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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/2/10 16:13:57 ( 1960 reads )

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God is with us. It is He only who gives us the strength to work. If we live with this inspiration in our heart, we will surely experience Divinity in our life. Our work will become our devotion, and means of our spiritual progress.
-- Rameshbhai Oza, inspired performer of Vaishnava kathas

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Promoting Sacred Groves
Posted on 2015/2/9 17:53:06 ( 2073 reads )

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BHOPAL, INDIA, February 7, 2015 (Daily Pioneer): Sacred Groves are patches of natural or near-natural vegetation, dedicated by local communities to their ancestral spirits or deities. Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya or The National Museum of Humankind is located here on 200 acres of land and is intended to "depict the story of humankind in time and space." It contains, for example, exhibits of tribal habitat, coastal village, himalayan village, etc. Its website, http://igrms.com/vs.html, seems neglected with significant sections not functioning.

This current project's objective is to bring the tradition of Sacred Groves into the cities. Sacred Groves are planted and protected by local communities and tribes usually through customary taboos and sanction with ancestral and ecological implications.

The Museum studied and documented the traditions and ritual for sacred groves in various communities and developed sacred groves with the help of the related communities and tribes. The installed sacred groves in Manav Sangrahalaya are: (Kava) Kerala, (Maw-Bukhar) Meghalaya, (Umanglai) Manipur, (Oran) Rajasthan, (Rajbanshi) West Bengal, (Sarna) Chhattisgarh, (Kovil Kadu) Tamil Nadu, (Devarai) Maharashtra etc.

In course of time, the industrialisation and globalisation affected biodiversity and natural resources to great extent. In a view of the adverse effects of biodiversity degradation, ecologist, environmentalists etc has made conservation of biodiversity as on issue of global significance. Earlier, there were many traditional conservation practices of indigenous communities which contributed to the conservation and protection of biodiversity -- such practices were named as sacred groves.

The program was inaugurated by Dr Ram Prasad (former Principle Chief Conservator of Forests and former VC, Barkatullah University) at lake side of IGRMS at 11.00 am. The local residents of various communities carried out various ritualistic activities at the sacred groves.

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Eight Weeks to a Better Brain
Posted on 2015/2/9 17:52:59 ( 2218 reads )

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UNITED STATES, January 21, 2011 (Harvard): Participating in an eight-week mindfulness meditation program appears to make measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy, and stress. In a study that will appear in the Jan. 30 issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, a team led by Harvard-affiliated researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) reported the results of their study, the first to document meditation-produced changes over time in the brain's gray matter.

"Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day," says study senior author Sara Lazar of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program and a Harvard Medical School instructor in psychology. "This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing."

"It is fascinating to see the brain's plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life," says Britta Hoelzel, first author of the paper and a research fellow at MGH and Giessen University in Germany. "Other studies in different patient populations have shown that meditation can make significant improvements in a variety of symptoms, and we are now investigating the underlying mechanisms in the brain that facilitate this change."

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/2/9 17:52:51 ( 1911 reads )

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As to a mountain that's enflamed, deer and birds do not resort--so, with knowers of God, sins find no shelter.
-- Krishna Yajur Veda, Maitreya Upanishads 6.18

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Kaimur Temple Artefacts Stolen
Posted on 2015/2/8 16:52:37 ( 2198 reads )

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PATNA, INDIA, February 7, 2015 (Times of India): Three artefacts, including a silver canopy kept inside the sanctum sanctorum of the ancient Mundeshwari temple in Kaimur district, the oldest recorded Hindu temple in Bihar, were stolen on Thursday night. The temple, an ASI-protected monument, is one of the oldest living monuments in the country.

The miscreants also took away tikuli made of silver and two eyes of a goddess murthi placed in a corner of the temple's sanctum sanctorum. A chaturmukhi Shivlinga adorns the sanctum sanctorum. An FIR has been lodged with Bhagwanpur police station in Kaimur district.

Immediately after the incident, Bihar State Board of Religious Trusts' chairman Acharya Kishore Kunal informed the DGP and Kaimur DM about the theft. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has also been informed, Kunal told TOI. This is the second incident of theft at the temple which is without any boundary wall. The famous Shivlinga (7th century AD) of the temple was stolen some years back and recovered only due to the pressure of local residents, Kunal said.

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The Story of a Museum Treasure Found on a New York Pavement Decades Ago
Posted on 2015/2/8 16:52:23 ( 1933 reads )

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UNITED KINGDOM, February 6, 2015 (Telegraph): The treasures in the V&A's Indian collection boast an illustrious past, passing through the hands of sultans and maharajas. Yet one prized item, a wall hanging which will take centre stage at the museum's forthcoming India Festival, has a more lowly history. It was destined for the rubbish bin and only saved by a member of the public who spotted it heaped on a pavement.

The vast work, measuring 56 feet in length, was spotted on the street outside a warehouse in Brooklyn, New York, more than 20 years ago by an art appraiser named Jerome Burns who was struck by its beauty. The work was far too large for Mr. Burns to display at home, and in 1994 he contacted the V&A while on holiday in the UK and offered it as a gift.

Textile experts at the London museum identified it as a superior example of Indian folk art. Handmade with fabric designs of elephants, people and Hindu gods appliqued to cotton backing, it was most likely created in 1920s in rural Gujarat. After conservation work, it is to go on display for the first time in The Fabric of India exhibition, which opens on October 3 as part of this autumn's India Festival.

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Archbishop Arthur Roche Cancels Trip to India After Being Denied a Visa
Posted on 2015/2/8 16:52:17 ( 1862 reads )

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INDIA, February 5, 2015 (Catholic Herald): Denial of visas to Vatican officials comes amid heightened tensions over "re-conversion" ceremonies. India's Catholic bishops have protested against a government decision to deny visas to two Vatican officials seeking to visit the country for a gathering. Archbishop Arthur Roche, former Bishop of Leeds and now secretary at the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and Archbishop Portase Rugambwa, president of the Pontifical Mission Societies, were to leave for India on Monday but were forced to cancel their trip at the last minute.

The two Vatican officials had been expected to address a gathering of Catholic bishops in Bangalore this week on the subject of "life and liturgy". The refusal comes amid heightened tensions over a wave of ceremonies by Hindu groups "re-converting" Christians back to Hinduism. Fr. Stephen Alathara, deputy secretary general of the Catholic bishops' conference of India, said the bishops would take up the matter with state authorities. The visas, he said, had been denied on "technical grounds". An official at Vatican Radio suggested the problem may have been due to communications difficulties with India's ambassador to the Holy See, Chitra Narayanan, who is resident at Bern, Switzerland, not the Vatican.

Last week concerns were raised about re-conversion ceremonies involving Christians from India's poorest communities. It was reported that between 50 and 100 Christians were "welcomed back" to Hinduism in a ceremony in a remote part of West Bengal.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/2/8 16:52:10 ( 1891 reads )

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If you believe in telekinesis - raise my hand!

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Hindu Devotees, People of Other Faiths, Celebrate Thaipusam in Singapore
Posted on 2015/2/7 12:51:34 ( 1948 reads )

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SINGAPORE, February 4, 2015 (Channel News Asia): The Hindu festival of Thaipusam in Singapore was not only observed by Hindus, but also people from other religions. Devotees started to gather at the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple at Serangoon Road from Monday night, with some of them bearing kavadis, while others carried milk pots. The devotees took part in the procession to the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple at Tank Road, about 4.5 kilometres away, by foot. This is a form of penance or thanksgiving to Lord Murugan.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Teo Chee Hean graced the event on Tuesday morning. He said festivals like Thaipusam reflect the mutual respect and understanding that the different races and religions have in Singapore.

"Thaipusam is deeply meaningful for the devotees and is a part of our multi-racial, multi-religious landscape in Singapore," said Mr Teo. "I was told the first spike kavadi carrier was actually Chinese. It shows the mutual respect, mutual understanding that we have among all our races and religions in Singapore."

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Welcoming Guests, Tengger Style
Posted on 2015/2/7 12:51:28 ( 1665 reads )

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EAST JAVA, INDONESIA, February 4, 2015 (Jakarta Post): Mount Bromo in East Java is inseparable from the Tengger people who live in Malang, Pasuruan, Probolinggo and Lumajang -- and in over a dozen villages in the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. The Tengger, who have lived in the area for centuries, are descended from Majapahit royalty. Many adhere to a distinct form of Hinduism, although there are also Muslim and Christians.

Most make their living as farmers. Unsurprisingly, their rituals are focused on nature. The Tengger lead modest lives, receiving outsiders warmly while preserving their group's identity. This was evident when some Tengger recently welcomed members of the Blazer Indonesia Club automotive community to the vast sand plain around Mount Bromo.

The Tengger are happy to welcome guests formally, provided their intentions are good and that they agree to adhere to local customs. "They can [be welcomed] in a village or even in the sand, like now," Karyadi said. Karyadi said the welcome ritual was meant to beseech the consent of the Supreme Power of the universe to the attainment of the visitors' goals.

More of this interesting history at source.

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Plurality in Hinduism Shouldn't be Used to Deny its Integrity
Posted on 2015/2/7 12:51:21 ( 1881 reads )

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INDIA, February, 4, 2015 (Swarajya): Vamsee Krishna Juluri, Professor of Media Studies and Asian Studies at the University of San Francisco, discusses his new book, "Rearming Hinduism", and takes to task academics and media commentators for their concerted campaign against Hindus and Hinduism. Prof. Juluri's earlier work has focused on media and media influences, especially in the Indian context. His two books, "Becoming a Global Audience and Television" and "Bollywood Nation" establish his reputation and standing as a media scholar. His commentaries and op-ed articles have appeared regularly in the Huffington Post, Times of India, Open, and other newspapers and magazines, and his latest foray is into India and Hinduism studies, and his book "Rearming Hinduism" (Westland Press), already published as an e-book, will be out in print in early February 2015 (visit www.rearminghinduism.com for more information).

In this book -- a passionate, inspired, and even lyrical account of the nature of Hindu beliefs, practices, and faith -- Prof. Juluri focuses his ire and his disapprobation on Western academics and media for a calculated campaign of calumny against Hinduism and Hindus. He does not spare the Indian Left/liberal elite for their participation in this demonization and marginalization campaign, and argues that only with a celebration of the timeless values enshrined in Hinduism can the world discover afresh the essence of life and love.

For more, go to source

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/2/7 12:51:15 ( 1505 reads )

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No fault befalls a king who, in guarding and caring for his subjects, punishes wrongdoers, for that is his duty.
-- Tirukkural

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Last Bathing Day of Magh Mela Witnesses Five Million Devotees
Posted on 2015/2/6 18:33:08 ( 1547 reads )

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ALLAHABAD, INDIA February 4, 2015 (Times of India): More than five million devotees including seers and kalpwasis (pilgrims to this festival), took the last holy bath in Ganga on the occasion of Maghi Purnima on Tuesday, marking the end of the month-long Magh Mela. The day also marked the end of Hindu month of Magh and the month-long kalpwas (kalpa or ritual is one of 6 disciplines traditionally associated with the study of the Vedas). The majority of kalpwasis, performing the rituals and seeking salvation on the banks of Ganga for the past month, left the Mela area after taking the holy bath.

SP, Mela, Neeraj Pandey told TOI, "No untoward incident was reported, and the last bath passed off peacefully. Heavy rush was witnessed at all the 11 ghats since Monday night and more than 4.3 million devotees had taken holy bath till 4pm."

Since the number of devotees kept on increasing on the occasion of Maghi Purnima, the police officials didn't let anyone stay on the ghats for a long time. However, this did not dampen the enthusiasm of the pilgrims, who arrived from across the state including from neighboring districts like Pratapgarh Bhadohi, Mirzapur and Kaushambi.

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Seychelles Hindu Devotees show their Mettle at Thaipoosam Kavadi Festival
Posted on 2015/2/6 18:33:02 ( 1636 reads )

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VICTORIA, SEYCHELLES, February 4, 2015 (Seychelles News Agency): Hindus from all over the world celebrate the annual Thaipoosam Kavadi Festival, and the island archipelago of the Seychelles, located in the western Indian Ocean, is no different. Devotees of the Hindu Deity Lord Muruga flocked into the streets of the nation's tiny capital, Victoria, on the main island of Mahe on Tuesday to partake in the colorful event to the fascination of onlookers. The Seychelles, with its population of 90,000, has a small minority (around four percent) of permanent Indian inhabitants. The Indian community is among some of the earliest settlers of the Seychelles islands, mostly from southern Tamil Nadu and some from the north-western province of Gujarat.

The Hindu Kovil Sangam, the local religious organisation for most Hindus in the country, invited the public to participate in the procession, which ended off at the Navasakthi Vinayagar temple dedicated to Lord Muruga, the warrior Deity followed primarily by Hindus of Tamil origin. The festival is observed in countries where there is a significant presence of Tamil people, including India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mauritius, South Africa, Singapore, Guadalupe, Reunion, Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar.

On the morning of the festival, male devotees shaved their heads and proceeded along the narrow streets of Victoria lined with onlookers while carrying various types of kavadi. The simplest type of kavadi is a pot of milk, but they commonly entail elaborate and colorful frames pulled or balanced by means of skewers or hooks pierced into the flesh. When the procession finally arrives at the temple, the devotees offered pots of milk to anoint Lord Muruga and to pray for His blessings.

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Super Bowl Winning Quarterback Tom Brady Keeps a Ganesha Statue in His Locker
Posted on 2015/2/6 18:32:56 ( 2224 reads )

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GLENDALE, ARIZONA, February 2, 2015 (USA Today): [Tom Brady is the quarterback of the New England Patriots American football team which had just won the Superbowl.]

When Tom Brady reached his locker, about an hour after victory and a series of interviews, he was done talking to the news media.

But his locker spoke for him. Prominently displayed was was a four-inch bronze elephant-headed statue -- Ganesha, the Hindu God. Or as Brady quietly told a visitor, "The Remover of Obstacles."

Two team officials shielded him from the news media with the same intensity that the New England Patriots offensive line protected him from the Seattle Seahawks. "Tom's done," one shouted as the MVP-winning quarterback arrived. But the locker spoke. Ganesha, remover of obstacles, almost beckoned to the curious.

Ganesha illustrates the spiritual side of his psyche developed with trainer and adviser Alex Guerrero. But the spiritual is coupled by mental commitment, evidence by more items in his locker. Lying next to Ganesha were five note cards and handwritten notes that included: "Bend knees more on drop." And, perhaps most important, "Be on toes."


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