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Vedanta, Science and the western world (part-2)

“The real connecting link though can be understood only when we turn to the teaching not for a result but for its own sake”

The Western view has relied heavily on organized religion and failing that, on science to explain the mystery of life. Organized religion, where proselytizing is a great thrust, has given us more and more violence and has created great divisions between people. We find that one ends up supporting the organization and its infrastructure rather than gaining any spirituality. Acceptance rather than tolerance, spirituality rather than religiousness, is what we really seek in a more and more Globalized planet. Science has a possibility to connect us to the absolute truth as can be seen in the study of quantum physics (as opposed to classical) and related discoveries that are bringing us close to understanding the point where the subject/object distinction seems to become nonexistent. “The real connecting link though can be understood only when we turn to the teaching not for a result but for its own sake” (Isherwood, C., वेदांत for the Western World, p. 214).

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Vedanta, Science and the western world (part-1)

“Access to the Vedas is the greatest privilege this century may claim over all previous centuries. In the whole world, there is no study so beneficial and so elevating as that of the Upanishads. It has been the solace of my life – it will be the solace of my death.”

Arthur Schopenhauer, a skeptical and delightful writer of the French Renaissance, inventor of the modern essay. The philosophers no longer number him among their tribe, and no wonder: he’s too clear, too pleasant, and above all, too sensible. [CRS. Exception: Stephen Toulmin…] My paper may also fall into this category, because I do not think Vedanta needs to be dry and the concepts therein hidden behind long incomprehensible words.

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देवनागरी या लैटिन/रोमन???

मैं तो केवल "देवनागरी" जैसे नाम के कारण भी यथास्थिति बनाए रखना चाहूंगी!

मुझे अचरज होता है कि कुछ लोग इसे बदलना क्यों चाहते हैं; वे ऐसी लिपि क्यों अपनाना चाहते हैं, जिसका अपना कोई नाम तक नहीं है और जिसे लैटिन/रोमन की मदद लेनी पड़ती है?

पिछले कुछ समय से हमने हिंदी को लैटिन लिपि में लिखने का चलन देखा है। इसका उपयोग फिल्मों के नामों के लिए किया जाता है, इंटरनेट पर किया जाता है, हिंदी जानने वाले कुछ लोग ईमेल भेजने या एसएमएस भेजने के लिए भी करते हैं। कुछ प्रसिद्ध व्यक्तियों ने सुझाव दिया है कि हमारी राष्ट्र-भाषा हिंदी के लिए इसी लिपि को अपना लिया जाए। मैं पूरी तरह इस विचार के खिलाफ हूँ। इस लेख में, मैं कुछ कारण प्रस्तुत करना चाहती हूँ कि क्यों हमें एक लंबे समय से उपयोग की जा रही वर्तमान देवनागरी लिपि के अलावा किसी अन्य लिपि को अपनाने के बारे में कभी सोचना भी नहीं चाहिए!

मैं एक भारतीय-अमेरिकी हिन्दू हूँ और लगभग पचास वर्षों से अमेरिका में रह रही हूँ।

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DevaNaagari or Latin/Roman???

Just for a name like this, “देवनागरी ” I would stay with status quo!

Why some think otherwise I wonder; go with a script that does not even have a name for itself and has to take the help of Latin/Roman?

Recently we see Hindi being written using the Latin Script (lipi). It is being used for names of movies, on the internet, some people who know Hindi even correspond this way on emails or even SMS. Some known personalities have suggested that this script be adopted for our National Language Hindi. I am completely against this way of thinking. In this article, I want to begin proposing reasons for not ever thinking of adopting any Script other than the present देवनागरी that we have been using for a long time!

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Purpose of the petition:
Petition is against BJP, the political party, and against prospects of (silicon valley-India collaborations on) technology enterprises in India

Petition is against BJP, the political party,
We urge those who lead Silicon Valley technology enterprises to be mindful of not violating their own codes of corporate responsibility when conducting business with a government which has, on several occasions already, demonstrated its disregard for human rights and civil liberties, as well as the autonomy of educational and cultural institutions.
Petition agrees that India is prospering under Modi. But wants India to be punished as long as Modi is the Prime Minister.
Punish India by scuttling its economic growth so that these petitioners can get their revenge on Modi.

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Hindu Dharma and Ecology

Respect for Nature as for anything else comes from a certain understanding. For us Humans the thing in question must be of benefit to us, otherwise we will not do the right thing. This is how we humans are. So our minds are turning towards Ecology now that we have destroyed it to dangerous levels. However, we still are not really willing to look at the root cause of this phenomenon.

The way Hindus maintained the eco-balance for Millennia was based on an understanding of seeing an underlying oneness. This Manifestation, called Jagat, which we can call the Universe, is understood as interconnected. Please know that this concept of the Universe stands for what is known or unknown, existing now or potentiality in the future. So no questions of ‘what if this happens or that happens’, it covers all that.
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Hindu Dharma – Questions People Ask

I have made an attempt to give a brief overview of an ancient and philosophical religion. I hope this will help your study, at least to some extent.

What is the Concept of God?
According to Vedanta,(वेदांत) God is both the efficient and the material cause of creation. So God is not separate from the creation itself. Hence absolutely everything is part of God (manifest or unmanifest, known or unknown). This is where the attitude of accepting all forms of religious customs, that is so unique to Hindu Dharma, stems from. It is rooted in the basic principles of अद्वैता  वेदांत .

What is the Final Human Goal?
The final goal of a human life is to attain Moksha or Freedom from a sense of limitation. It is achieved through the realization of the fact that our essence is God and in that sense we are already one with God.

What is the Process to Attain this Goal?
Karma or action performed to the best of one’s ability in keeping with Dharma or righteousness and acceptance of results (karma-phala) with equanimity is one’s duty. If one thinks deeply there is no other choice either! The idea is to have a non-emotional approach to life and what it brings. In this way we can do what is to be done well and objectively, avoiding useless sorrow. If individuals are not sad and angry then most things will go well for most persons.

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Hindu Dharma – a Highly Misunderstood Tradition

As the oldest surviving tradition of the world we have gone through many things over the millennia. Much misunderstanding exists about what Hindu Dharma is and is not. These misconceptions are a result of both outside influences and inside neglect.

There are many religions in this world with followers; most religions are Historic, meaning a person at a given point started each of these religions. The वैदिक सनातन Hindu Dharma(हिन्दू धर्म) is unique, as there is no beginning, no person started it! How can that be? A fact nearly impossible to understand for those who rely on history for their beginnings and whose perspective of time is linear as opposed to cyclical.

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Hindu Dharma – A Simple Overview

To get a basic understanding of what we call Vedic Sanatana Hindu Dharma, popularly called Hinduism, we need a basic change in thinking from the linear way of looking at everything in this Creation as we usually have been taught in the West, to a cyclical thinking. This way can bring about a much wiser, gentler outlook, as we will see.
Central concepts to know:
● Creation is cyclical
● Dharma must guide our living
● Karmas produce appropriate results
● Bhagavaan or God is infinite
● So is the "Creation" or more appropriately the "Manifest World"
● Prayer is very important
● Respect for this Creation leads to Harmony
● Human life is our chance to seek unity with our Creator

Creation is a continuous process. At all times there are both beginnings and ends. We are part of this process of creation and dissolution, in that way we too create, but human creation is somewhat different than God’s creation.

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An ayurvedic experience...

The lush green tropical state of Keralam hugs the southwestern edge of India, like a child trying to hold the mother away from any harm. How many came for its spices, its coconut groves and the simple love that permeates the land, the same warmth and gentle acceptance that India has always shown to all those who came to her. For millennia Hindu kings let other faiths come and helped them build their places of worship, never once thinking that many and varied people could not live together, for is not, this infinite variety, the real glory of our Creator?

The Ayurveda Center at the Taj confirms that this belief is still alive and well. The staff as well as the people seeking treatment was testimony to this diversity. The Taj group is owned by persons of Parsi origins, now in India for so long that they have become truly the people of the land. Originally, as many may know, displaced from their ancestral home in Persia (Iran), they landed in what is the state of Gujarat now. The King welcomed them and requested that they sweeten the existing culture of the land as sugar sweetens milk. I think among the multitudes that came to the shores of the पुण्यभूमि (Punnyabhumi) of India this group has truly sweetened the milk. This Ayurveda setup is authentic and maintains the traditions meticulously, while providing long and short-term treatments for people from near and far.

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A glourious heritage (part - 2)

In our wise and humble way of thinking Knowledge was to be shared freely as the source of all knowledge is God--the creator and sustainer alone; Humans are Nimitta Maatra (merely instruments). Our experience is any knowledge when taken without humility and without credit to the original source does not bless, rather it can become the opposite. Maybe that is our problem in the West now. We have wealth and physical comforts at the present time, but minus a proper frame of mind to enjoy it. It seems what we have gained is an ability by which we are going to destroy the world as it exists today. Even that for us Hindus is not a problem, as we know the Creation comes to an end only because of Human folly and then the Almighty Creates again in all its glory to give us one more chance! However, it is a tragedy that need not be, by making every country suffer the same fate we only enlarge the scope of Human suffering.

Is there an alternative to this useless suffering where everyone is being taught to be against everyone else? Surely, it lies in the Vision of Sanaatana Dharma via Advaita Vedanta, which has known and tried to teach what Quantum Physics is saying today, in fact there are a multitude of Western writers from past to the present who have studied the Vedic philosophy and become famous by using its knowledge. Let me name a few for you: Goethe to Schopenhauer to Schroedinger, Voltaire to Michelet to Malraux, from Thoreau to Emerson to Whitman, from Toynbee to Huxley to Yeats. In more recent times Jung of the Jungian Institute and now Ken Wilber. The whole New age movement and the field of Parapsychology is a rehash, often not so well done and camouflaged in complicated academic language, of Advait Vedanta alone. Stealing has been endemic for many countries and not blessing us as it should!

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A glourious heritage (Part-1)

The world offers many things; we receive only what we are capable of understanding. Hearing is given; processing what we hear happens when the mind is behind the words; the two together become listening.
The Bhagavat Geetaa (4.38) says:

न हि ज्ञानेन सदृशं पवित्रमिह विद्यते।
तत्स्वयं योगसंसिद्धः कालेनात्मनि विन्दति।।

na hi jnanena sadrsam, pavitram iha vidyate
tat svayam yoga-samsiddhah, kalenatmani vindati

Meaning: In this world, there is nothing so sublime and pure as transcendental knowledge. Such knowledge is the mature fruit of all mysticism. And one who has become accomplished in the practice of devotional service enjoys this knowledge within himself in due course of time.

Here the Knowledge talked of is Aatma Jnyaan (Self realization); however Knowledge liberates in various ways. In the information age, Knowledge of our own History and culture is of paramount importance. With the explosion of information has come much undesirable material too. There are those who, because of their own disturbed mindset, seek to malign others. Unfortunately, even prestigious Universities are producing books and articles that have only slander as their aim. Hindus have been and are now very much under attack by religions that want world dominance; there is no Spirituality to their quest! Hence it is more important than ever before to know our role in this modern and connected world.

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A Hindu mind, if it is truly Hindu tends to go towards goodness, compassion and harmony. It is not that Hindus have not done anything wrong, but we have been brought up on Karma and not blind faith.

Faith involves some things we have to accept without understanding but the law of Karma tells us that our life is driven by our own actions now and always! The Almighty is there as a karma phal daataa or giver of fruits of the actions; much like planting and nourishing a fruit tree. I must plant it, water it, fertilize it, than most likely the fruits will be nice. This law of nature applied to our lives makes great sense to me. I think the sloka in the Bhagavat Geetaa says the same -
कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि॥

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A view from the other side (part-11)

Today Zee TV, world news talked about the royal couple having given birth to a baby girl! British royals that is! For all us colonized countries of the world— Europe is not a great continent. It has produced two world wars, Crusades that were like Jihaad of today, killing of Jews by the millions —but far less than the number of Hindus killed by two equally cruel religions. Missionary work began by Europeans, that is devastating the more peaceful populations of the world; then why this fascination about a man and women having a child ? How is that different from anyone having a child ? Every time anything happens in England we in the USA also go crazy. Like Diana dying in a car crash with her illegitimate lover. It happens every day everywhere, so what is to be fascinated ? Did USA not throw out the British? Not only that but even the light switches and faucets turn the other way so we could be different! USA was established in its present avatar, to be different and not Catholic for sure. Also we in the USA were against royalty ; who is royal anyway? To me the way they maintain Kings and Queens in Europe is more like maintaining parasites for the tax payers.

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A View from the other side (part-10)

Just a month ago I went to the PanIIT meeting in Bethesda, Maryland, USA. For me it was a historic conference to attend. It is my husband who is an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur, but Bhaagya took me, a spouse to deliver a talk at Kharagpur and help fund the activities of Students Forum for India’s Heritage (SFIH) that was in its initial stages then. So to me going to this conference meant much. Perhaps it is my deep appreciation of the Bhaartiya Samskriti and the fact of my being part Bengaali that pulled me to that part of India. The conference was fabulous—it is the first time I was at a place where the Indo-American was being recognized for all the contributions made by our people towards our adopted country, USA! If we read enough, we find that people of Indian origins have contributed to every country we have lived in. All who come in contact have benefited from the Aarsha Vidyaa (Rishi Knowledge) that is the inheritance of Bhaaratvarshis. More often than not, our contributions have not been recognized, particularly in the Western world, though they are first to open doors for Indian talents—of course only on an as-needed basis. India, however, has been able to supply whatever skill is needed to any country of the world—not a small achievement. Scientists, engineers, physicians, teachers, professors, medical personnel of every kind including physical therapists and much more. Our Spiritual gurus are providing the much needed mental stability, and Maharshi Patanjali of Yoga Sutra fame, is improving the much prized incomes and bodies of America too! Is there another nation such as ours on the face of this earth? It is only appropriate that I give credit to the USA, followed by some European countries, that they have attracted the best of the best from Asia. Is it a play of Karma that what is taken has to be given back in some way? Plunder of the ancient world may require that wealth return to them; that pride return to them and their ideas, at least some that were much better return to us for a better world.

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A View from the other side (part-9)

More than any other place on this Earth—HUMANITY living on the sacred land of Hindusthaan understands that Bhagavaan, Rab, God, Allah, called by a million names now and always—remains ONE. The source of all that we know or do not know can only be one Almighty. In Bhaaratvarsha people knew this fact for as long as human memory is traceable. Hindus and many non-Hindus too within India, remain committed to upholding this obvious truth no matter what the consequences. Knowledge once gained cannot be overtaken by ignorance—never!

It must be because we know that the “Sat” (absolute truth which is God) permeates the manifestation, that we do not call Mohammad a terrorist, Christ a homosexual and certainly we do not print revered Hindu deities on toilet seats, underwear, shoes; nor do we flush other peoples’ holy books down the drain. These acts are committed by the members of the developed and civilized side of our world!

Sitting here, on this side of the world (West), I cannot help wondering how such a mindset comes into existence. Ability to disrespect every Spiritual sentiment does not point to a civilized society. Then, I feel what a blessing it is to be born in Bhaarat Bhoomi and be a Hindu. A truly civilized Samskriti respects the spiritual sentiment of even the enemy and Bhaarat Maataa has been doing so by offering sanctuary to all persecuted people of this hurting planet of ours!! “The One Country that Always Protects, Preserves—Compassionately,” a book of such a name must be written by the publishers of The Hindu Renaissance—easy to read, clear and brief which can be given to all school children so they will not grow up being anti-India as many of their ancestors have done!

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A view from the other side (part-8)

Ancient, yet young and vibrant!
In this infinite manifestation called Jagat (Universe), there are infinite opportunities coming our way at all times. Yet there are special times for an individual, a community even a Nation. For Hindusthaan such a time is this century. There are many signs if only we stop and look. So let us look and having looked, let us act together to usher in the best time yet for Humanity.

The Hindus are well qualified to lead the World into a more ethical and honest era. We, the Hindus, have been around continuously, maintaining the essence of our traditions, in spite of the cruelest invasions into our lands. While most of the other ancient traditions nearly vanished under the horrible advance of the two expanding socio political systems somehow called religions, the Hindus kept going. When Hindus act through conviction and a thorough understanding of Sanaatan Dharma, much help from all sides will pour in – the world is tired of Jihaads and Crusades, religious terrorism and constant destruction that only harm the ordinary citizen in each country. In other words it is the perfect time for Hindus to provide a Spiritual leadership that has been the destiny of Bhaarat Maataa for ever. That is why we are still here!

Bhaarat has a young population, i.e. the largest number of youth lives in India today! I have read that almost five hundred and fifty million Bhaaratiyas may fall into the group of under twenty-five years of age. This is no small advantage at a time when most Western countries are faced with less and less youth in their populations. Even China faces an aging populace as does Japan. No one can usher in a monumental change as well as the young. And that is not all; it has been proven beyond a doubt, that this Bhaartiya youth is super bright. Village youth seem to be equally intelligent and possess more practical experience of life. They have stayed closer to our original Vedic Samskriti; which as we know, produced a phenomenal country that was the envy of the whole world. I want to share two quotes with the readers that reflect why so many came to Hindusthaan ---- the land of the Hindus; and why most stayed on to become part of the larger fabric of the Hindu ethos. This assimilation was possible because of the Hindu understanding of the Almighty as an all pervading Energy. We know that this Energy can be invoked through prayers, with in this conscious, intelligent Creation and it can be called upon for help in innumerable ways.

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A View from the other side (part-7)

From across the oceans at times, I am baffled at what happens in Hindustaan! My heart loves that land to the utmost, my rational side wonders at what really went wrong and how long will it take to fix the Hindu psyche?

There are so many people all over this planet of ours, waiting for the great country of Bhaarat to rise once again. Major institutes within the USA are studying India to unravel her genius of staying alive through so much, for so long. The Cato Institute and the Brookings Institution are two that I know of, there are many others. They know the immense value of our culture whereas we, protected by it, know almost nothing and are thus happy in our oblivion.

Hindu saints like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar,(श्री श्री रवि शंकर) Amritaanandamayi maa,(अमृतानंदमयी माँ) Swami Chinmayaanandaji,(स्वामी चिन्मयानन्दजी) Swami Dayananda Saraswati ji,(स्वामी दयानंद सरस्वती जी) and so many more are revered by millions in the world. The West is flocking to Hindu traditions more and more every day; yet in India, somehow a most respected sanyaasi,(सन्यासी) His Holiness Shree Jayandra Sarasvati ji(स्वामी दयानंद सरस्वती जी) of Kanchi Peetha(कैंची पीठ)  has been arrested. Shocking beyond expression!

As a Hindu, as an American, I subscribe to the supremacy of the Law of the Land and its application equally to all citizens. However, nowhere in the whole world is this more skewed than in India at the present time. India is the only country in the world that does not seem to care for its majority. It is obsessed with the minority issues in a very sick and humiliating way. In the final analysis the desire to keep everyone happy produces more unhappiness on all fronts. In any other decent country, if a need arose to arrest a person of Shree Jayandra Saraswati ji’s stature a certain decorum would have been maintained. It would be easy to request a house arrest during the time of the investigation. There is hardly any danger of a person of his fame of actually running away like a common criminal. Absolutely no sanctity should have been broken and he should have been allowed to continue the lifestyle of a Sannyasi, which is not possible in a common jail! This could have been done in accordance with the law—as in legality and in accordance with the law of decency—as in Humanity.

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A view from the other side (part-6)

What Makes Us Unique?
Recently I received a book written by Shree Sandipan Deb entitled, The IITians, the story of a remarkable Indian institution and how its alumni are reshaping the world. My husband was among the third batch from IIT Kharagpur to graduate in civil engineering. Reading the book he seems to have done most of the typical things that IITians have done—coming for a Masters and PhD here to the USA, going back and working in Bhaarat for three years and then returning to find more satisfying work conditions and eventually success. In his case the subject of his PhD, environmental engineering, itself contributed to his return to the USA, as in India of the 1960s though badly needed, we did not have the luxury to think about the environment. Bhaaratvarsha had been left in shambles by the colonizing era preceded by the Islamic and Portuguese crusades; our immediate need was food, shelter and to secure our borders. Imagine the Indo-Gangiatic plains not being able to provide food for a mere 350 million under the able governance of the Europeans, which under the mismanagement of the Hindus has been able to feed over a billion and even export food grains!

This story repeats itself in many fields; the IIT story is certainly one such important story. What is pertinent here is that these IITs were set up in the days of a terribly traumatized country—post partitioned India; not the best time to envision anything great, let alone such amazing educational institutions that one day would be instrumental in letting much pride return to us.

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A view from the other side (part-5)

The Spiritual Context of Human Rights
This time I want to share a very unique experience that I had recently, which relates to the issue of human rights to a certain extent. All over the USA, institutes for healing racism have sprung up in the past few years. The one in our town of Grand Rapids, Michigan, invited me to attend two full days of a workshop on the subject. Generally schools, corporations and other organizations pay to send their employees so they are better equipped to handle the increasing diversity in the population of the USA. Arguably, India may be the only country more diverse than this nation on planet Earth as of now!

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