Discussion:
Western Condescension Of Hinduism
(too old to reply)
and/or www.mantra.com/jai (Dr. Jai Maharaj)
2013-11-16 04:04:13 UTC
Permalink
Western Condescension Of Hinduism

By Foram Mehta
browngirlmagazine.com
2010

As a child, I moved around frequently. My parents
emigrated from India to the U.S. when I wasn't even five
years old, and we moved from place to place. It seems
that I've perpetually been stuck with the "New Kid
Syndrome" for most of my life.

Unfortunately for me, the schools I attended weren't ever
very religiously diverse. Christians usually made up the
vast majority of my peers. It was quite lonely for a
little Hindu child like me not having anyone or anything
to relate to. Ah, but then there was always Social
Studies - my favorite subject. No matter what book we
learned from, India was mentioned. As the second most
populated country in the world - it had to be. Finally,
something I could relate to! With the mention of India
always came mention of Hinduism, the religion my family
practiced. I always looked forward talking about Hinduism
in school because I was almost always the only Hindu
around, which instantly made me exotic and the center of
attention.

"Wow, cool! There are all these cool-looking gods and
goddesses with so many heads and arms! You really believe
in all of them?" kids would ask me.

Hey, wait a second, there's not really more than one God.
And why are Shiva, Vishnu, Saraswati, and Lakshmi being
referred to as ‘gods' and ‘goddesses?' The Bhagavad-Gita
is mythology? Like Greek mythology? This doesn't sound
right…

This was an experience I dealt with many years ago, and
interestingly enough many Hindus are still dealing with
today: the misrepresentation and subsequent belittlement
of Hinduism. For a religion as established and tolerant
as Hinduism, it is disrespected in the West through other
outlets than just public education. Through media and
marketable fashions and trends, the face of Hinduism
becomes no more than what is represented by many in the
West, a "mythological," pagan religion.

The first issue to address is the fact that many in the
West, including scholars, refer to Hinduism as
"mythology." This is by far one of the most insulting
descriptions to characterize the religion with. By
describing Hinduism as mythology, one suggests that Hindu
beliefs are simply a collection of folklore and tales,
too fantastic to be real. In reality, all religions are
theoretically mythological because no one religion can
prove its validity. Can Christians prove that the word of
The Bible comes directly from God? Can they prove that
the world was created in seven days? No, but even so
Christianity's core beliefs are rarely described as
myths. Rather, they are referred to as "teachings of
Christ." Why then refer to Hindu beliefs as myths and not
just what they are also - beliefs? Perhaps in a part of
the world where monotheistic religions rule, it is
difficult to see truth in a religion with so many faces
of God. It is simply easier to cast it off as a
sensational belief system. Many don't regard how
insulting it is to Hindus to be told they believe in
something that's, frankly, false. We're not asking for
special treatment or a pretty, little pedestal, but it
would be nice if we could stop with the mythology
nonsense.

There's also the issue of referring to the deities as
"gods" and "goddesses" rather than "Gods" and
"Goddesses". Again, because the West is dominated by
monotheistic religions, it seems nonsensical to give a
respectful title to many forms that claim to be "God."
Major religions such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam
prevail in numbers of worshippers and they give claim to
only one God. Although Hindus believe in one supreme
entity, most don't understand how there can be so many
forms and therefore, they must be referred to as less
important "gods." What most don't realize is that this is
truly disrespectful to Hindus to have Shiva or Ganesh or
Krishna referred to as a lowly god, when they serve as
core representations of their faith.

As a journalist, I often refer to my AP Stylebook, as
many editors require their reporters to follow guidelines
set by the Associated Press. Unfortunately for me and
other Hindu writers out there, it requires that we refer
to these deities in lowercase form. Although because AP
Style instructs to "lowercase gods and goddesses in
references to the deities of polytheistic religions," and
Hinduism is not polytheistic, as many people assume, but
actually polymorphic, I technically could capitalize
"God" and "Goddess" when referring to any of the Hindu
deities. I doubt, though, an editor would side with me on
a technicality he believes to be minor. Of course -
therein lies the problem - it is a minor technicality to
those outside the religion and the exact opposite to
those within.

Former AP reporter and current religion reporter for the
San Antonio Express-News, Abe Levy says the rules
probably won't change because numbers usually rule, and
the numbers unfortunately don't lie with Hindus in the
West, and he's probably right (although even he makes the
mistake of calling Hinduism polytheistic).

"I think the honest truth is that monotheistic faiths -
the world's largest three of Islam, Judaism and
Christianity — share this belief in one God and so until
polytheistic faiths in the U.S. break out of their
minority status numerically and politically, it won't
change. Is that fair? No. It's more of a pragmatic
solution given the sheer numbers of Muslims, Jews and
Christians and their stamp on U.S. history and culture."

Some say ignorance is bliss - but I have to disagree (at
least when it comes to religion). The problem with
ignorance is that it usually leads to misconception, and
that is definitely not bliss. Misconceptions in the hands
of scholars and educators are just plain dangerous.
Incorrect and misleading information about Hinduism has
often been printed in textbooks and reference books.
Public education is a powerful source of information,
especially for young people learning about world
religions for the first time. What happens when a Hindu
child goes to school and reads, "Durga and Kali are
terrible and extremely bloodthirsty forms of this
goddess," in a textbook like "The Ancient South Asian
World" printed by the Oxford University Press? What about
learning that The Mahabharata, an ancient Hindu scripture
is described as being, "…like adventure movies of today
[that tell] thrilling stories about great heroes" as
described in Glencoe-McGraw Hill's "Discovering Our Past
- Ancient Civilizations" textbook? These are certainly
not accurate statements about Hinduism, and what's worse
is that they are superficial. Jesus' crucifixion is never
referred to as a "gripping, emotional roller coaster" so
why precede the description of a Hindu script with such
an introduction? Furthermore, describing Durga and Kali
with such adjectives as "terrible" and "bloodthirsty"
paints vivid pictures in impressionable minds of demons
and monsters like those right out of fairytales. Of
course it's understandable that Hindus and non-Hindus,
alike, assume that Hinduism is a pagan religion when
scholars describe important figures as elaborate,
animalistic idols. Monsters can't be worshipped as God,
so the very idea of Hindu teaching seems ridiculous.

Dictionary.com's description of Krishna is as "one of the
most popular gods…[who is] worshipped in several forms
[such as] as the divine cowherd whose erotic exploits,
esp. with his favorite, Radha, have produced both
romantic and religious literature." The relationship
between Krishna and Radha is one of pure, eternal love as
described by Hindu scriptures, and to reduce it to an
"erotic exploit" conveys it as simply a sexual
relationship, in which Krishna is the hunk who gets all
the girls. This description reduces a major form of God
to human form, and worse, shows him in an especially bad
light by making him sound like a flirt.

Jasneshwari Dev, a spiritual teacher at Barsana Dham
Temple in Austin, Texas has written letters to book
publishers and conveyed the Hindu community's
disappointment in such wrongful descriptions in hopes to
promote better education of Westerners about Hinduism.
She says the description of Krishna is completely
inappropriate and misleading.

"Using the word "erotic" to describe the love between
Radha and Krishna shows the ignorance of the writer.
God's love is beyond the conception of the human mind.
But Hinduism does teach us that God is beyond all such
human emotions of lust, anger, greed, jealously.  The use
of this word to describe God is highly offensive to
Hindus."

It's interesting the fascination people have with fantasy
and things that seem non-human and unrealistic. Hinduism
again falls into this superficial category and over the
years, it has become increasingly "cool" (and profitable)
to use colorful images of Hindu figures and symbols on
anything from T-shirts and home furnishings to even
costumes and restaurant advertisements. Most have no idea
what any of these images represent, but again the
obsession with things that seem unreal prevails. And if
it makes a product sell, then by all means go for it,
right? Sadly, many would say "yes."

This past summer in Spain, fast food giant Burger King
revealed a new ad campaign depicting an image of Lakshmi
sitting on a hamburger. The caption underneath translated
to "This snack is sacred." The image was used to increase
Burger King's profits and many Hindus saw it as
sacrilege. It seemed to be a mockery and a sarcastic pun
at the fact that most know that Hindus don't eat beef.

Last year supermodel Heidi Klum, known for her
extravagant Halloween parties, dressed to impress - in a
Kali costume. While it was a very colorful and elaborate
costume, it's despicable that she would choose, once
again, a very sacred figure to dress up as. How would
Christians feel if someone showed up with an expensive
costume depicting the Virgin Mary - or worse - Jesus
Christ? Maybe it wouldn't bother many, but what if the
culprit were the last person in the world that should to
be representing a pious, pure Mary or a humble, selfless
Jesus? No one wants others badly representing something
they hold dear, and Hindus are no different. Not to say
Heidi Klum is a bad person, but she's not even Hindu and
who knows what kind of frolicking went on at her party?

Cafepress.com has a variety of fashions available with
Hindu connotations to them, including a couple with the
images of Ganesh and Shiva reading "Ganesh/Shiva is my Om
Boy" playing off the popular slang term "homeboy"
referring to a good friend. It's funny and it's cool
looking, but I doubt most of the people wearing those
shirts have any spiritual relationship with either God to
lay claim to the phrase. But of course, that doesn't
matter most of the time.

Some might say these things aren't big deals because many
don't mean any blatant disrespect, but what they don't
realize is the sheer disregard this shows for Hinduism as
a religion deserving of respect. Small things have big
impacts. Tolerance is stressed heavily in the West, but
maybe empathy and education should be stressed more.
Knowledge opens doors and it could be the key for
Hinduism finally to receive more respect as the ancient,
established, and welcoming religion it really is.

Senior and officer of The University of Texas's chapter
of The Hindu Students Council, Atul Agrawl says he
believes that he sees hope for the future, but it will
take dedication on the parts of many Hindus and non-
Hindus, alike, to make a real difference of how Hinduism
is viewed in the West.

"I believe the key thing to removing ignorance is
subtlety. For example, yoga has hugely impacted Americans
for health reasons. While many people do not divulge into
where it originated or the deeper meaning, there are
others who do. While the goal is to educate everyone, it
has to be one step at a time."

More at:

Western Condescension of Hinduism

http://browngirlmagazine.com/2010/02/western-condescension-of-hinduism/

Jai Maharaj, Jyotishi
Om Shanti

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.fan.jai-maharaj

o o o

o Not for commercial use. Solely to be fairly used
for the educational purposes of research and open
discussion. The contents of this post may not have been
authored by, and do not necessarily represent the opinion
of the poster. The contents are protected by copyright
law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

o If you send private e-mail to me, it will likely
not be read, considered or answered if it does not
contain your full legal name, current e-mail and postal
addresses, and live-voice telephone number.

o Posted for information and discussion. Views
expressed by others are not necessarily those of the
poster who may or may not have read the article.
FAIR USE NOTICE: This article may contain copyrighted
material the use of which may or may not have been
specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This
material is being made available in efforts to advance
the understanding of environmental, political, human
rights, economic, democratic, scientific, social, and
cultural, etc., issues. It is believed that this
constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material
as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the
material on this site is distributed without profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving
the included information for research, comment,
discussion and educational purposes by subscribing to
USENET newsgroups or visiting web sites. For more
information go to:
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this article
for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you
must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Since newsgroup posts are being removed by forgery by one
or more net terrorists, this post may be reposted several
times.
Better--
2013-11-16 15:56:59 UTC
Permalink
"Jasneshwari Dev, a spiritual teacher at Barsana Dham
Temple in Austin, Texas has written letters to book
publishers and conveyed the Hindu community's
disappointment in such wrongful descriptions in hopes to
promote better education of Westerners about Hinduism."

Just so, as has every other ethnic group sought the same thing in their
turn. That is the pattern followed by evry new group coming to n. america.
Indians in their turn are following it as have all others.
David Johnston
2013-11-28 20:38:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by and/or www.mantra.com/jai (Dr. Jai Maharaj)
As a journalist, I often refer to my AP Stylebook, as
many editors require their reporters to follow guidelines
set by the Associated Press. Unfortunately for me and
other Hindu writers out there, it requires that we refer
to these deities in lowercase form. Although because AP
Style instructs to "lowercase gods and goddesses in
references to the deities of polytheistic religions," and
Hinduism is not polytheistic, as many people assume, but
actually polymorphic, I technically could capitalize
"God" and "Goddess" when referring to any of the Hindu
deities. I doubt, though, an editor would side with me on
a technicality he believes to be minor. Of course -
therein lies the problem - it is a minor technicality to
those outside the religion and the exact opposite to
those within.
The word "god" should only be capitalized when it is being used as a
proper name. When you are talking about "God" being a god, the generic
category should be lower case.
and/or www.mantra.com/jai (Dr. Jai Maharaj)
2013-11-28 21:24:20 UTC
Permalink
. . .
No, I am not the author of the article.
Here's the original post of this thread:

Western Condescension Of Hinduism

By Foram Mehta
browngirlmagazine.com
2010

As a child, I moved around frequently. My parents
emigrated from India to the U.S. when I wasn't even five
years old, and we moved from place to place. It seems
that I've perpetually been stuck with the "New Kid
Syndrome" for most of my life.

Unfortunately for me, the schools I attended weren't ever
very religiously diverse. Christians usually made up the
vast majority of my peers. It was quite lonely for a
little Hindu child like me not having anyone or anything
to relate to. Ah, but then there was always Social
Studies - my favorite subject. No matter what book we
learned from, India was mentioned. As the second most
populated country in the world - it had to be. Finally,
something I could relate to! With the mention of India
always came mention of Hinduism, the religion my family
practiced. I always looked forward talking about Hinduism
in school because I was almost always the only Hindu
around, which instantly made me exotic and the center of
attention.

"Wow, cool! There are all these cool-looking gods and
goddesses with so many heads and arms! You really believe
in all of them?" kids would ask me.

Hey, wait a second, there's not really more than one God.
And why are Shiva, Vishnu, Saraswati, and Lakshmi being
referred to as ‘gods' and ‘goddesses?' The Bhagavad-Gita
is mythology? Like Greek mythology? This doesn't sound
right…

This was an experience I dealt with many years ago, and
interestingly enough many Hindus are still dealing with
today: the misrepresentation and subsequent belittlement
of Hinduism. For a religion as established and tolerant
as Hinduism, it is disrespected in the West through other
outlets than just public education. Through media and
marketable fashions and trends, the face of Hinduism
becomes no more than what is represented by many in the
West, a "mythological," pagan religion.

The first issue to address is the fact that many in the
West, including scholars, refer to Hinduism as
"mythology." This is by far one of the most insulting
descriptions to characterize the religion with. By
describing Hinduism as mythology, one suggests that Hindu
beliefs are simply a collection of folklore and tales,
too fantastic to be real. In reality, all religions are
theoretically mythological because no one religion can
prove its validity. Can Christians prove that the word of
The Bible comes directly from God? Can they prove that
the world was created in seven days? No, but even so
Christianity's core beliefs are rarely described as
myths. Rather, they are referred to as "teachings of
Christ." Why then refer to Hindu beliefs as myths and not
just what they are also - beliefs? Perhaps in a part of
the world where monotheistic religions rule, it is
difficult to see truth in a religion with so many faces
of God. It is simply easier to cast it off as a
sensational belief system. Many don't regard how
insulting it is to Hindus to be told they believe in
something that's, frankly, false. We're not asking for
special treatment or a pretty, little pedestal, but it
would be nice if we could stop with the mythology
nonsense.

There's also the issue of referring to the deities as
"gods" and "goddesses" rather than "Gods" and
"Goddesses". Again, because the West is dominated by
monotheistic religions, it seems nonsensical to give a
respectful title to many forms that claim to be "God."
Major religions such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam
prevail in numbers of worshippers and they give claim to
only one God. Although Hindus believe in one supreme
entity, most don't understand how there can be so many
forms and therefore, they must be referred to as less
important "gods." What most don't realize is that this is
truly disrespectful to Hindus to have Shiva or Ganesh or
Krishna referred to as a lowly god, when they serve as
core representations of their faith.

As a journalist, I often refer to my AP Stylebook, as
many editors require their reporters to follow guidelines
set by the Associated Press. Unfortunately for me and
other Hindu writers out there, it requires that we refer
to these deities in lowercase form. Although because AP
Style instructs to "lowercase gods and goddesses in
references to the deities of polytheistic religions," and
Hinduism is not polytheistic, as many people assume, but
actually polymorphic, I technically could capitalize
"God" and "Goddess" when referring to any of the Hindu
deities. I doubt, though, an editor would side with me on
a technicality he believes to be minor. Of course -
therein lies the problem - it is a minor technicality to
those outside the religion and the exact opposite to
those within.

Former AP reporter and current religion reporter for the
San Antonio Express-News, Abe Levy says the rules
probably won't change because numbers usually rule, and
the numbers unfortunately don't lie with Hindus in the
West, and he's probably right (although even he makes the
mistake of calling Hinduism polytheistic).

"I think the honest truth is that monotheistic faiths -
the world's largest three of Islam, Judaism and
Christianity — share this belief in one God and so until
polytheistic faiths in the U.S. break out of their
minority status numerically and politically, it won't
change. Is that fair? No. It's more of a pragmatic
solution given the sheer numbers of Muslims, Jews and
Christians and their stamp on U.S. history and culture."

Some say ignorance is bliss - but I have to disagree (at
least when it comes to religion). The problem with
ignorance is that it usually leads to misconception, and
that is definitely not bliss. Misconceptions in the hands
of scholars and educators are just plain dangerous.
Incorrect and misleading information about Hinduism has
often been printed in textbooks and reference books.
Public education is a powerful source of information,
especially for young people learning about world
religions for the first time. What happens when a Hindu
child goes to school and reads, "Durga and Kali are
terrible and extremely bloodthirsty forms of this
goddess," in a textbook like "The Ancient South Asian
World" printed by the Oxford University Press? What about
learning that The Mahabharata, an ancient Hindu scripture
is described as being, "…like adventure movies of today
[that tell] thrilling stories about great heroes" as
described in Glencoe-McGraw Hill's "Discovering Our Past
- Ancient Civilizations" textbook? These are certainly
not accurate statements about Hinduism, and what's worse
is that they are superficial. Jesus' crucifixion is never
referred to as a "gripping, emotional roller coaster" so
why precede the description of a Hindu script with such
an introduction? Furthermore, describing Durga and Kali
with such adjectives as "terrible" and "bloodthirsty"
paints vivid pictures in impressionable minds of demons
and monsters like those right out of fairytales. Of
course it's understandable that Hindus and non-Hindus,
alike, assume that Hinduism is a pagan religion when
scholars describe important figures as elaborate,
animalistic idols. Monsters can't be worshipped as God,
so the very idea of Hindu teaching seems ridiculous.

Dictionary.com's description of Krishna is as "one of the
most popular gods…[who is] worshipped in several forms
[such as] as the divine cowherd whose erotic exploits,
esp. with his favorite, Radha, have produced both
romantic and religious literature." The relationship
between Krishna and Radha is one of pure, eternal love as
described by Hindu scriptures, and to reduce it to an
"erotic exploit" conveys it as simply a sexual
relationship, in which Krishna is the hunk who gets all
the girls. This description reduces a major form of God
to human form, and worse, shows him in an especially bad
light by making him sound like a flirt.

Jasneshwari Dev, a spiritual teacher at Barsana Dham
Temple in Austin, Texas has written letters to book
publishers and conveyed the Hindu community's
disappointment in such wrongful descriptions in hopes to
promote better education of Westerners about Hinduism.
She says the description of Krishna is completely
inappropriate and misleading.

"Using the word "erotic" to describe the love between
Radha and Krishna shows the ignorance of the writer.
God's love is beyond the conception of the human mind.
But Hinduism does teach us that God is beyond all such
human emotions of lust, anger, greed, jealously.  The use
of this word to describe God is highly offensive to
Hindus."

It's interesting the fascination people have with fantasy
and things that seem non-human and unrealistic. Hinduism
again falls into this superficial category and over the
years, it has become increasingly "cool" (and profitable)
to use colorful images of Hindu figures and symbols on
anything from T-shirts and home furnishings to even
costumes and restaurant advertisements. Most have no idea
what any of these images represent, but again the
obsession with things that seem unreal prevails. And if
it makes a product sell, then by all means go for it,
right? Sadly, many would say "yes."

This past summer in Spain, fast food giant Burger King
revealed a new ad campaign depicting an image of Lakshmi
sitting on a hamburger. The caption underneath translated
to "This snack is sacred." The image was used to increase
Burger King's profits and many Hindus saw it as
sacrilege. It seemed to be a mockery and a sarcastic pun
at the fact that most know that Hindus don't eat beef.

Last year supermodel Heidi Klum, known for her
extravagant Halloween parties, dressed to impress - in a
Kali costume. While it was a very colorful and elaborate
costume, it's despicable that she would choose, once
again, a very sacred figure to dress up as. How would
Christians feel if someone showed up with an expensive
costume depicting the Virgin Mary - or worse - Jesus
Christ? Maybe it wouldn't bother many, but what if the
culprit were the last person in the world that should to
be representing a pious, pure Mary or a humble, selfless
Jesus? No one wants others badly representing something
they hold dear, and Hindus are no different. Not to say
Heidi Klum is a bad person, but she's not even Hindu and
who knows what kind of frolicking went on at her party?

Cafepress.com has a variety of fashions available with
Hindu connotations to them, including a couple with the
images of Ganesh and Shiva reading "Ganesh/Shiva is my Om
Boy" playing off the popular slang term "homeboy"
referring to a good friend. It's funny and it's cool
looking, but I doubt most of the people wearing those
shirts have any spiritual relationship with either God to
lay claim to the phrase. But of course, that doesn't
matter most of the time.

Some might say these things aren't big deals because many
don't mean any blatant disrespect, but what they don't
realize is the sheer disregard this shows for Hinduism as
a religion deserving of respect. Small things have big
impacts. Tolerance is stressed heavily in the West, but
maybe empathy and education should be stressed more.
Knowledge opens doors and it could be the key for
Hinduism finally to receive more respect as the ancient,
established, and welcoming religion it really is.

Senior and officer of The University of Texas's chapter
of The Hindu Students Council, Atul Agrawl says he
believes that he sees hope for the future, but it will
take dedication on the parts of many Hindus and non-
Hindus, alike, to make a real difference of how Hinduism
is viewed in the West.

"I believe the key thing to removing ignorance is
subtlety. For example, yoga has hugely impacted Americans
for health reasons. While many people do not divulge into
where it originated or the deeper meaning, there are
others who do. While the goal is to educate everyone, it
has to be one step at a time."

More at:

Western Condescension of Hinduism

http://browngirlmagazine.com/2010/02/western-condescension-of-hinduism/

Jai Maharaj, Jyotishi
Om Shanti

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.fan.jai-maharaj

o o o

o Not for commercial use. Solely to be fairly used
for the educational purposes of research and open
discussion. The contents of this post may not have been
authored by, and do not necessarily represent the opinion
of the poster. The contents are protected by copyright
law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

o If you send private e-mail to me, it will likely
not be read, considered or answered if it does not
contain your full legal name, current e-mail and postal
addresses, and live-voice telephone number.

o Posted for information and discussion. Views
expressed by others are not necessarily those of the
poster who may or may not have read the article.
FAIR USE NOTICE: This article may contain copyrighted
material the use of which may or may not have been
specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This
material is being made available in efforts to advance
the understanding of environmental, political, human
rights, economic, democratic, scientific, social, and
cultural, etc., issues. It is believed that this
constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material
as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the
material on this site is distributed without profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving
the included information for research, comment,
discussion and educational purposes by subscribing to
USENET newsgroups or visiting web sites. For more
information go to:
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this article
for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you
must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Since newsgroup posts are being removed by forgery by one
or more net terrorists, this post may be reposted several
times.
David Johnston
2013-12-11 23:55:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by and/or www.mantra.com/jai (Dr. Jai Maharaj)
. . .
No, I am not the author of the article.
I don't care.
and/or www.mantra.com/jai (Dr. Jai Maharaj)
2013-11-28 22:46:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Johnston
The word "god" should only be capitalized when it is being used as a
proper name. When you are talking about "God" being a god, the generic
category should be lower case.
That will depend whether you are monotheistic/atheistic or not. If you are a
polytheist then you should capitalise the letter G, for that is the way to
show respect for Them in the English language.
For the term God to be applied in the polytheist sense in English writing, it
is instructive to take the example of how the term "king" is used.
eg A controversial king was King John.
So when we talk of the Vedic deity Agni, we mean God Agni. However, unlike
the use of the word "king", I use the style
eg A self-sacrificing God is the God Agni
in order to show my respectful attitude to the Gods and Goddesses who form my
belief system.
Cheers,
Arindam Banerjee
Author of "The Son of Hiranyaksh"
https://www.createspace.com/3861686
http://www.amazon.com/dp/147528599X
According to "About the author" at your book's URL
http://www.amazon.com/dp/147528599X you were born in
Jamshedpur in 1956. On what date and at what time, if you
don't mind?

Jai Maharaj, Jyotishi
Om Shanti

http://preview.tinyurl.com/JaiMaharaj
David Johnston
2013-12-12 00:03:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Johnston
The word "god" should only be capitalized when it is being used as a
proper name. When you are talking about "God" being a god, the generic
category should be lower case.
That will depend whether you are monotheistic/atheistic or not. If you are a
polytheist then you should capitalise the letter G, for that is the way to
show respect for Them in the English language.
If that was the case, then it would be inappropriate for a
non-worshipper of said gods to do it. However capitalization "to show
respect" isn't standard in English anyway. Some people do it. Some
people don't.
and/or www.mantra.com/jai (Dr. Jai Maharaj)
2013-12-12 00:07:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by and/or www.mantra.com/jai (Dr. Jai Maharaj)
Western Condescension Of Hinduism
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By Foram Mehta
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browngirlmagazine.com
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2010
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As a child, I moved around frequently. My parents
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emigrated from India to the U.S. when I wasn't even five
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years old, and we moved from place to place. It seems
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that I've perpetually been stuck with the "New Kid
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Syndrome" for most of my life.
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Unfortunately for me, the schools I attended weren't ever
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very religiously diverse. Christians usually made up the
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vast majority of my peers. It was quite lonely for a
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little Hindu child like me not having anyone or anything
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to relate to. Ah, but then there was always Social
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Studies - my favorite subject. No matter what book we
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learned from, India was mentioned. As the second most
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populated country in the world - it had to be. Finally,
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something I could relate to! With the mention of India
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always came mention of Hinduism, the religion my family
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practiced. I always looked forward talking about Hinduism
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in school because I was almost always the only Hindu
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around, which instantly made me exotic and the center of
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attention.
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"Wow, cool! There are all these cool-looking gods and
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goddesses with so many heads and arms! You really believe
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in all of them?" kids would ask me.
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Hey, wait a second, there's not really more than one God.
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And why are Shiva, Vishnu, Saraswati, and Lakshmi being
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referred to as =91gods' and =91goddesses?' The Bhagavad-Gita
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is mythology? Like Greek mythology? This doesn't sound
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right=85
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This was an experience I dealt with many years ago, and
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interestingly enough many Hindus are still dealing with
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today: the misrepresentation and subsequent belittlement
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of Hinduism. For a religion as established and tolerant
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as Hinduism, it is disrespected in the West through other
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outlets than just public education. Through media and
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marketable fashions and trends, the face of Hinduism
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becomes no more than what is represented by many in the
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West, a "mythological," pagan religion.
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The first issue to address is the fact that many in the
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West, including scholars, refer to Hinduism as
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"mythology." This is by far one of the most insulting
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descriptions to characterize the religion with. By
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describing Hinduism as mythology, one suggests that Hindu
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beliefs are simply a collection of folklore and tales,
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too fantastic to be real. In reality, all religions are
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theoretically mythological because no one religion can
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prove its validity. Can Christians prove that the word of
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The Bible comes directly from God? Can they prove that
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the world was created in seven days? No, but even so
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Christianity's core beliefs are rarely described as
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myths. Rather, they are referred to as "teachings of
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Christ." Why then refer to Hindu beliefs as myths and not
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just what they are also - beliefs? Perhaps in a part of
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the world where monotheistic religions rule, it is
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difficult to see truth in a religion with so many faces
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of God. It is simply easier to cast it off as a
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sensational belief system. Many don't regard how
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insulting it is to Hindus to be told they believe in
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something that's, frankly, false. We're not asking for
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special treatment or a pretty, little pedestal, but it
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would be nice if we could stop with the mythology
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nonsense.
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There's also the issue of referring to the deities as
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"gods" and "goddesses" rather than "Gods" and
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"Goddesses". Again, because the West is dominated by
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monotheistic religions, it seems nonsensical to give a
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respectful title to many forms that claim to be "God."
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Major religions such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam
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prevail in numbers of worshippers and they give claim to
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only one God. Although Hindus believe in one supreme
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entity, most don't understand how there can be so many
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forms and therefore, they must be referred to as less
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important "gods." What most don't realize is that this is
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truly disrespectful to Hindus to have Shiva or Ganesh or
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Krishna referred to as a lowly god, when they serve as
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core representations of their faith.
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As a journalist, I often refer to my AP Stylebook, as
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many editors require their reporters to follow guidelines
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set by the Associated Press. Unfortunately for me and
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other Hindu writers out there, it requires that we refer
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to these deities in lowercase form. Although because AP
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Style instructs to "lowercase gods and goddesses in
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references to the deities of polytheistic religions," and
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Hinduism is not polytheistic, as many people assume, but
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actually polymorphic, I technically could capitalize
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"God" and "Goddess" when referring to any of the Hindu
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deities. I doubt, though, an editor would side with me on
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a technicality he believes to be minor. Of course -
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therein lies the problem - it is a minor technicality to
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those outside the religion and the exact opposite to
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those within.
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Former AP reporter and current religion reporter for the
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San Antonio Express-News, Abe Levy says the rules
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probably won't change because numbers usually rule, and
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the numbers unfortunately don't lie with Hindus in the
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West, and he's probably right (although even he makes the
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mistake of calling Hinduism polytheistic).
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"I think the honest truth is that monotheistic faiths -
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the world's largest three of Islam, Judaism and
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Christianity =97 share this belief in one God and so until
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polytheistic faiths in the U.S. break out of their
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minority status numerically and politically, it won't
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change. Is that fair? No. It's more of a pragmatic
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solution given the sheer numbers of Muslims, Jews and
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Christians and their stamp on U.S. history and culture."
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Some say ignorance is bliss - but I have to disagree (at
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least when it comes to religion). The problem with
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ignorance is that it usually leads to misconception, and
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that is definitely not bliss. Misconceptions in the hands
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of scholars and educators are just plain dangerous.
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Incorrect and misleading information about Hinduism has
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often been printed in textbooks and reference books.
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Public education is a powerful source of information,
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especially for young people learning about world
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religions for the first time. What happens when a Hindu
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child goes to school and reads, "Durga and Kali are
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terrible and extremely bloodthirsty forms of this
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goddess," in a textbook like "The Ancient South Asian
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World" printed by the Oxford University Press? What about
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learning that The Mahabharata, an ancient Hindu scripture
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is described as being, "=85like adventure movies of today
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[that tell] thrilling stories about great heroes" as
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described in Glencoe-McGraw Hill's "Discovering Our Past
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- Ancient Civilizations" textbook? These are certainly
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not accurate statements about Hinduism, and what's worse
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is that they are superficial. Jesus' crucifixion is never
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referred to as a "gripping, emotional roller coaster" so
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why precede the description of a Hindu script with such
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an introduction? Furthermore, describing Durga and Kali
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with such adjectives as "terrible" and "bloodthirsty"
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paints vivid pictures in impressionable minds of demons
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and monsters like those right out of fairytales. Of
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course it's understandable that Hindus and non-Hindus,
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alike, assume that Hinduism is a pagan religion when
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scholars describe important figures as elaborate,
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animalistic idols. Monsters can't be worshipped as God,
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so the very idea of Hindu teaching seems ridiculous.
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Dictionary.com's description of Krishna is as "one of the
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most popular gods=85[who is] worshipped in several forms
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[such as] as the divine cowherd whose erotic exploits,
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esp. with his favorite, Radha, have produced both
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romantic and religious literature." The relationship
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between Krishna and Radha is one of pure, eternal love as
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described by Hindu scriptures, and to reduce it to an
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"erotic exploit" conveys it as simply a sexual
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relationship, in which Krishna is the hunk who gets all
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the girls. This description reduces a major form of God
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to human form, and worse, shows him in an especially bad
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light by making him sound like a flirt.
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Jasneshwari Dev, a spiritual teacher at Barsana Dham
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Temple in Austin, Texas has written letters to book
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publishers and conveyed the Hindu community's
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disappointment in such wrongful descriptions in hopes to
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promote better education of Westerners about Hinduism.
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She says the description of Krishna is completely
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inappropriate and misleading.
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"Using the word "erotic" to describe the love between
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Radha and Krishna shows the ignorance of the writer.
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God's love is beyond the conception of the human mind.
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But Hinduism does teach us that God is beyond all such
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human emotions of lust, anger, greed, jealously.=A0 The use
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of this word to describe God is highly offensive to
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Hindus."
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It's interesting the fascination people have with fantasy
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and things that seem non-human and unrealistic. Hinduism
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again falls into this superficial category and over the
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years, it has become increasingly "cool" (and profitable)
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to use colorful images of Hindu figures and symbols on
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anything from T-shirts and home furnishings to even
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costumes and restaurant advertisements. Most have no idea
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what any of these images represent, but again the
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obsession with things that seem unreal prevails. And if
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it makes a product sell, then by all means go for it,
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right? Sadly, many would say "yes."
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This past summer in Spain, fast food giant Burger King
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revealed a new ad campaign depicting an image of Lakshmi
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sitting on a hamburger. The caption underneath translated
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to "This snack is sacred." The image was used to increase
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Burger King's profits and many Hindus saw it as
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sacrilege. It seemed to be a mockery and a sarcastic pun
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at the fact that most know that Hindus don't eat beef.
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Last year supermodel Heidi Klum, known for her
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extravagant Halloween parties, dressed to impress - in a
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Kali costume. While it was a very colorful and elaborate
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costume, it's despicable that she would choose, once
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again, a very sacred figure to dress up as. How would
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Christians feel if someone showed up with an expensive
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costume depicting the Virgin Mary - or worse - Jesus
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Christ? Maybe it wouldn't bother many, but what if the
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culprit were the last person in the world that should to
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be representing a pious, pure Mary or a humble, selfless
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Jesus? No one wants others badly representing something
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they hold dear, and Hindus are no different. Not to say
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Heidi Klum is a bad person, but she's not even Hindu and
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who knows what kind of frolicking went on at her party?
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Cafepress.com has a variety of fashions available with
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Hindu connotations to them, including a couple with the
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images of Ganesh and Shiva reading "Ganesh/Shiva is my Om
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Boy" playing off the popular slang term "homeboy"
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referring to a good friend. It's funny and it's cool
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looking, but I doubt most of the people wearing those
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shirts have any spiritual relationship with either God to
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lay claim to the phrase. But of course, that doesn't
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matter most of the time.
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Some might say these things aren't big deals because many
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don't mean any blatant disrespect, but what they don't
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realize is the sheer disregard this shows for Hinduism as
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a religion deserving of respect. Small things have big
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impacts. Tolerance is stressed heavily in the West, but
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maybe empathy and education should be stressed more.
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Knowledge opens doors and it could be the key for
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Hinduism finally to receive more respect as the ancient,
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established, and welcoming religion it really is.
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Senior and officer of The University of Texas's chapter
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of The Hindu Students Council, Atul Agrawl says he
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believes that he sees hope for the future, but it will
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take dedication on the parts of many Hindus and non-
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Hindus, alike, to make a real difference of how Hinduism
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is viewed in the West.
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"I believe the key thing to removing ignorance is
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subtlety. For example, yoga has hugely impacted Americans
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for health reasons. While many people do not divulge into
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where it originated or the deeper meaning, there are
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others who do. While the goal is to educate everyone, it
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has to be one step at a time."
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Western Condescension of Hinduism
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http://browngirlmagazine.com/2010/02/western-condescension-of-hinduism/
Post by and/or www.mantra.com/jai (Dr. Jai Maharaj)
Jai Maharaj, Jyotishi
Om Shanti
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.fan.jai-maharaj
Dhanyavaad for your post !
You are welcome, fanabba ji.
The Pope must apologize for the role of the Church in the oppression of
Hindus during the Goa Inquisition.
I agree, he must apologize.

Jai Maharaj, Jyotishi
Om Shanti

http://preview.tinyurl.com/JaiMaharaj

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