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Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/3/11 18:13:53 ( 1176 reads )

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Everything changes, everything passes; things appearing, things disappearing. But when all is over--being and extinction both transcended--still, the basic emptiness and silence abide, and that is blissful peace.
-- Mystical song from a Hindu story



Almost Two Million Pilgrims Take Holy Bath on Maha Shivaratri At Haridwar


Posted on 2016/3/10 19:54:50 ( 1666 reads )

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HARIDWAR, INDIA , March 9, 2016 (Tribune News Service): Nearly two million pilgrims took a holy bath in the Ganga on the occasion of Shivratri and fifth festive bath of Ardh Kumbh here today. Pilgrims in large numbers thronged the sanctum-sanctorum of Braham Kund, Har-ki-Pauri and adjacent Ganga ghats from early morning hours. The huge attendance is a result of the Ardh or "half" Kumbha Mela taking place here. This comes six years from the full Kumbha Mela which is on a 12 year cycle.



Kathmandu Mahashivaratri Marked with Fervor


Posted on 2016/3/10 19:54:40 ( 1594 reads )

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KATHMANDU, NEPAL, March 8, 2016 (Himalayan Times): Half-a-million devotees from different parts of the country as well as from India, Malayasia and other countries visited Pashupatinath temple today to worship Lord Shiva.

It is believed to be the day Shiva was born to save the universe by drinking haalaahala, the poison that emerged from the churning of the ocean (samudra manthan). Shivaratri is also celebrated during the night by keeping a night-long vigil as it is believed that lord Shiva saved the universe from darkness and ignorance.

Govinda Tandon, member secretary, Pashupati Area Development Trust today said the festival was celebrated with much fanfare in a peaceful way. He said, "The four doors of Pashupatinath temple were opened from 2:45 am for devotees, while necessary arrangements had been made for devotees to enter the main temple premises through Battisputali-Gaushala, Tilganga, Mitrapark-Gaurighat-Umakunda-Rudragadeshwor-Basuki and Jayabageshwori." He stated that around 500,000 devotee worshipped Lord Shiva at the temple while thousands others visited from outside without staying in queue for hours.



Western Odisha Revels in Shivaratri Spirit


Posted on 2016/3/10 19:54:30 ( 1578 reads )

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SAMBALPUR, INDIA, Marh 8, 2016 (New Indian Express): Thousands of devotees made beelines to Shiva temples across western Odisha on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri on Monday. With Shaivism flourishing in the region due to the rule of Chauhan dynasty in the region, Shiva temples dot the landscape. In the undivided district of Sambalpur, a large number of Shiva temples were built during the Chauhan rule. Prominent among them are Asta Sambhu Pitha comprising Bimaleswar in Huma, Kedarnath in Ambabhona, Vishwanath in Deogaon, Balunkeswar of Gaisama, Maneswar in Sambalpur, Swapneswar in Sorna, Viseswar in Soronda and Nilakantheswar in Niljee. While the Shiva temple at Huma and Maneswar are in Sambalpur district, the rest are located in Bargarh district.

These temples though small in height are of great artistic beauty. The presiding Deity Bimaleswar of leaning temple of Huma is the chief among the Asta Sambhus and continues to raise curiosity due to its architectural marvel of a leaning temple. The devotees continued to pour in at the temples till late into the night. Devotees, whose wishes come true, offer a copper serpent on the day.

Devotees also visited Ranipur Jharial in Balangir district which is considered as both a Tantra and Shaiva Peetha. Although regular puja at the Indralath temple, which is an architectural beauty made of bricks, has been stopped, Lingas inside the temples continue to attract visitors and devotees.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/3/10 19:54:19 ( 1149 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



India celebrates Maha Shivratri


Posted on 2016/3/6 20:12:12 ( 3490 reads )

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NEW DELHI, March 7, 2016 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday greeted the nation on the auspicious occasion of Maha Shivratri which is being celebrated with devotion and religious fervor. Devotees in large numbers are reaching Shiva temples since early morning.

A large number of people are expected to offer jalabhishek of holy water and special prayers at the Kashi Vishwanath temple. In Ayodhya, devotees thronged Nageshwarnath temple to offer their prayers after taking holy bath in Saryu River. In Allahabad people in large numbers took bath at the confluence of Ganga and Yamunaat sangam and offering holy waters to various Shiva temples.

Maha Shivratri is celebrated on the 6th night of the dark Phalgun (February or March) every year. Shivratri fast is considered to be the most important fast for the devotees of Lord Shiva. Shiva Purana states that if a devotee observes Shivaratri Vrata with sincerity, pure devotion and love he is blessed with the divine grace of Lord Shiva.



Annual Guyanese Holi Parade is on Again


Posted on 2016/3/6 20:12:02 ( 3269 reads )

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RICHMOND HILL, NEW YORK, March 4, 2016 (DNA Info): An annual parade to celebrate the spring Hindu festival of Holi will return to Liberty Avenue this year after one of the feuding organizers accused an NYPD boss of canceling last year's permit as a favor to a friend. This year's Phagwah Parade is set to kick off at Liberty Avenue and 133rd Street on March 26, after a judge ruled this week that two feuding parade organizers have to work out a way to plan it together, according to court documents.

The agreement comes after last year's parade didn't roll for the first time in 27 years, a blow to Richmond Hill's large Guyanese community and others who celebrate the festive holiday. The chaos began when board members began fighting over control of one of the parade organizations, according to a report last year in the New York Times.

Then two separate parade organizers both applied for the right to host the parade on the same route on the same date and time, prompting then-106th Precinct Commanding Officer Deputy Inspector Jeffrey Schiff to shoot down the application filed by Herman Singh of the Arya Spiritual Center, Inc., while approving the one filed by Romeo Hitlall of the The Federation of Hindu Mandirs. However, the parade never got off the ground amid a series of bitter feuds within the parade-organizing community, resulting in a series of lawsuits.



A Temple to the Formless Siva


Posted on 2016/3/6 20:11:52 ( 3272 reads )

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TAMIL NADU, INDIA, March 5, 2016 (The News Minute): About 25 miles from the famous Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu, is a little known temple dedicated to a formless God, built by Manikkavasakar, an iconic 9th century Tamil poet and saint. The temple, called Avudaiyarkovil, stands in a small town in the Pudukkottai district. The town was originally called Perundhurai, but is now called Avudaiyarkovil after the temple.

Manikkavasakar was one of the Naalvars, regarded as the four greatest Tamil Shaivite saints who lived between the 7th and 9th centuries. While the temple was originally built by Manikkavasakar in the 9th century, additions and modifications were made over time, and most of the current structure is believed to date back to the 15th century.

What sets this temple apart from other Shiva temples is that the main Deity here, is formless. Shiva-lingams are usually placed on a base called a peeta, but here, the sanctum has only a metal peeta, and no lingam on it. The version of Shiva worshipped here is called Atmanatha, which means the Lord of the Soul. Another departure from the norm here is that there is no Nandi (the bull that is believed to be Lord Shiva's vehicle). The offering to this formless deity is just the steam that rises up when hot rice mixed with slices of dried bitter gourd is spread on a stone slab.

Photos at "source".




Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/3/6 20:11:41 ( 2818 reads )

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Hinduism has made marvelous discoveries in things of religion, of the spirit, of the soul. We have no eye for these great and fine discoveries. We are dazzled by the material progress that Western science has made. Ancient India has survived because Hinduism was not developed along material but spiritual lines.
-- Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)



Tamil Hindus in the UK Adapt in the Absence of Religious Space


Posted on 2016/3/5 19:50:32 ( 0 reads )

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UNITED KINGDOM, March 4 2016 (Religion Watch): In areas where they have no access to "Tamil-orientated" temples, Tamil Hindus outside of London either visit non-Tamil temples or perform their own rituals in non-institutional settings, reports Demelza Jones (Aston University, Birmingham) in the journal Religion (Jan.). Tamil temples tend to be different from those of Northern India. Their Deity images are carved from black granite, while such images are colorful or carved from marble stone in other parts of India. But it is easier for Tamils to visit temples from other areas of South India that come closer to their own cultural background. Other regional variations exist among other Hindus, while common features may be emphasized for establishing representative bodies that interact with the wider society. In a number of cases, Hindus have had to make adjustments to life in non-Hindu environments, for instance sharing the same temple with other Hindu (regional or caste) groups due to the lack of funding to establish their own religious buildings.

Tamil Hindus who have settled in the UK have access to their own temples in the London area but not necessarily in other parts of the country. Some Tamils choose to visit available non-Tamil temples since the Gods are the same, even if the appearance and language are not similar. People go there to pray individually; in such cases, there is an emphasis on a common Hindu heritage, although it does not mean a decline in "Tamilness." Other Tamils, however, cannot relate to North Indian temples and feel more comfortable doing their rituals at home. There is also the option for a group gathering to rent a hall for a religious festival and to transform the secular space temporarily into a sacred one.



UK Hindu temple Welcomes Stratford Pupils


Posted on 2016/3/5 19:50:22 ( 3017 reads )

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UNITED KINGDOM, March 4, 2016 (Newham Recorder): Radha Krishna Temple in Stratford welcomed year four pupils from Ranelagh Primary School as teachers aim to expand pupils' knowledge of community cohesion, individuality and globalisation. The temple, which was founded in 1967, opened its doors to teach pupils about Hindu Gods Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Durga and Ganesha. Executive head teacher Angela Tapscott said it was important for children to learn about religion to foster an environment of tolerance. "The teaching of religion and belief are an important part of the curriculum at Ranelagh Primary School, as they help to encourage understanding, tolerance and unity," she said. "The Leadership Management Team and staff recognize that these subjects help to establish the children's personal values, their role as future citizens in a multi-faith society and to challenge racism and discrimination."

In line with the trip's aim to encourage understanding between different faiths, pupils were taught the importance of tranquility and listening, as they sat peacefully in the temple and enjoyed artwork depicting Hindu Gods. Teacher Susie Walsh, who joined pupils on the visit, said pupils were keen to question temple representatives about Hinduism. "The pupils were all very well behaved, they listened attentively, were quiet and respectful and asked relevant questions," she said.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/3/5 19:50:11 ( 2929 reads )

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The syllable gu means shadows. The syllable ru, he who disperses them. Because of the power to disperse darkness, the guru is thus named.
-- Advayataraka Upanishad



India Withholds Visas from US Religious Freedom Monitors


Posted on 2016/3/4 19:56:30 ( 3132 reads )

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U.S., March 3, 2016 (RNS): A U.S. religious freedom panel says it has been unable to obtain visas for members who planned to travel to India this week to assess conditions there. In its 2015 annual report, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom included India on its list of Tier 2 countries -- not the worst offenders but worthy of close monitoring due to religious freedom violations within their borders.

The Tier 2 designation was seen as unfair and part of what Jakob De Roover, a professor at Belgium's Ghent University, considers an effort by USCIRF to promote a society based on American notions of religion. "It seeks to spread Protestant-Christian values across the world but does so under the guise of promoting and protecting human rights that are 'universally held sacred,'" he wrote on firstpost.com, an Indian website, shortly after the release of last year's USCIRF report. [See next report for Roover's full article.]



USCIRF hypocrisy: It's about the Protestant worldview, not religious freedom


Posted on 2016/3/4 19:56:20 ( 3031 reads )

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INDIA, May 11, 2015 (First Post by Jakob De Roover): The annual reports of the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) have long irked politicians and citizens from countries placed on its watch list. This is no different in India. In the 2015 report released about a fortnight ago, the country again occupies an unenviable spot in Tier 2, which includes countries where the religious freedom violations engaged in or tolerated by the government are serious.

Striking about this year's report, however, is its claim that incidents of religiously-motivated and communal violence have reportedly increased for three consecutive years in India. "According to Muslim and Christian NGOs that track communal incidents," it adds, "2014 statistics, yet to be released by the ministry, will be likely higher" than the 823 incidents recorded in 2013.

What is so remarkable about this? Well, the Indian home ministry's official data about communal incidents for 2014 give a very different picture. The number of incidents saw a significant decrease to 644 in 2014. The USCIRF report also includes Andhra Pradesh, "Chattisgarhi" [sic], and Odisha among states that "tend to have the greatest number of religiously-motivated attacks and communal violence incidents." Yet the home ministry's information recorded no incident in Chhattisgarh, just three in Odisha, and five in Andhra Pradesh.

The USCIRF's annual reports reflect deep-seated religious concerns of Protestant Christianity. Take its vehement rejection of anti-conversion legislation in India as a violation of religious freedom. This derives from the Christian belief that every individual should be free to turn towards the true God at all times and that this can be done only by converting from false to true religion. For the US commission, this freedom to follow one's own conscience always overrides other concerns - say, for instance, the worry often voiced in India that Christian missionary activity constitutes aggression upon the traditions, sensitivities, and harmony of a community.

Much more of this informative article at "source" above.




Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/3/4 19:56:10 ( 2801 reads )

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To associate with a sadhu is like sitting near a seller of perfumes. You may not be able to own any of the wonders he holds, but what emanates from them will envelop you.
-- Saint Kabir (1440-1518), Indian saint revered by Hindus and Muslims

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