May 16, 2018

The phenomenon of non-Indians adopting Hinduism is not new. However, the stories of how individuals came to the religion have not been regularly recorded. I hope to rectify that by time to time publishing interviews with those people who weren’t raised Hindu but now publicly identify as such, in the hopes of shedding some light on what drew them to Sanatana Dharma. The following is an interview with Keshav Fulbrook (conducted via email), a man currently living in Missoula, Montana,… Read more

May 12, 2018

In the past week we passed an ominous way marker on our march towards a more dangerous, less hospitable climate: For the first time in millions of years atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide are more than 410 parts per million. This may seem an abstract thing in that you can’t see increasing CO2 levels with the naked eye, but its effects are clearly visible all around us and will only get worse. The Hindu Declaration on Climate Change — a… Read more

May 10, 2018

After her latest public relations kerfuffle, stemming from her less-than-orthodox interpretation of passages of the Ramayana, Audrey Truschke, Assistant Professor of History at Rutgers University, essentially characterized all those people offended by her tweets as right wing reactionary Hindus. Let’s leave aside the details of Truschke’s analysis and comments on the Ramayana. Plenty of other people rightly have already taken Truschke to task. All I’ll add on to that, is  I think her analysis of the text, as well as… Read more

May 3, 2018

“Would you trust an article on surfing, how it feels to ride a wave, from someone who’s only stood on the shore looking at the water?” This is the question I ask myself whenever I read an article about Hinduism from somewhat who doesn’t actually practice Hindu spirituality — or at least hasn’t in the past for a significant amount of time. It’s not that I denigrate academic study or look down on analysis. It’s not that I think intellectual… Read more

April 28, 2018

On April 21st I moderated a panel discussion at the Sri Siva Vishnu Temple in Lanham, Maryland on the subject of non-Desi Hindus. That is, people who follow Hinduism as a religion, but aren’t of Indian or South Asian heritage. Over two hours we talked about a wide range of topics, before an enthusiastic (and largely Indian) audience. One thing strikes me, now nearly a week on from the event: If our little panel was any indication of the experience… Read more

April 27, 2018

The Trump Administration reversed itself again last month on allowing trophy hunters to bring elephant heads into the United States. They’ve also been sued to prevent this from being enacted. There has been plenty of commentary on the decision from a conservation perspective, so let’s leave that aside — other than keeping firmly in mind that African elephants are a seriously endangered species and the possibility of these hugely intelligent, emotionally advanced, and social creatures surviving into the next century… Read more

April 26, 2018

If you follow the yoga scene in the United States, you will have likely noticed a steady stream of class offerings that B.K.S. Iyengar, K. Pattabhi Jois, and the other lions of yoga in the past century would never have envisioned. Like to take class in the buff? There’s naked yoga. Want to have small hooved feet perch on your backside in down dog? There’s goat yoga. Want to mix pilsner with your poses? There’s beer yoga. Frequent coverage in… Read more

April 20, 2018

What do Hindu scriptures have to say about nature? It’s a question I’m often asked, particularly around holidays such as Earth Day (April 22nd) or World Environment Day (June 5th). I don’t think we need scriptural approval for wanting to preserve the world around us, to minimize pollution, and do any of the other things associated with environmental conservation. It is as natural an impulse as breathing, at least for me. However, Hindu scriptures do indeed have a number of… Read more

April 17, 2018

A bit of Hinduism 101 for everyone who thinks that either you have to be born into Hinduism or at least Indian or South Asian to be a Hindu. Historically and today, Hinduism has accepted that anyone can subscribe to the principles of Sanatana Dharma. Join me for a public discussion of the non-Desi Hindu experience on 4/21 If you live in the Washington, DC area, I’ll be moderating what I hope to be a lively, informative public discussion of… Read more

April 17, 2018

Nearly two decades after the incident, Bollywood star Salman Khan was convicted of killing an endangered antelope and sentenced to several years in jail. The initial complaint was brought by members of the Bishnoi community, bringing into the spotlight a centuries-old community that has deeply embodied ecological sustainability into their lives. But who are the Bishnoi and what can they teach us? The Bishnoi trace themselves back to their first guru, Guru Jambheshvar, born in the mid 15th century. Though the exact… Read more

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