HAPPY NEW YEAR:

In the spirit of exchanging New Year greetings, we wish peace and happiness for all humanity. Like animals, plants, mountains, rivers, seas and everything visible and non-visible in this shared universe are all inter-connected and inter-dependent to each other, we seek peace and peaceful existence for all. Peace in all the cosmic environments influences peace in humankind as well.

SHANTI (PEACE) MANTRA

Aum dyauh shantirantariksam shanti prthivi shantirapah shantirosadhayah shanti vanaspatayah shantirvisvedevah shantirbrahma shantisarvam shantireva shant sa ma shantiredhi Aum shanti shanti shanti.

Following is a translated version of the peace mantra: “May peace radiate there in the whole sky as well as in the vast ethereal space everywhere.

May peace reign all over this earth, in water and in all herbs, trees, and creepers.

May peace flow over the whole universe.

May peace be in the Supreme Being Brahman.

And may there always exist in all peace and peace alone.

Aum peace, peace and peace to us and all beings!”

(Translation by Swami Abhedananda, Ramakrishna Vedanta Math, India).

(From the book Hinduism beyond rituals, customs and traditions)

From the book Hinduism beyond rituals, custom and traditions

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Surreal:Word of the Year

“It’s a word that is used to express a reaction to something shocking or surprising, a meaning which is built into its parts: the “real” of surreal is preceded by the French preposition sur, which means “over” or “above.” When we don’t believe or don’t want to believe what is real, we need a word for what seems “above” or “beyond” reality. Surreal is such a word”. Merriam Webster 

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Billion $ Business of “Defence”

It is the business of arms and ammunition which is killing many more people worldwide than diseases or natural disasters.

And once again the United States of America leads all other weapon-producing countries in 2015. It supplied the weapons of mass killing worth $ 40 BILLION mostly to the developing nations to meet their “defense needs”, reports New York Times (December 26, 2016).

France is number two with $15 billion in sales. Other major arms suppliers are Russia ($11.1 billion), China ($6 billion), Sweden, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Britain, and France.

Among the leading buyer countries, the tiny nation of Qatar tops the list with $17 billion in purchases, followed by Egypt ($12 billion) and Saudi Arabia ($8 billion), South Korea, Pakistan, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Iraq.

Weapons for “defense” are the weapons of offense to suppress anti-government uprisings as in Egypt, to “fight against terrorism” per Saudi Arabia deceptive demands, or to clandestinely support terrorism like Pakistan does.

No matter under what agreements these weapon-purchase deals are made, the selling countries care less against whom these weapons are used, and what the safeguards are there that these don’t end up in the hands of terrorist organizations.

But that is not their business. Their business is political which is influenced by the arms manufacturing lobbies. While the bloodshed goes on. And the world peace remains as mere an agenda.

By Promod Puri

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Season’s Greetings

In the spirit of exchanging greetings with our friends and relative we also wish peace and happiness for all the humanity, and join together to bring along everybody so nobody is left out in our ce…

Source: Season’s Greetings

Season’s Greetings For All

 

In the spirit of exchanging greetings with our friends and relatives we also wish peace and happiness for all the humanity, and join together to bring along everybody so nobody is left out in our celebrations of the holiday season. Realizing that we human beings, along with animals, plants, mountains, rivers, seas and everything visible and non-visible in this shared universe are all inter-connected and inter-dependent to each other, we seek peace and peaceful existence for our environment also. (Image credit Google)

​ Does God Play Role In Our Karmas

Does God play a role in assigning karmas in an individual’s life? If He does then karma can be classified as fate or a predetermined destiny. In that case, our freedom to create events is ei…

Source: Does God Play Role In Our Karmas

Far-Left, Far-Right: Both Can Lead To Authoritarianism

Michael Patrick Cullinane, Reader in US History, Northumbria University, Newcastle

Courtesy:theconversation.com

As the 20th century wore on, the extremes of left and right proved to be remarkably similar; fascists and communists, for instance, were equally proficient in the ways and their means of authoritarianism. We might think political ideologies cover a linear spectrum ranging from left to right, but a more suitable symbol is the horseshoe – the far-left and far-right ideologies residing at the tips, rather closer together than they might care to admit.

Why is this history lesson worth remembering today? Although the media report endlessly on Trump and the alt-right, they often neglect those on the far left. The far left shows similar signs of authoritarianism as the far right, and offers a radical plan to restructure society and international relations.

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Racism Is More Than White,Black Or Brown

By Promod Puri

Despite its global image of being a tolerant society, racism, and bias towards major ethnic communities are still the rooted aspects of Canada.

Added to that, ethnic communities also have mindset racist sentiments among themselves. Moreover, some or most of them exercise bigotry and dislike within their own group.

A recent poll by Forum Research reveals the “unfavorable feelings” toward both religious and cultural minorities existing not only among the people but among the voters of all the three national political parties as well.

The poll says 41 percent of Canadians do not feel favorable about at least one of the ethnic communities namely: Muslims, Native Canadians, South Asians, most other Asians, and black people.

Of all the provinces Quebec leads the data with 57 percent respondents feel unfavorable toward at least one of the groups. The trend continues with 45 percent in Alberta, 39 percent in Atlantic Canada, 35 percent in British Columbia, and 33 percent each in Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan respectively.

The political parties may present a secular and non-racial face, but voters committed with them are embedded in racial and religious biases of unfavorability. As expected, 55 percent of the Conservative Party voters feel unfavorable toward at least one of the ethnic groups. Bloc Quebecois voters closely follow Conservatives. Among the Liberal, New Democratic Party, and the Green Party voters, the unfavorable sensitivity figures are 33, 30 and 31 percent respectively.

But the story does not end here.

There exists unfavorable feelings and racial prejudices among the ethnic and religious minorities also. Unfortunately, so far, no poll has ever been conducted to gather some statistical information about this aspect of the Canadian society.

Hatred and ill-will toward Muslims, First Nation Canadians, Chinese, South Asians, Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus by each of these groups against at least one of them are the little-known realities in Canada.

For example, members of one or more groups of ethnic communities explicitly expressed their dislike to allow the arrival of Muslim refugees from Syria last year. Anti-Muslim sentiment and fanaticism were the contributing factors of intolerance against the refugee and fellow new immigrants.

And then there is an ongoing racist culture against the Native people by most other ethnic groups. There is an occasional feel of racial biases by Chinese, South Asians, and other ethnic communities from Asia and Latin America against each other.

Within the South Asian communities, racial biases are an open chapter.

Fanatical aversion and dislike exist among Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims in the   South Asian communities despite the fact they share same languages and cultures. For example, during the recent presidential campaign in the US, many Hindus admired Donald Trump mainly because of his declared anti-Muslim stand.

Anti-Muslim, anti-Sikh and anti-Hindu feelings among the South Asian communities can often be observed among themselves. And within the Canadian Hindu society centuries-old caste system has been part of its custom and tradition which is nothing else but the institutional practice of racism by the upper castes against the lower castes.

The racial pattern in Canada is not only white versus black or brown, or one religious or cultural group against the other but among the groups as well. Moreover, the racist culture is very much live within a single group.

The multicultural mosaic of Canada is blighted with racist marks contributed by Canadians of all colors and creeds, including the ethnic communities.

(Promod Puri is a Vancouver based journalist and author of Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs And Traditions).

Websites:

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Progressivehindudialogue.com

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Chandra Bodalia: The Man who Captures Smiles

By Promod Purichandra-bodalia

Chandra Bodalia is a living legend in the South Asian community of B.C. The man who has captured “a million smiles” in the last over 25 years thru his zest for clicks, has also captured the hearts of the community.

Chandra-Bhai, as I affectionately call him, is an icon who is almost a permanent fixture in most of the community’s private or public social, political, and religious events.  Cameras and equipment in his hands or hanging from both of his shoulders are part of his personality along with his cool and smiling nature.

He is a man of limited words but an unlimited heart. Photography has been his love but never a business.

My first acquaintance with Chandra-Bhai was back in the late ’70s when as publisher and editor of The Link I was impressed with his awesome artwork of designing the cover of Vishwa Hindu Parishad Diwali souvenir books. I also noticed his talents in photography. After this initial introduction, he had been an “official photographer” for The Link.

Over the years, Chandra-Bhai must had taken hundreds of pictures for The Link. And when he used to come to The Link office with his bag full of photos of a single event, I used to tell him why he took so many of them when we just needed one or two for an event. His reply was his smile, indicating that it was his passion, not a job.

But in those days, digital cameras were not yet invented or might be too expensive to buy. And Chandra-Bhai always bought rolls of film and spending his own money to develop them. He never billed for his expenses. Whatever was offered was accepted with generous “thanks”, as that has been part of his big heart temperament.

A man of liberal and friendly nature Chandra-Bhai is adored, respected and loved by all. He is indeed a pride of the community for his immense and selfless services.

Promodpuri.com

Daily Exercise Lowers Blood Pressure

Yes, of course we all know we should exercise every day during the holiday season to help counter the onslaught of excess calories that started on Thanksgiving and will mercifully end with a New Year’s toast.

We may even tire of hearing about exercise and weight from family, friends and the media. But an equally important reason to exercise every day is related to blood pressure, not waistline.

As a physiologist who has studied exercise and health for over 20 years, I can tell you that exercise lowers blood pressure – and does so right away. Whether you go for a daily run or brisk walk, every time you finish exercising your blood pressure goes down, and stays down for many hours, which is good for your overall health. Here’s why.

Immediate drop in blood pressure occurs

The immediate blood pressure lowering effect of exercise is referred to as “post-exercise hypotension,” and many studies have shown that blood pressure declines 5 to 7 mmHg after every exercise session. The mechanisms responsible for lowering blood pressure immediately after exercise are not fully understood, but involve dilation of the blood vessels. Whatever the precise cause, this phenomenon is clearly beneficial.

Blosounds like a crazy-high number, and it would be if a reading like this were taken while seated, but it is not unusual during strenuous exercise. High blood pressure values during exercise are offset by the many low values recorded after exercise, to the benefit of the body.

Why worry about blood pressure? Simply put, high blood pressure (i.e., hypertension) kills. It is estimated that hypertension is a primary or contributing cause of death of more than 400,000 Americans annually. Estimates suggest that one billion people worldwide have hypertension. Here in the U.S., one-third of the population is hypertensive, and these numbers are projected to rise 7 percent by 2030. This is not just a concern for older adults – one estimate suggests that 19 percent of young adults have hypertension.
Hypertension increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. The societal costs of hypertension are astronomical. When you consider the cost of health care services, medications and missed days of work, estimates suggest that hypertension costs the U.S. US$46 billion per year. Often, there are no signs or symptoms of hypertension, which is why it is referred to as the “silent killer.” Even among adults who have been diagnosed with hypertension, nearly half do not have it under control despite taking medications. Needless to say, anything you can do to lower your blood pressure will lower your risk of disease.

Great news: You don’t have to spend hours on this

As my colleagues and I point out in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, exercise guidelines for those with hypertension emphasize the importance of daily or near-daily exercise to lower blood pressure. While the guidelines focus on those diagnosed with hypertension, daily exercise can benefit everyone.

To some, daily exercise may seem onerous, but the good news is that the exercise need not be intense or lengthy – moderate intensity exercise such as brisk walking for 30 minutes will lead to reductions in blood pressure. There is even evidence that short exercise bouts throughout the day (e.g., 10 minutes, three times per day) can lower blood pressure.

The bottom line is that exercising every day (and obviously eating less) will help prevent holiday weight gain, but an equally important benefit of daily exercise is lower blood pressure.

Courtesy: The Conversation

Cuba offers rum to pay off $276m Czech debt

 

Cuba has come up with an unusual way to repay its multi-million dollar debt to the Czech Republic – bottles of its famous rum, officials in Prague say.

The Czech finance ministry said Havana had raised this possibility during recent negotiations on the issue.

Cuba owes the Czech authorities $276m (£222m), and if the offer is accepted the Czechs would have enough Cuban rum for more than a century.

However, Prague said it preferred to get at least some of the money in cash.

Havana’s debt dates back from the Cold War era – when Cuba and what was at the time Czechoslovakia were part of the communist bloc. Courtesy:BBC News

bb

“To develop a complete mind:

“To develop a complete mind: study the science of art; study the art of science. Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.’ – Leonardo da Vinci

Manmohan Singh On Demonetisation

Modi’s decision on demonetisation  was based on an utterly false premise –“That all cash is black money and all black money is in cash.” The former prime minister elaborates that the “vast majority of Indians earn in cash, transact in cash and save in cash, all legitimately… Unlike the poor, holders of black money have access to various forms of wealth such as land, gold, foreign exchange, etc.” This crucial point Modi did not understand, thus turning demonetisation into a “mammoth tragedy” that has “thrown into disarray” the lives of millions. – The Hindu  promodpuri.com

RELIGION HAS GUIDING ROLE IN POLITICS

By Promod Puri

Whereas rituals, customs and traditions furnish symbolic and distinctive identity to a religion, the pathways to divinity which are paved with morals and ethics, are often debased by its despicable ceremonial rites and practices.

It is in this context that the contemporary and progressive political ideologies disdain religion. Its nature is customarily interpreted thru inherent ritualistic practices rather than its doctrines of ethics and noble thoughts.

This article delves into the subject of “politics and religion”, and seeks the entry of virtuous, logical, informed, and intelligent religiosity in the political constitution serving the modern societies.

The contempt for religion in both Communist and democratic-socialist political ideologies is based on a portrayal which usually embodies rituals, customs, and traditions of a religious order.

Religion has become an official or legal taboo in the political and bureaucratic functioning of secular democracies and socialist regimes. Separation of church, temple, mosque, or synagogue from the state is the byword of the current political thinking.

Even though religion has significantly contributed its philosophies, universal truths, and theories to the school of political science, the two are deemed separate disciplines which influence the affairs and social character of a civil society.

Modern political pundits and their students or observers have not gone beyond religious customs and beliefs to explore the intelligence and enlightenment generated over the centuries in discernable interpretations which touch every aspect of human endeavors including politics.

Philosopher T. S. Eliot “believed that democratic societies rejected the influence of an established church at their peril, for in doing so they cut themselves off from the kind of ethical wisdom that can come only from participation in a tradition. Thus, he argued, such a society would degenerate into tyranny and/or social and cultural fragmentation”.  (Source: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Chapter: Religion and Politics).

Outright purging of religion without recognizing its universal messages of ethical and secular nature has been a major part of the liberal political appeal. But this appeal also holds the hyped social impression that “politics is a dirty game”. The “game” is soiled by immoral, corrupt, and evil intents. And the latter are the cause that politics becomes “dirty” since ethics are either optional or non-binding.

“Politics and religion must be kept separate” is an acknowledged doctrine in secular and democratic-socialist systems. But there are elements in most religions which are liberal, secular, and democratic. For these reasons, politics can incorporate religion in its order, whereas religion can keep its sanctity if the “dirty politics” stay out of it.

It is a fact that the laws of the land with their universal application have been constituted from religious teachings to institute political ideologies.

Barack Obama cites that “Majority of great reformers in American history were not only motivated by faith but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause”.

Nevertheless, religion does not find a liking in progressive political behavior. Rather it is inferred as meddling in the affairs of a political system.

In secular societies, demarcations have been marked for the functioning and observation of religious customs and traditions to safeguard political entities from religious entities. However, as religion still enjoys certain privileges and rights besides its deep roots in the psyche of people, it does influence public opinion.

But as long a religion exists with its antiquated, irrational, and irresponsible rituals, customs, traditions, and beliefs, an intelligent society will not accept them as part of its political culture. Moreover, as societies are increasingly becoming culturally pluralists, religious representations from rituals, are not acceptable in non-coherent populations.

In this scenario, senseless convictions along with ceremonial rituals, customs, and traditions need to be disqualified from a political discipline. Rather let religious doctrines based on ethics and moral values contribute to support and enrich political ideologies.

Politics in general, is not, and should not be, confined to skills and strategies to seek or manage power. Besides governance, guidance is also its objective which comes from conscientious and sociological logics offered by religion over the centuries.

In fact, religion itself began as a socio-political movement from the very beginning of its origin.

Essentially, religion is a code of conduct for a civil society. It all started from here. With society’s progression, the code of conduct also evolved resulting in its expansion and formalization.

As civilization started taking roots management of the society began.

Origin of religion can be traced as part of human evolution. Ancient religious orders basically were a set of laws and principles for some acceptable behavior in an emerging civil society.

Later all aspects of human cultures including presumptions and myths, and overwhelming elements of nature were covered in one order. In all these developments, social unity and coherence were the natural needs and dependencies of an advancing society.

An organized collection of beliefs and behaviors, a set of ideas started pouring in this social construction. And with the introduction of the Supreme Being, man’s most intuitive conception or imagery, the assemblage got sanctified.

And during this stage of evolution when spirituality and supernatural elements started dominating religion that its philosophical and learned aspects began branching out in various faculties. As such political science emerged as a separate discipline to guide the management of a civil society.

In this management, ethics play a significant role in the development and disciplining of a civic society. Ethics hold the society together. Ethics delivered through religion have more commanding acceptance by the society than the constitutional laws and statutes executed in political regimes.

The acceptance of ethics as a theological appeal finds conscientious stay in the minds of people. Many known statesmen and leaders have effectively advocated religious ethics not only as part of their political wisdom and temperament for better understanding and acceptance of their messages but to underline the importance of faith in the affairs of civil society as well.

From Mohammad to Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King Jr. to Nelson Mandela and Dr. Ambedkar all had religious commitments grounded in humanism, love, compassion, and kindness to wage their political and social campaigns against slavery, apartheid, discrimination, inequality, and untouchability based on color, class, and caste.

Gandhi’s crusade against evils in the society and his political discourse were derived from the Hindu scriptures of Upanishads advocating the concepts of non-violence, truthfulness, self-discipline, compassion, and virtuousness.

Obama, who believes in the power of faith, has sought a “serious debate about how to reconcile faith with our modern, pluralistic democracy”.

He argues, “more fundamentally the discomfort of some progressives with any hint of religion has often prevented us from effectively addressing issues in moral terms”. In a public address, he said: “secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square”. (“Obama’s 2006 Speech on Faith and Politics”, The New York Times, June 28,2006 edition).

“Before entering the public square”, what Obama is demanding instead is the infusion of true religion, without its symbolism, in the political environment to establish moral guidelines in its ideologies.

In a world, which is politically divided into two castes of Leftists and Rightists with sub-castes of Extreme Left and Extreme Right, ideological fanaticism runs high along with elements of power, ego, and greed, which are opportunistically embraced by all political establishments. In this “dirty game”, socialist idealism becomes just sloganeering.

The idiosyncrasy of the present socio-political left and the right mental constitution is that the leftists have a revulsion for religion. And the rightists are religious fanatics. The former ridicules and rejects religion and the latter is narcissistically illiterate about it.

And this is where the science of politics must step in to explore the true spirit of religion based on its universal teachings to find permanent residency in political leadership.

Deepak Chopra says: “Enlightened leadership is spiritual if we understand spirituality not as some kind of religious dogma or ideology but as the domain of awareness where we experience values like truth, goodness, beauty, love, and compassion, also intuition, creativity, insight, and focused attention”.

Paved with these divine and acknowledged values religion offers an ever-guiding relationship with politics in the service of humanity and its environment.

(Promod Puri resides in Vancouver, Canada. He is a journalist and author of Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, and Traditions).

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Poverty

“Poverty is not only measured in terms of lack of money but also in the lack of respect and dignity”, Vidhu Vincent,producer Manhole,a documentary about scavengers in Kerala.

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Leader of the Free World

angela_merkel_-_juli_2010_-_3zu4_cropped

“We are dealing with a world – especially after the American election – which first needs to be sorted out”, German Chancellor Angela Merkel seeking re-election, and if she wins she will be the “leader of the free world”.

RELIGION HAS GUIDING ROLE IN POLITICS

By Promod Puri Whereas rituals, customs and traditions furnish symbolic and distinctive identity to a religion, the pathways to divinity which are paved with morals and ethics, are often debased by…

Source: RELIGION HAS GUIDING ROLE IN POLITICS

The Shrinking World Of Leftists

Leftists, a.k.a Communists, are a strange breed of people. Highly educated, highly informed and intellectually persuasive in arguments and discussions. But they live in enclosed communities where their message of leftists’ agenda seldom trickles down to the masses for whom it is meant for. It just circulates among themselves. Leftists are rightfully critical about wrongs, but seldom recognize the worthy happenings in the society. It is their critical or perhaps narcissist nature which blinds them about the positive things happening in the society. For instance the Leftists in India or of Indian origin all over the world are extremely critical about the wrongs in the Hindu religion like Manu’s creation of caste system and his dictum against low castes Hindus. And against all the fake gurus damaging the faith. That is appreciative. But Leftists seldom talk about or share any information or writings which have promises of positive developments in the faith. Leftists have to be democratic too otherwise their world will continue to be shrinking till the last drop of mojito.
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FABRICATION OF FAKE NEWS

Fabricated or manufactured news is often a busy supply line on social media and that is mostly responsible for its spread as well.

In this age of the internet as the major source of news gathering and distribution, Facebook gets most of the accusations followed by other online media outlets. News stories are posted without any credibility or authenticity check on them.

The traditional editorial system to go thru the news is not the norm in social media. And that poses serious problem hurting the information literacy and the search for reality.

No doubt the social media provide the platform that was once monopolized by the traditional print and electronic media. The social media is open, free, and readily available for the dissemination of news, true or false, and a viewpoint, rational or irrational.

However, the disturbing point is when misinformation is launched it is seldom being investigated for its truthfulness especially by those readers who naively share or spread the news or views. Generally speaking, readers are not interested if the information has passed thru “professional gatekeepers” before being allowed for distribution.

Our viewpoints are hard to change. We pick up from the internet and social media only that information and knowledge which support those mindset viewpoints.

-Promod Puri

God’s Role In Fate

Does God play a role in assigning karmas in an individual’s life? If He does then a karma can be classified as fate or a predetermined destiny. In that case our freedom to create events is ei…

Source: God’s Role In Fate

He Fought To Uproot Caste System

Dr. Bhumirao Ramji Ambedkar was a fearless and dedicated soldier who fought to uproot casteism from the contaminated soil of India’s social and religious culture. 

 Combating religious wrongs is more challenging than tackling other social, economic and political issues. Ambedkar was one of those rare personalities in the history of humankind who consciously ruffled with religious sensitivities. 

 With his intellect, knowledge and rational understanding of the religion Ambedkar confronted with and impeached the Hindu establishment for its treatment of the Dalits and Untouchables. He awakened the dormant consciousness of the oppressed class who otherwise resigned themselves to the act of fate. 

 Unlike in Mahabharta, Ambedkar fought the battle against evils thru nonviolent strategies.

 When India got Independence and Ambedkar being the principal author of the nation’s constitution and holding the law portfolio in the cabinet, Untouchability was declared unlawful. 

After centuries of hitherto unchallenged and illegal authority relating to human rights violations, Manusmriti in terms of laws of India became illegal overnight. 

 Granting equality does not mean justice. But legalities were put in place. Special privileges for the underprivileged members of the society were enshrined in the constitution to break the shackles of virtual economic and social slavery, and to free the Dalits and Shudras from the humiliating social disorder.

 Ambedkar, in fact, was an inspiration for the progressive Hindu mind, a guide for the rationalist and reformist Hindu, an advocate of women’s rights, and almost a messiah for lowest of the low who for the first time felt some hope of freedom from their dehumanized status. 

Ambedkar helped in the revamping of the Hindu society. He was posthumously honored with India’s highest civil award of Bharat Ratna in 1990.white-book-3d-cover-2 copy

(Excerpts from “Hinduism beyond rituals, customs and traditions)

 

Hinduism, Diwali and swastikas: Explained

by Douglass Todd

The Vancouver Sun, November 1, 2016

With Canada’s 500,000 Hindus celebrating Diwali throughout this week, the awkward topic of the religion’s swastika symbol has again arisen.

One young North American Hindu has confessed in a revealing, tender-hearted piece how he often tries to convince his mother not to put Hinduism’s swastika symbol on the doorstep during Diwali.

Since most of the Western world associates the swastika with Naziism, Parth Shah told NPR he becomes mortified that North Americans might think his family somehow supports such atrocities. His mother refuses to listen.

Metro Vancouver writer-journalist Promod Puri, who has written a new book on Hinduism, explained to me that Hindu priests and Brahmin leaders don’t seriously consider banning the swastika because of its Nazi associations.

“The swastika is just a ritualistic symbol in Hinduism, which is mostly used in ceremonial events at the discretion of the priest class. Since antiquity it is being used, much before the German adaptation,” said Puri, who has retired from editing and publishing the South-Asian oriented B.C. newspaper, The Link.

“The swastika’s ceremonial use as such has never conflicted with Hindu theism, which prides itself as democratic and secular… Using the swastika in whatever formation is not at all mandatory.”

Even though many Hindus post the swastika on their windows or doorways as a symbol of good fortune and peace, Puri said he rarely comes across the practice among the roughly 50,000 Hindus in B.C., most of whom are in Metro Vancouver.

“However, I have seen Hindu priests drawing swastika while undertaking prayer ceremonies to mark some special events. And the moment these ceremonies are over the swastika is erased.”

Promod added that the swastika is not a key sign of Hinduism. That role belongs to the symbol of Om.

RELATED: How Hindu philosophy dovetails with Western philosophy

In praise of mixing religions, even when it’s dangerous

I asked Puri to write something to introduce readers to his self-published book, Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs and Traditions.

Here is an excerpt from what he wrote:cropped-book_front_back_spine_flatt.jpgwhite-book-3d-cover-2 copy

“Why are there so many gods and goddesses in Hinduism? Why worship an idol? Is going to temple mandatory in the faith? What impact does the caste system have on Hindu society? Why do some rituals make perfect sense while others are so vague? What are the secular and diverse characters in Hinduism? What physics principles constitute the sound of Om? What is karma and its role in our day to day lives?

These are some of the many questions which intrigue the non-Hindu mind, as well as many among over half-a-million Hindu population in Canada, especially those belonging to the younger generation.

Wrapped in mystique and antiquity the identity of Hinduism lies in its wide-open structure which allows and lets develop diverse and distinct ideologies and practices without any governing body or binding scriptures.

Hinduism is not merely a religion, or as it is often referred, “a way of life.” It is a multi-disciplinary academy as well. It is a democracy of conflicting, contradicting and controversial thoughts and ideologies.

Beyond its practicing rituals, customs and traditions Hinduism thru its various schools offers comprehensive studies in philosophies, metaphysics and sciences.

As such it recognizes diversity of thought. The rational and liberal thought in Hinduism is the very basis of Sankhya School, which is one of the several ancient Hindu faculties infusing diversity in the theological philosophies of the religion.

An example of its rational and liberal acceptance of thoughts is revealed in Hindu theism in the following statement from the Rig Veda Chapter X, Para 129 which says:

Who knows, and who can swear,
How creation came, when or where!
Even gods came after creation’s day,
Who knows, who can truly say
When and how did creation start?
Did He, do it? Or did He not?
Only He, up there, knows, maybe;
Or perhaps, not even He.

Genes Determine Our Health-related Fate

Desmond Tito Says:

“Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.”

Polarization of Opinion

Our viewpoints are hard to change. We pick up from the internet and social media only that information and knowledge which support those viewpoints. And that consolidates our cognitive biases. Moreover, “If you are exposed only to people with ideas that are like your own, it leads to political polarization: Liberals get even more extreme in their liberalism, and conservatives get more conservative”.Jennifer Stromer-Galley, Professor of Information Studies, Syracuse University.

-Promod Puri

Nothing in The World Is Final

balraj-puri“Nothing in the world is final, ultimate, lasting and durable. THERE IS NO FULL STOP IN HISTORY. What appeared to be final destination might be a stage for the next”.
-Balraj Puri

Good thing about P.M. Trudeau

The good thing about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is that he is neither an extreme leftist nor an extreme rightist. Naturally, he does not have, and rightly so, the “necessary nerve to take polarizing positions on heated issues”. For that reason perhaps, Trudeau approved the expansion of the pipeline that links Alberta’s oil sands to a tanker port in British Columbia.