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August Festivals and Resources


Posted on 2003/8/3 9:43:02 ( 1042 reads )

HPI

KAUAI, HAWAII, August 3, 2003: Our thanks to M P Bhattathiry (mpmahesh@asianetindia.com) for providing the following list of festivals and related resources. In this month, August 2 is Naag Panchami, 4 is Tulsidas Jayanti, 12 is Raksha Bandhan, 15 is Sri Aurobindo Jayanti, 19 is Sri Krishna Jayanti, 31 is Ganesh Chaturthi.



1.Sri Aurobindo's words - excerpts from the book India's Rebirth. It has helped me understand India.

source



2. Significance of Sri Krishna Jayanthi - source



3. Significance of Ganesh Chaturthi - source



4. Enshrining Ganesha - published by Jnana Prabhodini. This piece gives the manual of worship of Shri Ganesha, the rites to be performed before the immersion of the image. source



5. Sacred Trees of the Hindus - by Dr Satish Kapoor. Gives mythological & social linkages.

source






Biofeedback Used to Train Musicians


Posted on 2003/8/3 9:42:02 ( 996 reads )

Source

MUMBAI, INDIA, JULY 27, 2003: Once upon a time, to become a superb musician, it required never ending practice or face-to-face training with a guru to acquire masterful skills. With the high technology of the 21st Century, has come the development of gizmos that rely on a process called neurofeedback that trains budding musicians to clear their minds and produce more creative brain waves without striking a single cord.



According to a report to be published in a forthcoming issue of Neuroreport, researchers at Imperial College, London, and Charring Cross Hospital say the technique has helped musicians to improve by an average of 17 per cent, the equivalent of one grade or class of honors. Some "wannabe" musicians improved as much as 50 per cent when they were assessed on two pieces of music before and after neurofeedback sessions.



Known as neurotherapy, or more popularly as "no-hands Nintendo," the brain activity of music students was monitored through sensors attached to the scalp, which filtered out relevant brain waves and fed them back to the subjects in the form of a video game displayed on a computer screen. The participants learned to control the game by their mind power alone, consciously controlling the form of their brain waves, which in turn influenced their musical performance, musical understanding, imagination and communication with the audience A derivative of biofeedback techniques that originated in the 1960's, an in-depth report on this stimulating procedure can be found at the "source" above.




Godavari Pushkaram, the "Kumbha Mela of the South" Attracts Hundreds of Thousands of Pilgrims


Posted on 2003/8/2 9:49:02 ( 1316 reads )

Source

HYDERABAD, INDIA, July 30, 2003: Hundreds of thousands of devotees took a holy dip in Godavari river at the start of the 12-day Godavari Pushkaram in Andhra Pradesh, India. The Pushkaram is revered as the "Kumbh Mela of the South," and occurs once in 12 years. State officials said over 35 million pilgrims are expected to visit the state for a holy dip in Godavari during this period. The district of Rajahmundry alone is set to attract over 25 million visitors. Elaborate arrangements have been made by the state government to ensure smooth conduct of the Mela. Over 200 bathing ghats have been erected at various places spread over seven districts of East Godavari, West Godavari, Nizamabad, Khammam, Warangal, Adilabad and Karimnagar.




Astrologers Join Scientists to Foresee Quakes


Posted on 2003/8/2 9:48:02 ( 927 reads )

Source

NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 31, 2003: New Delhi: Astrologers and seismologists are meeting in New Delhi on Friday to pool their ability to foretell earthquakes quickly and accurately, according to Vijay Madan, an executive member of the Astrology Study and Research Institute. "Scientists will analyse the seismic data recorded before the Gujarat earthquake as well as during its aftermath. We will match this with planetary configurations during the same period," Madan said. "Based on our scientific astrological predictions governments can take precautions, mitigate the fallout of earthquakes and put effective disaster management plans in place." A book titled "Predicting Earthquakes and Calamaties," by astrologer Lachhman Das, will be released at the workshop




Ramchandra Paramhans Attains Mahasamadhi


Posted on 2003/8/2 9:47:02 ( 936 reads )

Source

FAIZABAD, INDIA, July 31, 2003: Ramchandra Paramhans, chief of the Ramjanmabhoomi Trust and one of the main figures in the Ayodhya movement for close to eight decades, died this morning in Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh. He was 90. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has condoled the death of the mahant. "The death has shocked me profoundly. His contribution towards the Ramjanmabhoomi movement will be etched in golden letters," he said. The mahant of the Ramananda Sampradaya was revered by the Sangh Parivar and a large number of followers for his command over Hindu religious scriptures. He spearheaded the Ramjanmabhoomi movement and held center stage in the Ayodhya movement for close to eight decades. Born as Chandreshwar Tiwari in 1913 in Singhanipur village of Bihar, the mahant had been based in Ayodhya since 1934. He was associated with the temple movement ever since the appearance in 1949 of Ram Lalla's icon in the Babri Masjid, built upon the site of Lord Rama's birth.




Muslims Donate Money to Repair Hindu Temple


Posted on 2003/8/2 9:46:02 ( 964 reads )

Source

BHOPAL, INDIA, July 30, 2003: The Muslim community in a small town in Madhya Pradesh has set an example in communal amity by generously contributing to the renovation of a 300-year-old dilapidated temple. The temple was in urgent need of repairs and few people visited it. In fact, many in the area did not even know about its existence. "Had it been not for our Muslim friends, the temple could never have regained its grand form," said Suresh Dubey, who took up the task of renovating the shrine. It was not until Dubey initiated the repairs that people started taking notice of it. And then to his surprise, many Muslims living close to the temple started donating money generously. At least 20 Muslims gave US$10.50 (Rs. 501, a decent contribution) or more for the renovation of the temple, he said.




Arizona: Protesters Fail to Mar Hindu Festival


Posted on 2003/8/2 9:45:02 ( 994 reads )

Source

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA, USA, July 29, 2003: Several people stood Sunday morning near the Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Scottsdale holding signs directed at a Hindu celebration across the street. The Hindu Temple of Arizona was celebrating the last day of its Ratha-Yatra festival by pulling a chariot down Hayden Road when several people appeared with signs bearing messages about Jesus being the only deity. The Rev. Brian Murphy, pastor of the church, said he does not know who the people holding signs were. He said they were not members of the church. Dinesh Updhyaya, the Hindu priest at the temple, said no one at the temple seemed angered by the protesters. It was quite peaceful," Updhyaya said. "Everyone is allowed their religion."




River Cruise to the Holy Cities Along the River Ganga


Posted on 2003/8/2 9:44:02 ( 1005 reads )

Source

UTTAR PRADESH, INDIA, July 27, 2003: If visiting the River Ganga and experiencing first-hand the spirituality of Varanasi and Allahabad has been a life-long dream, then consider this cruise. In a fully air-conditioned luxury boat, tourists and seekers will be able to set sail on a seven-day voyage between Varanasi and Allahabad with stop-overs at the ghats of Varanasi. Sponsored by the Department of Tourism and Smita Associates, the cruise is expected to provide non-Hindus insight into Indian culture and will start in the fall of 2003. Called the Shiv Ganga, the river cruiser is 60 feet long and 20 feet wide and is equipped with a dining room, toilets, a library and computer room. Waste from the kitchen and toilets will be stored until after the cruise and will not be dumped into the river. Cuisine on the boat will be vegetarian. The article says, "With the introduction of river tourism, Allahabad would be brought firmly on the tourist map giving boost to tourism activity that till now has been confined to the Kumbh alone."






Protests Mar Kumbha Mela Flag-Hoisting in Nasik


Posted on 2003/8/1 9:49:02 ( 920 reads )

Source

NASIK, INDIA, July 30, 2003: The Kumbha Mela began at Nasik on Wednesday, amidst a total boycott of the opening Dhwajarohan (flag hoisting) ceremony by sadhus and mahants from various akhadas (monastic orders). Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi and Maharashtra chief Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde opened the 13-month-long celebrations of Kumbha Parva by jointly hoisting a flag at Ramkund on the banks of Godavari river. The sadhus are up in arms against the Union Government following the Vajpayee cabinet's issuance of an ordinance to take over land and property owned by the akhadas and temples across the country. Hundreds of angry sadhus blocked a motorcade carrying several officials from entering the holy site of Triyambak, a few kilometers from Nasik. Thousands of Hindu devotees have flocked to Nashik and the nearby town of Trimbakeshwar in the state of Maharashtra for the Mela, dismissing fears of a fresh militant attack after a blast in a Mumbai bus. Nearly 10,000 policemen have been posted at both towns and authorities are stepping up security. People have poured in from all corners of India to attend the start of the fair. "I, along with fifty other students of our religious body have arrived here to get the blessings of the river Godavari Wednesday," said Sarvodas Swamy, a Hindu religious scholar. It is believed that a bath in the waters of the Godavari at Nashik and Triyambak wash devotees of all sins. It is also believed that the final rites of the dead, if performed on the banks of the Godavari during the Kumbha, results in Moksha (salvation) of the soul. For a related article on the history of the Kumbha Mela dating back to the pre-Harappan period click here.




Hindus, Muslims Throw Open Iron Gates, Hug Each Other


Posted on 2003/8/1 9:48:02 ( 1195 reads )

Source

AHMEDABAD, INDIA, July 21, 2003: After last year's communal killings in Gujarat, huge gates came up around Hindu- and Muslim-dominated areas of Ahmedabad to keep mobs from each other's communities at bay. Fear among the Hindus and Muslims led to iron gates being erected in as many as 13 places.



However, on Sunday, the 20-feet high iron gates in Sayed Wadi and Isanpur areas of Vatva were thrown open, and residents from the two neighbourhoods went over to the other side, greeting each other with warm hugs. The occasion was a meeting organised by Sarva Dharma Quami Ekta Sadbhavana Samiti, a newly constituted conglomerate of voluntary groups devoted to communal harmony.



Observing that the iron barriers had only served to widen the gulf and deepen the mistrust between people of different faiths, members of the Sarva Dharma Quami Ekta Sadbhavana Samiti took the initiative to call the meeting to open the gates, thus rebuilding trust between Hindus and Muslims who had been living together for centuries. The eventual goal of the group is to restore peace and harmony to other communally sensitive neighborhoods of Ahmedabad.




Ten Postgraduate Sadhus Serving Bankura's Poor


Posted on 2003/8/1 9:47:02 ( 982 reads )

Source

BANKURA, WEST BENGAL, INDIA: August 3, 2003: Ten sanyasins from the Matrivedi Shamayita Math in West Bengal, India have founded a group called Atmadwip to make the poor economically self-reliant. The sanyasins are between the ages of 25 and 33, are very well-educated and come from middle class families. They help poor farmers in West Bengal's Bankura district, organise mobile medical camps in 14 villages. Close to 200 patients are treated daily by over a dozen doctors from various medical colleges who regularly offer free service at these clinics. Some of the medicines come from the samples that the physicians receive and the Math purchases the rest. The Math also runs an English-meduim school for girls. "Our aim is to groom tribal and scheduled caste girl children along with children from other castes and religions so that they may grow up without any caste prejudices or religious differences," said Sanyasin Pracheta. The sanyasins have rigorous regimen and work tirelessly on various projects. They wake at 3 a.m. and retire to bed close to midnight. Prayer, meditation and exercise are followed by the administrative activities of the Math which includes liaising with donors, banks, corporate houses and government agencies, managing the medical unit and the Math's publications. Prabhuji, the founder of the Math, has said that to starving people self-realisation has no meaning. So, he has asked the sanyasins to "to meet the minimum needs of the starving masses; Vedanta will follow automatically."




Kerala Ranks High in Foreign Donations, and Ninety Percent is to Christian Charities


Posted on 2003/8/1 9:46:02 ( 1094 reads )

Source

ALAPPUZHA, July 26, 2003: As many as 1,474 organizations in Kerala received foreign contributions totaling US$75 million during 2000-2001. Almost 90 per cent of them belong to the Christian community. Gospel for Asia tops the list of organizations in Kerala to receive foreign contributions worth $12 million, followed by Mata Amritanandamayi Mission with $4.8 million.



At the all-India level, 14,598 associations received foreign contributions amounting to $945 million during the year. Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, Andhra Pradesh, received the highest amount of foreign contribution ($18.4 million) followed by World Vision India, Tamil Nadu ($17.8 million) and Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society India, Maharashtra ($15.6 million).



The list of donor countries is headed by USA ($310 million), followed by UK ($141 million), Germany ($143 million), Italy ($56 million) and Netherlands ($47 million).



The organizations include missionary agencies, social service organizations, convents, orphanages, hospitals, archdioceses, dioceses, ashrams, seminaries, educational institutions, bala bhavans and charitable trusts.




Sanskrit Dictionary Project Completes "A"


Posted on 2003/8/1 9:45:02 ( 964 reads )

Source

PUNE, INDIA, July 26, 2003: For three generations, they have compiled and argued, agonized and transcribed -- toiling in monastic tedium to turn an intricate language into six volumes, so far. They have delved into the grammatical roots of "antahpravesakama" and debated the pun hidden in "anangada." They've done a brain-numbingly complete dissection of "anekakrta." Now, 55 years after a group of scholars began composing the authoritative dictionary of Sanskrit, the language of India's ancient glory, they are almost done -- with the first letter. "Sanskrit," sighed Vinayaka Bhatta, chief editor of Deccan College's dictionary project, "is not easy to translate." The project has consumed the skills of more than two dozen scholars (so far), cataloged 9 million citations of Sanskrit terms and given the most thorough of definitions to thousands of words. All this in a language replete with puns, metaphors and multiple meanings. The low estimate to completing the project? At least another 50 years.




Supreme Court Encourages Common Civil Code for India


Posted on 2003/8/1 9:44:02 ( 947 reads )

Source

NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 23, 2003: In a judgement delivered by the Supreme Court, Chief Justice V.N. Khare, Justice S.B. Sinha and Justice A.R. Lakshmanan struck down Section 118 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925, which discriminated against Christians by putting restrictions on their right to bequeath property for religious or charitable use, declaring it unconstitutional. The court further made a clear distinction between two provisions of the Constitution: one that guaranteed religious freedom (Article 25) and the other that stressed the necessity of a uniform code (Article 44). Dealing with the question of a uniform code, the Chief Justice of India, lamented the fact that Parliament had not enacted such legislation in spite of constitutional provision for it. He stated, "It is a matter of regret that Article 44 of the Constitution has not been given effect to. Parliament is still to step in for framing a common civil code in the country." India has separate personal laws for the Muslim, Christian and Hindu religious communities which govern areas such as marriage, divorce and inheritance. For details of the ruling, please refer to the "source" above.




Himalayan Academy Announces Pilgrimage to India with Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanaswami


Posted on 2003/8/1 9:43:02 ( 1039 reads )

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