Let us become nobler

Sanskrit word 'Arya' or 'Aryam' stands for nobility. Let us implore everyone to become noble, the Arya or Aryam. Christians, Muslims, Hindus or Jews, communists or capitalists, rich or poor, clever or dumb, weak, meek or bully. Uncomfortable perhaps are they with other, threatening peace. Ray of hope for the world is ‘include-all’ ideas of ancient Indian wisdom popularly known as Hinduism. Only they knew how to celebrate individuality of each person. Aryas respect ideas of others, respect way of worship of others, help others and become a noble citizen of this wide and varied world. Idea behind this blog is to bring out those ideas and help each of us become better than what we are. 'N' in the 'Aryan', by the way, was a mistake made by colonial 'experts' who wanted to underplay and undermine the culture and religion of those who they clandestinely enslaved.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Write-Up on the book 'Hindu Temple Management'

Write-Up on the Book: "Hindu Temple Management"

The book is a first-ever systematic presentation on the art of managing Hindu Temples, Maths and Ashrams. Temple Management calls for a unique approach, completely different as compared to what may be required to manage a commercial business, a property or even a charitable institution. A temple manager’s work is more complex than that of any other managers. It is not easy if he wants to run it in a way it should.

A temple manager is expected to be a superman; after all he is the manager of God’s house. He is visualized as a person who is as kind as a kind mother, friendly as a loving brother, strict as a tough father and knowledgeable as a brilliant teacher. He is further required to be a ruthless administrator and a strategist like a Chanakya. All of the above rolled in one! A tall order? Certainly yes. For the temple manager to fit the bill, this book helps provide ideas, milestones, flag posts, warnings and tools. It is expected to enable those temple managers who want to make a success of their temples for the good of the community along with the good of their own self.

Does a temple have any social responsibility? Spiritual responsibility? Any dharmic responsibility? Should it be accountable? What are pitfalls? How are a temple manager and staff to be remunerated? How to use technology and how to still be independent of it? What about the laws of the country? How can a temple engage a community and so also, how can community, in turn, engage with temple? These and many other issues are addressed in this book.

Hinduism by its very nature adapts to the needs of time. Therefore if we find that temples are lacking in some of their ideals today, it is not an insurmountable problem.  It can be overcome with some thoughtful corrections. It should be ensured that these corrections be 100% dharma-compliant and yet reflect modern day realities.

The first chapter gives ideas on how the management of a temple is not similar to managing a business, a property or even a charitable institute; it is much more than those.

The second chapter familiarizes a reader with ideas behind building temples, how are they financed since time immemorial and details of its structure. Also it lists what is expected and what is not expected from a temple. Thus it sets the agenda of what is to come in the next chapters

The third chapter is the longest. It gives overview of temple functions such as administration, maintenance, engagement with community-volunteering, managing pooja rituals etc. and then goes headlong in detailing all the administrative aspects that a temple manager should pay attention to.

Three important subjects are discussed in the fourth chapter; efficient maintenance of the premises, ways of engaging with community and interfaith protocols.

The fifth chapter deals with setting benchmarks for ideal pooja rituals, choosing appropriate stotras, inspirational songs, various pooja requisites and innovative ideas to achieve them.

The sixth chapter draws attention of temple managers towards laws and bylaws governing aspects of running a temple and emphasizes that they need to know local laws governing temples and the community the temples intend to serve. It provides a few legal definitions, allowed and disallowed temple-practices etc.

As end-notes, the book asks 55 teaser questions and provides their short answers that also serve as a quick revision of the book.

What this book does not provide is equally important to understand for the readers. This book does not aim to teach Religious Rituals, Sanskrit Language, Hinduism, Yoga, Meditation or Astrology. These subjects are avoided so as not to dilute message of this book which focuses on the management aspect of temples.
It is hoped that this book will go a long way in improving management of temples. It is recommended that every temple retain a copy. If the temple owners/managers/trustees were to program a reading of this book at least once for the benefit of their staff, it would prepare ground for setting a minimum common denominator for the temples in the art of good-temple-management.The book is hard-bound and has 164 pages (155+ix). It is published by Global Vision Publishing House, New Delhi.

Your local book-store can get it for you or can be purchased by contacting publisher:

Global Vision Publishing House,
F-4, Ist Floor, 'Hari Sadan', 20, Ansari Road, Daryaganj (Near Delhi Book Store), Delhi : 110002 India.
Phone 011-23261581, 23276291, 64694271, 43575199, 43037885 
Mob. 9810644769

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sanskriti - Why English word 'culture' does not mean the same as 'Sanskriti' ?

Why English word 'culture' does not mean the same as 'Sanskriti' ? Language Sanskrit gives ‘Sanskriti’. Culture is different from ‘Sanskriti’. Culture can be given by any language. Some cultures do not even have any language.

Someone said, if you lose your Sanskrit language you lose your  ‘Sanskriti’ (संस्कृति). It is not the same as saying if you lose your language you lose your culture. The word ‘Sanskriti’ is derived from the word ‘Sanskrit’. Sanskrit is a rich language in continuous existence for thousands of years. First known written work known to the mankind, the Rig-Veda’, was written in Sanskrit Language. Historians estimate that the ‘Rig-Veda’ was written well over 5,000 years ago, although the text itself is of more antiquity, it was available in the oral  tradition for a much longer period.

Following table shows, how, if you lose one culture, you gain another culture but if you lose Sanskrit, you lose ‘Sanskriti’. It means that you still will have some culture, even if you were to lose when you acquire another language. But if you lose Sanskrit, or Indian languages, you lose your ‘Sanskriti’ - and gain some other culture but not the ‘Sanskriti’.

World Cultures
Translation in respective
Pronunciation guide in English Language
How it should be said in Indian Language
English culture
English Culture
English Culture
अंग्रेज प्रकृति
German Culture
Deutsch Kultur
Doeitsch Kultur
जर्मन प्रकृति
Japanese Culture
Nippon Bunka
जापानी प्रकृति
French Culture
Culture française
Coolture Fransez
फ्रेंच प्रकृति
Arabic Culture
الثقافة العربية
Assafaka Alarabia
अरब प्रकृति
Russian Culture
русская культура 
Russkaya Kul'tura
रुसी प्रकृति
Indian Culture
भारतीय संस्कृति
Bharatiya Sanskriti
भारतीय संस्कृति

Indian languages, including Sanskrit, define ‘Sanskriti’ as the Indian way of life, way of thinking and way of worship as inspired from the Sanskrit language. Thus, ‘Sanskriti’ is a ‘top-down’ approach as compared to ‘culture’, which is most often, a ‘bottom-up’ approach.  Culture, as the word means is an ‘auto-development’ of a society living under certain socio-economic-politico situation, almost the same as developing a bacteria culture in a laboratory. That Growth is culture. To its quite opposite is ‘Sanskriti’ which is a life and society patterned after a hallowed inspiration from the lives of Gods and Devas.

Man is a special variety of life among all living entities. An animal eats when it is hungry and does not eat when not hungry. But a man can voluntarily eat even when he is not hungry and can voluntarily go without eating even when he is hungry. In other words, man can defy nature for meeting his objectives. Ancient Indian sages identified this human ability and they challenged humans by setting higher goals to become better beings. That needs voluntary sacrifices, curtailing leisure, beating natural forces of cold, heat, gravity, etc. He was prodded to live for a goal and not succumb to growing like bacterial culture under given situation, rather, create a situation. Development that follows thus, guided by Sanskrit, the language of Gods, is ‘Sanskriti’ and it is essentially top-down, as compared to ‘culture’ which is essentially, bottom-up.

If 'culture' is not ‘Sanskriti’, than, what is the equivalent word for ‘culture’ in Indian languages? Let us examine: What is not Sanskrit is ‘non-Sanskrit’ or ‘Asanskrit’ (असंस्कृत). In Sanskrit literature, the word ‘Asanskrit’ denotes ‘uncivilized’, ‘savage’ ‘uncultured’ etc. However, for those who have developed automatically through natural (प्राकृतिक) process are known as ‘Praakrit’ (प्राकृत), ‘developed naturally as organic growth’. Thus, what is not ‘Sanskrit’ is ‘Praakrit’. It follows therefore that what is not “Sanskriti’ (संस्कृति) is ‘Prakriti (प्रकृति). Indians have been naïve in translating their ‘Sanskriti’ as culture and other’s ‘culture’ as ‘Sanskriti’. It is similar to translation mishap naïve Indians did a few centuries ago, calling religions of non-Hindus as ‘Dharma’. As, Hinduism is not only a religion but ‘dharma’ and the rest, religions but not ‘dharma’, the Indian way of life, the way of thinking and the way of worship is not just culture but ‘Sanskriti’ and the rest is ‘culture’ or ‘Praakrit’. Mis-translation has occurred because; early Indians did not undertake a proper ‘पूर्व-पक्ष’ (‘Purva-Paksha the study of culture of others) when they came in contact of alien cultures. Blame should go to their innocence, naivety and perhaps lack of foresight that they ignored to learn way of life of alien cultures before assigning grand terms of Sanskrit language to other entities.

Apart from these, three words ‘Sanskriti’, ‘Praakrit’ and ‘Dharma’, there are hundreds of other words, wrongly translated and do injustice to India, Indians and Sanskrit language.