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Kanchi Seer Offers New Peace Formula for Temple

Posted on 2002/3/7 8:49:02 ( 1053 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 05, 2002: After a series of meetings with central ministers, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Muslim leaders, Swami Jayendra Saraswati, the Shankaracharya of Kanchipuram, the latest mediator on the Ayodhya issue, said that the VHP had agreed to await the verdict of the Supreme Court on the disputed site. He also endorsed the VHP stand that bhoomi pujan (land blessing) be permitted on March 15 on the land acquired by the Centre in 1993 and that this land should be handed over to the Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas well before June 2, when the 100-day yagna in Ayodhya ends. He asked the Muslim Personal Law Board to give its approval for the handing over of this acquired land. But VHP Vice President Giriraj Kishore said no such proposal had been made yet. The religious leader also held meetings with representatives of the Muslim Personal Law Board and other Muslim leaders. Board spokesman Kamaal Far ooqi said the seer had made a proposal for a solution which would combine "both dialogue and a court settlement."

Death Toll in Riots Reaches 677

Posted on 2002/3/7 8:48:02 ( 1040 reads )


GANDHINAGAR, INDIA, March 7, 2002: Nine days after communal violence first broke out in Gujarat, the death toll now stands at 667, including the 60 persons who died in the attack on the Sabarmati Express on February 27. Official sources said the death toll in the attack on the train at Godhra had risen from 58 to 60 with the death of two persons who were seriously injured in the attack which sparked off widespread reprisals across the state. Figures available at the police control room in the state capital state that 820 persons with serious injuries are still admitted to various hospitals, many of them in a critical condition. Almost 157 of the deaths have taken place in stabbings and the rest have succumbed to burn injuries and gun-shots. Ten bodies were recovered from a village well at Ajanwaga in Godhra district on Wednesday. The victims were reportedly taking shelter in a primary school when they were surrounded by a mob and thrown into the well. The official statistics say that 99 persons have been killed in police firing. The security forces have fired 5176 rounds of ammunition at the mobs as well as 7276 tear gas shells. Nearly 2459 houses, 2082 shops, 1084 cabins and 448 vehicles, including 12 buses, have been set on fire.

Washington Post Says "Provocation Helped Set India Train Fire"

Posted on 2002/3/7 8:47:02 ( 1468 reads )


GODHRA, INDIA, March 5, 2002: In this article by Rajiv Chandrasekaran of the Washington Post Foreign Service, Hindus are accused of provoking the attack on the Sabarmati Express. The article reads in part, "For two days, as the Sabarmati Express snaked across northern India, some Hindu activists in cars S-5 and S-6 carried on like hooligans. They exposed themselves to other passengers. They pulled headscarves off Muslim women. They evicted a family of four in the middle of the night for refusing to join in chants glorifying the Hindu god Ram. They failed to pay for the tea and snacks they consumed at each stop. When the train pulled into this hardscrabble town in western India on the morning of Feb. 27, the reputation of its rowdiest passengers preceded it. When they refused to pay for their food, Muslim boys among the vendors at Godhra station stormed the train. When the confrontation was over, 58 Hindu passengers were dead, incinerated by a fire that consumed cars S-5 and S-6. In retaliation, mobs of enraged Hindus descended on Muslim communities across Gujarat state, igniting riots that killed more than 500 people, India's worst religious violence in a decade. Indian officials have characterized the riots as Hindu rage for an attack on innocent activists. However, interviews with passengers on the train, witnesses to the incident and police and railway officials suggest that the train fire was not a premeditated ambush by young Muslims, but rather a spontaneous argument, provoked by the Hindu activists, that went out of control. 'Both sides were at fault,' said a police official here, who spoke on condition of anonymity. 'The provocation was there and the reaction was strong. But no one had imagined all this would turn into such a big tragedy.' B.K. Nanavati, the deputy police superintendent in Godhra, said the investigation does not support the contention by Gujarat's chief minister, Narendra Modi, that the assault on the train was a 'terrorist attack.' 'It was not preplanned,' Nanavati said. 'It was a sudden, provocative incident.'" The article goes on to say that word of the Hindus' behavior had reached the Godhra station where the vendors prepared for a fight. One did start, the train left the station, but was stopped half a mile later in a Muslim area where a large crowd gathered. Police say one or more Muslims started a fire between cars S-5 and S-6, where most of the people died.

Bookies Held for Taking Bets on Riots

Posted on 2002/3/7 8:46:02 ( 1070 reads )


JAIPUR, INDIA, March 7, 2002: In one of the more bizarre developments surrounding the Godhra killings, Police have arrested 81 bookies offering bets on the likelihood of religious riots breaking out in a state bordering Gujarat, where hundreds of people were killed in Hindu-Muslim violence. Two of the bookies, Genda Lal and Satyanarain, were offering odds of 1-to-4 to 1-to-6 in favor of riots taking place in Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan state, Superintendent of Police Anand Shrivastav said Thursday. Shrivastav said the bookies had created panic in Jaipur by spreading rumors of impending riots to drum up their business. They offered odds on a curfew being clamped in the old part of Jaipur as well as on estimated casualties, he said.

California Voters Reject Building Proposal Because of "Bad Feng Shui"

Posted on 2002/3/7 8:45:02 ( 1142 reads )


SAUSALITO, CALIFORNIA, March 7, 2002: Voters rejected a proposal to build a $7.8 million police and fire building after a campaign alleged the facility would destroy this upscale town's appearance and violate its feng shui. Opposition to the Mediterranean-style facility arose in part because some said it would violate Sausalito's feng shui, the ancient Chinese art of placing things to ensure a harmonious energy flow. Feng Shui is akin to the Hindu system of home and building design and placement detailed in the Vastu Shastra, and perhaps in the future building proposals will be similarly rejected for violating vastu principles.

Business Solutions From the Vedas

Posted on 2002/3/7 8:44:02 ( 1143 reads )


CHENNAI, INDIA, February 25, 2002: Tatwamasi S Dixit at just 11, knew the Vedas by heart. At 29, the priest from Varanasi is the managing director of Info Vedic Services Pvt Ltd. He did his parallel education when he was still training to be a priest and then completed his CA. "After that I decided to use my Vedic knowledge in business development." He now creates CDs for improving human health, uses the principles of the Vedas in Kayalakpa, a centre for the body, mind and soul, in Chennai. A large part of his work is based on the belief that our scriptural practices are purely based on quantum physics. "I have divided human ambitions into two zones -- problem or desire management. According to which category they fit into, I provide solutions." It's Dixit's research unit -- Ojas -- that produces the vedic hymns. "My idea is to project our rich culture in the modern world using modern technology," Dixit says.

Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians Wants Hindu Input

Posted on 2002/3/7 8:43:02 ( 1091 reads )

Source: www.serv-online.org

FEBRUARY 26 2002: The society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians (SERV) is an interreligious group currently based in North America. Its aim is to help the promotion of vegetarianism among all religions and groups within religions. They currently have good representation from Jewish, Christian and Buddhist traditions, but Hinduism is not represented. They are especially looking for quotations from famous Hindus or from Hindu texts supporting vegetarianism and books promoting vegetarianism from a Hindu perspective. Also, Hindu activists who would be interested in working with SERV to further vegetarianism. To find out more about the group click "source" above.

Revelations of Child Abuse Continue to Surface in Catholic Church

Posted on 2002/3/7 8:42:02 ( 936 reads )


T. AGATHA, MAINE, March 5, 2002: "The Catholic roots of this far-northern valley are about as deep as they get," begins this Associate Press Report. "More than two centuries after Catholics marked the land with a large cross, people in and around this town named for a martyred saint are still steeped in the faith. So naturally they were stunned last month when the Rev. Michael Doucette, under orders from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Maine, announced that 22 years ago he was "intimately involved" with a 15- year-old boy in another parish. "You could hear a pin drop in that church," said one parishioner, Carole Plourde. But since then, the community has faced what many consider an even more painful trial. The diocese asked the parish council here to decide whether it wants to keep Father Doucette or have him removed. After the accusations of child molesting by priests in Boston, several dioceses, including New Hampshire's and Philadelphia's, immediately suspended any priests ever accused of abusing children. In recent weeks, diocese after diocese across the country have publicly acknowledged that they tried to rehabilitate priests accused of molesting children rather than remove them. The issue is of concern to Hindus, some of whom send their children to Catholic schools because they believe them to be more disciplined.

Kanchi Shankaracharya Meets With India's Prime Minister

Posted on 2002/3/4 8:49:02 ( 997 reads )


NEW DELHI, March 4, 2002: As part of efforts to end the Ayodhya impasse, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Monday night held consultations with Shankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, Sri Jayendra Saraswathi. The pontiff met the Prime Minister after holding wide-ranging discussions with VHP top brass and other Hindu religious leaders, who have vowed to go ahead with shifting of carved stones to the Ram Janambhoomi site in Ayodhya on March 15. According to VHP International Working President Ashok Singhal, the seer would urge Vajpayee to hand over the undisputed land acquired by the Government to the Ram Janambhoomi Trust and lift restrictions enforced in the temple town. President of Ram Janambhoomi Nyas (Trust), Mahant Paramhans Ramchandra Das, Singhal, VHP senior Vice-President Acharya Giriraj Kishore and its General Secretary Praveenbhai Togadiya also met the Shankaracharya who arrived here on a "peace mission" on Monday morning, sources said. The Shankaracharya, whose visit to the capital was kept "very secret" till the last minute, is on a mission to prevail upon the VHP leadership to postpone its temple construction plan, according to Mutt sources.

Killings Reach 572

Posted on 2002/3/4 8:48:02 ( 1144 reads )


AHMEDABAD, INDIA, March 5, 2002: Stray incidents of violence continued in Gujarat on the sixth day even though the scale of violence came down considerably. The toll in the last six days of violence in this riot-torn states now stands at 572, including the 58 persons killed in the attack on Sabarmati Express in Godhra last Wednesday. The state police control room in Gandhinagar has confirmed that 514 deaths have taken place in the post-Godhra aftermath, including 97 persons who have been killed in police firing. The figures have shot up from 430 to 514 during the last 24 hours mainly due to recovery of more bodies and conformation of killings by the police control room. Fresh violence has been reported in North Gujarat areas, particularly in Sabarkantha and Banaskantha districts, where mobs were targeting specific communities till late in the night. Trouble broke out in Halad and Danta towns of Banaskantha and Vijaynagar in Sabarkantha where the police had to open fire at violent mobs. According to unconfirmed reports, at least six persons have been burnt alive in Navaseshan village of Sabarkantha. Police sources said that two persons had been killed in Vijaynagar and six others in Halad and Danta overnight. The situation was still very tense on Monday morning when reports last came in. In Meda Adaraj in Mehsana district, one person was killed in police firing. The Central Gujarat districts of Anand, Kheda, Panchmahals and Dahod were also very tense following fresh incidents of violence in the villages. Incidents of violence have been reported from Mehamdabad, Kathlal and Kapadvanj areas of Kheda district overnight. Ahmedabad was relatively quiet on Monday evening though there were four stabbings incidents in Vejalpur, Shahpur and Kalupur in which the Vejalpur victim succumbed to injuries. The police claimed that some 534 people had also been arrested in connection with the riots in the city that followed the Sabarmati Express carnage.

The Discovery of Treasures at the Ancient Angkor Complex

Posted on 2002/3/4 8:47:02 ( 1137 reads )


SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA, February 27, 2002: After the Khmer Rouge laid down their arms in Cambodia, the ancient Angkor complex that was built between the 9th and 14th century by the Khmer Kings became available for exploration by tourists and religious seekers. This article written by news correspondent David Richie delves into the wonders of some 30 temples that have been cleared in the jungle and can be visited. Of special interest to Hindus is a temple dedicated to Lord Siva. Built in the 10th century and located 20 km from Bayon, the impressive structure built of red sandstone has been well preserved and houses intricate carvings of deities. Also Hindus would marvel at "The River of a Thousand Lingas" at Kobal Spien. After an hour-long hike, the site reveals lots of "smallish linga-shaped stones" right in the river surrounded by deities of Vishnu, Rama, Lakshmi, and Hanuman. At Preah Khan, the Temple of the Sacred Sword built in 1191, 500 Hindu deities were once worshipped during 20 major festivals. Now the site houses birds, cicadas, and lizards. To bring the vastness of the complex into perspective, the size was compared to the area covered by inner Washington D.C.

Protest Over England Footballer Depicted As Siva

Posted on 2002/3/4 8:46:02 ( 1307 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, March 04, 2002: Hindu leaders in Britain are strongly protesting a new portrait that depicts football (soccer) captain David Beckham, his pop singer wife Victoria Spice and their son as Hindu Gods. Two Sikh sisters from north England drew the portrait as part of celebrations to mark the Commonwealth Games here to commemorate 50 years of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth. The portrait has evoked instant criticism. "We will be making a strong protest against this," the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's British unit general secretary Kishore Ruparelia told Indo-Asian News Service. He said, "It is just some sort of cheap action." The artist sisters insist the painting is not insulting. "I think it would only have been viewed as blasphemous if we were saying they were gods to be adored," Amrit Singh, one of the sisters said.

Mapping A Leader's Genome

Posted on 2002/3/4 8:45:02 ( 1082 reads )


LUCKNOW, INDIA, March 2, 2002: Monks and corporate head honchos shared the same podium at a meeting where talks centered around value-based leadership in boardrooms and workshops. "The meet is trying to find a common ground where the sages are reaching out to boardrooms and companies are looking at the inner self to evolve as a value-based organization," said Prof Debashish Chatterjee, HoD, Center for Leadership and Human Values, IIM Lucknow on Friday at the start of the two-day conference on "Value-Based Leadership: From Knowledge to Action" organized by Ramakrishna Mission Sevashrama, Lucknow, Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow, and the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. G Narayana, executive chairman, Excel, gave a simple mantra to the audience, "Go to GOD." Only his GOD stood for Group Organization Direction that meant that the companies would have to collaborate and compete in the future to attain leadership and this was possible only if there is a "stable and able" leader at the helm. Swami Muktinathananda, secretary, Ramakrishna Mission, Lucknow, said there was a crying need for journey from knowledge to action and inner experience to unbounded joy of consciousness. "We are all entrepreneurs in our roles and lives," said Pritam Singh, director IIM-L. Dr. Singh termed the Indian brain as "most abundant, least expensive, most underutilized and constantly abused."

Meditation Studied in Monks

Posted on 2002/3/4 8:44:02 ( 1031 reads )


PENNSYLVANIA, USA, March 1, 2002: Scientists investigating the effect of the meditative state on Buddhist monk's brains have found that portions of the organ previously active become quiet, while pacified areas become stimulated. Dr Andrew Newberg, a radiologist at the University of Pennsylvania, told BBC world Service's Discovery program: "I think we are poised at a wonderful time in our history to be able to explore religion and spirituality in a way which was never thought possible." Using a brain imaging technique, Newberg and his team studied a group of Tibetan Buddhist monks as they meditated for approximately one hour. When they reached a transcendental high, they were asked to pull a kite string, releasing an injection of a radioactive tracer. By injecting a tiny amount of radioactive marker into the bloodstream of a deep meditator, the scientists saw how the dye moved to active parts of the brain. Later, when the subjects finished meditating, the regions were imaged and the meditative state compared with the normal waking state. "There was an increase in activity in the front part of the brain, the area that is activated when anyone focuses attention on a particular task," Dr Newberg explained. Also, a notable decrease in activity in the back part of the brain, recognized as the area responsible for orientation, reinforced the general suggestion that meditation leads to a lack of spatial awareness.

Schools Reach for Yoga to Calm Students

Posted on 2002/3/4 8:43:02 ( 1090 reads )


SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, February 25, 2002: At a school in the heart of a San Francisco housing project, children and teachers take time from math and reading to breathe and balance. Children inhaled through their noses and exhaled through their mouths. They balanced on one leg, concentrating on poses. When they finished, they lay on the classroom floor, still and quiet. As researchers study whether yoga leads to improved learning, the prevalence of school-site yoga has led to the coining of the term "Om Schooling." Teachers say the exercises work wonders in calming kids and helping them to focus. In San Francisco, that inner peace is sought in more than a half-dozen elementary, middle and high schools. The hatha program used in these schools was created in 1997 by respected yoga teacher Tony Sanchez, who founded the nonprofit United States Yoga Association and runs the San Francisco Yoga Studio. Sanchez's program, called ABC Yoga, combines mind and matter. Teachers incorporate yoga into lessons on physics, anatomy and geometry. While careful not to discuss yoga's religious aspects, teachers do explore the history of yoga and its exercises. Within ABC Yoga is a program called Yogasthma: Seven Steps to Asthma Control. Designed to teach children how to control their asthma, it includes yoga breathing and stretching exercises and a series of workshops done in partnership with St. Luke's Hospital. "Yoga allows kids to become more aware of themselves, of their posture, and to grow into healthier adults," said Sanchez. "Kids also develop the ability to concentrate, to relax at will and to overcome stress."

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