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British Pastor's Six Steps for Converting Hindus to Christianity


Posted on 2002/12/15 8:47:02 ( 812 reads )


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UNITED KINGDOM: In this article, Juge Ram, a Christian convert from Hinduism and Pastor of Emmanuel Church in Birmingham, England, answers questions on Hinduism and explains how to reach Hindus with the Bible. After giving a detailed background of Hindu beliefs and culture, he suggests a few methods which Christians can use to reach out to Hindus. Firstly, Hindus arriving from India generally feel isolated or have difficulties knowing how things operate. Christians can use these opportunities to offer them assistance, establish friendships and win their trust. Christians can befriend and help the Hindu wife who is often at home all day alone with the children and may need friendship and assistance adjusting to a new culture. Christians should help them as much as possible and try to get into their homes. It may be a long and slow process, but it is one of the most successful ways of bringing Hindus to Christianity. Secondly, the local churches need to demonstrate a concern for the Hindus in their communities. If there is a large Asian community and many members cannot speak English, they need to hear the religious teachings in their own language. This can be done by having Christian literature in appropriate languages. The church may consider including books in Asian languages in Christian bookshops or bookstalls at local events. From time to time churches can have a bilingual service or an Asian evening. In addition, a bilingual sermon or a recording of the Bible in their own language can be a powerful tool for communicating with non-English speaking Hindus. Thirdly, Christians must be aware of cultural differences when approaching Hindus or risk offending them. For example, a woman who wants to be a witness to her Asian friends should not wear miniskirts or other revealing clothing. Men should approach men only. Fourthly, Christians should not attack Hinduism or risk alienating the Hindus. Rather, it is suggested that Christians ask questions about their religion and let Hindus see the "folly" of it themselves. Fifthly, Hindus are very polite and may give the impression that they are listening and interested. Christians must not be fooled by this and think that because they agree with them they are genuinely interested. Many Hindus will say they believe in Christ and they may even speak of repentance, but they will continue to worship Hindu Gods. Therefore, Christians must make it clear to Hindus that they need to make a clean break from Hinduism. Lastly, Christians should use the Bible when witnessing. They can read the Bible with Hindus and point out how relevant it is to their lives. Christians must treat the Bible with respect and never put it on the floor. Hindus can be given copies of the New Testament in their own language if they cannot read English. Christians should explain biblical terms through a simple biblical framework and use biblical or other illustrations to assist them in conveying their message. The pastor concludes by saying that Hindus are lost, spiritually blind and are without hope in this world and in the next. He says that only Christ can release them and exhorts Christians to share the gospel with them with great humility and great confidence. The number of practicing Christians in England drops at a rate of 1,000 per day.






Women Priests Honor Their Teacher in Pune


Posted on 2002/12/14 8:49:02 ( 813 reads )


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PUNE, INDIA, December 9, 2002: Seventy-five-year-old Malatibai Joshi is no ordinary teacher. She belongs to the first and the most elite batch of women purohitas (priestesses) in the city. Trained by none other than the late Shankarrao Thatte, who opened the doors of priesthood to women in 1975, Malatibai on Sunday presided over a unique gathering of over 125 women priests, the last such get-together organized by her before she prepares for retirement. All the purohitas who assembled at the Nrusimha temple in Sadashiv Peth on Sunday, to pay respect to their "Bai," as she is fondly called, were her students. In fact, she has an enviable record of training 700 women in the 35 to 70 age group, and a handful of men as well, during the past two decades. Chants of Purushasukta, Shivamahimna, Rudra, Saptashati Paath and Shri Sukta filled the air under the ever-watchful eye of Malatibai. "This is our last get-together, although we will continue to study under Bai for some more time. She won't be taking new students and assignments due to her advanced age," said professor Arya Bhide, one of her students. "Bai used to organize a get-together every year in December, where we used to recite all the stotras taught by her," she added.






Founder of Hindu School in South Africa Honored


Posted on 2002/12/14 8:48:02 ( 772 reads )


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PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA, December 9, 2002: For Ramesh Chhagan, founder of the only Hindu school in South Africa at the mainly Indian township of Laudium here, three decades of community work has reaped a special award. "It left me with a warm feeling, as it was totally unexpected," said Chhagan. Involved in education for 19 years before shifting full time to psychology, Chhagan was instrumental as chairman of Laudium Educators Organization in getting parents involved to ensure that the education of children did not suffer while teachers became militant in their opposition to education authorities and the government in the apartheid era. But his greatest role in the community was still to come when he spearheaded the development of the only Hindu school in South Africa as well as a number of projects in his 20 years as chairman of the Pretoria Hindu Organization, a position he still holds today. From small classes in temporary accommodation, the Pretoria Hindu School now runs grades 8 to 11 and will turn out its first students of grade 12, the final year of South African schooling, in 2003. "With the standard of education dropping rapidly in government schools, I was approached by a number of people who were concerned that if we did not do something, the next generation of children would lose out," said Chhagan. "We managed to raise US$343,000 from the community for the school, which provides education with a Hindu ethos. Three Indian languages used by Hindus here -- Tamil, Hindi and Gujarati -- are offered as subjects, as is the basic philosophy of Hinduism." Phase II, to start in 2003, will add a primary school to the existing high school.






India Wants Protection for Traditional Knowledge


Posted on 2002/12/14 8:47:02 ( 797 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 6, 2002: "Mega diverse" countries in the developing world, including India, have just finished meeting in Peru where they decided to push for patent requirements which specifically protect the holders of traditional knowledge. These countries, rich in natural resources, are still debating some of the common issues, positions, experiences and possible strategies against multinational company raiders with officials from South America, Africa and Asia. The Mexican Initiative, which bore fruit in the first ministerial meeting in Cancun earlier this year, is expected to see India take over the presidency in 2003. The classical definition of mega diversity looks not just at the number of species in a country but at how many are endemic to that nation. The original countries on the list include India, China, Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Madagascar, Zaire, Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia. Other countries which joined them in Peru include South Africa and Kenya. The aim is to share information, help each other and develop a sort of negotiating bloc in environmental negotiations which can protect mega diversity and the traditional knowledge bases which provide the building blocks for technological innovations in medicine, agriculture, industry, biotechnology, even biological warfare. Some countries don't know what to protect or how to arrive at a price negotiation mechanism to ensure a fair price is paid. These are also countries struggling with development issues, unable to document their biodiversity or compile a traditional knowledge base.






Fiji Must Be Run by Christian Fijians, Says Senator Bulanauca


Posted on 2002/12/14 8:46:02 ( 882 reads )


Source: The Daily Post





SUVA, FIJI, December 13, 2002: Fiji must be run by Fijian leadership, says senator Mitieli Bulanauca, speaking in the Senate yesterday. Senator Bulanauca asserts, "Fiji must be led by Fijians forever because without that, Fiji will not be in peace, there will be turmoils even worse than the previous ones. The Fijian people will be a forgotten race and with only 400,000 under the sun, we can be wiped out and forgotten instantly," he said. Mr. Bulanauca said under Fijian leadership, they could run this country democratically, and policies could be made to benefit all races as it is currently being carried out. Mr. Bulanauca added that the Constitution must also recognize "Lord Jehovah" as the God of this nation and Christianity be the official religion. "We want to live in peace and prosperity -- therein (in Lord Jehovah) lies peace, harmony and prosperity of this country," he said. The Senator claims that did not mean a stop to Hinduism, Muslim, and other religions, "because they have the freedom to choose their God and are free to worship it at their places of worship. All are welcomed to practice their own faith here in Fiji without interference, but people must remember that Fiji must be run by Fijian leadership and under Christian Principles as the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) Party is currently doing and championing."






Legally Dealing with Ashes in America


Posted on 2002/12/10 8:49:02 ( 733 reads )


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UNITED STATES, December 9, 2002: As more and more people in the United States prefer cremation over burial for themselves and their loved ones, it is found that no one law governs disposition of remains nationwide. With permission from the owner, many states allow for scattering ashes in any manner you wish on private property. However, the general guideline is to check with local county or city ordinances before disposing of remains, including the use of rivers, lakes and along sea coasts, which are popular locations for disposition. Within the federally-owned national forests blanket approval has been granted for scattering ashes at any time. A similar rule is being developed for California state parks. Besides funeral homes, there are organizations that deal with cremations, such as the Neptune Society in California. They are aware of local ordinances and will help individuals navigate local regulations in order to lawfully dispose of cremated remains. Lastly, if you need to mail a loved one's remains across the country, following certain restrictions, the United States Postal Service does allow cremated remains to be sent through the mail. See "source" above for more information.






Buddhist Monks Throng Puspagiri Festival in Orissa


Posted on 2002/12/10 8:48:02 ( 845 reads )


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DHAULI, INDIA, December 10, 2002: Nearly 100 Buddhist monks and pilgrims from Myanmar, Japan, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Cambodia were in Dhauli to plant a peepal tree symbolizing peace. Dhauli is the site of the 3rd century BCE Kalinga War, one of the bloodiest wars in ancient Indian history, and following which Emperor Ashoka converted to Buddhism. "We have come here to grow a plant called a Bodhi Tree. This plant symbolizes the peace between your people and our people and between your country and our country," said a Burmese visitor. The Buddhist group, which started its journey from the Rajarani Temple in Bhubaneswar, are here to participate in the three-day Puspagiri Festival jointly organized by the state tourism department and Nirvan Pilgrim Society. Orissa has had a long association with Buddhism dating back to the 6th century BCE when Buddha was preaching his new religion. Buddhism flourished in the state for several centuries until its decline in the 12th century AD. "The Buddhists are most welcome to our state and...with the Buddhist monks coming to the state, we hope the Buddhist tourism should get a kick start," said A. U. Singhdeo, Orissa's Minister of Tourism. The Myanmar Buddhists intend to erect a stupa at a cost of US$425,000 at the base of Dhauli hills. It will be similar to the Shanti Stupa erected by the Japanese on the hilltop 30 years ago. It is hoped the Puspagiri Mela will now be an annual affair and will draw thousands of Buddhist tourists from around the world.






How Christian Missionaries in India Use Social Service as a Conversion Technique


Posted on 2002/12/10 8:47:02 ( 826 reads )


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UNITED STATES, December 10, 2002: Following is a verbatim report from a Christian news organization on missionary work in India: "A ministry in India is finding that its social and educational ministries are bearing much fruit when combined with a spiritual emphasis. This particular ministry, begun 30 years ago, cares for 95 children of leprous parents in a children's home. Living apart from the parents prevents the children from contracting the same dread disease and also gives them an education, that otherwise would pass them by. Most of the children come from non-Christian families. Along with the children's home, the ministry also operates two elementary schools. The biggest one teaches 1,800 day-students from mostly Sikh and Hindu homes and employs 70 teachers. A third school is scheduled to open in March 2003. The ministry also runs a daily dispensary with a retired public health person. A Christian doctor is joining the team and plans to begin operating a mobile health clinic in February. Amid this social and educational ministry the mission group has been able to plant 45 churches with a total constituency of over 4,800 believers. 'This year we started church fellowships in two new places with full time workers, and our churches are growing rapidly,' the director said."






Grand Yaagam Planned for Spring of 2003 in Kerala


Posted on 2002/12/9 8:49:02 ( 848 reads )


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MULAMKUNNATHKAVU, INDIA, October 29, 2002: After 19 years, a yaagam is being organized at Mulamkunnathkavu, Trissur district, for April 2003. Performed by Rig Veda expert Vaidikan Thekkat Neelakandan Namboothiri, training for the yaagam began in October of 2002. The purpose of the ceremony is to cleanse the environment by burning ghee, seeds and healing herbs. Readers may contact "source" above for additional information.






Hindu Family Honored for Upholding Family Values


Posted on 2002/12/9 8:48:02 ( 1025 reads )


Source: New Jersey Media Group





BERGEN COUNTY, NEW JERSEY, November 28, 2002: This heart-warming article describes a Hindu family living life following Hindu values and ideals. Kokila and Kishor Vyas were honored by the New Jersey Parents Foundation last July as Parents of the Year. Kokila recalls a message delivered by a Hindu priest at a festival in 1986 who said, "An over-emphasis on accumulating wealth comes at the risk of losing one's children." Soon after, Kokila quit her job and stayed home to tend to her newborn son, Shaunak. As part of the family sacrifice, Kishor sometimes had to work longer hours to meet expenses, however, the couple persevered and attribute their success to their Hindu faith. Through living frugally, Kokila has always been there for both their children, Shaunak now 16, and his 14-year old sister, Jigisha. Her presence has enabled the teenagers to participate in drama, sports, dance, school plays and more. Kishor's aging parents now live in their home, too. Kishor says, "Keeping any religion helps make a good family life. Prayer and values help children in any society." The Vyas start each day with prayers in the family shrine room and they attend many religious and cultural programs offered by the Arya Samaj Hindu congregation. Shaunak and Jigisha have emulated their parents by giving back to the community through volunteer work with organizations such as the March of Dimes and Oakland Animal Refuge. Kokila says, "Shaunak and Jigisha follow how we are talking to each other, not fighting in 23 years of marriage." After the children are grown, Kishor and Kokila plan to reach out to the community by teaching children's religious classes. On a final note the couple adds, "We don't expect anything material from our children. Spiritual achievement should be the goal of life. When they keep good grades and they love us, that's our gift."






Hindu Sangam to Build a Museum Commemorating Arrival of South Indians to Fiji


Posted on 2002/12/9 8:47:02 ( 848 reads )


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NADI, FIJI, October 27, 2002: The spring of 2003 will mark the 100th Anniversary of the first arrival of South Indians to Fiji from Chennai. To commemorate the occasion, the India Sanmarga Ikya Sangam has set aside a half-acre parcel of land where they plan to build a museum. Founded in 1926, the Sangam runs 26 primary and high schools as well as many Hindu temples in Fiji. Funding for the museum will be sponsored by the National Sangam parent body in conjunction with other branches and Sangam organizations overseas. Those knowledgeable about the India diaspora who might help with the museum are welcome to contact "source" above.






150-Year-Old Kali Temple Insured Against Terrorism


Posted on 2002/12/9 8:46:02 ( 940 reads )


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KOLKATA, INDIA, Thursday, December 5, 2002: Devotees visiting the 150-year-old Dakshineswar Kali Temple near Kolkata (Calcutta) may soon be insured against terrorist attacks. Though properties of temples are often insured against theft, this is the first temple to cover devotees as well under an anti-terrorist insurance umbrella. The temple, draws five thousand devotees daily and at its annual festival, Kalpataru Utsav, beginning December 15, that number soars to 1.5 million. The temple could be paying an annual premium of US$1.25 million in this first of its kind policy. Insurance companies say the concept exists, it is known as public liability insurance. However, figuring out how many devotees will be covered under the insurance at a time and for how much is proving tricky. The whole idea is yet to sink in among regular devotees. The temple has 20 guards of its own, with two of them armed while four men staff a police camp on the premises on a regular basis. On special occasions, like the forthcoming festival, the state does increase deployment of police.






Naga Sadhus to Guard India's Temples


Posted on 2002/12/9 8:45:02 ( 931 reads )


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LUCKNOW, INDIA, December 6, 2002: Over 50 akharas (monastic orders) and ashrams in Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal will soon prepare themselves for a new role when hundreds of thousands of Naga Sadhus associated with them would take up the security of temples and religious shrines in the country. "The Naga sadhus, numbering over 500,000 in the country, will not sit idle if temples continue to be targeted by non-believers," said Mahamandaleshwar of Juna Akhara. "The Naga sect, founded by Shankaracharya to protect the sadhus and saints in the event of attacks, had virtually drifted away from their defined role after the supremacy of Sanatana Dharma was established in the country," said a member of Sriram Hastakhchar Abhiyan Samiti. When the threat to temples and other religious shrines abated, the Naga sadhus assumed different roles.






Hindu Gods Create Sanctity in Washington Museum


Posted on 2002/12/9 8:44:02 ( 817 reads )


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WASHINGTON D.C., U.S.A., December 6, 2002: An exhibition at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery here, "The Sensuous and the Sacred: Chola Bronzes From South India," doesn't waste much time. Its opening salute to this glorious art of the Chola period consists of three spectacular bronzes of God Siva as Nataraja, Lord of Dance. In each, Siva balances on his right leg while crooking his left up and across his body, communicating the sense of imminent motion -- be it a spin across the heavens or a tremor of devotion -- that animates all great Indian sculpture. The dancing Sivas, lent by museums in Dallas and Amsterdam and an unnamed private collector, lead off a succession of works, many of which are well known and widely reproduced, but are rarely, if ever, seen in one another's company. In a collaboration between the Sackler and the American Federation of Arts, this exhibition has been organized by Vidya Dehejia, a professor of art history at Columbia University and formerly the chief curator and deputy director of the Sackler. It is the first in the United States to concentrate solely on the bronze temple sculptures created during the nearly four-century reign of the devout, munificent and innovative Chola emperors. It would not be an overstatement to say that these sculptures are among the most beautiful ever made, in any material. There are 56 here, and they easily overcome the first requirement of any Sackler show, distracting viewers from the depressing reality of a museum that is mostly underground, nearly devoid of natural light and plagued by a confusing layout. The sculptures' transporting combination of formal perfection, religious gravity and life-affirming alertness can make the setting all but disappear.






Europe's Largest Hindu Temple Consecrated in Germany


Posted on 2002/12/8 8:49:02 ( 1021 reads )


Source: News Report





HAMM, GERMANY, October 2, 2002: The Ruhr Valley in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, is well known for its coal mining and steel tempering. And from now on it will also be associated with Europe's largest Hindu Temple. Dedicated to Sri Kamakshi Ambal, the temple was officially opened in Hamm-Uentrop, an industrial zone just outside the city, in ceremonies from June 30 to July 7, 2002. All consecration rituals were carried out by 14 priests who came especially for this occasion from India, Sri Lanka, Australia and the United States. Sri Lankan Priest Siva Paskaran's years of hard work and unflagging dedication to realize this dream have paid off, much to the delight of the 600 Hindus of Hamm and Germany's overall Hindu community of about 45,000. Seventeen years ago, Paskaran arrived in Germany as a refugee from war-torn Sri Lanka. He was on his way from Berlin to Paris, but when the train pulled into Hamm, hunger compelled him to disembark. For him, this was a sign from above that he should stay there and build a temple. The priest sought out a German architect by randomly pointing to a name in the yellow pages, Heinz-Rainer Eichhorst. This architect had never designed temples and had never been to India but was thrilled by the challenge of the project. He packed his bags and accompanied the priest for three weeks on travels through southern India to view large temple complexes. "You only get the chance to do a project like this once in a lifetime," he says. After plans were approved by the local authorities, the temple cornerstone was laid in March 2000. Ten Indian temple-building craftsmen are still at work decorating the 700 square meters of facade with sculptures and ornamentation. Now more than 15,000 people who come from all over Europe each year for the festival honoring Sri Kamakshi Ambal have a magnificent place of worship.




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