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Religious Leaders, Scholars Honored by 2015 Padma Awards
Posted on 2015/1/25 11:39:03 ( 426 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 25, 2015: (IBN Live): Padma Awards, one of the highest civilian Awards of the country, were announced on Sunday. The awards are conferred in three categories, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri. The Awards are given in various disciplines/ fields of activities, viz art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc. Padma Vibhushan is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service (7 awarded in 2015); Padma Bhushan for distinguished service of high order (20 awarded) and Padma Shri for distinguished service in any field (75 awarded). The awards are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year.

These awards are conferred by the President of India at ceremonial functions which are held at Rashtrapati Bhawan usually around March/ April every year. This year the President of India has approved conferment of Padma Awards to 104 persons (see source above for full list).

American David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri), a Sanskritist, astrologer and expert in Ayurveda was given the Padma Bhushan (which also went to Bill and Melinda Gates). George Hart, Professor of Tamil at the University of California, was honored with the Padma Shri award. Chinese Indologist Huang Baosheng and German Indologist Annette Schmiedchen also received the Padma Shri.

In this story, here, it is reported that Baba Ramdev and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar both declined the award. Ramdev said that as an ascetic he should refrain from accepting rewards or honors. Sri Sri thanked the government for considering him for the award but said there were many other deserving people who should be honored instead.

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Hindu Group on a Quest to End Graft in Maharashtra Temples
Posted on 2015/1/25 11:38:57 ( 493 reads )

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MUMBAI, INDIA, January 25, 2015 (New Indian Express): Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad (HVP), a union of Mumbai-based lawyers that works for right-wing organisations, has set quite an unusual goal for itself. It is working towards unearthing scams in several big Hindu temples in Maharashtra. So far, it has achieved some amount of success in its mission with two temples in Maharashtra.

Pandharpur Temple land had been encroached upon and the temple claimed to be unaware of the matter. Ichalkaranjikar and his team filed several queries under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking details of the financial transactions of the temple trust. The replies to his queries revealed that the temple trust claimed to be in the dark regarding possession of 300 acres of its land. Ichalkaranjikar took up the matter with the government and the land was handed back to the temple.

"There is much hue and cry over lack of infrastructure like toilets and guest houses as well as hygiene facilities at Pandharpur. Now that the land is back in the temple trust's possession, it would be possible to create the necessary infrastructure," he points out.

The success in Pandharpur prompted HVP to take up the issue of financial mismanagement in another popular temple--that of Mahalakshmi in Kolhapur.

After one-and-a-half years of research, they found financial mismanagement not only in the Kolhapur temple but in around 3,000 temples in three districts of Sangli, Kolhapur and Sindhudurg controlled by the Devsthan Vyavasthapan Samiti (DVS).

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/1/25 11:38:52 ( 414 reads )

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Mind is consciousness which has put on limitations. You are originally unlimited and perfect. Later you take on limitations and become the mind.
-- Ramana Maharshi, (1879-1950), South Indian mystic

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Sringeri Sankaracharya Anoints Successor
Posted on 2015/1/24 15:51:07 ( 703 reads )

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CHENNAI, INDIA, January 24, 2015 (The Hindu): Sri Vidhushekhara Bharati, earlier known as Kuppa Venkateshwara Prasada Sharma, was formally anointed as successor to Sri Bharati Tirtha, Sankaracharya of the Sringeri Math, in Sringeri on Friday.

According to a release from the Math, the elaborate ceremony of Shishya Sweekara began on Thursday. The successor-designate performed several rituals, fasted all day and stayed awake throughout the night. He began Friday by paying homage at the samadhi shrines of the previous Sankaracharyas.

Later, he went to the banks of the Tunga and performed Preshochaarana and Sarva-bhoota-abhaya Pradhana, signifying a vow of non-violence towards all beings. On completion of the ceremony, the junior pontiff entered the Sharada temple. The event was witnessed by over 40,000 persons, the release said.

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Encounter with the Infinite
Posted on 2015/1/24 15:51:01 ( 640 reads )

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UNITED STATES, January 23, 2015 (by Robert Schneider with Benjamin Phelan): Srinivasa Ramanujan was a super genius born into extreme poverty in an obscure part of southern India, who taught himself mathematics from a standard textbook, and in total isolation became a mathematician of such power that one hundred years after his death, at the age of thirty-two, the meaning of much of his work is still a mystery. In the middle of what I thought would be my life's work, writing and producing music, I heard his story; now I find myself in graduate school studying number theory.

Read more of this lengthy and interesting essay on Ramanujan and the authors own studies at 'source'.


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/1/24 15:50:55 ( 571 reads )

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If you long to see God, take to spiritual practices. What is the good of merely crying, "O God! O God!"?
-- Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836-1886)

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Nine Million Take Holy Dip on Mauni Amavasya
Posted on 2015/1/23 17:59:00 ( 713 reads )

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ALLAHABAD, INDIA, January 20, 2015 (Times of India): "Har, Har Gange" reverberated in the air throughout the day as a large number of devotees headed towards River Ganga on Mauni Amavasya at Sangam, Jhunsi and Arail ghats. Mela officials claimed that around 9 million pilgrims and devotees had a holy dip at Sangam, Jhunsi and Arail ghats by late afternoon.

They said that the final figure was expected to cross the 10 million mark by the time the bathing time ends at 10pm as people from neighboring states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were still arriving.

A dip in Ganga on Mauni Amavasya is considered pious and devotees did not leave any stone unturned to earn merit and performed puja and yajna worship on the occasion. Sunil Mishra, who travelled all the way from Lucknow, said, "A holy dip will help me wash my sins and also earn Ma Ganga's blessings."

Several slide shows may be viewed at :
http://indianexpress.com/photos/pictu ... p-at-sangam-in-allahabad/

http://indianexpress.com/photos/pictu ... magh-mela-in-allahabad/9/

http://indianexpress.com/photos/pictu ... habad-to-take-a-holy-dip/

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Desi Dialogues: Memories of Kite Flying and Chikki at Makar Sankranti
Posted on 2015/1/23 17:58:53 ( 710 reads )

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TORONTO, CANADA, January 24, 2015 (by Rakshande Italia, Scarborough Mirror): As North America dives into a deep freeze and temperatures reach minus degrees, its heartening to note thousands of miles away in India, people are celebrating the first festival of the year. Makar Sankranti is a four-day festival dedicated at paying homage to the elements of the sun, wind and thanking God for the abundance of natural resources that make it possible to live on earth.

Many Hindus in India take holy dips in Ganga. As kids growing up in the city of Mumbai the term Sankranti had absolutely different connotations. For us, it was almost four days of flying colorful big kites on our building terraces and eating Indian sweets specially made for this occasion. The kite flying, of course, is the most prominent part of these festivities. And while I really don't know the story behind why people fly kites, it seemed these were the few days when the winds in the air were suitable for kite flying. So every Sankranti when the winds blow over populated and otherwise pollution ridden city of Mumbai, street vendors sell colorful kites.

The fun was not only flying the kites, but more importantly being able to take down competitor's kite. In fact that's what all the fun was about.

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Conversion to Christianity is a Low-Key affair, Reconversion to Hinduism is Shrill and Blunt
Posted on 2015/1/23 17:58:47 ( 865 reads )

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INDIA, January 24, 2015 (by Seema Kamdar, DNA): The brouhaha over "coming back home" sits a bit oddly with a long-accepted practice of conversion by coercion or inducements in India. While the Mughals used force to augment their religious strength, various sects of Christianity have unerringly and silently set up bases in untended territories of the country or sought out neglected sections of society such as tribals and underprivileged categories to pursue their proselytization agenda. This explains the growing number of Christians in the North-east, Odisha and Dang, all developmentally weaker regions neglected by successive governments.

In the true Indian tradition of saam (advice), daam (price), dand (punishment), bheda (exploitation), conversions continue to be a part of India's complex politico-religious narrative. The difference in the ghar wapsi furor is perhaps the pitch at which it is being sold and the tacky way in which it is being done. Given the measly numbers being reconverted, they should not even be noticed, let alone hog the headlines.

More at source.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/1/23 17:58:41 ( 711 reads )

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The unloving belong only to themselves, but the loving belong to others to their very bones.
-- Tirukkural

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Dubious Evangelism Makes Ghar Wapsi Pale in Comparison
Posted on 2015/1/21 16:43:09 ( 1352 reads )

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INDIA, January 14, 2015 (Swarajya): The national Indian debate about the recent ghar wapsi reconversion drive of some Hindu organizations bypasses the broader narrative of ongoing, aggressive campaign by Christian missionary organisations. Over the past month, Indian media has tirelessly covered and attacked the RSS for its plans to convert several thousand Christians and Muslims to Hinduism. The press hubbub was largely stirred up by parties in the Opposition such as the defeated Indian National Congress, which criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi, though these reconversions were not sanctioned by a government entity.

The last official Indian census to publish statistics about the nation's religious demography was in 2001. At that time, 2.34 per cent of the nation's population were reported to be Christians; 14 years have passed since the survey, and many Christians and Hindus alike estimate that this percentage has greatly increased in the intervening years.

Rather than using ghar wapsi as yet another obvious opportunity to criticise the RSS and the Modi government, the event should instead be used to force a larger, urgent and direly needed discussion regarding the ethics and practice of predatory proselytization that continues to endanger India's religious harmony and pluralistic ethos.

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Thais to Return Looted Cambodian Antiquities
Posted on 2015/1/21 16:43:03 ( 1275 reads )

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PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA, January 19, 2015 (Turkish Press): Thailand is to return ancient Khmer artifacts looted from temples during the turmoil of the 1970s, Cambodian officials said Monday. According to the Cambodian Foreign Ministry, dozens of stolen relics were confiscated by Thai authorities in 1999 and Thailand has now agreed to return 16.

A report in the Phnom Penh Post on Monday said the artifacts to be returned were among a stash of several thousand Hindu and Buddhist statues and other antiquities held by a senior Thai police official.

Kuong said seven of 43 confiscated items were returned to Cambodia in 2009 and a joint commission has arranged the return of a further 16. "There are 20 remaining, and the ministries of culture from the two countries continue to work with each other on the rest," he added. Looting was rife during the 1970s, when Cambodia was torn apart by civil war and the brutal regime of the Khmer Rouge.

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Mega Vedic Ritual Begins
Posted on 2015/1/21 16:42:56 ( 1416 reads )

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INDIA, January 21, 2015 (The Hindu): Mega Vedic ritual Aptoryamam got off to a start on the sprawling premises at Gargeyapuram near here on Tuesday. The ritual will go on for 13 days with over 125 priests performing various rituals during the course of the period.

Kesapragada Harihara Sarma, who officiated the program, said a similar kind of string of rituals was believed to have been performed 70 years ago in Rayalaseema. The Mahahomam was being organized with the objective of achieving harmony with nature and balanced rainfall, bountiful crops, peace and happiness.

Vedic Scholars Narendra Swami and Kesav Avadhani from Maharashtra took part in the celebrations on the first day. The program started with pradakshina, making of holy fire and sankalpam.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/1/21 16:42:50 ( 1238 reads )

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Wealth's Goddess dwells in the hospitable home of those who host guests with a smiling face.
-- Tirukkural

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Pakistan's Supreme Court Orders Government to Introduce Hindu Marriage Act in Two Weeks
Posted on 2015/1/18 17:54:01 ( 2067 reads )

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ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN, January 13, 2015 (Pakistan Christian Post): HPI note: The issue here is difficulty for Hindus obtaining government certificates recognizing their marriages, especially in Sindh Province.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Supreme Court Honorable Nasir-ul-Mulk, while hearing a case on the non-implementation of the 19th June detailed Supreme Court Orders for the protection of Minorities Rights, has ordered Federal and Provincial Governments to ensure meetings with Patron-in-chief of Pakistan Hindu Council Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani to discuss minorities security situation and submissions of minutes of meetings in this regard during next hearing on February 11.

"Officials representing federal and provincial governments including five IGs, four Chief Secretaries, Advocate General, Attorney General and Chairman NADRA appeared to the Supreme Court to present reports on this issue", Dr. Ramesh informed adding that five percent quota in government jobs, Hindu Marriage Act and the Task Force for the Protection of Minorities Worship places were the key issues under discussion during the hearing.

The Supreme Court has ordered the Attorney General to ensure to pass the Hindu Marriage Act Bill, as recommended by Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, from the Federal Cabinet within two weeks.

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