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Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2017/1/24 20:29:56 ( 440 reads )


Hinduism is such a joyous religion, freed of all the mental encumbrances that are prevalent in the various Western faiths. It is freed of the notion of a vengeful God. It is freed of the notion of eternal suffering. It is freed from the notion of original sin. It is freed from the notion of a single spiritual path, a One Way.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001)

Christian Group Shuts Down India Operations After Restrictions on Foreign NGOs Take Effect

Posted on 2017/1/23 19:41:13 ( 698 reads )


INDIA, January 17, 2017 (Christianity Today): "We want to be honest with you, there is very little hope." So wrote Compassion International to its 130,000 sponsors of Indian children this past Friday. One week after sharing the good news of four nations no longer needing child sponsors due to the passion of millennials, the ministry shared the bad news of another nation that will probably not need child sponsors due to government interference.

A little more than a year after the Indian government told Compassion that it [and many other foreign NGOs] could no longer receive funding from outside the subcontinent, the humanitarian organization will likely be closing its last operations there. "Since we can no longer distribute funds to our field offices, we have just had to notify our India country staff that we must formally close our field offices in India by March 15," Compassion told sponsors by email. Compassion, which has been working in India for more than 48 years, said it has tried everything in the last 10 months to stay afloat.

The Indian government objects to Compassion's Christianity, according to the ministry's testimony to US lawmakers. Hindu nationalists have put increasing pressure on Christians in India since the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014.

HPI note: According to a July 19, 2016, Indian Express report here:
http://indianexpress.com/article/indi ... reign-funds-govt-2924258/

"As many as 14,222 NGOs were barred from receiving foreign funds in the past four years for violating norms, the government said on Tuesday. Of these, the largest number of 10,020 Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) were barred last year. A total of 4138, 4 and 59 NGOs were restrained from receiving foreign contributions in 2012, 2013 and 2014 respectively, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha."

The article also provides a link to a government website (https://fcraonline.nic.in/home/index.aspx) with a complete list of the organizations so barred.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2017/1/23 19:41:03 ( 416 reads )


The tragedy of human history is that there is decreasing happiness in the midst of increasing comforts.
-- Swami Chinamayananda, (1916-1993)

The UK Caste Issue Heats Up

Posted on 2017/1/22 20:16:36 ( 629 reads )


UNITED KINGDOM, January 19, 2017 (BBC): India's caste system is among the world's oldest surviving forms of social stratification. However, some British Asians say they still experience discrimination due to their caste. So, why are so many Hindu bodies in the UK opposed to this being made illegal?

Sudesh Rani was shopping in the Home Counties two years ago when she experienced such discrimination first hand. The 42-year-old from Bedford identifies herself as Ravidassia -- a group regarded by some as at the lower end of the caste system. She says she was in a supermarket when two women began verbally abusing her. Ms. Rani says the police did not know how to handle her complaint, because they had no idea about caste. Campaigners say cases like this highlight why caste legislation is needed in the UK.

In 2010, conversations began in the House of Lords about making caste discrimination illegal. A clause proposed for the Equality Act is currently awaiting the result of a public consultation. However, many Hindu organizations are against legislation and there is controversy over the extent to which caste is a feature of Hindu religion. Some academics have claimed the caste system was introduced in its current guise during colonial rule in an attempt by the British authorities to classify and better understand the Indian society they were governing. They assert that Indians have started behaving as if part of a caste hierarchy as a result of being taught to. Legislating on caste is complex business, not least as many Hindus do not accept caste is an integral feature of the Hindu religion.

More at "source" above.

Caste Legislation, an Unacceptable Attack on Indian Traditions

Posted on 2017/1/22 20:16:26 ( 515 reads )


UNITED KINGDOM, January 9, 2017 (Anti-Caste Legislation Committee, an editorial): You will be aware of the government's impending consultation on whether the clause on caste in the Equality Act should be implemented. The caste law is being promoted as a way to attack some ordinary but significant aspects of the Indian traditions and will create a great deal of hurt and resentment against the British legal system as well as community cohesion. Even though the caste clause has not been effected, the dangers are already manifest in the unwarranted judicial extension of the case law to caste.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission Study on the caste legislation released in 2014 stated that the Equality Act scope should be applied as widely as possible to caste. In several instances, parliamentarians supporting the law have sought not only to attack what they fictitiously perceive as the hierarchical and oppressive caste system, but they wish to mount an attack on caste wherever they see it.

Those advocating the caste legislation have within their sights ordinary practices within the Indian traditions as their target. The spectre of marriage is often raised as the key to the caste system and thus relentlessly attacked. One academic who indulges in such attacks has previously accused British Indians of practicing "apartheid" through the caste system. They recommended the law should help identify and eliminate marriage practices based on caste.

More at "source" above.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2017/1/22 20:16:16 ( 461 reads )


Whatever good you wish to do, do it now and here. Do not wait for the tomorrow. A day will come whose tomorrow we shall not see.
Dada J.P. Vaswani,--head of Sadhu Vaswani Mission

Hindu Priest Offers Prayer Trump's National Prayer Service

Posted on 2017/1/21 18:55:51 ( 689 reads )


WASHINGTON D.C., January 20, 2017 (Asian Age): A Hindu priest will be among various religious leaders who will offer prayers at the National Prayer Service of Donald Trump on Saturday, a day after he is sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. Narayanachar L. Digalakota from the popular Sri Siva Vishnu Temple in Lanham, Maryland will offer prayers at the National Prayer Service to the held on Saturday at the Washington National Cathedral, the Presidential Inauguration Committee said yesterday.

This is probably the first time a Hindu priest has been called for services at the national prayer service of the presidential inauguration. The Priest will be joined by Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Priest Bishop Harry Jackson, and Carlyle Begay to offer prayers for those who govern. Another Indian-American Jesse Singh, a Sikh, with two others, Ian McIlraith and Anthony Vance, will offer prayers for the people.

The tradition of an inaugural National Prayer Service dates back to the first inauguration of George Washington. The interfaith ceremony is being held to complement Trump's commitment to be the President for all Americans, Committee said. "At this moment of renewal for our country, President-elect Trump is humbled to pause and join with leaders from many different faith traditions represented in our country to ask His blessings for peace and prosperity for our country," said Presidential Inaugural Committee CEO Sara Armstrong.

See video of the Hindu section of the service at:

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2017/1/21 18:55:34 ( 369 reads )


There is a proverb in our language: "If I want to be a hunter, I'll hunt the rhinoceros; if I want to be a robber, I'll rob the king's treasury." What is the use of robbing beggars or hunting ants? So if you want to love, love God.
-- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)

Amarnath Cave Yatra to Being June 29

Posted on 2017/1/17 19:40:43 ( 679 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 17, 2017 (Greater Kashmir): Governor N.N. Vohra, Chairman of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), presided over the 32nd Meeting of the Shrine Board here on Monday, an official spokesman said. "Regarding the duration and date of commencement of the Yatra 2017, keeping in view its foremost concern of safeguarding the safety and security of the pilgrims, the Board decided that a 40-day Yatra would commence on 29th June 2017, an auspicious day of Skanda Shasthi as per Hindu Calendar and conclude on Shravan Purnima (Raksha Bandhan) on 7th Aug 2017. The Board directed that the CEO should arrange a special pooja at Chandanwari on the day of Jyesth Purnima, which falls on 9th June this year, to invoke the blessings of Lord Shiva for the smooth and safe conduct of the pilgrimage," the spokesman said.

"The Board deliberated at length in regard to the number of Yatris who would be allowed to register, date-wise and route-wise, for this year's Yatra. Considering the carrying capacity of the existing tracks and other available infrastructure in the Yatra area, the Board decided that 7,500 Yatris, per day per each of the two routes, excluding Yatris who would travel by helicopters, would be allowed to register for the pilgrimage," he added.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2017/1/17 19:40:33 ( 498 reads )


It is the nature of desire never to be fulfilled, but he who utterly gives it up is eternally fulfilled at that very moment.
-- Tirukural 370

Scheduled Castes vs. Caste Hindus: About a Colonial Distinction and Its Legal Impact

Posted on 2017/1/15 19:56:33 ( 613 reads )


BELGIUM, January 15, 2017 (academia.edu): Jakob De Roover of Ghent University here published today an insightful paper, "Scheduled Castes vs. Caste Hindus About a Colonial Distinction and Its Legal Impact." We excerpt from his conclusion:

Today, commentators often react with indignation when one points out the anomalies confronting the classical account of the caste system. Worse, questioning this orthodoxy and its hackneyed claims about "the plight of the Dalits" is often equated to denying the existence of injustice in Indian society. The fact that there are groups in Indian society much poorer and more deprived than others is not in doubt. Neither is the fact that members of some jatis treat members of other jatis in unethical and inhumane ways. However, the point is that these situations and events cannot be coherently conceptualized in terms of "the caste system" and its oppression of "the Untouchables" or "Dalits."

The idea that there are two distinct categories or groups in Indian society--namely, Caste Hindus and Scheduled Castes--never described its social structure. No common characteristics are available that allow(ed) one to recognize these as two communities or categories across India. Thus, no empirical investigation could show that they existed in the Indian social world. Since this distinction is flawed, it cannot offer a stable foundation for legislation that aims to address injustice in Indian society. In fact, the available facts indicate that the laws providing caste-based benefits fail to pass the Supreme Court's test of reasonable classification: there appear to be no intelligible differentiae that distinguish all the persons grouped together as Scheduled Castes from others excluded from that group.

Indeed, the class of Scheduled Castes exists, but only in the Indian legal and political system. Through their caste policies and censuses, the British spread the idea that "Hindu society" was characterized by an opposition between Caste Hindus and Untouchables. Thus, in spite of the recurring discovery that this distinction failed, it could not but have its effects in a society under colonial rule. The crucial step came in the Government of India Act of 1935 and its caste schedules. Eventually, the Government of India (Scheduled Castes) Order of 1936 ordered that "the castes, races or tribes, or parts of or groups within castes, races or tribes specified in Parts I to IX of the Schedule to this Order shall, in the Provinces to which those Parts respectively relate, be deemed to be scheduled castes so far as regards members thereof resident in the localities specified in relation to them respectively in those Parts of that Schedule."

Strikingly, the leaders and intellectuals of postcolonial India not only succumbed to the colonial account of "the caste system," but also accepted the social divisions among the people of India created by British legislation. It is as though they felt compelled to transform the tenuous distinctions inherent to the colonial account into existing social divisions in India. The King's Excellent Majesty, Edward VIII, had ordered how the people of India should be divided into Scheduled Castes and others. After 1947, Indian political and intellectual elites began to enforce this royal decree in their country. This is the work that the caste legislation of contemporary India continues unto this day.

You Don't See Toilet Seats with Jesus on Them, but Hindu Deities Are Still Frequently Misused, Critics Say

Posted on 2017/1/15 19:56:23 ( 516 reads )


LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, December 28, 2016 (LA Times): Bathroom mats. Toilet seats. Shoes. Dog tags. All of these items have, in recent years, gone on sale adorned with images of Hindu deities, particularly that of Ganesha, known most commonly in the West for His elephant face. "It is inappropriate, and it is offensive to devotees," said Rajan Zed, a Reno, Nevada-based Hindu activist who protests against such commercial products.

"I haven't seen Christ on toilet seat covers. Or any symbol of Islam," said Vasudha Narayanan, a professor of religion at the University of Florida. "If you wouldn't do it with one, why do you want to do it with something else? Or at least wouldn't it behoove you to check?" The use of these images in a secular context, and particularly in a context that is in direct opposition to the basic tenets of the Hindu religion, displays a lack of respect, Narayanan said.

Every few months, Zed said, he receives a message about some insensitive commercial use of a Hindu image. Most recently, Zed called on Amazon to pull deity-decorated skateboards and bedding from its online shelves. (This was not the first time the retailer got itself into hot water over such practices. In June, the hashtag #boycottAmazon trended on Twitter in India after users discovered doormats with images of Hindu deities available for sale. Amazon removed the items within days.) Most of the time, when Zed reaches out to companies to ask them to stop selling an item or displaying an advertisement, he said, they apologize and comply. "It's ignorance, basically," Zed said. "People don't know our traditions and our deities."

Much more at "source" above.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2017/1/15 19:56:12 ( 480 reads )


In the beginning, love arose, which was the primal germ cell of the mind. The seers, searching in their hearts with wisdom, discovered the connection of Being in Nonbeing.
-- Rig Veda 10.129.4

Pakistan Prime Minister Reaches Out to Minorities

Posted on 2017/1/14 19:39:45 ( 689 reads )


PAKISTAN, January 12, 2017 (by Drazen Jorgic, Reuters): Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday inaugurated the restoration of an ancient Hindu temple complex in Punjab, a symbolic gesture that may appeal to the Muslim nation's minority communities and soften the country's image abroad. However, the visit and other recent overtures to minority faiths and women, including the passing of pro-women legislation, could also alienate powerful religious hardliners opposed to social change. Sharif's visit to the 900-year-old Katas Raj temples (begun by Lord Krishna Himself), one of the holiest sites in South Asia for Hindus, comes at a time when relations with Pakistan's Hindu-majority neighbor India are at a low ebb and show few signs of improving. "In my personal view, we are all are equal - Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians -- and people belonging to other religions; we are all one," Sharif told Reuters after a Hindu ritual was performed at the temples, located in the village of Katas some 110 km (70 miles) south of the capital Islamabad. At the ceremony, attended by senior Christian, Sikh and Hindu leaders, Sharif chastised hardline Muslim scholars who use "strange interpretations" of Islam to preach hate against other religions. "I believe this is not lawful. No one should try to teach this sort of lesson, nor should anyone heed such lessons," Sharif said.

Critics say Sharif's government has not done enough to tackle hardline religious groups inside Pakistan, including some with militant links, and accuse members of the ruling PML-N party of maintaining links with sectarian hardliners. Pakistani officials want to improve the country's image, marred by religious violence and the persecution of minorities, in a bid to lure Western investors who are reluctant to come despite healthy economic growth and improving security. "Pakistan's image, economy, foreign investment, security -- they are all interlinked," said an aide to the prime minister.

Asian Scene: Dance Style That Extols the Deities

Posted on 2017/1/14 19:39:34 ( 484 reads )


NAIROBI, AFRICA, January 7, 2017 (Daily Nation, by Allaudin Qureshi): While relaxing with family and friends at the coast during the Christmas and New Year break, I had the opportunity to watch a recording of Manipuri, a classical and ritualistic dance style. It brought back fond memories of watching a troupe from India perform the dance in Nairobi a decade or so ago.

Manipuri is an inherent part of the rituals of the daily life of communities in the mountainous region of North East India, Manipur. The main attraction of the dance is the beautiful costumes. The long flared embroidered skirts, translucent veils and peacock feather crowns are breathtaking.

Manipuri is a sophisticated story telling art form that glorifies the feats of religious or mythological characters. The style banks heavily on Hindu deities like Krishna and his favorite Gopi Radhika. During a performance, the dancer offers prayers to the Deity that he or she is glorifying. Manipuri was initially performed in temples and made its way to the stage only during the last century after receiving encouragement from poet, playwright, philosopher and Nobel Laureate Guru Rabindranath Tagore.

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