Gerald Barr – Interviews with non-Indian Hindus

I think Hinduism is an alive tradition that is not frozen in ancient times. It adjusts to the time and place. However, the source must always be preserved. 

I became immensely inspired by Indian Classical Music, and began learning from Ustad Zakir Hussain in 1995. He teaches not just tabla, but also how the music is connected to Hinduism. For example, he traces Indian percussion to Lord Ganesha. He once taught a tabla composition that ‘narrates’ a story of Radha and Krishna. Thus, the music and Hindu spirituality are directly linked.

Shakti initiative of Hindu American Foundation

Hindu American Foundation. www.hafsite.org. HAF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Namaste

WELCOME TO THE SHAKTI INITIATIVE!


Many years ago, I was invited to speak on a panel about women and religion. Armed with my senior thesis from undergrad — The Vedic Woman: Who Was She and Will She Return? — I was able to quickly pull together a long list of stories and scriptural quotes to bolster my own experience of finding strength and inspiration in Hindu teachings as a Hindu woman.

After the panel, a number of intrigued audience members approached me for online sources that they could read to learn more.  

I promised I’d get back to them. The truth is, I never did.

After scouring the internet for hours, what I found left me seriously F R U S T R A T E D.

There were the websites that were politically or religiously motivated — brimming with stereotypes and outright lies. They took scriptural quotes out of context and juxtaposed them with social evils afflicting women of all backgrounds in India to paint the ugly picture they sought to promote.  

Others were academic in nature, plagued with the same exoticizing and eroticizing with which we’re sadly all too familiar.

And then there were the well meaning, but confused ones where social customs and even wives’ tales were being passed off as religious mandates.

Frustration, however, can be a pathway to one of two things — anger or innovation.  

At HAF we’re fans of the latter.

And so —  on these auspicious first days of Gupt Navaratri — we welcome you to the Shakti Initiative: An accessible, online exploration of Hindu teachings about and by women the contributions of Hindu women throughout history; and the role both women and men play in bringing to fruition solutions that are grounded in Hindu teachings to address critical contemporary issues.  

My deepest hope for the Shakti Initiative when it was only a seed of an idea was that the life stories and contributions of some of the most remarkable women history has ever seen would inspire both women and men to get reacquainted with and reassert, in many facets of life where we have fallen short, the balance and harmony our traditions advocate for between the feminine and masculine.  

In turn, women and men will renew their commitment to work together to alleviate the suffering that has uniquely and disproportionately affected women in our society, and support one another so that all have access to their highest potential.  

In a small way, my hope is already manifesting.  

When I first proposed the idea at our National Team meet several years ago, nearly every hand shot up, either in support of the project or to join the Shakti writing team. Not only that, we’ve gotten new volunteers — young and not as young — who upon hearing about the project, have contributed articles, and are working on new ones as I write this.  

We hope you enjoy the Shakti Initiative as much as we have been inspired by it.    

We’ve got a lot up already, and a lot more planned, so visitwww.shaktiinitiative.org often.

Jai Mata Di and Happy Navaratri!

Best,

Suhag Shukla

HAF Executive Director

P.S. Would you like us to write about a Hindu woman of note? Interview a swamini known to you? Uncover the reason behind a tradition centered around women? Send us your suggestions at shakti@hafsite.org.  

Neighbors object to sacred Hindu symbols – get sued

A devout Hindu Akhil Tripathi had put up a Toran at the entrance to his home door, a common practice among many religions including Hinduism to place a sacred and blessed object at their condo home entrance. Unfamiliar with the object, the Condo association has passed a law requiring the Toran to be removed though some other symbols of a different religion can stay.

Akhil decided to have none of it and is now suing the Condo association for discrimination. 

[Click here to read more ….] or even more [here]

If you would like to support Akhil in hos fight, please visit the website listing the sale of the condos [here]  and register your protest.

A Hindu Textbook Controversy in USA

The basic complaint by Hindus, including the American Hindu Education Foundation (HEF) is that previous textbooks have given an inaccurate and disparaging portrayal of their religion. While there are many individual complaints the big three are: the emphasis on the caste system, making the Indo-Aryan Migration Theory seem undisputed, and changing ancient India to Southwest Asia.

[Click here to read more ….]

Negative stereotypes about Hindus

In any country or region, media plays a powerful role in influencing people’s beliefs and world views on a topic. If someone controls the message in the media, they have a disproportionate level of influence on what is generally believed as truth.

Unfortunately, the broadcast media in the US has been unintentionally or carelessly used to paint a bleak, negative portrayal of Hindus and their religion. I will get to the specifics in a bit, but first let me share some background information to set the context.

[Click here to read more ….]

How Americans came to embrace meditation

In the 1960s many Americans may have only known Hinduism through meditation, but the story of this country’s relationship with Hinduism is much longer and more complex. [Read more …]

Illinois and Iowa Senate-House open with Hindu prayers

India Post News Service

CHICAGO: On February 27 and 28 respectively, Illinois State Senate and House of Representatives in Springfield started their sessions with Hindu prayers, containing verses from world’s oldest existing scripture. 

[Click here to read more…]