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

Bera literally means ‘icon’.

Worship of images is an integral part of the religion of Sanatana Dharma. Area or image is one of the several forms of manifestation of the Divine.

Origin of Bera[edit]

'Bera' is a term which is commonly used in the āgamas for images but in a more technical sense. This word is of uncertain origin. It is generally employed to indicate that images are made according to the prescriptions of murtiśilpaśāstra or iconography and used in worship. Painted or engraved figures are not classed under ‘bera’.

Significance of Bera In Temple Construction[edit]

The height and the width of the bera are used as standards for determining other measurements like those of the pīṭha or pedestal, of the garbhagṛha or the cella, or the vimāna (the tower over the main shrine) for temple construction.

General Types of Bera[edit]

A bera should be either ‘citra’ (solid figure) or ‘citrārdha’ (relief figure). Beras can be of two general types :

  1. Acala or immovable - The acalabera is also called ‘dhruvabera’ (the constant icon) or ‘mulabera’ (the original icon). It is the original image of stone permanently fixed in the sanctuary.
  2. Cala or movable and portable - The calaberas can be of four types. They are made of metal. Along with the original (dhruvabera) they are collectively called ‘Pañcaberas’ (five icons).

Types of Calabera[edit]

These divisions of beras are found mostly in the Vaiśiavāgamas.

  1. Kautukabera - It is also called ‘kriyābera’ or ‘karmārcā’. It is kept in the central part of the altar in the shrine. Life is infused into it from the main image and all the items of worship of the main image are also offered to this image.
  2. Snapanabera - It is an image that receives the daily ceremonial bath. This image is sometimes also designated as ‘tīrthasnānārcā,’.
  3. Utsavabera - It is also called as ‘utsavārcā’ or ‘rathabera’. This image is meant to be taken out in procession on festival days.
  4. Balibera - It is also called as ‘balyarcā’. It is an image that receives the food offerings meant to be distributed among the attendant and minor deities. It is taken out in a procession at the time of baliharaṇa or distribution of food offerings to these deities.
  5. Śayanārcā - This image is put to rest during night.


The Śaivāgamas sometimes add one more image ‘nṛttabera’. It is a Naṭarāja icon generally taken out on certain occasions like aridrotsava.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore