Hindu Mommy

March 6, 2007

No one religion is better than the other

Filed under: Hinduism,India — hindumommy @ 10:59 am

Recently, there have been a lot of religious websites sprouting all over the internet. The purpose of most of these sites seem to be denigrating other religions and trying to prove how superior their religion is – the same way Nazis needed to prove their Aryan supremacy over the Jews.

Like most people, I do believe in a higher power and have my own personal religious beliefs and rituals.

I do call myself a “Hindu Mommy” because I am proud of my culture and beliefs . I would like my kids to grow up being proud Hindus in a country where it is a minority religion. But I’m slowly starting to hesitate categorizing myself as religious because being religious is (wrongly) getting associated with fanaticism.

Religion for me has never been a way of categorizing friendships.  It’s never been a way of proving my superiority.For me, being religious is a personal belief. It’s about the spirit of acceptance and sharing – It’s about celebrating both Diwali and Christmas.

I’d like to present a different side to religion from the one usually depicted on religious websites

The first is a story of a pujari in a small village deep in Andhra Pradesh

The pujari at the Durga temple a small village called Payakaraopeta in Andhra Pradesh is like any other pujari. The ONLY thing that sets him apart is his name – Sheikh Mira Sahib

Every Monday, over a hundred people from several nearby villages climb the unpaved steps of Seethamma hill to pray to the goddess. Mira Sahib guides them all in performing various rites and the worshippers acknowledge him as their pujari .
With a shaven head, bare-chested and wearing a dhoti, Mira Sahib begins his day at the temple at 7 am and spends his time till late afternoon in saying prayers and helping the pilgrims.

He then returns home and attends to his chores. His earning is the dakshina that is given to him by devotees

The other story is of Dawood Khan, who has studied Tulsidas’s Shri RamCharita Manas and is spreading secularism and preaching communal harmony across Raipur a step at a time.

In his own words,

“My teacher inspired me to appear for the Ramcharit Manas examination and I was declared the winner, attaining marks of first division. Since then I am preaching Ramcharit Manas. I am opposed by many orthodox people but I tell them that this is what I have been doing and I will continue to do,”

I love the way Dawood thinks…He maintains that service to mankind is the best religion one can practice and says he wants to continue his discourses on Ramcharit Manas till his last breath.

These  are just two examples that have been highlighted out of the countless that exist in secular India.

Everyday, there are thousands and more living examples of secularism in India and the U.S where people of all faiths interact and develop friendships regularly.

Let’s start practising Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji’s philosophy of “Serve everyone as service to God – Worship your own and respect all”

March 4, 2007

Gita Updesh for the modern world :)

Filed under: Funny,Hinduism,India — hindumommy @ 4:42 pm

January 15, 2007

Hindu temple in Pakistan to get a make-over

Filed under: Hinduism — hindumommy @ 4:11 pm

According to this IBN News report, Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Chaudhary Shujaat Hussain has said that

kataswar_temple_248.jpgA temple complex dating back to the time of Pandavas (called Katasraj) lying almost in debris in Pakistan will now be revived by a team of archaeologists

The sprawling Katasraj shrine is believed having been constructed by the Pandavas during their 14-year exile. According to Hindu mythology they spent 12 years there

Apart from the 600 BC temples, which are in a dilapidated condition, there is a sacred pool with mythical association with Lord Shiva

The pond is believed to have come into being with the tears of Lord Shiva on the death of his wife Sati.

This is a great gesture across the border that should help towards building a more friendlier relationship and reduce the anti-Hindu and anti-Muslim rhetoric spewed by politicians in Pakistan and India.

The Pakistan government has set aside Rs 2 crore for this project. However it estimates that at least $10 million dollars will be required to carry out immediate work.

I’ll try to find out how we as Hindus can contribute to the project. I hope the project doesn’t get stopped half way but gets completed thru the generosity of all the people worldwide.

January 14, 2007

Happy Sankranti

Filed under: Hinduism — hindumommy @ 8:09 pm

Today is Makar Sankranti. It is one of the most auspicious day of the Hindu calendar. Sankranti is one of the few Hindu festivals that is based on the solar calendar (It signifies the transition of the Sun from Sagittarius to Capricorn or Makar) and is therefore always on the same day in the English calendar .

The month before Sankranti is Dhanurmasamu. During Dhanurmasam people wake up early to do puja. The day before Sankranti on Bhogi, kids get showered with “bhogi pallu” (fruits and coins) and a Bommala Koluvu (arrangement of toys, Gods) is arranged.

Sankranti is also famous for kite flying.

Read more about Sankranti on Wikipedia

So ” Tilgul ghyava goad goad bola” (Eat sesame seeds and speak good)  and Happy Sankranti, Pongal and Lohiri

sankranti1.jpgpongal2.gif

November 9, 2006

Gas Poisoning in Murugan temple, Maryland

Filed under: Hinduism,Indians in US — hindumommy @ 2:14 pm

Eight people were taken to a hospital Wednesday night for possible carbon monoxide poisoning after they were found in a Hindu temple in Lanham, Md.

Firefighters found several people who had either passed out or complaining of dizziness and nausea. Firefighters then discovered high levels of carbon monoxide in the building

My prayers are with them…..

For more details on the story, check out NBC

November 8, 2006

Diwali on The Office

Filed under: Entertainment and Books,Funny,Hinduism,India,Indians in US — hindumommy @ 11:45 pm

We don’t watch much TV  so I missed all the excitement about Diwali celebrations being showed on the American version of “The Office” on ABC.

Now that I’ve watched the clips on Youtube, I’m kinda puzzled by all the hoopla and excitement.

First of all the disclaimer – I’ve never watched the American version of “The Office” before so I can’t comment on whether this was the best episode or the worst

I am definitely happy that Indian culture is being shown on prime time TV in the US. It shows we’ve become mainstream…The show was good.but not great  – not as funny as I hoped it would be.

Why can’t we get beyond the typical jokes? I just didn’t get the Diwali as Halloween theme…(maybe I’m just not a funny person)

There was the obligatory reference to Kamasutra to generate a laugh or two (seriously who in India cares about KS whereas most of the westerners seem to think of that as the highlight of Indian culture after elephants of course 🙂 )

I really liked the part where the mother talks about the Michael’s girlfriend and says “She is so white” as if that makes her automatically beautiful 🙂

Overall impression not bad, watchable – but I expected more

For others like me, who missed this episode you can watch the abridged version here on Youtube

November 2, 2006

Karma Capitalism

Filed under: Hinduism,India — hindumommy @ 3:01 pm

The Bhagavad Gita is the new in-style management book with Krishna being the top management expert. 

The ancient spiritual wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita seems at first like an odd choice for guiding today’s numbers-driven managers. Also known as Song of the Divine One, the work relates a conversation between the supreme deity Krishna and Arjuna, a warrior prince struggling with a moral crisis before a crucial battle.

One key message is that enlightened leaders should master any impulses or emotions that cloud sound judgment. Good leaders are selfless, take initiative, and focus on their duty rather than obsessing over outcomes or financial gain.

There are also parallels between Indian philosophy and contemporary marketing theory, which has shifted away from manipulating consumers to collaborating with them. “Marketing has tended to use the language of conquest,” says Kellogg professor Mohanbir S. Sawhney, a Sikh who discusses the relevance of the Bhagavad Gita to business on his Web site. Now the focus is on using customer input to dream up new products, Sawhney says, which “requires a symbiotic relationship with those around us.”

Top business schools have introduced ‘self-mastery’ classes that use Indian methods to help managers boost their leadership skills and find inner peace in lives dominated by work

The main reason may be the high percentage of professors from Indian descent in the top B schools – About 10% of the professors at places such as Harvard Business School, Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Business, and the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business are of Indian descent — a far higher percentage than other ethnic groups.

Another reason is the need for most companies to have a more gentler, more empathetic ethos in the post-tech-bubble, post-Enron world.

About time !

Looks like Indian born strategists are impacting the global economy in a big positive way and transforming the way Big Business operates.

But to be honest, I don’t know how long “servant leadership” and “emotional intelligence” will last before being overtaken by newer buzz-words

For more, see Business Week’s The Dharma Dons and Tech Titans and Rediff’s How Bhagvad Gita charmed US corporates

October 25, 2006

Do we need to start paying couples to marry in order to save Hinduism?

Filed under: Hinduism,India — hindumommy @ 10:53 pm

The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam(TTD) has decided to help save Hinduism by paying money to marry couples.

According to this report in the Hindustan Times dated October 21st,

Mass marriages of poor couples will be solemnised at the TTD Kalyana Mandapams from Feb 22,2007 in an attempt to save Hinduism and prevent poor Hindus from converting to other religions

The temple will give each bride a one-gram-gold mangalasutram as the Lord’s blessing, bear expenses up to Rs 3,000 and feed 20 guests of each couple. Holding 1 lakh marriages is likely to cost the temple a whopping Rs 40 crore per year, but its authorities are fine with it.

m.jpg
OK, maybe… just maybe ….I am missing something here but why is everyone so desperate to get couples married ?

First the Indian Government by suggesting a financial incentive of $1,100 for inter-racial marriages and now the TTD

Also, I may be naive and idealistic in this regard but are we really so desperate to save Hinduism that we have to start bribing people to get married?

I know that there are going to be people who will tell me to get real and say that there are lots of incidents where Christian preachers have converted people of lower Hindu castes to Christianity by promising a better life and we as Hindus are doing nothing wrong by paying for their marriage – to which I say “Just because we do what the other folks are doing, doesn’t make it right !”

Hinduism has a long history of being the most tolerant religion in the world and never having forced conversions. Hinduism definitely doesn’t need any saving. What it needs is people who are proud to be Hindus – proud of their heritage and religion without being fanatics.

What Hinduism needs is for more people, including Hindus themselves to understand their religion more and be proud of it’s uniqueness and diversity.

If the TTD truly wants to help save Hinduism then it should use the Rs 40 crores (and even more if necessary) to improve the skills of these lower caste poor people to teach them to be self sufficient and have a better standard of living.

October 20, 2006

More economic growth in India = more gifts for kids

Filed under: Festivals,Hinduism,India — hindumommy @ 12:58 pm

Indian children are reaping the benefits of economic growth – especially those who are born to the country’s fast-growing middle classes.

It is estimated that about 200 million people now make up the middle classes in India.

Indian parents are feeling far more generous and want to spend more of their rising salaries on their kids.

Spending has become fashionable and is driving up sales at kids’ stores across the country. The children’s market is expected to grow by as much as 35% a year.

This is according to an article in the BBC News – “Diwali splurge reflects economic boom

I am sure most of the kids are excited about the extra gifts they shall receive this year and have already given their parents a huge list of exactly what they want for Diwali.

Getting gifts and presents is an important part of any festive tradition and the most eagerly anticipated part for all kids…..but isn’t Diwali more than just getting gifts?

According the same article children are fast becoming the influencers in an Indian family and  the Indian child is fast becoming the decision-maker in terms of purchasing in Indian families.

Let’s influence our kids to use their purchasing power for gifts for kids not as privileged as them. Especially in India, the disparity between the middle class and the bottom class is huge and seems to be growing bigger and bigger

Let’s teach our kids not just receiving but also sharing and giving so they truly understand what Diwali is all about.

October 19, 2006

Diwali books for kids

Filed under: Books,Festivals,Hinduism — hindumommy @ 10:21 pm

 Here are some books that we read before Diwali to get our kids into a celebratory and festive mood.

1) “Lighting a Lamp: A Diwali Story”

2) “Here Comes Diwali: The Festival of Lights” by Meenal Pandya

3) “Celebrate Diwali”

4) “Diwali” by Christina Mia Gardeski

5) “Diwali” by Denise M. Jordan

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