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Fifth Annual International "SpankOut Day" on April 30

Posted on 2003/4/14 9:43:02 ( 1210 reads )


UNITED STATES, April 14, 2003: SpankOut Day USA was initiated in 1998 to give widespread attention to the need to end corporal punishment of children and to promote nonviolent ways of teaching children appropriate behavior. EPOCH-USA (End Physical Punishment Of CHildren) sponsors SpankOut Day USA on April 30th of each year. All parents, guardians, teachers and caregivers are encouraged to refrain from hitting children at least on this day, and to seek alternative methods of discipline through programs available in community agencies, churches and schools.

The website provides a "SpankOut tool kit" consisting of sample letters to local newspapers, radio public service announcements, down-to-earth guidelines on how to raise a well-behaved child without hitting and ten reasons for not hitting a child. Kindly log on to "source" above for practical suggestions and worldwide resources on how to teach children appropriate behavior without hitting.

Web Site Promotes Classroom Dissection Alternatives

Posted on 2003/4/14 9:42:02 ( 1000 reads )


UNITED STATES, April 9, 2003: A Web site created by Students Improving the Lives of Animals (SILA), a University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign animal advocacy group, is providing information useful to individuals trying to convince schools to offer alternatives to dissection. The site, which provides listings of videos, CD-ROMs, books and other alternatives, is focused on classroom dissection as not only an animal welfare issue, but a student rights one. "Conscientious objectors to classroom dissection and vivisection are protected under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment from being forced to harm or kill animals in their public...education," according to a SILA spokesperson. "The courts agree, and for over decade, students at all levels -- from high school through college and even veterinary school -- have won the right to alternatives." SILA was formed during the Fall of 2001 to promote the employment of alternatives to classroom dissection and improve the welfare of University of Illinois and other laboratory animals.

Hinduism Today Requests Input for Article on Hindu Hospitality

Posted on 2003/4/14 9:41:02 ( 951 reads )


KAUAI, HAWAII, April 14, 2003: Hinduism Today magazine is working on a major article on the subject of "Hindu Hospitality." The article will cover all aspects of traditional Hindu hospitality, including what it is, what's expected of a host and of a guest, how to greet a guest, how to say goodbye, how the guest should behave in the home, how hospitality is supported in scripture and the historical writings and how it is changing today. If you can contribute to this article please e-mail "source."

Changes Likely For This Year's Amarnath Pilgrimage

Posted on 2003/4/13 9:49:02 ( 1036 reads )

The Kashmir Times

SRINAGAR, INDIA, April 3, 2003: Three major changes will distinguish the yearly Hindu Amarnath pilgrimage this season. Affluent pilgrims could fly to the Himalayan cave from Srinagar in state-owned helicopters. The shortest route, the Baltal route used by about 25% of pilgrims, has been widened from 6 ft to 12 ft, allowing for 1,500 instead of 800 pilgrims a day. And the famous health resort of Pahalgam, the base camp for the pilgrimage, shall remain open for non-yatra tourist traffic. Decisions made at a meeting of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board in Jammu last week suggested that the pilgrimage start on July 12 and conclude on August 12 to coincide with Rakhsha Bandhan. To date the pilgrimage continues to be a state sponsored affair with thousands of dollars being pumped into it. Expenses include security that requires thousands of troops, paramilitary men and many battalions of the state police. The meeting also noted the discovery of an ancient temple on the old Amarnath route near Chandanwari, which is claimed to be 800 to 2000 years old.

Singapore Hindus and Buddhists Pray to Stop SARS Outbreak

Posted on 2003/4/13 9:48:02 ( 943 reads )


SINGAPORE, April 6, 2003: Buddhists and Hindus recently came together for purification prayers to free the world from Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The event was organized by the Singapore Buddhist Lodge and Arulmigu Velmurugan Gnanamuneeswarar Temple. Priests from Hindu and Buddhist temples recited prayers for 24 hours, seeking divine blessings and to help the world to be relieved of the SARS outbreak.

Kerala Hosts Dance Festival

Posted on 2003/4/13 9:47:02 ( 1075 reads )


KERALA, INDIA, April 13, 2003: The Global Malayalee Council and Sree Sankara School of Classical Dances are jointly organizing a national dance and music festival to be held at Kalady, Kerala, May 6-9, 2003. Some of India's leading dancers and musicians will be performing along with the top performers from Kerala's youth festivals. Organizers anticipate over 200,000 people to attend the four day event. Readers kindly log on to "source" above for further information.

Christian Evangelists Make Inroads Into Muslim Kashmir

Posted on 2003/4/13 9:46:02 ( 1150 reads )


SRINAGAR, INDIA, April 5, 2003: Kashmir is witnessing an increase in conversion from Islam to Christianity. Christian groups are putting the number of new converts at over 10,000 and a Sunday Express investigation confirms that conversions have been taking place regularly across the Valley. At least a dozen Christian missions and churches based in the U.S., Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland have sent evangelists to the Valley and are sending in money through intermediaries based in New Delhi. Missionaries are getting immediate attention because they reach out to the poor, needy and those affected by violence. Also, they bring in a lot of money. Though conversions have not met any resistance from Muslim organizations, it has led to tensions between Kashmir's native Christians -- a minuscule community of 650 -- and the enthusiastic evangelists. The native Christians are increasingly getting vocal against the outsiders. "This type of conversions aren't good for local Christians who had shared a cordial relationship with Muslims here for centuries. The conversions they are doing are Biblically wrong. There are umpteen cases in which one person has been baptized thrice within a few months. These so-called evangelists have set up businesses in the garb of church and social work," says Pastor Leslie Richards, a native protestant living in Braen, Srinagar. "The converts here do it for monetary reasons and the people who convert them too do it for the same reasons," he adds.

How Lord Ganesha Charmed Shri Ma

Posted on 2003/4/12 9:49:02 ( 1259 reads )

Media Center

PONDICHERRY, INDIA, April 7, 2003: Mother of Shri Aurobindo Ashram, affectionately known as Shri Ma, was a great devotee of Lord Ganesha. The Pondicherry Shri Manakkula Vinayaka Devasthanam released a booklet in August, 2001, which gives an inspiring story of Shri Ma and her relationship with Lord Ganesha. "There is a famous 700-year-old temple of Manakkula Vinayaka adjacent to the Ashram. In the early sixties, Mother volunteered to give some land to the temple. It was a piece of land 120 feet by 12 feet belonging to the Sri Aurobindo Memorial Fund Society. Mother said it was to be done even if it meant demolition of part of the Ashram property. Mother also said that a partition wall could be built at the temple's cost if the temple management wanted to construct it, or it could be done at the Ashram's cost. The temple authorities had failed earlier to get the required land for Parikrama (path to circumambulate the temple) from the previous owner. So, they were very happy and grateful to Mother. Mother had recorded that in 1930 she had a vision of Ganesha during meditation and in that darshan, the Lord granted the boon of material help in abundance on Mother. The help 'came in torrents' as Mother herself described it."

Bhojshala Shrine Opens for Worship

Posted on 2003/4/12 9:48:02 ( 1174 reads )


DHAR, INDIA, April 8, 2003: A day after the Archaeological Survey of India ordered open the disputed Bhojshala shrine for Hindus every Tuesday nearly 600 people offered prayers there in an atmosphere of peace. The devotees, some of whom were beating drums, entered the shrine at 9:00 AM and there were no signs of any tensions. Meanwhile, a spokesperson from the local Hindu Jagran Manch Vishal Goyal has announced that Tuesdays would be observed as Deepavali in the city with lamps being lighted in every house in the evening. Like Ayodhya, Bhojshala is claimed by both Hindus and Muslims. For more information, see http://headlines.sify.com/1637news5.html.

Buddhism Comes Calling in India

Posted on 2003/4/12 9:47:02 ( 1154 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 28, 2003: Dalits, viewed as the traditional target for conversion, are not the only ones turning to Buddhism here. Even high-caste Hindus with upper middle-class backgrounds are increasingly attending Buddhist meditations. Their practice has a Japanese connection for there are about 100 Nichiren Buddhism cells in Delhi, says Madhumita Sen. She works for an international NGO and is a regular at the meetings of the followers of the Great Sage Nichiren Daishonin, a thirteenth century Japanese priest. Ms. Sen added that people from all social strata and faiths attend the meditation meetings.

South Africa Hindus Give Abandoned Temple To Christian Church

Posted on 2003/4/12 9:46:02 ( 1168 reads )


KWADUKUZA, SOUTH AFRICA, April 6, 2003: A Hindu temple that was abandoned by sugarcane farmers and their families because of crime and land invasions is to be converted into a church after being donated to a Christian organization. The Shree Hanuman Temple was built in 1982 by the Sing brothers and members of the Nonoti community, outside KwaDukuza. Madhan Sing, who built a temporary temple at his home, said the temple had been donated to the New Nation Church of God as a gesture of goodwill. "The Deities from the temple were removed two years ago when I moved out of Nonoti with my family after my wife was held up at gunpoint by a gang of armed men," he said. More than 20 farmers in the area have abandoned their farms in the wake of growing crime and steady invasion of their land by squatters. "We thought that, instead of turning it into a shop or butchery, it would be best if it continued to be a place of prayer. My family certainly has no regrets about converting our former temple into a church. The building will be put to good use for religious work." Sing is preparing to build a full-fledged temple in Stanger Manor for more than 200 worshippers. He said that he was confident that the donation of the temple would strengthen ties between the Christian and Hindu communities.

Malaysia's Thaipusam Fees Opposed

Posted on 2003/4/11 9:49:02 ( 991 reads )


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, April 5, 2003: Parti Keadilan Nasional wants the practice of charging fees for religious rites during Thaipusam changed and has submitted a memorandum to the Malaysia Hindu Sangam (MHS) asking for its help. The party's nine-member delegation handed the 17-point memo to Sangam president A. Vaithilingam yesterday. "We are asking the MHS to intervene for the benefit of devotees and the public," adding that all the points raised were based on public complaints. The issues raised include the collection of a US$2.63 fee for the Paal Kavadi (milk kavadi), the need to limit the tenure of Sri Maha Mariamman temple committee members to three years, the reduction of the hefty parking fees of $13.15 for buses and $2.63 for cars and the provision more public toilets and rubbish bins. Keadilan Youth has been protesting against the collection of fees for religious rites during Thaipusam celebrations. This is despite the temple committee having clarified in January, that the collection was for the maintenance and management of the temple which cost about $26,315 a month, as it did not get a single cent from the Government, although Batu Caves is a major tourist attraction. Vaithilingam said that although MHS is only an advisory body to all temples in the country, it would look into the issues raised by the delegation, adding that the memorandum would be discussed at their next national advisory council meeting.

American TV Hosts Hindu Worship Services

Posted on 2003/4/11 9:48:02 ( 1095 reads )


CHICAGO, U.S.A., April 6, 2003: A Chicago Indian immigrant is helping area Hindus who cannot get to distant temples by showing "jagrans" on a public access television program. Avi Verma's program, Jagran TV, is on Chicago Access Network Television (CAN TV). Jagran TV is a half-hour show featuring Hindu religious services called jagrans that Verma organizes. The show recently celebrated its first anniversary, and Verma said he plans to continue performing, taping, editing and airing the jagrans as long as the Hindu community and CAN TV want them. "There are too many senior citizens and too many new Indian immigrants. It's hard for them to go to the temples," Verma said. "We thought we should do something so people could do their prayers sitting in their living room." According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are about 35,000 Indians in Chicago, and many of them live around Devon Avenue, the heart of Chicago's Indian community. Yet, the area's Hindu temples are 30 to 90 minutes away, in Hyde Park or the western suburbs. Verma usually starts the program with puja, or scripture recital. The jagran then focuses on Hindi singing and chanting. Verma invites musicians from the community or sponsors them to come from India to perform.

Buddhist-Hindu Exhibit At Chicago Art Institute

Posted on 2003/4/11 9:47:02 ( 1074 reads )

Chicago Sun Times

CHICAGO, U.S.A., March 30, 2003: A one-of-a-kind show of Buddhist and Hindu art opened at the Art Institute of Chicago this week featuring 187 works of painting and sculpture from Tibet, Nepal, Kashmir and Bhutan. The works in the exhibit were chosen entirely for their aesthetic qualities, not to illustrate any particular philosophy, says Dr. Pratapaditya Pal, the Art Institute visiting curator of Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian art. The purpose of the exhibit, he says "is to encourage the viewer first to look and enjoy the beauty of the objects and then to explore their spiritual import." Hindu Deities dominate the Nepalese and Indian galleries. Here the principals of karma and reincarnation, the cycles of life, death and rebirth are illustrated through Hindu mythology which provides a rich cast of characters, many in animal forms. It is a mythology that offers what Pal calls "the osmosis between the human, the animal and the divine" that characterizes Eastern religions. The exhibit spans 1,500 years, four countries and two major world religions.

Manuscripts To Be Documented

Posted on 2003/4/11 9:46:02 ( 956 reads )


VADODARA, INDIA, April 3, 2003: A rare collection of around 2,647 miniature paintings and manuscripts, many of which have never been exhibited at Baroda Museum and Picture Art Gallery, are being readied for a comprehensive digital documentation. Art historian Ratan Parimoo has been assigned by the State government for a comprehensive study of this rare collection. "The present documentation is more of an inventory. In the last 50 years there has been exhaustive research in the different schools of miniature paintings," says Parimoo, who's seeing the entire collection for the first time. The miniature paintings cover almost all schools of paintings and include some Japanese sketches. Parimoo says if properly researched and documented, the collection will equal the one at the National Museum Institute, New Delhi. "Documentation is the first duty of any museum. In this computer age, digitalization helps to make records easily available," S. N. Pandey, assistant director and art curator of Baroda Museum, says.

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