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Nine Questions About Hinduism

by Gurudeva, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

Prepared for the July 4th, 1990 meeting of the youth of the Hindu Temple of greater Chicago, by Gurudeva, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

How to Answer Common Questions About Hinduism

Aloha from Hawaii to all the young men and women in Chicago! I received a request from Balu Nataraja, coordinator of the 1990 Youth Day asking for "official answers" to nine questions Hindus are commonly asked about our great tradition.

First let me tell you how pleased we are with the work that the organizing committee is doing at the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago, Lemont, in arousing the spirit of intelligence among all the youth at their grand meeting on July 4th. That, of course, is America's day of independence, and since spiritual liberation is the grand Hindu goal of life, it is appropriate that we are meeting to discuss these things on July 4th. The questions you have asked are the questions that Hindus and non-Hindus alike have been asking for centuries. You all deserve nothing but praise.

Also, we feel honored to do our part in giving a free three-month subscription to Hinduism Today to all present at the gathering. The paper is printed in four countries now. Please send the names, addresses and phone numbers of all those who would like to receive this gift. And now, to the business at hand.

It has been our experience that millions of Americans are sincerely interested in Hinduism and the many kinds of Asian religions. American culture and the western religions just don't satisfy them. Therefore, make a positive assumption when asked any kind of question about Hinduism! Assume that the person really wants to know. Memorize the following answers to whatever question is put to you and speak out one of them before you get into actually answering the question.

1. "I am really pleased that you have shown an interest in my religion. You probably don't know that one out of every six people in the world is a Hindu."

2. "Many people have asked me about my spiritual tradition. I don't have all the answers, but I will try to answer your question."

3. Often it is good to repeat the question back to the person, to see if they have asked exactly what they want to know (this will give you time to think about your answer). If it's a complicated question, you might tell the person "The time is short and the subject is vast. Questions such as the one you have asked me philosophers have spent their life discussing and pondering, but we will do our best to explain in a simple way."

4. "First you should know that in Hinduism it is not only belief and intellectual understanding that is important. Hindus place the greatest value on experiencing each of these truths personally."

After stating one of the above as your prologue, go ahead and respond to their questions the best that you can. In all your answers, use easy, everyday examples. And tell them what the enlightened souls and scriptures of Hinduism have to say on the subject. Remember this: never, never answer a question about religion immediately after it is put to you. This might lead to confrontation. Always offer a little prologue first and then indirectly come around to the question, guiding the inquirer toward understanding. Remember always to assume that the inquirer really is sincerely wanting to know about Hinduism. To give a short prologue before coming to the point in answering a question is very disarming and gives the impression that you know what you are talking about. After the prologue, answer the question quickly, and if you feel the person is sincere, then say, "Do you have any more questions?"

Your prologue as a short introduction to Hinduism and your statement of how happy you are that you have been asked will give you the opportunity to judge the sincerity of the questioner. Remember, we must not assume that everyone who asks a question about Hinduism is insincere or is challenging Hinduism. So, don't be on the defensive. Smile when you are talking. Be very open. If the second or third question turns out to be something you don't know anything about, you can say, "I don't know. If you are really interested, I will find out or mail you some literature or lend you one of my books."

You may make lifelong friends in this way. Here then are the "official answers" to your nine questions, organized with an introduction followed by three short answers and a summary. Memorize all the answers and use them as needed.

1) What is the Hindu definition of God-monotheistic or polytheistic?

Introduction

There is much confusion about this, not among Hindus but among those on the outside looking in. Learn the right terms, and the subtle differences in them, and you can explain the profound ways that Hindus look at Divinity. Others will be delighted with the richness of the ancient concepts of God. You may wish to tell inquiring minds that some Hindus believe only in the formless Absolute Reality as God, others believe in God as personal Lord and Creator. Hinduism gives us the freedom to approach God in our own way, without demanding conformity to any dogma. This freedom makes the concept of God in Hinduism the richest in all the world's religions.

Answer #1: Hinduism is both a monotheistic and a henotheistic religion. Hindus believe in one supreme God who created the universe and who is worshipped as Light, Love and Consciousness. Hindus were never polytheistic, but were always henotheistic. Henotheism is defined by Webster's as "the belief in or worship of one God without denying the existence of others."

Answer #2: We Hindus believe that there is one all-pervasive God which energizes the entire universe. We can see Him in the life shining out of the eyes of humans and all creatures. This concept of God as existing in and giving life to all things is called "panentheism." It is different from pantheism, which is the belief that God is the natural universe and nothing more. It is also different from theism which says God is only above the world. Panentheism is a beautiful concept. It says that God is both in the world and beyond it, both immanent and transcendent. That is the Hindu view. Hindus also believe in many devas who perform various kinds of functions, like executives in a large corporation. These should not be confused with God. There is one Supreme God only. What is sometimes confusing to non-Hindus is that we may call this one God by many different names, according to our tradition. Truth for the Hindu has many names, but that does not make for many truths.

Answer #3: Hindus believe in one God, one humanity and one world. People with different language, different cultures have understood this one God in their own way. This is why we are very tolerant of all religions, as each has its own path to this one God. One of the unique understandings in Hinduism is that God is not just far away, living in a remote heaven, but is also inside of each and every soul in the heart and consciousness, waiting for you and me to discover. Knowing the One Great God in this intimate and experiential way is the goal of Hindu spirituality.

Summary

In summary, if by this time you have a little group around you very interested in what you have to say, ask them if they have ever seen God. Most will say "No, never." Then explain that you are now going to give them the experience of seeing God. Go on to explain that God is the Life of our lives, and the life within each of us is the same as the life within all of us. Then carefully explain that that Life which is God can be seen by looking in one another's eyes. Ask each one to look into each other's eyes trying not to see the person but to just see the life, the pure consciousness, of the person instead. Then explain that when we are seeing the life in others eyes we are actually seeing God.

2) Could you describe the process of reincarnation?

Introduction

Reincarnation, known in Sanskrit as samsara, is a very openly discussed subject these days. Shirley MacLaine went "out on a limb" on this subject and made popular throughout the United States. Now nearly every television script has standard statements written into it such as "See you in the next life," or "I must have known you in a past life." The TV serial "Quantum Leap" is a great example of a program that is bringing this knowledge of a one soul inhabiting many bodies to the forefront of mass consciousness. I talked with Shirley a few weeks ago in San Francisco and told her what a fantastic job we all thought she is doing in spreading this knowledge, and assured her that she has the full support of Hindus.

Now to three answers that you can memorize to give when this question is asked of you. Don't forget to precede your answer with your sweet smile and confident prologue.

Answer #1: Reincarnation, yes, carnate means flesh. The word reincarnate means to "reenter the flesh." We Hindus believe the soul is immortal and keeps reentering a fleshy body time and time again in order to resolve experiences and thereby learn all the lessons life in the material world has to offer.

Answer #2: There have been many recorded out-of-the-body experiences. These have been researched by scientists, psychiatrists and parapsychologists during the last decade and documented in some very good books. Even science is discovering reincarnation.

Answer #3: Yes, we Hindus believe in reincarnation. To us, it explains the natural way the soul evolves from immaturity to spiritual illumination. I myself have had many lives before this one and expect to have more. Finally, when I have it all worked out and all the lessons have been learned, I will attain mukti. This means I will still exist but no longer be pulled back to incarnate in a physical body.

Summary

I would like to explain the process of reincarnation in a little more detail. When the soul leaves the physical body never to return, the soul does not die but lives on in another subtle body called the astral body. The astral body lives on another plane of consciousness called the astral plane. Here we continue to have experiences until we are reborn again in another physical body as a baby. The soul chooses a home and a family which can best fulfill its next step of maturation. Hindus understand the natural growth of all humans as they experience evolution because they know these facts. After enlightenment, however, we do not have to re-experience the baseness of human existence but go on in evolution in our other bodies. As an example: After we graduate from school we don't have to-nor do we want to-re-enroll in the fifth grade. We are beyond that in understanding.

If you choose to use answer number three, be prepared that it might lead into a very interesting discussion, and you might want to invite your new-found friend and the little group that has perhaps gathered around to further pursue reincarnation over a cup of coffee or tea.

Reincarnation is a vast subject and there are many books written about it. Get them and read them. They will enlighten on the subject you and keep you informed. We would be happy to send you pamphlets on karma and reincarnation, which gives the central facts of our Hindu belief and a book list, names of authors, publishers, etc. You should also know that most all of the worlds religions believe now or once believed in reincarnation. Even the early Christian church believed in reincarnation. But an early King Justininan took it out of the Bible to affect better control of the people. Even now many Christians are attempting to get back to those early teachings. We have some of these books, too, and can refer them to you if you are interested. Should you be in a hurry, we have a 36-hour turn-around response to every fax that comes in. They come in daily from at least three or four countries. We don't do as well with paper mail. About a 15 or 30 days turnaround for that. So, fax us if you are in a hurry.

3) What is karma?

Introduction

Karma is another word we hear about quite often on television. "This is my karma." or, "It must have been something I did in a past life to bring such good karma to me." In more liberal schools of Hinduism, karma is looked upon as something bad. Just two days ago a Hindu guest from Guyana in South America came to visit us in Hawaii and mentioned that karma means "sin," and that this is what the Christians in his country are preaching that it means. Karma actually means "cause and effect." Here is an example: I have a glass of water sitting in front of me on a table. Because the table is not moving, nor is the glass, the water is calm. Shake the table, the water ripples. This is action and reaction, the basic law of nature. The process of action and reaction on all levels-physical, mental and spiritual-is karma.

Here is another example: I say kind words to you, you are peaceful and happy. I say harsh words to you, you become ruffled and sad. This is karma. It names the basic law of the motion of energy. An architect thinks creative, productive thoughts, and draws plans for a new building. But were he to think destructive, unproductive thoughts, he would soon not be able to accomplish any kind of positive task even if he desired to do so. This is karma, a natural law of the mind. We must be very careful about our thoughts because thought creates and thoughts also make karmas, both good, bad and mixed. Here are three answers to memorize and later explain to beautiful souls who are seeking higher consciousness and look to you for mystical knowledge of the Far East.

Answer #1: Karma is one of the natural laws of the universe. It simply means "cause and effect." Our religion is made up of many natural laws of the universe. Karma is just one of them. (This is a simple answer for a casual seeker. After you have said this, smile and ask if they want to know anything more.)

Answer #2: Karma is basically energy. I throw energy out through thoughts, words and deeds, and it comes back to me (in time) through other people. We Hindus look at time as a circle. I think professor Einstein came to the same conclusion. He saw time as a curved thing and space as well. This would eventually make a circle. Karma is a very just law, too, as it is equal in re-payment. Like gravity, it treats everyone the same.

Answer #3: God does not give us karma. We create our own. Bad karma is because we have done something bad in the past to someone, and now someone is doing something bad to us. Good karma means that we have done something good in the past and now others are doing something good to us now. Because we Hindus understand karma, we do not hate or resent the people who do us harm. We understand they are giving back the effects of the causes we set in motion at an earlier time. At least we try not to hate them or hold hard feelings, by reminding ourselves of the law of karma.

Summary

A coffee shop might be in order here if you want to continue discussing this subject. There are many souls in America seeking higher consciousness and they are all very interested in knowing more about karma. We can supply you with as much background literature as you need.

Our fax number is 822-4351. Above all, don't be shy. Speak with authority and with a smile. Don't think you have to know everything about karma, reincarnation, God or gods in order to answer casual questions. Just do your best.

4) Why do Hindus regard the cow as sacred?

Introduction

We cannot give anything away but that it comes back to us. A few years ago in Madras an American devotee said to me, "Shall I give money to the beggar who is asking?" I said, "Give him ten rupees. You may need the fifty rupees when karma pays you back, just as he needs the ten rupees now." The karmic law pays higher interest than any bank when you give freely with no strings attached.

Rhetorical question: "Who is the greatest giver on planet earth today?" Who do we see on every table? At every country of the world, breakfast, lunch and dinner? It is the cow. The golden arches made a fortune on the cow. When we were in Moscow in March we learned that MacDonalds is opening 11 of its cow-vending machines there.

The generous cow gives milk and cream, yogurt and cheese, butter and ice cream, ghee, buttermilk, sirloin, ribs, rump, quarterround, porterhouse, beef stew. Its bones are the base for soup broths. It gives us our leather belt, leather seats, leather coats and shoes, beef jerky, cowboy hats, you name it. The cow is the most prominent giving animal in the world today.

And now the question: Why do the Hindus regard the cow as sacred? (Don't forget to give the proper prologue before you answer this question. This will break down any resistance to the answer you are about to give.)

Answer #1: People who ask if cows are considered sacred should understand that Hindus regard all living creatures as sacred-mammals, fishes, birds and more. The cow symbolically represents all other creatures to the Hindu.

Answer #2: The cow represents life and the sustainance of life to the Hindu. It represents our soul, our obstinate intellect, our unruly emotions, but the cow supersedes us because it is so giving, taking nothing but grass and grain. It gives and gives and gives, as does the soul give and give and give.

Answer #3: The cow is so vital to life, the virtual sustainer of life for humans. In a society if you only had cows and no other domestic animals or agricultural pursuits, you could still survive and the children could survive with the butter, the cream and the milk to feed the children. The cow is a complete ecology, a gentle creature and a symbol of abundance.

Summary

Yes, the cow is considered very sacred in our religion and for very good reason. It's good qualities are those that we can emulate.

5) Are Hindus idol worshippers?

Introduction

No Hindus are not idle worshippers. I have never seen a Hindu worship in a lazy or idle way. They worship with great vigor and devotion, with unstinting regularity and constancy. There's nothing idle about our ways of worship! (A little humor never hurt when answering a silly question.)

But, of course, the question that is being asked is not about this. It is about graven images, like the Christian cross with Jesus hanging on it, or statues of Mother Mary and Saint Theresa, or the holy Kabaa in Mecca, or the Adigranth enshrined in the Golden Temple in Amritsar, or the Arc and the Torah of the Jews, the image of a meditating Buddha, the totems of the indigenous faiths (the so-called primitive faiths throughout the world), the artifacts of the many holy men of all religions. All these graven images are stood before in awe by the followers of these religions. The tooth of the Buddha in Sri Lankan town of Kandy is another loved and respected image. All religions have their symbols of holiness. The question is, Does this make all the above religions idol-worshippers? The answer is, No.

Answer #1: No, Hindus are not idol worshippers in the sense implied. They are intelligent people, and intelligent people do not worship stones or statues. Hindus invoke the presence of great souls living in higher consciousness into stone images so that we can feel the presence of God. Though we may have a stone image of a God, we are invoking the physical presence of the God into the stone image to bless us. Invocations of this nature can be performed by invoking God's presence in a fire, or in a tree, or in the enlightened person of a Sat Guru.

Answer #2: The human mind releases itself from suffering, as shown by all the religions, through the use of forms and symbols that awaken reverence and evoke sanctity. Even a fundamentalist Christian who rejects all forms of idol worship, including those of the Catholic Church and Episcopal Church, would resent someone who threw his Bible on the floor. This is because he considers it sacred. In Hinduism one of the ultimate attainments is that the seeker transcends the need of all form and symbol. This is the yogi's goal. In this way Hinduism is the least idol-oriented of all the religions of the world. There is no religion that is more aware of the transcendent, timeless, formless, causeless Truth. Nor is there any religion which uses more symbols to represent Truth in preparation for that realization.

Answer #3: No, no. Ten thousand times no. We do not worship idols. We invoke God within our temple through our highly trained priests into the sanctum. We invoke God within us through or highly trained Sat Gurus who teach us yoga. Yoga means to yoke oneself to God within.

Summary

If after all that the questioner is still interested, invite him or her to the Lemont temple and explain the process of the puja and the experiences to be had. Tell him or her that you don't have to be born a Hindu to be a Hindu. This is ridiculous Christian propaganda. You are a Hindu if you believe in karma, reincarnation, the existence of God everywhere in all things, and the existence of beings that are on a greater evolutionary path than ourselves. As a Hindu you are the converter, the one who can never be converted. Could anyone ever convince you that the law of gravity is an untrue law or that heat from a stove would not burn your hand? These are pragmatic laws we all know. Karma, reincarnation, invocation of the Deity are equally pragmatic laws known to Hindus who believe in these eternal Truths. Smile, have confidence as you give these answers. Don't be shy. There is no question that can be put to you in your karma that you cannot rise up to and fully satisfy the seeker.

6) Is there a rule about Hindus eating meat?

Introduction

This is a very touchy subject.

When you are asked this question, there are several ways that you can go, depending on who is asking the question and the background in which they have been raised. Basically, there is a rule, an overlying rule, which gives the Hindu answer to this query. It is called ahimsa, refraining from injuring-physically, mentally or emotionally-anyone or any living creature. The Hindu who wishes to strictly follow the path of non-injury to all creatures naturally adopts a vegetarian diet.

We have collected many scriptural quotes which counsel Hindus not to eat meat. There are references in the Vedas and Manu Dharma Shastras to this effect, as well. As in other matters, Hinduism has very few rigid "do's and don'ts." Rather, its injunctions are called restraints and observances. The ultimate authority for answers to such questions is one's own guru, or our religious community and sampradaya and our own understanding of the spiritual benefits from abstaining from eating meat. Let me put it this way. There are good Hindus who eat meat, and there are bad Hindus who are vegetarians.

Today in America and Europe there are literally millions of vegetarians. This is because they want to live a long time and be healthy. Many feel a certain moral obligation to their own conscience which they wish to fulfill. There are some good new books on vegetarianism, such as Diet for a New America by John Robbins. If you want to know about vegetarianism from the American perspective, write to us and we can refer you to some excellent books. Perhaps at your next meeting you can invite some of these authorities to come and speak to your group. There is also a fine magazine dedicated to the subject, "Vegetarian Times," which comes out monthly. Now to some answers that you can memorize when asked about vegetarianism and its relationship to Hinduism.

Answer #1: Simply put, vegetarians are more numerous in the south of India than in the north. This is because of climactic conditions and the Islamic influence within the north of our country. Our religion does not lay down rigid "do's and don'ts." There are no commandments. Our religion gives us the wisdom to make up our own mind on what we put in our body, for it is the only one we have, in this life at least.

Answer #2: All of our priests and religious leaders are definitely vegetarian, because they have to awaken the more refined areas of their nature in order to perform their work. Our soldiers and law-enforcement people are generally not vegetarians. This is because they have to keep alive their aggressive forces in order to perform their work. To practice yoga and be successful in spiritual life it is advisable to become a vegetarian. It is a matter of wisdom. Wisdom is the application of knowledge at any given moment.

Answer #3: Today, about twenty or thirty percent of all Hindus are vegetarians and the rest are not.

Summary

Through my forty years of presenting the eternal Truths of Hinduism, I have found that families who are vegetarian have fewer problems than those who are not. This is because when we eat meat, fish, fowl and eggs, we absorb the vibration of the instinctive creatures into our nerve system and this amplifies our own lower nature. Our lower nature is prone to fear, anger, jealousy, confusion, resentment and the like. We advise all members of my Saiva Siddhanta Church to be well-established vegetarians prior to initiation into mantram and then remain vegetarian afterward. However, we don't insist upon members becoming vegetarian if they are not seeking initiation.

7) Why do Hindu women wear the dot on the forehead?

Introduction

Not only women, but Hindu men also wear a dot on the forehead, indicating their third eye. The pottu is a very auspicious symbol, reminding those who ear it of their spiritual heritage and ideals, wherever they may be. It also serves to identify a Hindu among the members of all other religions. Muslim girls often cover their face with a veil. Christian girls wear a cross. Jewish boys wear small leather cases holding scriptural passages. Men and women of a particular faith often wish to identify themselves to each other, and they do so by wearing religious symbols which generally are blessed in their temples, churches and synagogues. In many cases a dot on the Hindu woman's forehead is similar to a beauty mark, just as European women used to wear a black dot on their cheek as a beauty mark. An unmarried girl wears a black dot, and a married girl a red one. Nowadays the dot's color complements the color of a lady's sari. "Wearing a dot on the forehead is largely a cultural symbol or a beauty symbol." This may be a good answer to this question if the person who asked the question is a little shallow and possibly antagonistic.

Answer #1: The dot in the middle of the forehead of the Hindu woman is a beauty mark not unlike the beauty marks European and early American women used to wear on the cheek. Let me put one on you right now and then you can look in the mirror and see how it enhances your natural beauty.

Answer #2: In the old days, Hindu men and women wore these marks, and they both also wore earrings. The dot has a mystical meaning, for it represents the Third Eye or spiritual sight which Hindus seek to awaken through yoga. Today, only the most traditional men observe this, but women continue to follow these traditions.

Answer #3: There are many marks other than the dot that we Hindus use. Each mark represents a different sect or denomination of our vast religion. We have four major sects, Saivism, Vaishnavism, Saktism and Smartaism. By these marks we know what a person believes, and therefore know how to begin conversations.

Summary

Do not be ashamed to wear the pottu on your forehead in the United States. It will distinguish you from all other people as very special person, a Hindu, a knower of eternal Truths. You will never be mistaken as belonging to another nationality or religion. For both boys and girls, men and women, the dot should be small or large depending on the circumstance, but should always be there under appropriate circumstances. Naturally, we don't want to flaunt our religion in the face of others. We observe that Christian boys and girls take off or conceal their crosses in the corporate business world.

8) Is the memorization of slokas and mantras essential to being a good Hindu?

Introduction

This is a question that obviously you won't be asked by anybody, so it will be answered just for all of your here today. Most mantras and slokas are in the Sanskrit language, and your knowledge of Sanskrit is probably like my own. Nil! We must realize that slokas are like affirmations and are spoken in the language the speaker understands. Though Sanskrit has a tremendous value because it is a spiritually powerful language, we should combine two languages, English and Sanskrit, when we are learning slokas. Repeat the sloka first in Sanskrit and then in good American English. This is like repeating affirmations. Affirmations remold our subconscious mind and keep us mentally alert. They remind us of the goal of life, they give us strength and power but, of course, only if we understand their meaning. If we do not know Sanskrit, the key is to speak the sloka first in Sanskrit and then speak it out again in English. Yes, of course, slokas are extremely important. Without them we would tend to forget our religion. They are capsules of our enlightenment heritage, much like E=MC2 capsulates the physicists' truth. These sacred utterances are to be said before sleep, upon awakening, in the shrine room in the morning, in the temple and before any important event.

Mantrams are different. They are sound vibrations seen in the inner astral atmosphere as light and color. Mantrams awaken latent brain cells. Some mantrams such as AUM can be said before initiation and others should not be used. The simple yet powerful mantram Aum harmonizes the physical forces with the emotional forces with the intellectual forces. When this happens, you begin to feel like a complete being. There are different mantrams taught within the four major sects of Hinduism. Mantrams are most generally given by the Sat Guru. Many of the most powerful mantrams need no translation. They are what they are. Their power is supreme. There is one great mantram at the very center of the Vedas which has the five syllables: "Na ma si va ya."Memorizing slokas and repeating mantras definitely is a vital part of our personal religious life. They should be memorized for a mystically, profound purpose. A mystical Hindu places stress on quality and not quantity. There are Sanskrit scholars who believe that their salvation lies in the numbers and complexity of the mantras and slokas they have at their command. Among themselves, they judge that those who know the most verses are necessarily the most enlightened.

The mystical Hindu knows that this is a false concept. He comprehends that a devotee can know but a single mantra, use it perfectly and wisely to reach God consciousness. Under no circumstances should we judge a person's attainment by how many verses he has memorized. Rather, we should judge it by how he uses the verses that he knows. Some of the greatest of all Hindus did not know a single syllable of Sanskrit or any other sacred language.

9) How can we use scriptures and the Bhagavad Gita or religious books as a practical guide to growing up in the United States?

Introduction

This, too, appears to be a personal question for the entire group to ponder. I will answer it simply, first by first asking if you ever heard of a religion called Jordanism? No, you haven't. But let us juxtapose it to Hinduism. Along the Jordan River Christianity, Islam and Judaism came up. Jordanism could become a modern word to name all three of these religions, which do have similar beliefs and practices. But, like the denominations now under the banner name of Hinduism, they are also three separate religions. Well, it was the Persian explorers attempting to explain a very complicated set of cultures and values around the Indus River which gave rise to our religion's modern name. They called it "Induism," which later became Hinduism. Hinduism is not really the name of our religion, but that is what it has come to be called in the media, history books, etc. So, we have to accept this. It would be impossible to change. There are four important surviving religions under the banner word Hinduism. These are Vaishnavism, Saktism, Saivism and Smartaism. So, nowadays, we say, "I am a Sakta Hindu...a Smarta Hindu...a Saivite Hindu...a Vaishnava Hindu."

Scriptures are very important to read. The four Vedas are the bible of all Hindus. Use scripture when you feel lonely or sad or not quite perfect. Listen to the wisdom of our forefathers and try to see how they would have faced a situation like yours. Use scriptures to meditate upon. Use scriptures to read on the bus on your way to work, or at night just before sleep. They will be like a compass, guiding you along the right path as you go through the experience of growing up in the United States.

Summary

And now, here you all are today at this wonderful Hindu Youth Conference in this multi-million-dollar temple. This is your temple. In twenty years you will be sitting on the board of trustees. Some of you may even become its priests, marriage or crisis counselors. May I invite you to listen to my 24-hour taped telephone message. It magically meets every human need. Dial (808) 822-SIVA (7482) and find out for yourself. You will hear what you need to know when you need to know it most. There is a different message every day.

Jai, Jai Balu Nataraja, Youth Day Coordinator. We knew you as a boy and we now know you as a man. Jai, Jai, for all of the 14 helpers, you all deserve nothing but praise. Aum Namasivaya.