A Glimpse behind ancient Hindu Practices

A glimpse behind ancient Hindu Practices - Vanamali Mataji, Rishikesh

The universe is run according to certain scientific laws and unless we follow these laws we are bound to end up by being unhappy. This is the problem with human beings today. Our unhappiness is caused by our inability to follow natural laws based on science. Hinduism is the only religion in the world which is based on the scientific laws of Nature that is why there was never a controversy between science and religion as was found in the west. However there is a mis-understanding that Hinduism is hopelessly unscientific and based on a bundle of superstitions. This grossly unfair idea was subtly inserted into the Hindu psyche by the westerners who first came to India because they were completely at sea to understand a religion which seemed to be totally different from their own standard conceptions about God, Nature and man. The rishis of ancient India knew that there was no dichotomy between these three – nature, God and man as was supposed by Semitic religions. The religion known as the Sanatana Dharma which they gave to the country of their origin was totally based on scientific validities. They did not preach or propagate a religion, but a way of life into which was imbedded the truths of Nature which were the truths of science. But they also knew that if they tried to give scientific validity for all their extortions, they would not be understood at all by most people. In ancient times if anything had to have validity it had to have a background of spirituality and moral ethics. Therefore they exhorted their followers to do certain actions which would give them spiritual benefits and did not disclose the true facts to them that these commands were actually based on science. Today however we live in a science oriented world and anything, if it has to be accepted by the masses has to have scientific validity. Thus all the ancient so-called Hindu superstitions, when looked at from a scientific angle have disclosed the fact that all of them without exception are based on certain scientific truths by following which we will get better health and be able to function as better human beings. So today Hinduism is on a better wicket than any other religion since it is the only religion which is based on science. Here we will take a few examples of the commonly used actions and ideas in Hinduism and prove that they are indeed based on science.

Namaste or folding the palms in Greeting
Let us first take the common Hindu practice of greeting each other by folding the hands together and saying “Namaste”. This is of course an action which is normally done when we go to a temple and face the deity. It shows a high degree of respect and acceptance of the fact that we are facing something which is divine. This same action is done when we meet somebody and this implies that we are bowing to that divine which is present in that person however great or lowly, big or small, he or she might be. This is recognition of the divinity present in every human being whatever be his caste or religion. This forges a bond between us and the person on a transcendental level and not just on the physical level.
Secondly, the modern science of reflexology has recognised the fact that the tips of the fingers carry nerves to all parts of the body and hence when we join our palms together every time we meet someone, the fingers touch each other and stimulate these pressure points so that the corresponding parts of the body become more alive.
Another point to be remembered is that the habit of shaking hands is really not such a healthy habit since the person may be carrying some germs which will be passed on to us by the contact.

The dot or line on the forehead.
In ancient days all Hindus, males and females had a dot or a mark between their eyebrows. People may think that this is only a sort of spot which enhances the beauty of the face. No doubt it does do this but again there is a scientific reason behind this. The spot between the eyebrows is known as the ajna chakra or the third eye, in modern parlance. This is the spot where the mind has its abode during the day. During the night it reposes in the anahata or heart chakra. These chakras are whorls of energy and some of them correspond to the endocrine glands which have been recently discovered by western science and which they feel have a lot to do with the balance and health of the whole body. Of course our rishis were well aware of this fact a long time ago and they asked people to wear some sort of dot on the ajna chakra. When we are applying the kum-kum (vermilion powder) our finger automatically presses this chakra and energises the mind, which become alert. Moreover whenever a person looks at us, their gaze is immediately drawn toward the dot which is our third eye. This again activates our chakra and makes our mind more concentrated so that we can listen or talk to the other person in a better manner. The kum-kum or vermilion which is used by women is not a synthetic product as it is now. The process of making it is quite elaborate and is done very well in the south, especially, Kanchiupuram and Madurai, both in Tamil Nadu. It is actually a mixture of turmeric and lime and is exposed to the rays of the moon for a fortnight before it is ready. This mixture again passes through the skin and beautifies the skin.
Nowadays of course people no longer know the reason for this and they use synthetically made powder or to make things easier, dots and other shapes made of some synthetic material. Of course even then if the dot is kept in the right place it will still have some value but sometime people place it high above the forehead and not on the chakra which of course, has not much efficacy.
There are three types of material which used to be used in olden times for making these dots and all three correspond to one of the three gunas which are sattva, rajas and tamas. 1. The vermilion powder has been discussed already. This is related to the worship of the goddess and stands for rajas or the quality of kinesis or action. Shakti is responsible for all action in the universe. She is always personified as a goddess with various names. Naturally her colour should be red, the colour of energy and beauty.
2. Sandal paste. This is made out of sandal wood and is very cooling and soothing to the mind when kept on the forehead. Sandal paste has the quality of sattva or balance and harmony and Vishnu is the god connected with this quality. All Vaishnavites (devotees of Vishnu) wear sandal paste on their forehead.
3. Vibhuti or Bhasmam means ashes. This has the quality of tamas or inertia and is connected with Shiva, the destroyer in the trinity. This vibhuti has many medicinal qualities and can be applied to cuts, wounds, itches etc, and has immediate effect. However these ashes have to be made in a certain way. A few days before Shivaratri one has to make round cow dung cakes with fresh cow dung and place them inside a pile of rice husk. This has to be set on fire. Rice husk does not burn like firewood but will keep smouldering for many days. On Shivaratri day, you have to carefully take out the cow dung cakes which will be remaining intact in shape inside the smouldering fire. These have to be carefully taken out and powdered. In fact it will turn into powder as soon as you touch it so it has to be handled with great care. This is to be offered to Shiva on Shivaratri day and some of it should be used for abhishekam (poured over the lingam). This has to be mixed with the rest of the vibhuti and kept in a safe place to be used daily or as and when it is necessary.
Thus we see that the use of different types of dots or lines on the foreheads of Hindus all have a great esoteric and scientific significance.

Toe rings worn by married women.
It is normal for married women to wear toe rings on the second toe of both feet. This is put on their toes by their husbands and is about the only time a husband touches his wife’s feet. This custom has a deep scientific principle underlying it. An essential nerve connects this toe with the uterus and passes on to the heart. Wearing a ring on this toe stimulates this nerve and strengths the uterus. It helps to regulate the blood flow and normalize the menstrual cycle. In this way it ensures a safe and good pregnancy. It also sustains the foetus while it is in the womb. The toe ring is always made of silver, never of gold. Silver absorbs polar energies from the earth when the foot is pressed down and passes it to the body.

Ringing of bells in temples.
It is a practice amongst Hindus to ring the bell before entering the sanctum. Bells are also rung during the pujas (rituals). The sound made by bells which are made of certain specific metals cause sounds which set up vibrations in or brain and surroundings. The sound spreads in waves to the ecosphere and keeps echoing into space, like the waves set off in a pond when we throw a stone into it. They will keep on till they reach the banks. The sound of the bell also results in an echo which will last for 7 seconds which will have positive effects on all the seven chakras.

Why do Hindus circumbambulate (go round) temples?
Temples are always strategically placed at those places where positive energy is abundantly available from the magnetic and electric wave distributions of north/south pole thrust. The main idol is placed in the core center of the temple, known as “*Garbhagriha*” or *Moolasthanam*. In fact, the temple structure is built after the idol has been placed. This *Moolasthanam* is where earth’s magnetic waves are found to be maximum. Moreover the idol itself is made of certain metals or stone and before putting it in place, a Yantra or mystic design made out of copper is placed under it. The copper plate absorbs earth’s magnetic waves and radiates it to the surroundings. This Yantra will keep on emitting vibrations which are activated by the ringing of the bell. These vibrations emanate from the idol in concentric circles and like the sound of the bell this energy whorls keep spreading out to the outer walls of the temple and even beyond. The devotee who is going round the temple is engulfed in this energy field and gets maximum benefit the more times he goes round. That is why people make vows to do 108 times and so on. Some people do this with their whole body touching the ground. Naturally they get extra benefit not only of the vibrations emanating from the sanctum but from contact with the earth which is also emitting energy.

Why do Hindus eat with their hands?
There is a deep science behind this particular Hindu custom for which we are despised by the westerners. Food is a gift from God and eating is an art in which all the five senses have to be involved in order to get maximum benefit and pleasure. The five senses are sight, smell, taste, sound and touch. Western culinary techniques take into consideration the first three of these senses but totally disregard the other two. It is  deeply conscious of the fact that food should look good and be artistically arranged and it should smell good and of course taste good. But they make no use of the other two senses of sound and touch. This is like using only three fingers instead of all five. If the hand is to be of use we must use all five fingers. Similarly if eating has to be a fulfilling action it has to take all five senses into consideration. So in Indian cooking no meal is complete unless we serve something which produces a sound like crunching. AND most important we will never be able to relish the taste of any food completely unless we use the sense of touch and feel the food with our fingers. God has given the human being five fingers to use as spoons and forks and all children automatically use their hands to put food into their mouth. Western parents have to forcibly insist that the child uses an artificial aid instead of the ones given by god to shovel food into his mouth!

Why are Hindus asked to sleep with their heads to the South?
The human body is actually a huge magnet which attracts the beams from the Earth’s magnetic fields located in the South and North Poles. When we sleep with our head towards the north, our body’s magnetic field becomes completely asymmetrical to the earth’s magnetic field. This forces our heart to work harder in order to overcome this and leads to a rise in blood pressure and general discomfort. Our bodies also have a significant amount of iron in the blood. When we sleep with head to the North, the iron from the whole body starts to congregate in the brain and can lead to headaches, cognitive decline and brain degeneration.

Why do Hindus to pierce their ears?
Recently modern science has discovered that the lobes of the ears are extremely sensitive and has nerves leading to the auditory system and nervous system in the brain. When we are worried we should slowly massage our ear lobes and along the sides and we will immediately feel calmer. In ancient India piercing of the ears was a scientific process and known only to some special goldsmiths. They knew the exact point to be pierced by which our hearing, intellect and nervous system would be fortified.  It also helps to develop creative powers. In ancient India both males and females used to pierce their ears. Sometimes you find that when doctors do this, even though they anesthetise the spot and supposedly do it in a very hygienic way, it often happens that the hole will not heal naturally and sometimes breaks out in a small nodule.

Importance of the Peepul Tree and Tulsi plant. 
The peepul tree is a huge tree which spreads out in branches and has beautiful leaves which shake and quiver at the slightest breeze that passes through them. It doesn’t seem to have much use since it has no flowers or fruit but the Hindus consider it holy. This again rises from the great botanical knowledge which the rishis had about all types of vegetation. They told the common people that it was holy and encouraged them to plant these trees in the village and care for them because they knew that the peepul is the only tree which produces oxygen at night. All other types of vegetation give out carbon dioxide at night. The quivering leaves obviously have a role to play in keeping the oxygen going throughout the night.
The tulsi (holy basil) is another plant which is considered holy by the Hindus. It is closely connected with the worship of Vishnu and his incarnations. Again the rishis knew well of the medicinal and healing properties of the plant and that is why they linked its name with one of the chief gods in the pantheon and insisted that every garden should keep a tulsi plant which should be protected and taken care of at all times. It is a remarkable antibiotic and if used daily in tea or simply chewed it will stabilise the health and balance the body system. If kept in the compound close to the house, it prevents insects from entering the house. Even snakes don’t like to go near a tulsi plant. Thus in ancient days people were encouraged to grow lots of tulsi around their house. 

Why do Hindu women wear bangles?
In olden days even men were encouraged to wear bangles of copper or shell. The wrist is a very sensitive part of the human being. When a doctor wants to check your pulse he will automatically lift up your wrist. When bangles are worn on the wrist, the constant friction increases the blood circulation. Electricity passing out through the outer skin is reverted to one’s own body through the action of the circular bangles which make sure that the current is kept within the body and does not pass out of it.
Thus we see that almost all the so-called superstitious customs which Hindus are prone to do, have their basis in some scientific or medical truth. Western science did not pierce beyond the veil of the obvious which could be experienced by the five senses. Hinduism on the other hand always strove to reach beyond the obvious to the transcendental. Hence we find that almost every act in Hinduism has a deep spiritual meaning as well conferring physical benefits.
Hari Aum Tat Sat


hanif 01



4th August 2016

Dear All,

Please note that on the afternoon of the 3rd August, an incident occurred at one of our member Hindu Temples in which an individual, stating his name as Hanif and declaring himself as Pakistani, spent half an hour wandering around the Temple premises speaking with Priests and devotees. He asked questions re the following specific points -

1)    Where do the priests live ?

2)    When are the busy functions and festivals ?
3)    Which days is food served on ?
4)    Which days do the jalaram temples serve food ?

5)    Do the Neasden and ISKCON temples serve food and if so on which days?.

6)    Further questions were asked about the West London Temples

The incident has been reported to the Police and a photograph of the person will be also be available shortly. When it is available we will send it to out immediately to our member Temples by Whatsapp and others of whom we are aware.

NCHTUK have set up a TempleNet Whatsapp group in order to be able to share and communicate urgent information and if you would like to join please nominate a person in your Committee who will have the designated mobile phone, and please forward the Mobile number to us on our info @ nchtuk.org address.

We are approaching a very busy time of year for our Temples with very major festivals just around the corner, please forward this message to any Temple or Hindu Institution which may need to be notified. Lets look after our community and our Temples and please report any incidents to the Police and to us so that they can be shared with the TempleNet whatsapp group. A video of this person has been posted to the WhatsApp group already.

If your local Hindu Temple is inadequately protected, please access Government Funding in order to ensure that it can be made secure and that our Devotees and visitors can be assured of adequate safety. The details of this scheme are below.

Hate Crime Action Plan

The Government has published a four year Hate Crime Action Plan.   The press release about the launch is at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-support-for-communities-in-united-drive-against-hate.

In the foreword Home Secretary Amber Rudd says “Hate crime of any kind, directed against any community, race or religion has absolutely no place in our society.” In his endorsing foreword, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid speaks of the need not to take tolerance for granted and says “Together, if we report every incident of hate crime, we can drive it from our streets.”

The Action Plan outlines actions the government will take to:

  • prevent and respond to hate crime
  • increase reporting of hate crime incidents
  • improve support for victims
  • build an understanding of hate crime

The relevant section of the summary of the wide-ranging plan is at Annex A to this Circular.  Further information is at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-support-for-communities-in-united-drive-against-hate.

The Action Plan applies to England and Wales. The Welsh Government’s Tackling Hate Crimes and Incidents: A Framework for Action (2015) continues to take forward specific actions within Wales. The Welsh Government was consulted on the Action Plan and there will continue to be engagement on non-devolved areas across Wales through the Hate Crime Criminal Justice Board Cymru. The Action Plan does not cover actions in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Home Office will continue to work with the devolved governments to ensure that best practice is shared across the United Kingdom.

Security for Places of Worship

Funding Programme

As part of the Hate Crime Action Plan, the Home Office has launched a £2.4million funding scheme for places of worship to provide protective security measures to them.  The scheme is open for 8 weeks and closes at 5pm on 20 September.  A second round of bids will open in Spring 2017.

Details on eligibility and how to apply can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/places-of-worship-security-funding-scheme.

Police message relating to security of Church buildings in wake of attack on priest in France

In the wake of the murder of a Catholic Priest in France, the Police issued today a message to Christian Churches about security. This also contains information relevant to other faith communities and is at Annex B to this Circular.

Looking After One Another: The Safety and Security of our Faith Communities

As member bodies will be aware, in July 2005 IFN published a resource entitled Looking After One Another: The Safety and Security of our Faith Communities.  This is available to download from IFN’s website at http://www.interfaith.org.uk/publications/all-publications/all-publications/20-looking-after-one-another-the-safety-and-security-of-our-faith-communities/file.  A copy is also attached.

Since 2005 the document has been widely circulated and drawn on by many bodies. Interfaith Scotland (then the Scottish Inter Faith Council) reproduced the document, with permission, in partnership with Scottish bodies. The document is in the process of being updated with new contact details and to reflect the current operating environment, including the impact of terrorism, and the very different communication world of social media. The document can be found at:  http://www.interfaith.org.uk/publications/all-publications/all-publications/20-looking-after-one-another-the-safety-and-security-of-our-faith-communities/file.  If you have any comments on the text, David Hampshire (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) would be pleased to receive these by 19 August.

How to report hate crime

Lastly, as part of tackling hate crime, a reminder that it is important to report it.

Hate incidents can be reported directly to the Police. They can also be reported via the True Vision website at www.report-it.org.uk/home and, in some areas, to the Stop Hate website at www.stophateuk.org/report-hate-crime.   In Scotland, hate crime can be reported athttps://www.scotland.police.uk/secureforms/hate-crime/.





Racism .. or something else ?


"To those who know only privilege, equality feels like oppression"



Whenever there is an attack upon a non white person - the Racist and Racism mantra is trotted out but after 50 years of immigration in to the UK, isnt it time we revisted the very assumptions behind the whole "Racism" ideology or "Race" industry even?

The questions which we, as an immigrant minority and a vulnerable religious minority, faced with institutional anti-Hindu prejudice and the perception of a rising level of white-supremacist hate speech, we will be exploring over the coming months will include:-

  • What if there is only one Race, the human race  - in which case who divided the peoples of this earth into "Races"?
  • Does "white supremacy" still exist in the UK?
  • Is there a difference between "White Supremacy" and Racism ??
  • What if the problem is not Racism  - just "ol fashioned white supremacy" ??
  • If feelings of supremacy do exist - who is teaching them and where do they come from??
  • Is it racist to call a "white racist" a "white supremacist" ??
  • By calling a "white supremacist" a racist do we lose focus on the core problem ?


We will have input from Jane Elliot, one of the USA's most potent speakers on the subject of White Suporemacy and Racism and other thought leaders.


In the meantime...

An African American friend called Brian Crooks, wrote the following account which makes sobering reading.


If we can have video evidence that an officer pulled up, jumped out of his car, shot a 12-year-old to death less than 2 seconds after arriving on the scene, administered no first aid, tackled and hand cuffed the boy's sister when she arrived on the scene, and then falsified a police report to say that the boy pointed a gun at him and that he only shot when the boy refused several orders to drop his weapon and STILL not get an indictment, why should we think that an officer who shoots a Black man who had a gun in his pocket, or a Black man who had a concealed weapon on him, will face a trial?


Is discrimination against non-whites a hidden but significant problem  herein the UK? Here's Brians full article, its a lot to read but very much worth it.

So, over the last few days I've done a lot of linking and reposting, but I haven't really done a lot of speaking about my personal experience to explain where I'm coming from. Please, bear with me for a few minutes. Hopefully, it'll help you understand why I feel the way I do about what's been going on.

The first time I was acutely aware of my Blackness, I was probably 6 or 7 years old. Like, before then obviously I knew I was Black, but I hadn't really had it put in my face like this until I was about 6 or 7. I used to go to daycare back then, and we went on a field trip to a water park one time. One of the other boys from the daycare came up to me and told me he was surprised I was going on the trip because his dad told him all colored people were afraid of the water since we sink to the bottom. He didn't know he was being offensive. He was just curious why someone who would sink to the bottom would want to go to a water park.

I can remember being in elementary school thinking maybe I was unable to see what was really going on. I, like many other Black people in my generation, was the only Black kid in my class. I think the first time I actually had class with another Black kid was when I was in 5th grade. I'd need to go back and look at my class pictures to be sure, but for sure there were never, like, 6 or 7 of us in one class. So anyway, in elementary school, right around the same time I was told that colored people couldn't swim, I remember wondering whether I saw the same stuff the White kids saw. I seriously remember wondering whether I just THOUGHT I was sitting quietly while in reality I was running around going crazy and being disruptive. I don't really know why I wondered that. I'd picked up on some kinds of cues in pop culture and stuff, I guess, but I really did think that there was a chance that the White kids were just being polite not to react to me if I was jumping on their desks and throwing stuff without being able to see it myself.

In elementary school, I was in the gifted program. I've never been any good at math or science, but I was a really creative kid who loved history and telling stories. In third grade, the gifted program focused on the middle ages. I was in heaven. I loved learning about knights and castles and all that stuff. We had a group project to do sometime that year, where we had to give a short speech about something we'd learned during the year. All of the groups broke off to divvy up the work when my teacher came over to my group. Wouldn't it be “easier” and more fun for me if my group did our presentation as a rap? I'm eight years old. I have no history writing any kind of music, much less a full 3 or 4 minutes of rap verses for me and my teammates. But, I tried. The other kids just expected it to be natural for me. They looked at me like, “What do you mean you don't know how to rap?” We ended up just doing it as a regular presentation like everybody else, and afterward my teacher came up to me and said, “I thought you guys were going to rap? I was looking forward to MC Brian.” Again, she didn't know that she was making a racially-insensitive statement. Why would she? It's not like she'd had deep conversation about how Black people feel about their Blackness, or the way Black people internalized the way White people feel about our Blackness.

From elementary school through middle school, I can't remember how many times the White kids asked if they could touch my hair. I'm not kidding when I say it happened pretty much once a week at least. At first, it didn't bother me. But eventually I felt like an exhibit in a petting zoo. And I didn't have the vocabulary to explain to them that it was really weird that they kept asking to touch my hair all the time. See, I was a pretty shy kid. I was the only Black one, I was overweight, and I'd moved three times before I turned 10. So, rather than tell the White kids that no, they couldn't rummage through my hair, I just said yes and sat there quietly while they marveled at how my hair felt.

My least favorite time of the year, every year, was February. Black History Month. Being the only Black kid in the class, I was the designated reader for the entire month. When it came time to read from our history books about slavery and the Triangle Trade Route, I was always the one who was chosen to read. When it came time to read about Jim Crow, it was my turn. George Washington Carver and the peanut? That sounds like a job for Brian. Booker T. Washington? Harriet Tubman? Surely Brian is the perfect choice for those passages. All the while, I felt the eyes of my fellow students on me. Again, I was already a shy kid. So, having an entire classroom of White kids stare at me while I explained what lynching and Black Codes were was pretty mortifying.

Middle school is awkward for almost everybody. But when you're one of a handful of Black kids in a sea of judgmental, painfully self-conscious White kids, that awkwardness is magnified. I can remember being in 7th grade when a couple of girls who were always way too cool to talk to me ran up in the hallway and told me they had a girl for me to meet. Being that I was 12 or 13, I asked what she looked like. “You're really going to like her,” they said. I met her near the end of the day. She was morbidly obese and about three shades darker than me. The popular girls, of course, decided that since we were both Black and overweight, we were a match made in heaven. At this point, I'm pretty sure they were aware that they were being jerks. The ignorance of childhood had mostly fallen away by that point. But they were popular, I was a nerd, and the girl they thought was perfect for me was new in school. I'm sure they told her they had a great guy for her too. We just stood there, both aware that we were the butt of their joke and aware that we didn't have the social cache to actually do anything about it.

In 8th grade, I went to a friend's house to jump on his trampoline. I didn't know the kid all that well, but we had some mutual friends and at that age, if a kid has a trampoline, you're going to jump on that trampoline. He had a couple of neighbors who were probably 6 or 7 year old girls. We're jumping on the trampoline and the girls come out of their house and come over into his yard. Within about 5 minutes, they were laughing while saying “Get off our property, Black boy.” They were little, and they were laughing, so I don't think they knew how ugly they were being. After all, they'd probably never had a Black kid in their one or two elementary school classes. But they'd clearly heard that phrase somewhere else before. I wasn't even on their property; I was next door. But it's fair to assume that at some point, someone in their house had said “Get off my property, Black boy.”

In high school, I was around more Black kids. Still not a lot, but more than zero, so that was nice. When I was fifteen, I got my first “real” girlfriend. I'd asked some girls out before, and some of them said yes, but when you're 13 or 14 years old, what does “going out” even mean? So, my first “real” girlfriend was White. After all, I was living in an overwhelmingly White community and it's not like I was a heartthrob, so I was in no position to tell a girl who liked me that I was only interested in dating a Black girl. I might've never had a girlfriend if that was the line I drew. We were a good couple. We got along well and had similar interests and stuff. Basically, what you'd like to have as a high school sophomore. Her parents were divorced, but her mom and stepdad liked me. Then, her biological father found out I was Black. A week later, she called me crying and said we had to break up. Her dad didn't support her dating a Black person. So, my first heartbreak came as a direct result of racism.

When I was going through driver's ed, my behind the wheel instructor was a football coach at one of the other Naperville high schools. He asked what kind of car I wanted one time, and I told him I was gonna get my dad's Dodge Intrepid, but that I really liked my brother's Mazda. He looked at me like I was nuts and said he figured I'd want an Impala so I could put some hydraulics on it and “hit dem switchezzzzz.” When we got back to my house at the end of my last behind the wheel session, he shook my hand and said it was a pleasure teaching me how to drive. Then, he said, “You're a Black kid, but you're pretty cool, you know? Like, you're not like one of THOSE Black people, you know?”

In high school, I played football. There was a kid on the football team who I'd been friends with since middle school. Not, like, best friends or anything, but we ran in similar circles and we were certainly friendly with each other. When we were 16 or 17, he started referring to me as “The Whitest Black guy.” It really pissed me off. He knew it pissed me off. I guess because I used proper grammar, wore clothes that fit, and listened to metal in addition to hip hop, it made me “White.” Turns out, to be “authentically Black” means being a caricature of what a Black person should be, according to this suburban White kid. This is another case of me lacking the vocabulary at the time to express how that made me feel, but it's pretty messed up. This kid (we're currently Facebook friends, so I hope he reads this and knows who I'm talking about) identified as Italian-American. I didn't call him “The most Anglo Italian guy” because he didn't bring home-made ravioli to school for lunch everyday and play an accordion while growing a mustache.

I got pulled over a lot in high school. Like, a lot a lot. By this point, I was no longer driving the Dodge. I had a Mazda of my own. It was flashy and loud, but this was 2002 and everybody with a Japanese car was doing a Vin Diesel impression, so it's not like mine stood out that much more than anyone else's. I spent a ton of money on my car and was especially aware of its appearance. You can understand, then, why it was weird that I was routinely pulled over for a busted taillight. After all, that's the kind of thing I would've noticed and gotten fixed, especially if that taillight tended to burn out once a week or so. My parents had told me how to act when pulled over by the police, so of course I was all “Yes sir, no sir” every time it happened. That didn't stop them from asking me to step out of the car so they could pat me down or search for drugs, though. I didn't have a drop of alcohol until I was 21, but by that point I was an expert at breathalyzers and field sobriety tests. On occasion, the officer was polite. But usually, they walked up with their hand on their gun and talked to me like I'd been found guilty of a grisly homicide earlier in the day. A handful of times, they'd tell me to turn off the car, drop the keys out the window, and keep my hands outside the vehicle before even approaching.

I went to the University of Iowa, which is a very White campus in a very White state. It's funny, because most of the people I met there who came from small-town Iowa were really excited to finally meet a Black person. And it wasn't like they wanted me to be a mascot; they genuinely wanted a Black friend so they could learn about Black people and stuff. It was nice. On the other hand, if I was in a bar and talking to a girl they didn't think I should be talking to, or in their drunken state they bumped into sober me, you'd be surprised to see how quickly some of these guys will call a complete stranger a nigger.

Once, when I came home from college, I was pulled over less than a block from my parents' house. It was late, probably about midnight or so, but I hadn't been drinking and it was winter so I wasn't speeding because it had snowed that day. The officer stepped out of his car with his gun drawn. He told me to drop the keys out the window, then exit the car with my hands up and step back toward him. I knew he was wrong, but I wasn't about to be shot to death down the street from my parents' house because my failure to immediately comply was interpreted as me plotting to murder that officer. So yeah, I stepped out and backed up toward the officer. He hand cuffed me and refused to tell me why I had been pulled over, or why I had been asked to exit my vehicle. Only when I was sitting in the back of the police car did he tell me that there had been reports of gang activity in the area and that a car fitting my car's description with a driver fitting my description had recently been involved in said gang activity. Gang activity. In south Naperville. Committed by a Black male driving a bright blue Mazda MX-6 with a gaudy blue and white interior. Yeah, alright. He was very short in asking me what I was doing in the neighborhood so late at night. I explained that my parents lived at that house with the glass backboard over there. He didn't believe me. He took me back out of the car and put me face down on the hood of the police car to frisk me. I'd already been searched once before he put me in the car. Then, he spent about 15 minutes searching my car while I stood hand cuffed in the cold. My ID had my parents' address on it, but he still didn't think I lived there. I could tell he wanted to accuse me of having a fake ID. About a half hour after being pulled over, when he found nothing on me, nothing in my car, and nothing on my record, he reluctantly let me go. He didn't even say sorry, or explain that it was his mistake; he must've been looking for another Black man in a bright blue Mazda MX-6 who was a gang leader in south Naperville. He sat in the street until I drove to my parents' house, opened the garage door, drove inside, and then closed the garage door.

Back at Iowa, things were pretty cool. Yeah, the occasional frat boy would call me a nigger when he was mad at me at the bar, but I had a lot of good friends and it's not like nobody had ever called me that before or anything. I was dating a girl when I went to college, and we broke up right before my sophomore year. She made sure to tell me she would NEVER date someone outside of her race again when we broke up. As though A) I was the representative of all Black people, and B) I was going to have to explain to all Black men why she was unwilling to date them in the future.

One summer when I was back from college, I had an argument with a good friend of mine. When I say “good friend,” I mean that this is a guy I knew since middle school. Our dads used to work together. I can't count how many times I had spent the night at his parents' house. But we had an argument. The kind of argument most friends have at one point or another. This time, he decided to get really, really racial about it. He started off by telling me I should be ashamed of my complexion (he later claimed that he meant I had bad skin; only I'd only had like two pimples in my entire life). Then, he said I belong in the ghetto, not Naperville. In the end, he looked me dead in the face and called me a nigger. Again, this was one of my closest friends. Since then, I've completely cut him out of my life. But, it fits with the experiences that I've had too many times; people can be totally cool for years and years but suddenly decide that they need to be super racist because they want to hurt you. They'll say they're sorry, they'll explain how you misinterpreted what they said, but the fact is, they reach for racism because they think it'll emotionally and psychologically destroy you, and that's what they want to do at that moment.

During my senior year, I went to a game at Kinnick stadium. I'd been to every home game since my first week at college and a handful of away games too. I'd only started drinking about 5 months before that, but my band had a show the night before and my bandmates were leaving town that morning, so I didn't get hammered during tailgating. I didn't want them to call me for directions and have me be unable to help. We were waiting in line to get into the game; I was with probably 4 or 5 of my friends. While standing in line, a much drunker guy lost his balance and fell into me and one of my friends. I caught him and helped him back up, and he was pretty oblivious to his surroundings. An officer inside the gate saw what happened and called me out of the line when I got inside the gate. He told me that he saw me try to fight that guy in line and said I was too drunk to enter the stadium. He told me I could either go home or go to jail. I told him I had no problem going home, but because there were only two more home games left I wanted to know what I had done to draw such negative attention to myself. Plus, it was pretty cold anyway. He got about an inch from my face and yelled, “GO HOME NOW OR GO TO JAIL.” I turned to leave and he hand cuffed me. I wound up watching Iowa vs Northwestern 2006 from the drunk tank inside Kinnick Stadium. Everyone else in there was either screaming, puking, or passed out. The guy who fell into me was allowed to go into the game. The charges against me were dropped when the lady who kept an eye on the drunk tank spoke on my behalf when I had to go see the judge.

In 2012, I went to watch the Iowa game at John Barleycorn on Clark Street in Chicago. We watched almost every game there. I had gotten some t-shirts printed up and went to my car to get them so I could give them to my friends. While coming back, I saw a Michigan fan absolutely beating the hell out of a Nebraska fan (they were both White). I ran up into the fight (I was admittedly drunk this time) and pulled the Michigan fan off the Nebraska fan. Dude's face was all bloody and messed up. The police were on the scene about 15 seconds later. Michigan and Nebraska both got to go home to “cool off,” but I wound up hand cuffed and sitting on the curb. There were at least a dozen witnesses there who tried to tell the officer that I was just trying to break up the fight, and that Michigan should've been arrested for assault. One of Nebraska's female friends even told the officer that I might've saved his life (probably an exaggeration, but it's what was said). After about 15 minutes, the officer removed the hand cuffs and let me go. He said he got a call that there was a big fight breaking out, but otherwise I'd be going to jail that night. He said if he ever saw me on Clark Street again, we'd have a problem.

I could go on and on and on about this. I could tell you about the guy who wanted to buy his guitar from someone who “actually knew what a guitar was” when I worked at guitar center. At that point, I had a Gibson Les Paul at my house and an Ibanez acoustic, plus a Warwick fretless bass. I could tell you about the coworker who thought it was funny to adopt a stereotypical Black accent to apologize that we weren't going to have fried chicken and cornbread at our company Christmas party. I could tell you about the time I gave my floor mate a haircut freshman year and he “thanked” me by saying he'd let a negro cut his hair any day of the week. I could tell you about leaving a bar heartbroken and fighting tears when the Trayvon Martin verdict came out only to see a couple middle-aged White guys high-fiving and saying he “got what he deserved” right outside. These are only a handful of the experiences I've had in my 31 years.

I've never had a Black boss. I played football from middle school through senior year of high school and only had one Black coach in that whole time. Not just head coaches, I'm talking about assistants and position coaches. I've had two Black teachers in my entire life. One was for my Harlem Renaissance class, and one was for my sign language class. I've never been to a Black doctor, or a Black dentist. I've never been pulled over by a Black police officer. What I'm trying to explain is that, in 31 years, I've seen three Black people in a position of authority. Think about what that does to the psyche of a growing young man. I remember being excited just a few years ago when we started to see Black people in commercials without there being gospel or hip hop music in the background (remember that McDonald's commercial where the little kid was pop-locking with the chicken McNuggets?).

Before you say it, I don't want to hear that you're “sorry I had these experiences.” Because it's not just me. It's not like I'm some kind of magnet for all of the racists in America and I'm some weird anomaly. This is what it means to be Black in America. I appreciate that you're sorry for me, but I'm not seeking your sorrow. I'm seeking your understanding. I just want you to understand that this is real. We're not exaggerating it, and we're not making it up. White people often say that we make everything about race. That's because, for us, damn near everything IS about race. It's always been that way. When I have a great phone interview, but go for my in-person interview only to be told that the position has been filled, how am I supposed to know that's not just because they expected a White Iowa graduate to show up for the interview? When I have an especially-attentive employee keep checking in with me at the mall, how am I supposed to know they're shooting for employee of the month, not watching me to make sure I'm not stealing? What do you think it's like when someone says “You don't sound Black at all” when I have a phone conversation with them and then meet them in person? What do you think it's like seeing Confederate flags on cars and flag poles in northern states, only to have someone tell me I'm being too sensitive for not liking it?

When we say “Black Lives Matter,” understand what that actually means. We aren't saying that ONLY Black lives matter. We're saying “Black lives matter TOO.” For the entirety of the history of this country, Black lives have not mattered. At a minimum, they haven't mattered nearly as much as White lives. If a Black person kills another Black person, and we have it on tape, the killer goes to jail. If a White police officer kills a Black person and we have it on tape, the entire judicial system steps up to make sure that officer doesn't go to jail. It doesn't matter whether the Black person was holding a toy gun in a Walmart, or whether the Black person was a 12-year-old kid playing with a BB gun in an empty park. The police union steps up to say the officer was fearing for his life, just worried about trying to make it home that night. IF a grand jury is convened, the prosecutor will present a purposely-weak case to make sure no indictment is reached. IF, by some miracle, an indictment is handed down, no jury is actually going to convict that officer. That's what we mean when we say Black Lives Matter. I can only speak for myself, but I have no reason to believe that the officers in Minnesota or Baton Rouge will ever see the inside of a jail cell. If we can have video evidence that an officer pulled up, jumped out of his car, shot a 12-year-old to death less than 2 seconds after arriving on the scene, administered no first aid, tackled and hand cuffed the boy's sister when she arrived on the scene, and then falsified a police report to say that the boy pointed a gun at him and that he only shot when the boy refused several orders to drop his weapon and STILL not get an indictment, why should we think that an officer who shoots a Black man who had a gun in his pocket, or a Black man who had a concealed weapon on him, will face a trial? If a White man sees a 14-year-old Black boy in his neighborhood, follows him in his car, ignores orders not to engage him, then gets into a fight with him and shoots him in the chest and is found not guilty, why should we expect ANYBODY to go to jail for killing us? It's just not realistic. It's a fairy tale. All you have to do is say you were afraid, and you get a book deal and a job as a commentator on FOX News every time this kind of thing happens again.

That is why Black people are in such pain right now. The deaths are bad enough. But having the feeling that nobody will ever actually be held accountable for the deaths is so much worse. And then watching as the police union, the media, and conservative politicians team up to imagine scenarios where the officer did nothing wrong, and then tell those of us who are in pain that our pain is wrong, unjustified, and all in our heads just serves to twist the knife.

If you read all this, I really, really want to say thank you. I know it was a lot to get through. But this is real. This is me. This is what my life is and has been. And I'm not alone.


There is much work to be done, join us in helping find a real and lasting solution.

Hindu Community bids Farewell to PM Cameron

 cameron baps

In a joint letter to PM David Cameron, the NCHT(UK) joined with the Hindu Forum of Britain, the VHP, HSS and the National Hindu Students Forum to offer a note of gratitude and appreciation for the manner in which PM Cameron engaged fully and with great humour and enthusiasm, with the British Hindu Community.

Whether it was on the stage at Wembley at PM Modiji''s side or perfoming Abhishek at  the Swaminarayan BAPS Temple in Neasden with Mrs Cameron, PM Cameron established and developed direct links with the British Hindu community and Government to a level and degree unheard of before. The principal National Hindu organisations have written to the PM today to express their appreciation for his encouragement and support.


NCHT(UK) - BBC1 - The Big Questions



Did Man Create God..?  decide for yourself but one thing is clear...

our GenSec Satishji has never been called a Christ among thieves before!



 Social media was buzzing about this show... heres some of the feedback...


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UN International Yoga Day in Parliament

Press Release

Bob Blackman MP, Chair of APPG Indian Traditional Sciences
hosts International Yoga Day at British Parliament

For Immediate Release

UN international yoga day logo square


“Yoga to be integrated within the NHS” was the unanimous appeal made by yoga practitioners, health care professionals, community leaders, education professionals, researchers and parliamentarians at the 2nd International Day of Yoga celebrations in the Houses of Parliament, UK. The programme was hosted by Bob Blackman MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group of Indian Traditional Sciences and was joined by fellow parliamentarians, Conservative MP Matthew Offord (Hendon) and Labour MP Virendra Sharma (Southall & Ealing). The High Commissioner of India, His Excellency Mr. Navtej Sarna, the Chief Guest on the day elaborated the origins and significance of United Nations International Yoga Day. This vision was encapsulated by United Nations General Secretary, Ban Ki Moon “By proclaiming 21 June as the International Day of Yoga, the General Assembly has recognized the holistic benefits of this timeless practice and its inherent compatibility with the principles and values of the United Nations”.  

Recognising the greater need for Yoga within the health care and school curriculums, Bob Blackman tabled an early day motion 215:
That this House celebrates the 2nd International Day of Yoga, on 21 June 2016, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015; recognises yoga4nhs01 smlthat yoga is a multi-dimensional approach to encouraging well-being, which appreciates the link between physical and psychological health and lifestyle; appreciates that yoga is a reflective and non-invasive practice, which is appropriate in all stages of life; recommends yoga to be included as part of mindfulness and well-being initiatives for NHS staff and for yoga to be integrated within treatment for patients; and urges the Department for Education to introduce yoga in the school physical education curriculum.”

In the UK, a growing percentage of the population practices Yoga and research finds that its practice promotes lifestyle factors, which reduce risk of chronic disease, while also reducing symptoms of many chronic mental and physical conditions.

The programme was conducted by the Secretary of the APPG for Indian Traditional Sciences Amarjeet Bhamra who introduced the speakers and welcomed the guests, “It is absolute privilege for us to have the presence of HE The High Commissioner of India Mr Sarna with us along with the members of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Indian Traditional Sciences to move forward our agenda of Yoga into the NHS. The efforts and support received from Bob Blackman MP and his office, in this very important initiative has been incredible. I welcome Matthew Offord MP and Virendra Sharma MP for having joined in and supporting the APPG in its efforts.”

Founder of The Minded Institute, Heather Mason MA co-conducted the programme along with the Amarjeet and gave an overview on the need for integration of Yoga into the NHS. She said, “Yoga practice is correlated with positive health outcomes and its integration into the health services would yoga4nhs hoc1reduce the economic burden associated with non-communicable diseases. Yoga practice is correlated with positive health outcomes and its integration into the health services would reduce the economic burden associated with non-communicable diseases. There is a large and strong corpus of research evidence supporting yoga's efficacy in the management of chronic conditions.” 

The evening saw a number of Yoga breathing and simple relaxation demonstrations by leading Yoga practitioners at the event with everyone chanting the Om and joining in the various relaxation, meditation and breathing demonstrations led by practitioners. The personal journey of success of defying cancer by the use of Yoga and Meditation was shared by Neil Patel, Founder, Director and Grandmaster at Chi Kri and Chi Kri Classes (Ltd) UK. This was followed by various contributions on the scientific evidence on the value of yoga in day to day life and its proven benefits. He asked “why no investigation is being done by the NHS into how yoga can prevent and overcome cancer in the UK. By 2020, 1 in 2 people will get cancer in their lifetime in the UK (According to new figures from McMillian), it is time other methods were looked at. Currently it is ILLEGAL to help people with cancer in the UK other than by 3 methods (Chemo, Radio and Surgery via the NHS). Thus, even if you find a cure, you will be locked up or fined for saving or claiming to save or even help anyone.”

Pandit Satish K Sharma MBCS FRSA, a yogi and General Secretary of National Council for Hindu Temples discussed “the need for the sks yoga4nhs hoc1highest standards of integrity from Yoga practitioners since something as powerful as Yoga Practice could harm as well as heal. Because Yoga is transformational unlike all other bodies of knowledge, knowing is not enough – one must only teach to the degree determined by one’s own experience and ability, one can only help support someone else’s transformation to the degree that you too have mastered that specific stage and practice. The Yamas and Niyamas of Yoga, which are the foundations of all practice, are not optional – they will determine what you can learn and thus, what you can and should teach.”

Representing the medical fraternity, Dr.Matt Joslin, a GP from Manchester said, “My own personal practice of yoga has lead me to introduce yoga as a option for patients to add to their toolkits to help manage their illnesses and maintain physical and psychological wellbeing. This option is met with enthusiasm when introduced in a patient centred way with a collaborative approach. All members of the team in our primary care organisation, from reception staff through to visiting locum doctors are invited to attend a yoga class with me. This broadens the base of "yoga prescribers" and creates a culture where yoga is seen as part of "usual care".​ An endorsement of yoga by a healthcare professional under the banner of the NHS is powerful message to patients. The social media response to my "yoga prescription" demonstrates that people are engaged with this debate.”

Goran Boll spoke (via skype) about the success of Yoga in Swedish Hospitals. He said, “Yoga has already been implemented into the Swedish NHS. From 2010-2016 more 150 hospitals, primary care- and specialist clinics have started using yoga on their patients. The projection for 2020 is 5-600 NHS units, and we see a similar development all over Scandinavia. Yoga is used on heart patients, for pain management, eating disorders, cancer rehab, in psychiatry, treatment for the elderly, and in palliative care. The yoga instructors in the Swedish NHS are mostly physic therapists, nurses and doctors, having taken up to 2 years of yoga training. The basis for this development in Sweden is scientific research on yoga, since 1998.”

Dr. Gangadhar from Depart of Psychiatry,NIMHANS Bangalore (via skype) discussed the present state of affairs for Yoga & Healthcare in India. He said, “Practicing yoga lifestyle not only promotes better mental health but also reduces illnesses and their symptoms. Substantial evidence is available to objectively demonstrate the benefits of yoga and these are well documented in scientific research. Being non-invasive, it has best potential for integration with other treatments and such integration has already happened at NIMHANS for mental and neurological disorders.” 

Dr. Tina Cartwright, Senior Lecturer at University of Westminster spoke said “Surveys in the US and Australia have shown that around a fifth of yoga practitioners report using yoga for specific health conditions, with the majority perceiving yoga as helpful in improving or managing their health.” She added, “Yoga is most commonly used for musculoskeletal problems, mental health conditions and stress management.” Discussing the Big UK Yoga Survey, she said, “There has been no equivalent detailed survey of yoga practice in the UK. The recently launched Big UK Yoga Survey investigates why people practice yoga, how they practice and how they feel it affects their health and well-being. The results of the survey will suggest where yoga might be most beneficial and what research is needed in the future.” 

Dr. Fiona Butler representing the ‘Yoga for Underserved Population’ from NHS West London Clinical Commissioning Group shared that “the College of Medicine is pleased to be part of the collaboration looking at the cost effectiveness of bringing more therapeutic yoga to the UK and NHS, researching its beneficial impact on emotional and physical health and on chronic conditions such as back pain, depression and stress, obesity.” She highlighted the need for prevention and self-care as key to ensure sustainability of NHS. “We need to reduce numbers of people at risk of life style related long term conditions and return people to a state of wellness . This means thinking out of the box, being open minded and embracing new ideas for healing that are cost effective and have evidence base.” Speaking about the Yoga for Underserved Population she said, “We particularly want to reach underserved communities and help health inequalities, and the college is committed to research the benefits of therapeutic yoga in areas of social deprivation where lifestyle factors such as poor diet and stress, and social isolation have an adverse effect on health and people are least likely to access holistic care.”

Dr. Ned Hartfield discussed the cost benefits of Yoga for the NHS – “Each year the NHS loses over 5 million sickness absence days due to back pain and musculoskeletal conditions, costing the NHS more than £600 million. Recent research shows that yoga programmes - involving specific movements, breathing techniques and relaxation methods - are highly effective for reducing back pain and musculoskeletal conditions. A recent randomised controlled trial involving 151 NHS employees in North Wales showed that a yoga programme was not only effective in reducing back pain, but also cost-effective in decreasing the number of sickness absence days due to back pain and musculoskeletal conditions.  In this study, yoga participants missed only 2 days due back pain and musculoskeletal conditions over a six month trial period, compared to 43 missed days in the control group.”   

Jo Manuel speaking about the role of yoga in the education system said, A study conducted by NASUWT (the largest teachers’ union in the UK) in 2016 surveyed over 5,000 teachers and found that over three quarters (79%) had reported experiencing work related anxiousness; almost half (47%) of teachers have seen a doctor in the last 12 months as a result of work related physical or mental health problems, 14% have undergone counselling and 5% have been admitted to hospital. 10% of teachers say they have been prescribed anti-depressants to help them cope; shockingly, 2% of teachers say they have self-harmed as a result of work-related pressures.”

Jo added, “NHS Clinincal commission in Havering commissioned a mindfulness programme from Special Yoga Foundation for their 6 hours of training and a daily yoga and midfulness practise delivered with audio and visual materials created this result in 6 weeks: Increase in high wellbeing from 8 to 20 % Drop in low wellbeing from 14 to 4 %.”

To end the evening, Venerable Dr. H R Nagendra, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Yoga consultant spoke (via skype) to the participants and discussed the importance of yoga. Lakshmi Kaul from Bob Blackman MP’s office extended a vote of thanks to a packed audience and read out the following resolution that was ratified by all:

“Create fraternity, a sangha, of yoga experts and leaders encompassing all schools of yoga who unify towards under the umbrella of this traditional practice. This group will collectively work within and embody the ethos of yoga. That this group will pool their wisdom and possess a communal platform to share ideas and promote the practice of yoga in the UK towards the highest good. This group will collectively act as advisor to the country on how to bring yoga to the public in healthcare, education, and the workplace to enhance public well-being. This group will liaise and development networks with India, other nations, and the World Health Organisation.”


For more information, contact:

Lakshmi Kaul
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Office of Bob Blackman MP

Amarjeet S Bhamra
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

All Party Parliamentary Group on Indian Traditional Sciences has been set up “To promote and facilitate informed discussion on issues concerning all Indian traditional sciences practised in the UK (Ayurveda, Jyotish, Indian classical music, Siddha, Unani, Vastu, Yoga etc) within Parliament by providing a forum for cross-party parliamentarians, senior policy makers, academics, leading community figures and other stakeholders.”
Co-Chairs: Bob Blackman MP (Conservative) and Virendra Sharma MP (Labour & registered contact)
Vice Chairs: Tom Brake MP (Liberal Democrat), Lord Rana (Crossbench), Lord Stone of Blackheath (Labour), Lord Hussain (Liberal Democrat), Baroness Uddin (Non Affiliated), Lord Patel of Blackburn (Labour), Lord Bilimoria (Crossbench).




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