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Indra Devi Passes On at Age 102

Posted on 2002/5/1 9:49:02 ( 1125 reads )


BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA, April 30, 2002: Indra Devi, the daughter of European nobility who introduced the ancient discipline of yoga to the Kremlin leadership and Hollywood stars, passed away on Thursday in Buenos Aires. She was 102. Known to her followers as Mataji, she was a student of Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, the legendary guru who gained worldwide attention for stopping his heartbeat for two minutes. She was his first female student. She was born Eugenie Peterson in Riga, Latvia, on May 12, 1899. She attended drama school in Moscow as a girl, and escaped to Berlin with her mother in 1917. Her fascination with India began at 15, when she read a book by the poet Rabindranath Tagore. In 1927 she sailed for India. Here, the Maharaj and Maharini of Mysore introduced her to Sri Krishnamacharya. After being trained as a yoga teacher she traveled to Shanghai with her husband. There she held five classes a day in the bedroom of Madame Chiang Kaishek, wife of the nationalist leader and a new yoga enthusiast. She found her way to Hollywood in 1947 and discovered ready students among movie stars, who found yoga's breathing and relaxation techniques useful to their work. Her students included Gloria Swanson, Greta Garbo, Jennifer Jones and the violinist Yehudi Menuhin. In 1960, India's ambassador to Moscow arranged for her to meet the top soviet leaders, including Aleksei Kosygin, the premier, and Andrei Gromyko, the foreign minister. After she spoke to them of the benefits of yoga, it was legalized in Russia. In 1982 she visited Argentina, where she formed a foundation to spread her yoga methods.

Muslim Scholar Masters Vedic Verses

Posted on 2002/5/1 9:48:02 ( 1162 reads )

Source: Hindustan Times

UTTAR PRADESH, INDIA, April 27, 2002: If the uncommonness of Pandit Syed Husain Shastri's name is not enough to surprise you, his activities certainly will. For a devout Muslim, he has an unusual routine. Every morning as the bell chimes 8 at the RSS-run Saraswati Shishu Mandir, Husain begins the day with his soulful Vedic chants. It is a ritual he has faithfully followed for the last 22 years. Husain's use of the Hindu scriptures makes him notable in Malihabad district of Uttar Pradesh, an area predominantly populated by Muslim. His knowledge of Sanskrit rivals and even betters that of many acknowledged Hindu experts. A true believer of the faith, he offers prayers at the mosque everyday. But even here he makes the Azaan, Muslim prayer, in Sanskrit. Sanskrit fascinated him from childhood. He was awarded the degree of a Shastri by the Lucknow University in 1958 after successfully completing his post-graduate studies.

Shrinking Russia Says No to Migrants

Posted on 2002/5/1 9:47:02 ( 1104 reads )


MOSCOW, RUSSIA, April 25, 2002: Russia is facing a demographic crisis so dire that its population could shrink by half within 50 years. The obvious solution, to encourage young immigrants from overpopulated Asian neighbors such as China or India, is so politically sensitive that Russian leaders refuse to even discuss it, reported The Christian Science Monitor recently. Russia faces a double whammy, it said. Like most of the developed world, birthrates have fallen far below levels that would sustain the population. Births now stand at 1.1 per woman, far short of the 2.4 needed to stabilize the population. At the same time, the death rates, particularly among working-age males, have shot up due to post-Soviet poverty, substance abuse, disease, stress and other ills. The population has fallen from 149 million a decade ago to just over 144 million now and experts say it is losing a million each year. Mr Lev Gudkov, a demographer with the independent Russian Center for Public Opinion Research, predicted that there could be one pensioner for every worker in Russia within 20 years. The Russian nationalists have been blaming the crisis on women, and their solution amounts to removing them from the labor market and sending them home to have more children. Unlike most Western countries, which make up for lower birthrates through immigration that provides workers to keep economies growing and tax revenues flush, Russia is not to open to the idea. Said Mr. Yevgeny Krasinyev, head of migration studies at the official Institute of Social and Economic Population Studies in Moscow: ''The only acceptable sources of immigrants for us are the Russian-speaking populations of former Soviet countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).'' But the flow from the CIS is slowing to a trickle.

Prime Minister: Malaysia to Remain A Moderate Muslim Nation

Posted on 2002/5/1 9:46:02 ( 1083 reads )


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, April 26, 2002: Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad yesterday denounced terrorism, reiterating that Malaysia would remain a moderate Muslim nation, during the installation of the country's new king. The Malaysian authorities have jailed 62 people in the past year alleged to have belonged to an extremist group that plotted to overthrow the government. Some of the detainees are accused of planning to blow up US targets in neighboring Singapore, and one, Yazid Sufaat, is said to have let two of the Sept 11 hijackers use his apartment in 2000. Dr Mahathir said that the Malaysian government would continue to uphold Islam as the country's main religion, but it would also ensure freedom of worship for the followers of other religions in Malaysia. He added that any group which uses Islam to serve personal or political interests will be subjected to government action.

Universe in "Endless Cycle"

Posted on 2002/5/1 9:45:02 ( 1325 reads )


USA, April 26, 2002: Two scientists from the USA and UK, Paul Steinhardt and Neil Turok, have put forward a new model to explain how the cosmos is and where it might be going. They say it is necessary to take account of startling new discoveries -- in particular, the observation that everything in the universe is moving apart at an accelerating rate. They propose the idea that the cosmos goes through an endless cycle -- of Big Bang, expansion and stagnation -- which is driven by an as yet unexplained "dark energy." They have put forward their views in the journal Science. What they are proposing in this new picture is that the Big Bang is not a beginning of time but really just the latest in an infinite series of cycles -- exactly what Hindus have been saying for the last several thousand years.

Trinidad Scholar Comments on Gujarat

Posted on 2002/5/1 9:44:02 ( 1122 reads )


TRINIDAD, May 1, 2002: Anantanand Rambachan, professor of religion at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, USA, and a native of Trinidad, wrote in the Trinidad Express recently, "The current violence between Hindus and Muslims in India must stir pain, sadness and outrage among the followers of Hinduism everywhere and be unequivocally denounced." Another part of his article reads, "Although pained memories of victimhood can stretch long into the past, how far are we willing to reach back into time to resuscitate ancient battles and victimize the innocent?" His article brought a sharp and often personal retort from Parsuram Maharaj of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha. Parsuram wrote, "The Hindu and Muslim communities in Trinidad and Tobago since the time of indentureship have existed side by side in a harmonious manner that can serve as an example to religious tolerance to other parts of the world. ... Rambachan also fails to recall that the most important Hindu scriptural texts are delivered with violence as a backdrop. ... Hindu incarnations of God always spoke of peace but they were always armed to back it up if the need arose." Sat Maharaj, Secretary of the Maha Sabha also wrote a response. "Rambachan continues perpetuation of the myth of the weak and docile Hindus." Rambachan responded to both comments in a further article, "Violence and Hindu Identity." He said, in part, "What is truly disturbing on this particular issue, however, is the manner in which a text like the Bhagavad Gita is routinely and uncritically cited to legitimize and justify the violence which was unleashed in Gujarat." The original articles and responses are available in full at "source" above.

Ayurveda International Symposium Set For Berkeley, California May 2

Posted on 2002/5/1 9:43:02 ( 1032 reads )


BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA, May 1, 2002: For anyone who loves Ayurveda, the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine presents a symposium of Ayurvedic teachers and practioners this weekend at the Pauley Ballroom of the University of California at Berkeley, California. A truly impressive line up of speakers from India, UK, Australia and USA will be presenting panel discussions, research presentations and workshops on Ayurveda, Hatha Yoga, Vastu, Vedanta, Sanskrit and Jyotish. For further information, click "source" above.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Receives "Phoenix Award" in Atlanta

Posted on 2002/5/1 9:42:02 ( 1156 reads )

Source: Francois Gautier

ATLANTA, GEORGIA, April 29, 2002: On a whirlwind tour of the United States, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the world renowned founder of the Art of Living Movement, represented in 140 countries, has just been given the Phoenix award, one of the highest honors to be bestowed by the State of Georgia. The President of the Georgia Senate, Senator James, has declared that "in recognition of his and the Art of Living Foundation's outstanding contribution to humanity, April the 29th will be henceforth observed as the Sri Sri Ravi Shankar day." The resolution added that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, "through a simple, down to earth and practical program, called the Art of Living Basic course, is bringing relief to millions of people."

New York Human Rights Group Criticizes Gujarat Administration

Posted on 2002/4/30 9:49:02 ( 1105 reads )


NEW YORK, NEW YORK, April 30, 2002: A New York-based human rights group has launched a strong attack on the government of India's western state of Gujarat, alleging that state officials were directly involved in the killings of hundreds of Muslims, according to this report on the BBC. What happened in Gujarat was not a spontaneous uprising, but was a carefully orchestrated attack against Muslims, they state. Human Rights Watch, which carried out its own investigations, says the violence was pre-planned and the state government was now involved in a massive cover-up of its role in the rioting. The Gujarat Government has been under attack by the opposition as well as several welfare groups for failing to prevent the spread of violence in the state. But the Human Rights Watch report is the most damning so far. It says at the height of the riots between February 28 and March 2, thousands of attackers descended on Muslim neighborhoods, clad in saffron scarves and khaki shorts -- the uniform of Hindu right-wing groups. The report said they were guided by voter lists and print-outs giving addresses of Muslim-owned properties, information they obtained from the local municipality. HPI adds: The chilling report can be read in full at http://www.hrw.org/. Its most provocative and questionable claim, that the riots were somehow planned in advance of the Godhra train attack, is based upon "rumors" the presence of various activists in the area before the riots. Some recent BBC and NY times reports have picked up on this pre-planned angle so strongly that they did not even mention the Godhra train attack as the starting point for the riots.

Hindu Priest Murdered by Thieves at Bangladesh Temple

Posted on 2002/4/30 9:48:02 ( 1009 reads )


KHAGRACHHARI, BANGLADESH, April 30, 2002: Two persons, one of them a Hindu priest, were killed and another person was injured in separate incidents in the Khagrachhari hill district in last two days. Madan Gopal, 45, priest of Radha Madan Ashram in Manikchhari Upazila was stabbed to death by a gang of criminals at the temple Sunday night, police sources said. The criminals also looted a gold statuette from the temple. Temple authorities said the murder of the priest was a sequel to a dispute over tolls demanded by some criminals. The priest had refused to give in to their demand. The police arrested one Sanwar Hossain on suspicion. The Hindus in Khagrachhari brought out a protest rally after the murder and demanded punishment of the culprits.

Links Proposed Between Ancient India and Central America's Mayans

Posted on 2002/4/30 9:47:02 ( 1117 reads )

Source: Deccan Chronicle

HYDERABAD, INDIA, April 29, 2002: Recent studies suggests a link between Indus Valley and Mayans of Central America. The studies focused on the calendars of the two advanced civilizations. The Indus Valley inhabitants followed a calender based on the movements of Jupiter, and the Mayans followed one based on the Venus. In the Puranas, a secondary Hindu scripture, Jupiter, Brihaspati, was acknowledged to be the leader of the gods, while Venus, Shukra, was the leader of the asuras. The texts further state that the devas and asuras lived on opposite sides of the Earth. Mexico and India are at opposite sides in longitude. The correspondences were pointed out by B. G. Siddarth, director of the B. M. Birla Science Centre in Hyderabad. He also said the Hindu story of the churning of the ocean has been found in carvings in Mexico, as well Mayan representations of a tortoise carrying twelve pillars similar to Indian illustrations. Dr. Ganapati Sthapati of Chennai, a foremost expert on Vastu shatra, the ancient Hindu architecture, has visited the Mayan structures in Central America and found many similarities between the design and construction methods of the Mayans and that of the ancient Hindus.

Caution Advised When Doing Yoga

Posted on 2002/4/30 9:46:02 ( 1265 reads )


WASHINGTON, U.S.A., April 15, 2002: With an increase of 30% in participation from 1998 to 2000, 7.4 million people now do yoga in America. Along with its increased popularity, is a reported increase of injuries. Tyler Cymet, an osteopathic physician and assistant professor of medicine at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore says, "We're seeing a lot more people experiencing sprains and strains and overuse of muscles....after doing yoga." The article attributes the injuries to a variety of factors. People may approach yoga as a form of vigorous exercise when in fact it should be done in a relaxation mode from beginning to end. Baby boomers, who already may have back or knee problems are trying yoga. These same boomers in the 40+ crowd may not be aware that certain parts of the spine degenerate with age. Some gyms offer athletic hybrids such as hot yoga, power yoga, or Ashtanga Yoga. Because these forms are more vigorous, the risk of injury may increase. Trisha Lamb Feuerstein, director of research at the Yoga Research and Education Center attributes the injuries to unqualified teachers. She says, "There are people teaching yoga who have little or no knowledge of anatomy or physiology. There are lots of asanas (poses) that are contraindicated based on conditions people may have (such as prior hip problems or sciatica) -- you don't learn that in a week-end." Timothy McCall, a Boston area internist who has practiced yoga for seven years and recommends it to patients for arthritis says, "Ideally, yoga should be personalized....what's safe for a 20-year-old may not be for a 50-year-old with a history of arthritis or other injuries." Jill Abelson, a yoga instructor of 12 years further adds, "It's important for people to understand their own bodies. If people use some general sense and pace themselves, they can reduce their risk of injury."

Nepal's Troubled Times With Maoist Revolution

Posted on 2002/4/29 9:49:02 ( 1034 reads )


NEPAL, April 27, 2002: The bodies of the Maoist rebels were still scattered across parched lentil fields almost a week after thousands of their comrades swarmed a police garrison here. "When one Maoist was killed, another came forward," said Deepak Hamal, a young policeman who survived the battle in mid-April. "They were there to kill or to die." In recent months the Maoist rebellion, led by two college-educated, upper caste brahmins, has spiraled in intensity. Last year the Maoists set up "people's government's" in 22 districts. When the Nepalese won their long struggle for democracy in 1990, the Maoists were in the mainstream, part of a communist alliance with a small number of parliamentary seats. But in 1994 the election commission barred the alliance from taking part, an act the courts later ruled illegal. Peace talks broke off several months ago, and the violence has reached an alarming rate. The US has offered military advice to the government, an action which is said to have alarmed China.

Five Ancient Temples Have Fallen Into Disrepair

Posted on 2002/4/29 9:48:02 ( 1077 reads )


KOLHAPUR, INDIA, April 14, 2002: Due to lack of funding by the state government, five ancient temples in the city are in dire need of attention. The Vitthal Mandir that was constructed around the 5th century ce is a fine example of Jain art. With an intricate carved door frame, carvings on the outer walls, and ornate pillars the Mandir exudes architectural beauty. Along with the Omkareshwar temple, Ram mandir, Ganpati mandir and Dutta mandir, the architectural grandeur of these five temples has suffered. During the last ten years, the state archaeological department and trustees have watched helplessly as the walls and ceilings of these temples have caved in. Black stone interiors have been painted yellow, orange and blue. Courtyards now house goons and gamblers and people often remove stones from the temple to mend their houses. Shamsunder Zanwar, trustee of the main Vitthal temple said his duty was confined only to religious ceremonies. Arjun N. Late, Pune's assistant director of the department of archaeology added, "I visited the temples in 1980-81 and submitted a report to the state department for their repairs. For reasons best known to the authorities concerned, no action has been taken to date."

Exhibit Honors First Hindus in California

Posted on 2002/4/29 9:47:02 ( 1106 reads )


SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, April 29, 2002: An exhibit celebrating East Indian-Mexican heritage will open in Sacramento this summer, reports India-West. In the early 1900s, many laborers and farmers from Punjab settled in the United States and, in the absence of Indian women, married women from Mexico. Approximately 50 Mexican-Hindu families remain in Yuba City, all apparently Catholics. "Once we're gone, we're gone," said Isabel Singh Garcia, a Mexican-Hindu from Yuba City. "Our race will be a dead race." An exhibit featuring the families that came from Sikh-Mexican marriages in Yuba City, the Imperial Valley, Fresno and other cities in California will be on display on the second floor of the Rotunda in the State Capitol building during July. A large Sikh community which came from India at the same time maintained its identity and religion.

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