Books and Documents

Spiritual Meditations

Not only do the Abrahamic faiths, i.e. Judaism, Christianity and Islam, place due emphasis on duty towards parents and keeping to the promises made or agreements signed, faith systems such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, also embrace these finer human values. …when Abraham told his son Ishmael of having dreamt that he must sacrifice Ishmael and asked the latter’s view, the son promptly told his father to go ahead with fulfilling his dream. “Father,” said Ishmael “do that which you are commanded, God-willing you shall find me patient” (37:102). …

Buddhist Concept of God
Yoginder Sikand, New Age Islam

Buddhist Concept of God
Yoginder Sikand is a regular columnist for New Age Islam

Bhadant Anand Kausalyayan (d. 1988), an Indian Buddhist bhikkhu, wrote extensively on issues related to religion. In this letter to his disciple/friend Yogendra (below), which appears in his book Bhikkhu Ke Patra, he elaborates on the Buddhist understanding of the concept of God….

A Sufi Message from a Pakistani President
The writer is a senior journalist, television commentator and interviewer

The message the Sufis sought to communicate offended nobody: oneness of Being (Wahdat ul Wajood), equality of men, Love as a universal value. Rungs of the stratified Hindu order found the egalitarianism of Sufi Khanqahs, ashrams, hospices, compelling. The first-time visitors to the hospice were overwhelmed by the hospitality. The cuisine was custom made for universal consumption. It was not just vegetarian but care was taken to avoid garlic and onion too which some Hindu sects abstain from. …

Vishwamitra: The Forgotten Rishi
Yogi Ashwini is an author of rare blend of the real and ethreal

Vishwamitra was a Kshatriya king with vast resources and power. However, after realising that physical powers and siddhis were just a trap of the physical world and tapo bal (the yogic power of penance) was supreme power, he renounced his kingdom and went on to become a Brahmarshi who even set out to create a parallel universe; the gods, of course, had to come down to request him to desist. …

Religious Brainwashing Begins At Birth
Yoginder Sikand, New Age Islam

Religious Brainwashing Begins At Birth
Yoginder Sikand is a regular columnist for New Age

Being wholly dependent—psychologically, emotionally and materially—on their parents, they automatically imbibe the religious beliefs and prejudices of the latter. This is how blind, unquestioning belief in the religion that they inherit at birth becomes so deeply-rooted in most people as to make it almost impossible for them to shake it off at a later stage in life. Along with this, in many cases children are also socialized by their parents into believing that their religion alone is true and that all others are false, impure or deviant. …

I want to say to him, “O God how much I want you to come down from your heavenly abode and play with me. I want to be a little child again. I want to hold your hand and run with you. Deep into the jungle. And when the jungle scares me, I want to hide in your arms. I want you to stay there, wait for me. Don’t abandon me like others. You are more kind than a mother. And more caring than a father.


The Album of Life is Strange
Aisha Aijaz is a medical doctor, specialising in Acute Medicine

‘And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour. And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: “My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was young.” (Al- Qur’an 17:22-24)…

Letters of a Modern-Day Indian Buddhist Monk Bhadant Anand Kausalyayan
Yoginder Sikand works with the CSSE at the National Law School, Bangalore

From the late nineteenth century, efforts began to revive Buddhism in the land of its birth. Much has been written about this, particularly focusing on Babasaheb Ambedkar’s conversion to Buddhism and that of vast numbers of his followers. Relatively little, however, is known about the key role in this process of certain Indians who became Buddhist monks or bhikkhus and, in that capacity, played a major part in the spread of Buddhism in modern India. …

Unique Buddhist-Christian Meditation Centre
Yoginder Sikand, New Age Islam

Unique Buddhist-Christian Meditation Centre
Yoginder Sikand is a New Age Islam columnist

Ever heard of a Catholic priest devoting his life to promoting the teachings of the Buddha and the practice of Buddhist meditation?  You might think it unbelievable, for Christianity is premised on belief in a creator-god and in a saviour whose death is thought to have washed away the sins of those who believe in him. Buddhism, on the other hand, has no room for a creator God, and insists that one has to be one’s own light. Recently, I spent a week at Bodhi Zendo—and that was definitely one of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had. …  


Be that as it may, if God is good, which is certain, then, God is peaceful. In actual fact, the image of God implanted into man’s subconscious being right from infancy is that, God is love, and where love exists, violence has no place. All religious books contain stories of how God has displayed his love towards man. First, at creation, God gave man dominion over all things that He had created before man, giving man a ‘super intelligence’….

Agonizing Over Religions: My Way Out!
Yoginder Sikand for New Age Islam

Agonizing Over Religions: My Way Out!
Yoginder Sikand works with the CSSE at the National Law School, Bangalore

All those many years I spent working on religion have miserably failed to make me a better human being. And so, in a very fundamental sense, I’ve gained nothing at all from my long involvement with the subject. And, what is more, all the many books I’ve written on religion and the many more that I’ve read on it have left me even more confused than I was before I began my ‘religion trip’ about the reality of the cosmos, the origins and purpose of life, the existence or otherwise of God, the truth or otherwise of heaven and hell and all those other fundamental questions which religions claim to answer. …

Why I No Longer Envy Born Believers
Yoginder Sikand for New Age Islam

Why I No Longer Envy Born Believers
Yoginder Sikand works with the CSSE at the National Law School, Bangalore

I tried to experiment with various religions over the years—not very seriously, I must admit—I could never arrive at the same state of belief as that of ardent ‘born believers’. Lack of sincerity and commitment was certainly one factor. …most blind believers are not guided by the quest for truth at all. Indeed, they are inimically opposed to that very quest. True seekers are few—and have always been so….

Burn Anger Before Anger Burns You
Dada J.P. Vaswani is the spiritual head of The Sadhu Vaswani Mission

Anger is more destructive than fire or earthquakes. When you get angry, certain glands in your body get activated. This leads to an outpouring of adrenaline and other stress hormones, with noticeable physical consequences. Your face reddens, blood pressure increases, voice rises to a higher pitch, and breathing becomes faster and deeper, your heart beats harder and your arm and leg muscles tighten. Your body becomes tense. …

Are We Ready For Spiritual Democracy?
Kancha Ilaiah is director M A N Urdu University, Hyderabad

Once the spiritual system transformed from the totemic worship stage and moved on to become a largely organised priesthood in the spiritual realm and monarchy in the political realm, what laid the foundation for authoritarianism in the entire socio-spiritual and political domain was spiritual dynasticism, casteism and authoritarianism. The masses, for the most part of human history, feared spiritual authority more than political authority. …

While the Muslims rely on the supernatural and the metaphysical the majority of ‘non-Muslims’ in the developed world base all their inferences on naturalism, the foundation of science. The time when every phenomena like the rising of the sun or the blowing of the wind was attributed to an act of god or gods is long gone. Similarly, ascribing every success or failure to a supernatural being is also history in the modern world. Science is fast replacing religion. ...

Stephen Prothero, religion professor at Boston University, has long framed the American propensity for "the divine-deli-cafeteria religion" as "very much in the spirit of Hinduism. You're not picking and choosing from different religions, because they're all the same," he says. "It isn't about orthodoxy. It's about whatever works. If going to yoga works, great—and if going to Catholic mass works, great. And if going to Catholic mass plus the yoga plus the Buddhist retreat works, that's great, too."-- Lisa Miller

Human longings are expressed through waves, aspirations, hopes and longings. These micro-psychic longings are many. In the course of this endeavour, there comes hardly any obstacle from within, but there may come hindrances and obstacles from without in the shape of ideological clashes. ...


It would be very nice to study religion in anthropological and psychological ways. By the way, i do think children need to be educated about religion. They just shouldn't be told you belong only to this or that religion. They should be told, there is this religion and that religion. And when you grow up, you may - or may not - choose to join any of those.--  Richard Dawkins in an interview with Vineet Gill (Photo: Richard Dawkins)

Throughout history philosophers and prophets have asserted that positive thinking can cause a seismic shift in the energies surrounding us and whatever we strongly desire will actually happen. In fact, spiritual teachers also caution against unquestioned positivity and advise that it's not as simple as just intensely wishing for something. -- Milia Ali

''Liberty of thought and action is the only condition of life, of growth and well-being. Where it does not exist, the man, the race, the nation must go.''...He wanted to combine western progress with India's spiritual background...Vivekananda's constant refrain was abhaya - be fearless, be strong. For him man was no miserable sinner but a part of divinity; why should he be afraid of anything? ''If there is a sin in the world it is weakness; avoid all weakness, weakness is sin, weakness is death.''-- Abridged from Nehru's The Discovery of India, the chapter on Vivekananda

The Master entered the room, his head bent low, carefully measuring each step that he took. A dozen disciples silently trailed in after him. He headed to the far end of the room, where he usually sat, and, lifting the glass globe of the oil lamp, gently snuffed out the wick. Thereupon, he quietly settled on his seat—a slim mattress spread out on the bare floor. An uneasy calm prevailed in the room. The disciples waited with bated breath to hear the Master speak about the day’s events. They were charged with a confused tangle of intense emotions, but the Master kept silent for a long time. -- Hee-Haw, NewAgeIslam.com

He made possible a radical criticism of tradition, without making tradition despicable. Few describe the savagery of Indian society with as much bluntness as he does. The greatest indictment of priestly power was it made the poor forget their own humanity. No social structure is religiously sanctioned; societies are products of the operations of power and necessity. -- Pratap Bhanu Mehta

This is where reference to the finest spiritual traditions of humankind may help. They seek to build bridges, not erect barriers, between races and cultures, nations and religions. Unlike the literalists, they do not subscribe to the view that there is only one truth, that there is only one path to discover this truth, that there is only one guide to take you to this destination. In the recent Salman Rushdie controversy, the noblest utterance has come from the outstanding Islamic scholar, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan: ‘The answer to a book is a book, not a ban.’-- Dileep Padgaonkar

Can the Gita be dubbed extremist literature? Indeed, yes, for it advocates extreme action that could result in sweeping annihilation. Does the Gita promote violent acts? Undoubtedly -- doesn’t Krishna suggest you use the sword without hesitation to fulfill your mission? . The Gita is full of killer apps but all of them are metaphysical. That’s why it would be more suitable to call it an extremist, metaphysical document, for you are not meant to read it as an alogrithm that advocates physical, military action. -- Narayani Ganesh

I told them that in Qur’an and in Arabic language jihad does not mean war. The word jihad and its derivatives occur 41 times in Qur’an but not even once for war. For war Qur’an uses the word qital and clearly says that fight only those in the way of Allah who fight against you and do not comment excesses as Allah does not love those who are aggressors.(italics supplied). This clearly shows that Qur’an only permits war of defence, not war of aggression Thus in western countries too education system has become a powerful tool to spread misinformation and prejudices. -- Asghar Ali Engineer

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  • Dear Sultan Shahin Sahib, Well said. ‘Barelvi’ Sufi Sunni Muslims do not allow their followers to sit in company of Wahhabis and Deobandis and neither ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
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    ( By Meera )
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  • محترم عزیز غلام رسول دہلوی صاحب حفظک اللہ آپ کا کام قابل ستائش ہے۔مجھے خبر ملی ہے کہ اسی مضمون کے اوپر آپ کو دھمکیاں ...
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  • محترم غلام رسول دہلوی صاحب، پوری دنیا بھر میں اکثر لوگوں کو پتہ ہی نہیں کہ وہابی عقائد کے متبعین آخر کیوں صوفی سنی مسلمانوں ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • محترم غلام رسول دہلوی صاحب، پوری دنیا بھر میں اکثر لوگوں کو پتہ ہی نہیں کہ وہابی عقائد کے متبعین آخر کیوں صوفی سنی مسلمانوں ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • A thoughtful article on the intrusive roles of Turkish government bureaucracies....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • It is your view. But that doesn't mean it is true. You are consoling yourself. Get out of comfort zone. It is not middle age ...
    ( By Bilhan Kaul )
  • Your religious book is written by people but in Muslim. Quran is Almighty words send through Angle and words copied on pages and made in ...
    ( By Abu Basim Khan )
  • @Khan But who has written godly books. People. So it is not fault of people but religion. Your kind of lozic is simple. Which you ...
    ( By Bilhan Kaul )
  • What is true Islam I explained. Not depend on practice. In religious book written theft,lies etc are prohibited and crime ....
    ( By Abu Basim Khan )
  • Are you preaching Khan sahib. That Islam has no place for this or that. Your imagination is out of tune with reality. Wishes are not ...
    ( By Bilhan Kaul )
  • Echo the views of Jayaram, who has well nailed the ghettoistic mindset of radicalised Muslims who abhor everything progressive in ....
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  • @Jayaram Shriyan give more respect to lakhs of women abandoned by majority community without divorce. give respect and rehabilitate ....
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  • @ Jayaram Shriyan u read Quran and Hadith ie Prophet saying.Muslims women have full liberty and more power compare to Men.Thats why ....
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  • My Muslim brethren, all that you have to do is give more freedom of choice to your mothers and sisters within the ....
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  • Islam has no place for sectarianism or insurgency. It should, infact, be responsibility of the religious leaders ....
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  • Very informative. God bless you'
    ( By Syed Ali Shahid Rizvi )
  • Kraipak Author knows "0" about what sufism actually is. Sufi is a big ....
    ( By Mehraj Ul Haq )
  • No one can dare to cleanse the theology of Islam.'
    ( By Behare Lal Dhar )
  • Egoist party'
    ( By Rama Prakash Mishra )
  • U P OJHA My comment isn't related to you, but the Muslims only.'
    ( By Mas'ud Al-Hyderi )
  • @Mas'ud Al-Hyderi If islam quits the philosophy of cutting throats of other religions, world become Islamic.....
    ( By U.p. Ojha )
  • رسول اللہ ﷺ نے فرمایا، ’’اپنی امت کیلئے واحد چیز جس کا مجھے خوف ہے وہ گمراہ رہنما ہیں (جو لوگوں کو گمراہی کی طرف ...
    ( By Mas'ud Al-Hyderi )
  • How to go with terrorism in the name of Islam? This is all political fabricated n the results of our weaknesses n lack of unity ...
    ( By Nizam Elahi )
  • You need to listen to scholars like sheikh Muhammad Al yaqoubi, Sheik yahya Al Ninouvi, and Sheikh Hamza Yousuf.... Nothing more to say....
    ( By Saddam Patel )
  • Only radical thought needs Sufi ( moderate) . Moderate d open thought needs no Sufism .'
    ( By Arun Sharma )
  • The sufi word, actually means the inner felling of soul, and follow only the right path of prophet S. A. W, and adopting the methods ...
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    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • nothing to do with islam folks. nothing to see here. keep that line moving.'
    ( By hats off! )
  • The link of Tahirul Qadri’s speech on wahdatul wujud and wahdatush shuhud....
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • Dear Sultan Shahin sahib, Since you have quoted Dr. Tahirul Qadri in your article, please listen to his speech on the idea of Wahdatul wujud ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • Prof. Naim is right about what the facts are. One must also juxtapose...
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  • It does not take much scholarship to see that the article is written with a particular objective in mind. The data is provided....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Of course women should make their own decisions regarding what....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
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  • Science is progressing at a tremendous speed.It does not have a prophet.Anyone can propose anything with...
    ( By dr.A.Anburaj )