CREDOS: Mythbusters — III

Lavina Melwani:

On the other side of the Atlantic, Jay Lakhani is also doing his share to interpret Hinduism for the British. The Gujarat-born physicist, now living in London, says, “I took early retirement to focus on what I love best: studying and promoting Hinduism.”

Although he received no formal education in Hinduism, Lakhani has been inspired by the life and teachings of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda. He has become a popular speaker in the London school system. He has fielded many questions from non-Hindus, but he finds that they are most attracted by the idea of the divinity of man: “When talking to youngsters of the Abrahamic faiths, this idea of the essential nature of everyone as ‘divine’ — equating it to God — grabs them and makes them run after me, asking me excitedly again and again: ‘Is this really Hinduism?’”

Lakhani is also faced often with the C-word, and works hard to demolish the idea of hereditary caste system as being part of Hinduism. He says, “I term this as ‘atrocity in the name of religion’ and not religion. This is a very important distinction that sometimes gets overlooked in the way Hinduism is presented in the West. This does serious damage to the more important and vibrant aspect of Hinduism promoting ‘Divinity of man.’” In a small town in rural Pennsylvania, yet another Hindu is debunking myths for non-Hindus. Dr Jeffery D Long is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Elizabethtown College and received his Ph D in comparative religious studies at the University of Chicago, focusing on Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. —