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Forest as a metaphor of Hinduism

Forest as a metaphor of Hinduism

Published after permission from author. This article is an excerpt (Pages 7-10) from the book Indra's Net: Defending Hinduism's Philosophical Unity, written by Rajiv Malhotra, published by HarperCollins Publishers India in 2014.

An apt metaphor to describe the Hindu worldview is that of a forest. Forests have always been a symbol of beneficence in India, and embody many of the same qualities as Indra’s Net. In the forest, thousands of species of animals, plants and microorganisms exist in a state of mutual interdependence. At any given level of the forest, the microcosm is always connected with its enveloping macrocosm; there exist many worlds-within-worlds, which are never separate or isolated from one another. All the elements of a forest are immensely adaptive to one another, and easily mutate or fuse into new forms over time. In India, a forest suggests fertility, plurality, adaptation, interdependence and evolution. The forest loves to play host, and is never closed to outsiders; newer life forms that migrate into it are welcomed and rehabilitated as natives. The growth of a forest is organic; new forms of life co-exist without requiring the destruction of prior ones. The forest has no predefined final end-state. Its dance is ever-evolving. Indian thought, analogously, is largely based on this kind of openness and blending.

The forest’s diversity is an expression of God’s immanence—God is manifested as bird, mammal, plant, and many other creatures. Just as infinite processes are constantly under way in the forest, so there are infinite ways of communicating with God. Indeed, Hinduism’s spiritual outlook rests on this very principle: that the divine is immanent and inseparable from life and nature in all its forms.

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Recent Political Attacks in Hawaii Against Hinduism – Christianity’s Violent Conquest of Pagans

Recent Political Attacks in Hawaii Against

It is an important occasion (of Janmashtami) and we all celebrate all over the worldand so it’s a time for joy, celebration, sharing. What I want to talk to you about is that while our community was getting ready for this celebration, there were certain forces, certain Hindufobic forces who launched an attack.

This was a politician in Hawaii, who attacked another politician - a Hindu one. The Hindu politician is actually westerner by birth, Hawaiian native, her name is TulsiGabbard, representing her district, and very openly and publically a Hindu. Very supportive of all sorts of Hindu causes, somebody you can rely on, for representing our point of view. There aren’t any others who are already out there in the political spectrum, being so open and publicabout a Hindu identity.

So her opponent attacked her and I will read out some of the viciousanti-Hindu allegationsand comments which were used to rabble-rouse Christian support against the Hindu candidate.

So a woman named Angela Kaihui, started this campaign and she is a political contestant against this Hindu candidate. So her posters said things like –

“Do you agree or disagreethat a vote for Tulsi is a vote forSatan, the devil”; she calls Tulsi a Satan Worshipper. “One God versus Thousand gods- which one do you want?”

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The importance of protecting our gurus

The importance of protecting

One of Hinduism’s most important and distinctive qualities is the widespread appearance of living masters throughout its long history. It is they who have kept the tradition alive and constantly refreshed with new insights and interpretations for each time and context. My book, Being Different, explains how the Vedic metaphysics of sat-chit-ananda helps to bring about such a powerful flow of gurus in diverse circumstances. Gurus have exerted very powerful influences in preserving and enhancing the tradition through time.

An institutionalized “religion of the book” is vulnerable because it can be wiped off by eliminating its physical infrastructure and burning/banning its books. But in the case of Hindu dharma, every such attempt at its destruction was followed by a renewal brought about by living gurus. Given the public’s faith in our sadhus, mahatmas and acharyas, it is clear that as long as we have dynamic gurus, we will thrive.

This is the reason why the gurus have frequently become the targets of vicious attacks by Hinduphobic forces seeking to undermine the tradition.

In recent decades, we saw vicious attacks against Osho in USA charging him with serious crimes, including murder. Then Swami Muktananda, over a decade after his death, was accused of sexual misconduct – ironically, by women who were his ardent devotees during his lifetime. After Swami Prabhupada died, ISKCON in USA was prosecuted for allegations of sexual harassment. Yogi Amrit Desai, one of the most prolific teachers of yoga for white Americans since the 1970s, was suddenly removed from his own institution, Kripalu Center, on similar charges. Attempts were also made to bring down Maharishi Mahesh Yogi when he was in his prime of success.

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Who is responsible for anti-India campaign in US?

Who is Responsible for Anti-India Campaign in US

The terrorist-activist axis

In recent years, the Indian police and press have started to pay attention to certain groups with 'peace,' 'civil liberties' and 'human rights' identities.

Often, the scholars'/activists' assistance is by legitimizing a radical group through endorsement, such as when the Communist Party of India, Marxist Leninist Liberation honored the kin of about 1,000 'comrade martyrs', i e terrorists, at an event graced by several prominent 'social activists, environmentalists, and writers-turned-activists.'

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Traditional Knowledge Systems

Traditional Knowledge Systems

It is now recognized that western criteria are not the sole benchmark by which other cultural knowledge should be evaluated. While the term 'traditional' sometimes carries the connotation of 'pre-modern' in the sense of 'primitive' or 'outdated', many of the traditional sciences and technologies were in fact quite advanced even by western standards as well as better adapted to unique local conditions and needs than their later 'modern' substitutes. In countries with ancient cultural traditions, the folk and elite science were taken as part of the same unified legacy, without any hegemonic categorizations.

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How ‘Gandhara’ Became ‘Kandahar’

How Gandhara Became Kandahar

Afghanistan’s epic history starts when it was an important region of ancient India called ‘Gandhara’. One of its most frequently mentioned cities in the world today is ‘Kandahar’, made infamous by the Taliban. The earlier name of the city was ‘Quandhar’, derived from the name of the region of Gandhara. Erstwhile home to Al-Qaeda today, it was always a strategic site, being on main Persian routes to Central Asia and India. Hence, it has a long history of conquests. Kandahar was taken by Alexander in 329 B.C.E., was surrendered by the Greek to Chandragupta in 305 B.C.E., and is dignified by a rock inscription of Asoka. It fell under Arab rule in the 7th century C.E., and under the Ghaznavids in the 10th. Kandahar was destroyed by Genghis Khan and again by the Turkic conqueror Timur, after which it was held by the Mughals. Mughal Emperor Babur built 40 giant steps up a hill, cut out of the solid limestone, leading to inscriptions recording details of his proud conquests. In 1747 it became the first capital of a unified Afghanistan.

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Gandhi's Dharma and the West

Gandhis Dharma and the West

Mahatma Gandhi articulated his sva-dharma ("my dharma") using a few key Sanskrit words that do not have an exact English equivalent. One of these issatya, his practice of truth. Unlike truth in the Western sense, satya is not an intellectual proposition but a way of life which has to be actualized and embodied directly by each person. There is no place for the reification or codification of satya, because truth is not held in some book or set of laws; it lives in oneself, and cannot be separated from oneself. This philosophical distinction is at the heart of Gandhi's dharma.

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