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Parents should live a Hindu dharmic life, be a model for their children: Acharya Arumuganatha Swami

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Achaarya-Hinduism today

By Nithin Sridhar

Hinduism in US: Present and Future: Part 3

In this third installment of the “Hinduism in US: Present and Future” series, NewsGram continues to explore the status of Hinduism in the US and how it may evolve in the future.

A PEW survey has shown that the share of Hindus in the US population has increased from 0.4% in 2007 to 0.7% in 2014, with the 2014 Hindu population in absolute terms being approximately 2.23 million. But, Hinduism Today magazine had estimated in 2008 itself that there were around 2.3 million Hindus in the US at that time itself. So, the Hindu community as well as Hindu religion is growing slowly in US.

In order to have a better understanding about the Hindu American community, NewsGram spoke to Acharya Arumuganatha Swami, the Managing Editor at Hinduism Today magazine.

Nithin Sridhar: What values and tenets do the Hindu Americans consider as being core to their religious practice and everyday life?

Acharya Arumuganathaswami: Existence of God everywhere and in all things, a belief in the law of karma (actions) and the principles of dharma (duty and righteousness), and a respectful attitude toward all religions.

NS: Do Hindu Americans identify more with the core tenets of dharma, or do they only have nominal affiliation to the outer forms that define identity like dress codes, using sindhur (red dot on the forehead), etc.?

AA: I think they have both—those that hold strongly to the Hindu principles and those that don’t give much thought to the religion, but maintain an ethnic identity as an Indian.

NS: What role do you see for various temples and spiritual organizations in the survival and propagation of Hinduism to the young generation in the US?

AA: The temples serve for the ritual worship, for cultural events such as music and dance, for celebrating festivals, and for the sense of community. Spiritual organizations and the larger temples provide teaching centers for the youth.

NS: What initiatives or practices should the Hindu parents adopt to impart Hindu values to their children?

AA: Most important is that parents themselves start living a dharmic life and thus start modeling the Hindu lifestyle and values for their children to follow. Further, a better systematic presentation of Hindu practices and beliefs should be adopted.

NS: There is a growing interest among non-Hindu Americans towards Yoga, Ayurveda, and other spiritual aspects of Hinduism. Do you see these interests translating into their formal adoption of Hindu religion in near future?

AA: Many in our organization, which does bring people formally into the Hindu religion, have come through their initial interest in yoga and meditation.

More in this segment:

Hinduism in US: Present and Future: Part 1

Hinduism in US: Present and Future: Part 2

Next Story

Westerners Adopt Indian Practices, Deny Giving Due Credits

There is an argument by some Hindu liberals thinking “what the problem in it”? They think our knowledge is globalized by West in the same way we consume inventions of the West. But it’s a very naïve argument.

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Its time Indians in general and Hindus in particular should be vigilant and should have an academic mind set to respond to such misadventures to protect our own heritage and Dharma. Hindu Council Of Australia

By Shashi Holla (WA) and Surinder Jain

Colonial or a white supremacy mind set may be clever enough to adopt Hindu practices but denies giving credit where it is due. Stealing Hindu Intellectual Property, they do not hesitate to rename and repackage so that they can sell it back to India for immense profits. Off course, they will leave no chance to tell Indians to stop their superstitious ways and to adopt the new scientific knowledge which “they” have “invented”.

Following has been already digested or appropriated by West. Some of the Western academics don’t believe that they belong to India.

Yoga Nidra   AS  Lucid Dreaming

Nadi Shodhana AS Alternate Nostrils Breathing

Vipassana  AS Mindfulness.

The latest addition to this list is

Pranamyam AS Cardiac Coherence Breathing

Several researchers have reported that pranayama techniques are beneficial in treating a range of stress-related disorders.[29] But the latest attempt has taken the appropriation too far. An American magazine “Scientific American” in its article titled “Proper Breathing Brings Better health” termed “Pranayama” as cardiac coherence breathing. (15 January 2019). The article gives us an idea about how West is so sophisticated in stealing knowledge from ancient cultures particularly Hinduism.

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Man doing Yoga. Wikimedia Commons

Prāṇāyāma is mentioned in verse 4.29 of the Bhagavad Gītā.[11] According to Bhagavad-Gītā As It Is, prāṇāyāma is translated to “trance induced by stopping all breathing”, also being made from the two separate Sanskrit words, prāṇa and āyām.[12] Pranayama is the fourth “limb” of the eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga mentioned in verse 2.29 in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.[14][15] Patanjali, a Hindu Rishi, discusses his specific approach to pranayama in verses 2.49 through 2.51, and devotes verses 2.52 and 2.53 to explaining the benefits of the practice.[16] Many yoga teachers advise that pranayama should be part of an overall practice that includes the other limbs of Patanjali’s Raja Yoga teachings, especially Yama, Niyama, and Asana.[18]

“Pranayama” a department of Yogic science practiced and documented 5000 years back ( even 15,000 years back) by Rishis is not even acknowledged by the author of the article. If one read the article they vaguely suggest that breathing exercises also existed in China, Hindu and in Greek culture.  This is how appropriation of ancient techniques takes place by West.  As Sankrat Sanu an entrepreneur, researcher and writer put it in his tweet “after erasing the origin they claim it as their own invention, attack original traditions as Superstition”.

As famous Indian American Author Rajiv Malhotra summarizes: “The article standardizes cardiac coherence breathing as Chinese, Hindu, Greek and various traditions as equal origins, and then modern West turns it into science”. Its time Indians in general and Hindus in particular should be vigilant and should have an academic mind set to respond to such misadventures to  protect our own heritage and Dharma.

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The article standardizes cardiac coherence breathing as Chinese, Hindu, Greek and various traditions as equal origins, and then modern West turns it into science”.  Pixabay

There is an argument by some Hindu liberals thinking “what the problem in it”? They think our knowledge is globalized by West in the same way we consume inventions of the West. But it’s a very naïve argument. West has created an eco system and mechanism in which their knowledge system is Well protected and patented by international norms. Unless West does not give a new name and fits into their framework native wisdom is not recognized in academia and media. Whereas Hindus were generous in sharing their health techniques freely from millennium never thought they will struggle in proving things which belong to them. In fact in a westernized framework of Yoga and other techniques Indian scholars, insiders and practitioners are blatantly ignored. So our own knowledge will be repackaged and exported back to us at an extra price and conditions.

Also Read: Climate Change Will Melt Vast Parts of Himalayas: Study

Many of our practices are being called to be Biofeedback systems. According to WikipediaBiofeedback systems have been known in India and some other countries for millennia. Ancient Hindu practices like yoga and Pranayama (breathing techniques) are essentially biofeedback methods. Many yogis and sadhus have been known to exercise control over their physiological processes. In addition to recent research on Yoga, Paul Brunton, the British writer who travelled extensively in India, has written about many cases he has witnessed. (Hindu Council Of Australia)