In January, the GTU welcomed renowned professor Dr. Rita Sherma as Director of Hindu Studies, as part of the launch of its highly anticipated Hindu Studies Initiative. The GTU now offers a Master of Arts degree with a concentration in Hindu Studies as well as a Certificate in Hindu Studies. These new Hindu Studies programs can be taken independently or in combination with any degree program at the GTU. The application deadline for all MA programs has been extended to July 1, 2015.
Entries in India (12)
Recent major media stories about religion in India have focused mostly on tensions between Hindus and both Christians and Muslims over issues of conversion and diet. Flying under the media horizon are 180 United Religion Initiative (URI) Cooperation Circles in India, referred to as CCs, self-governing groups which support URI’s commitment to daily interfaith cooperation, ending religiously motivated violence, and promoting peace, justice, and healing. CCs in India have four coordinators working in the nation’s north, south, east and western regions. They are particularly active in youth projects, women in interfaith, cross-cultural dialogue, and environmental issues.
Although no single person, group of persons, or religious tradition can be solely credited with the emergence of the interfaith movement – a vast and complex movement to which many hands and minds have contributed – it is certainly true that the interfaith movement as it exists today would be inconceivable without the contributions of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda.
The 6th International Interfaith Conference on Holy Books was held the first week of February at the Sarvodaya Institute of Higher Learning in Sri Lanka. About 125 delegates from different parts of the world attended the four-day program, held in celebration of this year’s U.N. Interfaith Harmony Week.
Buddhism and Scientific Study
I saw the world. A giant snake, enormously powerful, was coiling itself around the world. The globe seemed too weak to withstand the pressure. I could see the cracks in it. Then I saw a light at the centre of the world. Enter into this light I was told... That Light is the only hope - we, the poor and the rich, the oppressed and oppressors, the theists and atheists, Christians, Muslims, Jews Buddhists, Hindus . We all must get to that light, for it is the light of love and life, the light of hope and future.
“Nourishing the Balance of the Universe” was held March 3rd through 7th in north-central India’s city of Haridwar, which means “Gateway to God” in Hindustani. Sponsored by the International Center for Cultural Studies and others, the gathering was by, for, and about Pagan and Indigenous peoples and their issues. For me it was unique – attending a conference where most participants were indigenous peoples from around the world, including a large number of European Pagans, but no Christians, Muslims, or Jews.
In Lak’ech Ala K’in. In my Mayan tradition this sacred greeting serves to honor another and means “I am another yourself” or “I am you, and you are me.” Another meaning is “I bow to the Divine within you.” When this greeting is given, there is always an action of placing the hands over the heart. In the Hindu tradition the greeting Namaste, which I learned through my work and connection with spiritual teachers in India, corresponds and is similar to the Mayan greeting. It is a philosophical statement affirming that the doer of everything is not me but the gods. With these greetings I embrace the blessings of diversity.
Finding meaning in life is an age-old quest that has perplexed people across geographical frontiers and transcended religious and spiritual affiliations. It attracts the interest of sages, religious scholars, and ordinary individuals alike. From distinctions between faith traditions to individual differences within a single religion to variances in time and space, every person will answer this question their own way, uniquely. It is therefore a quintessentially individual and personal search involving a diversity of perspectives.
I was looking for a new cell phone when I met 27-year-old Maz, a wireless expert who works for T Mobile at a mall in Los Angeles. We started talking about droids and ended up talking about interfaith. I wasn’t surprised. These days interfaith consciousness lies just under the surface of almost every encounter between strangers – especially in LA, culturally and religiously one of the most diverse cities in the world.
Approximately 2280 years ago, Emperor Ashoka, third regent of India’s Maurya Dynasty, ascended the throne. This Iron Age family ruled India’ first empire, stretching from eastern Iran to Burma, including most of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. Scholars dispute the details but agree that Ashoka ruled for about four decades in the middle of the third century BCE.
I have prayed in synagogues in Italy, Venezuela, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Curacao, Belgium, Kenya, Egypt, Australia, and Russia. But this was my first time chanting the Shema with a group of Jewish women all wearing saris.