Celebrating Shakti – Embracing Diversity of Belief

Today is the start of Navaratri, a nine-night festival that honors the Feminine Divine - Shakti, Devi, Goddess. Hinduism Today’s Festival one pager explains how it is celebrated, and more importantly, its significance. Hinduism is one of the few living religions where the Divine is She, Shakti. Shakti is the Divine Mother, the personification of primordial energy, that which is the source of all and controls all, the power behind divine and cosmic evolution, and exists in each of us. On these ni … [Read more...]

India’s Latest Census: Hindus, Christians & Confusion

John Dayal India Census

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...]

Protecting Pluralism by Protecting Thy Neighbor

Rachel Held Evans Tweet

I learned with relief that the first gay couple in Kentucky received their marriage license, but not without disappointment that Rowan County ClerkKim Davis was jailed - and that her husband says she will not “bow down.” Surprising, since one would expect expect Kim Davis to be humble and compassionate - she is reportedly a born-again Christian and follows Christ. But it is Ms. Davis’ position as an elected official of the government, not her personal beliefs, that requires her to abide b … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

Another Rite of Passage: Celebrating a Decade of Interfaith Activism

A week ago the Troy-area Interfaith Group celebrated its 11th annual National Day of Prayer event. I helped start this community organization over a controversy - the contentious history is here, and also taught as a case study in pluralism by Harvard University's Pluralism Project - but it was a very peaceful, harmonious group that gathered to celebrate unity in diversity, with prayers from many people, from many traditions. I was honored that I was invited to share the reflection below on the … [Read more...]