Purushartha: Pursuing the Four Goals of a Human Life

My focus on doing the right thing(s) means that these days, my Facebook notifications and my newsfeed are filled to the brim with all of the things I should read, attend, sign on to, donate to and just do.  Sometimes its hard to know what to do, since the competing priorities of family, work and community responsibilities all can make you crazy with how much there is to accomplish. Turning to the Hindu ideals of human life helps simplify what to put on my… Read more

A Hindu’s Practice: Education, Meditation and Self-Realization

The recent vote by the Senate to confirm Betsy Devos as Secretary of Education bothered me – and not just because I felt she is grossly unqualified for the job. It reminded me that we are in a state of polarization, in partisan or left/right silos, where social media enables us to hear only voices that amplify our feelings. Fear of the “other side” is festered, along with an inability to achieve balance or promote pluralism. To find that equanimity,… Read more

Wisdom from More Than One Guru

Hinduism may not have been started by a single prophet like Christianity or Islam, and yet numerous Hindu gurus, saints and seers have been an inspiration to people around the world, and especially here in America.  My upbringing was imbued with Advaita Vedanta, with its foundations in the teachings of Adi Shankaracharya.  Yet the beauty of Hindu practice is that I need not approach the Divine from only one direction or the teachings of one guru: Hinduism is pluralism, and… Read more

The Story of God: The Proof is in Pluralism

The Story of God: Proof of God In the third and final episode of Season 2 of National Geographic’s The Story of God, Morgan Freeman starts in New York City, with this basic premise: humans desire proof that God exists. While I was challenged throughout the episode to stay connected with the various beliefs and practices that were presented from traditions around the world, my mind and heart kept straying to another city, Chicago, and another seeker’s quest: Swami Vivekananda,… Read more

The Story of God: Seeking Heaven on Earth

In Season 2, episode 2 of National Geographic’s The Story of God, Morgan Freeman seeks answers to those often-expressed questions, “What is heaven? and “What is hell?” Looking up at a star-filled night sky, he starts by sharing with viewers what his grandmother taught him: Heaven is where “…good people go when they die,” and how she “warned him about the other place – where you go when you are bad.” Through the episode Freeman investigates various faith and spiritual… Read more

The Story of God: The Chosen One(s), Parallels across Traditions

In the first episode of Season 2 of National Geographic’s The Story of God, Morgan Freeman explores the idea of The Chosen One, seeking out those believed to lead and guide humanity. Morgan Freeman goes in search of the chosen people walking the earth today, ranging from a 9-year old boy in the heartland of America who is believed to be the reincarnation of a Buddhist lama who has been returning in different bodies for almost five hundred years, to… Read more

A Holiday Season to Give the Gift of Listening

Modern Woman magazine’s issue ran an article entitled “Peace on Earth,” on how interfaith families celebrate the December holiday season.  In it, journalist Oona Goodin-Smith quoted me, drawing from the interview she did on my interfaith activism in metro-Detroit: In the Hindu faith, we have a saying: ‘The truth is one, the wise call it by many names.’ I think it’s very applicable, learning more and embracing others’ truth, especially around holiday celebration. The idea of embracing each other’s truth(s)… Read more

Vote Your Conscience, Vote with Pluralism

It’s almost Election Day. I am reminded that I and many other Hindu Americans have choices ahead of us — not just at the presidential level, but all the way down the ballot. I believe it is my dharma to go vote – it is a responsibility that I take on. As we consider the various candidates and their stand on the issues, I think of how important it is to have the opportunity to vote, and the diversity of  perspectives… Read more

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… Read more

Denial the Movie: Denying Intolerance, Seeking Truth

To consider the question of whether faith prevents or propagates intolerance, I am stuck, as I often am when providing a Hindu perspective on a variety of things. When asked about Hinduism, deeply rooted in the Eastern philosophies of ancient India, it’s often difficult to provide a clear cut answer in English, a Western language with its origins in the tribal dialects spoken by the Angles, Saxons and Jutes.  And then to respond to the auxiliary question, of whether someone has the… Read more

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