On the cover you will see the Cham Hindus of Vietnam, a 60,000-strong community that has eluded world notice but now is known. They are indigenous Vietnam peoples who trace their Hindu roots back to the 7th century when Tamil rulers built a kingdom here, replete with South Indian style temples and an exquisite culture. Learn how they live and the challenges they face far from India.
Malaysia is the subject of our feature story, specifically the Waterfall Temple in Penang. It’s a Murugan temple with a 150-year-old history that will fascinate you. For the past 12 years the temple has been under construction and was opened in 2012. Its driving force is an energetic band of bhaktars. Their example of seva is unmatched in this part of the world. These young ones have a lot to say about the importance of God in their lives and the central roll that service in the temple plays in their life.
Our publisher, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, addresses an issue faced by college students in every nation, the omnipresent drone of secular humanism/atheism/existentialism/materialism. He sets this modern philosophy beside Hinduism and makes apt comparisons that will give any Hindu faced with a non-believer’s rant with fresh insights. He even draws it all together in a two page chart that deftly unpacks the subtle differences between the humanism of Hinduism and that found in modern universities.
It seems the official national museum of the United States has discovered India (again). Our New York contributor, Lavina Melwani, takes us to the Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery where crowds are being wowed by a major art exhibit on yoga and its transformative powers. Just this week she is back in DC for a Beyond Bollywood piece you will see in you next issue. Great work, Lavina!
With YouTube dominating the digital instructional universe, it was just a matter of time before a Hindu group produced a world-class series of films on Hinduism. The Chinmaya Mission has completed a 54-episode series of TV shows that give a systematic portrayal of key Hindu and Vedantic teachings, all in an innovative retelling of ancient stories.
Most of us think that the great Sanskritic works were produced in India’s far past, but now comes a major new work worthy of Sankara himself. Guided by Pramukh Swami Maharaj of the Swaminarayan Fellowship, Sadhu Bhadreshdas has completed the five-volume Swaminarayan Bhashyam. What’s amazing (and important) about this project is that it is the first effort for hundreds of years to create a rigorous bhashya on the Prasthantrayi: the Upanishads, the Brahmasutras and the Gita. But the story doesn’t end with the work, it dives into the amazing challenges, including a flood that completely destroyed the work midway.