DELHI, INDIA: The much awaited Encyclopedia of Hinduism is finally out. After the deep research conducted by about 2000 eminent scholars for about 20 years, it came in 6,600 multi-color pages divided into 11 volumes. It is jointly published by India Heritage Research Foundation and Rupa & Co. and is first of its kind on Hinduism.
The first preview of this compilation was organized at the Vivekananda International Centre in New Delhi on March 25 in the presence of eminent scholars, bureaucrats, educationists and leading personalities of the country including former Deputy Prime Minister Shri LK Advani, former Union HRD Minister Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, Shri Arif Mohammad Khan, former Governor of J&K Shri Jagmohan and many others.
Three volumes of the Encyclopedia are ready and eight others will be ready within a few weeks. It is a comprehensive compilation of the vast ocean of knowledge, history and experience that constitutes Indian culture. The content has been divided into different sections like art, Hinduism in global context, history, historiography and geography, language and literature, philosophy, polity, religion and spirituality, science, special institutions and movements, spiritual disciplines, scholarship in Hindu studies and women in studies.
Talking to Organiser, Sadhvi Bhagwati, secretary of the India Heritage Research Foundation and a disciple of Swami Chidanand Muni Saraswati who has been instrumental behind the publication of the compilation, said the Encyclopedia answers the questions people are often confronted with, like: What is Hinduism? Who is a Hindu?, etc. The historical details of Hinduism have been explained in various articles written by eminent scholars. More than 2,000 scholars have contributed in this publication.
Review of Encyclopedia of Hinduism
In March/April of 2010, on the holy banks of the Ganga in Rishikesh & Haridwar there is the greatest spiritual fair in the world, the Maha Kumbha Mela. Taking place every twelve years, the Kumbha regularly draws crowds of more than fifty million pilgrims from across the world. It is a time when the spiritual masters of all the different traditions and lineages come together to bestow their darshan and wisdom upon the masses. The Kumbha of 2010 will also mark a historic event – the release of the long awaited Encyclopedia of Hinduism, compiled by India Heritage Research Foundation. H.H. the Dalai Lama, H.H. Sri Shankaracharaya of Kanchi Peeth, Swami Jayendra Saraswati, Swami Ramdev, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Sant Shri Rameshbhai Oza, Sant Shri Morari Bapu and many more revered saints have already confirmed their presence at this auspicious event.
Celebration in honor of the upcoming and long awaited Encyclopedia of Hinduism was held at Cedar Gardens Banquets in Hamilton, NJ on October 10, 2009. The function was blessed by the presence of the founder of IHRF and inspirer of Encyclopedia of Hinduism, H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji. He is the president and spiritual head of Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh, India
The Encyclopedia of Hinduism has aptly been termed, “The Project of the Third Millennium.” Under the divine vision and guidance of India’s leading saint, H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, the Encyclopedia will mark the first time in history that the vast panorama of Indian culture is encapsulated in one complete work.
India’s cultural heritage is multistranded and complex, forming an intricate tapestry of wisdom, insight and tradition. The timeless truths are available and beneficial to people of all religions, all faiths and all walks of life. Hinduism is not a dogma, but rather a way of life that brings depth, richness, integrity, understanding and meaning to our daily lives.
To encapsulate an entire cosmos in a literary portfolio is an enormous task. Nevertheless, under the divine inspiration of H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, the India Heritage Research Foundation has undertaken the divine and momentous challenge of publishing the first, complete, authentic multi-volume Encyclopedia of Hinduism. This project will provide the first thorough and comprehensive compilation, integrating the vast ocean of knowledge, history and experience that is Indian culture.
Despite the influence of Hinduism across the globe, this spiritual tradition is widely misunderstood in the West. It has become imperative to provide an authentic, objective, scholarly, standardized and comprehensive source of reference and information.
The Encyclopedia will provide a better understanding of Hindu traditions, deepen inter-cultural dialogue and serve as a standard reference for students, teachers, seekers and anyone interested in the world’s oldest living tradition. The Encyclopedia will include approximately 7000 articles, ranging in length from 250 to over 5000 words, covering the depth and breadth of Hindu culture, tradition and civilization. The articles span twelve main subject areas: art, Hinduism in global context, history, historiography and geography, language and literature, philosophy, polity, religion and spirituality, sciences, social institutions and movements, spiritual disciplines, scholarship in Hindu studies and role of Hindu women.
The Encyclopedia has been prepared by over 1000 scholars all across the globe. Headquarters for EH were located at the University of South Carolina, Columbia where all articles from all satellite offices around the world were sent for approval and editing. Final operations of editing and review shifted to India in 2003. Under the guidance of Chief Editor Dr. K.L. Seshagiri Rao and Executive Editor Dr. Kapil Kapoor and Executive Editors in USA and India, the work is nearly complete. The articles have all been written and received by the Encyclopedia offices across the world and are now in the final stage of proofreading by Rupa & Co. publishers and the executive editorial team in Delhi.
The manuscript work is nearly complete, including the selection and matching of illustrations to articles.
Highlights of EH
First comprehensive Encyclopedia of Hinduism in history. Extensively researched & documented. Authentic, authoritative & illuminating. 12 main subject areas, 11 Volumes. 7500 original entries.Approx. 6 million words.Thousands of Illustrations. Cross referenced. Complete Index & Glossary.A product of the cooperative research of more than 1000 international scholars of Hinduism.
Hindu American Foundation (HAF) Issues reports on Hindu Rights around globe including Bangladesh & Pakistan
The Foundation’s sixth annual Hindu Human Rights Report details violations against Hindus in areas where they are minority – namely in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Fiji, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Trinidad and Tobago, in addition to Pakistan and the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir. It also includes a Hotspots of Trouble section which includes coverage on Afghanistan, Australia and Saudi Arabia. The report provides detailed accounts of human rights violations are in the areas of violence against women, murder, ethnic cleansing, temple destruction, socio-political ostracization, disenfranchisement, discrimination and forced conversions.
The 194 page report, now in its sixth year, entitled “Hindus in South Asia and the Diaspora, A Survey of Human Rights 2009,” is the only such report released internationally. Censuring eleven countries for either targeting Hindus to further religious and political agendas or failing to ensure equal rights and protections, the report is widely read by government officials and lawmakers here and earned spirited responses and denials from the American embassies of several countries indicted in the past.
“This annual report documents human rights violations of Hindus throughout South Asia and in countries that do not share values of democracy, pluralism and freedom,” said U.S. Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA) after reviewing the Foundation’s report. “By spotlighting which nations do not live up to these standards, nonprofit organizations like HAF stand up for the basic dignity and human rights for all people of faith and for free thought.”
“Our effort started with the belief that Hindu minorities were silent and unknown victims in Bangladesh, Pakistan and elsewhere, and documenting their realities has grown into a full time endeavor,” said Ramesh Rao, Ph.D., the Foundation’s human rights researcher and coordinator.”This year, the arrival of thousands of Hindu refugees from Bhutan brings a human face to the issues too many encounter simply because of their ethnicity and Hindu faith.”
Islamic Republic of Pakistan
- School textbooks continue to promote Islam and hatred and intolerance towards non-Muslims, including Hindus.
- Islamists continue to extend their influence throughout the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and other parts of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).
- Recurring reports point to an alarming trend of Hindu girls being kidnapped, raped, held in madrassas (Islamic seminaries) and forcibly converted to Islam.
- Poor Hindus continue to be subjected to inhumane conditions through the bonded labor system.
- Pakistan should remove all blasphemy laws. Those imprisoned under blasphemy laws should get their day in court within a period of two weeks. Long imprisonments without court appraisal constitute human rights abuse.
- Pakistan should reverse the 2005 decision mandating religious identification in passports.
- Pakistan should set up a Human Rights Commission and a National Minorities Commission to monitor the human rights condition and to enable minorities to enjoy the rights provided to the majority population.
- Pakistan should reform its education system in order to remove inaccuracies about other religions and promote tolerance and pluralism.
- The United States should demand that Pakistan stop supporting and financing all Islamic militant groups operating in the subcontinent. The United States must end all military assistance to Pakistan.
- The United States should continue dialogue with Pakistan on the issues of human rights and religious freedom and dispatch a fact-finding committee organized by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) to Pakistan.
Also see : >> Plight of Hindus in Pakistan & Bangladesh
posted by Upananda Brahmachari.