Archive: Aseem Shukla
As with any moral, ethical, personal or spiritual question, any injunctions or edicts are anathema to a Hindu. It is not that Hinduism is ambiguous in its abhorrence of abortion, but it is always put forth as a matter of choice.
By Aseem Shukla | March 3, 2011; 03:33 PM ET | Comments (5)
The man who calmly and methodically visited depravity and madness upon a grocery store in Tucson last week, wounds us deeply--unnerves us--beyond the utter tragedy of the lives lost and broken. The accused killer personifies the horror that our society has the potential to put forth--a profoundly disturbed, displaced soul, un-anchored and listless, until it hits a mine and explodes.
By Aseem Shukla | January 13, 2011; 03:28 PM ET | Comments (197)
Let "proper" and orthodox and religious Christmas continue in churches and homes of the believer. I certainly hope it stays as it always has been in the public space.
By Aseem Shukla | December 24, 2010; 05:39 PM ET | Comments (1)
Islam is hounded by the questions of extremism and violence--of the past and present; Christianity deals with a history of the crusades and inquisition of yore, and church scandals today; Jews are bedeviled now by the Palestinian question; and Hindus, well, there is the caste conundrum. Caste is in no way "intrinsic" to Hinduism and the solution to the caste blight actually lies in a proper interpretation of authentic Hindu scripture.
By Aseem Shukla | December 10, 2010; 12:07 AM ET | Comments (48)
A marriage is a boisterous affair for Hindus--the party begins even before the ritual is complete. Marriage is the foundation of societal structure across cultures, and when 40% of Americans proclaim marital obsolescence, that foundation is wobbly indeed.
By Aseem Shukla | December 8, 2010; 11:56 AM ET | Comments (12)
Giving in to the concept that the world's Muslims would suddenly love Americans or Americana if only the conflicts in the Middle East, Afghanistan or Kashmir would end is facile and dangerous.
By Aseem Shukla | November 10, 2010; 12:48 PM ET | Comments (18)
Live and let live, love and let others love. Religion guides a seeker to a higher realm beyond sexual pleasure; it should hardly wallow in the mundane realm of choosing our sexual partners.
By Aseem Shukla | October 14, 2010; 11:07 AM ET | Comments (8)
A muted judgement --that many will embrace as the road map to peace --the final order was a simple compromise: That the land should be divided equally between Hindu and Muslim plaintiffs so that Hindus could rebuild their temple and Muslims their mosque.
By Aseem Shukla | September 30, 2010; 03:19 PM ET | Comments (94)
Illiteracy has consequences. Academic illiteracy dulls a society's future; religious illiteracy stunts pluralism that is the cornerstone of a multi-religious society. And the nightmare scenario is with us today: witness the recent spate of violence against Muslims, Siikhs and Hindus.
By Aseem Shukla | September 30, 2010; 08:38 AM ET | Comments (18)
We are a religious country, but our religious choice is the business of no one. Place a hand on a Bible, a Qu'ran, a Bhagavad Gita when swearing in for elected office--it matters not--as the oath is to the Constitution of the United States of America that never once speaks of a partisan god.
By Aseem Shukla | September 2, 2010; 10:26 AM ET | Comments (177)
Mass hysteria intrinsically is unreasonable and irrational. The imam and his allies do have the power to take the high road; the power to end this tragic sideshow by considering other sites. It is an unfortunate choice to have to make, but silence is not the answer.
By Aseem Shukla | August 26, 2010; 03:09 PM ET | Comments (34)
Either build outside of the bounds of Ground Zero or answer some legitimate questions as to how and why. Let the steam blow off and the healing begin.
By Aseem Shukla | August 18, 2010; 02:43 PM ET | Comments (2)
Millions of Americans have taken to Yoga purely as a physical practice in their own homes and studios. However, they soon discover Yoga's Hindu roots, and it opens them up to a deeper spirituality that changes they way they live, think and act, which is the real inner journey.
By Aseem Shukla | August 11, 2010; 09:30 AM ET | Comments (6)
The degree to which each individual adheres to the various practices and teachings of each religion makes all the difference. An orthodox follower of almost any religion will struggle to reconcile a marriage with someone of another faith, while two liberal followers of differing religions will more easily overlook any religious disparity.
By Aseem Shukla | July 28, 2010; 02:02 PM ET | Comments (6)
Refugees from Bhutan writing their own chapter into book of American immigration and integration.
By Aseem Shukla | July 22, 2010; 01:09 PM ET | Comments (14)
The terrorists that left a Ground Zero in their wake perpetrated a single day of murder against this country in the name of any religion unmatched in modern history.
By Aseem Shukla | July 20, 2010; 12:16 PM ET | Comments (12)
Pluralism for these faiths means not that all religions are essentially the same; pluralism simply replaces an exclusivist claim that mine is the only path with an acceptance that while my path is the best for me, others may find the same spiritual fulfillment using a different road map.
By Aseem Shukla | July 8, 2010; 11:48 AM ET | Comments (7)
Pakistan has no interest in our collective success in Afghanistan; the Pakistani military plays its own Great Game focused on destabilization and terror among its neighbors in India and Afghanistan.
By Aseem Shukla | July 1, 2010; 01:23 PM ET | Comments (10)
The media storyline--"Haley and Jindal triumph despite questions about their faith"-- leaves millions of America's adherents of Dharma faiths stone cold: What is so miserably wrong and unelectable in being a Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist or Jain?
By Aseem Shukla | June 23, 2010; 01:25 AM ET | Comments (380)
To a Hindu, eating meat causes one to ingest and absorb the slaughtered creature's pain, suffering and terror before its death. Stop the cycle of accumulating negative karma, our scriptures tell us, and work we must to ameliorate not only the suffering of animals caused by the oil spill in the Gulf, but also species endangered by human assaults on habitats elsewhere.
By Aseem Shukla | June 15, 2010; 10:48 AM ET | Comments (2)
The flotillas insist on direct access to land controlled by the same Hamas thugs that are committed to destroying Israel and have purposefully launched thousands of rockets at Israel.
By Aseem Shukla | June 9, 2010; 01:33 PM ET | Comments (7)
Illegal immigration as a legitimate expression of international problems is unsustainable -- for the victims are those that play by the rules.
By Aseem Shukla | May 26, 2010; 04:19 PM ET | Comments (2)
How possibly can the dogmatically assertive force of extremist Islamist justice possibly square with the overt expressionism and ebullient spirit of an irreverent America? One is synonymous with irrational terror and the other with an irrational optimism.
By Aseem Shukla | May 6, 2010; 12:56 AM ET | Comments (9)
Chopra now agrees that all the eternal wisdom--including yoga!--that he cherishes, packages and distributes may have come out of the "consciousness" of Hindu saints and masters of yesterday and today.
By Aseem Shukla | April 30, 2010; 10:25 AM ET | Comments (19)
I do not begrudge Deepak Chopra his runaway success, but an occasional nod to his spiritual heritage would be much appreciated.
By Aseem Shukla | April 28, 2010; 12:59 AM ET | Comments (38)
National Day of Prayer went very wrong during the Bush Administration. The event was hijacked by the eponymous task force under Shirley Dobson. It became National Day of Evangelical Christian Prayer, and a sacred trust was breached.
By Aseem Shukla | April 28, 2010; 12:55 AM ET | Comments (2)
Why is yoga severed in America's collective consciousness from Hinduism?
By Aseem Shukla | April 18, 2010; 10:50 PM ET | Comments (251)
A Hindu is unanchored supporting a concept but not its practice. "Social justice," important to a Hindu for whom nothing less than their soul's salvation depends on right karma gained in the service of others.
By Aseem Shukla | April 13, 2010; 11:37 PM ET | Comments (2)
Church and state are separate, except when the church decides to reach beyond that wall we hold so dear. And when innocent children and the faithful flock are horribly scarred, any church, temple or mosque can consider its privilege lost.
By Aseem Shukla | March 30, 2010; 01:01 PM ET | Comments (3)
Mental peace, contentment and joy transform one to a heavenly existence even as they live in the here and now, and a restless, tortured and depressed mind cannot but place one in a very personal hell.
By Aseem Shukla | March 21, 2010; 10:51 PM ET | Comments (3)
Doniger's alternate version of Hindu history, now playing in over 700 libraries in North America and Europe, raises a real fear that her "alternative" will become the mainstream.
By Aseem Shukla | March 17, 2010; 08:17 PM ET | Comments (42)
The violence of conversion is very real. The religious conversion is too often a conversion to intolerance. A convert is asked to repudiate his sangha (community), reject the customs and traditions of his family passed down for generations, and refuse to attend religious ceremonies that are the very basis of daily life in much of the world.
By Aseem Shukla | March 3, 2010; 12:59 AM ET | Comments (12)
Hindus and Buddhists comprise a growing portion of our foreign service establishment. But not one made the cut to sit on this task force recommending how our country should deal in a world where more than one in five persons is Hindu or Buddhist.
By Aseem Shukla | February 25, 2010; 12:30 AM ET | Comments (16)
Valiant groups protecting the rights of the mentally disabled are right to agitate for the ownership of their appellation. The R-word has pejorative connotations--our society killed the word, and we must let it die. Words matter, but intent matters even more.
By Aseem Shukla | February 18, 2010; 12:16 AM ET | Comments (1)
The Obama Administration's reluctance to push Congress to quickly move and officially kill "don't ask, don't tell," a widely flouted policy, belies a fear of the outcry that a minority in the defense establishment and the far right evangelical community will reflexively launch.
By Aseem Shukla | February 10, 2010; 08:56 AM ET | Comments (7)
Brit Hume used the airways to proffer a latest version of Christian exceptionalism, and Fox News became an apt vehicle to allow millions to hear the basic dogma of evangelical Christianity: there is only one Truth, and only Jesus Christ can take you there. Left unsaid--"everyone else is doomed to hell."
By Aseem Shukla | January 13, 2010; 09:57 AM ET | Comments (6)
For Dharmic adherents--the Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains--the arugments are observed dispassionately. For where there is no word for blasphemy, where can there be injunctions against it?
By Aseem Shukla | January 6, 2010; 05:28 PM ET | Comments (6)
The president eloquently called out for the "old hatreds" to pass. Words more urgent and more relevant to the dialogue today scarcely have been heard before. Jews and Muslims in the Holy Land; Christians and Buddhists in Sri Lanka; Hindus and Muslims in India's Kashmir, conflicts and conflagrations abound. How can we get the hate to pass?
By Aseem Shukla | December 27, 2009; 11:44 PM ET | Comments (7)
Only when all religions begin to cease viewing others as "the other," can we begin to eliminate the source of too many "just wars" of today.
By Aseem Shukla | December 24, 2009; 12:37 PM ET | Comments (0)
The Obama White House, more than any Administration before, has given itself to celebrating faith with the subtle, yet manifest finesse reflecting the pluralistic perspective of this Christian First Family.
By Aseem Shukla | December 7, 2009; 11:08 PM ET | Comments (4)
More than anything, the Swiss ban on Minarets exposes the gross underbelly of Europe's vaunted liberalism, and the failure of continental Muslims to successfully complete their societal integration. European values of progressive policies, cradle to grave government safety nets, socialism, liberal immigration policies--all have failed to grow truly pluralistic and democratic polities.
By Aseem Shukla | December 1, 2009; 11:40 PM ET | Comments (34)
Believe in God, many Gods, a merciful God, a wrathful God, impersonal God, personal God, Goddess, or no God at all. The pluralism of of America guarantees you your space. Intensely personal or wear-it-on-your-sleeve, we express our faith or no faith with abandon and celebrate our choice in our homes and sometimes in public.
By Aseem Shukla | November 25, 2009; 12:16 AM ET | Comments (10)
When ministering turns to proselytizing and privileging one faith over another, and when the tens of thousands of Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists proudly serving their country are rendered the "other," highly imperative troop cohesion and morale is compromised.
By Aseem Shukla | November 11, 2009; 12:33 PM ET | Comments (7)
We grieve today as Americans, and we have added to our national debt gratitude to the brave American soldiers of Fort Hood and everywhere. Our sorrow is boundless. But fighting a just war in Afghanistan will entail more sacrifice; we can only pray that the madness of collateral damage measured in stress, grieving families, separated families, broken homes and senseless murder will soon end.
By Aseem Shukla | November 6, 2009; 01:15 AM ET | Comments (6)
We have built a narrative where not giving up, holding up hope is heroic, and capitulating to death is cowardly. And indeed, we must face disease courageously, trust our physicians, maintain a positive attitude and pray. But there is a time for battle, an age for battle, time for prayer and then an acceptance when the outcome is certain.
By Aseem Shukla | November 5, 2009; 05:16 PM ET | Comments (2)
Essentially there can be no unity on what is "good" and what is "evil" as long as the definition is predicated completely on a literal, "because the Bible (or Koran or Torah or Vedas) says so."
By Aseem Shukla | October 28, 2009; 12:41 PM ET | Comments (3)
When hate leads to crime--and hate is the only motivation--it seems clear that such a crime is particularly severe.
By Aseem Shukla | October 21, 2009; 04:31 PM ET | Comments (0)
Never before had a sitting U.S. President personally celebrated the Diwali holiday, and with that one gesture, two million Hindu Americans felt a bit more like they belonged.
By Aseem Shukla | October 15, 2009; 12:13 PM ET | Comments (54)
Salvation is not attained by a club membership in my faith or another, or bought and sold in a transcendental marketplace of souls. Salvation is the most available of all commodities, there to be had for anyone whose mind is still and open to experience the divine.
By Aseem Shukla | October 9, 2009; 03:36 PM ET | Comments (9)
In Afghanistan and Pakistan, pluralism is dead and buried. No modern society constructed on the foundation of religious law, Sharia in this case, ever avoided the trap of intolerance, persecution and hate.
By Aseem Shukla | October 7, 2009; 01:58 PM ET | Comments (3)
As a Hindu, the Divine in me instructs me to see the Divine in them and think that the democracies of Great Britain, America, France and India, well, they love their children. But does a godless despot in North Korea, a proliferating regime in Pakistan, an extremist, ideological lunatic in Iran love their children too? Do they love our children?
By Aseem Shukla | September 29, 2009; 10:39 AM ET | Comments (8)
Partnering with faith-based charities in the delivery of crucial social services conceptually always flirted with basic violations of the First Amendment; execution of the concept went well beyond flirtation.
By Aseem Shukla | September 23, 2009; 12:29 PM ET | Comments (5)
Where pluralism rests comfortably in the gray, we are sadly becoming a nation that only sees in black and white.
By Aseem Shukla | September 16, 2009; 10:32 AM ET | Comments (21)
When priests arm themselves as soldiers, vulgarity and farce share a sad stage and minimize real threats of terror that require entire societies to mobilize.
By Aseem Shukla | September 10, 2009; 09:20 AM ET | Comments (29)
It is a fascinating study into the psyche of a movement in its symbolic last throes that the three right-wing consultants push for a narrative that sings of a Christian America, very different from the reality that we all know. America is in the midst of change, and the version of our country they long for is nothing more than a sepia-toned, portrait of a bygone era.
By Aseem Shukla | September 2, 2009; 12:22 AM ET | Comments (15)
Vindictive punishment by mere mortals can too saddle those inflicting punishment with negative karmas, even if they seem justified. Behold the importance of ahimsa, or non-violence, in the Hindu ethos.
By Aseem Shukla | August 26, 2009; 11:04 PM ET | Comments (4)
As a Hindu, I do not subscribe to a Biblical injunction in rendering care to my patients, but I must abide by my dharma, my duty, to help others.
By Aseem Shukla | August 18, 2009; 01:15 PM ET | Comments (3)
Why did the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom put India on its watch list? It begins with bias.
By Aseem Shukla | August 14, 2009; 09:57 AM ET | Comments (41)
God is everywhere, in everything and every creation that man myopically calls his own. Whether it be Facebook, Orkut, Twitter or SMS, God is listening.
By Aseem Shukla | August 11, 2009; 11:02 PM ET | Comments (2)
To a Hindu, God--that omnipotent, omnipresent and immanent Presence in the universe--so transcends mere mortal minds, that limiting the Divine to a mere reflection of humanity actually reflects the banality of our own minds.
By Aseem Shukla | August 6, 2009; 12:05 PM ET | Comments (0)
I did not take vows in a church or temple, and my vows were taken in the names of several Gods. Would my evangelical Christian friends consider that a legitimate marriage? Who really does have the right to define what is a "marriage" or a "civil union?"
By Aseem Shukla | July 29, 2009; 12:29 AM ET | Comments (10)
Most Hindus see their religion as a living one, a faith whose revelatory power did not end millenia ago, but continues to this day. The modern spiritual masters, scores of whom are women, attest to this vivacity.
By Aseem Shukla | July 22, 2009; 09:40 PM ET | Comments (2)