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SARS Affects Kailash Pilgrimage as Beijing Closes Tibetan Border


Posted on 2003/5/6 9:49:02 ( 862 reads )

HPI

McCLOUD GANJ, INDIA, May 6, 2003: A pilgrim in McCloud Ganj hill station, home of the Dali Lama, reports that the Chinese have closed the border of Tibet, canceling this year's Kailash pilgrimage. Hinduism Today's reporter in New Delhi spoke to a number of journalists and officials of the Ministry of External Affairs [MEA] on the subject since yesterday and he reports the position is not clear. "Nobody is in a position to confirm that the Kailash Pilgrimage has been canceled. An official of the MEA, Mr. Thangal told me a few minutes back that the Kailash Pilgrimage is not canceled as yet. Though Mr. Thangal did say that it could be postponed by a few weeks. He told me that the Indian Government would not like to cancel the pilgrimage. He said that every year the Chinese Government gives permission for this pilgrimage and there is no reason to believe that this year the permission would not be given. If there is some impediment from the Chinese side due to SARS problem, a formal announcement clarifying the position would be made by MEA sometime in the future." The Hindustan Times has reported on their website (source) that "Tibet meanwhile has been virtually cutoff with international air links halted and border crossings sealed to prevent SARS infiltrating one of the few places in China so far free of the killer bug." Meanwhile, a stalwart pilgrim waits in the McCloud Ganj hill station for the border to reopen and the opportunity to pilgrimage to Mount Kailash.




Indian Laugh Clubs Inspire Germans


Posted on 2003/5/6 9:48:02 ( 782 reads )

Source

BERLIN, GERMANY, May 2, 2003: The Ninth International Humor Congress, opening Friday in Stuttgart, offers an ideal opportunity for Germans serious about putting a bit more laughter into their lives. A series of seminars with titles such as "Discover the Clown Within" and "Clowning Around in Hospital" promise the social and therapeutic benefits of gelotology, otherwise known as the science of laughter. "In our countries, imbued with Calvinism and Puritanism and more staid than Catholic countries, we feel a particular need to liberate our emotions through humor," explained Michael Titze. Titze, a psychoanalyst who is scientific director for the Congress, leads group therapy for people suffering from social phobias when he's not running "humor universities" against depression. Some 1,000 educators, health professionals and psychotherapists were expected at the Congress being held in a Protestant-run hospital. There are already 40 or so laugh clubs set up in Germany. The concept, which was also being presented at Stuttgart, was conceived in India in the mid-1990's by Madan Kataria. The aim is "to activate the healing force of laughter, using the principle of yoga, and so contribute to peace in the world."




Quebec Family Encourages Children to Take the Best of the East and Best of the West


Posted on 2003/5/5 9:49:02 ( 820 reads )

The Gazette

MONTREAL, CANADA, April 27, 2003: Migrating to Montreal, Canada, from Lucknow, India, in the 1970's, Asha and Govind Saxena have held fast to their Indian culture and Hindu religion for nearly 30 years. They are among 58,000 Montrealers that have South Asian roots and who have tried to establish a balance between the East and the West in their family life. Asha Saxena says, "Our family has grown, integrated and done well. We have told our children: Take the best of both worlds." However, Asha admits that she was uneasy when her boys wanted to date, as her own marriage was arranged. Asha gave up a law career to raise her two sons, but now she has become a teacher at a local college where she wears business suits to work. When she arrives home, she dons her Hindu attire. Govind Saxena, a Dawson college professor says, "We live in a global community, our sons are examples of this." The couple has two sons that are engineers, one lives in Washington, D.C. and the other in Uganda. At the couple's recent 25th wedding anniversary, the two boys gave a speech in honor of their parents. In the tribute, they spoke of their desire to raise their own children the way they had been raised.




Montreal's Asian Communities Flourish in Their Houses of Worship


Posted on 2003/5/5 9:48:02 ( 805 reads )

The Gazette

MONTREAL, CANADA, April 27, 2003: South Asian and Indian communities, practising the religion of their choice, whether that be Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism or Islam, are the first to build houses of worship when they migrate to other countries. In Montreal, temples and mosques serve to unite the community that is scattered throughout the city. The significance of these houses of worship in Montreal has become paramount as they provide a place for people of shared beliefs to worship and socialize. Vikram Bhatti, vice-president of the Hindu Temple of Quebec says, "Creating a place of connection for the community is key. Every Sunday there is a program or some kind of social gathering." This particular Hindu Temple also organizes bimonthly gatherings for elderly residents who get together to do yoga, cook and eat their own food together. Pradeep Sagar, a businessman from the Punjab who arrived in Montreal in 1990, found common ground at the Hindu Mission Temple when he started working in the kitchen and serving people. Moin Ghauri recalls that the gatherings at the Islamic Center of Quebec numbered 30-35 people in the 1960's. In comparison, Manjit Singh, a member of Montreal's Sikh community says, "On Sunday we might have anywhere from 200-600 people come to a service. It becomes an occasion to meet and to renew connections."




Meditation is a Powerful Healing Tool


Posted on 2003/5/5 9:47:02 ( 918 reads )

Source

UNITED STATES, May 4, 2003: Meditation is being embraced within medical circles as a powerful healing tool. A study in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine reports meditation affects areas of the brain focused on emotion and also strengthens the ability to ward off illnesses. Harvard Medical School experts say the key to the relaxation response is repetition. The repetition can be a word, sound, mantra, prayer, breathing or movement. They say any disease made worse by stress can improve with meditation.




Prayers at Temple of Virgin Goddesses


Posted on 2003/5/5 9:46:02 ( 978 reads )

New Straits Times

SEREMBAN, MALAYSIA, May 5, 2003: Around 7,000 Hindu devotees are expected to gather at the Arulmighu Maha Sapthakannika Devi Temple here on Thursday for annual prayers. Also known as the Temple of the Seven Virgin Goddesses, it is believed to be the only one in the country dedicated to the seven goddesses -- Sri Bama Devi, Sri Rauthri Devi, Sri Jyeshta Devi, Sri Kali Devi, Sri Kalaviharani Devi, Sri Velavigarani Devi and Sri Velabithamanni Devi. Prayers begin on Wednesday night.




Vandalism at Carbondale Mosque is Investigated


Posted on 2003/5/5 9:45:02 ( 931 reads )

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ST. LOUIS, U.S.A., May 1, 2003: The FBI is investigating the vandalism of the Islamic Center in Carbondale, Illinois, which took place over the weekend. The building had been defaced with painted slogans, including "Long Live Shri Rama," and "Free Kashmir." Such vandalism is often the work of unsophisticated youngsters, but the content of the messages in Carbondale suggests otherwise, said James Hacking of the St. Louis chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. He said he thought the incident was the first of its kind at the center, which opened about 18 years ago. He said it was one of only a few mosques in Southern Illinois. Hacking on Wednesday called for an FBI investigation, but FBI Special Agent Rick Stonecipher of Carbondale said the agency was already on the case along with Carbondale police. He said the crime could be subject to federal jurisdiction if there was a civil rights violation. Stonecipher said he did now know yet if the content of the message pointed to any particular suspect or suspects.




Carnatic Musical Trinity Festival Underway at Tiruvarur


Posted on 2003/5/4 9:49:02 ( 906 reads )

Source

TIRUVARUR, INDIA, May 4, 2003: Organized by the Kanchi Kamakoti Peeta Carnatic Sangeetha Seva Trust, the six-day Jayanti festival of the famous Carnatic music trinity, Shyama Sasthrigal, Thyagaraja Swamigal and Muthuswamy Deekshitar, was inaugurated at Tiruvarur on Saturday night. Opening the festival, musicologist and secretary of Chennai-based Music Academy, Dr. V. V. Srivatsa, highlighted the contributions made by the three composers to the field of Carnatic music.




U.S. Indians Get "Ganesha Sandals" Apology and Product Removal


Posted on 2003/5/4 9:48:02 ( 1497 reads )

Source

UNITED STATES, April 30, 2003: An American company has apologized for introducing sandals emblazoned with Ganesha images and has promised to withdraw them from stores immediately. The sandals were cause for concern among Hindus in the U.S. and hundreds wrote in to the website of IndiaCause, an activist organization, to protest against American Eagles, the firm that produced the sandals. An IndiaCause release said the company has apologized for the sandals. "We will remove these flip-flop shoes from our stores in order to maintain the good will and our customer relations with the Hindu community," Neil Bulman, Jr., Vice President and General Counsel of American Eagles, wrote in a letter to the organization.




Request for Resource on V.S. Naipaul


Posted on 2003/5/4 9:47:02 ( 907 reads )

Source

KAUAI, HAWAII, May 4, 2003: Hinduism Today is seeking someone very familar with the writings of V.S. Naipaul to prepare an article on the famous author and the influence of Hinduism upon him and his works. Kindly contact "source" above.




Lord Ganesha Welcomed to His New Home in Utah


Posted on 2003/5/3 9:49:02 ( 803 reads )

Deseret News

SOUTH JORDAN, UTAH, April 28, 2003: Nearly 200 of Utah's Hindu community gathered at their new temple Sunday morning to welcome Lord Ganesha into His new home at the Sri Ganesha temple. The Sunday morning procession brought the Hindu Deity from the basement of a nearby home owned by Neel and Indra Neelameggham, which served as a temporary temple for the past several years while planning, fund raising and construction of the new facility were under way. Public consecration and opening ceremonies for the new temple are scheduled to begin Friday, with purification rituals, the bathing of Deities in milk, lighting of lamps, processions, a cultural program, music and feasting. The festivities run through Sunday, and people of all faiths are invited to attend. The 2,000 square-foot steepled temple cost about US$1 million to build, according to C. C. Patel, president of Gujarati Samaj, the local Indian community in the Salt Lake Valley. Donations of money and materials funded the project, along with volunteer labor from a variety of sources and people of different faiths. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) contributed $25,000 to help buy the land for the temple, he said. The Ganesha murthi was a gift to the community from H.H. Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, former head of the monastery on Kauai, Hawaii. Information about the weekend ceremonies or the temple itself can be found on their web site at www.sriganesh.faithweb.com.




Poets Entertain Toronto Gujaratis


Posted on 2003/5/3 9:48:02 ( 946 reads )

Source

TORONTO, CANADA, April 26, 2003: Adam Tankarvi, popular poet from England and Adil and Bismil Mansuri, prominent American-Gujarati couple of New Jersey, USA, entertained a Toronto-Gujarati crowd at a "GujLish" Evening in Toronto. Canada's Gujarati literary group, Shabdasetu, organized a three-hour program of ghazals in Gujarati where these three guest-poets and seven local poets impressed an admiring crowd of more than 135 fans. Ghazal is the most popular poetical form, originally in Urdu, but now in other languages like Gujarati. It consists of at least five and not more than fifteen verses. Due to the SARS scare, two other poets from England, Ahmed Gul and Bedar Lajpuri, were unfortunately forced to cancel their trip. Shailesh Desai welcomed the guests and paid homage to another famous poet, Manhar Modi, who passed away recently. Abid Okadia introduced Shabdasetu and the visiting poets. Adambhai conducted the program and invited local poets first to present their creative poems. Rashida Damani, Raj Patel, Kishor Patel, Manu Patel, Neeta Dave, Abidbhai and Shaileshbhai recited their literary creations. There was a variety in subject ranging from memories of back home to current events and lifestyle in North America. Bismilben recited her philosophical ghazals. Adambhai presented his own ghazals besides adding his own comments with quotes of many other Gujarati ghazal writers. Final one to come was Adilbhai reciting his latest ghazals. Then followed the release of "Ghazalna aaynaa gharmaa," of Adilbhai by Mr. Jay Gajjar, a local Gujarati writer and recipient of Order of Canada award. Jaybhai briefly spoke about Mansuri's trendsetting contribution in Gujarati ghazals and reviewed quotes from the latest collection of poems. In the second round again Neetaben, Abidbhai and Shaileshbhai came with their poems. Bismilben and Adambhai took their turns expressing more ghazals. Adilbhai recited his few poems of different styles. In response to request from the audience, Adilbhai recited his Urdu ghazal for many Gujarati speaking Muslims present. Adambhai conducted the show extremely well. He picked up words from the local poets' creations and recited poems of other well-known poets applying those words. This was a very innovative approach for the local audience, which was admired and well liked by all. Adambhai justified the show-name of "GujLish" (mixture of Gujarati and English words) in his poems. To keep the mood lighter, Adambhai entertained the crowd with humorous anecdotes of Mulla Nasrudeen. Neetaben presented books of Canadian literary writings to the visitors and Abidbhai proposed the vote of thanks to everyone. Financial contribution by few poetry lovers helped in organizing this event. For more information, contact Prakash Mody at "source" above.




South Africa's New Tamil Broadcasting Service


Posted on 2003/5/3 9:47:02 ( 819 reads )

Source

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA, May 3, 2003: Radio Rasa is a new community radio broadcasting service for the Durban metropolitan area. One of their goals is to provide programming in Tamil in order to "reinforce the Tamil language" in South Africa, however programing will also be delivered in English. They plan to offer programing reflecting today's taste in music along with community interest-driven magazine programs covering politics, social and economic issues, sports etc. Kindly contact "source" above for where they may be found on the radio dial.




Chicago Area Hindus Look to Suburbs For a New Temple


Posted on 2003/5/2 9:49:02 ( 806 reads )

Source

HYDE PARK, U.S.A., May 2, 2003: For years, suburban Hindus have made a 45- to 60-minute trek to the Vivekananda Vedanta Society of Hyde Park, only to then spend another 20 minutes searching for places to park. That may soon end if the society meets its ambitious goal of raising several million dollars for the construction of a new temple in the southwest suburbs. The Hyde Park group hopes to raise $6.5 million for a complex in unincorporated Homer Township to serve the religious needs of Hindu community. The new temple, including a 100-car parking lot, would be built on 15 acres. "The problem we face is most of our congregation is out in the suburbs," said Swami Varadananda, manager of the society, adding that he also expects the move will attract more members. The society hopes that by the end of the year it will complete the purchase of land near Homer Glen to build the Sri Ramakrishna Universal Temple. If all goes according to plan, the society will begin construction in 2004 and will move by 2005. The entire project is estimated to cost $6.5 million. The Village of Homer Glen is supportive of the temple idea and may annex the property if residents and village officials approve, said Village Manager Glenn Spachman. "We would like to extend our boundaries to include this property. It's a natural growth of the village," said Spachman, noting there will be a public hearing before the Planning Commission May 15. "They certainly would make good neighbors."




U.S. Embraces Religion More Frequently than Other Developed Nations


Posted on 2003/5/2 9:48:02 ( 690 reads )

Source

WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.A., May 2, 2003: The Pew Research Center surveyed 44 nations from around the world and discovered religion is much more important to Americans than to people living in other wealthy nations. 59% of people in the U.S. say religion plays a very important role in their lives. This is roughly twice the percentage of self-avowed religious people in Canada and an even higher proportion when compared with Japan and Western Europe. Americans' views are closer to people in developing nations than to the publics of developed nations. The survey shows stark global regional divides over the personal importance of religion. In Africa, no fewer than eight-in-ten in any country see religion as very important personally. Majorities in every Latin American country also subscribe to that view, with the exception of Argentina. More than nine-in-ten respondents in the predominantly Muslim nations of Indonesia, Pakistan, Mali and Senegal rate religion as personally very important while 92% of people living in India subscribe to the view that religion is important in their daily lives. Secularism is particularly prevalent throughout Europe, even in heavily Catholic Italy where fewer than 27% people say religion is very important personally, a lack of intensity in belief that is consistent with opinion in other Western European nations. This poll is part of the Pew Global Attitudes Project whose first major report, "What the World Thinks in 2002," focusing on how people view their lives, their countries and the world, was released Dec. 4, 2002 and is available online at www.people-press.org .


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