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 we are free to embrace … [Read more...]


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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 traditions of heaven and he … [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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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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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 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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