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Designer Links Fashion and Spirituality
Posted on 2002/5/29 1:43:02 ( 706 reads )


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RISHIKESH, INDIA, April 10, 2002: Believing that what you wear should reflect how you feel on the inside spiritually, fashion designer Sunil Mehra launched his spring-summer men's wear collection in April of this year. At one time Sunil was wrapped up in a life of parties and hangovers. However, in 1996 he took a two-year break from the fast track he was on and pilgrimaged to ashrams in Rishikesh and Hardwar. He returned to the fashion industry in 1998 with new ideas and enthusiasm. "I wanted to give fashion a new meaning. Clothes, after all, are a vehicle of communication. I decided to go spiritual and incorporated religious imagery onto fashion garments," says Mehra. His linen Kurta collections, modeled by women, are aptly titled Truth, Peace, and Devotion and feature motifs such as rudrakshas, swastikas, yantras, peacock feathers and other religious images.




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Queen's First Visit to UK Hindu Temple
Posted on 2002/5/28 1:49:02 ( 772 reads )


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GREAT BRITAIN, May 23, 2002: Highgatehill Murugan Temple is to become the first Hindu temple in Britain to be visited by the queen in her 50-year reign. The temple was picked to welcome the Queen as part of her wish to recognize each of Britain's many faiths during her Golden Jubilee tour of the country. The Queen and Prince Phillip will visit the temple on June 6. Alongside worshipers at the temple will be representatives from the wider Hindu community in Britain, which has grown from just a handful of followers 50 years ago to an estimated 1.5 million today. The small temple was chosen because it is like many of the growing number of Hindu places of worship across Britain: relatively small and adapted from an existing building. When the Queen arrives, she will show respect for Hindu practice by taking off her shoes before walking into the temple. A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: "The Queen will obviously follow all the customs of the temple and the Hindu faith." Royal aides have attempted to recognize every one of Britain's faith groups during the Golden Jubilee tour, culminating in a reception for leaders of every religious group at Buckingham Palace on June 10.




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Dalits Convert to Buddhism
Posted on 2002/5/28 1:48:02 ( 739 reads )


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THIRUVANANTHAPPURAM, INDIA, May 26, 2002: According to this Times of India article, more than 200 people belonging to scheduled castes and tribes (or dalits, the lowest strata of Indian society) on Sunday embraced the Buddhist religion in a mass conversion program organized by the SC/ST All India Confederation, Kerala, and the Lord Buddha Universal Society. However, a report from HPI correspondent G.K. Nair in Kerala states only a few dozen converted in a function held on Buddha Purnima day. One dalit leader said that by embracing Buddhism, the dalits who had been denied justice all these years had chosen the path of awakening.




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Ancient Art Included the Pleiades
Posted on 2002/5/28 1:47:02 ( 943 reads )


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FRANCE, May 28, 2002: What could be the oldest lifelike drawings of human faces have been uncovered in a cave in southern France. The images were first recognized over 50 years ago, but were then lost after doubts were cast on their authenticity. The drawings were found on the floor of prehistoric painted caves. Over 1,500 slabs were found on which images were etched. Of interest to HPI was the discovery of a series of pits in one floor arranged in the shape of the Pleiades star cluster. Drawings of the Pleiades have been found by Dr. Rappenglueck on the walls of many Neolithic caves in several parts of Europe, but until now no cosmic marks had been found on cave floors. He speculates that the small holes could have been filled with animal fat and set alight mimicking the flickering stars in the sky. "Perhaps this is the origin of the candlelit festivals of the Far East where lighted candles are held in the shape of the Pleiades. Perhaps it is a tradition that stretches back tens of thousands of years into our Stone Age past." It is part of Hindu tradition that Lord Muruga came from the Pleiades, and that souls living on this Earth came from the Pleiades with Him.




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Tamils preying on Tamils
Posted on 2002/5/28 1:46:02 ( 369 reads )


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LONDON, UK, May 25, 2002: Spiralling violence between gangs in London's Sri Lankan Tamil community has led to four violent deaths and up to 200 other incidents in the last two years. Commander Richard Bryan, whose patch in north west London has witnessed much of the violence, has set up a cross-London co-ordinating group in an attempt to root out the gang culture. He said: "The vast majority of the Tamil community in London are law-abiding and want to get on with their lives in peace but a significant minority represent a problem which needs to be addressed." The UN estimates 917,000 people have left Sri Lanka since 1993 and many of the diaspora have come to Britain. A similar gang problem in the Tamil community in Toronto has subsided after aggressive police intervention.




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Shri Shivarudra Balayogi to Visit Malaysia
Posted on 2002/5/28 1:45:02 ( 750 reads )


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MALAYSIA, May 28, 2002: Shri Shivarudra Balayogi Maharaj will be visiting Malaysia June 1-14, 2002. His itinerary will take him to several states and diverse segments of the Indian population in Malaysia ranging from the privileged to the mentally handicapped. The Venerable Yogi requested that he be brought to the poor and the forgotten members of this society and the organizers are taking every effort to fulfil this request of this Great Soul, according to the organizers. For more information, click "source" above. For those living in Malaysia, the visit of the Venerable Yogi allows Malaysian Hindus to receive darshan and instruction directly from the spiritual successor of the Great Siddha Purusha, Sri Sri Shivabalayogi Maharaj. Babaji's programs will consist of a short talk on a spiritual topic, the opportunity for initiation into Dhyana Yoga Meditation, bhajanas and the chance to ask questions of, as time allows. All programs are free of charge.




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Catholic Priest from India Charged with Molestation in New York
Posted on 2002/5/28 1:44:02 ( 782 reads )


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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, May 24, 2002: Investigators arrested the first Roman Catholic priest yesterday to be charged in New York based on the old case files that the church recently turned over to sex-abuse prosecutors, according to this article in the New York Times. The priest, the Rev. Francis X. Nelson, 38, was handcuffed near his Harlem church and charged with molesting a 12-year-old girl at her home in Brooklyn three years ago. The church officials supervising the priest had been aware of the allegations in 1999 and considered them credible, but he was allowed to transfer from Brooklyn to the Archdiocese of New York, where officials say they first learned of the accusation on Wednesday. Father Nelson was charged with two counts of sexual abuse in the second degree and one count of endangering the welfare of a child, misdemeanor charges that each carry a penalty of up to one year in prison, the Brooklyn district attorney's office said. Father Nelson is a native of India. Catholic diocese officials investigated the allegation three years ago. They did not believe Father Nelson's denial and ordered him out of the diocese, said a spokesman for the diocese, Frank DeRosa. On July 21, 1999, Bishop Thomas V. Daily of Brooklyn told Father Nelson's bishop in India, Leon A. Tharmaraj, of his decision, Mr. DeRosa said. Bishop Tharmaraj, of the Diocese of Kottar in the region of Tamil Nadu, happened to be in New York and agreed to Father Nelson's departure, the spokesman said. Three days after meeting with Bishop Daily, Bishop Tharmaraj signed a document declaring Father Nelson in good standing and free of allegations, said Joseph Zwilling, the spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York. The document is necessary for priests to work in a diocese not their own. Further, Mr. Zwilling said that St. Mary's pastor, Thomas Doyle, wrote a letter on Aug. 3 "attesting to his good character and his good work in the parish, with no indication of any difficulties."




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World Religions Project Within Metropolitan Detroit
Posted on 2002/5/24 1:49:02 ( 702 reads )


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DEARBORN, MICHIGAN, May 22, 2002: The Pluralism Project was developed by Diana L Eck at Harvard University to study and document the growing religious diversity of the United States with a special view to its new immigrant religious communities. The affliated Pluralism Project at the University of Michigan-Dearborn is a co-sponsor of the summer seminar "Worldviews: Foundations for Inter-religious Dialogue for Students of Christian Ministry" which will be offered in Detroit/Dearborn June 10-15, 2002. This course will "introduce people engaged in ministry in a multi-religious society to the beliefs and practices of several of the world's religions." While geared towards Episcopal clergy and lay leaders, anyone may attend. The Pluralism Project is currently sponsoring "World Religions in Metropolitan Detroit," an exhibition of 55 photographs presenting the ongoing research of the Pluralism Project and the University. The exhibition shows the diversity of Metropolitan Detroit's religious landscape and is designed for a general audience. The photographs and text are intended to encourage dialogue and foster a greater sense of community among the residents of Michigan. For a slide show of the photos, including several of Hindu temples and ceremonies, click on "source" above.




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India's Cultural Invasion of the West: First Curry, Then Saris, Next Bollywood Films
Posted on 2002/5/24 1:48:02 ( 741 reads )


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MUMBAI, INDIA, May 19, 2002: Until May 26, a corner of London's Oxford Street will look like Madhuri Dixit. Gaudy saris and bawdy sets have transformed century-old department store Selfridges into an Indian film set as part of a "23 Days of Bollywood" store promotion. Nearby, you can dine at celebrity chef Kuldeep Singh's, new eatery -- Chowky. British film Institute's biggest-ever festival, ImaginAsia, is staging hundreds of events around the UK. In June, the Victoria and Albert Museum unveils "The Art of Bollywood," and across town, A. R. Rehman launches his new musical extravaganza with Andrew Lloyd Weber, "Bombay Dreams." The surge is sweeping the US too. Anil Ki Awaz plays on 96.1 FM in the Bay Area of California, while henna tattoos and Indian food draw large lines at local fairs across the country.




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Malaysia Hindu Sangam Plays Matchmaker
Posted on 2002/5/24 1:47:02 ( 748 reads )


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PETALING, MALAYSIA, May 24, 2002: Concerned with the high number of Hindu youth not being able to find the right marriage partners, the Malaysia Hindu Sangam will continue its successful matchmaking program. The program is aimed at helping eligible Hindu bachelors, single women, widows, widowers and divorcees find suitable life partners. Held for the second time, the Swayamvaram, or partner-choosing, will be on June 9 from 8:00 AM at the Shri Lakshmi Narayan Temple in Kg Kasipillay, Kuala Lumpur. Organizing committee chairman Krishna Raj Mohan said the association was happy that the first Swayamvaram received tremendous support and was a success. Many of those who took part in that Swayamvaram are now happily married. To ensure that no individuals abuse the program, she said parents would have to accompany their children. "Swayamvaram" originally meant a gathering in which a woman would either choose her own husband from a group of assembled hopefuls or marry the one among them who won a contest -- as Arjuna won Draupadi and Rama won Sita. Today the term is used for meetings, such as that assembled by the Sangam, of young men and women, usually accompanied by their parents, seeking prospective life partners. The method has met with substantial success in India as well as in the West.




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Himachal Government to Introduce Astrology Course
Posted on 2002/5/23 1:49:02 ( 721 reads )


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SHIMLA, INDIA, May 19, 2002: The Himachal Pradesh government proposes to introduce astrology as a subject in regular classes at various levels of learning, said Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal. Introduction of astrology would help preserve the ancient system of knowledge so that the younger generation could know more about India's rich culture and traditions as well as Hinduism, he told a religious congregation. Dhumal added in his address that no religion teaches hatred against humanity and there should not be any restriction on following a particular religion. "Religion should be equated with duty such as son's duty to look after his parents, teachers' duty to guide his students and rulers duty to provide protection to his subjects," he said. Dhumal also spoke on the relevance of the Vedas.




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American Megachurches as Minitowns
Posted on 2002/5/23 1:48:02 ( 867 reads )


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LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY, May 9, 2002: Southeast Christian Church is an example of a new breed of magachurch -- a full-service "24/7" sprawling village, which offers many of the conveniences and trappings of secular life centered around a spiritual core. While unusual for America, it is similar to the temple towns of India, and represents the impulse of humans to live in a spiritual environment. In this American version, it is possible to eat, shop, go to school, bank, work out, scale a rock-climbing wall and pray there, all without leaving the grounds. These churches are no longer simply places to worship, they have become part resort, part mall, part extended family and part town square. In Glendale, Arizona, the 12,000-member Community Church of Joy, which has a school, conference center, bookstore and mortuary on its 187-acre property, has embarked on a $100 million campaign to build a housing development, a hotel, convention center, skate park and water-slide park, transforming itself into what Dr. Walt Kallestad, the senior pastor, calls a "destination center." The churches have even become alternative employers. At the Brentwood Baptist Church in Houston, a McDonald's will open this month. Part of its goal is to provide jobs for young people and create a controlled, protective setting for kids. By making it possible to inhabit the church from morning to night, cradle to grave, these full-service churches can shelter congregants, said Dr. Randall Ballmer, a professor of American religion at Barnard College, from "a broader society that seems unsafe, unpredictable and out of control, underscored by school shootings and terrorism." This lengthy article goes on to discuss the pros and cons of these new communities including tensions between church and state that have arisen.




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Book, "Hindu Temples of North America," Released
Posted on 2002/5/23 1:47:02 ( 794 reads )


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WINTER PARK, FLORIDA, May 23, 2002: The Hindu University of America announced the release of "Hindu Temples of North America." The book covers Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh Temples located across the United States and Canada. Architecture, iconography, art work and history of temples are featured. It contains 320 full-color pages with rare photographs and line drawings at a cost of $65 if ordered before July 27, 2002. The book is published jointly by Hindu University of America, Council of Hindu Temples of North America and Titan Graphics and Publications. For more information, e-mail "source" above.




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Fiji PM's Coup Claim Sparks Row
Posted on 2002/5/22 1:49:02 ( 725 reads )


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FIJI, May 22, 2002: Fiji Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase has sparked a furious row by claiming a coup two years ago was part of a plan by God to depose the country's Indian-led government. Critics claim his remarks amount to blasphemy. "The SDL coalition won because it was God's plan," Qarase said. "I believe God wanted to terminate that government." In the coup, Speight and a gang of soldiers stormed parliament and took Mahendra Chaudhry, Fiji's first ethnic Indian leader, and his government hostage. The military later intervened and installed Qarase as prime minister before eventually organizing elections last year, which Qarase's Soqosoqo Duavatani Lewenivanua (SDL) party won. Indigenous Fijians, the bulk of them Methodists, make up 51 per cent of Fiji's 800,000 people. Indians, predominantly Hindu, account for 44 per cent, and racial tension has been a constant source of political instability in the Pacific nation.




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Gill Sees No Remorse for Riots in Gujarat
Posted on 2002/5/22 1:48:02 ( 741 reads )


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GANDHINAGAR, GUJARAT, INDIA, May 22, 2002: Calling it a "Kalinga effect," where a remorseful Emperor Ashok (circa 270 bce) became a messiah of peace seeing the death and destruction caused by war, "supercop" K. P. S. Gill regrets that he has not seen such a trend in Gujarat after all the violence. "I do not see this happening here. Ordinarily, this happens in the society within 10 days. Even two-and-a-half months later, this is yet to begin (here)," he told reporters here. Gill said in bewilderment, "Generally, there is a sense of repentance after violence. Unfortunately, I do not find that here." Gill claimed that communal violence in Gujarat has already been contained. "one cannot now roam about freely with a dagger in hand on any Ahmedabad street," he remarked.




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