Launch Event: Swami Dayananda Saraswati Initiative at GTU, Berkeley in Hindu Studies

Click Here to Register for the Nov 15th “Awareness and Fund Raiser” event.
Please forward this e-mail to those members of your circle who will resonate with this cause

In America the academic study of Religion is very prestigious. The American Academy of Religion has over 11000 Scholars with Ph.D.’s. In addition the Theological Schools also have around 8500 Professors with Ph.D.’s and Doctor of Theology degrees. The programs, professors and students of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Chinese and Japanese Religion and Culture, and even Sikh and Jain Religion and Culture are heavily funded by the Americans of these heritage religions and cultural traditions. While there are hundreds of endowed Chairs for Christianity and Judaism, and dozens for Islam, Buddhism, and even a few for Sikh and Jain religions, there are exactly Zero Chairs for the study of Hinduism in North America. Even in the absence of any funding in this space by the Hindu community, many hundreds of Professors do study and teach Hinduism in mainstream American universities. But most of them are not practitioners of Hinduism. Their interest is academic, they study Hinduism with suspicion, their understanding is lopsided, and their method of teaching Hinduism is critical and unbalanced leading to undesirable consequences for the community e.g. the California Text Book controversy; Wendy Doniger’s controversial book etc.(Click to see a 10 minute video on this theme).
Further, even though Hindus in North America have spent billions of dollars on temples all over Canada and the USA, the ability of these temples to attract and retain the interest and commitment of the generation of children born and brought up here, is very limited. For a majority of the youth of the Hindu diaspora, their intellectual encounter with Hinduism, as taught in courses such as “World religions” or “World Civilizations” as part of their general education, often leaves them more embarrassed about their Hindu ancestry, than inspired or proud. If the Hindu diaspora community does not take responsibility for the way Hindu Dharma is studied and taught in mainstream universities, Hinduism will continue to be conflated with Caste, Dowry, Discrimination, Human Rights violations, Idol worship, Superstition, violence against minorities and other such evils.  Hindu Dharma’s many gifts to humanity i.e. Vedanta, Yoga, Ayurveda, Dharma, Karma, Hindu Philosophy, Art and Aesthetics, Gurus and Acharyas and their traditions and so on will remain under-represented or even ignored. The many holistic and spiritually centered Solutions and Approaches that Hindu Dharma could offer the world, to address some of the world’s intractable problems such as climate change, ecological destruction, family instability, health care costs, poverty, economic inequality, religious violence and intolerance, terrorism and so on, will remain outside the pale of the discourse in the public square.
Click here to download a copy of the Initiative Document that describes the project at GTU 
Please join us on November 15th from 5 pm to 9 pm. Dinner will be served. 
Please send this e-mail to your friends and acquaintances who will resonate with this initiative.
Let us make a small beginning together – that will make a difference for generations to come. 
Kalyan Viswanathan,
Executive Vice President, DCF
614-668-1668 (cell)
Source: WHN Media Network