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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/12/9 16:50:00 ( 831 reads )

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There are two great forces in the universe, silence and speech. Silence prepares, speech creates. The strength of noise and activity is great. But infinite is the strength of stillness and silence, in which great forces prepare for action. To be capable of silence, stillness and illuminated passivity is to be fit for immortality.
-- Sri Aurobindo (1879-1950)

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Timeline of Hinduism in America
Posted on 2014/12/8 18:14:41 ( 772 reads )

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CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUCETTS, December 4, 2014 (Harvard University): The Pluralism Project at Harvard University was created to help Americans engage with the realities of religious diversity through research, outreach, and the active dissemination of resources. It is a two-decade-long research program to engage students in studying the new religious diversity in the United States.

The Hinduism in America Timeline begins in the 1780's when trade is started between India and America and ends in 2012 when the first Hindu American, Tulsi Gabbard, is elected to Congress.

According to the timeline, in 1820-70 Ralph Waldo Emerson discovered Hindu thought as an undergraduate at Harvard. In 1893 Hindus at the World's Parliament of Religions presented their teaching to American audiences. Immediately afterward Swami Vivekananda toured America. In 1920 Paramahansa Yogananda becomes the first Hindu Vedanta and yoga teacher to settle in the U.S. In 1957 Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami established the Palaniswami Temple in San Francisco, CA which was the first Hindu temple in North America performing traditional deity worship.

More of the interesting 100 entries at source.

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Yoga Portraits to Deepen Your Practice
Posted on 2014/12/8 18:14:35 ( 730 reads )

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MYSORE, INDIA, December 5, 2014 (Huffington Post): "I have found my best work comes in the form of 'environmental portraits'," photographer Christine Hewitt writes on her website, "where I am able to capture the subject and their surroundings in a fine balance of aesthetic appeal, visual interest and storytelling."

Now, she's combining that aesthetic storytelling with a good cause. In her first-annual Yogic Photos Calendar for Charity, she's showcasing powerful portraits shot around Mysore, India -- and all of the proceeds help bring much-needed resources to local underprivileged families. All of the people in the photographs are yoga students who have come to Mysore to study.

To view a selection of the somewhat strange calendar shots see source.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/12/8 18:14:24 ( 631 reads )

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I loved my motherland dearly before I went to America and England. After my return, every particle of dust of this land seems sacred to me.
-- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)

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Attacks on Hindu Temples in Pakistan, a Worrying Trend
Posted on 2014/12/4 18:29:31 ( 958 reads )

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ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN, December 3, 2014 (Times of India): A Hindu temple was attacked by fanatics in Pakistan, the temple was torched, the stone Deity of Lord Hanuman blackened with soot, and some religious books burnt. This attack on November 21, in the Tando Mohammad Khan area in Sindh, and reported in the Dawn newspaper, is however, not a one-off incident in a country where such attacks are increasingly turning out to be the rule, rather than an exception. In a similar attack March 28 this year, a small Hindu temple was torched near Fateh Chowk in Hyderabad, Sindh, triggering widespread protests by the Hindu community. Only a couple of weeks before that, a dharamshala, or a pilgrims' rest-house, was set ablaze and some statues of Hindu deities in an adjacent temple in Larkana were damaged

With a population of around seven million, Hindus form the largest religious minority group in Pakistan, which, at 195 million, is the second largest Muslim nation in the world after Indonesia. The arson attacks on Hindu temples and other incidents of religious intolerance have made the Hindu community in Pakistan nervous, according to media here. "As a last resort, we have decided to migrate to India," a Dawn report in November quoted a Hindu man in Sindh as saying. "We are completely insecure here. We are looted, but our voice is not heard by the people in the saddle, our temples are attacked in broad daylight, but no one takes action, our girls are kidnapped and forcibly converted only to hear more empty promises of justice," he said. "Nothing happened in the last 65 years and we don't expect any improvement in future. Things will only become worse," he added.

Following this attack, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved the setting up of a national commission on minorities to promote religious tolerance and harmony in the country, in accordance with the June 19 Supreme Court judgment on rights of minority communities.

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India: Gem Trader Funds "Mass Fatherless Wedding"
Posted on 2014/12/4 18:29:25 ( 900 reads )

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INDIA, December 1, 2014 (BBC): Businessman Mahesh Savani hosted a mass wedding for 111 couples near the city of Surat, in the western state of Gujarat, the NDTV website reports. All of the women came from humble backgrounds and had lost their fathers, so wouldn't have been able to finance the nuptials themselves, the website says. On top of paying for the ceremony, Mr. Savani, who describes himself as a foster father to the women, also shelled out gifts worth up to US$7300 for each of them. "We gave them gold and silver ornaments, utensils, electronics items, clothes and all the expenses related to marriage," he says. He's also committed to paying for "post-marriage expenses," including maternity costs.

Mass marriages are common in India as a way of cutting down on costs for poorer couples. Mr. Savani says he began funding weddings several years ago, after an employee died 12 days before he was due to marry off his two daughters. "I do not ask for any donations for the mass marriage. This is my endeavor, as there is nothing more pious than giving away a daughter in marriage," he was quoted as saying in The Times of India.

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India Aims to Rebrand and Promote Yoga in India
Posted on 2014/12/4 18:29:19 ( 1139 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 3, 2014 (Washington Post): Shripad Yesso Naik, India's new yoga minister, dreams of a day when sun salutations and downward-facing dog pose will be as popular in their homeland as they are around the world. Yes, India now has a minister of yoga -- and he and his government want their cultural bliss back. Indian yogic tradition appears in Hindu texts written thousands of years ago. But the discipline bears scant resemblance to the popular exercise regime that has become a multibillion-dollar industry in the West, home of $90 Lululemon stretch pants and Mommy and Me fitness classes.

In recent weeks, Indian officials have begun efforts to reclaim yoga for the home team, making plans for a broad expansion of the wellness practice into all facets of civic life -- including more than 600,000 schools, and thousands of hospitals and police training centers. They are spearheading efforts to promote and protect India's most famous export, even quietly weighing a "geographical indication" for yoga, a trade protection normally given to region-specific goods such as Champagne from France or oranges from Florida. "There is little doubt about yoga being an Indian art form," Naik said. "We're trying to establish to the world that it's ours."

For more, go to source


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/12/4 18:29:13 ( 758 reads )

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To define God is grinding what is already ground; for He is the only being we know.
-- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), founder of the Ramakrishna Mission

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Training Course for Certified Volunteer Chaplains of the Hindu Faith
Posted on 2014/12/3 18:10:00 ( 988 reads )

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VIRGINIA, USA, December 3, 2014: Hindu University of America, in conjunction with Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, is pleased to present the first Training Course for American Hindu Leaders to become Certified Volunteer Chaplains of the Hindu Faith. The course will be presented at Satchidananda Ashram-Yogaville, in Buckingham, Virginia, Monday Januar 5 through 9, 2015.

The three main instructors will be: 1) Dr. Sarvaananda is a Board Certified Chaplain (BCC) through the Association of Professional Chaplains. Dr. Sarvaananda spent 15 years in medical and hospice chaplaincy. She is currently on the Board of Trustees of Satchidananda Ashram and is active in many national chaplaincy as well as community projects on and off the ashram. 2) Madhu Sharma is the Hindu Chaplain to students at Duke University with Masters in Social Work and BS in Engineering. She is an Executive Coach and also on the Board of Directors of Hindu Society of North Carolina. 3) Pratima Dharm is the first Hindu Chaplain in the history of the Department of Defense, having served the US Army for nine years including two combat tours to Iraq. She is an Army CPE trained hospital chaplain. She holds masters degrees in Psychology and theology, is a trained Yoga and Yoga Nidra teacher and currently serves as Hindu chaplain at Georgetown University, She is a wife, mother, and is involved in US Military and community outreach projects.

Please contact Swami Sarvaananda (swami.sarvaananda@gmail.com, 434 989 4585), before December with questions and confirmation. Reservations for Ashram stays are available through the Ashram Reservation Center, Chaplaincy Program, (800) 858 9642 or 434 969 3121, ext. 111.

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Tiruvalluvar Statue Likely in Moscow
Posted on 2014/12/3 18:06:24 ( 660 reads )

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INDIA, December 1, 2014 (The Hindu): At a time when the central government decided to celebrate the birth anniversary of Tamil poet Tiruvalluvar in schools across the country, his majestic statue may soon find a place in Moscow, Russia.

"Tiruvalluvar is a great and celebrated poet. His contribution to the Tamil literature is well known. We have received a request from an organization to install his statue in Moscow. We are eager to establish his statue," Sergey L. Kotov, Consul General of Russia, told The Hindu here. There is also a move to set up a statue of Aleksandr Pushkin, legendary Russian poet and founder of modern Russian literature, in Chennai. His country would be pleased to have his statue in India, the envoy said.

The modalities of installing the statue, its location and the agency to be involved in it were being worked out. It would improve the overall India-Russia relationship, he said, adding that it would also help step up cultural exchanges between the two countries. Stating that Tamil folk music, cinema and dances were popular in Russia, Mr. Kotov said such opportunities to showcase the cultural richness had not been utilized for long.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/12/3 18:06:11 ( 475 reads )

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You shine, all living things emerge. You disappear, they go to rest. Recognizing our innocence, O golden-haired Sun, arise; let each day be better than the last.
--Rig Veda (X, 37, 9)

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Hinduism Today Launches Digital Dharma Fund-Raising Drive 2014
Posted on 2014/12/2 17:22:53 ( 597 reads )

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KAUAI, HAWAII, December 2, 2014: The Editors of Hinduism Today and HPI announce our 2014 "Digital Dharma Drive" to raise funds to support our free websites, and this HPI service. The editors write:

From the first day of his life's mission, in 1957, our Gurudeva, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, placed much emphasis on publications. What began with a mimeograph machine that he used to print his own books and literature evolved into the pioneering magazine, Hinduism Today, and a few dozen books in which he captured the essence of Hindu dharma and sadhana's profound path within. He directed his monks to reach the world through these works, uplift the spirit and serve humanity. Publishing was to be Kauai's Hindu Monastery's singular service, just as other maths and ashrams serve through hospitals, orphanages, eye clinics or retreat centers.

Following his edict, we have spent a lifetime crafting the tools and books, art and literature that convey the profundity of the Sanatana Dharma. Our magazine has reached the leaders of the Hindu world. Just last month our Editor in Chief, Sadasivanathaswami, was called to New Delhi to give the opening keynote talk for the media panel of the World Hindu Congress. With the changes happening in India, the conveners felt this is the time to strengthen Hindu media throughout the world, and called on Hinduism Today to lead the charge.

The resources produced by the monks have touched hundreds of thousands of people, from school kids learning Hindu history, to Rotary Clubs seeking to understand their new neighbors, to doctors wanting a Hindu take on medical ethics.

This seems to be a special moment for Hinduism, in India and beyond, and we are poised to be a significant part of that historic renaissance. In a way, we have been preparing for this moment since Gurudeva founded the magazine in 1979.

In the last decade our resource-building efforts have shifted toward the web, following the fast-evolving world of communications and publishing. It takes a deft team to gather and sculpt the needed tools and stories. Creating and sharing an articulate and graphically elegant repository of Hinduism is neither easy nor without costs. Hindu youth are learning their spiritual ABCs online, and millions of seekers are discovering Hinduism digitally. What they encounter should be thoughtful, lucid, elegant and authentic. That's what compels our annual fundraising campaign. It's a chance for you to help us to help explain and share Hinduism globally.

In his appeal, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami speaks of the need to provide support for the monks, to draw on a greater expertise. Yes, we could charge for the online books and magazine, but we are determined not to do that. We ourselves are seldom motivated to pay for online information. We like that it is without cost. But free to the world is not free to us. We have significant costs in running our websites. The needs are modest, but they are real.

Among those needs has been a space conducive to creative thinking and collaboration. For four decades the publishing team worked in a dim space, not exactly a hovel, but not much to inspire either. The recent changes in the Media Studio are changing that dramatically, and this year's contributions will help us complete a fresh and suitable facility, one worthy to be the headquarters of Hinduism Today and Himalayan Academy Publications.

In order to provide it all without charging for downloads, without showing advertisements on our sites, without commercializing our mission, we turn to you for help.

In 2010 we received $60,000, in 2011 we received $64,600 and in 2013 it was $55,600. Last year was $50,890. The goal for this year is $70,000. Our two-month-long Digital Dharma Drive ends on January 31. We hope you will join in helping us meet our goal. In the right hands, and leveraged by the unsalaried work of the monks, these funds will have a profound impact on the future of Hinduism around the world. Please make a donation today to keep our sites strong well into 2015.

Click source above to donate.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/12/2 17:22:39 ( 547 reads )

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Enquire: 'Who am I?' and you will find the answer. Look at a tree: from one seed arises a huge tree; from it comes numerous seeds, each one of which in its turn grows into a tree. No two fruits are alike. Yet it is one life that throbs in every particle of the tree. So, it is the same atman everywhere.
-- Sri Anandamayi Ma (1896-1982), Bengali mystic

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The State of Ancient Indian Historical Studies in Modern India
Posted on 2014/12/1 17:50:00 ( 1142 reads )

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DELHI, INDIA, November 27, 2014 (report supplied to HPI by Dr. J.K. Bajaj, Center for Policy Studies): Dilip K. Chakrabarti prepared this a summary of the talk by given by him at Lala Diwan Chand Trust in Delhi and sponsored by the Centre for Policy Studies and the Diwan Chand Institute of National Affairs. Dr. Chakrabarti is Emeritus professor of South Asian Archaeology, Cambridge University, and Dean, Historical and Civilizational Centre, Vivekananda International Foundation, Delhi.

A number of points regarding the present state of ancient Indian historical studies deserve consideration. Out of the few hundred universities and university-level institutions, only a few offer courses in ancient India. Even among this handful of institutions, the places where the subject is taught with some kind of competence and expertise are very few. Why is the study of ancient India in modern Indian educational system so limited and so poor ? The answer is rather unpleasant: we Indians are not seriously interested professionally in our ancient past; there is no prestige in its study and at the end no job. More unpleasantly, there is also some hostility from the vested interest groups of historians of "modern India." To give only two examples, Nalanda International University, in which the Ministry of External Affairs is directly involved, is known to have recently filled the posts in its "school of historical studies." The selected professor/dean is an anthropologist with specialization in Rajasthani folk literature. The academic credibility of another professor recruited to this school seems to be his knowledge of the Korean language. He has done some translation work but his research credentials in history are not at all clear. A third person recruited on a junior level seems to have done primarily de-construction work so far; detailed empirical research does not seem to have played any major role in his research record. Although the other recruits have something to do with history, none of them has anything to do with ancient India. Secondly, Presidency College University in Kolkata does not have any ancient Indian historian among the people recently recruited for its Department of History. For the last 50 years at least historians of the West Bengal universities have shown profound contempt for ancient India. This has taken different forms, one of which is that the MAs in Ancient Indian History and Culture, and Archaeology are usually not recruited for history teaching in the undergraduate colleges of the state.

The third point is that '"Hindu-baiting" is also a feature of many of the current studies on ancient India. Upinder Singh, a Delhi university historian, criticizes R.C. Majumdar by saying that he equated ancient India to Hinduism. She forgets that Buddhism and Jainism, two other visible religions of ancient India, were offshoots of Hinduism and that historians like R.C. Dutt had no hesitation to equate ancient India to Hindu civilization. When it comes to the study of the religion of the Indus civilization, a good number of Indian and foreign scholars are rather disturbed by the mention of Hinduism in that context. Hindu-baiting is also manifest in the way the status of Hinduism as a religion has been denied by various scholars. Their idea is that if the census operators of British India had categorized people not as Hindus but as adherents of Siva, Vishnu and others, Hinduism would not have emerged as the majority religion of India.. It would have emerged as an agglomeration of different sectarian groups. Western scholars have consistently argued this ignoring the overarching principle of unity that one finds in the Upanishads and they have been joined by Indian scholars like Romila Thapar.

The fourth point is that there is very little sense of nationalism among the Indian ancient historians and archaeologists of the post-Independence generation. The situation has deteriorated so much that any claim of high antiquity for anything Indian is viewed with suspicion. It is this almost endemic attitude which prevented people from looking at Indian history in proper historical perspective. H. D. Sankalia's influence on Indian archaeology has been enormous --- he was a kind of archaeological guru in the Deccan College, Pune, but according to him the sun of civilization for India lay always in the West. This is a bizarre opinion, but it is this attitude which still persists in the institute where he spent many years.

The fifth point is that most of the teachers and students of ancient India feel no affinity with the history and culture of the period because they do not have much clue to the language in which the ethos of the period manifested itself. There was a time when Sanskrit was more or less compulsory in Indian schools. As most of the Indian languages are rooted in different forms in Sanskrit, the sense of alienation between the past and the present was much less. A Bengali of my generation could fall in love with the Sanskrit-inspired passages of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, among others. Not many Bengalis of the modern generation can read them in original. I consider that a calamity for Bengali culture but we cannot do anything about it unless the study of Sanskrit is made mandatory in schools.

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World Hindu Congress 2018 to Be Held in USA
Posted on 2014/12/1 17:45:58 ( 658 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 28, 2014 (World Hindu News): In the concluding session of World Hindu Congress 2014, the apex body announced the World Hindu Congress 2018 to be held in the USA under the stewardship of Dr. Abhaya Asthana. the USA has a myriad of Hindu organization with an estimated 3 million Hindu population and nearly two thousand Hindu organizations which makes it rich in terms of voluntary events. During the visit of Hon. Indian PM Narendra Modi, nearly 20,000 people attended the Madison Square Garden event.

World Hindu Congress is a transnational Hindu movement where representatives from Hindu youth, media, business, organizations and politics meet, discuss issues & challenges and come up with solutions after brainstorming sessions. Later solutions are to be implemented as per geographic scope. What makes World Hindu Congress 2018 unique is its scope which is international, agenda which is comprehensive, leadership which has distinguished intellectual board members and support from Hindu business houses.


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