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Pupils Will Study Two Religions in New UK Program
Posted on 2014/11/24 18:25:56 ( 443 reads )

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ENGLAND, November 19, 2014 (BBC): Pupils in England will have to study two faiths under government proposals for a new "more academically rigorous" religious studies GCSE. The aim is to ensure pupils have a strong understanding of the central role of religion on British culture, says the government. The Department for Education says it has worked closely with experts from "all the major faith groups" to develop the qualification which is due for first teaching in September 2016.

Under the proposals, pupils will study "the beliefs, teachings and sources of wisdom" of at least two religions for the first half of their GCSE. The second half of the syllabus will allow pupils to study one or both in depth: looking at religious practice, religious texts and how faiths tackle philosophical and ethical issues.

Students may choose from Buddhism, Christianity, Catholic Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism and Sikhism. The option to study a humanist or non-religious world view is not included in this list.

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How Hema Ramaswamy Found Healing Through Traditional Indian Dance
Posted on 2014/11/24 18:25:50 ( 365 reads )

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USA, November 19, 2014 (By Arun Venugopal, WNYC): Hema Ramaswamy, a young Indian-American woman with Down syndrome, performs her arangetram. After many years of preparation, Hema Ramaswamy of Middletown, N.J., is ready to unveil her arangetram, which literally means "ascending the stage." It is a major accomplishment that takes years of preparation. This moment, when a student of dance or music asserts her artistic independence, usually happens in the teen years. Ramaswamy is 23.

Ramaswamy, who has Down syndrome, originally began dancing for health reasons. "But then it became part of her, and she really loves and enjoys it, and it took her 13 years with a lot of challenges, midway, to complete this," explained her father, Ram. "And now today is a perfect day for her -- her graduating in this art." She was able to achieve this despite her diagnosis and despite two major surgeries for a dangerous leak of cerebrospinal fluid. Her father said dance has strengthened Ramaswamy's muscles and given her fine motor skills she simply didn't have before."I feel so happy in dancing," she beams, surrounded by a flurry of doting aunties while preparing for her performance.

Her father tells the crowd that Ramaswamy's arangetram was more than a dance graduation; it was the day she became, in the eyes of the world, a full individual. Having achieved this goal, Ramaswamy says, she now plans to go to college.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/11/24 18:25:43 ( 376 reads )

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It is far easier to conquer others than to conquer oneself, because the former can be attained by recourse to outside means, while the latter can be achieved only with one's own mind.
-- Mahatma Gandhi(1869-1948)

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Three-day Global Hindu Conference Set to Begin in Delhi
Posted on 2014/11/20 17:30:00 ( 704 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA , November 20, 2014 (by Deeptiman Tiwari, Times of India): HPI Note: Hinduism Today's editor, Paramacharya Sadasivanathaswami, will be making a presentation on Hindu media at this conference.

With the objective of bringing together Hindus at a time "when the community is beset by very serious challenges and is standing at a critical crossroad," a three-day conference will kick off on Friday with the blessings of the Sangh Parivar. Called World Hindu Congress (WHC), the event will have RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and Dalai Lama as part of the inaugural ceremony, while BJP president Amit Shah, Union ministers Smriti Irani, Nitin Gadkari and Nirmala Sitharaman will be key speakers among others.

According to the organizers, the event is expected to have 2,000 delegates from over 50 countries. This will include politicians from Mauritius, the Caribbean, Malaysia and Sri Lanka, where the Hindu population is significant. Organizers say the necessity for the event was felt because Hindus were not only being persecuted in countries such as Malaysia, Mauritius and Bangladesh, they were also discriminated against in their own country.

"World over, Christians and Muslims and even Jews have organized themselves and have global platforms to address their issues. We are one billion strong, but we don't have such a platform. Pandit said it was time the elite and the intellectuals among Hindus came together and introspected on the challenges facing the community and found a solution irrespective of the government. "We have realized, governments have political compulsions. It can only do as much," Pandit said. "Society needs revamped education that is not aping the West blindly, it needs impetus to business, market access, women's empowerment. That's what this conference aims to do by bringing together CEOs, engineers, doctors, politicians and economists on one platform," Pandit said.

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First Bhutanese American Advocacy Day
Posted on 2014/11/20 17:24:27 ( 628 reads )

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WASHINGTON, D.C., November 19, 2014 (Hindu American Foundation): A delegation of nearly 30 Bhutanese Hindus from across the country made history on Capitol Hill on Monday with the first ever Bhutanese American Advocacy Day. The unprecedented event, organized by the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), featured a congressional briefing along with meetings with the State Department and several House and Senate offices.

"The Hindu American Foundation is honored to have provided a platform to give voice to some 80,000 Bhutanese refugees resettling in the U.S., and the entire Diaspora in exile worldwide," said Suhag Shukla, Esq., HAF's Executive Director. "Equally notable is the documentary, The Refugees of Shangri La, that has given international focus to an otherwise untold story."

The briefing, titled Casualties of Gross National Happiness, was held in conjunction with the Congressional Nepal Caucus co-chairs Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO). Panelists sought to educate policy makers on the challenges endured by Bhutanese Hindus resettling here in the U.S., as well as the ongoing human rights concerns in Bhutan. The day was capped off with a meeting between the entire delegation and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), the first and only Hindu in the United States Congress.

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Youths Clean up Streets around Meenakshi Temple
Posted on 2014/11/20 17:24:21 ( 619 reads )

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INDIA, November 19, 2014 (The Hindu): While most of the city was just about starting a calm and peaceful Sunday morning, a group of youngsters got ready at the crack of dawn with brooms and dustpans. The members of Maatralaam, a city-based youth organisation, organized a clean-up of the streets around Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple here. Speaking about the initiative, G. Sriraman, one of the founders of the organization, said that they wanted to focus on cleanliness around the temple which was a world-renowned tourist site and one of the city's most important landmarks.

M. Pradeepa, a city-based software engineer and a founder of Maatralaam, said that they were joined by nearly 35 volunteers. "From students of class XII to teachers and professionals, most of the volunteers joined us after seeing a post on Facebook. They were very enthusiastic and we expect more support for such future initiatives as people are rearing to contribute towards helping their city progress," she said. The members of Maatralaam further said that they hoped to carry out more clean-up drives through the city.


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/11/20 17:24:14 ( 569 reads )

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Attach yourself to Him who is free from all attachments. Bind yourself to that bond so all other bonds may be broken.
-- Tirukkural 350

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India Appoints Minister Of Yoga
Posted on 2014/11/19 16:03:18 ( 787 reads )

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INDIA, November 13, 2014 (The Huffington post): Living up to his promise to promote India's therapeutic traditions, Prime Minister Narendra Modi created a ministry of yoga and alternative therapies for the country this week. Reuters reports that the AAYUSH portfolio will include traditional medicines and practices of ayurveda, yoga, naturopathy, unani, siddha and homeopathy. Shripad Yesso Naik was appointed to head the ministry. "This is our system and it has not received enough prominence. We will take it to the masses," Naik said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

India's prime minister is known as an avid yoga fan. Modi used his September address to the United Nations General Assembly to promote the practice and call on member countries to mark June 21 as International Yoga Day. "Yoga should not be just an exercise for us, but it should be a means to get connected with the world and with nature," Modi said at the U.N. "It should bring a change in our lifestyle and create awareness in us, and it can help fighting against climate change."

India's mission to the U.N. has started preparing a draft resolution on the topic of International Yoga Day and will push for its adoption by the end of the year. So far, the resolution has received support from countries like the United States, China, Nepal, Bhutan and Canada.

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Assets handed over to Dikshitars
Posted on 2014/11/19 16:03:12 ( 566 reads )

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INDIA, October 28, 2014 (The Hindu): Officials of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR&CE) Department on Monday night handed over the hundi collections of the Lord Nataraja temple here, including US$532,000 in bank deposits, 330 grams of gold and golden articles and 1,458 grams of silver articles to the Podhu Dikshithars.

By this, the department has completed the formalities of restoring the full administrative rights of the temple to the Podhu Dikshithars as directed by the Supreme Court. Secretary of the Podhu Dikshithars' Committee R. Bhaskara Dikshithar told The Hindu that the HR&CE Department officials had deposited the hundi collections, since the government takeover in 2009, in three nationalized banks in the name of the Executive Officer of the temple.

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New BAPS Temple Opens in Lisbon
Posted on 2014/11/19 16:03:06 ( 542 reads )

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LISBON, PORTUGAL, September 26, 2014 (dnoticias): The procession of Deities represented by statues, will be the highlight of the opening ceremonies of a new Hindu temple in Portugal, located on Avenida Gago Coutinho in Lisbon.

The opening ceremonies of the BAPS temple, which follows the Swaminarayan tradition, began today with the maha puja, a prayer for the success of the new religious community. During the prayer, the priests recite mantras and perform the ritual cleansing of the space and the main Deity to whom the temple is dedicated.

The highlight of the celebration is set for Saturday with a procession that will run between the Alameda D. Afonso Henriques and the temple. About a thousand believers and many curious onlookers are expected. The opening of the BAPS temple will be the fourth Hindu temple in Portugal. Are all located in the Greater Lisbon area.


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/11/19 16:02:59 ( 430 reads )

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Just as the Earth bears those who dig into her, it is best to bear with those who despise us.
-- Tirukkural

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Excellent YouTube Video on Promoting Dharma Through Education
Posted on 2014/11/13 17:29:29 ( 1120 reads )

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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, November 11, 2014 (YouTube.com): Dharma Civilization Foundation (DCF)--is dedicated to the idea of unfolding dharma for the well being of the individual and the world by promoting the understanding of India's civilization, religion and culture through education.

Hindu dharma, also called Sanatana Dharma, is the oldest spiritual tradition in the world. It gave rise to the wisdom traditions indigenous to India--Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. This 10-minute DCF YouTube video presents the unique challenges of preserving the authenticity of these dharma traditions within the modern educational system.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/11/13 17:29:23 ( 744 reads )

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Let me tell you the truth: there is nothing wrong in your being in the world. But you must direct your mind towards God; otherwise you will not succeed. Do your duty with one hand and with the other hold to God. After the duty is over, you will hold to God with both hands.
-- Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836-1886)

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Chidambaram Priests Heading for Another Legal Tangle
Posted on 2014/11/12 18:34:58 ( 780 reads )

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CHIDAMBARAM, INDIA, November 12, 2014 (The Hindu): The Podhu Dikshithars of the Sri Sabanayagar Temple here (the Nataraja temple) seem to be heading for another legal tangle over the conferment of the title Uthsav Acharya. The title is conferred on a Dikshithar through the draw of lots before organizing very special events such as kumbabhishekam and yagnas and important festivals being held in the Tamil months of Aani and Margazhi.

For the conduct of the Margazhi festival in 2012, the Podhu Dikshithars' Committee selected S. Swarna Sabesa Dikshithar as Uthsav Acharya. However, after his selection, it was found that he was not living with his wife, a prerequisite for the title. [In this South Indian tradition, a temple priest can only fulfill his duties after his marriage, and has to give them up upon the death of his wife]. Therefore, the committee took back the title from him and instead selected S.V. Nagabushana Dikshithar to perform the rituals.

However, for the coming Margazhi event scheduled for December 27, Swarna Sabesa Dikshithar has staked his claim for the title. He told reporters here recently that there were no rules that prevented a Dikshthar, who got estranged from his spouse, from holding the title. He also filed a case in the Chidambaram Munsif Court. In response, Bhaskar Dikshithar, secretary of the committee, told reporters that the affairs of the temple were managed as per the rules and tenets for thousands of years. All the events were being conducted as per Agamas and Sastras.

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Environment-Friendly Paint used in Ranganathaswamy Temple Renovation
Posted on 2014/11/12 18:34:51 ( 785 reads )

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The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department has decided to apply environment-friendly painting on all towers (gopurams) and the rajagopuram of the Srirangam Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple.This is the first time that the emulsion paint is being used. Although a bit expensive, it is not only more durable but can withstand bad weather conditions also particularly heat during summer. Explaining the advantages of this water-based emulsion paint over the conventional material, sources said that upper layers of the painted surface got peeled off in course of time due to heat and rain under the old method. The temple accounts for 26 gopurams apart from the massive structure of rajagopuram and 33 vimanams.

The HR and CE Department has fixed December 31 as the deadline for completing the painting process. Periodical meeting with sthapathis is being held to review the progress of the painting programme. Work on renovation of the temple began in June this year.

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