Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Happy Rosh Hashanah, Ramadan, Navaratri

We wish a happy Ramadan, a peaceful and prosperous Rosh Hashanah, and truth triumphing Navaratri and other festivals that begin with the New Moon on September 19, this year.

May these festivals open our hearts and minds towards fellow beings

Religious holidays in Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism and other faiths follow the moon cycles where as the Indigenous peoples of America, Bahai, Christianity, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism and earth based traditions like Wicca and others follow the movement of equinox or the plain Solar Calendar that we see every day.

The Spiritual masters have captured the human gravity for rituals and have molded it with the art and science of self-discipline in their respective religion. The noble purpose of each one of them was to bring a balance in our lives and a balance with things that surround us; life and environment. Every faith is composed of a set of unique rituals to bring discipline and peace to human life.

The Spirit of Ramadan

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is generally observed with a ritual precision; it is an annual training or a refresher. It requires one to abstain from food, drink, intimacy, ill will, ill talk, ill actions or any temptations from dawn to dusk, every day for a month. One has to rise above his or her baser desires. Islam gifts this month to its followers to inculcate discipline to bring moderation in their daily lives. Twenty-five hundred years ago, Buddha, the enlightened one taught that human suffering is caused by unrestrained desire to own and had recommended a middle path, and the same recommendation was made by Prophet Muhammad 1,400 years ago.

True fasting is self-purification; and from this, a rich inner life that bring about values such as justice, generosity, patience, kindness, forgiveness, mercy and empathy - values that are indispensable for the success of the community.

For fasting to be truly universal, its benefits must extend beyond the fraternal ties of Muslims and must extend to forging a common humanity with others. Fasting is meant to impart a sense of what it means to be truly human, and its universality is reflected by its observance in Baha'i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Sikh, Zoroastrian and other faiths.
Does the mainstream public in America, Canada, India, Australia or elsewhere relate with Muslim customs and traditions? The following articles are written with the intent of developing that understanding.

1. Traditions of Ramadan

2. Politics of Ramadan

3. Spirit of Ramadan

4. Our Mission

The language chosen is generic and incidences are relational, so the public can relate with what they are familiar with and extrapolate that to the politics, traditions and the spirit of Ramadan. Of course, we can write a book on each. I have learned over the years that news papers have a reason to limit the length of the articles and I have followed that to the best of my ability.

You are welcome to share, forward, comment and make suggestion to make it better in the comments section of each article. You can publish it as well.

The Spirit of Rosh Hashanah

Wish you all the best on the eve of Rosh Hashanah.
Leshana tova tikateiv v'techateim." And "Leshana tova tikateivi veti"

The Jewish New Year takes place around September/October, and is considered one of the most important and serious holidays (or High Holy Days) in the Jewish calendar. As well as being a time for celebration it is also a time for reflection and repentance for sins committed in the previous year. In synagogue, people pray to God to forgive them for their wrongdoings and to give them a good year - during the service a Shofar, or ram's horn, is blown, to alert congregants to the seriousness of the festival and the fact that God is deciding their fates for the coming year - which will be sealed on the Day Of Atonement ten days later. This period is known as The Ten Days of Repentance and is traditionally a solemn time.

However, Rosh Hashanah is also a time for celebration - other traditions include eating apples dipped in honey in the hope that this will lead to a sweet year.

The Spirit of Navaratri

Navaratri, which literally means 'nine nights,' dedicates three days each to worshipping the Divine in the forms of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati.

Significance of Navaratri for Householders However, Navaratri is not only significant for spiritual aspirants; it has a message for those who lead a worldly life as well. They should invoke Durga's help to surmount obstacles, pray to Lakshmi to bestow peace and prosperity, and contemplate upon Saraswati in order to gain knowledge. These three ingredients are just as necessary for a full and complete worldly life. In reality, when we pray like this, we are but invoking the Shakti that is within ourselves.

The tenth day is Vijaya Dashami, the 'tenth day of victory.' or the festival of victory, symbolizing the moment when Truth dawns within.


Mike Ghouse is a thinker, writer speaker and an activist of pluralism, interfaith, co-existence, peace, Islam and India. He is a frequent guest at the TV, radio and print media offering pluralistic solutions to issues of the day. His websites and Blogs are listed on


Friday, September 11, 2009

Mike Ghouse dedicates this day 9/11 to America

It was Tuesday, 9/11/2001 at about 10AM in Dallas, whence two radio stations 1150 AM and 950 AM called me to man the radio. I was on the air till 5:00 PM, talking with the Public, area Mayors, community, religious and other civic leaders of Dallas.

I was determined to make sense out of the non-sense, and bring some sanity to the situation. I made a declaration that we should get the ugliest guy on the earth and screamed names at Bin Laden.

We the Americans were shaken that morning, I wanted us to reaffirm that we are one people and one nation and the petty thieves cannot shake us;

• My first goal was to bring a sense of clarity and direction to the public. Then pave the way for a sense of purpose, a sense of what needs to be done. I repeated the same thing on its anniversary.
• By the end of the day a clear sense of direction was developed followed by: I) Multi-faith prayers ii) donate blood ii) donate money. The Blood centers had to close down due to the people’s overwhelming response.

• The fog was clearing up – I) Osama bin Laden was the bad guy ii) Muslims had nothing to do with Osama iii) Declaration of war against Osama.

My late wife Najma monitored the Blood centers and kept up with the on goings, the Wadley Blood Center called in and asked us to hold off the blood drive as the people had lined up without an end in the sight.

The interfaith prayers vigils took off; The Richardson Mosque, Synagogues, the Hindu Temple in Irving held prayer vigils. Joel Brooks of AJC and I went to every possible place. I was equipped with the Hindu, Zoroastrian, Bahai, Jewish, Jain and Muslim prayers as there were enough people to represent other faiths. I remember reading Jewish, Muslim and Zoroastrian Prayers at the BSS Swaminarayan Temple, then reading the Muslim and Jewish prayers at a prayer vigil held by the Zoroastrians at DFW Hindu Temple…. I was committed to represent the missing ones. At the Richardson Mosque we were able to put together prayers representing all faiths.

From the Desi community, Tayyab Kundawala was the President at India Association; Mohammad Suleman was the President at the Islamic Association of North Texas and Vinoda Kumar, I believe was the president at the DFW Hindu Temple… every one pushed the envelope to hold fund raising.

I made a commitment to dedicate this day very year to 9/11 and work on learning and sharing its impact on the world from moral, religious, economic and social points of view.

• September 11, 2005 - Creation of Unity Day USA - 14 faith representation, 650+ individuals, 6 Mayors, FBI and DOJ attended the event. The civic Officials proclaimed it as UnityDayUSA

• September 11, 2004 - 4 Hours of Radio Talk Show - I do plan to bring the experts to share the impact of this event on elections, world relations and much more.

• September 11, 2003 - 4 Hours of Radio Talk Show - Bring out the experts in to share the impact of the event on Politics, history, world relations, multi-faith relations and the economy.

• September 11, 2002 - 8 Hours of Radio Talk Show - Bring the experts from all over the United States to talk about the impact the event had in every sphere of life.

• September 11, 2001 - 8 Hours on the Radio AM 1150 and AM 950 simulcasted at times to bring sense to the senselessness.

I was thankful to community for allowing me to play a key role in Dallas on the day of September 1. 2001

Today, I stand with hopes that my congressmen Pete Sessions, Ralph Hall, Sam Johnson, Kenny Marchant, and Eddie Bernice Johnson would sponsor the bill in the house to proclaim a National Unity day called the Unity Day USA. -

Organizer wants to mark 9/11 with Unity Day

11:49 AM CDT on Saturday, September 5, 2009
By DIANNE SOLÍS / The Dallas Morning News

CARROLLTON – For Mike Ghouse, 9/11 remains a very personal event. The radio talk show host took to the North Texas airwaves within hours after the killer planes hit the towers in New York, unleashing destruction and years of phobias.

"I was determined that day was my day to bring some sanity to the insanity that happened," said Ghouse. He then switched tenses, retelling what he said that day: "We are hurt. We have been terrorized, and there is someone above us that will keep the balance."

For the last five years, Ghouse has organized a 9/11 memorial, an ecumenical event to promote understanding that brings together hundreds of people of many different faiths.

Rather than dwelling on anger, Ghouse wants it to be "a day to positively unite Americans." He plans to ask 30 attendees to switch faiths for a short period during the event and read a passage from each other's traditions.

"When I don't see a barrier between Jews and Muslims, I am an American," he said.
Ghouse, an India-born U.S. citizen who is Muslim, learned quickly that day that the attackers were also Muslim.

"I didn't look at it as a Muslim thing, but I looked at it as someone had hurt my nation, and anyone who hurt my nation hurts me," said Ghouse, a homebuilder and property manager who created the Foundation for Pluralism 15 years ago.

The pledge of allegiance at Sunday's event will be led by Imam Zia Sheikh, a newly naturalized U.S. citizen who took the oath of allegiance Thursday. Born in Pakistan and reared in England, he heads one of the largest North Texas mosques, the Islamic Center of Irving.

"I have always participated in interfaith events because it is really important to understand each other," the imam said. "Ignorance leads to misunderstandings about each other."

Local vocalist Iman Rashada will sing the national anthem. She hopes the event eases conflict. "God did not make us of different tribes so that we would despise each but so that we would get to know each other," she said, paraphrasing the Qur’aan.


Mike Ghouse is a thinker, writer speaker and an activist of pluralism, interfaith, co-existence, peace, Islam and India. He is a frequent guest at the TV, radio and print media offering pluralistic solutions to issues of the day. His websites and Blogs are listed on

Friday, September 4, 2009

Experience an awesome event this Sunday

Experience an awesome event this Sunday

I am pleased to invite you to witness and feel an amazing experience of being an American, you will walk out of the event feeling American committed to building one nation for every American.

A full spectrum of representation of America will be witnessed; our civil leaders like mayors, council persons, fire, police chiefs on the one end and the faith leadership representing every possible faith (or no faith) would be represented. It’s one evening for every American. There is audience participation in these 2 hours fully packed event of feeling and hopefully acting American.

To build a safe America, one of the many things we do at Unity Day USA is to have a face to face with people of different faiths, ethnicities, races and other uniqueness’s, let’s build a threshold for others and start dropping our phobias.

Please join us in the journey and experience;

Event: 5th Annual Unity Day USA – A 9/11 event
Place: Unity Church of Dallas
Address: 6525 Forest Ln, Dallas, TX. 75230
Time: 5:00 – 7:45 PM
Refreshments: 7: 45 PM

Please be in the hall before 5:25 PM for National Anthem
Details are at:

Thank you
God Bless America

Mike Ghouse