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

Bhikṣatana-murti literally means ‘image of Śiva in the begging posture’.


Śiva, the last deity of the Trinity, is invariably worshiped as the liṅga. However, several anthropomorphic forms have been attributed to him. One such form belonging to his ugra or raudra (terrific) aspect is the Bhikṣātana-murti or the ‘begging-form’.

The tale behind this form narrates that he cuts off the fifth head of Brahmā, the Creator, with his fingernail since the latter was irreverent. The severed head or skull, however, stuck to his finger and the sin of brahmahatyā incurred thus had to be expiated. So, he had to roam about the earth for 12 years, begging for food in the skull-cup. This form is known as the ‘Bhikṣāṭana-murti.’ As soon as he entered Vārāṇasī (Kāśī or Banaras) he was freed from this sin.

In iconographical works the Bhikṣātana-murti is shown as a naked person with matted hair wearing a white yajñopavīta or sacred thread, the skull-cup sticking in his hand and pādukās[1] on his feet. Sometimes a snake is wrapped as a waist-band and upper cloth of deerskin and some ornaments may also be shown.

Images of this Bhikṣāṭana-murti are quite popular are found in all the major temples in South India. Bronze icons are also sometimes seen kept in some temples.


  1. Pādukās means wooden sandals.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore