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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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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India’s Latest Census: Hindus, Christians & Confusion

As most people of Indian origin know, “American Born Confused Desi” - an ABCD - is a special phrase used to refer to a rather “neither here nor there” mentality that we Indian Americans might have acquired while growing up in America, with parents who are immigrants from India trying to provide an “Indian” environment at home. My parents went a step farther - they moved the family back to India when I was in high school, so that I could have a first hand experience of what it means to be Indian. … [Read more...]

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Practicing Pluralism & Protecting Religious Freedom

Both Rev. Dana Trent, author of Saffron Cross, and Alicia Chandler, co-founder  of AJC Access Detroit, recently posted pieces exemplifying pluralism, through respective discussions on interfaith marriage and raising multi-faith children.Their practice of pluralism is possible because they are in settings where there is mutual respect  for another’s religious path. Pluralism and religious freedom can go hand in hand when conditions promote an open and fair exchange of ideas: there really is a choi … [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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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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