Our feature story for October, 2014, explores the little-known story of one million Hindus living on Java, Indonesia's main island. They trace their origins back to Hindu kingdoms that ruled the island up to the 15th century. Now long separated from India, and even from the Hindus of Bali, they have yet managed to maintain their unique heritage.
Our Insight Section this issue is "Humanity's Diverse Faiths: a presentation of religious beliefs, goals, paths of attainment and ideological comparisons" for the world's major religions. In his Publisher's Desk, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, explains how Hindu principles can help develop the refined character needed to move from the lower consciousness of anger and fear to the lofty states of mind which are our soul's birthright.
The issue has a rich collection of smaller stories, beginning with the unusual photography project of Manjari Sharma. By divine inspiration, she is motivated to professionally dress up human models in the image of the Godsâ€”Hanuman, Shiva, Lakshmi, Ganesha, Saraswatiâ€”each in an appropriate setting. Shiva, for example, is dancing in a ring of fire; Hanuman landing with Dronagiri Mountain held aloft in His left hand. The gallery-circuit results do indeed bring the Deities to life.
Next is a seven-page review by Koenraad Elst of the recently released Encyclopedia of Hinduism. With his keen insight, expertise, humor and a dash of attitude, the Belgium scholar ultimately pronounces the 25-year effort a success.
"Thirteen Days of Mourning and Release" by Kathmandu-based Sally Acharya and photographer Thomas Kelly is a poignant and educational look into the rituals of death followed at a mourning site at Pashupatinath temple. Two youth articles round out the issue. The first covers the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha youth convention of 2013, which had nearly 10,000 participants. The second explores the programs and challenges of the nascent Hindu Students Association.