Hindu Students Council - Constuctive Criticism
I am writing this because I would like to start a discussion on HSC and
VHP, and the activites they support.
From what little I have managed to learn, it seems like HSC and VHPA are
dedicated to teaching Indian Americans about Hinduism. I think this is a
great goal which must be supported. However, I have noticed several problems
with the approach they seem to be taking.
First of all, my impressions are based exclusively on what I have heard
about the local HSC's activities (at Univ. of Houston), the national HSC
newsletter, and various postings throughout internet. So, if my information
is incorrect or incomplete, feel free to point this out.
I have noticed that HSC tends to focus almost exclusively on Advaitist
philosophy, the belief that attaining Brahman is the highest spiritual goal.
The problem here is that Advaitism is not the end-all and be-all of Hinduism.
The Dvaitist schools of thought, for example, have a very different outlook
on life which should be considered. If HSC wants to teach Indians about
Hinduism then it should not concentrate on any one school of Hindu thought.
Another problem with concentrating exclusively on Advaitism is that it
seems to cater to people who have a problem believing in God. I have heard
that there are HSC members at the local HSC which actually do not believe
in God. I think this is pretty amazing for a religious organization.
The other thing I have noticed is that HSC seems to want to educate people
about Hinduism, but does not actually do anything to teach them to become
good Hindus. I say this because, at the local HSC, there are many members
who are nonvegetarians, and some of them even eat beef! It seems to me that
simply bringing in speakers on Hinduism is not enough; perhaps HSC members
should try to take a more active part in the local Hindu temples and follow
the teachings of scriptures. To that end, HSC members should not simply
accept the interpretations of all Hindu 'scholars', but should try to find
authentic Swamis and literature whose ideas are consistent with scriptures,
free of interpretations based on personal bias.
On a related note, I have heard that Swami Vivekananda actually was also
nonvegetarian. If that is the case, then HSC and VHPA would do well to try to
find other Hindu swamis to hold up as examples to the Hindu youth.
I mean no offense by any of the above. Please do share your thoughts
with me on this thread. I am very interested in seeing HSC/VHPA continue
to propagate Hinduism, but I would also like to see them do a better job of