.sqs-featured-posts-gallery .title-desc-wrapper .view-post


Ecology of Our Minds

Ecology of Our Minds

by Nimai Agarwal

When I was eight years old, my parents used to take me to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. We would go every week of the summer, spread out a blanket on the grass, and enact a tradition central to our monotheistic branch of Hinduism: singing devotional songs to passersby, often accompanied by a harmonium and brass hand symbols.

Varanasi Now and Forever

“There is hardly any city in the world that can claim greater antiquity, greater continuity, and greater popularity than Banaras (the British name for Varanasi). Banaras has been a holy city for at least 30 centuries. No city in India arouses the emotions of Hindus as much as Kasi does.” (Varanasi’s name in Hindu religious literature)

Bidi-Smoking Muslims and Miracles

During a trip to India in the summer of 2001, my mother made a pilgrimage with her cousin to the city of Shirdi, home to the shrine of Shirdi Sai Baba (1835-1918), a holy figure revered by both Hindus and Muslims.

Dealing with Terror & Global Warming

The same week that Pope Francis and President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping visited the U.S., Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Bay Area.

The Soul of Men in the Hearts of Women

I’ve been searching for God for most of my life in one way, in one form or another. I write about women’s spirituality, lead transformational retreats for women, and am an art therapist. I’ve literally made God my business. I’m always on the lookout for opportunities to grow “The Magic,” the immanent, intimate, purposeful expression of the Divine within my own heart and the heart of the world.

The Gita and Me

I first became aware of the Bhagavat Gita in the mid-1960s. I was a college student taking my first tentative steps onto my spiritual path, reading all I could about the Eastern traditions instead of my assigned textbooks. It was all second-hand at first. It seemed that every writer and scholar I admired – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Aldous Huxley, Joseph Campbell, Alan Watts, J.D. Salinger – wrote with great admiration of the Gita. Thoreau apparently read it every day of his famous retreat on Walden Pond: “In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita … in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seems puny and trivial.”

Hindu Studies Comes to the GTU

In January, the GTU welcomed renowned professor Dr. Rita Sherma as Director of Hindu Studies, as part of the launch of its highly anticipated Hindu Studies Initiative. The GTU now offers a Master of Arts degree with a concentration in Hindu Studies as well as a Certificate in Hindu Studies. These new Hindu Studies programs can be taken independently or in combination with any degree program at the GTU. The application deadline for all MA programs has been extended to July 1, 2015.

Visiting India, the Motherland

I first became intoxicated by India as a college student in the 1960s, through the movies of Satyajit Ray, the music of Ravi Shankar and, most of all, the revelations of the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads. My first exposure to those sacred texts came second-hand, through the work of interpreters like Alan Watts and Aldous Huxley and the fiction of Herman Hesse, Somerset Maugham, and J.D. Salinger. The Beatles put me over the top when they took up Transcendental Meditation and made their landmark pilgrimage to Rishikesh. The total effect of those cross-cultural hinges was to turn this existentialist/atheist/social activist into a dedicated spiritual seeker. I’ve been immersed in yogic practices and Hindu texts ever since.

Revisioning Nepal as an Interfaith-Friendly Hindu State

With a current population of around 30 million, Nepal used to be the only constitutionally declared Hindu nation in the world. The now-defunct constitution of 1990, in effect until January 15, 2007, described the country as a “Hindu Kingdom,” whilst not establishing Hinduism as the state religion. Then came the Communist Party of Nepal and its secular “Republic.”

Christianity and Interreligion in South & Southeast Asia

Living in a multi-religious society is still a new experience for many people in Europe and America, but in Asia members of one faith community have traditionally coexisted in the same geographical space with those of others. Crossing boundaries – for example, marrying a member of another community – could result in social ostracism. At times, sharp controversy and, sadly, horrific violence has been suffered, as when India was partitioned. At other times, for centuries in millions of villages and town, neighbors from different traditions have gotten on well, been friends, and even enjoyed some practical cooperation.

On Raising Hindu Americans in Detroit, Michigan

As a first generation American who grew up in India, it seems counter-intuitive, at first, to be writing about growing up Hindu in America. Reflecting on my experience as a parent raising two Hindu American teens, though, a 19-year old and a 13-year old, I feel emboldened to put ‘pen to paper’ and share my thoughts.

Why Hindu Americans Should Care about Advocacy

About seven years ago, I found myself in the rather awkward situation of having to describe advocacy to my Hindu friends. I had just left a consulting job to join the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) as a fulltime staff member. Speaking with Jewish or Christian friends was easy: they generally nodded their heads in understanding when I explained that HAF is an advocacy group for the Hindu American community. But the response from most of my Hindu friends was a blank stare. And my attempts to explain the breadth of HAF’s advocacy efforts – from education and curriculum reform to media outreach to human rights – barely did anything to alleviate their confusion.

How a Muslim Experienced Agape at Puja

In the tradition of Thanksgiving, I would like to show my appreciation for the unique interfaith environment at Georgetown University. Here is a story of how a devout Muslim learned about the Christian concept of agape by engaging with the Hindu community.

Will We Become a Nation of Hybrids?

My traveling companions on the train from Rome to Milan were two extremely good-looking young couples in their late 20s and early 30s – two sisters and their husbands – on their way back home to New Jersey after a ten-day impulsive Italian vacation. They had stumbled on a travel deal too good to pass up: round trip tickets on the Emirates Airlines from New York to Milan for $480.

Hindus Have Choices: Identity, PM Modi, and American Hindus

Supporters of Shri Narendra Modi, the recently elected Prime Minister of India, are looking to him to replicate nationally the hospitality to business investment and the infrastructure expansion that have fueled the growth in his home state of Gujarat. His economic track record was a major factor accounting for his electoral success.

Strengthening Shakti through Ganesha Principles

Drawing Strength from the Goddess

Bhakti – The Path of Devotion in India and the West

One Path in Hindu Spiritual Practice

Coming to Terms with Essential Terms

Parsing Vedanta, Yoga, and Dharma

Review: American Veda by Philip Goldberg

Will the Circle Be Unbroken?

Western Transmitters of the Dharma

Early Adopters of Eastern Wisdom