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Sri Lanka Vel Hinduism Festival Honors Lord Murugan
Posted on 2014/8/19 17:26:41 ( 558 reads )

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COLOMBO, SRI LANKA, August 9, 2014 (SF Gate): Early this month, Sri Lankan Hindus in this country's capital, Colombo, celebrated the Vel Hindu festival, which commemorates the victory of Sri Murugan, the Hindu God of War, over the forces of evil. Celebrations are scheduled to continue for several weeks.

The festival begins with Sri Murugan's silver-plated chariot and spear (vel) being pulled by snow-white bulls. The chariot is followed by hundreds of devotees dressed in white, smeared with ash and burning incense sticks. The event draws tens of thousands of people, including devotees who sing songs in praise of Murugan, and smash coconuts to ward off bad luck and usher in prosperity.

The chariot is eventually taken to a Hindu temple, where adjacent streets are filled with merchants selling food, sweets, beads and other items. There are also elephant processions, dancers, musicians and fire walkers.

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Chants, Incense Greet Hindu Devotees at New Suntree Temple
Posted on 2014/8/19 17:26:35 ( 674 reads )

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FLORIDA, U.S., August 15, 2014, (Florida Today): It was a long anticipated moment as dozens of people gathered in the warm glow of the rising sun this morning for the opening of the new $9.4 million Manav Mandir Hindu temple in Suntree.

The morning ceremony began 8 a.m. at the sanctuary with devotees, including the temple's board of trustees, gathered in front of the temple's east-facing entrance and following the priests inside the main prayer area of the 11,000-square-foot sanctuary. Hundreds of people are expected to visit the temple throughout the weekend.

The elaborate ceremonies -- part of a three-day weekend of purification rituals, dancing and prayers to the Deities -- began today (Friday, Aug. 15) and will continue through Sunday, offering guests and participants a unique view of India's religious cultures.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/8/19 17:26:20 ( 501 reads )

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Is there a deeper tragedy than that of a man immersed in the pursuit of the not-self who has no time to realize the Divine Self within?
-- Sadhu Vaswani, (1879-1966) founder the Sadhu Vaswani Mission

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Looted Shiva Was Left Outside for Repair
Posted on 2014/8/18 18:09:01 ( 736 reads )

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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, August 16, 2014 (The Australian): Indian police have revealed that an 1,100-year-old Hindu sculpture of Shiva with His hands broken off was stolen from beneath a peepol tree in a Tamil Nadu temple complex, after it was taken outside for unauthorized repairs. The solid, 44 inch-high stone carving was then smuggled from India to New York, where in 2004 it was sold to the Art Gallery of NSW for $300,000.

According to the theft report by local police in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the Ardhanarishvara was removed in 2002 along with seven other damaged sculptures from Vridhdhagiriswarar Temple to the place outside from which the Siva alone was stolen. A temple donor had agreed to pay for the pieces to be repaired and a sculptor had been assigned the task, even though temple authorities had not received permission for the undertaking.

Within two years of the theft, the Shiva with Nandi had been furnished with a bogus collecting history and sold by New York antiquities dealer Subhash Kapoor to the Sydney gallery. Kapoor was arrested three years ago and is awaiting trial in Tamil Nadu, his case having been delayed while prosecutors await the return from Australia of the Ardhanarishvara and a dancing Shiva bought by the National Gallery of Australia in 2008 for $5.6 million.

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Yoga Was an Essential Part of Stanislavsky's Studios a Century Ago
Posted on 2014/8/18 18:08:51 ( 561 reads )

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INDIA, August 7, 2014 (Russia & India Report): After seeing the effects of yoga on his students, Konstantin Stanislavsky (Russian actor and theater director) quickly started using it even more: in actors' trainings in the Second Studio (which was established in 1916) and the Opera Studio (founded in 1918), and for the work of the actors in the MAT (Moscow Art Theatre). Stanislavsky's notebooks from 1919-1920 contain many notes on the application of Hatha Yoga, together with Swedish gymnastics, exercises on rhythm and voice training in his classes.

The most detailed connection between Stanislavsky's system and yoga is found in notes to the classes with the MAT artists (1919). Rose Whyman, a British scholar of Stanislavsky's work, has pointed out that the notes contain a hidden synopsis of the part of the book "Hatha Yoga" on prana. Although Stanislavsky does not refer directly to pranayama, an aspect of yoga that teaches the skills of managing prana, his notes testify to serious study of concepts of yoga practice. He widely used pranayama exercises to develop actors' creative well-being.

Stanislavsky communicated breathing principles to the actors and explained the connection between correct breathing and attention: "Calm breathing--healthy thoughts, healthy body, healthy feelings, easy to focus; wrong rhythm of breathing--disturbed psyche, feelings of pain and total attention deficit." These thoughts, of course, are closely connected to yoga's tenets of pranayama: consciousness, the body and emotions are linked by the thread of breath, and the ability to breathe correctly is paramount for a person's spiritual ascent.

More at 'source' on Stanislavsky's methods and their impact on modern acting technique.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/8/18 18:08:37 ( 443 reads )

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I felt great need of a holy pilgrimage, so I sat still for three days and God came to me.
-- Saint Kabir (1440-1518)

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Bangladesh Sant Mahamandal Proposes Rebuilding Ramna Kali Mandir
Posted on 2014/8/15 18:21:31 ( 593 reads )



BANGLADESH, August 15, 2014 (Sant Mahamandal): A federation of saints organization, Bangladesh Sant Mahamandal (BSM) and the Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM) in its joint meeting on June 15, 2014 resolved to rebuild the Ramna Kali Mandir. A joint statement will be issued to appeal to the Hindu community of Bangladesh and abroad for their cooperation and donations in this regard. It is also resolved that dharmagurus, sadhus, sannyasins, priests, savaite, organizers of temples and human rights advocacy groups in Bangladesh would appeal to the government of India for reconstruction of the historic Ramna Kali temple complex with proper use of Hindu architectural know-how and for funding.

Shri Shri Ramna Kali Mandir was built on 2.22 acre land in Dhaka in the later part of the 14th century. The Ramna Kali Temple was built by the Dasanagthi group of people who were followers of Sankaracharya. Swami Gopal Giri of Badri Narayan Joshi Math came to Dhaka about 600 years ago and first founded a monastery at Ramna village, says the historian Prof. Muntashir Mamun of Dhaka University. At that time the monastery was known as Kaatghar. Subsequently, the main Temple was built here by Swami Haricharan Giri in the 16th century. The temple was bulldozed by the Pakistani Army on March 27, 1971, during the Bangladesh War of Liberation.

For more information, email "source" above.

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Hindu Festival Celebrates Renovation of Pyin Oo Lwin Temple
Posted on 2014/8/15 18:21:24 ( 558 reads )

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PYIN OO LWIN, MYANMAR (BURMA), June 5, 2014 (The Irrawaddy): In Pyin Oo Lwin, a former British hill station located on the western edge of the Shan Plateau, several thousand devotees gathered in June for a festival to mark the completion of a four-year-long renovation of the town's Hindu Ganesh temple. The festival called Shree Ma Harr Kubar Auisha Jum also celebrated the temple's 105-year history in the Mandalay Division town, which in the late 19th to early 20th century served a resort for British colonial administrators looking for respite from the blistering heat in Burma.

The festival is only celebrated when a Ganesh temple is constructed, or in this case, expanded upon, and drew a huge crowd. Ganesh is the Hindu elephant head god of wisdom and learning, and the remover of obstacles. Many of the town's Hindu residents settled in the town (then called Maymo) after they were brought from India and other parts of Burma to work in colonial administrative positions, or as farmers growing vegetables favored by the English. As many as seven Hindu temples are said to be located in Pyin Oo Lwin alone, and still more can be found in the surrounding villages. Although the temple's Burmese followers' ancestries are in Tamil Nadu in southern India, the festival was also attended by Burmese Hindus who trace their heritage to other parts of India.

Devotees donated contributions for the lengthy and expensive renovations that included 369 stone deities from India. Participant Myint Thein Gi Htun described the five-day event, which was presided over by several Hindu priests, some from as far away as Malaysia, as a "once in a lifetime opportunity." The chemistry teacher, who could be seen every day greeting visitors near the entrance of the temple, said this is only second time that a Hindu event of this scale has happened in Burma.

On the final day, holy water collected from 108 sacred areas of India was sprinkled on followers gathered in the temple grounds. This was followed by a parade led by a decorated elephant trucked in from Mandalay who greeted devotees that lined the streets offering prayers, food and donations.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/8/15 18:21:18 ( 509 reads )

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The Eternal Religion, the religion of the rishis, has been in existence from time immemorial and will exist eternally. There exists in this Sanatana Dharma all forms of worship--worship of God with form and worship of the impersonal Deity as well. It contains all paths--the path of knowledge, the path of devotion and so on. Other forms of religion, the modern cults, will remain for a few days and then disappear.
-- Sri Ramakrishna in a conversation with a devotee on March 9, 1884

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California Declares October Hindu American Awareness and Appreciation Month for Second Year
Posted on 2014/8/14 17:46:47 ( 1098 reads )

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SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, August 13, 2014 (California Legislative Information): For the second straight year, the California State Senate unanimously designated October as California Hindu American Awareness and Appreciation Month. Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 93, authored by State Senate Majority Leader, Ellen Corbett (10th Senate District), "recognizes and acknowledges the significant contributions made by Californians of Hindu heritage to our state" and "seeks to increase awareness and understanding of the Hindu American community."

"I am so honored to represent constituents from many diverse backgrounds, including a significant number of Hindu Americans, in the 10th State Senate District," said Senator Corbett. "Over two million Hindu Americans call the United States home and this thriving community enriches our state and nation's diversity and professional strengths in fields as diverse as technology, literature, arts, business and education. I thank my colleagues for supporting SCR 93 that recognizes Hindu American contributions in California, as well as designates October 2014 in their honor."

A delegation from the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), which worked closely with Senator Corbett on the resolution, was honored last Thursday on the Senate floor and presented with a framed commemorative version of the resolution.

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17th Century Ramayana Manuscript Under Lock and Key After Theft
Posted on 2014/8/14 17:46:40 ( 598 reads )

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INDIA, August 10, 2014 (by Sandeep Joshi, The Hindu): On December 22, 2011, when the only original pandulipi (manuscript) of Sri Ramcharitmanas (also referred to as the Ramayana) dated 1648 ce and a few precious articles of its writer, Goswami Tulsidas, were stolen from the Hanuman temple in the Akhara Goswami Tulsidas on Tulsi Ghat, the Mishra family was shocked. Its then head priest, a noted environmentalist and professor at IIT-BHU, Veer Bhadra Mishra, had to face charges of theft conspiracy.

It led to massive search operations by the Varanasi police, which was informally aided by the CBI and the intelligence agencies as it was feared that these rare articles could be smuggled abroad. It took seven months before the police recovered all the articles. "But this theft changed everything...The articles that were so far available for public viewing were safely locked only to be taken out once every year to celebrate the Tulsi Jayanti," says Professor V.N. Mishra, son of Professor Veer Bhadra Mishra, who is now the head priest.

Perturbed by all kinds of insinuations that his family had to face and the national and international media coverage, the Mishra family decided to make foolproof arrangements for safety and security even as they faced pressure from top government officials to hand over these items for greater safety. "My father thought how could he hand over the articles to the government when his family has been the custodian for centuries. So we brought a special fire and bullet resistant safe that weighed three hundred kilos and placed it inside the temple. All the precious articles were then placed safely."

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Yogacharya B. K. S. Iyengar Admitted to Hospital
Posted on 2014/8/14 17:46:35 ( 632 reads )

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PUNE, INDIA, August 13, 2014 (Indian Express): Yogacharya B K S Iyengar, 96, was admitted to the critical care unit of a private hospital on Tuesday afternoon after he complained of breathlessness. Doctors said he was stable and conscious and was being treated.

Bellur Krishnamachari Sundararaja Iyengar, the founder of Iyengar Yoga, is considered one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world and was selected for the Padma Vibhushan, the highest civilian award.

According to sources, he had gone to Delhi in April for the award ceremony after which he spent a month at his native place in Bellur. He returned to Pune in June and was unwell. He was treated at home by the family physician. Iyengar continued to attend classes but had grown weak in the last ten days, and was taking less food. On Tuesday, the family decided to take Iyengar to a private hospital.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/8/14 17:46:28 ( 493 reads )

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Do not say that you do not have time for God. The busiest of men will have the most leisure, and the laziest will always be short of time, for the former utilizes time and the latter only wastes it. If you really want God, you will find time for Him.
-- Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati (1912-1954), 34th pontiff of the Sarada Peetham

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Inauguration of BAPS Temple in New Jersey
Posted on 2014/8/13 17:38:45 ( 606 reads )

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, August 12, 2014 (American Bazaar): The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir was inaugurated in Robbinsville, New Jersey, by Pramukh Swami Maharaj and senior Sadguru Swamis of BAPS, on Sunday. The inauguration of this traditional stone mandir marks the completion of the second phase of the Swaminarayan Akshardham complex that is currently planned for the site. The mandir is 133 feet long and 87 feet wide, comprising of 98 pillars and two domes 30 feet wide and 34 feet high, according to a press release. The Mandir is made entirely of Italian marble and was completed in three years at a cost of $18 million.

The inauguration festivities, spanning over two weekends, included a yagna or Vedic ritual for world peace and the murti pratishta rituals or ceremonies to invoke the spirit of the Deity's into the murtis or sacred images. Prior to the consecration ritual that took place on Sunday, after which the murtis were to reside permanently in their shrines, they were taken on a festive procession around the complex. As the culminating event of these celebrations, the Mandir was officially inaugurated in a Vedic ceremony performed by BAPS Swamis in the presence of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. It is the sixth traditional BAPS Mandir of its kind in North America.

Two members of Hinduism Today's team, editor Paramacharya Sadasivanathaswami and Sannyasin Senthilnathaswami, were guests at the event.

According to one news report out of India, so many people flew to this event in New Jersey from India that airlines had raised ticket prices!

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The Hindu Festival: Sweets, Incense, Colors and Spirituality
Posted on 2014/8/13 17:38:39 ( 528 reads )

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FRESCAROLO, ITALY, August 4, 2014 (Gazzetta Di Parma): The Hindu community of the Parma region celebrated the seventh anniversary of their Shree Nav Durga temple on Saturday evening August 2nd. In a marvelous show of color and warmth, hundreds of people, coming mostly from Punjab, came together in friendship and religious community. They were celebrating the rites of sacred Hindu tradition. Everything was done in a setting that visually unites the two cultures: the bales of hay from our Italian farms and the smoke of the incense of a Indian brazier. [HPI: The temple has been constructed inside a large barn in the middle of farm country.]

In the olden days it was not easy to reach holy places, so it was customary to offer food to those who came. This they are also did on this lovely evening in Frescarolo. Among the many interesting different dishes of food, they served the Jalebi, a sweet made of chickpea flour and baking powder. And to drink, a glass of milk with rose syrup. Ashu, a young man working in Polesine, explained politely how the foods are prepared. "I do not eat meat because we think it is not necessary to kill to feed ourselves," he added.

We also met some Hindu monks, ministers of the religion, including Swami Priyanandagiri, a Ligurian, who lives in the monastery of Altare, near Savona. Embracing the Hindu religion they've forgotten their Italian names. They spoke of "respect and spiritual energies taken from the feet," which are bare inside places of worship. The chief organizer of this event was Lalit Sharma, active in the local Indian community.

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