www.telugubhakti.com Digest Number 4746

3 Messages

Digest #4746
Quotable Quote by p_gopi_krishna
Srimad Bhagavad Gita by p_gopi_krishna


Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:23 pm (PDT) . Posted by:


Engage with reality on your terms, not on the mind's terms or the world's terms

Suppose we want to watch some educational program on TV. If someone else had set the TV to a celebrity gossip channel, we would change the channel, not just passively watch whatever is displayed.

We need to be similarly purposeful in engaging with reality. Among the myriad stimuli out there, the world – that is, materialistic people and materialistic media – draws our attention towards certain stimuli.. Additionally, our mind too directs our attention towards certain stimuli. If we passively dwell on whatever is highlighted by the world or the mind, then we are like the person watching whichever channel is on.

Can we totally neglect what the world or the mind say? No. Some of it may be relevant, even important. But much of it isn't. The onus is on us to differentiate between the two. For such differentiation, we need to begin with our purpose.

While we all have our various purposes, Gita wisdom reveals our ultimate purpose. We are souls on a journey of multi-life evolution, which is meant to culminate in eternal, ecstatic love for our all-attractive Lord, Krishna. That divine love is our life's overarching purpose, with which we need to harmonize our other purposes.

How can we stay aware of our purpose? By studying the Gita and situating ourselves in the mode of goodness. Therein, we get the inner illumination to evaluate various sensory stimuli and focus on those that deserve attention.. (Bhagavad-gita 14.11).

Applying the Gita by practicing bhakti-yoga diligently elevates our consciousness to goodness and beyond, thereby sharpening our focus on our purpose.. Being thus focused, we don't unthinkingly react to whatever happens in the mind or in the world. Instead, we thoughtfully process various physical and mental stimuli, thereby charting our path towards our all-round growth and to our eternal Lord.

Think it over:

When do we become like the person watching whichever TV channel is on?

What is life's ultimate purpose – how is it related to our various purposes?

What is the best way to respond to the stimuli presented by the mind and the world?

Read more https://www.gitadaily.com/engage-with-reality-on-your-terms-not-on-the-minds-terms-or-the-worlds-terms/ https://www.gitadaily.com/engage-with-reality-on-your-terms-not-on-the-minds-terms-or-the-worlds-terms/

Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:37 pm (PDT) . Posted by:



by Dr. Raghavendra Prasad, MD

Lately there is lot of talk about secularism. Most people equate secularism to being non-religious. They even go to the extent of opposing the introduction of human values or study about the culture or any knowledge of the epics of the land.

What is secularism? Webster dictionary defines secularism as a 1. "system of doctrines and practices that disregards and rejects any form of religious faith and worship". 2. "The belief that religion and ecclesiastical (church related) affairs should not enter into the function of the state".

Oxford dictionary defines it as "a system of political or social philosophy that rejects all forms of religious faith and worship. 2. the view that public education and other matters of civil policy should be conducted without the introduction of a religious element"

This simply means the neutrality of the state on matters of faith... Secularism means no discrimination against anybody in the name of religion." It is the principle of separation of the state from religious institutions. Secularism is not atheism

Militant Secularism; When this religious neutrality is pushed to the extreme, when positive attributes in a society like human values and culture is prevented to be included in curriculum of education. , it is called militant Secularism.

A secular state is an idea pertaining to secularism, whereby a state is or purports to be officially neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion.[1] A secular state also claims to treat all its citizens equally regardless of religion, and claims to avoid preferential treatment for a citizen from a particular religion/nonreligion over other religions/nonreligion. Secular states do not have a state religion (established religion) or equivalent, although the absence of a state religion does not necessarily mean that a state is fully secular; however, a true secular state should steadfastly maintain national governance without influence from religious factions and vice versa; i.e. Separation of church and state. There is no country in the world that is entirely secular in its true sense..

Basic values and theosophical religious values are different. Basic values are civic values include honesty, truthfulness, responsibility, loyalty, self-respect, respect for others, equality, justice, rule of law, and dignity of work. They are the fundamental concepts of the Civil Rights. They are the shared values which "hold together" a very diverse nation.

"These civic values can be distinguished from religious values, which usually concentrate on the supernatural or mystical. Basic values and theological values are different; learning the former does not mean automatic acceptance of the latter. But the fact that many civic values have roots in the world religions does not diminish their usefulness as legitimate standards of social conduct; and teaching them does not conflict with the secular education.


Secularism at its essence is respect of various religions and beliefs evenly and not preaching one superior to the other. Fundamentally it is respecting all faiths including atheists and agnostics. If there is one religion or a way of life that genuinely respects all faiths to be different paths to reach the same goal, called Divinity, that faith is Sanatana dharma. In Sanatana Dharma by its doctrine accommodates plurality and accommodate the existence various religions including atheism. Because of this accommodative theology, it does not believe in religious conversions and lives in harmony with all other religions. Thus, Hinduism is the most secular religion of all. Its existence and sustenance are very important to the whole world.


The following 50 countries declared themselves as Islamic countries where in Islam is the state religion. Yet most of them claim themselves to be secular. These are: 1. Saudi Arabia 2. Iraq 3. Oman 4. United Arab Emirates 5. Kuwait 6. Iran 7. North Africa: 8. Morocco 9. Algeria 10. Tunisia 11. Libya 12. Egypt 13. Northeast Africa: 14. Somalia 15. Somaliland 16. Eritrea 17.. Ethiopia 18. Djibouti 19.Sudan 20. Mali 21. Senegal 22. Gambia 23. Guinea 24. Guinea-25. Bissau 26. Burkina Faso 27. Sierra Leone 28. Niger 29. Nigeria 30. Albania 31. Bosnia 32. Herzegovina 33. Kosovo 34. Northern Cyprus 35. Turkey 36. Azerbaijan 37. Parts of Russia (North Caucasus and Idel-Ural) 38. Ukraine (mainly in the Crimea) 39. Afghanistan 40. Kazakhstan 41. Kyrgyzstan 42. Tajikistan 43. Turkmenistan 44. Uzbekistan 45. Pakistan 46. Bangladesh 46. The Maldives 47. Parts of China 48. Indonesia 49. Brunei 50. Malaysia


The following 18 countries declared themselves as Christian countries where in Christianity is the state religion. Yet most of them claim themselves to be secular. These are: 1. Costa Rica 2. Liechtenstein 3. Malta 4. Monaco 5. Some cantons of Switzerland (state religion): FINLAND 7. Denmark 8. Vatican 9. Norway 10. Iceland 11. Greece 12. Argentina 13. Bolivia 14. Costa Rica 15. El Salvador 16. Greece 17. Cypress 18. Bulgaria


Afghanistan Converted to Islamic state in 1980.

Iran converted to Islamic state 1979. 1979, which overthrew the Shah.

Iraq became an Islamic state in 2005.

Samoa Converted to a Christian state 2017.

STATES THAT ADOPTED A RELIGION BUT CALL THEMSELVES SECULAR: (Courtesy of Secular state - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Argentina – Christian Secular:

According to Section 2 of the Constitution of Argentina, "The Federal Government supports the Roman Catholic Apostolic religion" but it does not stipulate an official state religion, nor a separation of church and state. In practice, however, the country is mostly secular, and there is no kind of persecution of people of other religions; they are completely accepted and even encouraged in their activities.

Armenia Christian Secular:

The constitution formally separates the church from the state; however, it recognizes the Armenian Apostolic Church as the national church.[90]

Bangladesh – Islamic Secular:

There is a constitutional ambiguity that Bangladesh is both Islamic[91] and secular.[92] The Bangladesh high court rejected a proposal to turn all to Islamic feature.[clarification needed][93] However, on 28 March 2016, the court then issued a verdict which "upholds Islam as the religion of the State"[94] But the nation did not remove secularism from its constitution.[95] Secularism is still one of founding principles of Bangladesh.[96][97] There is also another Freedom of Religion law in Bangladesh that always existed.

El Salvador : Christian Secular.

Article 26 of the El Salvadoran constitution recognizes the Catholic Church and gives it legal preference.[98][99]

Finland : Christian Secular

Claims to be secular, but the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and the Finnish Orthodox Church have the right to collect church tax from their members in conjunction with government income tax. In addition to membership tax, businesses also contribute financially to the church through tax.

Georgia: Islamic Secular

Georgia gives distinct recognition to the Georgian Orthodox Church in Article 9 of the Constitution of Georgia[100] and through the Concordat of 2002..[101] However, the Constitution also guarantees "absolute freedom of belief and religion".[100]

Indonesia: Islamic Secular

The first principle of Pancasila, the national ideology of Indonesia, refers to "belief in the one and only God" (in Indonesian: Ketuhanan yang Maha Esa). A number of different religions are practiced in the country.[102] The Constitution of Indonesia guarantees freedom of religion among Indonesians. However, the government only recognizes six official religions: Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism.[103][104] Other religious groups are called kepercayaan (Indonesian: faith), including several indigenous beliefs. Religious studies are compulsory for students from elementary school to high school. Places of worship are prevalent[clarification needed] in schools and offices. A Minister of Religious Affairs is responsible for administering and managing government affairs related to religion.[105] If a secular state is defined as "supporting neither religion nor irreligion", then Indonesia is not a secular state, since irreligion is not allowed[clarification needed], even though not prosecuted. There is a preference for several official religions, which is represented in the government through the ministry of religion.

Israel: Judaism Secular

When the idea of modern political Zionism was introduced by Theodor Herzl, his idea was that Israel would be a secular state which would not be influenced at all by religion. When David Ben-Gurion founded the state of Israel, he put religious parties in government next to secular Jews in the same governing coalition. Many secular Israelis feel constrained by the religious sanctions imposed on them. Many businesses close on Shabbat, including many forms of public transportation, restaurants, and Israeli airline El Al. For a Jewish couple to be formally married in Israel, a couple must be married by a rabbi. Jewish married couples can only be divorced by a rabbinical council. Many secular Israelis may go abroad to be married, often in Cyprus.. Marriages officiated abroad are recognized as official marriages in Israel. Also, all food at army bases and in cafeterias of government buildings must be kosher, even though most Israelis do not follow these dietary laws. Many religious symbols have found their way into Israeli national symbols. For example, the flag of the country is similar to a tallit, or prayer shawl, with its blue stripes. The national coat of arms also displays the menorah. However, some viewpoints argue that these symbols can be interpreted as ethnic/cultural symbols too and point out that many secular European nations (Sweden, Georgia, and Turkey) have religious symbols on their flags. Reports have considered Israel to be a secular state, and its definition as a "Jewish state" refers to the Jewish people, who include people with varying relations to the Jewish religion including non-believers, rather than to the Jewish religion itself.[106]

Kiribati: God Secular

Under the terms of its preamble, the Constitution of Kiribati is proclaimed by "the people of Kiribati, acknowledging God as the Almighty Father in whom we put trust". However, there is no established church or state religion, and article 11 of the Constitution protects each person's "freedom of thought and of religion, freedom to change his religion or belief", and freedom of public or private religious practice and education.[107]

Lebanon: Christian, Islam Secular

Under the terms of the National Pact of 1920, senior positions in the Lebanese state are strictly apportioned by religion:

the President of the Republic must be Maronite Christian;

the Prime Minister of the Republic must be Sunni Muslim;

the Speaker of the Parliament must be Shi'a Muslim;

the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament and the Deputy Prime Minister must be Greek Orthodox;

the Chief of the General Staff must be Druze.

Malaysia: Islam Secular

In Article 3 of the Constitution of Malaysia, Islam is stated as the official religion of the country: "Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation." In 1956, the Alliance party submitted a memorandum to the Reid Commission, which was responsible for drafting the Malayan constitution. The memorandum quoted: "The religion of Malaya shall be Islam. The observance of this principle shall not impose any disability on non-Muslim nationals professing and practicing their own religion and shall not imply that the state is not a secular state."[108] The full text of the Memorandum was inserted into paragraph 169 of the Commission Report.[109] This suggestion was later carried forward in the Federation of Malaya Constitutional Proposals 1957 (White Paper), specifically quoting in paragraph 57: "There has been included in the proposed Federal Constitution a declaration that Islam is the religion of the Federation. This will in no way affect the present position of the Federation as a secular State...."[110] The Cobbold Commission also made another similar quote in 1962: ".....we are agreed that Islam should be the national religion for the Federation. We are satisfied that the proposal in no way jeopardizes freedom of religion in the Federation, which in effect would be secular."[111] In December 1987, the Lord President of the Supreme Court, Salleh Abas described Malaysia as governed by "secular law" in a court ruling.[112] In the early 1980s, then-prime minister Mahathir Mohamad implemented an official programme of Islamization,[113] in which Islamic values and principles were introduced into public sector ethics,[114] substantial financial support to the development of Islamic religious education, places of worship and the development of Islamic banking. The Malaysian government also made efforts to expand the powers of Islamic-based state statutory bodies such as the Tabung Haji, JAKIM (Department of Islamic development Malaysia) and National Fatwa Council. There has been much public debate on whether Malaysia is an Islamic or secular state.[115]

Myanmar: Buddhism Secular

Article 19 of the 2008 Myanmar constitution states that "The State recognizes the special position of Buddhism as the faith professed by the great majority of the citizens of the State." while Article 20 mentions "The State also recognizes Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Animism as the religions existing in the Union on the date on which the State Constitution comes into force."[116] The government pursues a policy of religious pluralism and tolerance in the country, as stipulated in Article 21 of its constitution, "The State shall render assistance and protect as it possibly can the religions it recognizes." In 1956, the Burmese ambassador in Indonesia U Mya Sein quoted that "The Constitution of the Union of Burma provides for a Secular State although it endorses that Buddhism is professed by the majority (90 per cent) of the nation."[117] While Buddhism is not a state religion in Myanmar, the government provides funding to state Universities to Buddhist monks, mandated the compulsory recital of Buddhist prayers in public schools and patronizes the Buddhist clergy from time to time to rally popular support and political legitimization.[118]

Nauru: God Secular

The Constitution of Nauru opens by stating that "the people of Nauru acknowledge God as the almighty and everlasting Lord and the giver of all good things". However, there is no state religion or established church, and article 11 of the Constitution protects each person's "right to freedom of conscience, thought and religion, including freedom to change his religion or beliefs and freedom", and right to practice his or her religion.[119]

Norway; Christian Secular

Norway changed the wording of the constitution on May 21, 2012 to remove references to the state church. Until 2017, the Church of Norway was not a separate legal entity from the government. In 2017, it was disestablished and became a national church, a legally distinct entity from the state with special constitutional status. The King of Norway is required by the Constitution to be a member of the Church of Norway, and the church is regulated by a special canon law, unlike other religions.[120]

Romania: Christian Secular

The Romanian constitution declares freedom of religion, but the Orthodox Church as well as all other recognized religious denominations are funded from the state budget, to which taxpayers of all faiths contribute. Additionally, the Orthodox Church as well as all other recognized religious denominations have since 1992 a monopoly on the sale of cult merchandise, which includes candles (decorative candles and candles for marriage and baptism are excepted). It is currently illegal in Romania to sell cult candles without the approval of the Orthodox Church or of another religious denomination which employs candles (law 103/1992, appended O.U.G. nr.92/2000 to specify penalties).[121] Romania recognizes 18 denominations/religions: several flavors of Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Protestantism and Neo-Protestantism (including Jehovah's Witnesses), Judaism and Islam (Sunni).[122] Cults/denominations which are not recognized are not prohibited. The only cult which ran into trouble is the Movement for Spiritual Integration into the Absolute.

Sri Lanka: Buddhism Secular

The Sri Lankan constitution[123] does not cite a state religion. However, Article 9 of Chapter 2, which states "The Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place, and accordingly, it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana" makes Sri Lanka an ambiguous state with respect to secularism. In 2004, Jathika Hela Urumaya proposed a constitutional amendment that would make a clear reference to Buddhism as the state religion, which was rejected by the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka.[124]

Switzerland: Christian Secular

Secular at federal level although the constitution starts with the words "In the name of Almighty God!"; 24 of the 26 cantons support either the Catholic Church or the Swiss Reformed Church.

Syria: Islamic Secular

Syrian constitution requires the president to be a Muslim and Islamic jurisprudence to be a major source of legislation,[125] however the governments of Bashar al-Assad and his father before him (Hafez al-Assad) have been largely secular in practice.

Thailand: Buddhism Secular

Section 9 of the 2007 Thai Constitution states that "The King is a Buddhist and Upholder of religions", and section 79 makes another related reference: "The State shall patronize and protect Buddhism as the religion observed by most Thais for a long period of time and other religions, promote good understanding and harmony among followers of all religions as well as encourage the application of religious principles to create virtue and develop the quality of life."[126] The United States Department of State characterized that these provisions provides Buddhism as the de facto official religion of Thailand. There have been calls by Buddhists to make an explicit reference to Buddhism as the country's state religion, but the government has turned down these requests.[124] Academics and legal experts have argued that Thailand is a secular state as provisions in its penal code are generally irreligious by nature.[127]

Tonga: God Secular

The Constitution of Tonga opens by referring to "the will of God that man should be free". Article 6 provides that "the Sabbath Day shall be kept holy" and prohibits any "commercial undertaking" on that day. Article 5 provides: "All men are free to practice their religion and to worship God as they may deem fit in accordance with the dictates of their own worship consciences and to assemble for religious service in such places as they may appoint". There is no established church or state religion.[128] Any preaching on public radio or television is required to be done "within the limits of the mainstream Christian tradition", though no specific religious denomination is favored.[129]

United Kingdom: Christian Secular

The Church of England is the established state religion of England only. It is no longer established in Northern Ireland or Wales since the Anglican Church in these respective regions (Church of Ireland and Church in Wales) received autonomy from the main Church of England in 1871 and 1920 respectively. In Scotland, the generally Protestant Church of Scotland has an ambiguous, special constitutional status as national church. Furthermore, unlike the Anglican Church in Northern Ireland and Wales, the Anglican Church in Scotland (the Scottish Episcopal Church) never received established status; however, like the Church of Ireland and Church in Wales, the Scottish Episcopal Church is autonomous from the main Church of England. Two Archbishops and 24 senior diocesan bishops of the Church of England (the Lords Spiritual) have seats in the House of Lords and they can and do participate in debates and vote on decisions affecting the entire United Kingdom. Parliament is opened with prayers, in the House of Lords usually led by one of the Lords Spiritual and in the Commons by the Speaker's chaplain.[130] The full term for the expression of the Crown's sovereignty via legislation is the Crown-in-Parliament-under-God. At the coronation, The King or Queen is anointed with consecrated oil by the Archbishop of Canterbury in a service at Westminster Abbey and must swear to maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel, maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law and to maintain and preserve inviolable the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in England. Thus though the Church of Ireland is no longer established and the Anglican Church has been disestablished in Wales as the Church in Wales, the Crown is still bound to protect Protestantism in general in the whole of the United Kingdom by the Coronation Oath and the Bill of Rights, and to protect the Church of Scotland by the Act of Union.[131] All Members of Parliament must declare their allegiance to the Queen in order to take their seat, although it is for the individual MP to decide whether to do so by swearing a religious oath or making a solemn affirmation.

United States of America: God, Secular

Some U.S. states have laws that would prevent atheists from holding office, such as Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Texas. However, these laws were declared unconstitutional in the U.S. Supreme Court case Torcaso v. Watkins on the basis that they violated the first and fourteenth amendments of the U.S. Constitution.. in god we trust on currency. One Nation under god in Pledge of allegiance to flag. Ester egg hunt. Christmas tree. Nativity in White house. Religious chaplains in hospitals and military bases.

Vanuatu; Christian Secular

The preamble to the Constitution of Vanuatu provides that the Republic of Vanuatu is "founded on traditional Melanesian values, faith in God, and Christian principles". There is no state religion or established church, and article 5 of the Constitution protects "freedom of conscience and worship".[132]


While Islam, Christianity and Buddhism has countries that proclaimed them as state religions, there is no country that has proclaimed Hinduism as the state religion despite it being the most accommodative and secular religion and despite India having 80% of the population being Hindu. When in the 50 Islamic countries, most of them being claimed as secular, while 18 Christian countries claiming to be secular, when 2 Buddhist countries claim to be secular, why can not India be Hindu country and Secular at the same time. For the Hindu Dharma to be protected, the only country with 80% of population is Hindu should be recognized as a Hindu country and still be Secular. Hindu Indians need not be self-conscious about being a Hindu country while so many other less secular faiths have countries where they are the state religions. World vows this to Hindu Dharma.

In a country like USA that is secular has currency notes that say, "in God we trust" and where allegiance to the flag dictates as "one nation under God" has 74% Christian population with only 34% attending church. But in India with 80% Hindu population where in the spirituality and Hindu religion permeates every aspect of human life in festivals, rituals, samskaras, art, dance, sculpture, music becoming a way of life and its culture, how Hinduism can be separated from the India and Indians is beyond any body's imagination. It is intertwined with daily life of Indians in India. It is about time we realize this fact and proclaim India to be a Hindu country, yet secular by its very nature to accommodate and respect all other religions.

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