Sunday, August 13, 2017

MURALS OF MAIN ST. VANCOUVER


vancouver-mural-fest-2017Vancouver is lately emerging as the mural capital of Canada. And the Mount Pleasant area of the Main Street is the place which is being dressed up with both meaningful and imaginative profusion of colors presenting a walking art gallery. Thousands of people were strolling the Main Street Saturday, August 12, when the City closed the vehicular traffic, creating a festive public art celebration in promoting the mural look of the historic Mount Pleasant. The oldest building in Vancouver, out of downtown area, is in this area near Kingsway and 7th Ave. On the ground floor of the building, one of the oldest Indian restaurants in Vancouver is the Nirvana, which is run by pioneer restaurateur Devinder Dhami.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Progressive Hindu Dialogue Among Top 20 Hindu Websites:

My blog, Progressive Hindu Dialogue, https://progressivehindudialogue.com/2016/09/07/welcome/, which was launched only last year, has been selected one of the top 20 Hindu blogs on the web. Thanks all for your support. Following is the letter of recognition:
No automatic alt text available.Hi Promod,
My name is Anuj Agarwal. I’m Founder of Feedspot.
I would like to personally congratulate you as your blog Progressive Hindu Dialogue has been selected by our panelist as one of the Top 20 Hindu Blogs on the web.
http://blog.feedspot.com/hindu_blog/
I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. This is the most comprehensive list of Top 20 Hindu Blogs on the internet and I’m
honored to have you as part of this!
Also, you have the honor of displaying the badge on your blog.
Best,
Anuj

Monday, August 7, 2017

“ESSAY” ON BEST FRIEND REVIVES SCHOOL DAYS MEMORIES


 Promod Puri 

In split second, rather much sooner, memories can take us to revisit some interesting spots in our lives.
For me, one of such repeat visits is to the primary class where I graduated myself from grade 5th to grade 6th and started learning English from alphabets to making small sentences. Towards the end of the one-year term, to the surprise of my teacher, I could write cursive English, meaning script writing by joining the letters.
In the English class, our writing assignments included composing “essays” of about 50 to 150 words. And as I remember the assigned topics were writings on dog as man’s best friend, benefits from cow, and the stories titled “thirsty crow”, “grapes are sour”, “slow and steady wins the race” between tortoise and rabbit, etc. We were also asked to compose applications addressed to the headmaster requesting leave of absence describing reasons including being sick.
One composition I still recall was to write portrayal of best friend.
Writing about best friend was not that intricate as most of the help came from elder family members, or just through my innocent and naive imaginations. But in this exercise, the concept of thinking about friends or cultivating friendship was mindfully and firmly established.
Over the years I have developed that relationship of having friends, close friends, family friends and best friends.
They say, “a friend in need is a friend indeed”. True, but our distress needs are seldom. For most of the time friends take care of our social compulsions to have some informal, happy, and entertaining times together.
In these relaxed occasions, we enjoy each others company of vacationing together, dining together or just having coffee together. We discuss, argue, or debate issues, events, experiences, etc. on range of subjects depending upon our mutual interests.
Meet My Friend
From this social aspect of friendship, I would like to bring up here a close long-time family friend. His name is Ramkishen (the real name is concealed for identity reason).
In introducing Ramkishen, I would say he is quite a smart, well-mannered, and well-dressed person. Hard working and actively involved in community affairs, he is always helpful and truly belongs to the friend-in-need-is-a-friend-indeed class of people.
Ramkishen is selective secular and bends naturally towards the political Right. He belongs to the 2016 batch of Trump Republicans, but lately a bit cynical as well, and a Modi “bhagat” (avid supporter). He is ritualistically religious person and a devout Hindu. He has a red thread tied on his right wrist, which lately has become a symbol of being Hindu.
Ramkishen is an enjoyable conversationalist with knowledge mostly borrowed from fake news sources. Overall, I would say he is an affable personality.
But…
For some reason(s) Ramkishen is anti-Muslim.
The other day, while as usual jumping from one topic to another, we were having interesting talks. Our friendly discussions ended up in God’s colossal authority, His management or mismanagement concerning the affairs of the universe, especially His handling of the deteriorating world problems. We agreed that we have some genuine “shikwa”, the Urdu world for complaint, against Him including His varied creations. And this is where Ramkishen pointed out that “the biggest mistake God ever made was creating Muslims”.
For a moment, looking at his face, I was completely dumbstruck. On several previous meets, Ramkishen made many derogatory and racist remarks also. But this one seemed to be the climax of his anti-Muslim tirade. Shocked that the guy could go down to that ultra racist level to advocate his hatred towards the entire race of Muslims, that I felt lynching his tainted mindset.
But….
He is a friend. And hoping one day he, along with many more Ramkishens among the bourgeois Hindus, get exposed to true knowledge, discernment, and humaneness, so they would review their bigoted views.
In the meantime, back to the 6th-grade memories, I like to play again in my cursive writings with those little essays on cow, dog, the thirsty crow, and the best friend.
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Promod Puri is a journalist and writer. He is author of “Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs And Traditions”, a book which explores the rational, secular and progressive nature of Hinduism.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

2+2 = 4, NOT 5


One school in Hindu philosophy is called Sankhya, which literary means numbers. So it seeks rationality, like 2+2=4, rejecting 2+2=5. In other words a concept has to go thru rational examination before being accepted or rejected. It is unfortunate that those who now claim to be Hindus and forcing its unrealistic rituals and customs, do not seek truth and rationality in their thinking. And that is damaging to Hinduism. 


Progressive Hindu Dialogue is an initiative to explore, recognize and advance the rational, liberal and…
PROGRESSIVEHINDUDIALOGUE.COM

Sunday, July 23, 2017

OMAR KHADR IS A POLITICAL HARVEST FOR TORIES



Unfortunately, there are no laws in Canada which bar the lawyers who on behalf of government, pursue a legal battle not to seek justice but to influence the justice with directions from the ruling party for its own political motives.
The case in point is the role of the Conservative Party under Harper leadership which has delusively manipulated the file of Omar Khadr with spirited party’s right-wing die-hard ideology to establish him as a terrorist right from his teen years. Using Khadr as a sacrificial goat, the party in its hidden agenda tried to create for itself a better image of its handling of terrorism.
However, the Liberal Government’s $10.5 million settlement with Canadian-born Omar Khadr blocked the tax payers financed Tories’ Machiavellian plan to keep the case alive for perpetual political fueling.
Khadr was just 15 years old 15 years ago when imprisoned in one of world’s most notorious jails accused of killing an American soldier in Afghanistan. America call the torturous Guantanamo jail in occupied Cuba’s land as a detention facility.
It was a long lengthy legal battle. The Conservative government resolutely fought it by spending millions of our dollars but was legally defeated in the fight. The courts were used with intentions to generate publicity for the Conservative government’s anti-terrorism campaign. However, it demonstrated the real motive of the ruling party to seek a ruling prejudiced with politics of hatred and racism against minorities, particularly Muslims as in this case.
Whereas the Supreme Court had explicitly ruled in 2010 that the Canadian authorities violated Mr. Khadr’s charter of rights, Harper, and party in this one of the most expensive legal juggernaut, rather than accepting the judgment, was more interested to get political mileage out of Khadr’s illegal detention and torture.
What the Trudeau government has done is not only to save the public money from more legal costs but more importantly to restore the fundamental rights and freedoms of all Canadians irrespective of their ethnic or religious stripes.
At the same time, unlike the Conservative government under Harper leadership, the Liberal leadership has kept the Canadian justice system above party politics.
Now, as the lessons learned, some safeguards can be enacted whereby the courts can clearly discern if there are seedlings of an astute opportunism which can be a political harvest thru the Canadian justice system.
Otherwise, we tax payers will keep on paying for politics rather than justice.
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Promod Puri resides in Vancouver. He is a writer, and author of Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, and Traditions. Websites: promodpuri.com and progressivehindudialogue.com

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Social Responsibility In Hinduim

By Promod Puri, 
Seeking the divine spirit is a spiritual pursuit. And within that pursuit is the social aspects of the divinity which impact the Hindu mind to develop a personality of goodness.
Divine or divinity relates to all those aspects coming from God or god which are basically understood as heavenly and transcendental. But in social divinity it has attributes of humankind relating to ethical conduct of life toward an ultimate goal of perfection in every possible way.
The praxis of social divinity goes beyond the rituals, customs and beliefs. Also cardinal in Hindu theology is the induction of divinity in thoughts, words and deeds. Hinduism encourages spiritual believability based on knowledge and rationality. And that is where the divine spirit finds acceptable residency in every moment of life.
In creating the divine residency in an individual’s mind Hinduism offers liberal environment guided by disciplined and righteous karma.
Karma is biased by rituals, customs and beliefs. What matters most that karma is also influenced by Hindu epistemology seeking rationality in an action. And when the reasoning is established in all its sincerity Karma develops into prayer. For a practicing Hindu Karma is dharma.
Assembly of good karmas from earnest deeds over a long period can lead to moksha. It is a stage when material satisfactions are not attractions anymore. Rather in austere and ascetic life transcendental consciousness develops toward oneness with the Supreme-being.
Societal Reconstruction
The execution of karma in Hindu thought has an impact on the society as well.
Societal reconstruction is part of karmas’ obligations to clean up the religion from discriminatory and inhumane practices. An all inclusive full empowerment of women and annihilation of castes as envisioned by Ambedkar are part of these needed corrections to institute human rights traditions in Hinduism.
Whereas religion started as management of the society, at the personal level religiosity of karma implies management of the self. This governance of the self is conducted by virtue of conscious and divine living.
Consequent to Hinduism’s democratic framework the management of self is what we call as a way of life.


From rituals to murti-puja, mantra and metaphysics, karma and moksha, to meditation and yoga, and all its recreational aspects like music, dance and drama, Hinduism in its management of individual is a disciplinary as well as a comprehensive experience of spiritual development in liberal and progressive regime.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Past, Present And Future

“The past is history, future is mystery, but today is a gift……”, stay in the present and enjoy the moments. These are some of the many favored in-vogue quotes.
The popular quotations or advisories suggest our prospects belong to the moments we live in. We are told to live, feel, and enjoy the era of the present, rather than being prisoner of the past or future.
The reality is: our past is an assortment of both joyous, rough, memorable, and learning experiences. Whereas, our future lies in the prospect of imagination.
Imagination is an inspiring concept which is very natural foresight in the life of an individual as well as the society we belong to. Civilizations have been created, nourished, and developed on our ability to contemplate about the future.
No doubt, anxieties, worries or concerns often become parts of our contemplations, but so do the dreams. In this package, destiny is created thru our forward-looking karmas of the present which influence our future. Progress comes by prospecting at the future.
Flights to the future with optimistic imaginations are the thrills and promises of the prospective unknown.
Prospecting is natural. It is a functional activity of our cognitive powers. Sighting the future is both a conscious and unconscious activity. We can’t stop it while realizing, dealing, or playing with the moments of the present.
In these moments, our moods also swing like a pendulum, moving back and forth, from past to future while creating new flashes for the present.
Sometimes, journeys to the past contribute to the pleasures of the present. Past is a treasure like an old photo album. It is an asset and a companion. Ask the person lying on a hospital bed for long time. Or when a fatal blow to the past happens to a person with dementia. Moments of the present do not offer a “gift” here.
Moreover, for the society, past is not merely a history, but it is a heritage as well. The identity of a society is based on its heritage.
Past, present, and future are interlinked, and complimenting to each other with indelible events, experiences, karmas, and imaginations. The act of managing the future involves gathering and distilling the right information from the archives of the past within the time span of the present.
Time does not cover the innate past, or cause a pause to our imaginations for the future. It does not flow like a river. It does not fly either. Time rather spreads out. In this spread, past, present and future reside for ever.
It is our mind which ferry us around for stopovers at our memories, and sojourn us to conceive our imaginations, as well as bringing us back to the present. And the life’s journey continues while sailing through our past, present, and future.
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Promod Puri is a journalist and writer. He is author of “Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs And Traditions”, a book which explores the rational, secular and progressive nature of Hinduism.