The October/November/December 2012 issue of our flagship magazine is a special edition honoring Hindu temples and those who build them. With all the other fascinating articles and features you are used to.
Our Hindu of the Year
Since 1990 we have given our coveted Hindu Renaissance Award to the man or woman spiritual leader who that year most impacted the faith globally. This year, we took another tack. Our Hindu of the Year for 2012 is a remarkable group, the clan of builders, architects and sculptors who have created thousands of temples around the world. This group, known as the Shilpa Parampara, are an unheralded force in the Hindu world. They build sacred spaces and murthis from stone and wood, plaster and metal. Their skills border on the phenomenal, and yet their names never appear on their creations. Read the story of their craft in this issue. Their contribution to the pride and presence of Hinduism around the world is perhaps unprecedented and with this award we honor them and simultaneously honor the ancient lineages that they represent which have preserved this remarkable craft down through the ages.
Our Feature Article
The feature article is a fascinating tour of temples in North America, and reveals how they are adjusting, adapting and evolving in ways that set them apart from temples in India. Nowadays, temples are becoming community centers and educational facilities. They are engaging in counseling couples, arranging funeral rites, organizing blood drives, looking after senior citizens and holding Sunday school for the kids. There are even special initiatives to deal with crisis response, such as with hurricanes or medical needs. Join us for a full-throated discussion of a sometimes controversial subject.
Visiting a Hindu Temple
When first-time visitors enter a Hindu temple, they can go through cultural shock. It's all so new to them, so foreign. Their many questions often remain unanswered and they know little of the dos and don'ts of temple protocol. To help, the Hinduism Today team in Hawaii got together to write and design a simple manual for first-time visitors. We titled it "Visiting a Hindu Temple, A Beginner's Guide." It's a 16-page illustrated handbook in simple English that answers most of the Frequently Asked Questions. It opens with a Quick Start guide for those who want only the minimum, followed by a discussion of the several different kinds of Hindu temples. There is a section about the the basics of puja and a six-part overview of the Hindu deities. A two-page poster shows graphically the many activities that can take place in a temple and it all ends with a question and answer spread. It's everything a newbie needs to know, and veterans will find it useful to share with associates or with the local Rotary Club when it visits. This is definitely news you can use.
IT professional Padma Kuppa writes about her disturbing encounter in India with Christians trying to gain converts by questionable means. She defends a Hindu's right to keep her religion as a fundamental human right, and offers solid counsel on how to counter the never-ending unethical efforts to turn Hindus away from their heritage and their faith. Padma takes a dark and difficult subject and fills it with light.
Hindu Clergy in the US and Canada
When our editors visited Pittsburgh last April for a first-ever priests' conference, we were impressed with the ways Hindu pandits and pujaris are changing and expanding their duties in North America. One held up his iPad and proudly proclaimed he had on it all of the Vedic chants, all of the puja instructions he used to carry in multiple books. We flew back to our little island to report on their challenges and opportunities, including the disconnect that can happen between the priests' idea of what they do and the management's expectations.
A Remarkable Conversation
When Albert Einstein and Rabindranath Tagore met in Germany in 1930, the two discussed philosophy and science in what has been called "one of the most stimulating, intellectually riveting conversations in history." Tagore wrote it all down, and we share it, word for word, with our readers on page 53.
Is Man a Sinner or Divinity?
Our publisher, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, asks that question and proceeds to give the Hindu answer, discussing the soul of man which is taintless and eternal, and comparing it to the Abrahamic view of original sin. Along the way we learn that we possess a body, an intellect and a superconscious intuition that we can tap into. The Hindu view that man is a divine being has seldom been better expressed. A chart on the chakras helps round out his insights.
And There Is More
Other major articles include the reopening of a major pilgrimage center in Sri Lanka, a 23-year-old youth's return to his Hindu roots on the island of St. Lucia, a look at one of India's greatest artists, a Kerala muralist who will astound you with his skill. There is a piece on the Gundecha brothers who follow a musical tradition that is deeply rooted in yoga, a disciplined form that is all about God and devotion.
As usual, our Global Dharma digest tells you what's happening around the world in the Hindu family, Quotes & Quips offers a humor-rich respite from the mean-old-world and Digital Dharma gives you the scoop on how technology is being used to support Hinduism. With stunning photos and in-depth articles, you don't want to miss this issue!
The latest issue of Hinduism Today for October/November/December 2012 may be ordered online at www.minimela.com in single copies and in multiple copies at discounted prices.