Hinduism Today Jul-Aug-Sep 2022

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In his Publisher’s Desk, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami explains why life’s challenges are the key to spiritual advancement and offers three strategies: staying calm amidst chaos, realizing challenges are your friends and understanding that worldly experience is required to achieve divine experience.

Our feature this issue is rich in photography as it puts us in the middle of Madhav Narayan, a month-long festival of worship and austerities centered around Hanuman Ghat near Kathmandu. Our illustrated Insight section explores the four main denominations of Hinduism—Saivism, Vaishnavism, Shaktism and Smartism. Each is compared and contrasted on their central beliefs, major scriptures, spiritual practices and path of attainment.

When we heard about the expansion of the Hindu College in Guyana, we jumped at the chance to report on this little-known part of the Indian diaspora and sent our Trinidad correspondent, Paras Ramoutar, there to witness the rededication and Maha Sivaratri celebrations taking place at the same time. Get acquainted with a remote Hindu conclave.

We were astounded in February when we first learned of the installation of a huge, 216-food gold-leafed statue of Saint Ramanujacharya in the village of Muchintal near Hyderabad’s international airport. There Sri Chinna Jeeya Swamy had successfully completed the immense project on his 45-acre ashram. It’s an astonishing feat, and a nod to India’s newfound pride in her religious traditions.

UC Berkeley freshman Mayuresh Visswanathan wrote an article on “free diving,” the extreme sport where divers plunge impossibly far into the ocean on a single breath of air. In the 1950s, the scientists believed humans could go no more than a 100 feet under water, at which point their lungs would collapse. Mayuresh tells the story of Jacques Mayol of France, who in 1983 using knowledge of the breath gained from yogis in India, set a world record of 344 feet—and at the age of 56! Divers credit their yoga training for their death-defying records.

Our team of Young Writers (all between 13 and 18 years old) contributed two stories for the issue. The first, “Making Mandirs Cool Again,” proposes strategies for keeping our US-based youth engaged with the temple. The second, “Hindu Camp Was Fun,” describes four days in rural central California covering what it means to be a young Hindu and how to react to criticism of India and Hinduism.

Dhanesh Budhram explains his college experiences starting in 2014, from finding vegetarian food to getting the “Hindu” group on campus interested in religion and not just socializing to finding scholars who helped him be a better Hindu. Divya Jain in her article tells a different story: how she was targeted and ultimately converted by Christian evangelicals at the University of Texas. Her story is a cautionary tale for all students.