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From New Year, Temples in Tamil Nadu to Enforce Dress Code

Posted on 2015/12/22 17:52:37 ( 1733 reads )

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TAMIL NADU, INDIA, December 22, 2015 (The Hindu): The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department has directed temples under its control to enforce the rules pertaining to the attire of devotees and visitors according to the Agamas, traditions and customs of the individual temples. Entry into temples in the State is governed by The Tamil Nadu Temple Entry Authorisation Act, 1947. Rule 4 of the Act states: "No person shall enter into temple premises unless he has had a bath and wears clothes of such materials and in such manner as is customary in such temple. No person shall enter a temple with any footwear."

In a circular, the HR&CE Department has cited a recent direction of Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court that had prescribed a dress code for men, women and children wanting to visit temples governed by the Department from January 1, 2016. Justice S. Vaidyanathan had ordered that from January 1 men should wear a "dhoti or pyjama with upper cloth or formal pants and shirts" to temples and women should wear "a sari or a half sari or churidhar with upper cloth." Children could wear "any fully covered dress." However, temples where men were prohibited from wearing an upper cloth could continue the practice, he clarified.

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Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2015/12/22 17:52:27 ( 1377 reads )

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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. All creation is That. There is beauty in the birds and in the animals. They too eat and drink like us, mate and multiply; but there is this difference: we can realize our true nature, the Atman. Having been born as human beings, we must not waste this opportunity.
-- Sri Anandamayi Ma, (1896-1982), Bengali mystic

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Fresh Row Over Constructions at Chidambaram Temple

Posted on 2015/12/21 19:38:13 ( 1498 reads )

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INDIA, December 21, 2015 (The Hindu): A fresh row is brewing at the Sabanayagar temple, also known as Thillai Natarajar temple, here, over recent constructions undertaken at the premises. Historians and archaeologists are calling for declaration of the temple as a national monument and heritage site to preserve its antiquity, while Podhu Dikshitars, who are the administrators of temple, have expressed apprehension over such demands as they fear it would diminish their fiercely-guarded administrative authority.

The Dikshitars, who claim to be the direct descendants of Lord Siva or Thillai Natarajar, are the administrators of the temple. Only last year, a protracted tussle between the State and priests over temple administration ended with the Supreme Court upholding the rights of the Dikshitars. The new controversy is as much about the way the temple property is being maintained as about new structures that have come up.

A conference of historians and archaeologists recently called upon the Director General of Archeological Survey of India to depute experts to the temple to be declared a national monument and later a world heritage monument by UNESCO. They felt that the temple was being maintained badly. They also regarded as unwanted the recent attempt to erect construction before the eastern gopuram.

However, Podhu Dikshitars stoutly opposed the suggestion of archaeologists and historians. U. Venkatesa Dikshithar said, "We are not against declaring the temple as national monument and heritage site under UNESCO, but under the pretext of declaration, we will not accept the management of temple going into the hands of either Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) or Hindu Religious Department." They also denied allegations of improper maintenance and damage to architectural structure.

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Mayor Welcomes Hindu Pontiff

Posted on 2015/12/21 19:38:03 ( 1511 reads )

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CASEY, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA, October 30, 2015 (India Link): Mick Morland, Mayor of the City of Casey, was so taken by Hindu pontiff Shree Shree Sugunendra Teertha Swamiji when they met at Keysborough a few months ago, that he promised to throw a function in his honor when he next visited Australia. True to his word, he accorded the Swamiji a mayoral reception when he returned to Melbourne in early October.

Swamiji was recognised for his efforts towards world peace and his achievements through the years in the Council Chambers of the City of Casey Civic Centre. In attendance were Councillors of the City of Casey and many from the Indian community, for whom it was an honor to be in the presence of the head of the Puttige Matha (monastic establishment) in Udupi, Karnataka.

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Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2015/12/21 19:37:53 ( 1411 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 Aurobido (1879-1950)

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Call for Yogis to Teach in Mexican Public Schools

Posted on 2015/12/20 20:38:07 ( 1243 reads )

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TULUM, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO, December 12, 2015 (sipse.com): Yoga is now being added to physical education programs in Mexico's schools in order to address major problems of childhood obesity and bullying. There are two "sports yoga" pilot programs now operating, one in the state of Jalisco and the other in the Mexico City Federal District. Another pilot program will begin early next year in the state of Quintana Roo, in Yucatan. Approval for the expansion of these programs to schools across the country is expected.

In Tulum Mariela Rosales Ruiz has announced the call, by the Mexican Federation of Sport Yoga (FEMYD), for professional yoga instructors to teach these classes. It is estimated that at least 2,000 teachers will be needed to meet the demand and there could be more. "One would need to be certified by the Federation to be part of this project," she said. Requirements are already on the web site. She also observed that Tulum is "a huge portal for yoga and there is the possibility of the Federation also certifying people who are not Mexicans, those who have the training and experience".

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Supreme Court Order Disappointing, Say Trained Priests

Posted on 2015/12/20 20:37:56 ( 1212 reads )

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CHENNAI,INDIA, December 20, 2015 (The Deccan Chronicle): Students who had undergone archakas training course in 2007 had planned a celebration near Periyar Statue on Anna Salai on Wednesday afternoon expecting a favorable order from the Supreme Court striking down the petition challenging appointment of trained and qualified people from all castes as temple priests. But they cancelled the event after the apex court issued an order disappointing them. "Our wait for seven years ended in a big disappointment. The Supreme Court rather than ending the caste-based discrimination in the appointment of temple priests has supported the age old custom," V. Ranganathan, president of Tamil Nadu Government Trained Archakar Students Association, said. The apex court by upholding the importance of denomination for appointment of priests in agama-based temples has indirectly closed the doors on non-brahmins to become priests, he said adding all the appointments made under the Government Order would be challenged in the local courts.

The then DMK government [HPI note: a far-left, anti-brahmin party] issued a GO on May 2006 declaring that suitably trained and qualified Hindus, without "discrimination of caste, creed, custom or usage" were to be appointed as archakas in any of the 36,000 HR and CE administered temples. Ranganathan was one among the 206 students who underwent training in the six training institutes set up by DMK government in 2007. Among the 206 students, 34 were Dalits and 55 belonged to the Most Backward. Community. Only a small number had managed to become priests in private temples while others were working as as loadmen, some in restaurants, some as car drivers and many others do assorted jobs. Interestingly, three persons belonging to brahmin community who underwent training were appointed in HR and CE run temples.

T. Marichamy, who underwent priest training in Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple, said he joined the course after seeing advertisements inviting applications for the free course with a monthly stipend of US$7.54 and a job at a government- administered temple after completing it. "We were very confident of the SC giving an order in our favor as discrimination of people based on caste is against the Constitution," he said.

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Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2015/12/20 20:37:46 ( 1098 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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Appoint priests as per Agama Sastra: Supreme Court

Posted on 2015/12/17 20:10:00 ( 1587 reads )

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Updated: December 16, 2015 18:38 IST

CHENNAI, TAMIL NADU, INDIA, December 16, 2015 (The Hindu): Tamil Nadu's State Supreme Court on Wednesday said that restrictions in Agama sastras does not violate right to equality enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution.

A bench led by Justice Ranjan Gogoi said appointment of archakas in temples following Agama Sastra'-- rituals of individual temples concerned -- will continue.

In 1971, the then DMK government under Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi amended the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious Endowments Act to abolish the concept of hereditary appointments for priests (archakas) in temples in the State. The amendment was challenged in the Supreme Court, which took the side of the government.

In its judgment in the Seshammal case, a Constitution bench of the apex court held that appointment of Archakas was a "secular function" and abolished "next-in-line succession" appointments. However, the court also made it clear that appointments so made, even if they are non-hereditary, should conform to the "usage" prevalent in the said temple. If the "usage" was that Archakas were appointed from a given "denomination, sect or group", this had to be followed.

Critics said this translated into priest appointments again getting restricted to the community of Brahmins for several subsequent decades. A committee formed by the State government, in fact, said the Seshammal case had been misunderstood.

In May 2006, the DMK government took up the issue of priests appointments yet again. Relying on a 2002 judgement in the Adhithayan case, where the apex court held that there was no justification for insisting that persons of a particular caste alone could conduct temple rituals, the State issued a government order (GO) making any person with "requisite qualification and training" eligible for appointment.

The GO and the ordinance that followed were challenged by the Adi Saiva Sivacharyargal Nala Sangam.

Timeline:
1971The DMK government amends TN HR & CE Act to abolish hereditary appointment of priests and allow all, irrespective of caste, to become priests.
2002The Supreme Court delivers judgement in the Adhithayan Case. Says no justification in implementing caste.
2006DMK government issues fresh GO making all persons with "requisite qualification" eligible for appointment as priests. Order challenged again in Supreme Court.
May 2015Supreme Court reserves judgement
Dec 2015Supreme Court strikes down 2006 order, says priests can be appointed only as per the Agama Sastras

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Karnataka High Court Judgment Rules Government Temple Councils Unconstitutional

Posted on 2015/12/17 20:02:32 ( 1741 reads )

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INDIA, November 20, 2015 (Niti Central): For the crusaders of the #freeHindutemples movement, the recent judgement by the Karnataka High Court could well be the first of a series of victories in their endeavor to end government control of Hindu temples. Through a major verdict, the state high court has struck down amendments brought to Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act 1997 in 2011 and 2012, deeming them to be discriminatory and violating the Constitution.

A news report published in Vijayvani newspaper on 18th November 2015 states that now as a result of this judgement, state and district level religious councils, formed with the assistance of these amendments, will not be valid any further. These amendments aimed at tightening the hold of the government over temples and other Hindu entities in the state for takeover in the name of better management, leaving aside all mosques, gurudwaras and churches, accounting for a large share of land under them.

A division bench of the HC comprising Justice Anand Byrareddy and Justice S Sujatha, through an order, held the amendments illegal altogether, stating that they were against the Constitution. The petitioners argued that giving powers to the State government for appointing non-official members of their choice, some of them non-Hindus, was being largely misused at the religious institutions.

While 2015 may mark the first small victory in the Long War to get the government out of Hindu Temples, it is also the year we mark the passing away of the foremost crusader of this cause - Swami Dayanand and also the year when we witnessed one of the worst incidents of government mismanagement of a Hindu Shrine in Odisha.

Much more at "source" above.

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Hinduism Today January/February/March 2016 Now On-Line

Posted on 2015/12/17 20:02:01 ( 1418 reads )

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KAUAI, HAWAII, December 19, 2015: Our feature story this issue is an in-depth look at the Hindu communities in the mostly Buddhist country of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. The story came at a key time in the nation's history, with elections following that have the potential to change Myanmar's future. Follow our intrepid team, journalist Rajiv Malick and photographer Thomas Kelly, as they go from region to region visiting temples and interviewing the movers and shakers.

History, as a field of knowledge, is not as objective as we might think. In fact, there are wildly differing views of the history of India and of Hinduism, so it is refreshing to read the review of B.B. Lal's latest book, "The Rig Vedic People." Lal is one of India's legendary historians, and his works and words are compelling, both inside academia and in wider circles. So it is fascinating to watch him quash the enduring myth that marauding foreigners brought language and civilization to India. Not so, he argues with powerful effect. India is her own source of culture, language and spirituality.

Our publisher, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, travels a lot and frequently gets questions about the Gods in Hinduism, whether they are real or symbols of cosmic powers. In this issue he addresses that question, and goes on to provide ways to draw nearer to God and the Gods, especially Lord Ganesha. If you ever wanted to bring the Gods more into your awareness, into your daily life, you will find answers here.

Have you ever heard of India's forgotten stepwells? No? You are not alone. These architectural wonders, once crucial in providing drinking water to millions, have gone into disrepair and neglect. When Chicago resident Victoria Lautman first encountered one such well in Rajasthan, she was flabbergasted. That moment changed her life and the wells became her mission and her love. Read her story and see the amazing photos of stepwells. Happily, there are initiatives afoot to renovate some wells and even to build new ones in the old style.

Karma yoga. You have heard of it all your life, but like us you probably are not aware of its profuse expressions. Our highly illustrated 16-page Educational Insight explores the many faces of this important Hindu practice, both for social improvement and personal evolution. Learn how communities in India and abroad practice karma yoga in diverse ways, discover its impact on mental health and social justice, and the simple joys karma yogis experience in the process.

Same-Sex marriage. LTBG. Now there's a phrase and an acronym not often uttered in mainstream Hindu society. But the change in attitude toward the lesbian-transgender-bi-sexual-gay community is quickening worldwide and conversations that were once muted are now animated and shared on the web. If science is right, some 7 to 10 percent of all humans fall in this category, which for Hinduism is an astounding 70-100 million people. No wonder the Hinduism Today team thought we should explore it in detail. Read the story to discover the laws, the weddings, the biographies, the antagonists and the history of this evolving Hindu experience.

There is more, much more. Global Dharma reveals Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's love of India and the amazing Google Global Art project. Bharathwaj Nandakumar, a USC leader, offers his take on how Hindu thought can empower the interfaith movement. Our reviewers assess The Campbell Plan, Thomas Campbell's book that tries to transition people to a plant-based diet and all the health benefits it brings. You'll find our cartoon (and a crossword puzzle) surrounded by inspiring and witty remarks on our "Quotes and Quips" page.

Remember, you can download the Hinduism Today free app for your mobile device here: http://www.bit.ly/HT-APP

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Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2015/12/17 20:01:50 ( 725 reads )

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Even in search of extraordinary gains, the wise will never speak trivial or useless words.
-- Tirukkural 198

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Exhibition of Pichvai Paintings of Krishna Grabs Attention in Chicago

Posted on 2015/12/16 20:21:36 ( 1021 reads )

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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, November 22, 3015 (Times of India): An exhibition of traditional paintings of Krishna is part of a months-long feature at the premier Art Institute of Chicago. The exhibit, called The Gates of the Lord: The Tradition of Krishna Paintings, will run till January 3, 2016.

The exhibit features the large textile paintings, referred to as Pichvais, in the Pushtimarg tradition, revering the aspect of Krishna as Shrinathji. It also comprises miniature paintings, drawings and some rare photographs and brings together over 100 artworks from public and private collections.

Pichvais are traditionally hung behind the Deity in the temples of this tradition. The paintings and tapestries highlight the seva and shringar aspect of this Hindu tradition. The pichvais are vivid vignettes of different darshans or times of the day that are specifically divided in eight parts, along with the moods of the four seasons, and evoke a rich tapestry of moods, tradition and reverence.

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India's Supreme Court: Students Can't Be Forced to Do Yoga

Posted on 2015/12/16 20:21:26 ( 871 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 15, 2015 (December 15, 2015 (Indian Express): The Supreme Court on Monday observed that people cannot be forced to do yoga and that the question of fundamental right would arise only if somebody is prevented from doing it. "Who is preventing you (petitioner) from doing yoga? You can claim violation of your fundamental right only if somebody prevents you from doing it...you cannot force people to do yoga," said Chief Justice of India T S Thakur.

The remark by the CJI-led bench came as advocate J. C. Seth mentioned the matter before Justice Thakur for an early hearing of his petition that seeks positive directions from the apex court for introducing yoga as a compulsory subject in schools. Seth informed the bench that all the state governments and their education boards, in addition to the CBSE and the ICSE, have now been made parties to his plea. He urged the CJI to let the matter be heard at an earliest possible date, pointing out the issue pertains to health and all round development of the children.

Seth, relying upon the RTE Act and National Curriculum Framework 2005, has sought directions to develop curriculum, syllabus courses and textbooks for study of Yoga comprising pranayama and also asanas for all students from Class I to Class VIII.

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Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2015/12/16 20:21:15 ( 764 reads )

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Sectarianism, bigotry and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful Earth. They have filled the Earth with violence, drenched it often with human blood, destroyed civilizations and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now.
-- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), disciple of Sri Ramakrisha

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