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

Namaskāra literally means ‘obeisance’.

Greeting one another, especially when one meets others for the first time in the day, is a common phenomenon of courtesy in all the societies. According to the religious and cultural traditions, as enshrined in the āgamas, the dharmaśāstras and the purāṇas, this greeting can assume several forms. ‘Namaskāra’ is the most common and general term used for such forms of showing respect or reverence.

Origin of the word Namaskāra[edit]

Derived from the root-verb ‘nam,’ which means ‘to bend’, the word ‘namaskāra’ connotes bending before one’s superiors in humility, to show respect. It may also mean ‘not mine’[1] ‘but thine,’ reflecting an attitude of total surrender. Several varieties of namaskāra have been mentioned in the scriptural works like:

  1. Abhivādana - In abhivādana, a person[2] keeps his hands covering the ears and recites his name along with other details concerning his gotra and pravara or lineage, the Veda to which he belongs, the sutra work, the dictates of which are being followed in his family and so on.
  2. Aṅjali - In añjali, the two palms of the hand are joined in a mood of supplication.
  3. Praṇāma - Praṇāma is a special form of reverential salutation and prostration before the image of a deity in a temple, one’s guru,[3] a sanyāsin[4] one’s parents and highly venerated persons. This praṇāma can be ‘aṣṭāṅga’[5] or ‘pañcāṅga.[6]

Other Modes of Namaskāra[edit]

There is another method of namaskāra wherein the person joins the palms of his hands and places them on his own head. This is resorted to when the salutation is casual and the object or person for whom it is meant, is not regarded as very holy. Some of the purāṇas extol the praṇāma properly done as equal to an Aśvamedha sacrifice. The number of praṇāmas to be done in a temple may vary from 3 to 48.

Namaskāra in Temple[edit]

Another aspect of reverence in a temple connected with praṇāma is pradakṣiṇa or circum-ambulation. It is going round the deity or the garbhagṛha[7] keeping it always on the right. The number of such circum-ambulations to various deities is:

The form of circum-ambulation may be triangular for Devī, crescent-like for Śivaliṅga and circular for other deities.

Namaskāra to Elders[edit]

When praṇāma is done to elders or holy persons, they may bless the supplicant with such words as ‘svasti’[9] ‘āyuṣmān bhava[10] ‘vardhasva’[11] and so on.


  1. Na means not, Mah means mine.
  2. The person should be a dvija or belonging to the first three castes.
  3. Guru means spiritual preceptor.
  4. Sanyāsin means monk.
  5. Aṣṭāṅga means done with eight limbs viz, the two feet, the two knees, the two arms, the chest and the head touching the ground.
  6. Pañcāṅga’ means done with five limbs, viz, the two knees, the two hands and the head touching the ground.
  7. Garbhagṛha means sanctum.
  8. Surya means Sun-god.
  9. Svasti means auspiciousness.
  10. It means ‘May you live long!’
  11. Vardhasva means ‘May you be prosperous’
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

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