This week I am headed to the Hindu Temple in Atlanta so that the students in my World Religions class may see a living faith in action. When they fill out their final evaluation forms, many of them will say that the field trips were the best part of the class, and I will agree with them.
The Supreme Court of Nepal has ordered an inquiry into whether the centuries-old tradition of worshiping a virgin girl as a “living goddess”—called the Kumari Devi—has led to the exploitation of young girls and violates their human rights.
In their long struggle for equality, India’s dalits, or “untouchables,” have often exchanged their Hinduism for Islam, Christianity, Sikhism or Buddhism, believing that they will better their lives by doing so. They have been persuaded that Hinduism, with its varna ashramas (caste distinctions), has been solely responsible for all their ills.