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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The Story of God & Evil: Dichotomy or Complexity?

My father, an English professor, always told me that the opposite of love was apathy - not hate. Similarly, we’ve discussed how the opposite of God and all that is good has less to do with evil and the devil, and more to do with all that is bad - and how Shakespeare had it right: there is no absolute, where one is good and the other is evil, but rather a perspective that shapes our understanding  The next National Geographic episode of The Story of God with Morgan Freeman attempts to understand t … [Read more...]


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Shining a Light on Autism

As a Board member of a national Hindu advocacy organization, I have the opportunity to work closely with people whose advocacy efforts are rooted in the  first of the four-fold spiritual path a Hindu follows: dharma, or justice, fairness and equality.  One of HAF’s objectives is to “solve contemporary problems by applying Hindu philosophy,” with an emphasis on “promoting the Hindu teaching of every person’s inherent divinity regardless of race, religion, caste, gender, age, or sexual orientation, … [Read more...]


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The Hindu Story of Creation: Which One?

Host Morgan Freeman searches for the stories of creation as part of his understanding of God and spiritual practices from various religions around the world, in the upcoming episode of “The Story of God,” airing Sunday, April 24 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, on the National Geographic Channel. His guide in India, scholar Binda Paranjpe, explains something that most people don’t realize: Hindus don’t have a single story of creation… There is no single scripture that starts with “In the Beginning,” that one … [Read more...]


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