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Specially Trained Priests Give More Meaning to Hindu Rituals


Posted on 2003/3/26 8:48:02 ( 982 reads )


Source: HPI





PUNE, INDIA, March 22, 2003: The inclusion of scientific understanding has added a deeper meaning to traditional Hindu ceremonies, thanks to specially trained priests by the Jnana Prabodhini's Santrika section. The head of Jnana Prabodhini, Yeshwant Lele says, "More and more people are curious about the rituals they have been performing blindly over the years. The priests trained by the society explain the mantras to the gathering and make the ceremonies move lively." Thirty people, mainly from a scientific background, irrespective of caste and sex, have recently finished their four-month course on how to conduct Hindu marriages, naming ceremony, thread ceremony, last rites and other ceremonies. Lele says, "Our Marathi and English booklets enable every family member to chant the mantras. The booklet gives the requirements for each ceremony and has an introduction and translation of each mantra. Our gurujis and purohitas involve everyone present. So, instead of only the yajman (the man who performs the ceremony) repeating the mantras, everyone present takes part. Explanations of certain rituals involve physics, chemistry, logic, philosophy and psychology."






Nepalese Hindu Monarchs Worship at Meenakshi Temple


Posted on 2003/3/26 8:47:02 ( 809 reads )


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MADURAI, INDIA, March 24, 2003: Nepal King Gyanendra and Queen Komal Rajalakshmi Devi offered prayers and had "archana" at the Sri Meenakshi Amman-Sundareswar temple in Madurai on Monday. The King and his entourage, accompanied by the officials from the External Affairs ministry, were given a traditional welcome by folk dancers at the entrance of the temple. Later they were received by the temple priests with "Poornakumbha Mariadai" at the temple's south Gopuram. Goddess Meenakshi, the temple's main deity, was bedecked with the diamond crown, traditionally worn only three times a year. The King spent about an hour going around the temple where his majesty was presented with a silk shawl, books on temple history, and prasadam near the temple's Golden chariot, where the King and Queen were seated.






Maryland Temple Plans Fund Raising for Kauai's Iraivan Temple


Posted on 2003/3/26 8:46:02 ( 919 reads )


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MARYLAND, USA: A fund raising dinner with live entertainment for San Marga's Iraivan Temple will be held on Saturday, April 19, 2003, from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Murugan Temple of North America. The temple is located at 6300 Princess Garden Parkway, Lanham, Maryland. For further information kindly contact "source" above.






A Handy Guide and Description for Blessing Your Car


Posted on 2003/3/26 8:45:02 ( 1629 reads )


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NEW YORK, USA, May 25, 2002: Hindus bless all implements or items to be used for daily life, protecting them from bad influences and blessing them in God's name. This is true of things like homes, cars and motorized vehicles of all types. Emmigration hasn't hampered the tradition, and every temple in the US is prepared to do such blessings, one of the most popular of which is for a new car. At this website a devotee shares an instructive step-by-step description of her car blessing ceremony, complete with photos.






Paris Hosts Hindustani Music Fete


Posted on 2003/3/23 8:49:02 ( 862 reads )


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PARIS, FRANCE, March 17, 2003: In Paris more than three months of festivities dedicated to Hindustani classical music from the 14th to the 20th centuries opens this week. It will include concerts, films, talks and a show of rare instruments from north India. Held at the Cite de la Musique from March 19 to June 29, the mainstay of the fete will be an exhibition of instruments, including sarangis and sitars, and including manuscripts, drawings and paintings from private and public collections. High points will be a forum on raga music and Kathak dance on March 22, including a full night of music put on by nine musicians from India. The Susheela Raman Quintet and the Trilok Gurtu Group with singer Shankar Mahadevan will offer the new sounds created by the mix of traditional Hindustani music, Western, blues and reggae.






A Reader Responds to "Inauspicious Thursday" Story


Posted on 2003/3/23 8:48:02 ( 1082 reads )


Source: HPI





KAUAI, UNITED STATES, March 23, 2003: Prof. R. Vaidyanathan gives his view on "inauspicious Thursday" which led Air India to cancel a Thursday flight out of North East India. He wrote, "I read with interest about people in Guwahathi considering Thursdays as not auspicious. It is not the people of entire North East. This belief is mainly in Assam. In Karnataka, a large number of people consider Thursday to be auspicious and the well-known Saint Raghavendra is offered special prayers/puja on that day. A popular song by actor/singer Rajkumar starts as " Guru vara Bandhamma" etc. (who came on a Thursday) regarding Saint Raghavendra. But many people in Karnataka consider Tuesday to be inauspicious. The train from Bangalore to Madras is not crowded on Tuesdays. They will not start factories or construction or long travel on Tuesdays. There was a report some time before that the Bajrang Dal students demanded that Tuesday be declared as weekly holiday in Lucknow University suggesting Tuesday is important/holy for Hanuman. It would be an interesting study to find out inauspicious and holy days as believed by different communities in India."






Arthashastra On-Line


Posted on 2003/3/23 8:47:02 ( 1293 reads )


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USA, March 23, 2003: Those interested in purusing Kautilya's Arthashastra may find the complete text at "source" above. Arthashastra is a remarkable treatise on sophisticated government written 2,300 years ago.






U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Says India Did Act on Gujarat Violence


Posted on 2003/3/22 8:49:02 ( 761 reads )


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WASHINGTON D.C., March 22, 2003: The Indian government has taken "much action" against those behind the Gujarat violence but it was not reflected due to the "agonizingly slow" legal system in the country, US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Christina Rocca has said. "There have been a number of arrests and prosecutions," she said on Friday, responding to questions on the Gujarat violence during her testimony before a Subcommittee on Asia and Pacific. "The legal system in India is agonizingly slow and that gives the impression that nothing is happening. But the fact of the matter is that they did take action and they are continuing to take action," she said. "This was a stain on their secular record. And no one is more concerned about it, I believe, than the Indians themselves."






Mystery Powder Prompts Scare in U.S. Post Office


Posted on 2003/3/22 8:48:02 ( 860 reads )


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FOXBORO, MASSACHUSETTS, March 20, 2003: A red powdery substance discovered Monday in a letter by mailroom workers at Invensys prompted a partial evacuation of the facility. With the heightened alert due to the war with Iraq, local firefighters were concerned when responding to a call about an unknown powdery substance at the Invensys mailroom. Deputy Chief Steve Bagley declared a Tier 1 alert, a low-level hazardous materials emergency. Also responding to the scene were five members of a regional hazardous materials team, who donned "hazmat" (hazardess materials) suits and entered the building to secure the letter mailed from an unfamiliar address in India. Local firefighters had planned to transport the letter for analysis to the state Department of Public Health in Boston the following day when they learned the substance in question was kumkum powder, used by millions of Hindu women and in temple ceremonies.






Air India Gives in to Customer Demand and Drops "Inauspicious Thursday" Flight


Posted on 2003/3/22 8:47:02 ( 804 reads )


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GUWAHTI, INDIA, March 19, 2003: So many people of north east India have refused to fly on Thursdays, Air India has been forced to change its schedule to Sundays. "It is now official. The flight will be on Sunday," said an Air India official here yesterday, much to the relief of the travel agents for whom it had been a big headache. "There is a long tradition of not doing anything good on Thursday afternoons. So why should one fly abroad?" asked Powal Barua of Travel Aid. Air India, which initially wanted to drop the flight, has now rescheduled it, giving in to the region's overwhelming demand. HPI is interested to learn the reason this area of India considers Thursday inauspicious.






Devotees Walk the Dakor Pilgrimage


Posted on 2003/3/21 8:49:02 ( 869 reads )


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MEHAMDABAD, INDIA, March 14, 2003: All roads seem to lead to Dakor, Kheda district, as pilgrims of various age groups, from one to 75, walk the stretch of road for a "darshan of Ranchhod Rai" (Lord Krishna.) Close to a million people were expected to visit the pilgrimage shrine before the 17th, the Poonam of Holi. Since the early hours of Friday, groups of people passed along the road that joins Jashodanagar Char Rasta and Mehamdabad city. "I have made it a point to walk from Viramgam to Dakor every year for the past 30 years, except for one or two years when I had to miss it as I was not keeping well. Although it is getting difficult nowadays, I will continue to walk every year," said 75-year old Sakhiben Rathod of Viramgam. A large number of organizations have set up stalls every 50 meters along the road between Ahmedabad and Dakor. Water, juice, snacks and even food is being provided free. While devotees have been visiting the temple on the Poonam of Holi for many decades, recently the number of pilgrims has increased drastically.






Devotees Walk the Dakor Pilgrimage


Posted on 2003/3/21 8:49:02 ( 885 reads )

GO TO SOURCE

MEHAMDABAD, INDIA, March 14, 2003: All roads seem to lead to Dakor, Kheda district, as pilgrims of various age groups, from one to 75, walk the stretch of road for a "darshan of Ranchhod Rai" (Lord Krishna.) Close to a million people were expected to visit the pilgrimage shrine before the 17th, the Poonam of Holi. Since the early hours of Friday, groups of people passed along the road that joins Jashodanagar Char Rasta and Mehamdabad city. "I have made it a point to walk from Viramgam to Dakor every year for the past 30 years, except for one or two years when I had to miss it as I was not keeping well. Although it is getting difficult nowadays, I will continue to walk every year," said 75-year old Sakhiben Rathod of Viramgam. A large number of organizations have set up stalls every 50 meters along the road between Ahmedabad and Dakor. Water, juice, snacks and even food is being provided free. While devotees have been visiting the temple on the Poonam of Holi for many decades, recently the number of pilgrims has increased drastically.




Indian Cooking Can Be Bad for Your Heart


Posted on 2003/3/21 8:48:02 ( 972 reads )

Source: Canadian Press

ONTARIO, CANADA, March 15, 2003: Indo-Canadians are being warned that their traditional cooking, heavy on clarified butter and whole-milk yogurt, is bad for their hearts. The issue has become something of a crusade for Edmonton Hindu priest Acharya Shiv Shankar Diwivedi. He's been seeing too many people in their 40s and 50s suffering heart attacks, and has made heart-healthy living a major theme when talking with temple devotees. "The south Asian community is not doing much exercise and they're following the tradition of heavy and rich food," Diwivedi says. Many resist change because the food is what their forefathers ate, he says. However, in India life was less stressful and much more vigorous physically, he reminds them. The cause has been picked up by south Asian physicians and other health professionals, who have organized a day-long conference today on heart disease specifically for Indo-Canadians. "Indo-Canadians have a higher than average risk of heart attack," says Dr. Sunil Desai, a pediatric oncologist. "And while the rich diet and lack of exercise are part of the problem, there may also be a genetic predisposition among Indo-Canadians to heart disease. What we call normal cholesterol for the white population may not apply to the Indian population," he says. Neelam Makhani, a dietitian with Caritas hospitals, says that while many Indo-Canadians are vegetarian, their cooking involves a lot of deep frying in clarified butter (and other oils). The other problem, she says, is that south Asians use homogenized milk to make yogurt, one of their staple foods.




The Ramayana Comes to The Bay Area


Posted on 2003/3/21 8:47:02 ( 876 reads )

Source: San Francisco Weekly

SAN FRANCISCO, U.S.A., March 13, 2003: The ambitious retelling of the epic Hindu myth, Ramayana, hits its stride with the A.C.T. Conservatory's production. This epic story of King Rama, exiled by his stepmother and forced to wander the Indian subcontinent with Princess Sita and a number of friends before he rises again to his rightful throne, is one of two story cycles that serve as epic sources of Hindu myth. Until they're needed onstage, New York director Ruben Polendo has actors sit quietly around the floor at little mirrored tables doing their own makeup. Jeffrey Evans plays his own score on a variety of bells and drums. Near the middle of the story, the action hits full stride with the stories of Hanuman, the monkey king, and his straw-dressed ape-men retaking the ancient island of Lanka from Ravana and his men. The show is worth the price of admission and offers a rare taste of traditional Hindu theater.




Indian NGO Initiates "Safe Holi" Practices


Posted on 2003/3/20 8:49:02 ( 823 reads )


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PUNE, INDIA, March 15, 2003: The non-governmental organization (NGO), Kalpavriksha, has offered healthy alternatives to chemical colors to ensure safe celebrations of Holi. Kalpavriksha has obtained 100 percent natural and safe colors from Delhi-based NGO Development Alternatives. The have headed a campaign against highly toxic dyes and powders used for Holi colors and are teaching women to make eco-friendly colors. Many of the colors can be prepared at home with ingredients found in the house or garden such as beets, turmeric, marigold flowers and powdered hibiscus. Other NGOs who were successful in their campaign against water and noise pollution during Ganesha Visarjana and Deepavali festivals have appealed to people not to cut and burn trees for Holi and urged everyone to collect the garbage littering the streets following the festivities.




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