A Summer of Advocacy: an HAF Intern’s Story

September marks both the start of the school year, and the end of the summer. And Faren Rajkumar, a young Hindu American, shares her reflection in this guest post about being an advocate this past summer: she was an Advocacy Intern at the Hindu American Foundation's DC office. A long-time volunteer with the South Florida HAF chapter, she completed photojournalism and writing programs at the University of Florida and the City University of New York. Currently, she is working on an MFA with a poetr … [Read more...]

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Baby Shower And/Or Seemantham: Bundle of Hope and Joy

It is indeed special to celebrate the start of a new year, and the new beginnings associated with it, but it is even more special when the first few days of the year includes celebrating the arrival of a new baby. The Hindu life sacrament known in Sanskrit as Simantonnayana with the literal meaning “parting of the hair,” has evolved into a baby shower, to both welcome a new baby into the family and celebrate the expectant mother. Hindus, particularly those from southern India where my ancestors h … [Read more...]

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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...]

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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...]

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Rites of Passage: A Hindu American Experience

Editors’ Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on Rites of Passage. Read other perspectives here.A few years ago, the temple in the metro-Detroit area that my family goes to most often started conducting a special puja to mark graduation. I was fascinated. A puja is a religious rite, where Hindus worship through devotion to God, offering prayers and food, often to a specific deity, performed daily or on special occasions, on holy days.  Pujas are done to mark rites of pa … [Read more...]

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The Good of Hinduism: A Solid Foundation of Pluralism

Editors' Note: This post is part of a Patheos symposium —What Good Is Religion? Read more here.In trying to understand or discuss the “good of Hinduism” - how faith has, in big and small ways, theoretical and very concrete, served humanity and the world for good – one can simply state the obvious. A Hindu can do good by serving others, as indicated in the oft repeated “Manav seva, Madhav seva.”  A loose translation – Service to humanity is service to God  - doesn’t capture the selfless nature … [Read more...]

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