November 1, 2017

At the recent Interfaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit’s annual gala, Kresge Foundation President Rip Rapson was awarded the 2017 Daniel Hart Krichbaum Visionary Civic Leader Award. In his acceptance speech, he spoke about The Imperative of Acting on Our Values, and forming alliances around the non-negotiable. Allowing a fellow human being to go hungry is something people of all faiths and no faith would agree is non-negotiable. We find many non-profit organizations in place to address the needs of... Read more

October 23, 2017

Deepavali or Diwali is often called the Festival of Lights; the holiday is rooted in the story of Lord Rama and his return from exile. The rows of diyas lit in celebration of Rama’s return represent light in its most basic form: providing knowledge, dispelling ignorance. This explanation ignores the complexity of its message about transcendence to a higher unitary consciousness which David Frawley has clearly explained. But I was at least able to to do something concrete this week, by... Read more

October 17, 2017

The days before and after Diwali are always surrounded by a surfeit of activities: religious events, family gatherings, a festive dinner at my local temple and many other opportunities for socializing and cultural entertainment that create an ambience reminiscent of “back home” for so many Indian immigrants. Living in a religiously diverse suburb of metropolitan Detroit, my husband and I invited several friends from the broader community to be our guests and celebrate with us at the Temple’s annual dinner.... Read more

October 7, 2017

I had an opportunity to hear a wonderful husband-wife musician duo as part of a recent trip to Indianapolis:  Ashwin Krishnan Subramanian and Lakshmi Chandrashekar Subramanian presented their contemporary devotional music program to the attendees of the 12th Annual Hindu Mandir Executives’ Conference. Hindu temple executives from around North America and the next generation of leaders from various Hindu American organizations, such as Sewa International and Hindu American Foundation (whose Board I serve on), were in attendance, and the evening consisted... Read more

September 30, 2017

Every year, during the festival of Navaratri, my local temple celebrates the Divine Feminine through a multitude of religious rituals and events from among the diverse ethnic traditions that are represented by the Indian immigrant communities here in southeastern Michigan. In the two decades of making the Bharatiya Temple in Troy my “go-to” spiritual center, one of the rituals performed there that has stood out is a monthly havan, a ritual held around a sacred fire, with a focus on... Read more

April 26, 2017

On Saturday, after celebrating Earth Day at my local Hindu mandir in Troy, I stopped in Midland, MI to participate in the March for Science, en route to a another destination. My mother – the biologist – asked me why I took a detour to attend the Midland March. This set my thoughts on a journey to explain…. After all, I have resisted participating in any marches or movements since the Nov. 2016 election, not even the Women’s March, even though... Read more

April 19, 2017

During my childhood, my father referenced Albert Einstein often, with quotes like “Science without religion is lame and religion without science is blind.” Einstein was deeply interested in the relationship between religion and science. He gave considerable attention to the humanities and the pursuit of peace through his writing. His scholarship went beyond his particular fields of academic study, and addressed the apparent conflict between scientific inquiry and religious practice. He published a piece in the New York Times Magazine,... Read more

April 4, 2017

I sat in a Detroit church pew on Sunday, livestreaming the reading of a speech to commemorate one that was given by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King 50 years ago, looking at two banners that flanked the altar: Justice and Peace. Rev. Rich Peacock, a retired United Methodist minister, Co-chair of Peace Action of Michigan and a long-time mentor, echoed my thoughts in his reverberating voice: “There can be no peace without justice.” Seeking shanti begins with promoting dharma, and... Read more

March 28, 2017

While Diwali marks the beginning of the new year for some Hindus, here in my hometown of Troy, most Hindus will celebrate the start of the Vedic New Year on Ugadi. Troy, MI is unique for its diversity, with one in four people born in another country, and our most spoken foreign language being Telugu – which is also my mother tongue. Telugu is the language of people originating from the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and the newest Indian state of Telengana.... Read more

February 28, 2017

I recently watched a video of Hindu- and South Asian American activists showing their support for our Muslim American sisters by wearing hijabs and leading a protest against Islamophobia with strident voices. I was peeved and perhaps even perturbed: it’s an issue that has long sat on my mind, but the images pushed me to find my own voice, to think about attire, and specifically the parallels – or the lack there of – between a sari and a hijab.... Read more

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