title, published in Hinduism Today, April/May/June, 2020. However, all the arguments the author proposes to disprove the existence of God are based on those proposed by Western philosophers who rely purely on logic and rationality to analyze any issue. But that approach cannot work to analyze the concept of God, because God, while immanent as Nature, transcends logic and rationality and falls in the realm of spirituality. Logic and rationality can help us analyze the finite material world through our finite senses and mind, but cannot comprehend a spiritual world that transcends the material world and is infinite in scope. God is infinite: Satyam, Gyanam, Anantam Brahman (“God is Existence, Consciousness and Infinite”). Belief in God is thus indeed a matter of faith. But unlike Abrahamic religions, which rely on blind faith, Hinduism encourages and emphasizes faith stemming from intuition and direct experience that can be felt but cannot be described, just as a person can experience the sweetness of a cake through the sense of taste but cannot describe that sweetness in words. So, Hindu spirituality transcends, but does not contradict, logic and rationality.
Albany, California, USA
Navigating Challenging Times
How you can help our magazine continue providing spiritual tools for today
We asked our publisher, satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, how he sees Hinduism Today’s role in these agitated times.
“The world is certainly going through a difficult period right now. We have lots of new opportunities to worry, if we allow it—to become anxious, even fearful. Fortunately, Hinduism is here to remind us that these emotions can run wild, if allowed. But they are ours to control. Hinduism provides the knowledge and the practices to harness them and turn negatives into positives.
“We are encouraged to see the beginning of an inspiring trend of many Hindus and others, especially the young, preferring to take personal, inner responsibility for their spiritual unfoldment. They are not depending solely on outer affiliations or congregational participation. These are vital, too, but we need to maintain a balance; we should never neglect personal self-effort.
“This reawakening to sadhana (regular practices to enhance spirituality) is promising. And our magazine is perfectly poised to help by continuing to highlight the philosophy, the vocabulary, the techniques and practices that best support individual striving.
“Pandit Vamadeva Shastri (Dr. David Frawley) praised Hinduism Today in our October-November-December 2020 issue for framing ancient Sanatana Dharma in fresh metaphors and language, making it available and appealing to the contemporary mind. We have always strived to present Hinduism in a way that is usable in today’s world. Hinduism is ever a religion of today, helping us face issues of today and giving us tools for today, rather than dwelling heavily on history and the past.
“I would say that Hinduism Today is as relevant today at it has ever been, perhaps even more so. But it, too, has challenges to face at this time, especially regarding fortifying its finances. Due to the pandemic, print sales are drastically down. It is fortunate that readers are turning to digital versions and overall readership is steady. But digital versions are of necessity free and cannot offset the drop in copy sales.”
Help our magazine navigate today’s shifting currents and remain strong and able to continue fulfilling its vital mission. We ask all who would support Hinduism Today to direct all gifts—yearly, monthly or occasional donations—to the Hinduism Today Current Expense Fund to meet day-to-day expenses: bit.ly/help-HT
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