Hinduism Today Oct-Nov-Dec 2020

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“Covid, Covid, Covid.” How the world must be tiring of the non-stop news about the pandemic. Yet it is something worthy of staying in touch with. So, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami dedicated his Publisher’s Desk editorial to giving Hindus four needed ideas of how they can make their stay-at-home life richer.

So, of course, we have more on Covid. For our feature story, Lavina Melwani, our New York writer, reached out all over the world to survey how Hindus are faring, and especially how their religious life is being impacted by this invisible virus. She uncovers stories of temples closing, pujas halting, satsangs canceled. But in the main she found that Hindus are doing well with online expressions of the faith. In some cases, attendance has never been better as people seek solace during difficult times.

From Italy we have the story of how Ayurveda has found a traditional foothold. The Science of Life is one of India’s greatest gifts to the world, one of what people are calling India’s soft powers. Dr. Antonio Morandi was trained strictly in India for many years, then returned to Italy to found Ayurvedic Point, an active clinic which has graduated over 400 students. Check out their work.

Are you ready for a real conversation about India’s preference for skin that is “Fair and Lovely”? Anu Kumar, a scientist living and working in Paris, thinks we should talk about it and she unpacks the issues for us. In part it is her own story of a lifetime of hearing she should stay out of the sun, she should use creams, she should try to be lighter. She expands the story to touch on racism, colonial residue, Black Lives Matter and more. And she doesn’t hold back.

Come with our writer Baani Sekhon as she reveals the distinctive Rajput artform called Phad. It harkens back to earlier days before TV and the Internet, days when storytellers traveled the desert and shared spiritual talks through art, music and song. It’s still alive today, as you will learn.

The Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkuh season is upon us, and Hindu kids are asking their parents, “Daddy, do we get presents too?” Enter the five-day home festival of Pancha Ganapati. Our 14-page Insight section covers the way this festival is observed, what is done on each of the five days, and how the family can celebrate together. It even has a few choice recipes for the table.

Each year we honor our Hindu of the Year, the man or woman who, working full-time for the faith, most impacted Hinduism in the world. This year, we are giving the award to 420 Dikshitar priests who run Chidambaram Temple just south of Chennai, and whose victory in the Indian Supreme Court opens the door to freeing government control of many Hindu temples. Choodie Sivaram went to the city, interviewed the leaders and brought back a first-hand report on how this community of hundreds of families manages one of the world’s most powerful sacred sanctuaries.

You know pollution is bad when you are forced to bathe the Gods with bottled water? The story of India’s dying rivers may seem dismal (and it is), but if other nations and other rivers can serve as examples, there is hope if Hindus draw together and act.

There is more, of course, including an editorial on immortality, the popular Quotes & Quips section with humor, cartoons and sagely sayings, Global Dharma with mini-stories from around the world, and Digital Dharma, which goes to Google Arts & Culture to bring you the museums, heritage sites and art collections you may never be able to visit in person. It’s a rich issue, with something for everyone.