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1.5 Million Hindus Visited Pashupatinath for Post-Maha Shivaratri Fair

Posted on 2016/3/18 19:10:06 ( 6884 reads )


KANTHMANDU, NEPAL, March 18, 2016 (Kathmandu Post): Pashupatinath Temple witnessed nearly 1.5 million footfalls during the two-week long Maha Shivaratri fair, organizers said.

According to the organizers, the fair has been able to do a business of around US$1.8 million so far. The Maha Shivaratri Festival and Industrial Trade Fair 2016 which began at Pashupatinath on March 8, a day after the Maha Shivaratri festival, are coming to a close on Saturday. The annual fair is attended by pilgrims who come to Pashupatinath and features shops, amusement rides and food stalls. "Around 1.5 million visitors, including 100,000 foreign tourists, have attended our fair so far," said Sandeep Mahat, chairman of Audyogik Shanti Nepal Sanstha, the organiser.

There are over 300 stalls in the fair where local traders sell handicrafts, food, clothing, utensils and shoes. The prime attraction of the fair had been a man-made model of Amarnath cave and Vaishnodevi cave, two very holy Hindu shrines in India's Jammu and Kashmir.

"Every year a fair has been organized in Pashupatinath during Maha Shivaratri since the beginning and this year too it was a success," Pawan Agrawal, a member of the organising committee said. "We could showcase Nepali products during the fair to thousands of people which is the biggest achievement."

Although the fair is closing on Saturday, organizers say the amusement rides and the model of Amarnath and Vaishnodevi caves will be kept intact for one more month. Sushil Pokhrel, a student who visited the fair on Friday, said that the fair had been successful in blending pilgrimage with entertainment and trade. "After worshipping the Pashupatinath, the fair gives visitors like us the opportunity to shop at decent prices," he said.

Hindus Petition Board of Education Over Replacing "India" with "South Asia" in California History Social Science Curriculum

Posted on 2016/3/18 19:09:56 ( 7200 reads )


SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, March 17, 2016: A petition on the above topic has been posted at change.org. The introduction reads:

School students in California will be forced to learn that there was never an "India" unless you act! A small group of South Asia studies faculty recently asked the California Board of Education to change the History Social Science Frameworks (Syllabus) so that the word "India" will be removed and replaced with "South Asia." They believe that India did not exist before 1947 and want a stereotypical and concocted generalization like "South Asia" to be used for almost all discussions of Indian history before 1947.

If you thought the California textbooks were problematic, they are going to get far worse now, and they won't be any change for another ten years if you don't act fast! Please sign in support of the open letter to the board initiated by several scholars. Finally, please remember this concerns the future of India and all its people.

The petition and more information at "source" above.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/3/18 19:09:45 ( 6603 reads )


It is easy to tame the rogue elephant. It is easy to tie the mouth of a bear. It is easy to mount the back of a lion. It is easy to charm poisonous snakes. It is easy to conquer the celestial and the noncelestial realms. It is easy to trek the worlds invisible. It is easy to command the angelic heavens. It is easy to retain youth eternally. It is easy to enter the body of others. It is easy to walk on water and sit in burning fire. It is easy to attain all of the siddhis (yogic powers). But to remain still is very, very difficult indeed.
-- Tayumanavar (1706-1744), Tamil saint, mystic and poet

Media Bias Against Sri Sri's World Culture Festival is Shocking

Posted on 2016/3/17 20:33:15 ( 6945 reads )


INDIA, March 12, 2016 (Daily O by Michael Fischman): As an American visiting India to participate in Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's WCF, I have been shocked at the way the media has covered the controversy over the event. I find it deplorable that in the reporting of the alleged Yamuna flood plain degradation and NGT response - the media continues to consistently take a position of condemning the Art of Living Foundation.

The condemnation is simply based on limited information and reports presented to NGT. One would have hoped that the media would be a little more impartial in its reporting and give Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and AOLF the benefit of the doubt, or at the very least, acknowledge his decades worth of work in protecting the environment.

Days before an amazing event which puts India in the limelight for championing cultural diversity and world peace on an unprecedented scale, the media is tearing the event apart and seems to only have the objective of embarrassing Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and his organisation. Thus far, there is no substantial proof that the festival will cause any permanent damage to the river bed. Yet the media appears to have made a judgement and condemned Sri Sri's event even before impartial investigation into the allegations.

More of this editorial at "source".

How a Traditional Indian Dance Form Found a Home in American Colleges

Posted on 2016/3/17 20:33:05 ( 6796 reads )


NEW YORK, U.S., March 14, 2016 (Huffington Post): A dozen college students dressed in every color, their long kurtas studded with tiny light-catching mirrors, assembled in the wings at Columbia University's Roone Arledge Auditorium in New York. They swayed nervously from foot to foot, going over the steps of their traditional Indian folk dance routine in their heads, before a loud drum beat rang out.

Bhangra originated in South Asia and is now gaining popularity across American college campuses. "There's something just magnetic about [bhangra] and something just really inclusive that really drew me towards it," said Gurnoor Tucker, a sophomore who dances for Columbia University Bhangra. "You start with barely any skill at all, you build up, and you get inspired."

Tucker is one of thousands of students in America enjoying the hugely popular bhangra dance form, which comes from India and includes variations of folk dances from the Punjab region of South Asia. Halftime performances, assemblies and culture shows have helped bhangra become a more visible fixture on university campuses.

More at "source".

297 Indian System of Medicine Colleges Imparting Ayurveda Education in the Country

Posted on 2016/3/17 20:32:55 ( 6693 reads )


INDIA, March 15, 2016 (Press Information Bureau): A total number of 297 Indian Systems of Medicine (ISM) Colleges are imparting Ayurveda education in the country. The total intake capacity in Under-graduate course of Ayurveda is 17,192 students and in Post-graduate courses is 3,661 students every year.

Government of India has approved and notified National AYUSH Mission (NAM) on Sept. 29, 2014 which envisages better access to AYUSH services including upgradation of State Government exclusive AYUSH Hospitals, setting up of up to 50 bedded integrated AYUSH Hospitals, strengthening of AYUSH educational institutions, facilitate the enforcement of quality control of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy (ASU&H) drugs and sustainable availability of ASU&H raw-materials in the States/Union Territories during 12th Plan.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/3/17 20:32:44 ( 6518 reads )


If you long to see God, take to spiritual practices. What is the good of merely crying, "O God! O God!"?
-- Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836-1886)

Hinduism Today's April/May/June 2016 On-Line

Posted on 2016/3/14 19:50:00 ( 7093 reads )


KAUAI, HAWAII, March 13, 2016 (Hinduism Today): Hinduism Today's latest issue has gone one line and is available at source above, or you can download our HT app and get the full magazine on your mobile device at http://www.bit.ly/HT-APP.

We continue our series of in-depth articles on the holy sites of India with an 18-page adventure in Haridwar. Our intrepid team, Rajiv Malik and photographer Dev Raj Agarwal, ply the roads, shop the stalls, enter the Sanskrit schools and bathe in the Holy Ganges, all to give readers a personal tour of one of the most important Hindu cities in India. The photography alone tells the story of a dynamic pilgrimage center that is rich in learning institutions, shopping opportunities, riverside celebrations and more.

Speaking of photography, which is something dear to this magazine's editors, Arun Mishra's legendary skills are at work in a photos-only telling of the Nashik Kumbha Mela which took place in August of 2015. Let him show you what he saw there.

For too long we have heard tales of temples falling into disrepair, losing their income to outside agencies and suffering in other ways. So it's refreshing to hear that after a full century the Brihadeeshwarar Temple in Thanjavur, South India, celebrated the inaugural procession of a new wooden chariot. Not just any chariot, but a massive masterpiece with exquisite carving, a Behemoth that required 1,175 cubic feet of hardwood and rises over fifty feet. Over 100,000 devotees joined the celebration of its first circumambulation of the temple. Enjoy the story of a temple in renaissance.

Our publisher, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, tackles the thorny issue of religious intolerance in his Publisher's Desk editorial in this issue, offering practical ways we can create tolerance in the future by raising our children without hatred or prejudice. His solutions are lucid and simple, and, if followed, could change the strained religious relationships that now have free run across the globe.

Other opinion pieces give voice to Hindu concerns, including one young woman who decries the new trend in the US of exiling the Goddess from the popular garba dance, a misplaced exclusion meant to make the dance more acceptable to outsiders. Not acceptable, says Shivali Bhammer of New York. In a surprisingly candid opinion piece a Protestant minister details how Hinduism has enriched the world with its gifts of spirituality, exported to the West.

Language is a powerful tool, among our most powerful, in fact, so the relationship of Sanskrit and Tamil is a serious matter in South India. Our article explores the roots of this enduring issue and offers opponents in the discussion a way forward based on the shared history and mutual importance of two of humanity's richest languages. Two great scholarly minds unravel the issues for us.

Food. Who doesn't love food? But there is food, and there is Indian food. In our 16-page Insight section we explore the Secrets of Indian Gastronomy. And who is our guide? None other than Chef Manjit Gill, the go-to-guru of Indian cuisine. He takes us deep into the world of taste and health, ayurveda and spices, seasons and gunas. Food isn't just taste, it is well-being, it is energy and it is art, at least in this master's hands.

That would be magazine enough, but there is more in the April issue. Global Dharma takes us to communities in Mexico, Germany and Polland to see how Hinduism is growing there. Scott Rice, an Oregonian, shares his surprising encounter with Siva 12,000 feet up in the Himalayas. You'll find our cartoon surrounded by inspiring and witty remarks on our "Quotes and Quips" page.

Stolen Ancient Jain, Hindu Statues Worth $450,000 Seized in US

Posted on 2016/3/14 19:46:37 ( 7084 reads )


NEW YORK, U.S., March 13, 2016 (IANS) Four days before two ancient Jain and Hindu statues estimated to be worth $450,000 were to be auctioned off, US officials swooped on the international art auction house Christie's here and seized them, according to the Homeland Security Department. The statues seized Friday by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents in "Operation Hidden Idol" were of Rishabhanata, the first Jain Thirthankar, and of Revanta, a son of God Surya, the HSI said.

They were to have been auctioned on Tuesday during Asia Week in New York, an event that draws top-tier art collectors and museum curators from around the world. Christie's said it was unaware the statue of Rishabhanata and the panel of Revanta were stolen in India and brought into the US illegally. On behalf of the Indian government, Consul General Riva Ganguly Das commended the "HSI for the exceptional work done in locating and retrieving the sculptures brought into the United States by organised crime syndicates."

The 10th century Rishabhanata sandstone statue is from Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh and is valued at about $150,000, according to the HSI. It stands about 22 inches tall and depicts the Tirthankar seated in vajrasana position (crossed leg pose) and flanked by two devotees. The sandstone panel of Revanta and his entourage is from the 8th century. It is considered "a very rare representation of the equestrian deity", and is estimated to be worth $300,000, according to the HSI.

New Route for Mount Kailash Pilgrimage

Posted on 2016/3/14 19:46:27 ( 6837 reads )


INDIA, March 9, 2016 (Press Information Bureau): Ministry of External Affairs organizes the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra in cooperation with the State Governments of Uttarakhand, Delhi, and Sikkim along with Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). The Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam Limited (KMVN), and Sikkim Tourism Development Cooperation (STDC) make logistical arrangements including accommodation, food, and transport on the Indian side for the Yatra. Since 1981 the Yatra is organized in cooperation with the Government of China which provides logistical facilities on the Tibet side.

A new route via Nathu La Pass in Sikkim has become operational in 2015. In 2015 a total of 216 Yatris had travelled in five batches on the new route via Nathu La for this Yatra. This year 7 batches are planned of 50 Yatris each.

Government of India takes various steps to facilitate the Yatra which include a dedicated website to further simplify and expedite the registration and selection process, communication with Yatris, and a helpline based on Interactive Voice Response System which provides information in Hindi and English to the Yatris. Medical tests are also conducted for Yatris to ensure their fitness for high altitude endurance.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/3/14 19:46:06 ( 6711 reads )


Hindu Dharma was a great reconciler. It reconciled various viewpoints, various doctrines. It knew how to look at things from various angles and viewpoints. It knew no conflict between science and religion, between rationalism and spiritualism. It was so because it was not dogmatic in reason or religion.
-- Ram Swarup (1920-1998), distinguished spokesperson of Hindu spirituality and culture in India

International Day of Yoga Part 2: Government Plans to Stage a Bigger Event This Year

Posted on 2016/3/13 19:54:27 ( 7179 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 18, 2016 (Economic Times): Having generated vast global attention for the first International Day of Yoga in 2015, the Modi government is pulling out all stops to ensure that the next edition is equally impressive. Coming up in this June, is an even longer one-hour yoga protocol, advanced yoga retreats for foreigners in scenic locations in India and a mass yoga demonstration in one of the BJP-ruled states.

A high-level committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Yoga guru Dr. H.R. Nagendra--Vice chancellor of the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (S-VYASA), has been holding rounds of meetings with top officials across ministries to plan the next yoga day with considerable fanfare. It took a range of decisions in its most recent meeting held on 8th February, 2016.

31 Institutes Provided financial Assistance to Preserve Rare %26 Precious AYUSH Books

Posted on 2016/3/13 19:54:17 ( 2563 reads )


INDIA, March 11, 2016 (Press Information Bureau): National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) has undertaken a survey on social consumption in India on Health in its 71st round conducted during January - June 2014. As per key indicators released recently by NSSO for the 71st round, it is estimated that about 6% of the people have received treatment from Indian Systems of Medicine (including Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha), Homoeopathy and Yoga & Naturopathy.

Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) is engaged in the studies related to revival & retrieval and digitization of Ancient Ayurvedic Manuscripts & Rare Books and they are being published from time to time, so far 30 books retrieved from manuscripts have been published and are now available in the public domain. Besides this, the Council has surveyed and digitized more than 5000 Ayurvedic Manuscripts/Rare Books from Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Assam and Jammu & Kashmir (Leh) etc.

Canada's New First Lady Is a Yoga Teacher

Posted on 2016/3/13 19:54:06 ( 2764 reads )


CANADA, March 10, 2016 (Yoga Dork): Canada's First Lady Gregoire-Trudeau is actually a yoga teacher, having done her 200 hr training in 2012, and been a practitioner for years prior. As she told feminist site Pure Vision, yoga brings her a feeling of peace and union: "I also get inspired a lot from my yoga practice. I think that it brings me to that little person inside of me that's the same as in everyone else. As yoga philosophy mentions, that person is in a continuous state of gratitude and peace...a person that's both male and female -- the perfect balance between the two."

Gregoire-Trudeau credits yoga for changing her life and is passionate about sharing it with others. As she told Montreal Families: "The meditation and physical practice of yoga (hatha) are ways to deeply connect with yourself and be in the present. It has changed my life. It takes discipline, openness and vulnerability to be able to grow as a human being, to face your flaws and to embrace your inner beauty.

"I have met some incredible people through yoga classes and workshops. Because yoga made me feel so peaceful inside, I decided to take my teacher training (200 hours) so I could share it with others. Millions of people practice worldwide and the numbers are still on the rise. There is a reason for that. Yoga is not only a practice and a passing along of great sacred teachings, but also a social movement for more human goodness, compassion and peace. The world needs more of it," says the First Lady.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/3/13 19:53:47 ( 2477 reads )


One does not suddenly reach a point where desire goes away. Desire is life. Desire can be directed according to the personal will. Through sadhana you can gain mastery over all the forces of your mind and body.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today

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