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Negative Stereotyping of Hindus We are not alone in denigration by the dominant culture. A rite of passage for all the immigrant groups. Prejudice is a universal expression of humanity’s primal fear of the different and there is nothing reasoned about it. (Blasenstein)

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Negative Stereotyping of Hindus


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negative stereotyping of hindus
Negative Stereotyping of Hindus
  • We are not alone in denigration by the dominant culture. A rite of passage for all the immigrant groups.
  • Prejudice is a universal expression of humanity’s primal fear of the different and there is nothing reasoned about it. (Blasenstein)
  • People are motivated to have negative stereotypes because they enhance their self-esteem – we are better than them.

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

specific reasons for hindus
Specific Reasons for Hindus
  • Little personal contact of Americans with Indians before the 60s.
  • Views before the 60s were shaped our history of colonization. Conquering races always denigrate the conquered - the vanquished were vanquished because they were inferior.
  • The Christian missionaries demonized Hinduism.
  • The post independence pro-soviet policies of the Indian government.
  • As an open society India allowed access to the western journalists to scoop sensational but negative stories about India.
  • The liberal Indian media validated the American’s negative views by constantly berating Hinduism for all the social and economic evils in the Indian subcontinent.

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

become an agent of change
Become an Agent of Change
  • Educate yourself about yourself and those whom you are going to educate
  • Clear, concise and relevant message
  • Package the message in an appealing way
    • Concise books with basic tenets of Hindu dharma
  • Market the message to the dominant group
  • Deliver the message

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

the message
The Message
  • Clear, concise and consistent answers to theological questions
    • What is Hindu dharma /Hindu theology
      • Concept of God, self, genesis (creation), revelation (Vedas), eternal life through reincarnation, atonement through karma, ethics through 10 yama/niyama, purpose of life, salvation by self-evolution with help from a guru
  • Relevant
    • Separate culture, history and politics - Gandhi
    • Do not get caught up in how old we or whence we came are but talk of what we are today and where we are today

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

the message cont
The Message (Cont.)
  • Not fuzzy or vague – Hinduism is a way of life
  • Hinduism is universal, all religions are the same
    • Spirituality is universal, religion is not
  • Intellectually convincing
  • Not too academic/pedantic
  • Substantive, not demonstrative – we are not holier
  • Not over sanitized – practice is not perfect

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

message cont
Message (cont.)
  • Prioritize what needs to be told
  • Simple booklets
  • Encyclopedia for reference
  • Do not use too many allegories, stories, fables, parables

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

message should be grounded in american contextual reality
Message should be Grounded in American Contextual Reality
  • For example, when I wrote about Christian missionaries I conjured up a Jehovah’s Witness trying to convert me in Brooklyn.
  • When I wrote about Diwali I talked of the importance of lighted lamps in all religions. Remind the Jew of Chanukah and the Christian of the votive candle.
  • Talking about the submerged bridge of Rama or city of Dwarka is irrelevant in America.

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

delivery
Delivery
  • In English – expository/persuasive writing
  • Informative, not reactionary
  • Not in angry tone
  • Not chauvinistic or jingoistic
  • Become a trained missionary or point guard of Hindu dharma who can educate others efficiently without reacting defensively

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

audience
Audience
  • Know about other religions
  • Hindu-Jewish dialogue
    • The Sanskrit word for soul is self. Soul is true self according to Hinduism. I believe that the Hebrew word for soul, “nepes” also can be translated as self.
    • Just as burial (k'vod ha-met), should take place within 24 hours, cremation should be done within 24 hours.
    • Ritual of vidu'I ("confession") prayer or the Shema ("Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one") is recited by the dying person, as in Hinduism, to be close to the Lord after death, one should meditate on Him by uttering the one-syllabled Om. (Yam yam vaapi smaran bhavam tyajtyante kalevaram) (Eighth chapter of Gita).

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

learn about indophile america
Learn about Indophile America
  • The founding fathers – their belief in one overarching supreme force – Deism
    • Thomas Paine, Jefferson, Washington, Adam Smith
  • Boston Brahmins
    • Thoreau, Emerson
  • Others
    • Keats, Isherwood, Jung, Ericson, Walt Whitman
  • Sermon on the Mount according to Vedanta
  • Be eclectic – aa no bhadra kritvo yantu vishawatah
  • Gandhi – Ruskin, Tolstoy, Thoreau

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

points of contact seek out places to deliver the message
Points of Contact Seek out places to deliver the message.
  • Find agents of change in your community.
  • Schools.
  • Workplace
  • Local and town newspapers.

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

points of contact cont
Points of Contact (cont.)
  • Be friendly with your neighbors. Through them speak in local churches and synagogue.
  • Put yourself in contact with the mainstream. Attend town meetings, school board meetings, Veteran Day parade, and Memorial Day parade.
  • Join local interfaith communities.
  • Get involved in the local community through seva. Show that you are good and care.

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

my debt to maharishi dayananda saraswati
My debt to Maharishi Dayananda Saraswati
  • Arya Samaj tradition promotes curiosity, and swadhayaya, a willingness to be self-critical and to change/evolve if necessary.
  • Simple, rational, and social spirituality.
  • Freedom at personal level, but an active and proactive approach at the collective level
  • Swamiji took the common denominator and gave a common agenda in the ten principles

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

take home
TAKE HOME
  • Learn what you are going to tell. Become knowledgeable about them and you.
  • TELL
  • SHOW
  • That you are good by good behavior and actions of seva for a superordinate goal. Behavior changes attitudes.
  • Do not have holier than you attitude. Do not try to prove that you are better, just as we do not want others to feel that they are better.
  • Old habits die hard. As more and more Americans see us and intermingle with us, they will see our behavior as good citizens, our openness, and integrity, their opinion will change.

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

simple spirituality
Simple Spirituality

One God, or an overarching Brahman

One overarching religious book – the Vedas

Make the Vedas more appealing through an index, through reproduction of individual hymns, and appealing translation

But respect explanatory secondary scriptures such as Gita

Simple service including short yagna, bhajans, yoga, and meditation

Service in colloquial language with explanation of Vedic mantras and rituals

Using an eclectic group of mantras which are more meaningful

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

rational spirituality
Rational Spirituality
  • A reasonable mixture of bhakti and gyan
    • Not too pedantic
    • Emphasis on dissertation than on disputation
    • Not they versus us, but they and us, LOVE
    • Show and not tell
    • Production of books for the common grihstha or a brahamchari in the USA
    • Speak sweetly (VAACHAM NAH SVADATU)

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

social spirituality
Social Spirituality
  • Communitarian spirit
    • Sabbath, day of God
    • Temple, a hub of social activity
    • A session devoted to asking about each others problems and holding hands in love
    • Identify issues facing the community and address them
  • Social and national issues
    • Discuss and develop positions on issues such as death penalty, abortion, domestic violence, dowry

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

packaging
Packaging

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

jigyasa urge to know a human trait

Jigyasa(urge to know – a human trait)

Vedanta: athato brahmjignasa

Then therefore the enquiry into Brahman

Purva-mimamsa: Then therefore the enquiry into dharma

Cognito ergo sum

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

saadhana
Saadhana
  • Striving to know the truth
  • Finding the right teacher:
    • uttishtat jagrit praapya varaanih bodhat
  • Learning to decide what is true
  • Learning from the right sources

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

knowledge
Knowledge
  • By which the true nature of things and phenomena is known – proofs of nyaaya
  • Universal truths, things that are common to all religions
  • Both metaphysical (vidya) and physical (avidya) knowledge

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

faith and reason are not mutually exclusive
Faith and reason are not mutually exclusive.
  • Shradha in the words of the guru and in the shastra, through whom the truth is realized.
  • Shradha, contrary to viswas, is not passive/ static but a yearning to convert belief into truth and conviction.
  • Shradha is astikyabudhi or positive-attitude-oriented reason, a conviction that the Truth can be unearthed or realized by aspiration, discipline and sadhana.
  • Shradha urges one to reason. It is a passion for truth. The two are complimentary and not contradictory.

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

knowledge alone is not enough
Knowledge Alone is not Enough
  • It is a person who performs good deeds, not a knower or a believer, who never has an abysmal fate. Na hi kalyaankaari kaschit durgatim taata gacchat, (Gita).
  • Knowledge is not enough without righteous action
  • Righteous Conduct
  • Only a person of character is entitled to knowledge

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

slide25
Shravana Chatushya Shravana (hearing or reading) - manana (thinking/ analysis) – contemplation - dharana (intuition/assimilation)
  • “Worship and rituals and other religious practices form useful aids, they are instruments of spiritual growth, not ends by themselves.”
  • Mere chanting of Veda mantras will not lead to realization, understanding their meaning and applying it in our life might.
  • Mere reading of Veda mantras without knowing their meaning is like being the beast of burden that merely carries the load without enjoying it. Nirukta

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

dynamic realism
Dynamic Realism
  • Faith is not a belief in a bunch of facts
  • No absolutes, only constructions
  • It is an onwards march of self evolution through many life cycles
  • Change, evolve

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

realism
Realism
  • Hinduism is not other-worldly
  • The world is not mithya or illusory
  • Vedic philosophy is rooted in life
  • The purpose of life is not release from the cycle of life of death or jivan mukti
  • The purpose of life is to become (Manurbhav) a noble person (Arya) - humanism

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

social spirituality28
Social Spirituality
  • X principle - individuals should restrain themselves to follow the rules of society to promote the well being of all; while in following the rules of individual welfare, all should be free.
  • “We are one of multitude, and when we prefer ourselves so shamefully to others, we become the proper objects of resentment. Resigning thegreatest interest of our own, for the yet greater interest of others is love of what is honorable and noble.” A virtuous man is always willing to sacrifice his personal interest to that of the society and the nation.
  • (Adam Smith, the founder of American Capitalism, in his book, The Moral Sentiments, VI.2.46)

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

global trade
Global Trade
  • Chapter X, article 9
  • “Nothing can be expected except misery poverty and misery when our countrymen trade only in their own country.”
  • Religious imposters impose restrictions on inter-dining, fashion of clothes, and foreign trade for fear of losing their importance.

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

summary
Summary
  • Simple spirituality
  • Rational spirituality
  • Social spirituality

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

objectives
OBJECTIVES
  • To promote simple spirituality
  • To promote rational spirituality
  • To promote social spirituality
  • To promote a holistic approach to life –personal, social, and spiritual growth
  • Pragmatic balance of ethics and spirituality

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

goal and mission

GOAL AND MISSION

Krinvanto vishvum aryam

TO MAKE A COMMUNITY OF

NOBLE PEOPLE

&

TO PROMOTE PHYSICAL, SPIRITUAL AND SOCIAL WELL BEING OF PEOPLE

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

identity diffusion
IDENTITY DIFFUSION
  • WE ARE A HINDU DENOMINATION
  • WE ARE IDENTIFIED AS HINDUS, HISTORY HAS CREATED AN IDENTITY FOR US – DO NOT DISTURB THE APPLECART-IT WILL CAUSE AN IDENTITY CRIRIS IN OUR ALREADY CONFUSED YOUTH
  • CONTRADICTION IN UNIVERSALISM, HUMANISM AND RELIGIOUS IDENTITY

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

how to achieve the above objectives
How to achieve the above objectives?
  • Organization - APEX
    • A secretariat with fulltime paid staff
    • Permanent office with necessary tools
    • Apex leadership with clearly assigned responsibilities and accountability
    • An R and D office
    • Printing press for book production
    • A PR officer for marketing
    • A web master
    • An attractive quarterly magazine

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

what is true proofs
What is True? (Proofs)
  • Pratyksha pramana (reflection of the reality upon mind) Sensation- perception
  • Upmana (analogy) - What is inferred from prior knowledge or from a universal truth (vyapti)
  • Shabda (testimony) - scriptural testimony or verbal testimony (Apta)
  • Anumana (inference) - what can be inductively inferred based upon the evidence or empirical observations. It can be purvavat, from cause to effect, sesavat, fromeffect to cause,and samayato drista, from common characteristics

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

arya samaj in the next millenium
ARYA SAMAJ IN THE NEXT MILLENIUM
  • MESSAGE
  • PACKAGE
  • SYSTEMS
  • TOOLS
  • RECEIVER/AUDIENCE
  • MARKETING
  • MILIEU

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

proofs
Proofs
  • Itihas (Tradition) - what was true in the past is likely to be true. This proof is based upon past experience, not upon hearsay.
  • Sambhav (Probability) - scientifically plausible
  • Arthapati (Presumption) – To infer something logically from previous knowledge
  • Abhaav (Negation) - To prove that something is true by proving that the converse is false. This is similar to the scientific null hypothesis.

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

arya samaj in the next millenium38
ARYA SAMAJ IN THE NEXT MILLENIUM
  • Uniform curriculum for adults and children
  • Train the priests and teachers
  • Franchising
  • Electronic teaching of the Vedas
  • Good books
  • A good journal

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

organization local
Organization - Local
  • Local chapters in each state
  • Leadership training seminars
  • A key arya samaj with a building and a library in each state
  • Paid priest in the key temple
  • Priests to be trained as managers, PR persons, and to deliver the sermon in English

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

a few don ts
A few don’ts
  • Do not criticize, respect other beliefs
  • Avoid getting embroiled in controversies
  • Do not overemphasize on havan
  • Do not overemphasize attire, food, Hindi
  • Do not criticize Max Mueller and western scholars all the time
  • Do not tell, show

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

slide41
“I do not approve of the mutual differences that have sprung up between different religions. It is these different religions, it is these different votaries who by emphasizing differences have made man the enemy of man. I wish that these differences be removed, unanimity secured, aversion abandoned and love restored.”

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

europeans xi 134 135
Europeans (XI, 134-135)
  • The advantages of Europeans are:
  • Absence of early marriage, good education of boys and girls, marriage according to the choice of the couple, learned preachers, acting by mutualk consultation, patriotism, hard work, discipline
  • Religion does not depend upon eating or drinking
  • Virtue is in doing good to others and vice in doing harm to others.

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

integration of the six systems k nowledge rituals and empirical experience
Vaisheshika

Nyaya

Samkhya

Yoga

Purva mimamsa

Uttar mimamsa or Vedanta

Anatomy and chemistry

Pathology

Physiology/evolution

Medicine

Surgery/action

Philosophy

Integration of the Six SystemsKnowledge, Rituals, and Empirical Experience

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

eclecticism aa no bhadra kritvo yantu vishwatah
EclecticismAa no bhadra kritvo yantu vishwatah
  • “I neither accept the demerits of different faiths, nor reject what is good in them.”
  • “At present there are many learned men in all religions. If they give up prejudice, accept those broad principles on which all religions are unanimous, reject differences, and behave affectionately, much good can be done to the world”
  • “All those things that are common to all religions are obviously true and must be accepted.”

Vidya Bhushan Gupta

some do s
Some Do’s
  • Be Eclectic – aa no bhadra kritvo yantu vishavatah. “I neither accept the demerits of different faiths whether Indian or alien, nor reject what is good in them.”
  • Emphasize the process of becoming noble or dharma, not the form or ritual.
  • Keep dogma or creed to minimum –remember that Arya Samaj has only ten articles of faith

Vidya Bhushan Gupta