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False Potrayal Of Hinduism/hindu Religion

The Misuse of Terminology in the Study of Hinduism

Word As Weapon

Dr. Frank Gaetano Morales, Ph.D.
Email: fmorales@dharmacentral.com

The inherent power of the word is a phenomenon that has been both omnipresent and essential throughout the long histories of literature, philosophy, religion and politics. The power of words has always been recognized for both its potentially constructive, as well as its devastatingly destructive, force. In the Vedic era, the potency of shabda (or the Divine Word) was lauded for its soteriological, liberating properties, as well as for its role as a means of epistemic insight into the nature of the Absolute. The word both liberated and revealed - and both of these functions were accomplished via mantra, sound frequencies precisely sequenced in such patterns as to most optimally utilize the inherent shakti - or potency - of sound resonance. The Divine Word in the form of mantra could heal illness, relieve suffering and deliver freedom. Many millennia later, borrowing from the much earlier Hindu concept of shabda, we find somewhat similar parallels duplicated in the Biblical literature, in which the Word is seen as being ontologically non-differentiated from the natura esse, or essential nature, of God. "In the beginning was the Word", the Gospel of John assures us, "and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Thus the power of the word has been attested to in the history of India, as well as the West.

The converse side of the positive power of words is seen in the destructive employment of words used, not to convey truth or to heal, but to obscure and deconstruct reality. Whether we speak of the sinister slogans of the Nazi leader Joseph Goebbles or the rabidly dishonest propaganda ministries of now defunct Marxist states, words have been repeatedly used with pointed polemic accuracy throughout the long history of human discourse. Words have always been employed by one group of individuals to control and delegitimize the political, social, religious, and philosophical freedoms of other groups. Academia has, unfortunately, been far from free of the use of such ideologically charged - even if infinitely more subtle - polemic terminology. For the last hundred years, if not arguably longer, the hallowed pronouncements of ideologically-driven professors and scholars have led to widespread bigotry and stereotyping of minority groups in America. Such biased and politically motivated scholarship has led in the last few decades to the necessary creation of such fields as African-American Studies, Women’s Studies, Holocaust Studies, and now Anti-Hindu Defamation Studies, as new academic movements designed to balance previously perpetrated intellectual injustices.

In the following, I will explore only a few of the more insidious terms used specifically throughout the history of South Asian Studies and Hindu Studies that have been traditionally used to denote various phenomena and features of the Hindu religion. Such words have been used in the past to obscure the factual meaning of many philosophical, theological, social and ritual phenomena found within the Hindu context. I will proceed by outlining 1) the commonly used terms for these phenomena, 2) the proper Hindu view of the actual nature of these phenomena, and 3) I will offer several alternative terminological devices that will hopefully be more accurate indicators of the full nature and extent of these Hindu religious phenomena.
SanatanaDharma: Reclaiming Our Religion’s True Name

The first two terms that we will examine are the terms usually used to indicate the overarching spiritual/cultural matrix of traditional, indigenous South Asian religion itself. These are the very terms "Hindu/Hinduism" themselves. Used often as a matter of convenience even by followers of the religion itself (including by this author), the term "Hindu" is not a term that is inherent to the religion itself. Rather, the term is known to have been first coined by the ancient Persians, who were culturally, religiously, and perspectivally extrinsic to the culture. The term was first used by these ancient Persians in order to conveniently designate the ancient Vedic spiritual culture, and was mistakenly used to refer to the Vedic religion as primarily a geographic and ethnic phenomenon, more than as a religio-philosophical world-view. To the ancient Persians, the word “Hindu” simply referred to the culture, people, religion and practices of the peoples who lived on the other side of the Sindhu River. In the ancient Avestan Persian language ‘s’ grammatically became ‘h’. Thus, the Persians pronounced the name of this river “Hindhu”, rather than “Sindhu”. Thus, ironically, the currently used word “Hindu” is itself a corruption of the Persian word “Hindhu”, which is in turn a corruption of the term “Sindhu”, which is itself only referring to a river, and not a religion! Thus when the word “Hindu” is used today to refer to the ancient religion of India, the term is in actuality a corruption of a corruption of a word whose meaning is irrelevant to begin with.

The terms "Hindu/Hinduism" are not self-referential terms that the practitioners of the Vedic world-view chose for themselves or called themselves. These words are not attested to in any of the ancient Vedic or Classical Sanskrit literatures, or even in any of the many local dialects of ancient India until the medieval era. One will not find the term “Hindu” used to describe the Vedic religion in the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas, the Mahabharata, the Ramayana, or anywhere else in the Vedic scriptures. The word “Hindu” is not intrinsic to the religion of the Vedas at all. It was not, in fact, until as late as the 19th century, under the colonial rule of the British Raj, that these dual terms even acquired any legal significance on a national scale in India.

The actual term that the Vedic tradition uses to refer to itself is “Dharma”. The word Dharma is found repeatedly throughout the entire corpus of the Vedic scriptures, from the Rg Veda to the Bhagavad Gita. There is almost no scripture in the entirety of Hinduism where one will not come across the word Dharma as the preeminent name of the religion in question. Sometimes the word Dharma is used by itself; at other times it is used in conjunction with other qualifying words, such as “Vaidika Dharma” (Vedic Dharma), “Vishva Dharma” (Global Dharma), or "Sanatana Dharma" (the Eternal Dharma). The diversity of adjectival emphasis will vary in accordance with the precise context in which the word is used. Of these terms, the name “Sanatana Dharma” has been the most widely used name of this ancient religion, and is used as far back at the Rg Veda, the very earliest scripture of Hinduism, and the earliest written text known to humanity. It is also the most philosophically profound and conceptually beautiful name for our religion.

While many reading this work have no doubt encountered the term “Sanatana Dharma” before, not every follower of Sanatana Dharma is necessarily as familiar with the full philosophical implications of the term’s meaning. Thus it is necessary to explicate the term’s full meaning in depth. The Sanskrit word "sanatana" is the easier of the words to translate into non-Sanskrit languages. It denotes that which always is, that which has neither beginning nor end, that which is eternal in its very essence. The concept of eternality that the word “sanatana” is trying to convey is a radically different concept than is ordinarily understood in the Western Abrahamic religions. When the religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam employ the concept of eternality, it usually means that x thing, having come into being, will never come to an end. In other words, “eternal” for the Abrahamic religions, usually refers only to the future. A more accurate term for this Abrahamic concept is thus “everlasting”, rather than “eternal” proper.

In Sanatana Dharma, however, the concept of eternality denotes something quite different from the standard Western notion. In this more expansive and bi-directional model, the concept of sanatana extends not only into the infinite recesses of the future, but into the past as well. By referring to something as “sanatana”, the idea is that not only will it never come to an end, but it has always had necessary existence. Thus, God (Brahman), the individual self (atman), prime materiality (jagat or prakriti), Truth (satya), the Veda (Truth rendered into literary form), and Dharma itself all have necessary existence. They always have been - and they shall always be.
The Metaphysics of Dharma

Unlike the word “sanatana”, the term ''dharma" is a term that can be properly rendered into the English language only with the greatest of difficulty. This is the case because there is no one corresponding English term that fully renders both the denotative and the connotative meanings of the term with maximal sufficiency. Rather than merely communicating a nominal subject for which there can be an easy word for word equivalency, dharma is communicating a metaphysical concept. The denotative meaning of "dharma" straightforwardly designates an essential attribute of x object - an attribute whose absence renders the object devoid of either rational meaning or existential significance. A thing’s dharma is what constitutes the thing’s very essence, without which, the very concept of the thing would be rendered meaningless. To illustrate the full meaning of this term, we can use the following examples: It is the dharma of water to be wet. Without the essential attribute (dharma) of wetness, the concept and existential fact of water loses all meaning. Likewise, it is the dharma of fire to be hot, the dharma of space to be expansive, etc. The denotative meaning of dharma is easy enough to comprehend. It is, however, when we come to the connotative meaning of the term "dharma" that we then leave the more microcosmic concerns of Vaisesika categoriology behind, and then enter the realm of the overtly philosophical.

For, according to the Vedic tradition itself, the very empirical cosmos in which we find ourselves currently situated also has its own inherent dharma, its essential attributive nature, without which the universe becomes meaningless. In this more macro-cosmological sense, the term dharma is designed to communicate the view that there is an underlying structure of natural law that is inherent in the very intrinsic constitution of Being itself. The Vedic world-view sees the universe as a place that has inherent meaning, purpose and an intelligent design underlying its physical principles and laws. The world is here for a purpose – God’s purpose. The word Dharma, in this more important philosophical sense, refers to those underlying natural principles that are inherent in the very structure of reality, and that have their origin in God. Dharma is Natural Law. Thus, if we needed to render the entire term “Sanatana Dharma” into English, we can cautiously translate it as "The Eternal Natural Way". Sanatana Dharma is the true name of our religion.

The term “Sanatana Dharma” more accurately communicates the axiomatic metaphysical nature of this concept than do the less meaningful and concocted terms “Hindu/Hinduism”. Thus, when the terms "Hindu/Hinduism" are repeatedly used by both Euro-American and Indian scholars, as well as by actual followers of this eternal spiritual tradition, we fall very far short from fully communicating the metaphysical, ethical and ontological components of the world-view of Sanatana Dharma. The former term – i.e., “Hinduism” - is a word mistakenly created to describe a culture in a purely ethnic, national and social context. The latter – “Sanatana Dharma” - is describing an illustrious science of Being in a purely philosophical - and therefore highly rational, and inherently beautiful - sense. It is understandable that the terms “Hindu/Hinduism” will continue to be used periodically as a matter of convenience. After all, it takes time, coupled with continuous education, for people to break themselves of a two hundred year old habit. For the sake of accuracy, as well as to uphold the dignity, beauty and grandeur of our ancient and sacred religion, however, we must always do our utmost to use the much more meaningful, linguistically correct and beautiful name Sanatana Dharma when referring to our religion. Our religion is Sanatana Dharma.
Euro-American Idol

Having examined the problematic issues of a very broad term that has been misapplied in the discussion of Vedic religion, I will now briefly examine several more specific terms that have been misemployed in the history of the study of Sanatana Dharma. The first of these more specialized polemically charged words is the term “idol”. This word has been repeatedly used by purported scholars of Sanatana Dharma (both Euro-American, as well as Indian scholars) in their study of our religion. Even more disturbing, however, is the fact that the derogatory term “idol” has been continuously and unthinkingly used by even religious Hindus, as well as by supposedly intelligent Hindu leaders, to this very day. At least once a month, for example, I get notices from various Hindu temples inviting me to “idol” installations, pujas to the “idol”, etc.

Unbeknownst to the vast majority of Hindus, the term “idol” is not an innocently neutral term meant only to signify the objective reality of a religious statue or some other focal point used as a means of meditation upon the Divine. In actuality, it is a term that is historically and theologically devoid of any positive connotations. It is a word that is purely negative in meaning. First arising from a purely Christian/Islamic religious and cultural context, the theologically derived terms “Idol/Idolatry” were quite clearly designed by the creators of the Abrahamic religions to signify the misguided worship of the graven images of fictitious gods. By its very definition, the word “idol” means an image of a false god. In the Old Testament, idol worshippers are repeatedly condemned to death. In the Koran, the worshipers of idols are relegated to the category of the demonic. This theological baggage attendant upon the word “idol” was later naturally imported into the nascent field of indology by the 18th and 19th century European founders of modern Vedic studies. Thus, over time, what originated as a purely religious term, specifically meant to designate a false practice and erroneous theological view, progressed to being accepted as an academic term meant to describe the practices and views of a “foreign” religion. In turn, tragically, the greater Hindu community has itself now unknowingly embraced this term as a legitimate word meant to convey one of the most sacred and integral mechanisms of Hindu worship.

Unfortunately, when a Christian theologian, a Muslim cleric, or a colonialist-tempered scholar is using the term “idol”, they are interpreting the specific religious phenomenon of murti-puja in a radically different manner than is the typical Hindu worshipper. For the Christian and Muslim, murti-puja is nothing more than the demonic worship of abominable graven images. For the atheist academician, it is merely an instance of primitive superstition, worthy of no more consideration than any other intriguing object of anthropological study. Consequently, each and every time we foolishly call our sacred images “idols”, we are actually insulting the divinities we are claiming to worship, and proclaiming to the world that we are worshipping false gods.

For those scholars who have allowed themselves to develop a more sophisticated and objective understanding of the phenomenon of murti-puja– that is one that arises from a Hindu, and thus an insider, perspective – it becomes rather apparent that the practice that is occurring via the process of murti-puja (or what is sometimes called archa-puja) is something radically distinct from the stereotyped image of idol worship that is dishonestly painted by rabidly iconoclastic ideologies. Followers of Sanatana Dharma are not blindly worshipping false idols, but are using divine images whose forms have been revealed via the non-mediated intuitive perception of the Absolute experienced by the rishis (the enlightened saints and sages of Sanatana Dharma). Moreover, such images are used primarily as focal points designed as aids to meditative awareness. Archa-puja is not a superstition, a form of primitive magical fetishism, or a concocted form of worship, but rather a tried and tested soteriological and meditative device. This being the case, I urge both scholars of Hindu Studies, as well as everyday practitioners of Sanatana Dharma, to refrain from using the derogatory term “idol” and to instead use one of the more culturally sensitive, and more academically accurate terms that are used by the tradition itself. Such terms include: murti, archa, etc. Take your pick.
Is SanatanaDharma Predicated upon Lies?

The next term that we will examine is the word “myth” as used to describe the sacred stories of Sanatana Dharma. The related terms "myth", "mythology", "mythological", etc., have had an interesting history and a very pointed polemic use in Euro-American discourse on Sanatana Dharma. That the terms are rife with very negative connotations is doubted by very few. The way the terms are used today both within academia, as well as by the general public, is to denote something that is untrue, false, a lie, "primitive" (i.e., not Euro-American). Several months ago, during a visit to the dentist's office, I saw a pamphlet on the table called "The Myths About Sexually Transmitted Diseases". The ultimate question that all Hindus need to ask ourselves is: is it really of any intellectual necessity that such a powerfully negative term as “myth” also be associated with the sacred stories, teachings and history of Sanatana Dharma?

Polemically speaking, one culture's "myth" is another culture's sacred history...and visa versa. The academic field of the study of "mythological" literature was founded by 18th century European Classicists who took their simplistic misconceptions about their own Greco-Roman, pre-Christian religious and cultural heritage, and attempted to then graft these misconceptions onto all contemporary non-Christian cultures - including that of India. These founders of "mythology" studies - including such individuals as Sir George Grey, Rudolph Otto and Karl Kerenyi - were convinced, as is unarguably evident in their writings, that the entire realm of religious story could be clearly demarcated into two radically distinct camps: Myth and History.

1) The first category is "Myth" proper, that is: the “primitive” stories about gods, goddesses, spirits, demons, magic and mysticism, etc. found throughout all of the indigenous, pre-Christian, and non-Biblical cultures of the world. Such stories are all considered to be certainly no more than the ignorant "pre-scientific" attempts of primitive peoples (their words, not mine) to come to terms with and explain such frightening mysteries as natural weather phenomena (the stereotypical scenario offered by these atheistic scholars is that the inexplicable spectacle of lightning and thunder left our ancestors trembling in worshipful fear!). The study of such woefully mythologically ridden cultures was then relegated by these supposed mythology authorities to the nascent fields of anthropology, folk-lore studies, ethnic studies, and art history studies. The “myths” of all non-Judeo-Christian cultures were thus falsely portrayed as being archaic, primitive, and not worthy of serious scholarly study.

2) The second category that religious stories were placed in was termed "History", that is: Biblical literature and all supposedly factual accounts of events proceeding such literature to be found throughout the history of Europe and the post-Columbian Americas. Whereas stories about Rama as the Dharma-raja (Dharmic King) of Ayodhya were considered quaint heroic myths, for example, stories of Moses parting the Red Sea were accepted as being thoroughly historical – this, though there is more archeological and textual evidence for the former than for the latter being actual historical facts. In order to study these supposed historical facts about Judeo-Christian culture, Euro-American scholars employed a very different battery of academic disciplines entirely, including philosophical, ethical, literary, psychological, etc. The only overlapping exception to this biased division of study is the field of philology, which was employed to research both the glorious history of Europe, as well as the primitive utterings of the Rg Veda. Apparently, only the “history” of Western man is a worthy enough subject for liberal arts study, philosophical consideration, and serious intellectual analysis.

There is the wonderful saying that we have all encountered that assures us that "history" is written by the victors. Consequently, the mostly improvable stories of the Garden of Eden, Noah's Ark, Abraham, Moses, the Judges, David, etc. are unquestioningly accepted by most European historians - and tragically by many Indian historians! - as being incontrovertible and established fact. This, even though the evidence for these supposed historical facts are in many cases no stronger, or even less so, than the evidence supporting the historicity of the ancient stories of Sanatana Dharma. What these Western scholars and their Westernized Indian counterparts called the "mythical" Sarasvati River, for example, was later discovered to be a concrete geological fact in our century by no less empirical evidence than satellite photography. Krishna's "mythological" city of Dvaraka was, likewise, impertinently discovered off the coast of Gujarat about three decades ago (anyone out there have a crane?). The supposed myths of the Shastras seem to have the incorrigible habit of consistently allowing themselves to be proven factual.

Despite these hard geological and archeological facts, the histories of the Puranas and Itihasas are - unlike the stories of the Bible – summarily relegated by modern Euro-American scholars to the misty realm of myth. Or more bluntly: to the realm of primitive fables. If we would venture to speculate that what has brought this stark double standard about has been nothing less than European xenophobia and intellectual colonialism, coupled with a very strong element of Hindu inferiority complex, we would not be far from the mark. The terms "myth", "mythology", "mythological", etc., have been used as a powerful weapon for decades in order to delegitimizing the world-view of Sanatana Dharma, as well as the Hindu and Indian way of life.

Whether such unscholarly use of these otherwise legitimate terms will be allowed to continue as a weapon against the sacred stories of Vedic culture, or whether the use of such terms will be relegated to the same dust-bin of other such derogatory terms, is up to the will of the global Hindu community. We ourselves, as Hindus, need to stop using derogatory terms to describe the beliefs and elements of our religion. Such terms as “myth” should be absolutely anathema to every sincere and self-respecting Hindu when speaking about the sacred stories of Sanatana Dharma. If we ourselves don’t have the determination to describe our own religion in legitimate and positive terms, how can we expect anyone else to?

As a more positive alternative to these terms, I propose that scholars who study the religions of South Asia approach their purported object of research in a similar manner as do scholars who study many other formally oppressed non-Christian cultures (such as those who study Native American tribes). In these fields the religious stories of the subjects under study are often referred to by the more culturally sensitive term "Sacred Stories". I propose that we scholars of Hindu Studies owe the Hindu world no less respect. We need to begin referring to the stories of the Hindu scriptures as Sacred Stories, or divya katha in Sanskrit. We can later, as informed persons, debate over the actual meaning of these stories - whether they are literal history - which in many cases they very clearly are - or are meant to be taken allegorically or metaphorically. Let us all, in any case be in agreement that these Sacred Stories of Sanatana Dharma must never again be degraded by terming them "myth".
Reclaiming the Power of Our Words

The perennial use of politically surcharged words to stifle the aspirations of a people, to deflect the actual meaning of an action or concept, and to otherwise keep a people subservient to the dominant cultural mainstream is nothing new. Additionally, it is not new that the very people who have been the direct victims of such propangandistic terminology will inevitably come to adopt such terms in self-referential ways. We have the case of the Ethiopian Jews, for example, who for hundreds of years were termed “Falashas” – an incredibly derogatory term in the Ethiopian language– by those who persecuted them. After hundreds of years of such persistent persecution, sadly, the Jews of Ethiopia even began to refer to themselves as the “Falasha” community. If a people are called inferior for long enough a period of time, eventually that population group will start to call themselves inferior as well. Such instances of the victims adopting the polemic terminology of their oppressors has been witnessed repeatedly over the long course of human history – among the Jews, Native Americans, European Pagans, and Gypsies (Romani). Now the Hindu community has joined their ranks.

Consequently, the use of inaccurate, and often consciously and maliciously distorted, terminology has been a double-edged source of oppressive discourse. The use of such terms has been made use of by an intellectually lethargic tradition of South Asian scholars who view the religion of Sanatana Dharma, not as the noble living tradition that it is, but as their personal academic plaything. On the other hand, Hindus themselves have then blindly accepted these non-indigenous and inaccurate terms, and unknowingly adopted them as their own. Thus, while the bulk of the blame must be placed squarely on the shoulders of the oppressors, the victims too need to free themselves of a colonialist-induced mentality of inferiority and acceptance of their oppression. It is my fervent hope that we followers of Sanatana Dharma will stop using the terminology of our antagonists to describe our religion. We must begin to call our religion by its true name: Sanatana Dharma. We must never use the words “idol” and “mythology” to describe our murtis and sacred stories again. We must reclaim our heritage. Such positive change might come about slowly, one person at a time. Every revolution, however, begins with thoroughly grasping the power of the word.

* * *
About the Author

Dr. Frank Gaetano Morales, Ph.D. earned both a doctorate and a Masters degree in Languages and Cultures of Asia from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Previously, Dr. Morales earned a B.A. in Philosophy and Theology from Loyola University Chicago. His fields of expertise include Philosophy of Religion, Hindu Studies, Sanskrit, History of Religion, Comparative Theology, Contemporary South Asian Politics, and the interface between Hinduism and modernity. Dr. Morales is currently recognized as one of the nation’s leading authorities on Hindu philosophy and religion, as well as South Asian studies. In addition to directing his own institute, Dr. Morales works in conjunction with several educational institutes and think tanks globally. Dr. Morales maintains a very demanding schedule consisting of lecturing, consulting and writing. Dr. Morales has been a guest lecturer at over two-dozen major universities throughout the USA, including Cornell, Rutgers, Northwestern, Illinois Institute of Technology, and University of Virginia. In addition, Dr. Morales has served as a South Asian affairs consultant for such corporations as Ford Motor Company, Lucent Technologies, Goodwin Procter Law Firm, and the Global Health Corporation. His first book, “Experiencing Truth: The Vedic Way of Knowing God”, is scheduled for publication in 2006. In addition to his academic duties, Dr. Morales has been a practicing orthodox Hindu for 30 years, and is an ordained Hindu priest. The practice of Yoga, meditation and puja are of central importance in his life. His website is www.dharmacentral.com.

A study of Hinduism
By Manju Gupta

Hinduism: A Religion for the Modern Age, Anand M. Saxena, Konark Publishers Pvt Ltd, 270 pp, price not given

Coming as it does at a time when incessant criticism is being levelled against followers of Hinduism by so-called secularists, the book presents a multi-perspective 21st-century glimpse into the world’s oldest living faith and expounds on the foundation of Hinduism to decide which components are worth preserving and deserving and which are worth eliminating.

The author, after an unpleasant experience in the USA, launched a personal quest to find out why dominant religions of the world vehemently disparaged and proscribed the Hindu practices of worshipping many gods and making their images; which of the Hindu institutions were perversions that were either borrowed from other groups, or developed as defence mechanisms during the millennium when their identity was threatened, suppressed and ridiculed by rulers of the land; if Hinduism could be considered to be the least common denominator of all religions; if there was something in the Hindu heritage about which one can feel good, if not proud, which may be worth preserving because it may provide guidance in today’s complex world.

During this period some ideas were developed, either because of circumstances or as expedient defence mechanisms that may not be in agreement with modern sensibilities. As a part of the Hindu-Indian diaspora in a globalising world, the author explains the inherently pluralistic basis of Hindu beliefs by pointing out that Hinduism is the oldest surviving religion in the world. It differs from Western religion in certain key respects: its origin cannot be traced to a single person who received a divine revelation and became the founder of the faith; it cannot be defined in terms of a dogma or a body of beliefs that distinguishes its followers from the rest of humanity; and it does not have an established institution with the power to induct or expel people from the faith. “Even though there is no central authority that enforces cohesion among its people and lays out plans for the future, its fundamental concepts and outlook have permeated all sections of the society, and have survived determined assaults from dominant powers of the South Asian subcontinent over the last 1,000 years,” says the author.

The author compares differences in approach between the monotheistic faiths “to believe in one God, one Messiah and one Book” and Hinduism, revealing in the process the inadequacies of the word ‘religion’ to define ‘Dharma’ of Indic faiths. He explains Hinduism as “a perpetually evolving Dharma” allowing for adjustment to changing attitudes, technological advancements and scientific knowledge in contrast to evolution of ideas in revealed religions like Christianity and Islam where impediments are raised. He points out how the church opposed the theory of evolution and every scientific advancement and how Islam opposes evolution of ideas which are contrary “to the word of the Koran” which is “a direct command from Allah”. He quotes Michel Danino who has said, “Religion is a Western concept; the Indian concept is neither religion nor even Hinduism nor any ‘ism’ - it is Sanatana Dharma, the eternal law of the universe, which cannot be formulated in any rigid and final set of tenets.”

The author explains the determinants of action - karma and Dharma. The ancient Hindu treatises discuss purusharths or four goals of human life - Dharma, artha, kama and moksha. Explaining Dharma, the author says that the legitimacy of all actions is based on Dharma which “has the inner conscience, the God within, as its ultimate source, and is based on the realisation that the entire universe is a living, breathing entity with Brahman as its foundation.” As per the karmic theory “everything in life is a result of karmas (actions), and that nothing is ever obtained by depending on chance, or the supernatural, or withdrawing from actions.” The author says, “In the Western lexicon, the word karma is associated with a fatalistic outlook of life, indicating a passive acceptance of everything that life offers as a result of unknown past actions in one of the previous lives”. This is a very one-sided interpretation of the karmic theory which is very clearly explained in the Mahabharata when Shri Krishna leaves the final decision to Arjuna by saying, “The wisdom, more secret than all secrets, has been given to you by me. Having reflected on it fully, do as you choose.”

The book talks of religious practices, the various legends in Hinduism and the unity of Indic faiths like Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism which, despite their distinct identities, “have undoubtedly developed glorious traditions that are the hallmarks of these groups.” Without shying away from addressing controversial issues such as historical discrepancies, current events, societal conditions, mass media and terrorism, the author shows that Hinduism, “with roots reaching into antiquity, is a viable modern tradition based on a ‘progressive approach’ that makes possible for it to adapt to changing conditions”.
It does not matter whether one worships Shiva, Subramanyam, Shakti, Vishnu or any other deity or is an Arya Samaji or a Radha Swami and practices yajnas, meditation and satsang as the important components of religious search, “but the requirement of an acceptance of diversity, which must be maintained, is not to look down at the practices of other people, and accept them as alternative and fully valid approaches.” He adds that the foundation “ of a reinvigorated Hinduism has to be laid on the values that have been the hallmark of our faith for thousands of years,” and quotes Will Durant who wrote: “Perhaps in return for the conquest, arrogance and spoliation, India will teach us the tolerance and gentleness of the mature mind, the quiet content of the unacquisitive soul, the calm of the understanding spirit, and unifying, pacifying love for all living things.”</b>

This is a book meant for Hindu practitioners and also for those who want to know about Hinduism and the contemporary evolution of the faith.

(Konark Publishers Pvt Ltd, A-149 Main Vikas Marg, Delhi-110092.)

What was Srila Prabhupada's Position:
The Hare Krishna Movement and Hinduism

Jan Brzezinski

Is ISKCON a Hindu religious movement? This very question has caused a great deal of discussion both between members of the ISKCON and those commenting on the Society from outside. Since ISKCON is a unique product of the vision of one individual, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, its founder, we must examine his position on this issue. Central to the difficulties that commentators have had in coming to any sort of decision are the seemingly ambiguous comments and decisions that the founder made with regards to Hinduism and his Society. There are times when he clearly stated that ISKCON was not Hindu and that his followers should endeavour to keep themselves apart from Hindu influences, and there were other times when be clearly linked ISKCON to Hinduism. Jan K. Br explores the references that Srila Prabhupada made to Hinduism, and more importantly he discusses these comments within the context in which they were made, thus enabling us to gain a clearer understanding of Srila Prabhupada's position on Hinduism.


One afternoon in October 1970, Srila Prabhupada visited the Golden Temple in Amritsar. After touring the temple and seeing the way in which food was distributed, he signed the temple's guestbook. Under religion he wrote, 'Krsnaite' and under comments he wrote, 'Very spiritual' (Lilamrta, vol. 4, 137).[1]

Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (henceforth Prabhupada) also sometimes jokingly called himself and his movement Krsnian, a play on Christian, but neither Krsnaite nor Krsnian became current, even though the institution he founded was named the International Society for Krsna Consciousness. Popularly, of course, his followers were known as the Hare Krsnas, a name to which Prabhupada did not make an objection. Acknowledging his membership in the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya or Gaudiya Vaisnava disciplic succession, he happily identified himself as Gaudiya Vaisnava. However, his relationship with the larger entity known as Hinduism was rather less clear. In fact, he often overtly denied any connection to Hinduism at all: 'The Krsna consciousness movement has nothing to do with the Hindu religion or any system of religion' (SSR: 3). Another time he wrote: 'One should clearly understand that the Krsna consciousness movement is not preaching the so-called Hindu religion.' He could be even stronger in his judgement of Hinduism, calling it 'a dead religion' with 'no philosophy' (72-02-04.VAI) or 'a cheating religion' (731006BG.BOM).

Prabhupada conceded on more than one occasion that Krsna consciousness had its roots in Hinduism, but since in one place he compares it to Buddhism it may be thought that he felt it was a new religion growing out of the Hindu tradition, though entirely distinct from it: 'You can call it Hinduism, but actually it does not belong to any 'ism'. It is a science of understanding God, but it appears to be like the Hindu religion. In that sense Buddhism is also the Hindu religion because Lord Buddha was a Hindu' (750519RC.MEL).

On the other hand, Prabhupada also expressed a deeper emotional connection to Hinduism, such as in 1970 when he reacted to an article in a Bombay newspaper. He felt he had been misrepresented as denying Hinduism entirely by saying that 'Krsna is everything' (701104RC.BOM). Accusing the reporter of making contradictory statements, he asked how one who worships Radha-Krsna and follows Hindu ceremonies like Rathayatra can say that 'Hinduism is nothing'? (701212RC.IND). His identification of Rathayatra and Radha-Krsna worship with Hinduism shows that he had not, in fact, made as sharp a break with that tradition as the Buddha had done.

In view of this apparently ambivalent attitude, an analysis of Prabhupada's statements on Hinduism is needed to find out the relationship between the religious movement he founded and its broader Hindu heritage. This preliminary study is an attempt to summarise different themes surrounding the terms 'Hindu' and 'Hinduism' as found in Prabhupada's writings, letters, speeches and conversations.


Prabhupada's fundamental discourse on Hinduism is standard and oft-repeated. It customarily begins with a rejection of the term 'Hindu' itself as a misnomer, describing it as an outsider's term. This is, of course, accepted historical fact, though Prabhupada suggests that it had a negative connotation for those outsiders: 'In India, according to the Vedic language, the Europeans are called mlecchas or yavanas. Similarly, "Hindu" is a name given by the Muslims' (SSR: 3).[2]

Like every other scholar who has rehearsed the etymology of the word 'Hindu' from Sindhu/Indus, Prabhupada does not deny the existence of an entity which has come to be known by the name Hinduism. Rather, he uses this discourse as an opportunity to establish the true name of the religion which accepts the Vedic authority, and from there to describe what he holds to be its authentic form. Since Prabhupada's approach is prescriptive, his concept of Hinduism is perhaps clearer than that of scholars who attempt to describe it phenomenologically. In this respect he is similar to many other Hindus who have accepted the term but have struggled to define it in a satisfactory manner.

Alternative names for the religious system which submits to the Vedic authority and which Prabhupada finds preferable to 'Hinduism' are sanatana-dharma, varnasrama dharma, and vaidika dharma or Vedic culture. However, Prabhupada contrasts or complements these terms with the 'science of God', bhagavata-dharma or, less frequently, vaisnava-dharma. It will be first of all necessary to disentangle these terms in order to understand how Prabhupada saw his movement in relation to the broader Hindu tradition.

To contextualise this discussion of Prabhupada's use of the term 'Hindu', it is worthwhile examinining one or two definitions given by others who have no qualms about calling themselves by that name. I have selected the following two:

[A Hindu is one] who accepts the Vedas, the Smrtis, the Puranas and the Tantras as the basis of religion and the rule of conduct, and believes in one supreme being (Brahman ), in the law of retributive justice (karma) and in Reincarnation (punar janma).[3]

The main tenets of Hindu dharma are: belief in one Supreme Principle-Brahman, accepting the authority of the Vedas, the theory of karma and rebirth, values designated as purusartha, the social organisation of varna-asrama and jati, performance of rituals and practice of samanya-dharma. It is essential to note that one can remain a Hindu even when he rejects any one or all of these. It is really difficult to point out any single essential attribute of a Hindu except the ideal of universal fraternity.[4]

The first of these definitions is wide enough to be easily acceptable to Prabhupada, though he would no doubt wish to nuance the word Brahman, who for him is the Para-Brahman, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krsna. The second definition, which is somewhat narrower, would likely require more nuances on his part, but the last two sentences clearly show that a Hindu would have had no trouble in accepting Prabhupada as one. A question which needs to be asked is whether Prabhupada would have accepted the same tolerant attitude attributed to Hinduism and much vaunted by its proponents like Vivekananda.


Prabhupada does not use the term 'Vedic dharma' frequently.[5] However, the word 'Vedic' itself and the necessity for the acceptance of the Vedic scriptural authority comes up repeatedly. The use of the word 'Vedic' by Prabhupada contains certain problems,[6] but if we recognise that like Srisa Basu (in the first definition above), he means the entire field of Hindu literature by this term, then he is in agreement with most Hindus.[7] Thus when Prabhupada says, 'Hinduism is accepting the Vedic authority' (661226CC.NY), he is identifying himself with Hinduism. As a result of such identification, he accepts even Sankaracarya, the great teacher of the monistic doctrine and avowed rival of the Vaisnavas because he based his arguments on the Vedic literature and reestablished the Vedic authority (SB 1.3.24, 4.21.27; CC Madhya 25.91).[8]

Ultimately, the Mayavadi philosophers say that God, the Supreme Absolute Truth, is impersonal, whereas the Vaisnava philosophers say that in the end, the Absolute Truth is a person and He, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is Krsna. Krsnas tu bhagavan svayam. Each group sticks to its position and they fight-'fight' means by philosophical arguments. That has been going on for a very long time. However, both of them belong to the sanatana Hindu dharma because both of them will talk on the Vedanta philosophy. They can give differing interpretations, but they cannot say that they don't accept Vedanta. If they do, it is at once rejected. So one must give an interpretation on the Vedanta philosophy to be accepted as acarya (661226CC.NY).

Prabhupada also stressed that the acaryas and disciplic successions which preserved their interpretations of these revealed scriptures, played an essential role in characterising and defining the Vedic-Hindu system: 'India's culture depends on the acaryas like Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Sankaracarya, Nimbarka, and Visnusvami. So in the Bhagavad-gita it is said, acaryopasanam. Anyone in India who claims to be a Hindu must have followed an acarya' (740612RC.PAR).

Prabhupada repeats a countless number of times the statement made in the Bhagavad-gita that Krsna is the object of Vedic knowledge-vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah (BG 15.15). Furthermore, he clearly indicates in the conclusion to this statement, 'All the acaryas accept Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.' So anyone who accepts the Vedic authority, in Prabhupada's understanding, must accept the personal form of the Para-Brahman, Krsna.


Prabhupada frequently stresses that Krsna consciousness is the science of self-realisation (indeed one of his books has this concept as its title), by which he means that it teaches universal principles of worshipping the Lord rather than sectarian dogmas conditioned by time, place and culture. The first principle of this science is that the self is distinct from the body. Thus Prabhupada on one occasion said, 'Am I this body or something else? This is the first question I was trying to answer, but some people in my audience thought it was a kind of Hindu culture. It is not Hindu culture. It is a scientific conception' (JSD: 1, 3). On the other hand, this is the specific teaching of the Vedic literature: 'We are not this body. This is self-realisation. That is Vedic culture' (740628LE.MEL).

For Prabhupada, knowledge has 'no colour' (740619RC.GER), by which he means that knowledge is an objective truth and thus not the monopoly of any religious denomination. One may follow any religious scripture, he argues, but why should an individual who is serious about God not accept the Krsna consciousness movement if he or she can find further enlightenment there? He explained this during an interview:

This religious principle means to understand God. Every religion is trying to understand God according to their capacity . . . But the only difference is that we give details so that modern minds advanced in education and
scientific knowledge can understand, whereas others cannot give in such detail (680201IV.LA).


Prabhupada most frequently offers sanatana-dharma and varnasrama-dharma as more correct names for the religious system which accepts Vedic authority. His discourses which accompany these two terms suggest that he did not believe that they meant the same thing; though he does occasionally present them as being equivalent, his arguments are usually a refutation of the view commonly held by many Hindus which directly equates the two.

In his discourse on sanatana-dharma, Prabhupada tends to break the term down into its component parts and discuss their etymological meaning. Rather than simply translate the word dharma as religion, he tends to analyse the etymology of dharma from the root dhr, defining it as 'that which sustains the living being' (SB 1.2.6P) or 'that which is constantly existing with a particular object' (BG Introduction). Another meaning is given as 'occupational duty':

The word 'religion' is not a perfect translation of the Sanskrit word dharma. Religion is a kind of faith which we can change. But dharma means your occupational duty which you cannot change; you have to execute it. What is our dharma? What is our compulsory duty? I have several times analysed this fact: our compulsory duty is to serve (690409SB.NY).

Thus sanatana-dharma can be construed as 'the eternal quality of the living being' or his nitya-svarupa, which in accordance with the Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 20.108) is to be the eternal servant of Krsna. This eternal service may be directly expressed and thus be liberating, or perverted into service for some other object out of ignorance.

For a further understanding of the word sanatana ('eternal'), Prabhupada refers to Bhagavad-gita where it has been used three times as an adjective describing the individual soul or jiva (15.7), the Supreme Lord (11.18) and the Lord's abode (8.20). 'When these three sanatanas come together, that is called sanatana life, and any process that takes us to that sanatana position, that is called sanatana-dharma' (730228LE.JKT).

So sanatana-dharma means both the eternal constitutional position of the jiva as a servant of God and the process by which one realises that constitutional identity. Graham Schweig refers to this usage of the word dharma by Prabhupada as having the 'universal' sense of religion and as being an expression of the unity of religion.[9] For religions in the plural sense, Prabhupada favours the term 'faith'. Since service to the divine is the constitutional position of the living entity, Prabhupada says on numerous occasions that to revive this eternal attitude of service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is a science and as such applicable to all, regardless of their colour, caste or creed. It thus transcends Hinduism which here is equated with the other world religions as a 'faith': 'Most of our Hindus call themselves sanatana-dharmi, but sanatana-dharma is not limited to any particular type of society. It is meant for all human beings, all living entities' (730228LE.JKT).[10]


Quoted more than a 100 times throughout Prabhupada's discourses and written works is Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.2.6: 'The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to the loving service of the transcendent Lord.'[11] This verse was the guiding principle to Prabhupada's analysis of religion:

The definition is: that principle of religion is the best by which you can develop your devotion or love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. How nice this definition is, just try to understand. You may follow Christianism or Hinduism or Buddhism or Muhammadanism-it doesn't matter. The test is how far you have developed love of God . . . If you have developed the sense of love for God, then it is to be understood that you have actually followed the religious principle (710826SB.LON).

Prabhupada relegates religious systems which do not strive for this ultimate goal to a lower level: '"Hinduism", "Muslimism" (sic) and "Christianism" (sic) are all prakrta, mundane. But we have to transcend this prakrta, or mundane conception of religion' (750320AR.CAL). By mundane conceptions of religion, Prabhupada means that the aims of such systems is restricted to the four goals of life or purusarthas, which he sees as different levels of ego or sense gratification (SB 1.1.2P). Prabhupada termed such religions which do not aim at developing love for God as 'pseudo-religion' (BG 2.26P) and even 'cheating religion' on the basis of dharmah projjhita-kaitavo'tra (SB 1.1.20).

Another definition of religion (dharma ) is based on a teaching from the Srimad Bhagavatam, dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam (6.3.19), was much favoured by Prabhupada: 'Religion means the codes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.' He compares these laws to those of the state:

Just like in the state, there is king's law. The king gives you some laws, and if you are a good citizen, you obey those laws and live peacefully. This is a crude example. Similarly, dharma or religion means nothing other than to obey the laws of God, though they may differ according to time, circumstances and people (681020LE.BOS).

So all bonafide religious systems are, according to Prabhupada, God-given and can not be manufactured by human endeavours. (731006BG.BOM). On the other hand, he states that 'Muhammadanism, Hinduism, Christianism, all these "isms" are imperfect and man-made', whereas 'this [Krsna-consciousness] is perfect because it is given by God Himself'. The criterion is that 'if a religion teaches ultimately surrender to God, then it is perfect religion. Otherwise it is not religion' (BERGSON.SYA)[12]

Prabhupada repeatedly denies that Krsna is a Hindu god. He is God for all. He does not descend in his incarnation to revive Hindu religion, but to revive the eternal religion which is surrender to himself. 'When Krsna says that he comes to reestablish religion (BG 4.8), it is not to reestablish Hinduism or Muslimism (sic) or Christianism (sic). His purpose was to teach true religion, that is, surrender unto Krsna. 'sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja' (731006BG.BOM). This absolute surrender then is the ultimate law of God.

Though other religious systems are considered to be the products of time, circumstance and the people amongst whom they were instituted, devotional service to Krsna even when executed by an imperfect practitioner is considered by Prabhupada, in keeping with the Caitanya-caritamrta, to be transcendental:

When we are on the material platform, there are different types of religions-Hinduism, Christianity, Mohammedanism, Buddhism, and so on. These are instituted for a particular time, a particular country or a particular person. Consequently there are differences. Christian principles are different from Hindu principles, and Hindu principles are different from Mohammedan and Buddhist principles. These may be considered on the material platform, but when we come to the platform of transcendental devotional service, there are no such considerations. The transcendental service of the Lord (sadhana-bhakti) is above these principles. The world is anxious for religious unity, and that common platform can be achieved in transcendental devotional service. This is the verdict of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. When one becomes a Vaisnava, he becomes transcendental to all these limited considerations (CC Madhya 25.121P).

That which is conceptualised as sanatana-dharma is in practice given the name Vaisnava-dharma or Bhagavata-dharma. Prabhupada does not use the term Vaisnava-dharma with any frequency,[13] but following the Srimad-Bhagavatam, gives preference to the latter term.

There are 375 references to the word bhagavata-dharma in the database of Prabhupada's words. It is 'the process of religion enunciated by the pure devotees, direct representatives of the Supreme Personality of Godhead' (SB 6.16.41P) and is defined variously as 'the activities of the devotees', 'the sankirtana movement', 'the religion of glorifying the Lord and His devotees', bhakti, prema-dharma, pure devotional service, 'the cult of the Srimad-Bhagavatam'. As such it is the 'religious principles in devotional service that transcend religious principles for liberation and the mitigation of material misery' (SB 5.5 Summary), 'the religion of surrender to the Supreme Lord and love for Him' (SB 6.3.20-12P). It is 'the transcendental religion which is the eternal function of the living being' (CC Adi 1.91P) and consists of 'chanting, dancing and preaching the principles of the Srimad-Bhagavatam' (CC Adi 7.41).

In keeping with the definition of all religion as the orders of the Supreme Lord, bhagavata-dharma also encourages the social doctrine of varnasrama-dharma (SB 6.16.43P).

Need for developing pride for Hinduism
May 13, 2007

Dr. Durgesh Samant
Dr. Durgesh Samant
Given below are extracts from an address of the National spokesperson, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, Dr. Durgesh Samant at a photograph exhibition held at Chinchvad, Pune from 28th till 30th April.

The Kashmir Issue

I have attempted to write about the mentality of Pakistan and the Kashmir issue though I am not a scholar, simply for my understanding and that of others. My wife, a psychiatrist was invited to the tension -ridden area of Kashmir along with other male seekers from the Sanatan, to guide the police force there. When she returned she narrated everything that happened there such as how difficult it is to commute from one place to another and how instead of reducing their stress it was enhanced when they went there as they had to shoulder the responsibility of their security. I too have visited Kashmir earlier. Now though I am well-versed with the Kashmir scenario, when I saw the exhibition of photographs I realised that there was much more to what I knew. So this exhibition was like a revelation to me and set me thinking on why, how and what exactly is all this going on in Kashmir? It seemed as if I knew nothing after all the knowledge I had gained. Dr. Shrungu and his associates took great pains to organise this exhibition. I am very grateful to him for all the efforts he made to bring this exhibition here to create awareness among the people.

View the exhibition with an introverted attitude and fearlessly explain its seriousness to others in society

After seeing the exhibited photographs and the captions of Shri Kuldeep Raina note whether your attitude has become introverted. The purpose of this exhibition is only to create awareness in you. Yes, we do read news items in this regard in some corner of a daily, but just forget about it. As a result, terrorism is never exposed. My advice to people who attend such exhibitions is ‘close your eyes and turn inwards for a moment and see if there is any feeling. Only if something happens can you deduce that in your heart still there is room for lofty righteous ideals, that you are still a human being. If nothing happens then the situation is critical, there is no place for ideals in your heart; your life is more animal-like which can end any moment. On the other hand if you view this with an introverted attitude, asking questions such as has this reached other Hindus? Why not? etc. you will see the picture very clearly and then like Kuldeep Raina fearlessly you will be able to talk to others about these issues. Remember fearlessness is a divine virtue and one will be able to talk about such issues only if one develops this quality. Later one can develop the strength to face and combat such calamities successfully. Today if we fail to oppose this then we shall never be able to do so in the future and then this society will only be deserving of destruction. To summaries if you do not become fearless then realise that you have assumed a birth only to undergo deterioration.

CIA - India Map
CIA - India Map
Conspiracy by the C.N.N., C.I.A. and B.B.C. in propaganda regarding the map of India

Our politicians are absolutely insensitive. They have never bothered to do anything about Kashmir. One more point I want to emphasise upon here is about the conspiracy regarding the Indian map set up by the C.N.N., C.I. A. and B.B.C. the world over. It was the HJS which first exposed this map in which the borders of Kashmir are wrong. We wrote to the President of India, Ministry Of Home Affairs and concerned authorities, put it up on the HJS website and launched an awareness campaign in the regard. In Goa we tried to meet the Governor, the representative of the President. However he was indifferent towards the issue and we were informed that since the Central External Affairs Ministry deals with this we should communicate with them. So if an average citizen wants to do something in national interest then is it not the government responsibility to hear him earnestly? This proves the state of our politicians, how insensitive they are, for your information even the Central government did not take any action in this regard.

Mentality of the police

A German company owns an office in Mumbai where they had put up an exhibition. To advertise their products they were using the Indian map on their pamphlet the same as used by the C.I.A. The HJS registered a complaint about this map to the police after which all those pamphlets were seized. Thereafter we received a phone call from the police whether we really wished to pursue the matter. The police who should have been the first to take responsibility were repeatedly asking the same question. Just see the mentality of the police. If our viewpoint and that of the administration remains the same then it won’t be long before we are destroyed completely.

Assistance to the Panvel Media Club ' to arrange this exhibition

In Pune this exhibition was organised at Bal Gandharva. When the locals were viewing these photographs one question which haunted them repeatedly was, " What were our broadcasting media doing all this while ? Why did they not pass on this message to us?" I take great pleasure in telling you that in Panvel it was the 'Panvel Media Press Club' who organised this with our co-operation. This action of those journalists is indeed laudable. These few journalists expressed that at least now they would do something to change the scenario and I am sure they will do so fearlessly.

WE should continue to get enlightened continuously

Now let us focus on society. FACT (Foundation against Continuing Terrorism) is an organisation fighting terrorism and we managed to procure a few photographs against atrocities committed on Hindus in Kashmir and Bangladesh from them. This exhibition was held at a number of venues and some people who had seen this exhibition had given us their names, addresses and phone numbers too. Nearly a month back in Rajouri (area close to the so-called Line of Control) five Hindus was killed by terrorists. So after that unfortunate incident we decide to contact them. I feel ashamed to tell you that some addresses were incomplete and phone numbers wrong, so in the end very feel of these people joined us in serving a protest memorandum about the terrorist killings of Hindus to the Collector. After seeing this exhibition if any of you really feel like doing something for this cause then I request you to participate in protest rallies, agitations, signing memoranda, etc, We have done this in 12 districts after the Rajouri killings. If you intend to do something for this cause then always keep the flame burning in your heart. It should continue to illumine yourself so that it inspires you when any such incident occurs once again. I am telling you this only as my personal experience.

Sri Ranbireshwar temple,</br> Ishbar Nishat, Srinagar
Sri Ranbireshwar temple, Ishbar Nishat, Srinagar
Places of pilgrimage from Kashmir may be lost

Today you need to ponder on the Kashmir issue. Once at Ahmedabad after talking about the Kashmir issue, a man approached me asking whether it was safe to travel to Kashmir as a tourist. Instead of thinking about combating terrorism the man was thinking of a pleasure trip to Kashmir. How ridiculous! There are so many Hindu places of pilgrimage in Kashmir. Will I ever be able to go there to pay my respects? We do not even think of going to see the places of pilgrimage in Pakistan, eg do we think of taking a dip in the Sindhu river like in the Ganga? We have forgotten about them. The same will happen about the places of pilgrimage in our next generation. If we do not take them into our control then later we shall not be able to do anything because the land and property there belongs to Kashmiris and someone else may captures that land. Then we shall not be able to even step foot into Kashmir, yet Indians today seem unbothered that Kashmir may become independent or a part of Pakistan. Try to understand this state of helplessness that we are in.

Need for developing pride for Hinduism

Today we are viewing our religion, national issues, invasions and history all with the coloured glasses of a socialist. That is precisely why we need to develop respect and pride for the Hindu religion. We need to look at the issues and the world with the religious perspective, only then will you realise that all these thoughts are short-lived and threatening to the human race. They are not in human interest. Only if viewed with the perspective of the Sanatan Hindu religion then will the individual and the nation be saved.

Common Myths About Hinduism
The most obvious misconception about Hinduism is that we tend to see it as a religious faith. To be precise, Hinduism is a way of life, a dharma. Dharma does not mean religion. It is the law that governs all action. Thus, contrary to popular perception, Hinduism is not a religion. Out of this misinterpretation, has come most of the misconceptions about Hinduism.

Hinduism: A Modern Term

Words like Hindu or Hinduism are ananchronisms. They do not exist in the Indian cultural lexicon. People have coined them to suit their needs in different points of history. Nowhere in the scriptures is there any reference to Hinduism.

A Culture More than a Religion

Hinduism does not have any one founder, and it does not have a Bible or a Koran to which controversies can be referred for resolution.

Consequently, it does not require its adherents to accept any one idea. It is thus cultural, not creedal, with a history contemporaneous with the peoples with which it is associated.

Much More than Spirituality

Writings we now categorise as Hindu scriptures include not just books relating to spirituality but also secular pursuits like science, medicine and engineering. This is another reason why it defies classification as a religion. Further, it cannot be claimed to be essentially a school of metaphysics. Nor can it be described as 'other worldly'. In fact, one can almost identify Hinduism with a civilization that is flourishing even now.

A Common Faith of the Indian Subcontinent

The Aryan Invasion Theory having been completely discredited, it cannot be assumed that Hinduism was the pagan faith of invaders belonging to a race called Aryans. Rather it was the common metafaith of people of various races, including Harappans. The Sanskrit word 'aryan' is a word of honourable address, not the racial reference invented by European scholars and put to perverse use by the Nazis.

A Culture Much Older than we Believe

Evidence that Hinduism must have existed even circa 10000 B.C. is available: The importance attached to the river Saraswati and the numerous references to it in the Vedas indicates that the Rig Veda was being composed well before 6500 B.C. The first vernal equinox recorded in the Rig Veda is that of the star Ashwini, which is now known to have occurred around 10000 B.C. Subhash Kak, a Computer Engineer and a reputed Indologist, 'decoded' the Rig Veda and found many advanced astronomical concepts therein. The technological sophistication required to even anticipate such concepts is unlikely to have been acquired by a nomadic people, as the Invasionists would like us to believe. In his book Gods, Sages and Kings, David Frawley provides compelling evidence to substantiate this claim.

Hinduism is a Not really Polytheistic!

Many believe that multiplicity of deities makes Hinduism polytheistic. Such a belief is nothing short of mistaking the wood for the tree. The bewildering diversity of Hindu belief - theistic, atheistic and agnostic - rests on a solid unity. "Ekam sath, Vipraah bahudhaa vadanti", says the Rig Veda: The Truth (God, Brahman, etc) is one, scholars call it by various names.

What the multipicity of deities does indicate is Hinduism's spiritual hospitality as evidenced by two characteristically Hindu doctrines: The Doctrine of Spiritual Competence (Adhikaara) and The Doctrine of The Chosen Deity (Ishhta Devata). The doctrine of spiritual competence requires that the spiritual practices prescribed to a person should correspond to his or her spiritual competence. The doctrine of the chosen deity gives a person the freedom to choose (or invent) a form of Brahman that satisfies his spiritual cravings and to make it the object of his worship. It is notable that both doctrines are consistent with Hinduism's assertion that the unchanging reality is present in everything, even the transient.

A Muslim understanding of Hinduism

Hinduism is not a religion. It is a culture, custom, tradition, way of Hindus' lives in Hindustan (India). It is claimed and insisted as such by all the well known Hindu priests, scholars, intellectuals, books, scripts, the Ruling Party BJP & Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, the Indian & International strongest Hindu organisations RSS & VHP, each and every Hindu, etc.

British people called HIND as INDIA. It was never united and was being ruled by thousands of kings (sovereign kingdoms) who always used to have wars and quarrels and killing a lot. The Muslim and Mughal rulers united them all and made into HIND, the present Bharat Matha. The word HIND itself was given by the Persians, invented by Muslims a few centuries ago. Hence the words Hind or Hindu cannot be found in any ancient book or script.

The word Hindu was given by Persians to people living beyond Sindhu river. The word HINDU came into existence a few centuries back, invented by Muslims. It was (never) no where mentioned in any ancient sacred Indian holy script or book. A Hindu is born to Hindu parents in Hindustan (India). No Hindu can be without a caste. The Castes cannot be changed by any means; they are by birth, everlasting and unchangeable.

The Holy Bhagavad Gita (Chapter-18 Verses 40-47) Upannishads and many other ancient Indian sacred books and scripts fully taught and commanded the Caste System. Hinduism consists of four varnas (categories) and thousands of castes therein with innumerable Gods & Goddesses for each such caste. Hindus castes are not equal. Hindus' worship and prayer is the job of their caste, they are born in by nature. Those not included in any of the said four varnas (categories) are untouchables ie worst and dirtiest than dirtiest animals. Only Brahmins are licenced to read, study, self educate, recite sacred words and verses, attend temples, be priests, etc. If a Shudra (4th category-varna) listens the vedas and sacred verses then boiling lead is to be poured into his ears, if looks at them then red hot rods to be inserted into his eyes, if recites them then his tongue is to be cut, as taught and guided by Upanishadas.

These Varnas (4 categories) are taught in the Holy Bhagavad Geeta, Verses 40-47, Chapter-18, and are not man made to be eradicated or ignored.

The Constitution of India and the Hindu Code (4 separate Acts) included everybody into Hinduism except Jews, Christians, Muslims & Parsis.

All the Indian Central and State Govts. laws, rules, orders, regulations and all the judgements of the Supreme & High Courts always confirmed that Hindus' castes are unchangeable and are by birth only.

People unware of Hinduism and influenced by other cultures/religions shout & cry that Hindus' castes are changeable; they conceal the true Hinduism, Indian laws, Courts' judgements, etc., yet cannot fool the other any more.

The CASTE column always appears in each and every application form prescribed by Govt. institutions & offices.

Brian K Pennington
Was Hinduism Invented?
Britons, Indians and the Colonial Construction of Religion
(Oxford University Press, 2005)
A Review by Aruni Mukherjee
November 13, 2005

William Wilberforce once spoke of the “dark and bloody superstitions” that embody the creed which came to be termed Hinduism. Prior to that, the mind boggling diversity in sub-continental religious practices existed without a common definition to bind them together, and this “crystallization of the concept” is what Pennington traces in his book. Between 1789 and 1832, the Orientalist fascination for the “cloud of fables”- according to William Jones- embodied in Vedic literature was replaced by the East India Company backed intelligentsia who were preoccupied with utilitarian criticisms of the “sinister principles” of the same, depicted nowhere more vividly than in the works of James Mill and Thomas Macaulay.

Pennington argues that the modern avatar of the somewhat homogenized ancient religion that can be loosely termed Hinduism is a direct reaction to such seething and degrading criticism from the colonial academics, some of it indeed valid (such as vilifying the satī tradition). He argues that the elites within Hindu society entered a “dialectical space” with colonialism, thereby producing a defensive self-determined version of their faith. While celebrating colonial promotion of certain scriptures, they vehemently opposed stereotyping, as can be seen in the outcry among the Bengali educated middle classes over the label of the effeminate ‘babu’. This similar dialectic process was behind the rise of Hindu nationalism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as behind the progress made by the Hindutva movement of the late 1990s.

Nevertheless, Pennington refuses to present the colonial state with the credit of transforming “fragmented, disparate, localized, particularistic, and ever-changing mini traditions” into a world religion. Whereas “Indophoebia” and the “racist science” of the 19th century did indeed contribute substantially towards the development of a defensive definition of Hinduism, crediting the state with the invention of Hinduism as we know it is ignoring the “mess of encounters” that can better explain this development.

Whereas Edward Said accused the West of essentializing the East, the opposite argument is also true. Pennington makes a distinction between various classes of Hinduism’s “other”, and argues that class, nationality, outlook and background of the actors on the ground made the encounters between, say, a missionary and a peasant much different from that between a colonial academic and a local historian.

What follows from the importance of the nature of the “other” is the fundamental significance of religious values in this discourse, discarded by many schools of historians preferring to focus solely on socio-economic trends. Pennington associates himself with Partha Chatterjee who wrote in the first volume of the Subaltern Studies about the various ways in which the downtrodden communities often express themselves in the form of their religion. This is also seen in the works of David Hardiman on ādivāsis in western India, as well as that of Saurabh Dube on the Satnamis of central India.

Pennington uses a relatively small number of first hand sources, but adheres closely to them. The archives of the Church Missionary Society reveal the attitudes of missionaries towards evangelizing the natives, an attitude advocated by many including Charles Grant and Wilberforce. On the other hand, the transformation in colonial attitudes can be seen in the archives of the Asiatick Researches, which gradually gets taken over by colonial influences, sidelining the Orientalists. He also dwells on the religious newspaper Samācār Chandrikā published by Bhabānicaran Bandyopādhyāya which took on the task to refute much of the essentialism dished out by colonial literature. However, all of this does strengthen the author’s point about the importance of religion, explicit or implicit, in colonial policy-making.

Two questions beg to be answered by Pennington. First, he says nothing about the crude distinction made by the colonial state between ‘martial’ and ‘non-martial’ races in the sub-continent, and the various categories of castes it defined. Such essentialization went a long way towards complicating the already juxtaposed threads of Hinduism, and much of that legacy exists to this day. Moreover, whereas the colonial state may not have explicitly defined Hinduism, its criticisms of the same nevertheless led to Hindu nationalism adopting a very homogenous and essentially narrow view of Hinduism. As Amartya Sen has argued in his recent work The Argumentative Indian, Hinduism is simply too diverse to speak of in one single breath. Therefore, the prevalent definition of Hinduism (as in the stereotype used in the public domain today) may well have been invented during the high noon of colonialism.

Second, Pennington argues that there is increasingly a “need of structuring the relationship of religion and the nation state”. This contemporary universal ‘need’ can be readily questioned if one looks at secular Europe and India. Debates about race relations in Britain and France, and that of minority reservations in India are more to do with social exclusion and opportunities rather than any concerns about delineating the contours of state and religion. A more relevant discussion is the Middle East, where Islam and the nation state remain problematically juxtaposed.

However, Pennington is in need of recognizing the ‘essence’ of Hindu philosophical writings during times much before his book covers, but which can indeed be a useful apparatus to determine the role of the state vis-à-vis religion. The image of the Brahmin holding the śveta-chattra (White Umbrella) over the King was never involved in the analytical modus operandi of the colonial state while defining Hinduism.

On the larger question of whether contemporary Hinduism was invented, Pennington seems to adopt a persuasive argument. Whether there exists an alternative and distinct definition is a question which he leaves unexplored.

The author is based at the University of Warwick, England.

What we have here is that Indian Christians and other Indians are also falling for the
psy ops media propaganda against Hindus.

<!--QuoteBegin-Viren+Jan 18 2007, 10:31 AM-->QUOTE(Viren @ Jan 18 2007, 10:31 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Email from a yahoogroup forward to yours truly. Contains some frozen bile spewed by ex "Prof" of some C-grade university in Belgrade: Raju "Slobo" Thomas. Slobo Rajus seems to be loosing it in his old age. Warning: Plug your nose as you read..
<!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->xxxx,

I was away in Europe for much of the time since September 2005, and just
got back after another one month visit.

Regarding your last email about Christianity. Your attacks on Jesus and
Christianity made me go back to the gospels about Christ’s life and the sermons
of St. Paul. These are the two greatest Jews and individuals that ever lived.
Jesus the Jew (he was born and died a Jew) preached a profound new value
system of compassion, forgiveness and non-violence. And Saul the Jew turned St.
Paul, started and spread a religion that eventually covered much of the
globe. These are the two greatest Jews that ever lived. The other two would be
Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein.

So why don't Jews believe in Jesus the Jew and his Jewish disciples
especially Paul? Because if they did so, the Jewish race descended directly from
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, would come to an end. All Jews trace their lineage
racially through at least one parent (especially the mother who can always be
identified), to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, According to Jesus the Jew, God
has no chosen people. We are all equal under god.

In the Christian world, Christians criticize Christianity freely and
extensively. Almost all of this are attacks on the practice of Christianity, not
the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Muslims and Hindus never indulge in
such self-criticism and destruction.

In democratic US and Europe, self-criticism is so widespread, one would
think that these are the worst and most evil countries in the world. It is not
unlike candidates for elections in the US describing their opponents as
incompetent, corrupt and evil. On the other hand, in the former communist Soviet
Union and China, they considered themselves infallible and perfect nations.
There are no similar self-attacks and criticisms of Hinduism and Hinduism,
or of Muslims and Islam, in the Hindu and Muslim worlds.

On the other hand, in the Christian world, Christians avoid slandering and
defaming other religions, especially Hinduism. Likewise, Muslims may
criticize Christian support for Jewish Israel, but there are no direct Muslim
attacks on Christians, Christianity and especially on the life and teachings of
Jesus. Similarly, Buddhists, Shintoist, Taoist and Confucian followers may
criticize the behavior of Christian countries, but they never attack
Christianity itself.

The only exception are the upper caste followers of Hinduism, especially
Gujerati banias and Maharashtrian Brahmins. Yet these same Hindus do their best
to migrate to the Christian West and launch their hate attacks on Christians
and Christianity while prospering from living here or through contacts with
Christian world. Such behavior represents hypocrisy, double-standards, and
ingratitude of the highest magnitude. did a WWW scan and found only Hindu
anti-Christian websites and they are horrible. No Muslim or Buddhist.

In the Christian and Muslim worlds, the general stereotype image of Hindus
and Hinduism is an extremely negative one. You can forget your puppets like
David Frawley and Konrad Elst. The image is approximately as follows.
Hindu scriptures and Hindu practice are full of contradictions, double
standards and hypocrisy. Hindus are comfortable telling lies, and they exaggerate
and make up things without scruples, because that is the nature of Hinduism. </b>
(Just for example, the Hindu American Foundation keep repeating that they
represent 2 million Hindus in the US. [The total number of Hindus in the US is
1.081 million out of 1,765 Indian Americans including Hindus.]
To continue with the non-Hindu image of Hinduism: Sexual perversions
abound among Hindu gods and goddesses. Hindu families offer their young daughters
as prostitutes to temple priests in India. When Roman Catholic priests who
are expected to be celibate prey on young boys, it is considered wrong and
evil. But temple prostitution is not condemned and the priests are not
removed. One can always justify evil through some part of Hindu scriptures.</b>
From the perception of the outside world, the caste system is one of the
greatest organized hereditary evils of all times, worse than slavery. The
former Dalits were treated as less than animals throughout recorded Hindu
history. The practice of Hinduism, with the worship of monkey and elephant-faced
gods and spider-looking goddesses, are an ugly sight to outsiders. Hindu
practices are considered dirty and ugly when millions of Hindus swarm into the
Ganges at Allahabad, Benares, Hardwar and elsewhere under the superstitious
belief that this will solve all their problems in this life and the next life.
The last Pope called Hinduism an “evil” religion. The patriarch of the
Russian Church called it the “devil’s” religion. This ugly image of Hinduism
is shared by much of the Christian and Muslim worlds of 4 billion people.</b>

When I taught India politics for the last 30 years at Marquette University,
I would start by explaining Hinduism Buddhism and Islam on the grounds that
it is important to understand the nature of these religions to understand
South Asian politics. My students were almost exclusively mainstream White
Americans. They would independently look up Hinduism and Hindus out of
curiosity, especially now with the internet and worldwide web available. They tell
me that they cannot believe how people can believe in all this mythology, in
ugly monkey and elephant-faced gods, and practice it amidst such dirt and
filth. In one year, an American documentary showed a Hindu temple in Gujerat or
Rajasthan where thousands of rats were crawling around. Hindu devotees where
not only feeding the rats but also worshiping them. One of the girls in the
class said that when she saw it, she wanted to throw up. Another student
once said “How can people in this day and age believe in all this garbage.”

But you should understand that this is a widespread impression in America and
the West. The building of almost a thousand Hindu temple in the US is not
helping. It is generating silent resentment. Muslims and Buddhists are not
engaged in such building sprees to show their religious power in the US.

The worst Hindu fanatics are among the one million Hindus who live and
prosper in the US which include yourself (The Hindu American Foundations claims
that there are 2 million Hindus in the US. This is a lie. According to the
2000 US census there is only 1.081 million Hindus out of 1.765 million
Indian-Americans. ) Like you, many of these Hindu-Americans hate and despise
Christianity, Christians and Jesus. It does not bother their conscience that you
Hindus enjoy the hospitality and generosity of the Christian West while
spewing hate and contempt for the Christian West’s religion and Jesus himself,
all behind the backs of the Christian West. You will never see such behavior
and attitudes among East Asian Americans or even Muslim Americans. It is
strictly a Hindu-American behavior.

What would you think of me if I lived with your family, enjoyed your
security and support in your home, prospered enormously because of your generosity,
but behind your back I went around saying horrible things about Hindus and
Hinduism? You would call this lacking gratitude, character and moral
integrity on my part. If you indulge in such Christian-hate views, you should have
the morality to go back to your Hindutva. You are what you are because of the
Christian world: - British Indian legacy of federal democracy, and the
hospitalityof Britain and the US.

You are exaggerating this Christian missionary dishonesty. That would be
un-Christian. Also caste is not part of Christianity. If caste is practiced
by Christians in India, it is overpowering legacy of Hinduism. Christ
preached just the opposite. According to Christ, "the first shall be last, and
the last shall be first," blessed are the poor and the meek for they shall
enter the kingdom of god. You picked some obscure statement attributed to Jesus
to show that he advocated violence. He said "no eye for an eye no tooth for
a tooth," if someone hits you "to turn the other cheek," "love them that
despise you, do good to them that hate you," prefer martrydom to violent
retaliation. He predicted that people would say all kinds of evil against him, but
his followers should love those who indulge in such hate against him. That
would be you.

There is a cliche, “Those who live in glass houses, should not throw stones.”
Everything that you see in the world today (economy, technology,
society, education) is because of the Christian West. India is one country
because of the British otherwise it might have been a thousand pieces. The English
language has given India the edge in the international, cyberworld, and the
US. India’s democracy, federal system, its educational system, its railway
and communications systems, and more, are all because of the British. There
is nothing Hindu about these accomplishments.

.I could go on. But I will stop here.


An in-depth description, discussion and eventual synthesis of the Harappan Tradition.

Religion has for millennia been the excuse for ethnic differentiation and much violence. Second only to language, the religious activities of the Harappan Civilization have been the focus of much speculation. Did the Harappans have a single belief system or multiple religions? As in modern South Asia, was there an amalgam of religious beliefs? Did the religion of the Harappans spread to the other populations of the area? Were Harappan religious beliefs related to any modern religions? This final question primarily focuses on Vedic Hinduism.
Figurines were a popular artistic form of The female nude figurines so familiar from Harappan sites also seem to have originated at Mehrgarth. A large number of female figurines have been uncovered from all over the Female - nearly all- fan shaped headdress- narrow applied loincloth- breasts- no attempt at naturalism- larger than later nude goddess figurines- linking of doves is unwarranted- not doves- most with single necklace. Male terra-cotta figurines are all completely nude (Gordon and Gordon, 1940).

Figurines were not discovered in any recognizable ritualistic or specialized contexts (Dales, 1991). They were not found in the burials of any site (Dales, 1991). Female figurines were made as two vertical halves, each complete then joined (Dales, 1991). The arms applied later (Dales, 1991). This was the case only at Harappa, a single example was discovered at Mohenjodaro by Mackay (Dales, 1991).

An entity referred to variously as the Horned or Tree Deity has been recognizably represented in numerous and diverse contexts. It is typified by regalia consisting of a garment composed of leaves, pelts, hides, fleece or camouflage and a bovine mask (During Caspers, 1989; Srinivasan, 1984). The mask was horned with foliage between. Similar miters which signified the divine status of the wearer were represented in Akkadian art (Srinivasan, 1984). In some contexts, the Horned God is seen to be carrying a bow and arrow (During Caspers, 1989).

One type of representation was in the form of clay masks. They were human faced with bull ears and horns. The masks were made from molds and had two small holes on each side. Their small size, between four and seven and a half centimeters suggests a personal use. It is possible they were attached to clothing or as ornamentation. If they were utilized in large organized ritual contexts they would likely be used en masse. To this time, large numbers have not been uncovered.

The Horned God is represented in several mediums. Images have been discovered engraved on several small copper plates found at Harappa and Mohenjodaro (Marshall, 1931; McKay, 1937-38). (Marshall, 1931, III, Pl. CXVII, No. 16; Mckay, 1938, II, Pl. XCIII, No. 14) The motif is most well known from representations on steatite seals. It is further represented on faience and terra cotta sealing amulets (During Caspers, 1989). (Mackay, 1938, Pl. XCIV, 420, C, F; Mackay, 1938, Pl. LXXXVII, 222; and Makay, 1938, Pl. LXXXVII, 235). This representation is often thought to be an early version of the Lord Siva. This Proto-Siva often shown surrounded by animals. As a result, many scholars have compared the Horned Deity representation with Siva as (Pirassvita) or Lord of Beasts. The Pirassvita is a Hindu deity which protects domestic animals. At first look, the two representations seem similar but the Horned Deity, when animals are present, is depicted with wild beasts, the intellectual and emotional opposites of domesticate animals.

Some daises legs have hooves and two have fetlocks (During Caspers, 1989). Representations of the Horned God which do not have the headdress are assigned due to their similarity in posture and circumstance to several that wearing the horned miter. Two carvings have been discovered which may represent the Horned God. The first dates from the Mature Harappan Period and was discovered in the northern urban center of Kalibangan. It is a terra-cotta cake with the head and torso of a man with curved horn extending from its head (Possehl, 1999).

The second was etched on the surface of a flat irregular stone slab (48x27cm) discovered Phase 1b level (c. 2125 B.C.E. ) of Burzahom (Pande, 1971, Agrawal and Kusumgar, 1965). It is a representation of a man, woman, and a dog hunting a stag under a double sun. It was discovered as part of a rectangular structure in which the stone seems to have been reutilized with the inscribed surface facing the interior of the structure.

Several explanations have been made for these representations. realistic representation of hunt as sympathetic magic

Northwestern Neolithic Culture- hunter/gatherers

These representations may a non-Harappan minority group from northern fringes

perhaps sympathetic hunt magic- dance instead of yogic position

man headed animals- bearded- short stubby horns- many with holes drilled near base (Gordon and Gordon, 1940)



Funerary Practices

The use of shell bangles first appears at Neolithic Mehrgarh (Kenoyer, 1992). Shell bangles have been reported in nearly all localities of the Harappan Civilization. Bangles were manufactured from many different materials including: faience, terra cotta, bone, copper, and shell. Only bangles manufactured from shell are found in mortuary contexts (Kenoyer, 1992). They were placed almost exclusively on the left arms of middle aged women (33 to 55 years of age) (Kenoyer, 1992). Today in South Asia, objects of magical significance are not passed on to others (Kenoyer, 1998). bangles and jewelry in general represent the reproductive status of women and a change in bangles coincides with a change in status (Kenoyer, 1992).

The unicorn motif found on sealings and stamps. Its obvious male member and single horn has been interpreted as a phallic symbol of fertility (Dhavalikar and Atre, 1989). It has been variously identified as a bull or possibly a composite animal consisting of deer, antelope, goat, and cattle morphology (Dhavalikar and Atre, 1989). The unicorn is usually accompanied by an object of possible cultic significance. This cult object has been variously described as a fire alter, an incense burner, an ethnic standard or a strainer to purify Rig Vedic Soma (Marshall, 1931; Dhavalikar and Atre, 1989).

fire temple- Mohenjodaro- HR area, structure XXIII

Marshall 1931: III, Pl. XXXIX

Lothal- say fire alters in permanent form

Rao 1979: 11


Some scholars feel that the unusual physical positions represented evidence for the practice of a yoga. A minimum of 16 such representations exist and appear to represent the same position (Possehl, 2002). All representations have been recovered from either Mohenjodaro or Harappa (2002). The question is can one validly posit such a ‘pose or ritual discipline’ and the necessary associate theory from such limited evidence. This ‘pose’ may be nothing more than an artistic stylization.

Some religious concepts have been posited which lack any supporting evidence. First is Shaktism which is a late concept of sexual dualism. It may be that this principle did exist, however, there is no artifactual evidence to support such a complex conclusion.

<!--QuoteBegin-acharya+May 22 2007, 03:03 AM-->QUOTE(acharya @ May 22 2007, 03:03 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Brian K Pennington   
Was Hinduism Invented?

euros will acquiesce to the "invented hinduism" line since they will take it as an affirmation that Hindusim should not be defended; after all, it is just a 19th century construct. Even balagangadhara's work will be twisted to attack any inkling of hindu defense. In contrast, the logical corollary that caste "system" is also a nineteenth century construct will be opposed tooth and nail. at least we should be convinced by now that liberal modernists in the west have same motivations as the homogeneizing religionists. Can we not subsume the entire Nussbaum gamut under the term atlanticist as done in an an article on hindu narrative thread. Hindu narrative
It is my opinion that Santana Dharamam a.k.a Hinduism originated in the present North Western parts of present India, Pakistan & Afghanistan; and it slowly spread to the rest of the sub continent. Just like Buddhism or Jainism that spread to the Southern India, so too this spread. It incorporated the local customs/traditions as it spread.

Is this different from any other complex/evolved religion like Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity or Islam? Yes, it spread far more peacefully and people resonated with it.
Seeking to give a positive image to Hinduism in US
May 28, 2007

New York: About 30 students sat barefoot and cross-legged as they chanted Sanskrit verses and did yogic postures in an exercise conducted by the Hindu Students Council at North Carolina State University this weekend.

"It's a concentrated dose of culture, friendship and a lot of learning together," said Kanchan Banerjee, one of the founders of the Council, after the event. It has been 17 years since the Council first organised the camp in the US.

Banerjee said he and fellow founders were inspired to form a new student group because Indian cultural groups on college campuses tend to avoid the spiritual aspect of culture.
The organisation reaches out to Indians and non-Indians who have an interest in studying Hinduism.

"Ill-informed professors, well-meaning friends and even some Indians unfairly associate Hinduism with poverty, or cows running in the streets or castes instead of acknowledging Hindu's contributions to the world, such as yoga," Nikunj Trivedi, 28, a Rutgers University MBA student who serves as president of the Council's national organisation, was quoted as saying in the News Observer.

A couple of weeks ago, graduating students of the University of Nevada were blessed with verses from the Bhagavad Gita during their second annual interfaith baccalaureate service.
Rant by an Indian against India in US
In Craigslist

Re: re(7): Re: Are E. Indians white? (financial d (financial district)
Reply to: pers-350616105@craigslist.org
Date: 2007-06-12, 11:46AM PDT

Hi Pax R.,

Yes, I replied to your post from a few days ago., thank you for replying back to me. Appreciate it very much.

And yes again, I can say things and call out the obvious bigotry among east Indians - hindus, I’ve been at the receiving end of hindu values for all my life except the last 5 years I’ve been here. I don’t see why I should sit still when these assholes speak so loud, shout and cry wolf at the first sign of a perceived slight. f*(k em… cheap pieces of sh1t.

Anyone not “Indian” who points out the obvious racist and bigoted practices among east Indians will immediately be called a racist for doing so. It’s a favorite game among them, playing the victim has long been a tradition and cherished value. Since I’m an east indian dalit/untouchable, I can play it right back at them. Now suddenly they ask me to stop crying and be a man.. ha! ha! How very ironic!

While I’m at it.. let me have some fun and rip into this a bit more...

Coming to America has been hugely liberating… I really feel free here.
As long as I stay away from hindu-east indians it feels great, like soaring over the high hills free like a bird, deep breaths of cool refreshing air, away from the claustrophobia and smell of curry and generally sick hindu-indian attitudes.

This is the free world, the land of milk and honey. Anyone who feels America or Americans need to learn from india is a despicable fool who should spend time in the slums of india. It shouldn’t be difficult to find a slum in India, by western standards, the whole of the fucking country is a slum. Indians-hindus have always been measuring themselves to a different standard, they think they are exempt from scrutiny and responsibility for their actions and beliefs because, they are “Indian and hindus”, whatever the f*(k that means. Worshiping a cow does not raise you above the rest of mankind, it places you squarely at the bottom of the pile (if that is ever possible) with the rest of the ass munchers.

India is a festering mess and I won’t mince my words, the single most significant and the only cause of it all is Hinduism. It’s a religion from when humans were savages and civic society had not evolved. Hindus take pride in its antiquity.. and it’s antiquity is what gives its singular savage – tribal nature. It’s time these assholes evolved and got with the rest of mankind, instead of coming to America and preaching “indian” values and how great it is. Indian – Hindus are the most bigoted people you will ever meet. I’m sure if you met with a Nazi in the hay days of Hitler’s nationalistic movement, your everyday Nazi would be astonished that you do not embrace Nazism and see the light. It’s the same with Hindus, they simply don’t understand why the world does not see the benefits of the racist hindu caste system and adopt it. It’s done wonders for India and it’s the only *true* way of life they’ll argue. Point me a Hindu and I’ll point you an aspiring scumbag of a Nazi.

The same “Indian” values have kept my people subjugated and under servitude for over 3000 years in the worst than slave like conditions imaginable. At least the slaves lived on and served masters on their, I presume well kept plantations, not that it was any better or a slaves life anywhere is desirable, it is the most humiliating and emasculating experience known to mankind. Indian dalits/untouchables are forced to live outside of the villages in slums with pigs and feral dogs outside of main stream Indian society.. 90% of them continue to do so, the odd 10% that have escaped the villages live in the poorer sections and slums in the cities. Housing is by and large still organized on caste lines. Education is routinely still denied to the majority of dalits. Indians/hindus will not stop complaining about the handful of dailts/untouchables who took advantage of affirmative action. The sight of a dalit or untouchable educated and an equal is so offensive to these assholes that some will go to any lengths to bring the dalit/untouchable down. The usual non confrontational approach in the cities is to gang up and as a group cut the person off while claiming ignorance, the obvious confrontationist approach is to physically intimidate and harass the dalit and the dalit family, murdering, raping and killing off whole families if the intimidation does not work.

Hindu scriptures and tradition are predicated on the inequality of mankind. It is also the only religion that is so. Different castes having sprung forth from different parts of the body of their god or some such drivel. It’s a religion meant to divide and enslave the larger population for the use of by a small percentage of so called upper or caste hindus. It is the most exploitative system known to mankind masquerading as religion ever, right up there with Slavery, Nazism and Apartheid.

Now for the question of: Are East indians white?

Let’s get the Obvious out of the way: No! they are brown.

Do they share genetics with Caucasians: Yes a few do but very very little, they share much more with Africans and Asians. India has always had raiders from the west it’s safe to assume they fucked the local girls, so all of upper caste Indians who claim they are Caucasians are bastards from rape and pillage by invading marauding raiders. So there. ha! ha!

Will East Indians ever stop fantasizing about being white: No, it now gives them a reason, no matter how slim, to continue with the belief that they are superior.. since they assume white is superior, every hindu is a racist, this reaffirms their belief system, it’s in the religion, they are hard wired for racism. It’s the dirty regressive hindu religion and their *values* that will keep them in the bung hole of human history for ever.

-Dalit/Untouchable indian.

Your Post :

May I presume you've read and are now responding to a post I wrote several days ago?

Your post is insightful, honest, and your way with language is rather poetic. You have said things I would not say, lest I be branded a racist. I have spent a lot of time in E. Asia, London, and the US living and moving among people from the Indian sub-continent, and I agree with most of what you say, although, I have not been privy to many such discussions upon which you have based your commentary. That which I might not agree with, well, I just don't know; however, similar attitudes and behavior are found within nearly every group I have ever encountered anywhere on earth, one being the way in which the mind so easily succumbs to trivialities.

Please feel free to add to the discussion here more often; your input can be refreshing.

Pax R.

Re: response to the post by 'The Untouchable' about India/Indians (financial district)
Reply to: pers-350498017@craigslist.org
Date: 2007-06-12, 12:19PM PDT

You asshole, you are such a shameless liar, it is part of your religious and cultural heritage, every hindu I’ve met has been the same, your parents taught you this sh1t on their lap when you were a wee one, coz they are the same kind of shame less liars in India too.

and you wrote:
"We *get* a lot of things that the others dont (how inner peace can help, the benefits of non violence, our experiments with vegitarianism, the merits of placing one's parents over and above everything else, the absolute priority of education over every other pursuit (Geeks do really get the girls back in India!) et al). Americans are just not ready for this sort of thing (unlike the Chinese, the influx of Indians has been recent, the bulk of which is not more than 20 years ago).

And then you wrote again:
Have I said that all Americans disrespect their parents, or that no Americans are vegetarian (or even that vegetarianism was superior to meat eating in any way?)? I will leave it to stupids like you to make such sweeping generalizations, like you did in much of your meaningless drivel.

Read your sentences carefully.. Yes! you did. When you said:
“Americans are just not ready for this sort of thing (unlike the Chinese, the influx of Indians has been recent, the bulk of which is not more than 20 years ago)”

Since you continue with your lies and false assertions I’ll take the liberty and pleasure of throwing it back in your dirty face. I’ll break it down for you.. since you claim you don’t understand the meaning of your won (sic) rants..

[1] Indians( indian hindus) get a lof of things *others* don’t
1.1 Inner peace
1.2 non violence
1.3 vegitarianism
1.4 respect for parents
1.5 education
1.6 Geeks and Girls

“Others” in America are clearly Americans (who else?) who don’t “get it”.

You follow it up by :
“Americans are not ready for this sort of things”
Meaning, Indians *get* it, they invented/discovered these values and the poor conflicted, violent, meat eating, dis-respecting their parents, uneducated Americans don’t *get* it. And yes, since you are a “geek” you want to get girls here… it must be baffling to see the jocks get all the pussy and you none. You can’t resist dragging in some of that in here.. now can you?

and you add:
unlike the Chinese (who I’m sure to a sick puppy like you are a bad bad influence to be totally avoided) the influx of Indians has been recent, the bulk of which is not more than 20 years ago.
So the influx of Indians is too recent for Americans to absorb or learn from the soooo high…. Uumm…. give me a word here… “caste”? east Indians yet, but given enough time the east Indians will teach the Americans “east Indian values” and the east indian way of life. Of course the bad bad Chinese values have to be undone first.

You asshole, you are such a shameless liar, it is part of your religious and cultural heritage, every hindu I’ve met has been the same, your parents taught you this sh1t on their lap when you were a wee one, coz they are the same kind of shame less liars in India too.

The rest of your meaningless and in the end pointless rant is just another attempt to obfuscate and lie to those (Americans and other nationalities here) who know not any better, I won’t even bother replying to it. Anyone who visits india or reads about hinduism and it’s ridiculous caste system will know it for themselves. You are ultimately defending racism by sticking up to the hindu (and to your sick mind – Indian) caste system.

Well your kind is still the lying slimy snake in the grass that will spring up and bite you when you are not looking. You never change. I put up with you bastards in India, I don’t see why I have to put up with you sons of bitches here and have to identify with you.

I’m proud of not being part of the Indian/hindu main stream. America taught me self respect and introduced be to showering twice a day and the use of a good stick of deo. It also taught me how to stand up for myself and to kick asshole like you in the balls. That in itself sets me apart from the hoards smelly hindus who find a deep need to and through force of sheer habit and cultural pressure lie, cheat and pretend to be white.

And don’t club us dalits/untouchables with the rest of the hindus, backwards or forwards.

We are from outside the main stream. The backward – forward sh1t is from the main stream hindu religion. All hindus backward or forward torment dalits. You dirty fuckers don't even get along with yourselves.

The dalits/untouchables are not responsible for the all pervasive *Indian* values like lying, cheating, being cheap, being racist and being smelly, that is the hindu thing, I haven't met any indian sikhs, muslims, christians or buddhists who are a bunch of lying snakes like the hindus. The only all Indian (like the all American mom and apple pie) value is perhaps the one of being smelly. It’s what binds india together. From the Himalayas to the Indian ocean and from the Arabian sea to the bay of bengal, you’ve managed to turn a lush green country to a steaming pile of garbage and open sewers. You all smell of sh1t and deeply identify with it. It is what it is… don’t fight it, embrace it.

About East Indians being white:
Why don’t the lot of you paint your faces white and buttfuck with the KKK. I’m sure they’d love some brown ass. You bunch posers would whore your mothers for a buck fifty to be called white for an hour.
Use all the genetics you want, in the end we all sprang forth from Africa and in the end are (now don’t gasp and die).. black!

Your OP:

Dear bumbling 'Untouchable' (your choice of word, not mine),

First off, you are clever, you slimy weasel, of that there is no question.
You took everything I said, and bent it completely out of shape to give it a distinctly anti-American tinge. Have I said that all Americans disrespect their parents, or that no Americans are vegetarian (or even that vegetarianism was superior to meat eating in any way?)? I will leave it to stupids like you to make such sweeping generalizations, like you did in much of your meaningless drivel.



First off, let me be very frank in my admiration of your command on the language and the clarity of your arguments. I wish I was as good at both.
You rant is an insightful albeit sarcastic exposé of this meaningless and trite "Are E. Indians white” discussion.

I'm somewhat exasperated at the political "incorrectness" of my fellow countrymen and more than angry at their double standards and outright racist behavior and attitudes. The vast majority of them (east Indians) are prejudiced racists, all hindus are racist to the core. Their prejudiced views come out in discussion and statements when they are agitated and otherwise unaware, and like a frog out of a smelly hole, they cannot comprehend the richness and diversity of the bigger pond of the world and have to always compare the bountiful fruits of the world pond with the assumed greatness of the smelly little hole they came from.

Now the idiot OP wrote: "We *get* a lot of things that the others dont (how inner peace can help, the benefits of non violence, our experiments with vegitarianism, the merits of placing one's parents over and above everything else, the absolute priority of education over every other pursuit (Geeks do really get the girls back in India!) et al). Americans are just not ready for this sort of thing (unlike the Chinese, the influx of Indians has been recent, the bulk of which is not more than 20 years ago). For now, Americans are content with the generalization that Indians "stink", literally and figuratively. Oh well. You cant force someone to appreciate your true worth. "

I have serious problems with generalizations and arguments of his kind. They betray a deep desire to lie to those that they think don't know better. It's also betrays a deep cultural and I'd say the hindu religions desire to lie about everything and to everyone and hope to hell to get away with.

It's presumptuous to assume that Americans don't have inner peace or are violent and that east indians aren’t violent at all and that vegetarianism is better than eating meat and somehow Americans don't respect their parents and hate education.

I think Americans are healthy and eat well, eating meat has served the western world well. You have only to compare the average American and the average East Indian to get what I mean.

Not all east Indians have inner peace, if at all. A full 25% of the population is "untouchables" according to the hindu religion. Now according to the idiot who's posting here, maybe rotting in a slum outside the village with pigs and open sewers while avoiding starving to death may mean inner peace to him.. but I beg to differ. Also for a country with inner peace there is an amazing amount of rape and murders in the four main cities. Brides are still burnt for more money and older parents made destitute and pushed out of homes, left to beg and die on the streets. Rest assured at least a full quarter of the East Indian population feels dis-enfranchised and don’t feel lucky to be born in India. The flood of east Indians clamoring to come in should clue you in.

Violence : Separatist movements in the north, north and naxal rebels in central india. South has tamil tigers bases, the same guys who invented and wrote the book on suicide bombing. Not to mention land lords killing "untouchable" laborers and raping their women for not working for next to nothing in their fields. The only reason we don’t have a lone gunman kill 10 to 30 at a time is because guns are not easily available. Bombers blow up far more and armed gangs as well as nexals kill far more in India. In the country side private armies sponsored by the land lords kill plenty of defenseless untouchable laborers.

Respect to parents: This is the only country and religion that has a village for widows, still in existence, thriving where you can send you old mom to die in poverty and sexual exploitation. Talk about respect for your parents. Walk through the streets of Mumbai and New Delhi, and you'll see old people begging because their children won't support them. Go to any old age shelters in india and you'll see respect for your parents in the abandoned elderly folks. This is the country Mother Teresa set up shelters because there was a need for it.

Education : This explains why 75% to 80% of the country (india) is illiterate, also despite centuries of British rule, the average east Indian cannot spell or write a coherent sentence in English, let alone speak it well. East Indians come running to do their masters here in the US because universities in India stink. The US has the best universities in the world period. Only a damn fool would say the US does not respect education and that Americans don't get it.

Stink : East Indians stink, I am east indian, I can't talk with my countrymen after lunch, not only is there BO and curry smells, most of them don't brush their teeth either. This isn't a white man or black man saying it. It's is an Indian untouchable who comes from a slum outside a small village in a backward rural state telling you... yes, we east indians stink. This is not about prejudice.. it's just a plain fact. I hate talking to my country men coz they won’t buy a two dollar stick of deo but rather stink up the whole place. Then they will brag about how much money they make.

It's funny how this idiot comes to the greatest country in the world (USA) and preaches his outright lies and "indian" values. Why if Indian values are so great is the country (India) a slum coast to coast? East Indians (Hinduism) are the only people responsible for running the country (india) into the ground. Ask any Indian, and he’ll blame the british for all of india ills.

I use the third person "them" to separate myself from my country men, with whom I've a very tortured and now fast disintegrating relationship. I don't really want to put up with the bigotry and outright racist behaviour of hindu/east indians. Also I don't think I share anything in common with east indians. Our (the dalits or untouchables) culture is very different, we've been forced and are still forced to live in seperate slums out side the main villages and cities.. how then now can I suddenly identify with these people. The art and culture or lack of it, of india is not the art and culture of my people (the dalits/untouchables).

I'm an untouchable in india, I don't care for that country, it is in my eyes the worst place on earth with no human values and a religion (hinduism) that preaches divisions hatred and lies.

Me sticking up for my country men would be the same as an afro American who's been forced to live in a ghetto and discriminated against by white men asked to stick up for the same people who've abused and tortured him his whole life.... so f*(k you east Indians, my country men.. you assholes, you bunch of posers.

And yes.. almost all and any "east indian" will be thrilled give up his right nad for a chance to be called "white". It's the caste system all over again. They'll never get over it.

-The Untouchable

Re: re(7): Re: Are E. Indians white? and the untouchables (financial district)
Reply to: pers-350836091@craigslist.org
Date: 2007-06-12, 4:33PM PDT

Au contraire… every hindu I’ve interacted (and there’ve been a lot) with has been a rabid racist. As far as the caste system and hating on dalits/untouchables goes I assure you, tacitly, covertly and in some cases overtly every hindu I’ve met has hit out at me at one time or the other. For no apparent reason, out of the blue when I least expect it, just because you can feel superior or want to feel superior, you will hurl mindless hurting drivel and racist nonsense relating to the caste I’m supposed to belong at me. In india I had no options, the system is run by you fuckers, I had to grin and bare.

I can assure you no American, black white or any shade in between has ever called me a "chamar". Correction.. no one other than a hindu has ever called me one.

The most recent incident that fuels my anger was precipitated by my wifes co-worker and someone in retrospect I bearly knew, yet considered a friend, who made it a point to tell my daughter last week at the Sunnyvale temple that he was a high caste (I will not say which caste) hindu and had special privileges at the temple, which of course brought up the question of what caste my daughter (and we were) was , when she asked, my sly and cunning ex-friend told her very tartly “not of high caste, go ask your father" for details. My inquisitive daughter asked around and found out. The only reason I went to the temple was because my wife dragged me there, I hate that place. I stay away from all filthy hindu places, because this is where all filthy minded scum gather to reaffirm their dirty beliefs.

Do you know what it did to my little girls self esteem? You cocksuckers will stoop low and crush a child’s heart with your relentless poison and for no apparent reason. I hate you bastards, you drag your filth everywhere you go, there is no escape for even a child and even here in the US. Hinduism should be banned as a religion, it is the most disgusting, revolting practice there is.

Call me whatever you want, you cocksuckers started and still perpetuate the caste system. It is your pride and joy, the central tenet and pillar on which Hinduism is built. Why should I sit back and let you motherfuckers take potshots at me time and again? There is no let up with you sons of bitches, you relentless pieces of sh1t.

And now you bunch of morons believe you are white? What for? So you can hate on the those darker than you? What the f*(k is wrong with you assholes?

You wrote:
You racist piece of sh1t, haven't you learned that not every Hindu is the same? Just because India's system is setup to ostracize your kind from the rest of society doesn't mean that all Hindus living in India agree with it. You dumb f*(k, you are the racist one here...who is this fucking 'chamar' putting down all the hindus?

The above incident that the craigslist poster refers to may or may not have happened, but what special privileges does anyone, high or low, have at the Sunnyvale temple? It is a temple where a large number of people come for merely taking some "prasad", no great pooja or homa happens there. Since no elaborate rites are performed (the gods are represented mostly by photos), no special privileges are possible.

God knows what was said by this acquaintance, and what this guy heard or believes he heard.
First off how do we even know this moron is telling the truth about the mandir incident, it could simply be made up BS, also how do we even know he is what he claims to be, any wanker on the net can make an id for himself and claim some identity and no one would know.
<b>Hindus launch first pan-European body to speak to EU institutions</b>
Jun 30 2007 7:44AM

http://news. sulekha.com/ newsanalysisdisp lay.aspx? cid=174853

Launched at the European Parliament in Brussels and HFE aims to be a
first point of contact for the European Commission, European
Parliament and other EU institutions in dealing with issues like
participation of European Hindus in public policy, interfaith
cooperation and EU legislation.

In the presence of senior Parliamentary presence from Britain,European
MEPs and Ambassadors, the launch event is hosted by British MEP Robert
Evans, and supported by MEPs from many EU nations. Home Office
Minister of State for Security and Policing from the UK, Tony McNulty
MP, who hosts one the country's largest Hindu population in his
constituency, will be one of the key-note speakers at the event

Organisat ions that have joined together to form the Hindu Forum of
Europe (HFE) include the Hindu Council of the Netherlands, Hindu Forum
of Belgium, Hindu Forum of Britain, Italian Hindu Union and the
National Council of Hindu Temples UK.

Sudarshan Bhatia, President of the National Council of Hindu Temples
UK, was elected the President of the Hindu Forum of Europe by its
Administrative Council. Mahaprabhu Dasa from the Hindu Forum of
Belgium was elected the Secretary and three Vice Presidents were also
elected on the HFE Board, and they include Harilal Halai, Chair of the
Cultural Committee of the Hindu Forum of Britain, Swamini Hamsananda
Giri, Secretary of the Italian Hindu Union and Bikram Singh, Secretary
of the Hindu Council of the Netherlands.

Sudarshan Bhatia, President of the Hindu Forum of Europe, said: "The
organisation was formed as a result of several meetings between Europe
wide Hindu bodies held in Belgium and London, which identified a gap
in communication between EU institutions and the 1.5 million Hindus
living in Europe. "We have four areas of interest: EU legislation and
community consultation; interfaith cooperation in Europe; and
promotion of positive images of the European Hindu community; and
protection of human rights and security issues. Now, European
legislators and policy makers will have a forum to communicate
effectively with a community that has made such a substantial
contribution to the European way of life."

Harilal Halai, Vice President of HFE, added: "The British Hindu
community, which numbers 750,000 is the largest in Europe. We hope
that our experience of engaging with the British government in
contributing to the cohesion and integration agendas of this country
will go a long way in making a difference in Europe."

Bikram Singh, another Vice President of HFE commented: "Holland has
the second largest Hindu community in Europe, and already has five
state-funded Hindu schools and a TV channel dedicated exclusively to
Hindu programmes. We hope that the HFE can make a big difference in
how Dutch Hindus reach out to the rest of Europe."

Other guests at the launch include the Ambassadors of South Africa and
Mauritius, leading figures from the European bodies of other faith
communities and officials from EU institutions
Swamini Hamsananda Giri, who speaks on behalf of the Hindu community
at several interfaith events, said, "We believe that the Hindu Forum
of Europe will provide a wonderful opportunity for us to speak to the
other faith communities at a pan-European level. This will help in
increasing bilateral and multi-lateral dialogue between Hindus and the
other faith communities in Europe."

Mahaprabhu Dasa, concluded. "It is with great pleasure that the Hindu
Community of Belgium welcomes the creation of a European Hindu body
and since Belgium is at the heart of Europe we hope that we can
facilitate the dialogue between the Hindu Communities around Europe
and the European institutions like the Parliament, Commission and
Council. We also hope that Europeans will perceive Hindus as a
positive contribution to the multi cultural European society."

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