Saturday, April 14, 2012

Standing with Hindus

The purpose of writing this piece is to inspire each one of you to do things for others –  If you are not willing to stand up for others, why should anyone stand up for you?

In the following compilation, I will highlight some of the work I have done with and for Hindus and Hinduism. This excludes the work for my motherland India. However, there is a lot of work prior t0 2003 that I need to collect and put it together.  


I am blessed to connect with Atheists to Zoroastrians and every one in between including Native Americans. 

As an Indian it was embarrassing for me that most of the Indians have no clue about each other – a few Hindus know about Muslims, some of them don’t even know about Jainism or Buddhism let alone Sikhism.  Same goes with Muslim and others. We live and work together, and yet we don’t know about the other.

What do we know?  The cooked versions and bad things about others, shame on us.

So, I ventured out into public in 1993 to teach and to facilitate knowledge about each other.  The Asian News Magazine offered glimpses of each religion and every week, we wrote about the essence of every festival. Then we continued the same on Asian News Radio from 1996-2001.

Since this chapter about Hindus, I will focus on Hinduism, as brief as I can.

Shri DD Maini wrote articles on Hinduism and his visits to every place of worship in India, and our Dallas Hindu Scholar Dr. Hasmukh Shah wrote about Hinduism besides others and our first Radio show on Religion started with Dr. Hasmukh Shaw’s interview about Hinduism.  Then I did 100 hours of talk show Radio on Hinduism over a period of two years (and of course others) with Swami Nityananda Prabhu of Hare Krishna Temple, we learned the whole Bhagvad Gita and amazing principles of life.

We did two workshops on Hinduism as a part of learning about each other.

When I was called in by different Radio stations on Christmas day or other days to talk about Religion, I always talked about Hinduism (and others). I visited the Maya Temples in Mexico, there I prayed the Hindu (and other) prayers in the underground wells, and on the temple grounds.  All of this is available on my different sites and blogs.

Check out Dallas Morning News’s Texas Faith column – of the 80+ articles I have written, 70 of them carry a note about Hinduism. You can visit www.TheGhousediary.com and plug Texas Faith in the search box, and you can see most of the articles. For 2010 and before it is on blogs of Islam and Pluralism. 

For the first time in Dallas, I was able to bring all the Hindu Temple management teams together at the Program Shanti Shanti at Richardson Civic Center.  Mihir Meghani, President of HAF was introduced to Dallas for the first time.

The second time (and a few times after that) was the first Unity Day event in 2005 pictures at  www.UnitydayUSA.com  

As an individual it is my duty to share whatever little good I can and counter the bad with good.

We have various religious leaders visiting from overseas, particularly Hindu and Muslims, most of them preach goodness of their religion and a handful of them preach hate from the temples and the Mosques.  They come here to tell Hindus or Muslim to hate each other, their talk is loaded with hate in the place of worship and I always wonder how my Hindu and Muslim friends can listen to that. At least in Dallas,  the Muslim Imams give sermons about co-existence , however once in a blue moon some one comes along and speaks ill of others, both in Hindu and Muslim communities.   

If you are not comfortable in telling them that they are wrong, let me know, I will do that.  I will not even spare the big mega church Pastor Jeffress who called Hinduism a cult.  

I value free speech and the only way to combat evil is with goodness and love.

As I make the time, I will update this, there is a lot of work done prior to 2003, from when I kept records of my work in DallasIndians@yahoogroups.com and the blogs http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com and two sites world Muslim Congress and Foundation for pluralism.  There is a whole big story prior to 2003 that I need to put together…

Again, the purpose of compiling this piece is to inspire each one of you to do things for others. If you are not willing to stand up for others, why should anyone stand up for you?

 .........................................

Senator Williams' Remarks Offended Hindus
Governor of Kentucky attended a factory opening ceremony that created 275 jobs for Americans. Senator
Williams  criticized the Governor for sitting cross-legged with a "dot on his forehead," and described the ceremony as "polytheistic." It is not only a Hindu issue, it is indeed an American issue and so I spoke up and wrote a piece and hope to meet him and share the wisdom of Hinduism.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/senator-williams-offend-hindus_b_1075392.html



Bigtory against Hinduism in Russia
Bigotry exists not because of bigots, but because we have not spoken out against it. The Arcbishop of Siberia attacks the Bhagavad Gita, the holy book of Hinduism. I just could not sit and let the ignorance become the currency. So I wrote and asked Muslim, Christians, Jews, Sikhs and others to call the Russian Embassy in Washington DC and thanks to all those who made the call. This is how we build cohesive societies.
http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2011/12/bigotry-against-hinduism-in-russia.html
 

Surya Namaskar and Muslim response
The Surya Namaskar is a Hindu religious tradition, a beautiful act of bowing to the Sun and welcoming the first rays of dawn as an expression of gratitude to the energy it breathes in to life and everything about life. I was urging the Muslims to participate in the event in their own way.
http://www.indianmuslimobserver.com/2012/01/latest-editorial-surya-namaskar-and.html


Doniger’s book on Hindu history - Factual errors
The book: Hindus, an alternate history is out now. Wendy Donigers writes on Indian History laden with errors. It is our responsibility to hightlight the errors, and as civil socieites we cannot perpetuate the errors and pass on to the next generation as facts. Let the reader "beware clause" be added to the book that the facts are not verified.
http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2010/04/donigers-book-on-hindu-history-factual.html
 

Swami Vivekananda
When Swamiji talks about, “The Christian is not to become a Hindu or a Buddhist,” He was talking about religion is a pathway to spirituality.
http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2011/03/swami-vivekananda-gave-new-meaning-to.html
 

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi
Among Hindus there is beautiful tradition of invoking that aspect of God which removes barriers and paves the way for a smoother life. The icon that represents this aspect of God is known as Ganesh, Ganesha, or Vinayak depending on the region, most Hindus around the world invoke Ganesh before they start any thing in life from starting their day, to opening a new business or wearing new clothes or starting a social ceremony. 
http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2011/08/happy-ganesh-chaturthi.html


Should Christians practice Yoga
In my weekly Dallas Morning News, I wrote about anti-yoga talks. Mohler seems to be threatened by the popularity of yoga, a beautiful practice to bring composure to oneself. He is obsessed with the idea that yoga is a bait to lure his congregation away into "a spiritual practice that threatens to transform their own spiritual lives into a `post-Christian, spiritually polyglot' reality", and then he asks, "Should any Christian willingly risk that?" How mistaken can one be?   

Essence of Diwali
Diwali is the Indian festival of lights and light symbolizes hope and positive energy, it indicates the victory of good over evil; a new beginning; seeing the light at the end of tunnel and light is also a symbol of knowledge as it is an internationally used.

Dallas Religious Leaders, Swami Nityananda Prabhu
The open mindedness of Swami Nityananda Prabhu of Hare Krishna Hindu Temple; a panelist on this forum is admirable. Where ever I run, people love to talk about his teachings from Bhagvad Gita on my Radio Show, called Wisdom of Religion.  He has indeed opened up minds of non-Hindus to see the wisdom of Hinduism.
Essences of Janmashtami
Celebration of Sri Krishna's birthday, the man who gave us so much wisdom in Bhagvad Gita. The book is an encapsulation of his advise to Arjuna when he goes through different phases of thoughts and actions. ...It is one of the best self analysis books to read.


Roberts Jeffress and his bigotry
I am surprised that the Israel Lobby has spared this man. He has not spared Mormons, Muslims, Catholics, Jews, Buddhists and Hindus in his rants.
http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2011/10/pastor-robert-jeffress-and-his-bigotry.html

Hinduism 101 Workshop – Dallas Morning News
The Foundation for Pluralism, a Dallas-based interfaith organization, will host the workshop at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 14315 Midway Road in Addison. Organizer Mike Ghouse, who founded the group and is the event's moderator, said this workshop will cover the origins of Hinduism, the concept of rebirth, India's caste system and more.

Happy Ramnvami – Birth Celebrations of Lord Rama
It is a Hindu festival, celebrating the birth of Lord Rama to King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya of Ayodhya. Ram is the 7th incarnation of the Dashavatara of Vishnu.SreeRama Navami festival falls on the ninth day of the month of Chaitra in the Hindu calendar. and marks the end of the nine-day Chaitra-Navratri celebrations. I will be happy to do a presentation on the event. I enjoy listening to the stories about Rama, an exemplary person to model life after.


Diwali Vandana
Diwali is the Indian festival of lights, and the light symbolizes hope and positive energy; It is a poem I wroten
http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2009/10/diwali-vandana-diwali-prayers.html


Hanuman Jayanthi
Hanuman plays a critical role in the Indian epic Ramayana. It is the story of King Rama who was banished to the forest for fourteen years. While in exile, he remains defacto king, as his younger brother Bharata who was the king, submits to the will of Rama, his elder step brother.
Contd: http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2012/04/happy-hanuman-jayanthi-hindu-festival.html
 

Standing up for a Hindu Family in Norway
Norway is one of the nations looked up for best the civil conduct; however, they have failed to even study the culture of their inhabitants. Here Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharaya fed their child with hands as is the custom in their home land, India, and had the kids sleep on their bed. The Norway government found that to be offensive and abusive and took the child away from the family. 
http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2012/01/stand-up-for-hindu-family-in-norway.html

Happy Holi, India’s festival of colors and joy
Holi is an Indian festival of radiance. It is a celebration of spring with colors that nourish one’s joyous moods and complements the function of respective elements in the atmosphere.
http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2012/03/happy-holi-india-festival-of-colors-and.html


Let’s leave Ram Sethu Alone
On the faith side, Ram Sethu is a bridge built by Hanuman and his friends; this was the bridge that Rama crossed over to go to Sri Lanka. It is not only an Indian heritage; it is a world heritage site. We may need to explore this and learn about the science and art of bridge making during the times of Rama. How did they fill the dirt in the ocean, what materials did they use? Will it bring an understanding of Ramayana?
http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2007/09/lets-leave-ram-sethu-alone.html

Rama – A Muslim Perspective
As beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, faith is in the heart of the believer.
There is a consistent theme in Qur'aan of looking the world from a pluralistic point of view. Qur'aan, Al-Hujurat, Sura 49:13 " O mankind, we have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. The noblest of you, in sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Allah know and is aware of everything."
http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2007/09/rama-muslim-perspective.html


Harassment of Hindus in Kazkhastan
The Muslim community condemns this insane act of the Government of Kazakhstan, I will seek support from Muslim groups to take the necessary action. Please recommend the course of action we can take. Who should we write to? Who should we call? Is this a religious harassment? Please send us the details.
http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2007/02/hindus-harassed-in-kazhakstan-dear-mr.html

Hinduism and American Pluralism
What role does Hinduism play in the emerging pluralistic society? The author Jakob De Roover explores it well in the following article (after my comments)

Hindu Muslim Dialogue
An innovative approach to Hindu-Muslim dialogue. This reminds me of my College Professor Ramachandran and my weaver friend Fakhru Bhai; a Hindu and a Muslim respectively and I used to discuss and understand the wisdom of each aspect of religion.
http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2008/05/hindu-muslim-dialogue.html

Supreme Court Brief Filed on Behalf of Hindu Americans 
In behalf of the Foundation for Pluralism and World Muslim Congress, I support the case filed by the Hindu American Foundation and hope the Supreme Court decides in favor of opening the hearts and minds of all people to include every faith and tradition in public square.


Ayodyha – proud of my India
The court has finally made the decision and so far peace has prevailed.  I was not able to sleep last night late until 3:00 AM and thank God, goodness has yet prevailed. If people don't agree, let it go to Supreme court, we have to prove to the world that we are a nation that respects rule of Law. Let other nations in the world look up to our model and never, every dream of becoming like the very ones we denigrate.

http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2010/09/ayodhya-proud-of-my-india.html

Ayodhya on 18th Anniversary and democracy
The Babri Masjid controversy has been around since Mid Nineteenth century and after disputes, the right wing political parties demolished the 15th Centutry structure in Ayodhya on December 6th, 1992.
http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2010/12/ayodhya-on-6th-anniversary-and.html


Am I a Hindu?
This is one of the most read articles among my Muslim and Christian friends. I came across this excellent piece "Am I a Hindu" explaining religion in its simplest terms. I recommend every one to take a few minutes to read through this. It is the simplicity of talking with a young girl that makes this article beautiful. I have added a few comments and additional information below the article.

Bangladeshi Hindus Harassed
The World Muslim Congress expresses outrage at the Municipal Council of Chakuli, in Mirpur, Bangladesh for evicting families from their ancestral Homes.
http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2007/06/bangladeshi-hindus-harassed.html

Muslims condemn temple desecration
Dallas, Texas. Sunday, August 5, 2007- "It is a shame that people stoop so low to desecrate a place of worship. We condemn this crime" reflects Mike Ghouse, head of the Foundation for Pluralism and the World Muslim Congress.
http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2007/08/condemn-temple-desecration.html

Muslims condemn demolition of Hindu Temple
Dallas, Texas - The World Muslim Congress condemns the demolition of Hindu Temple in Lahore and urges the Government of Pakistan to restore the temple.
Muslims follow Islam, a monotheistic religion but not a monolithic religion. Muslims who have deeply imbibed the teaching of Islam condemn the act of demolition of the temple in Pakistan.
http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2007/01/krishna-temple-lahore.html

Muslims condemn intolerance in Malaysia
The act of carrying a head of a bull is un-acceptable and we urge the Malaysian Government to punish these loonies as criminals bent on disturbing peace of the state. They should not be cited as Muslims and their religion does not permit them to do that, they are criminals and must be cited as such.
http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2009/08/festivities-soured-by-race.html

Protecting Pakistani Hindus
Let every Pakistani speak up and be a defender of other Pakistani, be it a Hindu, Ahmadiyya, Christian, Jew, Zoroastrian, Shia, Bohra, Ismaili or a Sunni. We need more voices to make this work. May God give us the passion to speak out and do the right thing. Amen!

http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2008/04/protecting-pakistans-hindus.html

Condemning Ghazni
This issue has been a sore subject with the Indians. Ghazni did destroy the Somnath temple, and it has been believed as destruction of Hindu Places of Worship.

Malaysia – Bangaramma Verdict
The verdict amounts to forcing Ms. Bangarma to believe what she does not believe, that is not Islamic in any sense. The original intention of such ruling was to prevent treason against the state for switching loyalties to harm the state, sort of double agent. Bangarma is no harm to the state, her belief in Hinduism must be honored.
http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2010/08/malaysia-banggarma-verdict-religiously.html


Muslims Speak out against Harassment of Minorities
The Talibans have begun harassing Ismaili Muslims in Pakistan. They would not spare any one and will not be satisfied until the last person left obeys them. If this trend is not checked and criticized, they may think that they have the approval from the Muslims. They don't.
http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2009/06/muslims-speak-out-against-harassment-of.html

Add:

Catholic Church firing the priest for allowing a Hindu wedding in the church and my protest and the threat calls from California diocese.



My father's advice on communal riots

Interfaith dialogue with my English Teacher RamaChandra and Fakhru Bhai

Add the six page story on me from Dallas Observer.


Mike Ghouse is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. He is a professional speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, civic affairs, Islam, India, Israel, peace and justice. Mike is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he writes weekly at Dallas Morning News and regularly at Huffington post,and several other periodicals. www.TheGhousediary.com is Mike's daily blog.

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