A Hindu Prayer for Everyone: Sarve Bhavantu Sukinah

Global Goals

The sad news about Swami Dayananda Saraswati - a Hindu leader whose loss will be mourned by millions around the world - came around the time I sat down to write about the Global Goals initiative at One. I was invited to join a circle of faith leaders at Patheos to champion the goals through the practices and teachings of my faith, Hinduism, with a Prayer for Everyone. I felt like it was a sign: Swamiji (“ji” is an honorific appended to a name or title, to convey respect) is well-known for his tea … [Read more...]

The Pope’s Caritas: Evocative of a Hindu’s Karuna

Editors' Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on the Pope in America: Implications, Collaborations, Challenges. Read other perspectives here.A child of immigrants, I grew up with a Catholic “uncle” - a foreign student from Southern India like my parents. He and my father were colleagues in the English department at a university in New York.  “Uncle Ralph,” my father would always say, “is a ‘small c’ catholic” - and to this day, I have not seen otherwise: he is as the defini … [Read more...]

The Future of Hinduism in America: Publicly Engaging Pluralism for Peace

Editors’ Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on the Future of Faith in America: Eastern Religions. Read other perspectives here. When I last wrote about the Future of Hinduism, I had become a voice for the Hindu community in interfaith relations, as co-founder of both the local interfaith group in Michigan’s most Asian American cities and the Outreach Committee of one of Michigan’s oldest and largest Hindu temples. Because of my interest in the way that Hinduism i … [Read more...]

India’s Latest Census: Hindus, Christians & Confusion

John Dayal India Census

As most people of Indian origin know, “American Born Confused Desi” - an ABCD - is a special phrase used to refer to a rather “neither here nor there” mentality that we Indian Americans might have acquired while growing up in America, with parents who are immigrants from India trying to provide an “Indian” environment at home. My parents went a step farther - they moved the family back to India when I was in high school, so that I could have a first hand experience of what it means to be Indian. … [Read more...]

Protecting Pluralism by Protecting Thy Neighbor

Rachel Held Evans Tweet

I learned with relief that the first gay couple in Kentucky received their marriage license, but not without disappointment that Rowan County ClerkKim Davis was jailed - and that her husband says she will not “bow down.” Surprising, since one would expect expect Kim Davis to be humble and compassionate - she is reportedly a born-again Christian and follows Christ. But it is Ms. Davis’ position as an elected official of the government, not her personal beliefs, that requires her to abide b … [Read more...]

Practicing Pluralism & Protecting Religious Freedom

Both Rev. Dana Trent, author of Saffron Cross, and Alicia Chandler, co-founder  of AJC Access Detroit, recently posted pieces exemplifying pluralism, through respective discussions on interfaith marriage and raising multi-faith children.Their practice of pluralism is possible because they are in settings where there is mutual respect  for another’s religious path. Pluralism and religious freedom can go hand in hand when conditions promote an open and fair exchange of ideas: there really is a choi … [Read more...]

Ethics of Vegetarianism: Evangelizing for the Environment

A recent NPR piece that someone shared with me reminded me why I no longer support them financially.  An Indian vegetarian diet and efforts to promote this are portrayed as a culture or caste issue, instead of one about the impact to environment, human health, animal welfare or religious freedom: the  “Egg War” seemed more of a war on Hinduism and Jainism. I have been raised on a traditional Indian, and to be even more specific, an Andhra vegetarian diet, while growing up in America - where being … [Read more...]