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Hindu Temples in the US Growing in Spirit and Scale
Posted on 2015/8/3 18:55:52 ( 54 reads )

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UNITED STATES, July 26, 2015 (Economic Times): If you read between the lines of the vandalized signboard in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, you'll see more than just 60 shotgun pellet holes perforating the blue sans serif lettering that reads 'Hindu Temple'. The punctures, though ominous, do little to threaten the place of the Hindu temple - in Forsyth County, or the rest of America.

For America's growing number of Indian immigrants, a temple is a way to transplant a bit of home in the US. The Hindu demographic is doing quite well economically. According to Pew, 36 per cent say their annual family income exceeds $100,000, compared to 19 per cent of the overall public. As America's three million Hindus grow in stature, so do their symbols of ethnic identity - their temples.

The institution first arrived on America's West Coast in 1906, via Swami Vivekananda's Vedanta Society in San Francisco, writes Karen Pechilis Prentiss for Harvard's Pluralism Project, and it concerned itself chiefly with scriptural study and meditation. It was only in the 70s when the Indian migrant population began to expand on the back of the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 that temples for ritualistic worship and cultural incubation developed. This was when Alagappa Alagappan, one of the leaders of the temple movement in late 20th century America, helped establish the Hindu Temple Society in 1970 in Flushing, New York. Today, the temple count in the US touches 800, according Hindu American Foundation (HAF).

In last year's Pew survey that gauged the general American sentiment towards different religions, Hindus score 50 on a 'feeling thermometer' of 1 to 100, two points ahead of Mormons and three below Buddhists, which means the US public is ambivalent towards Hinduism, exhibiting no greater positive or negative attitude toward it.

Much more at source.

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Inside the Mind of a Tyrant
Posted on 2015/8/3 18:55:41 ( 44 reads )

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INDIA, August 2, 2015 (New Indian Express by Anuja Chandramouli): Having successfully completed a quintet of books skilfully chronicling the rise and fall of the Moghul Empire, Alex Rutherford is back with Traitors in the Shadows, which examines the reign of Aurangzeb, one of the most contradictory and vilified figures in Indian history. Rutherford is on familiar terrain and his reverence for the historical material shines through in his narrative as he paints an enduring portrait of the tyrant who was not without redeeming qualities though one clearly has to hunt for them using a powerful microscope.

He was a devout Muslim, whose stern and extreme adherence to the strictures of his religion saw him undo all the hard work put in by his ancestors like Akbar to cultivate the bonds of brotherhood between those of all faiths by adopting a policy of religious intolerance. Aurangzeb banned the celebration of Hindu festivals like Holi and Diwali, ordered the destruction of temples and re-imposed the dreaded Jizya--higher taxation for all non-Muslims--to drive home his power over them. His actions were motivated by a misguided sense of political acuity as well and intended to make a strong statement against rebels like Shivaji and later the Jats, Rajputs and Sikhs, to discourage his other subjects from throwing in their lot with them.

More at source.


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/8/3 18:55:31 ( 41 reads )

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Life is meant for God-realization. If you die without attaining God-realization, your life is in vain. Even having one hundred gurus will not help, unless the disciple has a great desire for liberation and tries to get rid of all that stands in the way.
-- Swami Chidananda (1916-2008), President of Divine Life Society

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River Rafting Banned in Rishikesh Area
Posted on 2015/8/2 20:19:30 ( 360 reads )

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DEHRADUN/NEW DELHI, August 2, 2015 (Times of India): A day after the National Green Tribunal accepted the Uttarakhand government's submission that no new licenses will be issued to rafting camps and that renewal of licenses will also not be considered for the time being, both the rafting industry in the hill state and the hordes of tourists from Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh who troop in for the popular river rafting activity are an unsure lot. NGT has also directed the Centre to submit its views on the impact of river rafting in the area. Though there is no blanket ban on rafting as yet - the next hearing in the case is on August 7 - plans for the time being have gone awry.

River rafting, a US$11 million-industry in Rishikesh that began in the 1980s with just five people, attracts a large number of domestic as well as foreign tourists. Campsites near the Ganga are weekend getaways for many in north India, with tourists in the thousands favoring a quick trip there for some much needed respite from city life. Rafting also offers one of the few options for adventure sports enthusiasts in north India.

At the heart of the NGT order is a petition by Social Action for Forest and Environment (SAFE), an NGO, which has raised a clutch of concerns about the large number of rafting camps, which include disturbance to wildlife, pollution caused due to waste junked by rafters, open defecation on the river bed, trees cut to make way for construction of camps, levelling of the river bed and much more.

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Texas Hindu Temple Opens with World Record
Posted on 2015/8/2 20:19:20 ( 434 reads )

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FRISCO, TEXAS, August 1, 2015 (WFAA): When you look inside the new Hanuman Temple in Frisco, North Texas on Saturday, you'll realize why it was built. Thousands of Hindus, most of them living in or around the city, crowded into the 34,000-square-foot temple to celebrate its official opening. The Indian population in the region is growing. In Collin County alone, it has more than tripled since the turn of the century. "Look at the 10-mile radius around the temple," said Temple Chairman Prakasa Rao Velagapudiand. "Seventy, 80, maybe even 90 percent of them have Indian background."

They celebrated the opening in spectacular fashion by setting a new Guinness World Record. After 24 hours of continuous chanting, the group set the world record for the longest chanting marathon.

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Colorful Video of Adkshardham Delhi On-Line
Posted on 2015/8/2 20:19:10 ( 427 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 30, 2015 (msn): While the sun is setting at the Swaminarayan Akshardam, take your seat on the ancient stepwell to experience the age old truth as the stepwell transforms into the courtyard of the heavens. The courtyard watershow features melodious music, colors, dancing fountains, lasers and more. See the nice short video at 'source' above.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/8/2 20:18:59 ( 286 reads )

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O Lord of power, if I were the Lord of herds of cattle, then I would have given to those intelligent worshippers plenty, as much as I could.

-- Rig Veda 8.14.2

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Adopt Students, Village Temples: Kanchi Seer
Posted on 2015/7/26 19:40:48 ( 1577 reads )

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INDIA, July 25, 2015 (The Hindu): Sri Vijayendra Saraswathi of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam on Thursday exhorted Non-Resident Indians to adopt at least one dilapidated village temple and also fund the education of at least one poor student from their motherland. Quoting a sloka from the Ramayana, the Sankaracharya said one should realise that "mother and motherland are superior to heaven."

They should chip in with their contributions either individually or collectively through organisations like Telugu Association of North America (TANA) or American Telugu Association (ATA) to reconstruct grama devalayams and sponsor the educational expenses of at least one poor student, the pontiff said after performing an elaborate Trikala pooja here. "It is imperative to protect the existing temples than constructing new ones," he added. The seer wanted the TTD to appoint at least 1,000 gram purohits to revive the past glory of village temples, which, he said, had been the nerve-centre of all socio-economic and cultural activities in the past.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/7/26 19:40:38 ( 1473 reads )

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There the eye goes not, nor words, nor mind. We know not. We cannot understand how He can be explained. He is above the known, and He is above the unknown. Thus have we heard from the ancient sages who explained this truth to us.
-- Sama Veda, Kena Upanishad 1.3

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Can Use Pictures of God for Marketing, Says India's Supreme Court
Posted on 2015/7/25 18:33:42 ( 1497 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 25, 2015 (NDTV): It is fine to use pictures of Gods and Goddesses for commercial products, the Supreme Court said today, dismissing a petition that asked for a ban. "There are 33,000 crore (330 billion) Gods and Goddesses and everybody is to free to have their images. How can we say that there should be no image of God for the whole country?" Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu said.

A petition had sought a ban on the use of images of Gods on products, arguing that it is disrespectful. The petitioner said he was "aggrieved" that pictures of Gods were printed on puja articles, food items, spices, medicines and clothes. The Chief Justice responded: "A businessman may say I am a devotee of Lord Balaji or Goddess Lakshmi and I have named my son and daughter with these names. What is wrong if I use the God's pictures with these names in the name-plate, car or the products? What is wrong with it? Why should we restrain people from using picture of God?" The court said businessmen may feel if they had God's pictures on their products, it would help their business.

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Thousands gather for UK Shree Kutch Hindu festival
Posted on 2015/7/25 18:33:32 ( 1618 reads )

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LONDON, UK, July 23, 2015 (by Michael Knowles, London News): Hindus from Shree Kutch Satsang Swaminarayan Temple in Kenton and Shree Swaminarayan Temple in Stanmore celebrated Rath Yatra on Sunday, July 19. Three chariots moved through six miles of roads, including Kenton Road, Honeypot Lane, Marsh Lane and Wood Lane after starting at Kenton Temple. Kanji Kerai, general secretary of Shree Kutch Satsang Swaminarayan Temple, and Nitesh Hirani, secretary of the temple, said: "The devotees were singing, dancing, playing drums, hand symbols and blowing conch shells with the spiritual atmosphere throughout the procession.

"Spectators were amazed to see devotees in such an ecstatic mood. "It was a good day in the neighborhood and the community. It is something to be proud of and it is an achievement for the whole Harrow community." Guests from India and MP for Harrow East Bob Blackman attended the festival.


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/7/25 18:33:21 ( 1494 reads )

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By practicing tolerance of those who insult us, we will feel honor and insult as the same. Just as we feel good when someone praises us, we should feel just as good when we are insulted. Stability in honor or insult is the ability to still have love for our aggressor.
-- Sri Pramukh Swami Maharaj, Spiritual Guru of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha

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Nepal's Draft Constitution Would Ban Religious Conversion
Posted on 2015/7/22 18:50:00 ( 2189 reads )



NEPAL, July 22, 2015 (by Julia A. Seymour): HPI Note: This report is from a Christian website.

Christians and Muslims in Nepal are criticizing the draft version of a new constitution that bans religious conversion. Spurred to action by the recent earthquake, Nepal's government introduced the draft for public comment on June 30, Reuters reported. The draft states that "any act which may be contrary to public health, public decency or morality or incitement to breach public peace or act to convert another person from one religion to another or any act or behavior to undermine or jeopardize the religion of each other is not allowed and such act shall be punishable by law."

Christian Solidarity Worldwide's Nepal Advocacy officer, Martin Dore said, "There is a purpose to stop all evangelism and talking about another faith in the words 'incitement to breach public peace' and the banning of 'an act or behavior to undermine or jeopardize the religion of another,'" Dore said. Christianity has been growing in Nepal, with some high-profile converts from Hinduism. But in recent months there has been an uptick in accusations of forced conversions, according to CSW.

In 2011, Nepalese lawmakers attempted to make conversion to anything other than Hinduism or Buddhism illegal, according to Open Doors spokeswoman Emily Fuentes. But the legislation was not adopted. Christians and Muslims are minorities in the former Hindu monarchy, which is why both groups want Nepal's new constitution to keep the nation "secular." "We want secularism to be institutionalized in such a way that it is an unchangeable provision in the new constitution. We want the constitution to ensure religious rights and form a religious commission," said C. B. Gahatraj, general secretary of the National Federation of Christians.

Muslims also want permission to have their own religious courts. Catholic officials in Nepal also called for the word "secular" to be inserted into the constitution and asked for Christianity to be officially recognized, according to Catholic News Service (CNS).

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Is There Really an Indian Temple Built by a Britishman?
Posted on 2015/7/22 18:45:53 ( 2134 reads )

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INDIA, July 22, 2015 (hoaxorfact.com): HPI Note--This article appears on a website which investigates and tries to verify or to disprove unusual claims.

The famous Baijnath Mahadev Temple is located in southern banks of Banganga river in Agar Malwa of Madhya Pradesh, India. The Siva Lingam (the sacred stone form of Lord Shiva) in the Baijnath temple is believed to belong to 13th century, while some legends say it is probably more than thousand years old. Then after 300 years, in 1883, with the inspiration from British army Hindu officials, and financial help of British Commander Lt. Colonel C. Martin and other local people, 11,000 rupees was donated for the renovation of the temple, making it large, and also building few other temples around it.

[A 1/4 rupee silver coin in 1877 weighed 2.92 grams, worth today US$1.28, making the 11,000 rupee donation worth at least $56,320 in today's money.]

It is said that during this time when the British were ruling India, Lt. Col. Martin of Agar Malva was leading the army in the war against Afghanistan. Her wife prayed to Lord Shiva that if her husband reaches home safely, then she would get the temple renovated.

There is also another piece of writing on one of the pillars in middle of the temple suggesting that it was built (renovated) with the orders of C. Martin in 1883. The website's verification says that Agar is an ancient archaeological site, located 66 KMs from Ujjain, and was a Camp (Chhavani) in English period. And Lt. Colonel C. Martin was indeed the Commander of Central India Horse British regiment during the second Anglo-Afghan war between 1878-1880.

Considering the aforementioned documented records and the beliefs about the power of the temple, the website concludes that such an incident could have possibly happened. So the Baijnath Mahadev Temple is the only Indian temple made by a Britisher during their rule in India.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/7/22 18:45:42 ( 1931 reads )

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Character is "care actor," the ability to act with care.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today

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