This issue of Hinduism’s flagship spiritual magazine brings you an unusual mix of stories, from the latest and controversial animated film to coping with “cabin fever,” that real-life ailment faced by those living in the tropics who suddenly find themselves living in cold climates where people stay indoors all winter.
The 2010 Kumbha Mela in Haridwar was no less intense and is the subject of our 16-page, photographically stunning feature. Mark Twain wrote of his 1895 visit to the Kumbha Mela, “It is beyond imagination, marvelous to our kind of people, the cold whites.” We follow humankind’s greatest festival to its source, focusing on the devotional trials and tribulations of ordinary pilgrims–there were some 50 million there this year–and let our photographer, Dev Raj Agarwal, tell his story of trekking along the river Ganges from its source, and all of the changes it makes along the way.
The issue also contains articles on a US initiative to take yoga back from those who have abducted it from the Hindu cultural and spiritual repository, an online debate between two teenage friends, one an evangelizing Christian, the other an articulate Hindu who doesn’t think she or other nonbelievers are destined to go to a very bad place for a very long time. There is Arvind Sharma’s lofty defense of his choice to be a Hindu, a detailed story on the predictions of 2012 as the End of the World, and Ravi Grover’s take on why it’s not really right to put animals in captivity and use them as entertainment.
Our center section this time explores a new trend in matchmaking. The two models that once clashed–arranged marriage and do-as-you-please dating–are merging into something that can be called “arranged dating.” Parents meet and approve a daughter’s suitor, and then the couple embarks on the Western dating path, with all its implications and hazards. Plus we take a look at online resources for finding a life partner.
Our publisher, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, has a fresh take on the old adage “You are what you eat.” He suggests “You are whom you meet,” and guides us in our discovery of the importance of friends and companions, diving less into the ordinary reasons of business contacts into the mystical effect people have on our aura, our psychic energies and karmas.
In “Sita Sings the Blues” New York correspondent Lavina Melwani interviews the amazing film-maker Nina Paley. Remember how long the credits roll on a Pixar or Dreamworks animated film? Into the hundreds. Well, Ms. Paley made a full-length film all by her lonesome, a feat that took seven grueling years and resulted in a charming retelling of Sita’s story in the Ramayana, all from the woman’s point of view. Sure, a few Hindus called her take on Rama irreverent, while the tough critic Roger Ebert couldn’t find enough adjectives for this film (”wonderful, enchanted, astonishingly original, alive with personality”). The story of Sita’s story is itself quite a story and you can read it in the current issue.
Inside there is much more: humor, book reviews, scriptural excerpts from the Agamas that reveal meditation’s ultimate goal, digital resources and engrossing tidbits of Hindu experience around the globe. Hinduism Today is proud to be the place you go to learn about the entire Hindu family in the 21st century.