An Enlightened Diwali: Saving the Sacred at Standing Rock

This Diwali weekend, I thought I would take the time to do something that is symbolic of Diwali’s deeper significance: focus on the non-materialistic aspects of the holy day and shed the light of awareness on an issue that many are ignorant about.  The story of what is happening at Standing Rock is being largely ignored amidst the backdrop of the presidential election campaign and the hate that it has generated. As a Hindu who values the sacredness of all life and all Creation, the silence from t … [Read more...]


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Ganesha Chaturdhi and the Start of the Academic Year

Usually the Hindu holiday of Ganesha Chaturdhi falls in late August or early Sept. - around the beginning of the academic year for most schools, colleges and universities. Ganesha, the elephant-headed deity also known as Vinayaka, is especially important for those seeking education and initiating academic pursuits: believed to be the author of the Hindu epic the Mahabharata, prayers are offered to Ganesha at the start of the new school year, the new writing project, and any new endeavor. That … [Read more...]


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Absent Mother God of the West: A Review

My first encounter with the writings of Dr. Neela Bhattacharya Saxena was her blog Stand Under the Mother Principle. Saxena is a Professor of English and Women's Studies at Nassau Community College in NY, where she teaches The Goddess in World Religions, a course that she created. She is interested in world religions, global literature, science fiction, and classical Indian music - and like me, sees life and the life-giving Divine through both Eastern and Western lenses, and experiences life as … [Read more...]


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Being a Hindu, Being an Ambassador for Hinduism

We live amid challenging times, where ignorance about your neighbor can lead to not just “otherizing” someone you don’t know, but also to violence -  violence that stems from fear and distrust of someone whose beliefs and practices seem alien and in opposition to your own. When I moved to Michigan nearly two decades ago, I was one of a handful of people “farmed out” to be a speaker when the meager office staff received a call asking for a Hindu representative, from schools, colleges and other gro … [Read more...]


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A Foundation for Constructive Interfaith Dialogue: Equity in Education

Fifteen years ago, I was a community activist who came into the space of actively engaging diversity and working for inclusion. I live in Troy, the city with diversity second only to Ann Arbor, in a region with more immigrants from India than from any other country. I realized that the impact of 9/11/2001 on our community — local, regional as well as national — would be far reaching, and began building more bridges of understanding across difference. I brought my whole self into these con … [Read more...]


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Miracles in the Eastern Traditions: Buddhist, Daoist, Hindu Connections in the Story of God

In the last episode of National Geographic’s The Story of God with Morgan Freeman, Freeman travels the world trying to understand the power of miracles. This time, when he travels to India, he examines the Buddhist understanding of miracles by visiting Bodh Gaya, where Buddha attained enlightenment. Freeman says he’s come to India to understand miracles and the “religion that believes we all have the mental power to perform miracles.” The Dalai Lama has often referred to Hinduism and Buddhism as … [Read more...]


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