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India, His Beacon of Light


Posted on 2016/6/22 19:55:18 ( 671 reads )

Source

INDIA, June 16, 2016 (The Hindu by Suganthy Krishnamachari): My curiosity is aroused when I hear that a student of Western philosophy from Denmark, is doing his Ph.D in Saiva Siddhanta in the Sanskrit Department, University of Madras. I meet Mikael Stamm one afternoon, and he explains why he was disenchanted with Western philosophy. "I didn't like its rejection of metaphysical questions. You don't skirt round questions, simply because they are uncomfortable. I couldn't accept the notion that it was the business of philosophy to clear up linguistic misconceptions for the sake of science. So I moved away from Western philosophy, and studied Computer Science, and for many years I worked in UNI-C, a government organisation, which develops service networks for Universities in Denmark."

A visit to the Viswanatha temple and conversations with pandits there, helped him to make up his mind. He decided he would study Saiva Siddhanta, and applied to three Universities. Madras University was the first to respond, and Mikael did his Masters in Tamil Saiva Siddhanta. He had read books on Hindu temples in Denmark, but had seen the temples merely as architectural marvels, without connecting them to the religion. It was his many visits to temples that made him realize that here was a living culture.

Is his interest in Saiva Siddhanta more than just an intellectual one? "Of course. I am a practicing Saivite. I have also become a vegetarian, says Stamm." After he finishes his doctoral studies, Mikael Stamm wants to teach Saiva Siddhanta in India, preferably in Tamil Nadu.

Much more of this interesting account at "source" above.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/6/22 19:55:07 ( 613 reads )

Source

Correcting oneself is correcting the whole world. The sun is simply bright. It does not correct anyone. Because it shines, the whole world is full of light. Transforming yourself is a means of giving light to the whole world.
-- Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950)



Tirupati Temple to Earn $388 Million in Revenue This Year


Posted on 2016/6/18 20:27:57 ( 1314 reads )

Source

INDIA, June 17, 2016 (International Business Times): Tirupati Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple, the world's richest Hindu temple and managed by the state government's Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) board/trust, will earn approximately US$388 million in revenue for this year, reported IANS, citing officials of the trust. Out of this amount, $149 million is expected in offerings (also called hundi) by the devotees of Lord Balaji.

In an earlier interview, an official from the trust said the offerings range from cash, jewelry, gems, property deeds, demat (ie, electronic) share transfers and bullions of gold, silver and other precious metals. While gold alone is estimated to add up to one ton a year in offerings, silver, diamonds and other items also flow into the temple trust's exchequer. "In the case of property deeds, due procedure is followed by the concerned department to transfer the title," noted an official.

Revenues from the sale of tickets, prasadam and others add another $89.5 million, while the proceeds from auctioning of the hair tonsured my men and women as a form of bidding to their beloved deity attracts another $21 million. The temple trust said in April that it had deposited 2,890 lbs. of gold with the Punjab National Bank under India's Gold Monetisation Scheme.



Caribbean Jurist Suggests That Yoga Can Curb Violence in School System


Posted on 2016/6/18 20:27:47 ( 1214 reads )

HPI

PORT-Of-SPAIN, TRINIDAD/TOBAGO, June 14, 2016 (for HPI by Paras Ramoutar): Acting Chief Justice of the Caribbean Court of Justice, Justice Rolston Nelson wants the Trinidad's Ministry of Education to introduce yoga in the school system to curb school violence and indiscipline.

Justice Nelson was delivering the keynote address at the launch of International Yoga Day set for June 21, and it took place at the Trinidad Hilton Hotel on Monday. The Second International Yoga Day will be observed from June 18 to 26 at ten locations in this twin-island state, including the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus and at Divali Nagar.

Nelson noted that yoga enriches the body with peace and harmony. "It is very important in these days of great stress. We would see why such benefits are important. Those of you who watched the news for the last 24 hours would see how the mind can become diseased...it can suddenly explode and cause great destruction".

The jurist highlighted that yoga can bring unity in the universe and that was a benefit we can all aim for. "In light of the current situation in terms of crime, that if one had more of the total benefits of yoga spread on the population we might be living in a much more humane and gentle society. I look forward to the Ministry of Education paying more to the science of yoga."

Deoroop Teemal, chairman of the International Day of Yoga Committee of Trinidad and Tobago (IDYCTT) pointed that research has shown that if the body is kept in a certain position for prolonged periods, "it works on certain centers of the brain" which can address stress and anger among students. Teemal said that 12 active yoga groups will be participating in this the Second International Yoga Day

Indian High Commissioner, Shri Gauri Shankar Gupta, who will leave his posting next month, said that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago is partnering with the Ministry of Health, the United Nations Organizations and the IDYCTT. Some 60 schools will hold yoga classes in September, he said.

Gupta quoted Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi's address to the United Nations on September 27, 2014, in which he called at the United National General Assembly to declare June 21 annually as the International Yoga Day which was supported by 177 nations, "that yoga is an invaluable gift of ancient Indian traditions. "It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us to deal with climate change. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day."

"Yoga is a perfect science, and it can relax your body and mind and improve your immune system. We would be happy to go into the high risk schools and teach yoga. At the end of the day, we would have healthier children. We are appealing to the Government to come forward and co-operate with us," Gupta noted. He pointed out that even modern science agrees that everything in the universe is just a manifestation of the same quantum firmament. Science of yoga had pronounce this long ago and it enables us to experience this reality.

Yvonne Lewis, director, Health Education Division, Ministry of Health, noted that yoga was an alternative in keeping one's body active. Lewis admitted that citizens of Trinidad and Tobago were faced with high levels of non-communicable disease (NCD) such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, cancer and stroke. "These account every year for over 60 per cent of deaths, and what concerns the Ministry most is that 70 per cent of those diseases can be prevented.




Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/6/18 20:27:36 ( 949 reads )

Source

Lord Siva, the bestower of happiness, gave the art of yoga. As Nataraja, King of dancers, He gave dance.
-- BKS Iyengar



Awake: A Documentary Film on Paramahansa Yogananda Released


Posted on 2016/6/17 19:47:03 ( 1264 reads )

Source

INDIA, June 17, 2016 (The Hindu): A documentary on the life of the guru who inspired millions is now releasing in India. Titled Awake: The Life of Yogananda, it traces the life of Paramahansa Yogananda from his birth in India to when he left for the U.S. as a 22-year-old to take the teachings of the East to the West, in 1920. He later emerged as one of the most popular spiritual gurus in the world, with the Los Angeles Times calling him the first superstar guru of the 20th Century. Awake releases on June 17. The video can be purchased or rented here: http://www.awaketheyoganandamovie.com/. The inspiring trailer is also available at the same site.



Murthis in Unprotected Temples Easy Pickings for Smugglers


Posted on 2016/6/17 19:46:52 ( 1113 reads )

www.thehindu.com

INDIA, June 16, 2016 (The Hindu): In a state where the temples are seldom managed based on their heritage or historic value, the statues of several temples in far flung districts are bound to fall prey to the statue smugglers such as Deenadayalan and Subash Kapoor.

Thousands of ancient temples in the state are dependent on the finances of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR & CE) department that manage these temples. With several ancient temples in remote districts without security and in a dilapidated state, statues from these temples -- that are valued in crores by antique dealers in foreign countries -- become easy target for thieves.

The officials of the Idol Wing-CID attached to the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) point out as per the records available there are 38,500 temples managed by the HR & CE, but only 26,000 statues have been registered by the Registration Officer of the State, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).



Government Program to Connect and Facilitate Major Pilgrimage Routes in India


Posted on 2016/6/17 19:46:42 ( 1078 reads )

Source

INDIA, June 10, 2016 (Press Information Bureau): The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has issued a report on a large project for the repair and construction of national highways across India to connect and facilitate major pilgrimage routes. The status of pilgrimage routes and work on individual stretches for Kailash-Mansarovar, Chardham, the Buddhist Circuit, Ram-Van-Gaman, and Ram-Janaki, among others, is given in extensive detail at "source" above.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/6/17 19:46:30 ( 883 reads )

Source

The test of a man is how much he can bear and how much he can share and how soon he confesses a mistake and makes amends for it.
-- Dada J.P. Vaswani



Nepal Arrests Seven Christians over Allegations of Converting People to Christianity


Posted on 2016/6/16 18:52:24 ( 1328 reads )

Source

NEPAL. June 15, 2016 (by Suzette Gutierrez Cachila, Christian Times): Seven Christians were arrested on Thursday, June 9, in Dolakha district, Nepal for allegedly converting people to Christianity. The seven Christians had reportedly distributed handkerchiefs together with Bible handbooks called "A Great Story" to a total of 885 students. Local authorities learned about the activity and reported it to the police, according to UCA News. The persons involved were all arrested on charges of converting other people to another religion through the distribution of religious handbooks, which is illegal under the constitution. The 2015 amendments to the Nepalese constitution include a provision that makes it illegal for any person to convert another to a different religion.

Article 26 (3) states: "No person shall, in the exercise of the right conferred by this Article, do, or cause to be done, any act which may be contrary to public health, decency and morality or breach public peace, or convert another person from one religion to another or any act or conduct that may jeopardize other's religion." Although "freedom of religion" or expression of one's beliefs is allowed in the country, this provision has made evangelization an illegal activity in Nepal. Christians in the country fear that this could lead to the inclusion of an "anti-conversion clause" in the penal code, which could put violators in prison, according to World Watch Monitor. Nepal is 80 percent Hindu. Religious minorities, including Christians, comprise 1.5 to 3 percent of the total population.



Jhenidah's Panic-Stricken Priests Dare Not Go Outside


Posted on 2016/6/16 18:52:14 ( 1026 reads )

Source

BANGLADESH, June 16, 2016 (The Daily Star): Priests of different temples in the district are passing their days in panic since the murder of Hindu priest Ananda Gopal Ganguly on June 7. On that day, Ganguly, 70, was hacked to death in Jhenidah Sadar upazila in a manner similar to previous killings by suspected militants. After the incident, most of the priests of the district went into hiding, fearing an attack on them.

There are 200 temples in six upazilas of the district, said Amalendu Biswas, president of Kaliganj upazila unit of Bangladesh Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad. Though law enforcers are ensuring them security following the killing, they fear fresh attack, he said.

"We are in great danger as we became terrorists' targets," Ram Krishna Banarjee, priest of Naldanga Siddeshshari Mandir under Sadar upazila, said, adding that he will not go to temple until his security is ensured. Superintendent of Police Gopinath Kanjilal said they have already engaged a sub-inspector at each temple, besides plainclothes police.




Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/6/16 18:52:03 ( 867 reads )

Source

O God of mercy who performs the dance of illimitable happiness in the hall of inconceivable intelligence! The Rig and the other Vedas are thundering forth in words, announcing to us that all are thy slaves, all things belong to thee, all actions are thine, that thou pervades everywhere, that this is thy nature. Such is the teaching of those who, though they never speak, broke silence for our sake.
-- Tayumanavar



What Happened to Hindus in Kashmir in 1990s is Happening Again in Uttar Pradesh


Posted on 2016/6/15 18:45:22 ( 1304 reads )

Source

KAIRANA, UTTAR PRADESH, June 14, 2016 (Zee News): At a time when the Central government is mulling to award citizenship to Hindu migrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh, there are reports that Hindus are being to forced to migrate from a city in Uttar Pradesh. The disturbing trend has been witnessed in Kairana, located 124 kilometres from Delhi in Uttar Pradesh's Shamli district, and is similar to what happened with Kashmiri Pandits in J&K in the 1990s. At least 346 Hindu families have migrated from Kairana due to goondaism and extortion threats. This figure has been provided by Kairana MP Hukum Singh (BJP). Kairana is both an Assembly as well as Lok Sabha constituency, but the migration has been witnessed mainly in area that falls under the Assembly constituency. As per the 2011 Census, Kairana had 30% Hindus while the percentage of Muslims was at 68%. However, the figure now stands at only 8% Hindus and 92% Muslims, as per the local administration. Kairana is located close to Muzaffarnagar which was hit by communal riots in 2013.

When Zee Media correspondent Rahul Sinha travelled to Kairana, he found that people there were afraid of speaking on camera fearing for their lives. They recalled that four businessmen had been murdered recently in the area. BJP MP Hukum Singh said that "most of the families who have migrated from here were well-off." The MP said Home Minister Rajnath Singh would visit the constituency at the end of this month and is likely to meet the affected families. Ashok Kumar Raghav, DIG, Saharanpur Range, said, "There is law and order, crime rate is under control. The matter has come to our notice, we are studying this."



Interfaith meeting Takes Place During Italian Hindu Temple's Annual Festival


Posted on 2016/6/15 18:45:12 ( 980 reads )

Source

PEGOGNAGA, ITALY, JUne 14, 2016 (Gazzetta di Mantova): The representatives of the great world religions (Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish and Catholic) sat next to each other, without shoes in respect of the Hindu temple venue, and filled the day with meaningful interreligious dialogue. The meeting, whose subject was "A Culture of Peace," was sponsored by the City of Pegognaga at the Shri Hari Om Mandir Hindu temple of Polesine. The initiative was promoted by the mayor Dimitri Melli to coincide with the annual festival of the Hindu community, which will take place today with a folkloric procession of the Mandir's sacred statues along San Lorenzo Street up to the old town center. Melli stated the objectives of the meeting; discussion and promotion of the culture of peace, while Angelo Araldi, vice-prefect of Mantova province, shared his personal reflections on the issue.

The managing director of the local Gazzetta di Mantova newspaper, Paolo Boldrini, asked the participants for practical suggestions on how to promote a culture of peace. The religious leaders spoke on the need for knowledge, respect, dialogue, sharing and integration for a common path towards a culture of peace. Those participating were: Raphael Longo, president of the Italian Buddhist Union; Emanuele Colorni, president of the Jewish community of Mantua; Ismaila Mbengue, Muslim linguistic-cultural mediator; Swamini Hamsananda Giri, vice-president of the Italian Hindu Union and Father Flavio Savasi of the Pegognaga Catholic parish.



What Jainism Teaches Us About Dying


Posted on 2016/6/15 18:45:02 ( 951 reads )

Source

CALIFORNIA, U.S., June 10, 2016 (Time Magazine, by Christopher Key Chapple): On June 9, a law allowing patients with terminal illnesses to end their lives with help from a physician came into effect in California, opening conversations about whether human life should be prolonged against the desire to die peacefully and with dignity. A similar yet different conversation has been taking place in India for the past several years, but in reverse.

In one of India's religious traditions, Jainism, those at the end of life can choose to embrace a final fast transition from one body to another. However, a recent court case has challenged the constitutionality of this practice. While on a visit to a Jain university in Ladnun, Rajasthan in western India in 1989, I had an opportunity to observe the practice of "Sallekhana" or "Santhara," a somber rite through which one fasts to seath. Up until recent years, the fast unto death process has been celebrated with newspaper announcements that laud the monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen who undergo this vow. But of late, questions are being raised whether it can result in coercion and cruelty.

Debates on end of life focus on the "rights" approach, thus appealing to the rational mind. Spiritual traditions on the other hand assert that it makes no sense to prolong suffering. They use a "rites" approach to the inevitable passing of the human body. The Jain tradition shows how we can move without attachment into death rather than clinging to life. In their acceptance of the inevitable, they set an example that death is not an evil but an opportunity to reflect on a life well-lived and look forward to what lies ahead.

More on the Jain tradition at "source" above.

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