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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/4/7 20:51:47 ( 881 reads )

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By practicing tolerance of those who insult us, we will feel honor and insult as the same. Just as we feel good when someone praises us, we should feel just as good when we are insulted. Stability in honor or insult is the ability to still have love for our aggressor.
-- Sri Pramukh Swami Maharaj, Spiritual Guru of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha

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The Future of World Religions to 2050: Major Study Released
Posted on 2015/4/7 4:12:52 ( 1069 reads )

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UNITED STATES, April 2, 22015 (Pew Forum): The religious profile of the world is rapidly changing, driven primarily by differences in fertility rates and the size of youth populations among the world's major religions, as well as by people switching faiths. Over the next four decades, Christians will remain the largest religious group, but Islam will grow faster than any other major religion. If current trends continue, by 2050 the number of Muslims will nearly equal the number of Christians around the world. Atheists, agnostics and other people who do not affiliate with any religion - though increasing in countries such as the United States and France - will make up a declining share of the world's total population. The global Buddhist population will be about the same size it was in 2010, while the Hindu and Jewish populations will be larger than they are today.

Worldwide, the Hindu population is projected to rise by 34%, from a little over 1 billion (currently 15% of the worlds' population) to nearly 1.4 billion (14.9% of worlds' population), roughly keeping pace with overall population growth. In North America, the Hindu share of the population is expected to nearly double in the decades ahead, from 0.7% in 2010 to 1.3% in 2050, when migration is included in the projection models. Without migration, the Hindu share of the region's population would remain about the same (0.8%).

The Asia-Pacific region is expected to have a declining share of the world's population (53% in 2050, compared with 59% in 2010). This will be reflected in the slower growth of religions heavily concentrated in the region. One exception is Hindus, who are overwhelmingly concentrated in India, where the population is younger and fertility rates are higher than in China or Japan. Hindus are projected to roughly keep pace with global population growth. India's large Muslim population also is poised for rapid growth. Although India will continue to have a Hindu majority, by 2050 it is projected to have the world's largest Muslim population, surpassing Indonesia.

Europe is the only region where the total population is projected to decline in the coming decades. However, over the same period, the number of Hindus in Europe is expected to roughly double, from a little under 1.4 million (0.2% of Europe's population) to nearly 2.7 million (o.4%), mainly as a result of immigration.

These are among the global religious trends highlighted in new demographic projections by the Pew Research Center. The projections take into account the current size and geographic distribution of the world's major religions, age differences, fertility and mortality rates, international migration and patterns in conversion.

Much more of this extensive study at source. Also see next article for an Indian assessment.

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By 2050, India to Surpass Indonesia, Will have Largest Muslim Population: Study
Posted on 2015/4/7 4:12:39 ( 1030 reads )

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WASHINGTON, U.S., April 3, 2015 (Times of India): Hindus will become the world's third largest population by 2050, while India will overtake Indonesia as the country with the largest Muslim population, according to a new study. According to the Pew Research Center's religious profile predictions assessed data released on Thursday, the Hindu population is projected to rise by 34 per cent worldwide, from a little over 1 billion to nearly 1.4 billion by 2050.

By 2050, Hindus will be third, making up 14.9 per cent of the world's total population, followed by people who do not affiliate with any religion, accounting for 13.2 per cent, the report said. The people with no religious affiliation currently have the third largest share of the world's total population. Muslims are projected to grow faster than the world's overall population and Hindus and Christians are projected to roughly keep pace with worldwide population growth, the report said.

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Oh My Gods: The Triumphs of a Little Brown Kid
Posted on 2015/4/7 4:12:33 ( 769 reads )

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SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA, April 1, 2015 (Huffington Post by Sutheshna Mani): As a young brown girl growing up in suburban San Diego, I was an anomaly at times, being one of few Hindus in a town that was proudly Judeo-Christian. I wanted to be an "all-theist," dabbling into every religion. I saw myself as the girl version of young Pi Patel, trekking into various religious holdings, finding God in a church, mosque, synagogue and a Buddhist temple. To me, all faiths shared similarities, and my childhood naivete could not comprehend tension and factionalism within and between these religions. I was also incapable of understanding why my teacher went so in-depth with the Abrahamic faiths, but skipped over the eastern religions, including mine.

I was too young to register subtle bigotry exuded by some fellow students. A common form of racial micro-aggression is the "rhetorical question," whereby a peer will ask a question that's meant as a cultural jab, rather than a genuine question. I received many of these growing up: "Don't you pray to cows?" "Why do you guys believe in all these Gods, I mean isn't there just one?"

As I delved deeper into my roots, I realized Hinduism is more of a philosophy than it is a religion. As hackneyed of a notion as this is, there is no absolute fundamental belief in God in Hinduism. In fact, one could be an agnostic and be a Hindu. One can work within the infrastructures of one's faith and choose core values to identify with. Within such a structure, I admired strong female figures like Kali, goddess of strength and empowerment, and Sarasvati, goddess of wisdom and learning.

More at source.


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/4/7 4:12:26 ( 626 reads )

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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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Virginia Board of Education Vote Updates and Revises History Standards
Posted on 2015/4/2 4:41:32 ( 1265 reads )

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RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, March 26, 2015 (Hindu American Foundation): The Virginia Board of Education voted to approve new history and social science standards Thursday, including one that changes the way Hinduism and the history of ancient India will be taught in public schools. The Board's vote paved the way for a new curriculum frameworks revision in the state and subsequent textbook adoption. The standards are the blueprint upon which curriculum frameworks are built. Together, they determine both the contents of public school textbooks and what the state's over one million public school students will be required to learn about history. With the standards vote completed, the curriculum framework revision is set to begin immediately.

Previously, World History Standards pertaining to Ancient India and Hinduism read:

4b. describing India, with emphasis on caste system and Aryan migrations;
4c. describing the origins, beliefs, traditions, customs, and spread of Hinduism; (no change)

Standard 4b now reads:

4b. locating India in time and place, including its origins, and early development and the debate over the Aryan migrations;

"The Department of Education staff and the Board of Education have taken a step in the right direction, putting accuracy first for Virginia students," said Murali Balaji, Ph.D., Hindu American Foundation (HAF) education director. The change in the standards reflects the culmination of a decade-long effort by Hindu Virginians, including individuals and community organizations, as well as educators and academics, for more accurate standards in learning about India and Hinduism. HAF contended that the old standards did not accurately convey information about Hinduism, nor the extent of the current academic debate regarding the origins of ancient Indians. At Thursday's Board meeting, several Board members agreed, noting that the revised standards needed to reflect current scholarship.

More at source.
See also: http://hafsite.org/blog/why-the-new-h ... res-much-more-to-be-done/

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/4/2 4:41:25 ( 1039 reads )

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The fragrance of the flower is never borne against the breeze, but the fragrance of human virtues diffuses itself everywhere.
-- Ramayana

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Christians Are Not Under Attack in India
Posted on 2015/4/1 3:58:17 ( 1331 reads )

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INDIA, March 31, 2015 (by Maria Wirth): There is probably no other country where members of other religions were as safe as in India. Hindus always gave shelter to those who were persecuted in their homelands. Jews gratefully acknowledged that India is the one country where they were never persecuted. Syrian Christians under their leader Thomas of Cana were given refuge in the 4th century. Parsis came in the 10th century to escape the Muslim invaders in Persia. And in 1959, some 100,000 Tibetan Buddhist refugees found shelter in India - only 12 years after the British had left the country, divided and poverty-stricken.

So what happened that nowadays there is a lot of talk that Christians are under attack in India? Have Hindus become intolerant? No. Hindus have not changed. All the so called attacks on churches which were hyped up recently on many TV channels turned out to have been minor crimes unconnected with "Hindu extremists". In other countries they would hardly find space in the local paper. Why were they flogged for days on TV channels? Why were Christian spokesmen given plenty of airtime to falsely blame the "Hindu right" and claim that Christians are under attack? There seems to be an agenda by the Churches and it would need to be investigated why so many TV channels obliged.

Much more at source.

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2015 HMEC Conference Set for October in Trinidad
Posted on 2015/4/1 3:58:11 ( 1117 reads )

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PORT of SPAIN, TRINIDAD, March 31, 2015 (myhmec): The 10th Annual HMEC 2015 (Hindu Mandir Executives' Conference) will be held October 2-4, 2015, Port of Spain, Trinidad. The conference will be hosted by the Caribbean Temples and organized by the temples across North America. The HMEC offers Mandir Executives, Priests, Hindu community leaders and Scholars a great opportunity to learn from one another and grow as one. It is a forum to join together as one, share, and listen to each other's stories, opinions, and experiences. Wide ranging discussions will include: building, preserving and strengthening of Mandirs in North America, engaging youth in temple operations, providing leadership, networking and building a strong community, engaging in interfaith dialog, outreach and social services. Please watch http://www.myhmec.com for further details.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/4/1 3:58:05 ( 1018 reads )

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Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.
-- Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), Bengali poet and Brahmo Samaj philosopher

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Rath Utsava Celebrated in South India with Traditional Fervor
Posted on 2015/3/31 2:06:18 ( 1264 reads )

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BHATKAL, KARNATAKA. INDIA, March 30, 2015 (Bhatkal News): HPI Note: The original article states:

"Bhatkal Hanumanth Temple's historical Rath (Chariot) was pulled on March 28 evening by a huge gathering of Hindu brethren with traditional fervor and in a peaceful manner. There were special arrangements for pooja (worship) and in the evening, the chariot was pulled by large number of devotees."

"Thousands of devotees had flocked here for seeing the rath and its pooja (worship). This event designates historical Hindu-Muslim brotherhood and as usual today also, a group of Hindu brethren under the leadership of Surendra Shahnbhag, went to Chirkin Shabandari's house at Sultan Street and took permission from Ansar Shabandari to pull the chariot."

This article, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ci ... /articleshow/45944454.cms,
recounts the origin of the custom--but gives no precise date--in this town which saw severe communal riots in 1993:

"Every April, the Channapattana Hanuman Temple in the middle of the town takes out a procession of its prized chariot, carrying the God. But it is not done without the permission of the Muslim Shahbandari family.The story goes that several years ago, the chariot broke down during an annual procession. The temple authorities and local Hindu worshippers didn't have the money to repair it and get on with the procession. That's when Shahbandari family pitched in with funds. Since then, the ritual of seeking their permission before taking out a procession began. 'Many years later, some youths found it ridiculous to seek permission from a Muslim family and protested. That year, the chariot was brought out without permission and it's said to have developed a snag again in front of the Muslim house. No one has broken the ritual since,' says Qamaruddin Mashaikh, a local. As a tradition sweets are exchanged between the temple authorities and the Shahbandari family during the ritual."

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Hindu Students Council to Host Global Dharma Conference 2015
Posted on 2015/3/31 2:06:07 ( 1238 reads )

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EDISON, NEW JERSEY, March 28, 2015 (Dharma Conference): Hindu Students Council (HSC), the largest Hindu youth organization in North America, announced today that it will host the Global Dharma Conference 2015 to commemorate its 25th Year Anniversary on September 11-13. The 2015 conference, to be held at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center, in Edison, New Jersey, aims to explore and understand the multi-faceted applications of Dharma for the Self as well as for the Society and the World - whether through the multi-faceted systems of Yoga or the invaluable teachings of Vedas and Vedanta. Hence, the conference will feature talks, workshops, performances and music that depict various expressions of Dharma.

With a theme of "Reconnect, Rejuvenate and Realize," Global Dharma Conference 2015 will build upon the success of the first conference and will feature several prominent dignitaries, speakers, celebrity guests and artists from around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.dharmaconference.com and http://www.facebook.com/dharmaconference or email us at info@dharmaconference.com.


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/3/31 2:06:00 ( 943 reads )

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Like treasure hidden in the ground, like flavor in the fruit, like gold in the rock, and oil in the seed, the Absolute is hidden in the heart.
-- Akka Mahadevi, twelfth-century Vira Saiva saint

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US Agencies May be Indirectly Funding Religious Conversion in India
Posted on 2015/3/30 3:38:49 ( 1311 reads )

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INDIA, March 30, 2015 (by Rupa Subramanya, Firstpost): An unsettled and ongoing debate in the area of foreign development assistance concerns the extensive role played by faith-based organisations (FBO). In the US context, in particular, FBOs have been heavily involved in the delivery of both domestic social and foreign development assistance activities funded by the US government. One of the principal avenues through which FBOs receive taxpayer support is the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Indeed, several major US-based FBOs, which receive USAID funds, are active in India in a big way. An obvious concern is that when explicitly religious organisations are funded by tax dollars, what happens if those organisations are tempted to use the funds for proselytising activity rather than just the intended humanitarian or charitable purpose?

Nothing prevents an FBO from quickly transitioning from a humanitarian activity such as disaster relief to evangelizing to the same group of people -- and such activity is widely reported. Second, as monies are fungible, the fact that FBOs receive government support means that they can transfer money away from humanitarian activity toward proselytising, and still come out ahead financially. This sort of activity, blending charity and Christian evangelism, has aroused the concern of the Indian government. "Can social service not be performed without resorting to conversion and will any country allow changes to its demographic character?" asked India's Home Minister Rajnath Singh recently while addressing a government commission charged with protecting the rights of minorities in India.

For more, go to source

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Simple Way to Cook Rice that Dramatically Cuts the Calories
Posted on 2015/3/30 3:38:34 ( 1377 reads )

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UNITED STATES, March 25, 2015 (Washington Post): Rice, the lifeblood of so many nations' cuisines, is perhaps the most ubiquitous food in the world. In Asia, where an estimated 90 percent of all rice is consumed, the pillowy grains are part of almost every meal. Rice is popular because it's malleable--it pairs well with a lot of different kinds of food--and it's relatively cheap. But like other starch-heavy foods, it has one central flaw: it isn't that good for you. White rice consumption, in particular, has been linked to a higher risk of diabetes. A cup of the cooked grain carries with it roughly 200 calories, most of which comes in the form of starch, which turns into sugar, and often thereafter body fat.

An undergraduate student and his professor at the University of Sri Lanka have been tinkering with a new way to cook rice that can reduce its calories by as much as 50 percent and even offer a few other added health benefits. The ingenious method, which at its core is just a simple manipulation of chemistry, involves only a couple easy steps in practice. "What we did is cook the rice as you normally do, but when the water is boiling, before adding the raw rice, we added coconut oil--about 3 percent of the weight of the rice you're going to cook," said Sudhair James, who presented his preliminary research at National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) on Monday. "After it was ready, we let it cool in the refrigerator for about 12 hours. That's it."

More at source.

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