PLEASE VISIT www.CenterforPluralism.com for all information


Monday, April 16, 2012

Understanding Judaism

Posted from archives o f FoundationforPluralism@yahoogroups.com , July 16, 2007 for records
PRESS RELEASE :: Understanding Judaism
DallasTexas: - Sunday, July 1,  2007. The Foundation for Pluralism is committed to promoting understanding between peoples of different religious affiliations. "We believe knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to acceptance and appreciation of another point of view".
The Foundation for Pluralism has taken the initiative to present all religions in its programs. The goal is to bring people of different faiths together and provide a platform for them to share about their beliefs, their systems and rituals, while expanding the knowledge zone of each group.
We hope each one of us would walk out with an open mind and an open heart towards our fellow beings. It is difficult to shed the prejudices, but once we do, there is genuine freedom (Mukti, Moksha, Salvation, and Nirvana.) in it.    
Judaism: Everything you wanted to know about the Judaism, you can learn about it in this workshop. As with all faiths, non-Clarity, myths and mis-information are part of Judaism as well. Please come prepared with questions, we would like you to walk out of the workshop with a greater understanding of Judaism.
Dr. Howard Cohen is a student of his own tradition and history, a student of the early
Church, how it emerged from and related to its Jewish background, and the history that surrounded the writing of the Gospels. Dr. Cohen has been studying history and religion at SMU's department of religion and Perkins for over 30 years, and has been teaching Judaism to Christians and Christianity to Jews since 1975.
Pluralism Workshop: - What is Pluralism? What is a pluralistic attitude? Learn its application at work place, home, social situations and other circumstance. It is about co-existence ** (Questions to ponder - listed below)
  1. Is attempting to undermine the divinity of other faiths amount to arrogance? Does that appeal to God?
  2. Is blaming a religion, nation, race, or ethnicity for the acts of individuals' amount to deception?
  3. Is holding greed, anger, hate, or malice in our hearts depleting our freedom?
  4. Is ridiculing a person amount to ridiculing the creator?
  5. Is judging others without knowing them personally amount to _________ (fill in Please)?
  6. Is God free or some group owns him/her? Are we not limiting its _________ (fill in Please)?
  7. Does God make deals behind our back and favor some? Could God do such a thing?
In affairs of the world, religion appears to be a source of the problem; it certainly is not. You can always trace the wars, genocides, oppression and other atrocities to evil insecure stupid men. Please remember, the purpose of religion was to fix the evils of humankind and it continues to do so while some men still don't get it. Thanks God, the world is a better place today because of the Religion and spirituality, without which there would be chaos. Every Religion is on the same side, that of goodness for humankind. Finding the truth is one's own responsibility. Truth brings salvation.
If beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, then faith is in the heart of the believer. Let every one find peace his/her own way – Mike Ghouse
Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio, discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He founded the World Muslim Congress with a simple theme: "good for Muslims and good for the world." His personal Website is www.MikeGhouse.net and his articles can be found on the Websites mentioned above and in his Blogs: http://MikeGhouseforAmerica.Blogspot.com and http://MikeGhouse.Sulekha.com . He can be reached atMikeGhouse@gmail.com . Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Standing up for Hindus

The purpose of writing this piece is to inspire each one of you to do things for others –  If you are not willing to stand up for others, why should anyone stand up for you?

In the following compilation, I will highlight some of the work I have done with and for Hindus and Hinduism. This excludes the work for my motherland India. However, there is a lot of work prior t0 2003 that I need to collect and put it together.  

I am blessed to connect with Atheists to Zoroastrians and every one in between including Native Americans. 

As an Indian it was embarrassing for me that most of the Indians have no clue about each other – a few Hindus know about Muslims, some of them don’t even know about Jainism or Buddhism let alone Sikhism.  Same goes with Muslim and others. We live and work together, and yet we don’t know about the other.

What do we know?  The cooked versions and bad things about others, shame on us.

So, I ventured out into public in 1993 to teach and to facilitate knowledge about each other.  The Asian News Magazine offered glimpses of each religion and every week, we wrote about the essence of every festival. Then we continued the same on Asian News Radio from 1996-2001.

Since this chapter about Hindus, I will focus on Hinduism, as brief as I can.

Shri DD Maini wrote articles on Hinduism and his visits to every place of worship in India, and our Dallas Hindu Scholar Dr. Hasmukh Shah wrote about Hinduism besides others and our first Radio show on Religion started with Dr. Hasmukh Shaw’s interview about Hinduism.  Then I did 100 hours of talk show Radio on Hinduism over a period of two years (and of course others) with Swami Nityananda Prabhu of Hare Krishna Temple, we learned the whole Bhagvad Gita and amazing principles of life.

We did two workshops on Hinduism as a part of learning about each other.

When I was called in by different Radio stations on Christmas day or other days to talk about Religion, I always talked about Hinduism (and others). I visited the Maya Temples in Mexico, there I prayed the Hindu (and other) prayers in the underground wells, and on the temple grounds.  All of this is available on my different sites and blogs.

Check out Dallas Morning News’s Texas Faith column – of the 80+ articles I have written, 70 of them carry a note about Hinduism. You can visit www.TheGhousediary.com and plug Texas Faith in the search box, and you can see most of the articles. For 2010 and before it is on blogs of Islam and Pluralism. 

For the first time in Dallas, I was able to bring all the Hindu Temple management teams together at the Program Shanti Shanti at Richardson Civic Center.  Mihir Meghani, President of HAF was introduced to Dallas for the first time.

The second time (and a few times after that) was the first Unity Day event in 2005 pictures at  www.UnitydayUSA.com  

As an individual it is my duty to share whatever little good I can and counter the bad with good.

We have various religious leaders visiting from overseas, particularly Hindu and Muslims, most of them preach goodness of their religion and a handful of them preach hate from the temples and the Mosques.  They come here to tell Hindus or Muslim to hate each other, their talk is loaded with hate in the place of worship and I always wonder how my Hindu and Muslim friends can listen to that. At least in Dallas,  the Muslim Imams give sermons about co-existence , however once in a blue moon some one comes along and speaks ill of others, both in Hindu and Muslim communities.   

If you are not comfortable in telling them that they are wrong, let me know, I will do that.  I will not even spare the big mega church Pastor Jeffress who called Hinduism a cult.  

I value free speech and the only way to combat evil is with goodness and love.

As I make the time, I will update this, there is a lot of work done prior to 2003, from when I kept records of my work inDallasIndians@yahoogroups.com and the blogshttp://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com and two sites world Muslim Congress and Foundation for pluralism.  There is a whole big story prior to 2003 that I need to put together…

Again, the purpose of compiling this piece is to inspire each one of you to do things for others. If you are not willing to stand up for others, why should anyone stand up for you?


Senator Williams' Remarks Offended Hindus
Governor of Kentucky attended a factory opening ceremony that created 275 jobs for Americans. Senator 
Williams  criticized the Governor for sitting cross-legged with a "dot on his forehead," and described the ceremony as "polytheistic." It is not only a Hindu issue, it is indeed an American issue and so I spoke up and wrote a piece and hope to meet him and share the wisdom of Hinduism.

Bigtory against Hinduism in RussiaBigotry exists not because of bigots, but because we have not spoken out against it. The Arcbishop of Siberia attacks the Bhagavad Gita, the holy book of Hinduism. I just could not sit and let the ignorance become the currency. So I wrote and asked Muslim, Christians, Jews, Sikhs and others to call the Russian Embassy in Washington DC and thanks to all those who made the call. This is how we build cohesive societies. 

Surya Namaskar and Muslim response
The Surya Namaskar is a Hindu religious tradition, a beautiful act of bowing to the Sun and welcoming the first rays of dawn as an expression of gratitude to the energy it breathes in to life and everything about life. I was urging the Muslims to participate in the event in their own way.

Doniger’s book on Hindu history - Factual errors
The book: Hindus, an alternate history is out now. Wendy Donigers writes on Indian History laden with errors. It is our responsibility to hightlight the errors, and as civil socieites we cannot perpetuate the errors and pass on to the next generation as facts. Let the reader "beware clause" be added to the book that the facts are not verified.

Swami Vivekananda
When Swamiji talks about, “The Christian is not to become a Hindu or a Buddhist,” He was talking about religion is a pathway to spirituality.

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi
Among Hindus there is beautiful tradition of invoking that aspect of God which removes barriers and paves the way for a smoother life. The icon that represents this aspect of God is known as Ganesh, Ganesha, or Vinayak depending on the region, most Hindus around the world invoke Ganesh before they start any thing in life from starting their day, to opening a new business or wearing new clothes or starting a social ceremony. 

Should Christians practice YogaIn my weekly Dallas Morning News, I wrote about anti-yoga talks. Mohler seems to be threatened by the popularity of yoga, a beautiful practice to bring composure to oneself. He is obsessed with the idea that yoga is a bait to lure his congregation away into "a spiritual practice that threatens to transform their own spiritual lives into a `post-Christian, spiritually polyglot' reality", and then he asks, "Should any Christian willingly risk that?" How mistaken can one be?  

Essence of Diwali
Diwali is the Indian festival of lights and light symbolizes hope and positive energy, it indicates the victory of good over evil; a new beginning; seeing the light at the end of tunnel and light is also a symbol of knowledge as it is an internationally used.

Dallas Religious Leaders, Swami Nityananda Prabhu
The open mindedness of Swami Nityananda Prabhu of Hare Krishna Hindu Temple; a panelist on this forum is admirable. Where ever I run, people love to talk about his teachings from Bhagvad Gita on my Radio Show, called Wisdom of Religion.  He has indeed opened up minds of non-Hindus to see the wisdom of Hinduism.
Essences of Janmashtami Celebration of Sri Krishna's birthday, the man who gave us so much wisdom in Bhagvad Gita. The book is an encapsulation of his advise to Arjuna when he goes through different phases of thoughts and actions. ...It is one of the best self analysis books to read.

Roberts Jeffress and his bigotryI am surprised that the Israel Lobby has spared this man. He has not spared Mormons, Muslims, Catholics, Jews, Buddhists and Hindus in his rants.

Hinduism 101 Workshop – Dallas Morning News
The Foundation for Pluralism, a Dallas-based interfaith organization, will host the workshop at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 14315 Midway Road in Addison. Organizer Mike Ghouse, who founded the group and is the event's moderator, said this workshop will cover the origins of Hinduism, the concept of rebirth, India's caste system and more.

Happy Ramnvami – Birth Celebrations of Lord RamaIt is a Hindu festival, celebrating the birth of Lord Rama to King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya of Ayodhya. Ram is the 7th incarnation of the Dashavatara of Vishnu.SreeRama Navami festival falls on the ninth day of the month of Chaitra in the Hindu calendar. and marks the end of the nine-day Chaitra-Navratri celebrations. I will be happy to do a presentation on the event. I enjoy listening to the stories about Rama, an exemplary person to model life after.

Diwali Vandana
Diwali is the Indian festival of lights, and the light symbolizes hope and positive energy; It is a poem I wroten

Hanuman Jayanthi
Hanuman plays a critical role in the Indian epic Ramayana. It is the story of King Rama who was banished to the forest for fourteen years. While in exile, he remains defacto king, as his younger brother Bharata who was the king, submits to the will of Rama, his elder step brother.
Contd: http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2012/04/happy-hanuman-jayanthi-hindu-festival.html

Standing up for a Hindu Family in NorwayNorway is one of the nations looked up for best the civil conduct; however, they have failed to even study the culture of their inhabitants. Here Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharaya fed their child with hands as is the custom in their home land, India, and had the kids sleep on their bed. The Norway government found that to be offensive and abusive and took the child away from the family. 

Happy Holi, India’s festival of colors and joyHoli is an Indian festival of radiance. It is a celebration of spring with colors that nourish one’s joyous moods and complements the function of respective elements in the atmosphere.

Let’s leave Ram Sethu Alone
On the faith side, Ram Sethu is a bridge built by Hanuman and his friends; this was the bridge that Rama crossed over to go to Sri Lanka. It is not only an Indian heritage; it is a world heritage site. We may need to explore this and learn about the science and art of bridge making during the times of Rama. How did they fill the dirt in the ocean, what materials did they use? Will it bring an understanding of Ramayana?http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2007/09/lets-leave-ram-sethu-alone.html

Rama – A Muslim Perspective
As beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, faith is in the heart of the believer.
There is a consistent theme in Qur'aan of looking the world from a pluralistic point of view. Qur'aan, Al-Hujurat, Sura 49:13 " O mankind, we have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. The noblest of you, in sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Allah know and is aware of everything."

Harassment of Hindus in Kazkhastan
The Muslim community condemns this insane act of the Government of Kazakhstan, I will seek support from Muslim groups to take the necessary action. Please recommend the course of action we can take. Who should we write to? Who should we call? Is this a religious harassment? Please send us the details.

Hinduism and American PluralismWhat role does Hinduism play in the emerging pluralistic society? The author Jakob De Roover explores it well in the following article (after my comments)

Hindu Muslim DialogueAn innovative approach to Hindu-Muslim dialogueThis reminds me of my College Professor Ramachandran and my weaver friend Fakhru Bhai; a Hindu and a Muslim respectively and I used to discuss and understand the wisdom of each aspect of religion.http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2008/05/hindu-muslim-dialogue.html

Supreme Court Brief Filed on Behalf of Hindu Americans 
In behalf of the Foundation for Pluralism and World Muslim Congress, I support the case filed by the Hindu American Foundation and hope the Supreme Court decides in favor of opening the hearts and minds of all people to include every faith and tradition in public square.

Ayodyha – proud of my India
The court has finally made the decision and so far peace has prevailed.  I was not able to sleep last night late until 3:00 AM and thank God, goodness has yet prevailed. If people don't agree, let it go to Supreme court, we have to prove to the world that we are a nation that respects rule of Law. Let other nations in the world look up to our model and never, every dream of becoming like the very ones we denigrate.


Ayodhya on 18th Anniversary and democracy
The Babri Masjid controversy has been around since Mid Nineteenth century and after disputes, the right wing political parties demolished the 15th Centutry structure in Ayodhya on December 6th, 1992.

Am I a Hindu?
This is one of the most read articles among my Muslim and Christian friends. I came across this excellent piece "Am I a Hindu" explaining religion in its simplest terms. I recommend every one to take a few minutes to read through this. It is the simplicity of talking with a young girl that makes this article beautiful. I have added a few comments and additional information below the article.

Bangladeshi Hindus Harassed
The World Muslim Congress expresses outrage at the Municipal Council of Chakuli, in Mirpur, Bangladesh for evicting families from their ancestral Homes.

Muslims condemn temple desecration
Dallas, Texas. Sunday, August 5, 2007- "It is a shame that people stoop so low to desecrate a place of worship. We condemn this crime" reflects Mike Ghouse, head of the Foundation for Pluralism and the World Muslim Congress.

Muslims condemn demolition of Hindu Temple
Dallas, Texas - The World Muslim Congress condemns the demolition of Hindu Temple in Lahore and urges the Government of Pakistan to restore the temple.
 Muslims follow Islam, a monotheistic religion but not a monolithic religion. Muslims who have deeply imbibed the teaching of Islam condemn the act of demolition of the temple in Pakistan.

Muslims condemn intolerance in Malaysia
The act of carrying a head of a bull is un-acceptable and we urge the Malaysian Government to punish these loonies as criminals bent on disturbing peace of the state. They should not be cited as Muslims and their religion does not permit them to do that, they are criminals and must be cited as such.

Protecting Pakistani Hindus
Let every Pakistani speak up and be a defender of other Pakistani, be it a Hindu, Ahmadiyya, Christian, Jew, Zoroastrian, Shia, Bohra, Ismaili or a Sunni. We need more voices to make this work. May God give us the passion to speak out and do the right thing. Amen!


Condemning Ghazni
This issue has been a sore subject with the Indians. Ghazni did destroy the Somnath temple, and it has been believed as destruction of Hindu Places of Worship.

Malaysia – Bangaramma Verdict
The verdict amounts to forcing Ms. Bangarma to believe what she does not believe, that is not Islamic in any sense. The original intention of such ruling was to prevent treason against the state for switching loyalties to harm the state, sort of double agent. Bangarma is no harm to the state, her belief in Hinduism must be honored.

Muslims Speak out against Harassment of Minorities
The Talibans have begun harassing Ismaili Muslims in Pakistan. They would not spare any one and will not be satisfied until the last person left obeys them. If this trend is not checked and criticized, they may think that they have the approval from the Muslims. They don't.


Catholic Church firing the priest for allowing a Hindu wedding in the church and my protest and the threat calls from California diocese.

My father's advice on communal riots

Interfaith dialogue with my English Teacher RamaChandra and Fakhru Bhai

Add the six page story on me from Dallas Observer.

Mike Ghouse is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. He is a professional speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, civic affairsIslamIndia,Israel, peace and justice. Mike is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity showon Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he writes weekly at Dallas Morning News and regularly at Huffington post,and several other periodicals. www.TheGhousediary.com is Mike's daily blog.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012



Mike Ghouse is a leading thinker, writer and a speaker on Pluralism / Interfaith. His talk and opening prayers reflect the values and words from every religious tradition. He writes a column on pluralism every week at Dallas Morning News in Texas Faith section. He is available to speak most through the day as of now.

Website: www.ProfessionalSpeakerMikeGhouse.com
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Mike Ghouse is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. He is a professional speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, civic affairs, Islam, India, Israel, peace and justice. Mike is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he writes weekly at Dallas Morning News and regularly at Huffington post, The Smirking Chimp and several other periodicals. www.TheGhousediary.com is Mike's daily blog.
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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

TEXAS FAITH: Is God good?

God is neither good nor bad. He is like the nuclear power, in itself, in the right hands he is a blessing, and in the wrong hands he is a barbarian. We can make the Bible, Quran, Torah, Bhagvad Gita, Guru Granth Saheb and other religious text to be hell or heaven; it is not about God, but about the disgusting selfishness in us. We need to take responsibility for the balance and not blame God or Religion for it.

Now, onto this week's question, which panelist Cindy Rigby suggested after she read this column by Gary Gutting, a Notre Dame Philosophy professor. The essay hits on several major questions, but the one for this week deals with this issue: If you believe in God, do you believe God is good? If so, why?

Fifteen Texas Faith Panelists weigh in on this, here is Mike’s take:

If you don't believe God is good, please explain.

MIKE GHOUSE, President Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas

God is neither good nor bad, and it is not micro-managing every moment of the universe either.

It is not a being, not a thing, and not an entity but simply the energy that caused a "balanced universe" and functions on the principle of balance, where every component of it is programmed to seek its own balance; both physical and metaphysical.

For lack of linguistic expression, we normally address God as "him" instead of "her." God only knows what it is. Indeed, we have created God in our own image. Each one of the 7 billion of us has a belief and a perception, each perception is unique like our thumb print.

The Jewish culture expresses it beautifully in a dialogue between God and Abraham to illustrate the point. Apparently God tells Abraham to be grateful. He says, "I created you, and you exist because of me." To which Abraham retorts, "Wait a minute, you exist because of me. Had it not for me, who would have known you? "

The dished-out versions of God did not appeal to me for nearly half of my life, but in my reflective moments, I believed that there is something that is causing life and death, and systematically changing forms of matter, not necessarily second by second, but according to a well-defined system.

There is a song in Urdu/ Hindi language by the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. It was a signature song for my talk radio show between 2003 and 2005. And it was called "Wisdom of Religion, all the beautiful Religions."

Our fellow panelist Nityananda Das co- hosted over 100 hours of talk on Hinduism with me, while I did 500 hours of wisdom of all religions. The show opened with the song, "Koi to hai jo nizam-e-hasti chala raha hai, wahi khuda hai."

There is some energy, some power out there that has programmed to run the world systems with precision; someone who is causing day and night, someone who is changing the seasons, someone who is causing the planets to remain in orbits and someone who gives life and ends it as well... that someone must be God.

When universe came into being, through evolution, creation or big bang, it produced two major items: Matter and Life.

Matter is programmed to "remain" balanced with a few anomalies built into it. But overall the universe is on autopilot. It is programmed to run with precision and it will. Jupiter, Earth and the moon will orbit precisely, planets and other universes are expanding and shrinking but have their own space, and their own systems functioning with the laws of physics in place.

However, life in general, but human life in particular was not set on autopilot. A new component was added between balance and life; free will and a brain capable of finding the balance.

So this creator or causer of life is about balance. When we are at balance we have found home (God), defined in terms of living without anxiety, fear or discomfort. I believe this was the bottom line message of Abraham, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Jesus, Muhammad, Nanak, Bahaullah, Confucius and all the great teachers.

They manifested love of the creator God (balance) and sought creating cohesive societies where no one has to live with fear of the other. Their intensified effort was directed to get us out of utterly disgustingly selfish interests to the interests of the humanity to achieve salvation, mukti, moksha, nijaat and freedom. Also known as being in heaven.

God is like the nuclear power, in itself, it is neither good nor bad, but in the right hands he is a blessing, and in the wrong hands he is a barbarian (Quran 84:7-15). We can make the Bible, Quran, Torah, Bhagvad Gita, Guru Granth Saheb and other religious text to be hell or heaven; it is not about God, but about the disgusting selfishness in us. We need to take responsibility for the balance and not blame God or Religion for it.

For the rest of the fourteen opinions, please visit Dallas Morning News: http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2012/04/texas-faith-is-god-good.html
MikeGhouse is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. He is a professional speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, civic affairs, Islam, India, Israel, peace and justice. Mike is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he writes weekly at Dallas Morning News and regularly at Huffington post, The Smirking Chimp and several other periodicals. His daily blog is www.TheGhousediary.com