Indian Culture/Epistemology



I am a graduate student at an international university and am taking a cultures and worldviews class where we are required to conduct numerous interviews with members of the culture we are learning about.  I am hoping to meet some of those interview requirements on this site.  The group that I am in is doing a research ethnography on Hindu Indians, and we are doing a slight focus on a certain Hindu sect called Swaminarayan Hinduism which is a large movement in Gujarat.  One of the members of my team is good friends with a Swaminarayan Hindu which is how we made this connection into the culture.
Here are some general questions:

1.   Where do we come from?  How did we come to be?
2.     What is our ultimate destiny?  Is everyone’s destiny the same?  How is that determined?
3.     What is your typical day like?  How do you integrate your faith?
4.   How do you define right and wrong?  Good and evil?
5.   What are your most important values?

The section of our group paper that I am writing is called Epistemology, which is essentially what does this culture believe about truth and how it can be known.  Here are some epistemological questions:

1.   By what criteria do you decide what is true?  What or who is the ultimate authority?
2.   If two differing ideas are believed by different people to be true how do you reconcile them?
3.   Can you know for sure if something is true?
4.   Can anything be definitely known as false?
5.   What is the most important thing in life to you?

I realize these are pretty deep questions!  Any help with these inquiries into the Hindu Indian worldview would be so greatly appreciated.

Thank you so much for your time.

ANSWER: Hi Joseph,

Am sure you must have already researched these links :

BAPS has offices in many parts of the world, best would be to visit one if it's close by. The leaders there would help you get replies to all your queries:



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks Vani.  I have actually already visited a large Swaminarayan temple in Atlanta and asked these questions of others.  I am required to ask these questions of numerous people for my class and was hoping to acquire some of your answers as well.  Answers to just a couple would be greatly appreciated.


Hi Joseph,

Sorry for this delay but was trying to get you a contact who actually would be knowledgeable about this aspect of the religion. Am not an authority and it would not be fair to comment. Have found some devotees who can help on this forum :



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I can handle any query related to the history, tradition, folklore, culture, people, places of India in Asia. Am particularly interested in education at all levels - school, college, university.


4 decades in a country with 5000 years of history, that speaks 1600 dialects, and has a population of 1.2 billion.

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