Colonial Discourse and the Suffering of Indian American Children Book Cover.webp

In this book, we analyze the psycho-social consequences faced by Indian American children after exposure to the school textbook discourse on Hinduism and ancient India. We demonstrate that there is an intimate connection—an almost exact correspondence—between James Mill’s colonial-racist discourse (Mill was the head of the British East India Company) and the current school textbook discourse. This racist discourse, camouflaged under the cover of political correctness, produces the same psychological impacts on Indian American children that racism typically causes: shame, inferiority, embarrassment, identity confusion, assimilation, and a phenomenon akin to racelessness, where children dissociate from the traditions and culture of their ancestors.

This book is the result of four years of rigorous research and academic peer-review, reflecting our ongoing commitment at Hindupedia to challenge the representation of Hindu Dharma within academia.


From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Pañcamahāyajñas literally means ‘five great sacrifices’.

Though the scriptures have eulogized sanyāsa,[1] they have also boldly declared that the gṛhastha is the pivot of the whole society since the members of all the other three āśramas depend upon him for their sustenance. The life of a householder is itself a yajña or a sacrifice, for the betterment of the whole society. As if to remind him of this, he has been ordained to perform everyday, five yajñas. These are collectively called ‘pañcamahāyajñas’.

Classification of Pañcamahāyajñas[edit]

They are:

  1. Devayajña - Devayajña or sacrifice to gods like Surya, Prajāpati and Indra, is the usual daily sacrifice offered in a consecrated fire. Since they give us rain, crops and prosperity they have to be satiated through these oblations.
  2. Pitṛyajña - Pitṛyajña or sacrifice to the manes[2] consists in offering rice balls[3] and water.[4] By this offering they are satisfied and bless their descendants who are performing this sacrifice.
  3. Rṣiyajña - Rṣiyajña[5] is sacrifice to the ṛṣis or the sages. Since they have transmitted the knowledge of the Vedas to mankind, it is the householder’s duty to recite the Vedas and also teach them to his children and disciples. This itself is the yajña by which they are pleased.
  4. Nṛyajña - Nṛyajña is feeding hungry human beings that may visit the house.
  5. Bhutayajña - Bhutayajña is feeding hungry domestic animals which may visit the house.

Fruits of Pañcamahāyajñas[edit]

By performing these five daily sacrifices, the householder is actually repaying his debts to the divine beings and the society, from whom he has received help and sustenance. They also help him in offsetting the sin he commits unknowingly and unwillingly while using the five implements in his house like the pestle and mortar, domestic fire, grinding stone etc., wherein violence is perpetrated on life through the killing of ants, worms and so on.


  1. Sanyāsa means the life of a monk, a man of total renunciation and dedication to God.
  2. Manes means the forefathers.
  3. They are called piṇḍa.
  4. Water means arghya.
  5. It is also called brahmayajña, ‘brahma’ meaning the Vedas.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

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