The learning sequence

Swami Dayananda Saraswati (Arsha Vidya Gurukulam) has a message for teachers and students of Hindu philosophy. He had given this message to the fourth long-term course students at  Anaikatti on how the students should live  their life and share the Vedanta knowledge in October 2013. You can find it here. He has a sequence in mind for teaching/learning Hindu texts:

Forming a study group for Gita Home  Study Programme could be otherwise a  starting point.  After second chapter one can start  Tattva Bodha. After that, Gita third chapter  can be continued. After completion of Gita,  Upanisad class can be commenced.

We can learn about the Gita ‘Home Study’ programme here.

Review of ‘Hindus under Siege – the way out’

This book was written by Dr. Subramanian Swamy. I think it is a good one. It is worth reading. He does display open mind in general. He is willing to call upon Hindus to denounce the divisions of caste by birth and untouchability. I am yet to lay my hands on a good treatment of the origins of this and the birth-based caste system. Cannot claim that I have searched well. Will be grateful for readings and clues on this.

Humorous anecdotes:

(1) Om Shakti vs. Rome Bhakti
(2) Nehru’s indifference to Hindi: naming only two Hindi books in Hindi literature: Tulsidas’ Ramayan and the Railway Guide

The stories on how Kashmir Pundits refused to convert a ruler from Buddhism to Hinduism and how he converted to Islam! [Is that Karma affecting the Kashmir Pundits even now?]

The story on the donation that Mother Teresa received from Charles Keating and how she did not return it – is an interesting eye-opener. His section on what defines a Hindu is a useful one.  His section on Economic reforms is a disappointing for it simply rehashes McKinsey report – nothing original there. McKinsey’s sequencing of reform priorities is debatable at best and plain wrong, at worst.

He does not make the case as to why India should be close to China. He is not acknowledging the role China played in arming Pakistan with nuclear bomb. Civilisationally, India might be closer to China but Communist China is a different kettle of fish.

Similarly, the US consulate official in Chennai warned Ms. Jayalalitha against the law banning conversion. That also tells us how, in the overall scheme of things, friendship and closer relations with the US has its limits.

His call to Dharmacharyas to form a conclave and enunciate guidelines for Hindu is a good one. The book’s quotes by Swami Dhayananda Saraswati reveal Swamiji’s awareness of  the political realities in the country and globally. He signed the ‘Jerusalem Declaration’ – covered in another post on this blog.

The book does not offer specific steps on some of the actions it exhorts readers to implement: (1) how to start learning Sanskrit – any institutions, contact details) and (2) how to learn the correct history of India (sources, references, etc.)

[At least, a partial remedy is available in this superb blog post by Dr. Koenraad Elst. His advice to Hindus (‘Hindu survival – what needs to be done’) as to what they should do to preserve their culture, heritage, etc., must be read by all Hindus]

The list of Hindu temples destroyed by Muslim invaders is useful. Even more interesting to see that the source of the list is ‘Frontline’ magazine of THE HINDU group from December 2000! The reference to a BBC news broadcast debunking the Aryan Invasion theory is interesting.

Overall, an easy and useful read with some limitations and gaps in analysis and research.

Jerusalem declaration

I love catching up with Prof. Koenraad Elst’ posts every once in a while. I am never disappointed. I always learn something new. The last such visit to his site was no exception. I read these two posts on Hinduism. People who are interested in Sanatana Dharma should read these two posts. It is one thing to strive for internal evolution through religious texts. But, some of the very seers who brought us those texts had also overcome resistance (to put it, rather mildly) publicly to leave those treasures for us.

We owe it to them and to ourselves to pass them on to the succeeding generations. Going by the shape of things that have happened in the last 30 years and hence is likely to come, each succeeding generation may need those wisdom more than the previous one. But, that is a different topic for a different occasion.

In the course of reading these two posts, I came across his reference to ‘Jerusalem Declaration’. I went and perused the document. It is an amazing document. I compliment Dr. Elst for defending and applauding Swami Dhayananda Saraswati for signing it. I would have done the same. It deserves to be publicised widely. I had not heard of it until I saw the document referred to by Prof. Elst.

The PDF copy of the declaration that resulted from the Second Hindu-Jewish Leadership Summit is to be found here. It is attached to this post. Click here: 2nd_Hindu-Jewish_Leadership_Summit_Declaration

[PS: As is usual, I stumbled upon two other useful sites in the process of locating the ‘Jerusalem Declaration 2008’. Here they are. One is the ‘Forum for Religious Freedom’ and the other is the site for the book, ‘Invading the Sacred’. Pl. do spend time to read the rebuttal of Ms. Aditi Banerjee, one of the authors of ‘Invading the Sacred’ to Ms. Wendy Doniger, Professor on the History of Religions in the University of Chicago]