Why sprinkle water around food before eating

Have you ever wondered why did your grand parents sprinkle water around their food before eating. Well, here is an explanation. Watch the video.

 

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Thailand evolves its own mix of Budhist and Brahmin rituals

The new Brahmins

The relevance of mixing Hinduism with Buddhism and folk beliefs in Thai history

12 Oct 2015 at 03:46 WRITER: MELALIN MAHAVONGTRAKUL 

A man dressed in white blew into a conch as if it were a horn. Joss sticks were burning. Heads bowed but people’s lips were praying. A screenplay on a golden tray was engulfed in a cloud of white smoke…. 

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Take a Quiz on Hindu Beliefs

Please enter your email:

1. Artha or making money and acquiring wealth is not important in Hinduism? Yes/No

 
 

2. Moksha means liberation from sorrow, suffering and a state of constant bliss? Yes/No

 
 

3. Is every thing and every being divine according to Hindus? Yes/No

 
 

4. Which of the following correctly describe the meaning of Karma?

 
 
 
 

5. After death, one is usually reborn again into the world? Yes/No

 
 

6. Divine can be worshiped in either male and female form? Yes/No

 
 

7. Dharma means one’s religious duties and does not include worldly duties? Yes/No

 
 

8. Only human beings have an Atman or soul according to Hindus? Yes/No

 
 

9. Yoga is a one of the beliefs of Hinduism? Yes/No

 
 

10. Different schools of Hinduism have different meanings of Moksha? Yes/No

 
 

11. Hindus can pick and choose which form of Deva (god or heavnly beings) to worship? Yes/No

 
 

12. What is Samsara?

 
 
 

13. Kaama or pursuing sensual pleasures is prohibited in Hinduism? Yes/No

 
 

14. Which of the following statements are true?

 
 
 
 

15. Of all the Goals of Human life, Dharma is the most important? Yes/No

 
 

16. Release from the cycle of death and rebirth is called Moksha? Yes/No

 
 
Which religion ism am I studying?

What would a God look like

By: Surinder Jain.

Hindus have many Gods and each God has his or her own form. We have Shiva sitting on an ice cold mountain top with a fountain of water (river Ganga) flowing out of the top of his head. We have Ganesh with an elephant head and Shakti shown with up to eight arms carrying weapons and gifts in each.

 

All religions have a well defined concept of The God, Their God. Not all religions however can show you what their God looks like. In fact some religions prohibit showing their God’s or their prophets form altogether going to the extent of calling such an act a heresy. In some religions it is asserted that God created Man in His own image and therefore one can deduce that reverse must be true, i.e. God must look like a man (not a woman, mind me).

By Source, Fair use, Link 

Vishnu from Bali

Vishnu from India

 

But if each religion had to follow Hinduism and depict their God in the form of a picture or a sculpture (murti), and assuming it is permitted, what would their deity look like.

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill scholars went about addressing this issue for Christians. If Christians had to draw a picture of God, what would it look like. Now, this is not the first time that someone has dared to draw a face and picture of a Christian God. Many historic paintings available in Churches in Europe show God as an old white male with a white beard and this is what the scholars must have been expecting to come up with.

After showing a number of different photos (very much like mug shots) to devout Christians and asking them which photo resembles their God the most, they came up with a picture of a Christian God. They found that God comes not in one but in as many forms as human aspirations or groupings.

The researchers found that American Christians see God as young, white and loving. But those with views aligned to liberals see God as more feminine, more African-American, and more loving than conservatives. They see God as older, more intelligent, and more powerful. But everyone in the study seemed to see God as similar to themselves.

God and anti-God

Even though American Christians ostensibly believe in the same God, people perceived God in their own way, their perceptions reflecting their political ideologies and their own personal appearance,” the researchers found. When Christian believers think about God, they perceive a form suited to meet their needs and who looks like their own selves.

If people believe they live a godly life, they’re most likely to see a god that looks like themselves, and it might explain why one person’s perception of hypocrisy of some believers, isn’t to others, basically making their view of God conform to them rather than the other way around.

So, if Christians were to make deities in their churches of Christian God (not that they would or should), they are likely to end up with as many Christian Gods as in Hinduism. 

So, next time you are teased by a non-Hindu for being a Hindu with many Gods, quote this study and tell them to try and come up with a unique universally acceptable face or form of  their own God.

[You can read more about the university study here …. MPR News]

here [NBC ….]

and here [Science Alert ….]

By: Surinder Jain.

(acknowledgements wikipedia photos)

 

 

Take a Quiz on What is Hinduism

Answer the objective type questions below to test your knowledge.

Please go to Take a Quiz on What is Hinduism to view the test

 

The Case for India by Will Durant

Book Review by : Vijai Singhal

The Case for India

This book was written by Will Durant, an American writer, historian and a philosopher in 1930 after visiting India. Given below are some of the abstracts from this book which can be freely down loaded from the Internet. The book was written without the help or cooperation by any Indian.

Will Durant had made an in-depth study of the Indian civilisation, which he declared as one of the oldest and the greatest civilizations that mankind had ever known. He went to India to see for himself but was appalled to see almost one fifth of the human race suffering poverty and oppression bitterer than anywhere on the earth. He had not thought it possible that any government would allow it’s subject to sink to that misery. The British conquest of India was an invasion and destruction of a high civilization by a trading company utterly without scruple or principle.

Writing about the rape of a continent, he says, “When the British came, India was politically weak but economically prosperous. It was the wealth of 18th Century India which attracted the commercial pirates of England and France”. Quoting Sunderland, he says, “Nearly every kind of manufacture or product known to the civilized world existing anywhere had long been produced in India. India was a far greater industrial and manufacturing nation than any in Europe or than any other in Asia. Her Textile goods-the fine products of her looms, in cotton, wool, linen and silk-were famous over the civilized world; so were her exquisite jewelry and her precious stones cut in every lovely form; so were her pottery, porcelain, ceramics of every kind, quality, colour and beautiful shape; so were her fine works in metal-iron, steel, silver and gold. She had great architecture-equal in beauty to any in the world. She had great engineering works. She had great merchants, great businessmen, great bankers and financiers. Not only was she the greatest ship-building nation, but she had great commerce and trade by land and sea. Such was the India which British found when they came.”

The East India Company management profiteered without hindrance; goods which they sold in England for $10 million they bought in India for $2 million. The Company paid fabulous dividends that its shares rose to $32,000 a share. By 1858 the British Government took over the captured and plundered territories as a colony of the Crown. England paid the Company handsomely and added the purchase price to the public debt of India to be redeemed, principal and interest at 10.5% out of the taxes on the Hindu people. Province after province was taken over by offering rulers choice between pension and war. James Mills, historian of India, wrote: “Under their dependence upon the British Government … the people of Oudh and Karnatic, two of the noblest provinces of India, were by misgovernment, plunged into a state of wretchedness with which… hardly any part of the earth has anything to compare”.

“The fundamental principle of the British has been to make the whole Indian nation subservient… they have been taxed to the utmost limit; the Indians have been denied every honor, dignity or office”.… F J Shore testifying to the House of Commons in 1857.

“The Governments’ assessment does not even leave enough food for the cultivator to feed his family” – Sir William Hunter, 1875.

Economic destruction – The English destroyed the Indian industry. India was forced to become the vast market for the British machine-made goods. They ordered that manufacture of silk fabric must be discouraged but the production of raw silk be encouraged. A tariff of 70-80 % was levied on Indian textile while the English textile was imported duty free into India. It might have been supposed that building of 30,000 miles of railways would have brought prosperity to India. But these railways were built not for India but for England, for the British army and British trade. Similarly Indian shipping industry was ruined. All Indian goods were to be carried by British ships. There was a big drain of revenue through payment of salaries and pensions to English officials. In 1927 Lord Winterton showed, in the House of Commons, that there were some 7500 retired officials in England drawing annually pension of $17.5 million. From Plassey to Waterloo, 57 years, the drain of India’s wealth to England was computed by Brooks Adam to be 2½ to 5 billion dollars.

Social Destruction – When British came there was a system of communal schools, managed by village communities. The agents of East India Company destroyed these communities and the schools. In 1911 Hindu representative Gokhale introduced a Bill for compulsory primary education. The Bill was defeated. After British took possession of India the illiteracy rate in India increased to 93%. Instead of education the Government encouraged drinking of alcohol. In 1922 the government revenue from sale of alcohol increased to $60 million annually. There were also 7000 opium shops operated by the British government. In 1901, 272,000 died of plague. In 1918 there were 125 million cases of influenza, and 12.5 million recorded deaths.

There is a chapter devoted to Mahatma Gandhi and his Satyagraha movement. Gandhi was an idealist. In 1914 when the 1st World War broke, Gandhi saw the war as an opportunity for securing Home Rule by proving the absolute royalty of India to England. India contributed $500 million to fund for prosecuting the war; she contributed $700 million later in subscription to war loans; and she sent to the Allies various products to the value of $1.25 billion. The suspension of the revolutionary movement enabled England to reduce India army to 15,000 men. The number of Indians persuaded to join the army to fight in the war was 1,338,620 which was 178,000 more than troops contributed by combined Dominions of Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Indian fought gallantly but none of them were granted a commission. Nothing came of that sacrifice by the Indian people. Lord Curzon wrote: “British rule of the Indian people is England’s present and future task; it will occupy her energies as long a span of the future as it is humanly possible to forecast”.

In the later part of the book the writer has stated arguments from England’s side, for example: “if India has seen the decay of her old domestic handicrafts, it is because she rejected modern machinery and methods of industrialization; India did not exist as an entity, there are seven hundred nativ

e states, forever at war; no common language, 200 different dialects and the caste system dividing the people etc.”. Later on he debunks these claims, for example the British government has always been friendly to caste, because caste divisions make the British task of holding people in subjection easier, on the principle of “divide and rule”. They encouraged Moslem communities to gain weight against Hindu nationalism. Shifting of capital from Calcutta to Delhi was aimed to secure support of Moslems against the Hindus.

In conclusion he states: “I have tried to express fairly the two points of views about India, but I know that my prejudice has again and again broken through my pretense at impartiality. It is hard to be without feeling, not to be moved with a great pity, in the presence of a Tagore, a Gandhi, a Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose, a Sarojini Naidu, fretting in chains; there is something indecent and offensive in keeping such men and women in bondage”.

Vijai Singhal

Hindu Council’s FAQ on Hinduism

FAQs : Answers to frequently asked questions

 

Hindu View on Capital Punishment

As an individual a Hindu’s conduct is to always forgive even the worst enemy or not to judge another human being and leave the judgement to the Lord. 
 
As a government the Hindu view is that at times there is no option but to end a life to protect the society from within or from without. This is based on a higher principle that death and rebirth are necessary for the soul to grow and know its own Divinity.

What do Hindus believe about judgement and what is the process of salvation?

We believe in a law of karma that is in operation all the time. There is not the judgement day in our way of thinking. There are multiple ways of achieving salvation and we do believe strongly that accepting Jesus as the saviour is one of them.

What do Hindus believe about Jesus and his role in Hindu faith?

We believe in Jesus as an incarnation of the Divine. We Hindus believe that Jesus, the Divine incarnation, added to the capacity of the human flesh to experience love. This is based on the Hindu concept that every incarnation enhances the ability for the matter that makes up humans to evolve higher. 

How do you think Christians perceive God and his relationship to humanity?

Christians perceive God as someone in heaven who is the ruler of this world. He loves each of His subjects but he is also bound by the law that he has laid down for humanity.

What is the nature of God and HIS relationship to humanity

The nature of God cannot be described in words completely but we are all manifestations of God in different forms. God is present in all of us but we also worship God in a form external to us and in that form God is our protector and God loves us much more than we can love God.

Hindu perspective on euthanasia

Hinduism does permit Prayopavesa or renouncing of food and water which is actually euthanasia.
Prayopavesa literally resolving to die through fasting is a practice in Hinduism that denotes the suicide by fasting of a person, who has no desire or ambition left, and no responsibilities remaining in life.  It is also allowed in cases of terminal disease or great disability. A similar practice exists in Jainism.

Committing Prayopavesa is bound by very strict regulations. Only a person who has no desire or ambition left, and no responsibilities remaining in life is entitled to perform it. The decision to do so must be publicly declared well in advance.  Ancient times law makers stipulated the conditions that allow Prayopavesa. They are one’s inability to perform normal bodily purification, death appears imminent or the condition is so bad that life’s pleasures are nil and the action is done under community regulation.   eg King Parikshit in ancient time had observed prayopavesa and in current time, in 1982 Acharya Vinoba Bhave ( spiritual successor of Mahatma Gandhi) died by prayopavesa. In Nov 2001 Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami subjected himself to prayopavesa. Subramuniyaswami was diagnosed to be suffering from terminal intestinal cancer. He later died on the 32nd day of his fast.

NetFlix’s controversial portrayal of Rajneesh

NetFlix has made a six part documentary on Osho (Bhagwan Rajneesh) called  Wild Wild Country, and is streaming it now. The six-part series tells the story of the Rajneshees, calling him an Indian “sex cult” whose 2000-odd members moved en masse from India to rural Oregon in the 1980s.   


Almost immediately the movement ran into conflict with county residents and the state government, and a succession of legal battles concerning the ashram’s construction and continued development curtailed its success.

Photo By Samvado Gunnar Kossatz, Attribution, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3001538 

 

Swami Vivekananda – an intuitive scientist

This is a brief summary of the book written by T.G.K.Murty in 2012 on 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami ji. (Vijai Singhal)

Swami Vivekananda was a multifaceted genius. While his spiritual eminence is well known, his insights in physical sciences are lesser known. He was well acquainted with the scientific thoughts of his time and was remarkably accurate in his observations and conclusions with regards to many scientific notions.

Swami Vivekananda was born on 12th January, 1863 in Kolkata. His pre-monastic name was Narendranath Datta. His father, Vishwanath Datta was a successful attorney. Early is his life he came under the influence of Sri Ramakrishna, a mystic and priest of the Kali Temple. He made lot of spiritual progress under his guidance. After the passing away of Sri Ramakrishna, Swami jiwent on a long pilgrimage to explore the length and breadth of India. In 1893 he decided to attend the World Parliament of Religions to be held in Chicago, USA to represent the Hindu faith. He became an instant celebrity after his talk. He gained lot of popularity and attracted lot of followers. He spent 3 years in America and England giving talks and organising spiritual retreats. On his return back to India he established the Ramakrishna Mission and Math in 1897. He went for his second trip to the West in 1899. He passed away on 4th July, 1902. The Ramakrishna Mission has centres all over the globe spreading the teachings of Vedanta.

The power of intuition is an important ingredient of creative thinking which leads to innovative discoveries – Eureka moment. Our sages did possess the intuitive power through concentration of mind doing meditation and have made lots of very significant contributions in science and mathematics. The concept of zero, infinity and the decimal number system were developed in India. Swamiji saw interrelationships among Sankhya philosophy, cosmology, gravity and relativity. He also pronounced that energy and matter are interchangeable in space and time domain. On his suggestion, Nikola Tesla, the mathematician and physicist tried to formulate a theory on the above.During his tour of the United States and Europe, Swamiji met many of the well-known scientists of the time. He met in New York Sir William Thompson, Lord Kelvin and Professor Helmholtz – leading representatives of science in the West. The mathematical proof of the principle that Swamiji was looking for did not come until about 10 years later, when Albert Einstein published his paper on relativity and his famous equation E=mc2. This is what Swamiji was looking to get from Tesla.

On biological sciences, Swamiji did not fully support the Darwin’s theory of evolution which emphasised survival of the fittest. Swamiji said: “Taking for granted that Darwin is right, I cannot yet admit that it is the final conclusion about the causes of evolution.” He further said: ..”in my opinion, struggle and competition sometimes stand in the way of a being’s attaining its perfection. If the evolution of an animal is effected by the destruction of a thousand others, then one must confess that this evolution is doing very little good to the world.” In animal kingdom instinct prevails; but the more a man advances, the more he manifests rationality. A number of modern biologists do not support Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest. The Nobel Laureate Brian Goodwin declares that struggle and competition have no special status in biological dynamics where what is important is the pattern of relationships and interactions that exist and how they constitute the behaviour of the system’s integrated whole.

In the interest of brevity, I cannot describe some other aspects of Swami ji’s contributions, which this small book gives a good account of.

– Vijai Singhal

Hinduism Today Releases Documentary: “The History of Hindu India”

KAUAI, HAWAII: The editorial team of Hinduism Today is pleased to announce the release of its professional documentary film, “The History of Hindu India” (Part 1), developed in collaboration with Dr. Shiva Bajpai, Professor Emeritus of History, California State University Northridge. More than a year in the making, the movie (http://bit.ly/HinduHistory) provides an authentic presentation of the history of India and Hinduism to non-Hindus for use in American 6th grade social study classes. It is equally useful for Hindu temple study groups and to introduce the Hindu religion to general audiences.

 

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