Hinduism Today Jul/Aug/Sep 2009

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This is our Special Temple Issue. To begin, in a piece called "Our Three Kinds of Temples" Publisher Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami explores three primary ways that the temple defined in our faith. The community temple is the hub of culture, worship, rites and festivals. The home shrine is the home's temple where devout Hindus worship daily and perform puja, read scripture, do sadhana, bajana and japa. Then there is the interior temple of the soul, called atma mandir in Sanskrit. Here our worship is internalized, yogas are performed and we ultimately merge with God within. This Publisher's Desk will expand your concept of the Hindu temple and enrich your life in the process.

This issue's fully-illustrated, 16-page Educational Insight comes from the photographer, writer and anthropologist who brought Hinduism to the Smithsonian back in 1996. His classic work, "Meeting God: Elements of Hindu Devotion," is elegantly presented with real-life stories of devotional moments that disclose the breadth and depth of worship. This article serves as a thorough, authentic and charming introduction to Hindu temples and shrines, and Dr. Huyler's photography is beguiling.

Writer Lavina Melwani weaves the tale of that one-of-a-kind Siva temple being erected on Kauai island, at the home of Hinduism Today. Through her keen observations and personal interviews we learn of Iraivan Temple a Chold-style granite masterpiece nestled in a lush jungle in the middle of nowhere. It's never happened before, a temple carved entirely by hand in India and erected 8,000 miles away, in America. Lavina shows how amazing the process is, reveals the challenges and examines the craft that makes it possible.

Ever wondered how the brain and consciousness are linked? Listen in as we interview Harvard neuroanatomist Jill Taylor of TED Talks fame, and find out how a debilitating stroke opened the doors of a higher consciousness and changed her life forever. Words are powerful tools, one could even say weapons, and Indologist Koenraad Elst decodes the terms that are misused, often intentionally, in modern Hindu studies and the media.

We met Swami Yuktatmananda at the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, America's oldest, in New York City in 2008 and were so enamoured by his unique insights into service, we urged him to write it down for our readers. Here it is, Swami's message from the Upanishads and his own meditations, explaining how we can serve others, not only physically and intellectually, but in five different ways according to which of the five bodies they are functioning in.

There's more in this issue: humor and cartoons, a book review on an early conversion of an American Quaker to Hinduism, the story of Hindus in Ireland who are helping the country heal from its past, an urgent plea from a 15-year-old girl to have the nonsense in her history books removed, and a project in India to save millions of precious Sanskrit manuscripts.

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