Hinduism Today Jul/Aug/Sep 2010

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The July-August-September edition of Hinduism’s flagship spiritual magazine, Hinduism Today, travels the globe from India to Australia, from Nepal to Mauritius and beyond. It also introduces an amazing man we have named the 2010 Hindu of the Year.

He is known throughout India as an innovator, a dauntless worker and a brazenly proud Hindu. Our Hindu of the Year, Sri P. Parameswaran, is as active in his 80s as most of us ever become, writing, campaigning for social reform and building, building, building dharma institutions. You may have visited the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, which owes much of his beauty to him. And the Vivekananda Kendra schools, and…. Enough. Read his amazing story in the current issue and see why he merits the coveted Renaissance Award.

The Hinduism Today publisher and editors attended the Parliament of the World’s Religions las December, and had a chance to sit with a dozen of Hinduism’s most amazing leaders. Our article shares their views on hot topics, things you may not normally get to ask a swami or swamini. They give the Hindu view on the global financial crisis, gay marriage, yoga’s relationship to Hinduism and the challenges Hindus face in the future. It’s a must-read if you want to understand these issues and where we stand.

Our feature article takes us into the hills of Nepal, as we follow the rites of passage, the samskaras, practiced there, in a unique and colorful way. Ace photographer Thomas Kelly brings the rituals and celebrations to life with his astounding camera work. We follow boys and girls through life, stopping at the milestones. The ending surprises us, as writer Ellen Coon, moved deeply by the way elders are honored in Tibet, takes the rituals back to her home in middle America where she holds her father’s 80th birthday party in a style never seen in the US, honoring him with sacred songs, a turban, testimonials and even a foot-washing which he (and everyone in the Coon family) will never forget.

Our 16-page center section is a tour-de-force of some of the most exotic of Hinduism’s practices, called “Healing, Sacred Vows and Trance Possession.” Stephen P. Huyler is our guide into a seldom-documented world that may well teach you again of the power of faith. Stephen’s stories, all photographed by him, are real, and he was witness to each of them, from 14-month-old Aditi’s return from the brink of death at a healing shrine to a frenetic trance during kavadi. Our founder, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001) had much to say on these subjects, and his insights enrich Huyler’s tales, and add a special depth to the power of spiritual vows, called vratas.

Our publisher, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, speaks often to Hindu groups, answering their questions about life. In this issue’s Publisher’s Desk, he urges readers to work hard at living in the eternal now, showing us how it is done. By freeing ourselves from regrets of the past and worries about the future, he says, we not only live a more effective life in the material world, we also meditate better. Living in the now is a form of yoga, and a fun and effective one at that.

Mauritius is the Hindu country you have probably never heard about. Well, that changes with this article. Vel Mahalingum tells the story of how his once-languishing country, once under siege by Christian missionaries and suffering economic collapse, was turned around. The people of the nation started studying their faith, applying the ancient wisdom to their lives, even dressing in traditional styles. Spirits rose, problems fell and today this nation’s majority Hindu community is perhaps the best model of how to face the 21st century and keep your religion in the bargain.

There’s lots more, of course. Book reviews and some humor, plus an opinion piece by none other than Professor Arvind Sharma, one of the leading thinkers of our time, who tells how he came to appreciate the openness of Hinduism when he saw his non-Hindu academic peers struggling with the constraints of their religions traditions.

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