Colonial Discourse and the Suffering of Indian American Children Book Cover.webp

In this book, we analyze the psycho-social consequences faced by Indian American children after exposure to the school textbook discourse on Hinduism and ancient India. We demonstrate that there is an intimate connection—an almost exact correspondence—between James Mill’s colonial-racist discourse (Mill was the head of the British East India Company) and the current school textbook discourse. This racist discourse, camouflaged under the cover of political correctness, produces the same psychological impacts on Indian American children that racism typically causes: shame, inferiority, embarrassment, identity confusion, assimilation, and a phenomenon akin to racelessness, where children dissociate from the traditions and culture of their ancestors.

This book is the result of four years of rigorous research and academic peer-review, reflecting our ongoing commitment at Hindupedia to challenge the representation of Hindu Dharma within academia.


From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Ajapā-japa is literally translated as ‘silent repetition’.

Japa[1] is considered to be one of the easiest and most efficacious means of attaining spiritual illumination. Lord Kṛṣṇa goes to the extent of identifying himself with it and calls it a yajña or sacrifice[2]. When japa is practiced constantly and practically with every breath, it gets merged as it were with the process of breathing itself. Such an unconscious and automatic japa is referred to as ‘ajapā-japa.’

Any mantra pertaining to any deity can be chosen for this purpose and different groups typically have specific mantras that they initiative their followers into. For example, members of the Ram Krishna Mission typically use the ‘hamsamantra.’ ‘Haṃsaḥ’ is the abbreviation of ‘ahaṃ saḥ’ (‘I am He’) or its more well-known form “so’ham” (‘He, I am’). With every inhalation the syllable ‘ham’ is repeated and with every exhalation the syllable saḥ is repeated. Deliberate and conscious practice of this will gradually result in automatic and unconscious repetition coeval with breathing. It only then that becomes ‘ajapājapa.’

“Haṃ-saḥ” or “so’ham” is actually the same as the mahāvākyas, the great dicta of the Upanishads. Aham brahma asmi (‘I am Brahman’) or tat tvam asi (‘You are That’). In these statements ‘aham’ or ‘tvam’ represents the jīva or the individual soul; ‘brahma’ or ‘tat’ stands for the Supreme Soul or the Absolute. Since the two are apparently poles apart, they can never be identical. However, when only their essential characteristic, viz., chaitanya or pure consciousness is considered, they can be considered identical or as the same.

According to the Tantras, ‘ham’ represents the Śiva principle and ‘saḥ’ represents the Śakti principle. So ‘haṃsaḥ’ stands for their union and the entire universe created from that union.

Literally hansa means a swan. Swan is the vehicle of Brahmā the creator. Haṃ and saḥ represent the inspired and expired breath. Everything movable and immovable “breathes” or vibrates and hence can be denoted by ‘haṃsa.’ Therefore it is meet that Brahmā the creative aspect of the Supreme Self is represented as seated thereon.

The Haṃsopaniṣad describes the cosmic form of God using the haṃsa imagery to facilitate meditation. The same Upanishads also relate the experiences that arise as a result of the ajapājapa of haṃsa-mantra. Repetition of the harṃsa-mantra or ajapājapa is also known as Ajapāhamsa-vidyā.


  1. Japa is defined as the repetition of the name of God
  2. Bhagavadgītā, 10.25
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore