Hinduism, Diwali and swastikas: Explained

sunpaperlogodougtoddPublished on: November 1, 2016 | Last Updated: November 1, 2016 1:33 PM PDT

Douglass Todd

Vancouver’s Promod Puri, author of a new book on Hinduism, has seen priests drawing swastikas during public prayers. “And the moment these ceremonies are over the swastika is erased.”

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.

“Using the swastika … is not at all mandatory,” says Promod Puri, who has self-published a ook on Hinduism. This photo was taken in 2000 when Puri was publishing The Link, a South-Asian B.C. newspaper. GLENN BAGLO / VANCOUVER SUN

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:

Promod Puri says this symbol, of “Om” (or “Aum”), is the key one in Hinduism. Not the swastika.

“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.

Genesis Of Kashmir Problem And Its Resolution

By Promod Puri

The division of the Indian sub-continent in 1947 generated a persistent hostility between India and Pakistan, a hostility dominated by clashing territorial claims over the Kashmir region.

On the international stage, the Kashmir problem is viewed in diplomatic, political, government and media circles, with the understanding that the region has a single entity – geographically, religiously, linguistically and culturally. The complexity of the Kashmir problem can be unfolded when viewed from the divergent realities that exist in the region.

Involved in the Kashmir tangle are also the regions of Jammu and Ladakh along with Pakistan-controlled Azad Kashmir and Northern Areas.

Historically the present geopolitical formation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir happened in the middle of the 19th century. Sikh ruler, Maharaja Ranjit Singh annexed the territories of Jammu region in 1819, and then sold it to his Dogra commander Gulab Singh in 1820, and crowned him the King. In 1834 Gulab Singh annexed the kingdom of Ladakh, and in 1846 the Kashmir region was ceded to the Dogra king under a treaty with the British government, who then was ruling most of the sub­ continent.

Dogra dynasty ruled the state for almost a hundred years.

Under the Dogra rule, the state comprised a huge territory of over two million sq. km., touching boundaries of Afghanistan in the north, China in the north and east, present-day Pakistan in the west and India in the South.

As India was fighting for independence from the British, so were the people of Kashmir Valley seeking their freedom from the autocratic rule of the Dogra regime which ultimately ended in October 1947. Following that, the region underwent major political and communal turmoil which significantly changed the hundred-year-old map of the state in which Pakistan controls the north-western area of Gilgit and Hunza known as Northern Area and South-west area known as Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The Indian part of the state with its three distinct regions Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh together don’t make a coalescent political entity as both regional and sub-regional differences in terms of history, physiography, ethnicity, language, and culture are remarkably very sharp.

According to the 2011 census, the present population of the Indian part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir is 12.55 million, of which the Jammu region is 4.4 million, Kashmir region has 5.4 million and Ladakh has over 236,000. Pakistan ruled the state of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, the total population is 4.6 million according to some latest estimation, and in the Pakistan-controlled Northern region, the population is 1.8 million.

Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists are the major religious groups in the state whereby Islam leads the faith with 67% of the population, followed by Hindus 30%, Sikhs 2%, and Buddhists by about 1%. Minority faiths in the Indian held areas of the state include Christians and Jains. Muslims are almost 100% in the Pakistan part of Jammu and Kashmir.

While a clear majority of the dominant Muslim faith in Jammu, Kashmir, and Azad Kashmir are followers of the Sunni sect, in the Kargil district of Ladakh and in the Northern Areas, except Gilgit, the majority of the population follows the Shia sect.

Contrary to the popular belief that all the people of the Indian controlled Jammu and Kashmir speak Kashmiri language, the fact is that according to the 1981 census 40% speak the language, and the rest 60% constitute the non-Kashmiri speaking population.

Whereas Hindus of the state mostly speak Dogri language, non-Kashmiri Muslims speak various languages and dialects depending upon the region they inhabit, and accordingly, there is quite a cultural variation among them.

The primary language in the Kashmir region is, of course, Kashmiri, and in the rest of the state, there is an abundance of languages and dialects. Moreover, each language or dialect is not confined to any religious group.

Kashmir is inhabited by Pre-Aryan and non-Aryan races, Jammu by an Aryan race, and Ladakh by Tibetan and Mongolian races. All three regions have distinct geographical, historical and cultural backgrounds that influenced the character and the role of religion in each one of them.

Kashmir region developed its own character based on its un-interrupted history of five thousand years. Originally inhabited by pre-Aryan tribes, Kashmir accepted Vedic, Buddhist, Saivite and Islamic faiths, retaining the essence of the beliefs, rituals, and practices of each of them while taking pride in its pre-Islamic achievements in the fields of philosophy, culture, and politics.

Unlike Kashmir, most parts of Jammu are mountainous and sub-mountainous. Its pluralistic society is almost entirely of Aryan stock and Dogri language is spoken by the single largest community of both Hindus and Muslims who culturally and politically dominate the region.

The Pahari speaking community lives in both the Kashmir and Jammu regions of the state. In the Pakistan-controlled region, they speak the same language with small dialectic differences. The Pahari community is predominantly Muslim. The Hindu and the Sikh members of the Pahari-speaking community, who had to migrate from the Pakistan-held area of the state, mostly live in Jammu district.

Ladakh, the third important region of the state, enjoyed its own status for centuries as part of the celebrated Silk Route. As an entrepot of trade between India, Central Asia, and Tibet for centuries Ladakh was a confluence of cultures. But its geographical position has helped it preserve its ancient culture and ways of life almost intact.

It was thru Ladakh that Mahayana Buddhism, which was born in Kashmir spread to Tibet, China, and Japan. Buddhists owe their loyalty to Lamas who have their own discipline and hierarchy. They used to go to Tibet for religious training. But after the Chinese intervention in Tibet and the flight of the Dalai Lama along with some of his followers Tibet has lost its status as a source of religious and spiritual inspiration. Buddhists who inhabit the Leh district constitute 50 percent of the Ladakh population.

In Kargil area of Ladakh Ulmas have a hold on Shias who constitute the overwhelming majority of Muslims and 48% of Ladakh’s population. Some of them have had their theological training in Iran and owe their loyalty with its Shia leadership.

An important facet to the Kashmir problem which is rarely discussed and reported is the situation in the Pakistan-controlled part called Northern Areas which is constitutionally separate from Azad Kashmir.

The Northern Areas joined Pakistan in 1947 thru a local revolt against the Dogra regime which had a small army there and was unable to control the revolt. In 1948, the region was formally merged with Pakistan under the Karachi agreement between leaders of the Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Pakistan, but without the participation of anybody from the Northern Areas.

The Northern Areas comprise five districts, but none of them has any ethnic-cultural affinity with any of either India or Pakistan parts of the state.

Different identities of the people on both sides of the Line of Control are established irrespective of their religious affiliations.

Jammu and Kashmir have far more religious, linguistic and cultural diversities than any state in India and Pakistan, and even in any other South Asian country.

If the interests and urges of the people with such multifarious identities could be reconciled, the diversities themselves would have been a great source of strength for the state. But the failure to recognize and reconcile them became its biggest weakness. The divergent character of the state is not widely known. Rather the religious temperament is overtly manifested.

Nobody can deny the role of religion and religion-based identities in shaping human behavior. But no identity is monolithic. There are other identities that cut across religious identities and play an equally significant and decisive role in determining this behavior.

With enormous diversity existing in the State of Jammu and Kashmir in terms of geography, religion, and culture that a wider look at the Kashmir problem reveals the regional aspirations of its people. These aspirations are very much reflected in the heterogeneous composition of its Muslim population as there are Kashmiri speaking Muslims, Gujjar Muslims, Pahari Muslims, Kargil Muslims, Dogra Muslims, and several other linguistic-based Muslims.

The regional aspirations of the people in the state based on their languages, cultures, and customs are felt much more vividly and emotionally on both sides of the border in the Jammu region than in the Kashmir valley.

It was primarily the Jammu region which was divided in 1947. And this is where thousands of people, Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs with allied linguistic and cultural backgrounds had to migrate in brutal sectarian bloodshed when they left their centuries-old habitats within the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.


The regional aspirations of the Jammu region on both sides of the border constitute a clue to tackle the Kashmir tangle. The bonds of language and culture between the two parts of the state are what the leadership of both India and Pakistan need to further cement in order to make an effective beginning in understanding the fuller dimension of the Kashmir problem.

As far as the Kashmir problem is concerned Pakistan basis its argument that it is a Muslim majority region. True, the demographic data confirm this fact. But this should not be the sole argument for it being a part of Pakistan. India’s position is that Kashmir belongs to it because the autocratic ruler of the former Kashmir state signed an accession treaty with India. And the state’s constituent assembly had passed the resolution to accede with India.

While India and Pakistan are engaged in their on-and-off parleys and frequent skirmishes for decades including two wars, the divergent urges of the region itself have been suppressed for too long. The moment these are released and recognized the Kashmir problem opens up beyond religion and politics.

So where the parties can start or restart to resolve this longest outstanding problem on the world political scene.

The first step as far India is concerned is to smooth out wrinkles of ethnic, political and economic imbalances in the three regions of the state. Satisfying the regional aspirations of the people along with the economic uplift thru equal opportunities will not only ease the internal tension significantly but will bring a lot of stability and peace to the region. And the same goes for Pakistan controlled parts of the state especially the Northern Areas.

Secondly, both India and Pakistan in their endeavors to resolve the problem must open up the borders in the state, more significantly in the Jammu sector, to let the people with same linguistic and cultural affinities move and interact freely.

A cordial and enthusiastic atmosphere can be created at the grass-root level where linguistic and cultural realities can effectively compete with both religious and political considerations to determine the future of the region thru a referendum.

In this social and non-political scenario, the agenda of the referendum deciding the future of the region – if it will be part of India, Pakistan, or remain independent- would be the answer most inclusive of the region’s diversity.

Recognition of diversities existing in the entire area of Jammu and Kashmir at its pre-partition status followed by a referendum are critical if a permanent resolution to the Kashmir problem is to be found for a sense of ultimate peace in the region.

And peace is what people in the region are passionately waiting to breathe.

(Promod Puri, a native of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, resides in Vancouver, Canada, he is a writer and former editor and publisher of the South Asian Canadian newspaper, The Link, and ex-editor of Native Indian newspaper, The New Nation. He is the author of a recently published book titled “Hinduism beyond rituals, customs and traditions”). His website: promodpuri.com


Seeking Divine Spirit

ॐ भूर्भुवस्व: | तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यम् | भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि | धियो यो न: प्रचोदयात्
Aum bhur bhuvah swah, tat savitur varenvam.
Bhargo devasya dhimahi, dhiyo yo nah prochodayay.
The four-part mantra is addressed to God (Aum) and the translation goes like this:

Oh God, you are the giver of life, you can free us from all the pains, you are present all over, you give happiness, you are the creator of this universe and beyond. We humbly submit to You and concentrate on your pious, sin-quelling and pervading ENERGY.

This ENERGY produced and released by You illuminates our mental faculties. We seek from you that this Energy resides in all our thinking processes so our thoughts are always inspired to undertake only those actions which can lead us to be on the path of righteousness.

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Hinduism and Vegetarian Diet

13087415_578401962331475_1798212304744146140_nBy Arran Stephens

The overwhelming majority of the world’s Hindus live in India, which has the largest vegetarian population on earth, numbering many millions. Within the Indian subcontinent, the spectrum of religious thought ranges from strict monotheism to a sweeping panoply of gods, goddesses and animist dieties. Vegetarianism is practiced and scripturally supported by the majority of Hindu sects. There are also large Muslim and Christian populations in India, as well as Jews, Jains, Sikhs, Parsis, Ba’hai’s and Buddhists. Many Sufis—who represent an eclectic and mystical form of Islam, practice vegetarianism. Amongst the Sikhs, the Namdharis and others on the meditative path follow a lacto-vegetarian diet.

Here are some vegetarian-supportive quotes from India’s oldest scriptures:

You must not use your God-given body for killing God’s
creatures, whether human, animal or whatever.
Yajur Veda 12.32

By not killing any living being, one becomes fit for salvation.
Manusmriti 6.60

The purchaser of flesh performs himsa (violence) by his wealth; he who eats flesh does so by enjoying its taste; the killer does himsa by actually tying and killing the animal. Thus, there are three forms of killing. He who brings flesh or sends for it, he who cuts off the limbs of an animal, and he who purchases, sells, or cooks flesh and eats it—all of these are to be considered meat-eaters.

Vegetarianism was observed by the ancient Greek traveler Megasthenes and also by Fa-Hsien, a Chinese Buddhist monk who traveled to India in the fifth century in order to obtain authentic copies of the scriptures.

These scriptures

unambiguously support the meatless way of life. In the Mahabharata, for instance, the great warrior Bheeshma explains to Yudhishtra, eldest of the Pandav princes, that the meat of animals is like the flesh of one’s own son. Similarly, the Manusmriti declares that one should “refrain from eating all kinds of meat,” for such eating involves killing, thus leading to Karmic bondage. Elsewhere in Vedic literature, the last of the great Vedic kings, Maharaja Parikshit, is quoted as saying that “the animal-killer cannot relish the message of the Absolute Truth.”21

Ahimsa (non-violence) is the highest Dharma. Ahimsa is the best Tapas. Ahimsa is the greatest gift. Ahimsa is the highest self-control. Ahimsa is the highest sacrifice. Ahimsa is the highest power. Ahimsa is the highest friend. Ahimsa is the highest truth. Ahimsa is the highest teaching.

He who sees that the Lord of all is ever the same in all that is—immortal in the field of mortality—he sees the truth. And when a man sees that the God in himself is the same God in all that is, he hurts not himself by hurting others. Then he goes, indeed, to the highest path.
Bhagavad-Gita 13.27-28

High-souled persons who desire beauty, faultlessness of limbs, long life, understanding, mental and physical strength, and memory should abstain from acts of injury.
Mahabharata 18.115.8

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

I hold that, the more helpless the creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man.
Mahatma Gandhi

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Message of Universality in Hindu Mantra

By Promod Puri

“Om purnam adah purnam idam
purnat purnam udachyate
purnasya purnam adaya
purnam evavashishyate”.

An ideological and free translation of the mantra begins with the word Om which is personified here as God. The word ‘purnam’ and its related derivates in the mantra mean complete, and signifies His completeness. As He is complete, everything emanating from Him is complete. From the Complete Wholeness only the completeness manifests. And even when a single complete is subtracted from the whole Complete what is left is still a Complete. The products produced thru Him may look small or big, but in core and quality all are complete units.

The mantra assures complete balance in all of His universal creations from the elements of nature to mankind. For humanity the mantra conveys a message that every human being is equal in his or her completeness as manifested by Him.

Atma, a single soul, is a complete manifestation of the Supreme-atma. The latter is the cause and the former is the effect. It is a cause and effect association. The effect cannot be less than the cause. The cause changes to effect, but continues to remain cause also. In essence the mantra reinforces that in every living being there dwells the Supreme atma as well. Equality and divinity are the themes of the mantra concerning mankind.

The mantra also stands out in making us realize how inter-related we are in this universe.

Rajneesh (Osho), a great thinker, philosopher and an explicit interpreter of Hinduism in modern times explains this universal tie-up. His explanation of the mantra:

“[Om Purnam] is one of the most significant statements ever made anywhere on the earth at any time. It contains the whole secret of the mystic approach towards life. This small sutra contains the essence of the Upanishadic vision. Neither before nor afterwards has the vision been transcended; it still remains the Everest of human consciousness. And there seems to be no possibility of going beyond it.

“The Upanishadic vision is that the universe is a totality, indivisible; it is an organic whole. The parts are not separate, we are all existing in a togetherness: the trees, the mountains, the people, the birds, the stars, howsoever far away they may appear – don’t be deceived by the appearance – they are all interlinked, all bridged. Even the smallest blade of grass is connected to the farthest star, and it is as significant as the greatest sun.

Nothing is insignificant; nothing is smaller than anything else. The part represents the whole just as the seed contains the whole”.

Excerpts from the book Hinduism beyond,rituals,customs and traditions by Promod Puri

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Quantum Theory And Om

Ever wonder why we chant “om” before our yoga practice or prayer? Check out this interesting take on how Quantum Theory can help us understand the significance of Om.

by Promod Puri

This is perhaps the first time in the studies of Hinduism that an attempt has been made to establish a relationship between the sound of Om and the Quantum Theory in modern physics.

Quantum, derived from the word quantity, means the smallest identifiable unit in the universe of any physical property like energy or matter. Quantum theory deals with the infrastructure in the sub-atomic field. It reveals the nature and behavior of matter and energy in that range. This exposure is referred to as a quantum theory which is the theoretical basis of modern physics.

With the introduction of Super-string Theory of Quantum Reality, the quantum theory has discovered that at the sub-atomic levels matter exists in small strings. In simple words, everything at its ultimate microscopic grade is made up of extremely small vibrating strands or strings like in a musical instrument of the violin.

These strings have repeated oscillatory pattern of vibration. Each pattern presents the string its mass and force, and that confers it the appearance of a particle. Together all these particles have the same physical feature of producing resonant patterns of vibration. The undulation of strings creating up and down loops is the manifestation of resonance in the sub-atomic environs.

And when we exit from the microscopic environment the same phenomenon of transmission of resonance is being played within everything in this universe. The sonority of particles composing the vibrating strings with their mass and energy is also responsible for producing the atoms.

The latter is made up of energy and not physical matter. As a result, the entire universe is made of energy. But the energy appears as a matter or object like the particles of the vibrating string in the sub-atomic field. This is the fundamental feature upon which the universe has been constructed and unified.

The string theory is considered as the theory of everything. And this corresponds well with the metaphysical concept of Om being the primordial sound originating from the strings advanced in the quantum theory of modern physics.

As Om resonates in the stings of atoms then according to the science of quantum physics atoms themselves are made up of whirling mass of radiating energy without manifested structure. Likewise, Om is not merely a sound but a mass of energy itself in invisible formation.

Om is energy constituting the universe.

The universe begins with Om. There is a sound of Om in every matter. It resonates there till eternity. Its resilience lies both in the matter and the sound itself.

The creation of Om is, in fact, is the creation of the universe. And its cosmic vibrations keep the constituents of the universe connected.

In Hindu theology, Om is referred to as God in the form of sound. And the open design of its symbol represents the incomprehensible all powerful Absolute.

In its phenomenal role as constituting and preceding matter, and as vortices of energy that Om is considered as a sacred sound of genesis in the Hindu spiritual philosophy.

The unique symbol of Om occupies the foremost spot in the Hindu iconography. It is a spiritual icon. It is not merely a “tool” for meditations or for contemplating on mantras, but the syllable invokes cosmic presence in them.

“Hari Om” itself is a two-word mantra, along with “Hari Om Tat Sat” or simply “Om Tat Sat.” The word ‘tat’ means ‘that’ or ‘all that is.’ And ‘sat’ refers to ‘truth.’ The latter is not evanescent or ephemeral rather everlasting. The mantra “Om Tat Sat” means: ‘that’ energy is the truth.

Om inaugurates spiritual prayers, rituals and yoga practices, and sanctifies these events. The expression ‘Hari Om’ is a popular form of greetings or salutation among Hindus.

The word ‘Hari’ is a representation of God and Om implies energy.

(excerpts from the book: Hinduism beyond rituals, custom, and traditions)

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Bad Rituals Breed Fanaticism

One major drawback instituted in ambiguous rituals is the fear factor. And in absurdity, some rituals promise to work like cure-all miracles. Illogical rituals block the real spirit of religion. Such customs generate fanaticism. Rituals help in cult formation. The entry of fake gurus in the Hindu faith is thru the contamination created by inane rituals.

Irrational rituals pollute the religion and dilute the enlightenment contained in the Hindu philosophies and thoughts.

Hinduism is not a religion of fear. Nor it is meant for fanaticism and exploitation by self-appointed gurus or saints with claims of magical powers.

Bad rituals and bad traditions do make a deadly combination. Dubbed as “supreme sacrifice”, the institution of Sati, live burning of widow immediately after the death of husband, that of course is now abandoned, became a part of Hindu heritage. The word ‘sati’ means true and loyal in Sanskrit.
And equally condemning is the practice of sacrificial animal killings by asserting that gods will be pleased. For example in Nepal, a predominantly Hindu nation, mass and cruel beheading of buffaloes are a popular custom under the excuse of religious tradition.

Rationalization of irrational rituals as part of old traditions and customs is an unrealistic assertiveness of defense.

Rituals in the name of sanctified Hindu dictums are the cause of excessive abuse of people who technically are still Hindus but belong to no class. They are the ‘Outcastes’ or the ‘Untouchables’.

The religiosity of caste is an endemic feature of Hinduism. And this is where the brutality of some rituals and customs is being endured by a section of humanity simply because of their assigned status in the society. They are at the bottom of the Hindu social structure. Customs and rituals don’t allow them to come up from that lowest stratum.

Mahatma Gandhi called them “Harijans”, children of God. But because of rooted tradition in the name of religion, rituals of discrimination and untouchability against the ‘untouchable’ citizens are still quite widely practiced.

Nevertheless, this section of the society, which is mostly poor, along with the rest of the impoverished population among Hindus, still follows sacred Hindu rituals with allegiance and devotion. In fact, these rituals tender the only knowledge they have to practice their faith.

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Hinduism and Lord Ganesh

The art community’s fascination for Lord Ganesh is due to His unique appearance as a clearly recognizable elephant tusk-hooded portrayal. In Hindu thought, an elephant is revered for its intelligence. Consequently, Lord Ganesh in His elephant-look image is perceived as the god of knowledge, intellect, and wisdom.

Besides these scholarly exhibits, Lord Ganesh gathers a few more symbolic interpretations thru His overall appearance and possessions. These attributes include the pursuit of knowledge, sweetness, and humbleness.

Lord Ganesh is also widely worshipped as the god of Beginnings. “Sri-Ganesh” is the common expression for any new event, purchase or start-up enterprise. His name is chanted at the beginning of rituals and ceremonies. In most Hindu marriage invitation cards, the first invocation and invite are addressed to Lord Ganesh as symbolic adoration.

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