Monday, November 08, 2010



Vancouver Sun: Diwali festival a good time to ask: Are we all Hindus now?

Mohan Gupta Sat, Nov 6, 2010 at 12:40 PM
Vancouver Sun: Diwali festival a good time to ask: Are we all Hindus now?
Diwali festival a good time to ask: Are we all Hindus now?

By Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun November 4, 2010
'We are all Hindus now."
That was the headline of a noted essay that appeared in 2009 in Time magazine, and it's well worth reflecting on as Canadians of all backgrounds are increasingly drawn to the annual South Asian festival
of Diwali.
North Americans have not, we know, openly converted en masse to Hinduism -- even if Elizabeth Gilbert's book about exploring Indian mysticism, Eat, Pray, Love, has become a hugely popular movie, and the lead actress, Julia Roberts, declared this fall she is Hindu.
But it is remarkable how Hindu beliefs, metaphysics and practices have quietly and thoroughly become integrated into North American culture in the past couple of decades, almost as if by stealth. Or osmosis.
For instance, Canada, especially the West Coast, has witnessed the rise of hundreds, if not thousands, of yoga studios, meditation centres, vegetarian restaurants and Ayurvedic health spas, all of which could be said to have roots in Hinduism.
The key Hindu teaching about reincarnation, as well, is accepted now by 30 per cent of all Canadians, including 37 per cent of Canadian women, according to a recent Leger poll.
Hindu meditation philosophy has also gone mainstream through best-selling spiritual teachers like Deepak Chopra and Vancouver's Eckhart Tolle, the author of The Power of Now.
In addition, a Pew Forum poll found that two out of three Americans now reject the theologically conservative Christian teaching that there is only one way to heaven, or salvation.
Most North Americans, even while declaring themselves "Christian" or "Jewish" or "secular," are signing onto the long-held Hindu attitude there are many authentic roads to spiritual truth.
It can't be claimed that Diwali, the autumn "festival of lights" that officially kicks off Friday at temples, is the main vehicle by which Hindu ideas and practices are becoming assimilated across North America.
Still, Diwali's growing acceptance among non-South Asian Canadians, especially among schoolchildren in urban centres such as Toronto and Vancouver, may have contributed to the quiet trend.
As most Canadians know, Diwali is celebrated not only by Hindus, but in different ways by Sikhs and Jains of South Asian heritage.
One of the many reasons Hinduism tends to be overshadowed in B.C. is that the province has four times more Sikhs than Hindus. Yet, across Canada, there are slightly more Hindus (roughly 360,000) than Sikhs
(about 340,000).
Hinduism's unusually low profile in Canada is furthered by the fact Sikhs share many teachings with Hindus: Both promote reincarnation, karma, cremation and the belief that time is cyclical rather than
Both teach the soul is continually reborn in different bodies.
Yet, compared to Sikhism, Hinduism is a much older, much larger and much more geographically and philosophically diverse religion. Compared to Sikhism, Hinduism has had a much wider impact on the planet (including by indirectly giving birth to Buddhism).
What is the biggest reason most North Americans fail to recognize there is truth in the provocative statement: "We're all Hindus now"?
It's simple: The religion is often not given credit where it is due.
To put it another way, Hinduism is being plagiarized.

The co-founder of the Hindu American Foundation, Suhag Shukla, is among those miffed that many promoters of yoga, meditation, Ayurvedic health and Indian philosophy often go out of their way to avoid using
the word "Hindu."
Shukla charges that most North Americans stereotype Hinduism as being about "caste, cows and curry." As a result, he maintains everyone from Eckhart Tolle to fitness teachers routinely act as if things like yoga and reincarnation have next to nothing to do with Hinduism.
How exactly does this intellectual theft occur? Many North Americans who market or teach what are in essence Hindu beliefs or practices often call them something else, such as "ancient Indian," "Vedic," "yogic" or even "universal."
Shukla says none of these euphemistic labels for describing Hindu-based practices are exactly wrong, but they're still misleading.
"Without a nod to their Hindu origins, this de-linking disenfranchises admitted Hindus of recognition and appreciation for the breadth and depth of their faith," Shukla writes.
He has a point. It's time to give proper credit as South Asian Hindus continue to take a larger role in everyday Canadian life, as Diwali becomes mainstream in Metro Vancouver, as yoga and meditation become firmly established and as more North Americans begin to concur with the foundational teaching of Hinduism's Rig Veda:
"Truth is One, but the sages speak of it by many names." Read Douglas Todd's blog at
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun


What is Hindu Advocacy? Find Out

USA, October 12, 2010 (press release): What exactly is advocacy? This concept, which is the very focus of the Hindu American Foundation’s efforts, is still a vague and airy-fairy notion for most in the Hindu American community. Yet, advocacy is absolutely vital if our community is to be heard and effectively represented in schools and colleges, newspapers and magazines, and state and federal governments.
To this end, HAF is excited to announce the release of its third short film, “Advocacy…Huh?” View it now and listen closely.
Why is important that we educate others about Hinduism? Why is vital to speak up about issues effecting the entire community? Who should we build strategic relationships with and why? Watch Advocacy…Huh? and find out!


From: Poonam Abbi

Some people have created the website with the express purpose of insulting, humiliating & spreading lies about the Vedic religion. It is something to consider, why is it that all the religions of the world today are kind of "gheraoing" Sanatan Dharm & trying to show that it is false & deceptive. The opposing religions include those religious paths that are not even religions in the true sense. Sikhism & Buddhism are not even truly religions. If you look closely, Buddhism is based only on the observations & teachings of one man who ran away from the most important of all the human duties, Grahasth ashram. A person who does not follow his Karm, how can he be considered the creator of Dharm? Siddhharth's first duty was towards his wife, child, & kingdom. Taking Sanyas was the easy way out of the tough job of living a life. It is very easy to avoid temptation in a jungle where almost none exists. The true testing conditions are in the grahasth ashram...that is what Jagad Guru Shri Krishna repeated at every step in his discourse in Geeta.
As for Sikhism, there was none till Guru Gobind Singh Ji ascended the Guru Gaddi. Guru Nanak & all the Gurus who followed, were great social reformers who stripped the frills & fluff from the Sanatan Dharm rituals that had been installed by the various "higher socio-economic class" to keep the people away from the knowledge, & therefore under their own control. It would be wrong to say that ostentatious & lavish poojas & temples are a flaw of Sanatan is absolutely wrong & very British & Christian to label the social problems of a society as a flaw of the religion. As far as Guru Gobind Singh Ji, His Holiness was a warrior, a Kshatriya, & he only created the militant wing to protect his own people from the atrocities of the Muslims. He was Gobind Rai, & took on the name Singh only later. And he too only simplified the prayer methods, which are very much in keeping with the Bhakti movement, & the true premise of Sanatan Dharma that there need not be a middleman or a lot of show & pomposity of rituals in communing with God, any one can do it, if he so wants to. Prayers & religion is a very personal thing, & community prayers are only a way of people with similar (not identical) beliefs getting together to share spiritual thoughts with each other, not to discount the peaceful vibes of the large number of people praying collectively. None of the Gurus had any social or political aspirations for themselves or their children. And now, just like the Christians claiming to reap the benefits of Christ dying on the cross, the Sikhs want to use the sacrifices of the Gurus to their own selfish benefits & are going to the extreme of wrecking the very country & principles their Gurus laid down their lives to protect & ordered their followers to protect.
You may not agree with me, & ask me to show where some one has said all this, but if any one sits down & thinks seriously about these things, try to clear the lies & conceit & deceit used to cover the truth, you will be able to grasp the truth.
The "religions" &"modern day rationalists" need to discredit & destroy Sanatan Dharm or "Hinduism" as they call it, in order to make their own religions credible...they have no scientific or rational basis. & they need the Vedic knowledge for that. Once they succeed in discrediting the Vedas by calling them same as their Bible & Koran, they will succeed. & then they can take the science part & stamp it with their own name & document it for posterity that they (the invaders, thieves, & murderers from the west) brought the knowledge to the junglee Bhaaratiya people.
All this mass destruction of temples in India & mushrooming of crosses all over the face of India like pock marks will make sure that there is no evidence left of the local intelligence, & highly evolved intellect & psyche. The material wealth has already been looted.
And in less than 50 years the generation that has any affinity to India & Indian will die off. India will become a relic in the dusty side museums of the west..


Importance of words!

No one has heard any Hindu students from the Missionaries institutions ever converting to Christianity!
How come they are not impressed by such noble cause and acts?
We don't have to look far and wide for reasons of their interest in the young minds of such 'cream of the gullible Hindu Society'.
One narration may suffice for the cunning plan behind this sinister, long-drawn scheme.
In the words of Sri Golwalkar Guruji, the second Sarsanghchalak of the RSS: "Once, during my journey, I came across a foreign missionary, who was my co-traveler in the same train compartment. During comversation, I asked him, " One can understand you offering services to the poorer section of the society, in the name of Jesus.But what impels you to open educational institutions for higher strata of the Hindu society? You are able to convert not one of them!"The answer was an eye opener! "We may not be able to convert them, but, surely, we have succeeded in de-nationalising them! We can destroy their pride in Hindu Culture. We can create a feeling in them that they are not part of the society. They have nothing in common with the rest of the society. Even a small strip of cloth- a tie, round their necks is enough to wean them away. And that is our success"."
No truer words were ever spoken!



Crimes Against India: and the Need to Protect its Ancient Vedic Tradition
1000 Years of Attacks Against Hinduism and What to do About It.
by Stephen Knapp

Review by David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri)
Hinduism remains the most attacked and under siege of all the major world religions. This is in spite of the fact that Hinduism is the most tolerant, pluralistic and synthetic of the world's major religions. Hindu gurus have more than any other religious teachers in the world tried to find an underlying unity of religion to create peace in humanity. Yet though Hindu gurus have called for respect for all religions, leaders of other religions have not responded in kind by offering any respect for Hinduism. Instead they have continued to promote their missionary agendas and plan the conversion of India to their beliefs.
Why is Hinduism still so much a target of missionaries and the media? It is really very simple. Hinduism is the largest of the non-conversion, non-proselytizing religions and so offers the greatest possibilities for conversion. It is the vulnerability of Hinduism that makes it a target, not the fact that Hindus are trying to convert or conquer the world for some hostile belief.
After Christianity and Islam, Hinduism is the world's largest religion and the largest of the non-Biblical traditions. India, where most Hindus reside, has the most open laws allowing in foreign religious groups. While missionaries are virtually banned in China and in Islamic countries, in India they are often tolerated, respected and given a wide scope of activity. Since Christianity is in decline, particularly in Europe, it has a need to find new converts for which India is one of main potential locations, particularly as a comparatively high percentage of Hindu converts are willing to become priests and nuns. Pope John Paul II in a trip to India some ten years ago spoke directly of looking for a "rich harvest of souls in the third millennium in Asia", specifically India.
Yet most Hindus and groups sympathetic to them are not aware of this "siege on Hinduism" that continues unrelenting as part of the multi-national missionary business. In this context, the book of Stephen Knapp, Crimes Against India: and the Need to Protect its Ancient Vedic Tradition, is very timely, well written and well documented. The siege on Hinduism has been going on since the first Islamic armies and Christian missionaries entered India as he clearly delineates and has continued in various forms, violent, subversive or even charitably based.
While people know the history of the genocide of the Jews by the Nazis, the greater and longer genocide of Hindus by Islamic invaders is hardly noticed. Even the genocide in the Bangladesh War of 1971, in which most of the several million killed were Hindus, is not acknowledged as a religious genocide. While people know the history of the Inquisition and the burning of witches in Europe and the genocide of Native Americans by Christian invaders, they don't realize that India has a similar history in parts of the country like Goa. Knapp fills in these gaps and makes these connections.
More importantly, people don't realize that questionable conversion tactics are still being used in India today, where in the South, the rate offered for conversion is around twenty thousand rupees, going up and down with the economy! They also don't realize that it is now American Evangelicals of the Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson line -- the religious right that brought George Bush to power -- that is spearheading conversion activity and church building in South India, pouring billions into the country.
Yet Knapp's book is not just written to make us aware of this assault on Hinduism and its many dangers. He also provides a way forward, showing how Hindu Dharma can be revived, better taught, better communicated and more widely shared with the global audience, which is becoming progressively more receptive to Hindu teachings of Yoga, Vedanta and respect for nature. He documents the Hindu renaissance and the modern Hindu movement, which though small is growing rapidly as a Hindu response to this denigration of its venerable traditions. He shows that Hindus are not responding in terms of becoming another intolerant, exclusivist missionary cult. They are organizing themselves in terms of teaching, service and spiritual practices.
The book is well worth reading and will show any open minded person the Hindu side of a millennial debate on religion that has so far largely excluded the Hindu point of view. That Knapp is a western born Hindu adds to his credibility and conviction. He is not simply defending a tradition handed down by his family or his culture, but one that he has embraced from deep spiritual conviction and profound inner experience.
One hopes that readers in India will listen to his voice and that those outside of the country will recognize the Hindu plight along with the other forms of oppression going on in the world. Religious minorities at a global level are still under the assault of religious majorities, which have long been armed with petrodollars, high technology and control of the media. Yet as the book demonstrates, the tide is beginning to turn.

Crimes Against India: and The Need to Protect its Ancient Vedic Traditions
Available from



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