been enjoying some diaspora Hinduism related threads by @vjgtweets and @elektrotal lately

I usually agree with Vishal on basically everything but here "practice, not belief" is something that seems to need expansion/complication (unless I'm misinterpreting) [1]
[2] five beliefs:
1. never sculpt what u worship
2. u live once, die once
3. die in a state of "unbelief" (unbaptized/kufr) & yr actions don't matter, it's eternal hell
4. everybody shd (& one day WILL) believe the same thing
5. one true God; other Gods false, ALL Goddesses false
[3] very, very hard to find a Hindu, of any description, who subscribes to all of these beliefs. or even one or two of those beliefs, in my experience. yet these are the consensus belief-cluster (with minor variations in proper nouns) of the majority of humanity
[4] Hinduism may well be defined by belief: its dissent from this huge, and currently expanding, near-consensus. this is the Transcendent Dissent that has attracted, and continues to attract, the ire, contempt, and aggression of the world's largest, proselytizing faiths
[5] within the vast field of free play of metaphysical speculation that opens up once the Transcendent Dissent is embraced, NONUNIFORMITY of belief (paradoxically) unites Hindus. great schisms in other faiths? divorce law & succession struggles. both parties agreed on basics
[6] and as for practice uniting Hindus, how many south indians do garba on Navratri? that's a Gujarati Hindu thing. we Gujaratis don't travel south for that one Tamil bullfighting festival. again, nonuniformity of practice. contrast the Hajj
[7] Diasporic/American Hinduism has failed to evolve living festivals, architecture, rituals of its own--its correctly identified stagnation, petrifaction

part of the reason is its raw human material: STEM-heavy doctors, engineers, & IT professionals aren't going to drive this
[8] this is hard in the best of circumstances. Naipaul described the rituals, drained of meaning, preserved as if in amber, that his indentured servant forefathers brought from India to Trinidad, & carried out robotically, without any buy-in from their children
[9] but we've only been here a minute really. confidence may yet come with numbers & living examples of integrated people: people who thrive creatively in America in the space created by the Transcendent Dissent at the belief level & nonuniformity at the practice level
[10] prediction: a living American Hindu literature (as distinct from "South Asian American" adjustment-angst lit) will appear first.

don't ask me how I know that but I know

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More from @AmitMajmudar

15 Aug
Alessandro Manzoni, in his 1827 historical novel The Betrothed, describing the public and governmental response to a 17th century Milanese plague. How devastatingly familiar! ImageImage
“It’s just the flu,” 17th century edition: Image
Here in Ohio, angry people demonstrated outside the health director Dr Amy Acton’s house, and businesspeople raged at her measures.... Back in the 17th c, citizens also went after the doctors trying to do the right thing: ImageImage
Read 5 tweets
11 Jun
1/ ETHICS & transparency: ur looking at where the disbursements go but ur not looking at where the endowment is parked.
i guarantee u those 257 mil aren't sitting in a savings acct earning 0.9%.
hedge funds. arms manufacturers? recently-bailed-out corps?
2/ guessing lots of it is in Lilly stock. do you feel good about Big Pharma? Lilly & its co-conspirators r the reason insulin costs so much in the US. read these screenshots from DrugWatch if u don't believe me. ImageImageImageImage
3/ btw Bienen (who recently resigned) was taking home 380k+ per yr. --spit in the bucket for a fmr bank exec but still--that's a lot of poets u could help out. what exactly did this guy *do*? step 1, eliminate some execs. i bet there's ppl who'd do a better job for free coffee
Read 13 tweets
29 Apr
of all forms, the sestina comes closest to the polyphony of early Western music.

invented in the 12th cent by Arnaut Daniel, brought to Italian by Dante.
earliest surviving piece of 6-part music in English is a rota dated c. 1240 ("Sumer is icumen in")
this is a strain of music that attained its highest expression in the Baroque period, with the fugue

in my own praxis, this form does best when it embraces its fugual & somewhat recursive nature

there was a playful, virtuosic element in the troubadour tradition.
as with all forms, the form itself can lead to forced discoveries, a subject very little discussed in the teaching of the sestina or of poetic form generally…
Read 6 tweets
15 Apr

1/ Sanskrit Deva, often translated as "god" or "deity", comes from the root word for "light" and might more closely be translated as "luminary" or "radiant one"

etymologically kin to proto-Indo-european "deus" thru "deiwos"
2/ what we are saying when we say these words--what the language is saying *through* us--is that your Deva / your Deus is being who shines for you--because of them, you can see--and who, if you take that being within your heart & become transparent enough, shines through you
3/ in Indian thought there is the idea of the "ishtadevata", the wished-for-God--that is, of the many thousands of potential devas (within Hinduism but also more generally across faiths), you choose one as the focus of your worship
Read 6 tweets
15 Apr

1/ always wondered why the medieval church persecuted mystics like Meister Eckhardt who believed in the annihilation of the soul in God (unio mystica) which is a commonplace of mystical thinking, earliest expressed in Vedantic/Upanishadic texts
2/ similar to the orthodox Sunni persecution of a Sufi mystic like al-Hallaj (who visited India and studied Vedanta); his assertion ana al-Haqq (I am the Real) got him killed, since al-Haqq was one of the 99 most beautiful names of Allah
3/ Today whilst audiobooking Johan Huizinga's Waning of the Middle Ages I heard Huizinga posit that the animosity toward such mystics stemmed *not* from the perception of overweeningly prideful equation of the self (Skt, atman) with the ineffable Ground of Being / God/ Brahman
Read 5 tweets
17 Mar
#SaiBaba Early 20th century Indian saint & healer based in Shirdi (modern-day Maharashtra), uncannily operative even now--skeptic & man of science though I am, this I cannot deny Image
(my conviction is reinforced by his uncanny connection to my family, the sundry instances of which I won't go into here) Image
colorized photograph of #SaiBaba on his begging rounds in Shirdi. btw to this day no one knows if he was Hindu or Muslim; he considered official affiliations to be of no consequence Image
Read 6 tweets

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