The History of Hindu India (Part Two) Released!

“The History of Hindu India” (Part Two) was developed by the
editors of Hinduism Today magazine in collaboration with Dr. Shiva
Bajpai, Professor Emeritus of History, California State University
Northridge. It is intended to provide an authentic presentation of
the history of India and Hinduism for use in American middle and
high school classes, as well as Hindu temple study groups, dharma
classes and general presentations on the Hindu religion and

The documentary is based on the second chapter of the
The History of Hindu India,
published by Himalayan Academy in 2011. It covers Indian history
from 300 ce to 1000 ce and opens with magnificent footage of the
famed Kailasanatha Temple in Maharashtra, then discusses the Gupta
Empire, the Huna invasions, the visits of the Chinese Buddhist
monks Faxian and Xuanzang, the initial incursions of Arab Muslim
armies in the 8th century, as well as the great Chola kingdom of
South India, with a brief foray into the political history of
India, all at a time when one third of world’s population lived
there. City and village life are described, along with jati, the
joint family structure and marriage arranging. This period also
witnessed the beginning of the Bhakti Movement and the development
of many still-famous Hindu temples.

For more information and for class lesson plans based on the book
visit The film, funded by the
Uberoi Foundation, Institute for Curriculum Advancement, may be
freely distributed for educational purposes.

Directed and Produced by Sushma Khadepaun. Narrated by Roger (Raj)

November California Trip Part 2

Recently Acharya Arumuganathaswami and Natyam Jayanatha have returned from their short trip to California. Above are some photos from their journey. The two flew into San Jose, CA, late at night and drove on empty highways to the state's capital of Sacramento. Their goal is to keep tabs on the developing California textbook narrative draft process. See here for details as to what this process is all about.

Basically we are doing our small part to ensure that the presentation of Hinduism in public school textbooks is fair and accurate as opposed to the current, slightly slanderous content. Our monks checked into a hotel down the street from the Department of Education, and next attended the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) meeting, in which comments can be submitted and vocalized in regards to the IQC's current work on the draft narrative.

After two days of meetings, with our monks giving public testimony, the task was done until the next meeting. Before returning to Kauai, the monks had an evening meeting with local members of the Hindu Education Foundation. The HEF had been very helpful in this process by encouraging their children to testify at the meeting about their experiences in the classroom when studying world religions in 6th grade. The monks also took an opportunity to take a short hike through the Bay Area's (currently dry) hills. Then back to Kauai they went!

Bodhinatha Talks About Handling the Conscious Mind

Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami

Bodhinatha's Sun One, September 9th, upadesha has wonderful guidance on dealing with the external, conscious mind in our spiritual life.

"Dealing with the Conscious Mind" (September 9th, 2015)

On the spiritual path be careful to not let the worldly approach of others influence us. Take time each day for spiritual practice; turn off the externalizing and limiting conscious mind thinking. Overcome the use of anger in the world. Become strong, get greater willpower, gain control over the mind. Consciousness of the Sat Yuga is in the mind of those of us who are spiritually oriented but not in the world of those who are oriented toward violence.

Master Course, Merging with Siva, Lesson 171.

Click here to go to an index of all of Bodhinatha's and Gurudeva's online audio.

Ganesha Painting Parties

Some images from our members and missions. First in California Kartikkey Katir's murtis are a big hit... the pre-Ganesha Chaturthi painting party in progress here... then off to Chicago with the Malhotras who organized a painting party at the Shivalya Mandir in Chicago

Interfaith Event Q & A

We are delivering the full question and answer text as a downloadable PDF. Here is an example of the first question and answer...

Religious persecution appears to be unprecedented around the world. How can people of all faiths work together to make religious freedom a universal right?
A. Despite the proliferation of bad news flooding our screens lately, I would not agree that today's religious persecution is unprecedented. Globally, it has been far worse in the past. Then, persecution resulted from the king's understanding of his faith. For example, in the Mughal Empire under Aurangzeb in the 17th century, millions of Hindus were subject to the Muslim jizya tax on non-believers and thousands of temples were destroyed. Even here in Texas, other religions were outlawed under Spanish rule in 1820, though local officials didn't actually enforce that very well. Still, just 200 years ago, it was the law. Historically in India, Hindu rulers have not restricted religious practice. With some exceptions, the Buddhist, Jain, Christian, Jewish, Parsee, Sikh and tribal religions in India have all freely coexisted under Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh rule.

We find today's starkest case of persecution of Hindus (as well as Christians and others) in Pakistan, where the Hindu population was 22% at the time of India's partition in 1947. Today that has plummeted to 1.7%, because they make it so difficult and even dangerous to be a Hindu. For example, it was only this year, 68 years after independence, that the government finally passed a law allowing Hindu marriages to be legally registered. But even that has yet to go into effect.

Religious tolerance depends in part upon people of different religions getting to know each other. When Swami Vivekananda came to the US for the Parliament of the World Religions in 1893, it was for many in attendance the first time they had ever heard a Hindu speak. Protestant groups of the time who were active in sending missionaries to India to convert those they considered heathens were taking aback by Vivekananda who spoke so eloquently and seemed anything but primitive. That visit permanently changed the attitude of some ministers and many in the media.

Fifty years ago there were few Hindus in Texas; now there are a quarter million. The Muslim community has also burgeoned. So we need to take time to get to know and understand each other. As mutual respect is developed, religious freedom should flow naturally and persecution will diminish. There's the current controversy here in Farmersville, Texas, about a Muslim cemetery. Reading a National Public Radio article, I was impressed by one person interviewed, Harvey Sisco, who has lived in Farmersville for more than 60 years. He said he has a good relationship with the few Muslim people he knows and has no problem with the cemetery. He is not against them, so he is not against their need to respect their dead.

I would add, however, that for some Christians in Asia, "religious freedom" is code for the freedom to gain converts by coming into a struggling or recently devastated community, and offering food, housing, money, education and other inducements. This was just seen following the April earthquake in Nepal, where instant tweets went out saying the earthquake was a blessing that would open the nation to a harvest of souls because of the opportunities created while giving aid. There were credible reports that some Christian aid workers on the ground there would only help those willing to convert. The same thing happened in South India following the 2004 tsunami. To me, such activities are not an expression of "religious freedom."

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