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A New Year Resolution for Hinduism: Opening Temple Doors to All

Latest Navya Shastra Project--Construction of Temple at Idamani, a fishing hamlet near Chennai (see Article in India Abroad)
Dear Friends:    
Hinduism is facing a great many challenges, both external and internal. On the outside, ill-wishers are trying to malign and dismantle it. Within, we have practitioners and leaders who are insensitive to, or unaware of the social, political, and ethical forces that are sweeping the world. Navya Shastra consists of a group of Hindus who deeply love and care for our rich and ancient tradition. We are also very concerned about its future.

We strongly feel that one major blemish in the Hindu world (within India) is the pernicious aspect of the caste system which denies equal spiritual rights to all Hindus, and imposes a conceptual hierarchy that considers some Hindus to be superior/inferior to other Hindus on the basis of their birth. We do not think that the dehumanization of Hindus or of any other people is part of the Vedas, Sanskrit or Tamil.

If some shastras tolerated or encouraged caste-based social injustices, we reject them, and declare it is time to formulate a system of values consistent with the age in which we live (yugadharma). We are against caste hierarchy and caste injustices, not only because they are not sanctioned in the Vedas, but also because they are morally wrong, unacceptable, and anachronistic in the world in which we live. We also need to rid Hindu society of its caste constraints, because they undermine the future of the religion as a viable system in the modern world. We are dreaming of a day when the loftier Hindu visions in Sanatana Dharma will spread all over the world. There will come a time when practitioners of other religious systems will resonate with the universal values and visions that are implicit in the roots of Hinduism.

We invite all our Hindu brothers and sisters to join us in raising their voices against casteism, and for making Hinduism a greater religion than what she has ever been.

  • Lobby all dharmacharyas to reflect on the fossilized iniquities in Sanatana Dharma. We will actively strive to catalyze the Hindu leadership into addressing the caste issue and other salient social issues.

  • Engender a national debate on a Navya Shastra--one that would redress the inequalities inherent in the caste system. While the spiritual intuition of our sages is timeless and eternal, the social tenets which govern Hindu society have never been static--our lawgivers have reinterpreted them in different eras.

  • Conduct a respectful dialogue on reformulating the social tenets of Sanatana Dharma, in which all members of our community are welcomed to participate.

  • Track and promote the efforts of Hindu/Indian organizations and charities who are working to eradicate caste discrimination in India. _________________________________________________

    Special Announcement: Listen to Jaishree Gopal, Chairman of Navya Shastra on National Public Radio