Ending Violence with Guns

This week, I had a moment of near deja vu. It was more than 8 years ago that I first offered to participate in a prayer event in Troy, MI and was denied. It was the City's 2004 National Day of Prayer event. Fortunately, the mayor welcomed me during her opening remarks, and I was able to offer a prayer of well-being for our community. This year, a church in our community is organizing an ecumenical prayer vigil in memory of gun violence victims, and I am going to offer a prayer again - this … [Read more...]

Ending Violence Against Women

Be it India or America, as the great Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda said, "The best thermometer to the progress of a nation is its treatment of its women." There are few events in history that can wake up an entire nation out of complacency. The horrific rape and resulting death of the 23-year-old woman in Delhi has been such an event. As frustrated and saddened as I am over the violence and violation so many women have faced, I am encouraged that both men and women have taken to the streets … [Read more...]

Grieving as Arjuna Did

How might a Hindu experience and share in the nation's grief in the wake of the tragedy in Newtown? For my last post of the year, I'd like to offer a guest's reflections on the Newtown tragedy. Vineet Chander is the Coordinator for Hindu Life at Princeton University, a Religious Life Leader at the Lawrenceville School, and Adjunct Professor at Farleigh Dickinson University. by Vineet Chander I first learned of the tragic shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, … [Read more...]

Asymmetry of Power: Proselytization, Poverty, and Race

As long as evangelism is complicated by contexts of imbalance, we will continue to have concern, hostility, and even conflict. In the few weeks since I went to the American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, I have been considering the topic of conversion from the "other side"—not of Hindus converting to other religions, but of other religionists, particularly Christians, converting to Hinduism. Obviously, since I am so concerned about conversion of Hindus to Christianity, I should also … [Read more...]

Mimicry, Mockery, or Mumukshutva? Jeffery Long’s Response to Deepak Sarma

I do not apologize for opting for universalism over tribalism, and an affirmation of all our experiences. Note: I was recently at the American Academy of Religion's Annual meeting in Chicago and had a chance encounter with one friend and a deliberate engagement with another. Both are what I am not: Ph.D.s, scholars in academia, experts in Hinduism studies. Yet we are all three Hindu. When I ran into Deepak Sarma, he shared with me his recent essay on White Hindu converts. I wanted to … [Read more...]

Diwali’s Invitation to Transcend Differences

Diwali celebrates the victory of good over evil, a victory of recognizing the divinity in each of us, being open to dialogue, listening, and trying to find compromise. The weekend before the election, I was at an interfaith conference in Omaha, Nebraska. As a member of the Hindu American Foundation, I was invited by Project Interfaith to be a panelist at The Stained Glass Ceiling: A Community Conference on the Successes and Challenges of Women's Religious Leadership. I was part of a group … [Read more...]