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Hinduism Today Website Fixes Letters to Editor Submission

Posted on 2016/4/20 18:08:16 ( 2394 reads )

KAUAI, HAWAII, April 20, 2016 (HPI): Readers finally pointed out to us that our letters to the editor module on hinduismtoday.com was not working correctly for several weeks. It's been fixed, and please, if you had something to say, but couldn't, just email us directly at letters@hindu.org, or go through the "About Us" tab on the website. We very much enjoy hearing from you!

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/4/20 18:08:05 ( 2364 reads )


Those from a religious background who believe that "There is only one life and when it's over, it's over " generally cry and have a very unhappy time over the departure of a loved one. This is very disturbing to the loved one from where they are in the inner world wondering, "Why the grief?" Because they are fine. They are happy, and they are free of a lot of karmas, a lot of worries, a lot of conflict, ready to start a new life. Those with a pure Asian religious background, who understand reincarnation, dharma, karma and the existence of God everywhere, will smile contentedly and say to themselves, "What a wonderful life the departed had!" and be joyous in the new world that the departed loved one is now experiencing.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today

How Trust in Interfaith Relations Avoided Riots after the Akshardham Terror Attack in 2002

Posted on 2016/4/18 19:31:00 ( 3709 reads )


INDIA, April 16, 2016 (Scroll.us, by Sadhu Brahmaviharidas): BAPS was severely tested on 24 September 2002. What would later be classified as one of the worst terrorist attacks on a religious place in modern India engulfed the heart of BAPS. Its renowned Swaminarayan Akshardham, a 23-acre cultural complex dedicated to Bhagwan Swaminarayan in Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat, was besieged by two terrorists at 4:45 pm. Armed with AK-47 guns and hand grenades, the terrorists randomly and mercilessly killed 31 innocent pilgrims, including a sadhu of BAPS, and seriously wounded 70 others.

The attack was strongly condemned. National and international religious, political, and social leaders expressed their pain and solidarity. However, Pramukh Swami Maharaj stayed calm and composed amid this turmoil. He walked the path of prayer and forgiveness. The attack resulted in perhaps the most widespread nationwide bandh (general strike) independent India has seen. While debates, allegations, and anger mounted, Swamiji guided the crisis towards a peaceful outcome.

Pramukh Swami Maharaj's emotional stability and a larger sense of responsibility to society kept BAPS together. In the days to follow, despite suffering a fever, Swamiji visited the Civil Hospital to comfort the injured and meet the families of the deceased. He sanctified the entire Akshardham complex and organised a public prayer and condolence assembly. All throughout, his actions did not seek sympathy, but ensured stability and spiritual maturity. His message to the people on the same night of the attack was broadcast nationally and internationally. It focused on peace and prayer, wherein he appealed "to all the people of Gujarat and India to maintain peace and unity in the wake of this national tragedy".

Much more at "source" on this insightful account.

Mastery of the Body, Challenge of the Spirit

Posted on 2016/4/18 19:30:50 ( 2994 reads )


HAVANA, CUBA, November 24, 2016 (14y Medio): In the 90s, when some Cubans chose to flee the country on a raft, Elsa Hermida found that practicing yoga was the best way to overcome the crisis that surrounded her. It was at that time, at the gothic Sacred Heart church in the Havana city center, that she met Professor Eduardo Pimentel, with whom she set a course where meditation and asanas (postures) became inseparable.

In the parish hall, Elsa Hermida and Pimentel, who became her life partner, created a program that until today teaches yoga throughout the country. For a quarter century, this smiling woman of infinite patience has helped hundreds of people begin to practice this unique physical and spiritual discipline. She now runs a community center in her own home, where three times a week the room is filled with people practicing postures and stretching.

Among the results of this constant work was the creation of the Cuban Yoga Association in 1990. Last June, the Association celebrated the World Day of Yoga with two days of classes, workshops and conferences. Today the number of people practicing the discipline in the country has increased not only in the capital city but also in the provinces of Matanzas, Havana, Ciego de Avila and Cienfuegos.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/4/18 19:30:40 ( 2870 reads )


Upon dying, a man is greeted on the other side by Lord Yama, who immediately begins helping him determine his next step in the inner worlds. Lord Yama says, "Your karmic record is not clear to me. Is there something exceptional you have done that I should know about?" The man responded, "I was walking down the street with my wife. Several thugs drove up on mopeds and insulted her. I walked over to the leader, reached up, ripped the earring out of his ear, grabbed him by the throat and told him, 'That's no way to speak to a lady!' " "Impressive, " Yama said. "When did this happen?" The man replied, "Oh, a couple of minutes ago."

Christians and Hindus Portrayed Negatively in Pakistan's School Textbooks

Posted on 2016/4/17 20:33:23 ( 3595 reads )


PAKISTAN, April 15, 2016 (Christian Daily): Textbooks in Pakistan that are used to teach about 41 million children negatively portray religious minorities such as Christians and Hindus, referring to them as "nefarious, violent, and tyrannical by nature." "Pakistan's public school textbooks contain deeply troubling content that portrays non-Muslim citizens as outsiders, unpatriotic, and inferior; are filled with errors; and present widely-disputed historical 'facts' as settled history," said Robert George, chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

A study done by the USCIRF discovered that the public school system still observes fundamental intolerance of religious minorities. Moreover, it was found that the textbooks do not indicate the rights of religious minorities and how these minorities positively contributed to Pakistan's development.

The textbooks teach Pakistani children that Christians learned tolerance and kind-heartedness from Muslims and that Hindus have their own conspiracies toward the Muslims. This is alarming because Christian and Hindu children will be exposed to these very pro-Muslim messages. The coexistence between Muslims and non-Muslims is not being promoted with what the offensive textbooks are teaching. "These textbooks sadly reflect the alarming state today of religious freedom in Pakistan. A country's education system, including its textbooks, should promote religious tolerance, not close the door to cooperation and coexistence," George said.

Why We Are Teaching Our Children Hate? By Saadia Haq

Posted on 2016/4/17 20:33:13 ( 3542 reads )


PAKISTAN, April 17, 2016 (Pakistan Christian Post by Saadia Haq): If like me you were born and raised in Pakistan, probably you have attended a local school where we as children learnt at an early age the "conspiracy of the non-believers against Muslims." You may say whatever in its defense, but our reality is troubling. Just think of a 7, or 8, or for that matter an 11-year-old kid being taught glorifying accounts of how conquerors like Muhammad bin Qasim and Mahmood Ghaznavi occupied the subcontinent to free the Muslims under threat from enslavement.

Most sociology books refer to Christians as "violent crusaders" and Hindus as "gangsters" and we are in no doubt that here in Pakistan, our textbooks preach falsehoods, hatred and bigotry. The construction of most non-Muslims is evil and bad. Just think for a moment that you are back in a public school where children of different faith are learning Pakistani history in particular "Ideology of Pakistan". And your teacher reading the passage out loudly, "Who am I? I am a Muslim. I am a Pakistani. I love my country and I love my people."

Within the country, the debate to revamp educational curricula is going on for more than two decades with slow progress. Last year, for the first time in our history, school books for middle and high school students made amendments to their curriculum by describing the positive role religious minorities including Christians, Hindus and Sikhs have had in nation building since 1947. Despite being a small change, it is hailed as a victory by most local human rights defenders and minority campaigners. The new history textbook contains a separate section of chapter VIII titled as "Population, Society and Culture of Pakistan."

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/4/17 20:33:03 ( 3100 reads )


To the growing soul, to the spirit within us, may not difficulties, obstacles, attacks be a means of growth, added strength, enlarged experience, training for spiritual victory? The arrangement of things may be that, and not a mere question of the pounds, shillings and pence of a distribution of rewards and retributory misfortunes!
-- Sri Aurobindo Ghose (1872-1950), Indian philosopher speaking on karma and disasters

Supreme Court Says Women Cannot be Prevented from Entering Sabarimala Temple

Posted on 2016/4/16 19:27:58 ( 3850 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, Deccan Chronicle): The Supreme Court on Wednesday reiterated that denial of entry of women between the age of 10 and 50 in Sabarimala Ayyappa temple in Kerala based on custom, faith or tradition cannot defeat the constitutional principles of equality. A three-judge bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra, V. Gopala Gowda and Kurian Joseph was hearing a batch of petitions and applications filed by Indian young Lawyers Association and others challenging the ban on entry of women.

Senior counsel Indira Jaising, appearing for women who are in the menstruation cycle argued that such a ban violated their right to practice religion which includes right of entry and worshiping the Lord. Questioning the contention that women are not allowed as Lord Ayyappa is a Naisthik brahmachari (celibate) and presence of women will affect the Lord's penance, she said how women can be made victims if celibacy is to be disturbed.

Justice Misra told the counsel, "They (temple) have developed a custom and tradition being followed to maintain purity of the temple. But the question is whether physiological phenomenon can be a guiding factor to deny entry a class of women within the class of females." Justice Kurian Joseph pointed out to the counsel that the temple is an institution and what they say is the status of the deity as Brahmachari has to be protected.

More at "source".

The Weaves Worth Saving

Posted on 2016/4/16 19:27:47 ( 3771 reads )


INDIA, April 15, 2016 (Verve Magazine): India is known around the world for the beauty and diversity of its handicrafts and textiles. Designer, craft revivalist and textile conservationist Madhu Jain had been championing this cause for over two decades now. Some indigenous textiles and techniques that she thinks you should take note of are: Nakshi kantha embroidery: "Bangladesh's iconic centuries-old double running stitch (on layers of fabric) is quite different from the kantha embroidery of West Bengal." Jain collaborated with BRAC in Bangladesh, one of the largest NGOs in the world, to revive this exquisite art form.

Muslin: Especially Bangladeshi muslin has today become a staple of the Indian fashion industry. "Muslin (a cotton textile of plain weave) was handwoven in India in the state of Bengal, particularly in what is now known as Bangladesh. Traditionally, it was made from incredibly delicate hand-spun yarn, and required finesse and expertise to weave."

Srikalahasti kalamkari: Srikalahasti kalamkari uses a pen (kalam) to draw and colour motifs freehand. "This kalamkari style is entirely handworked, as opposed to the Machilipatnam kalamkari, which is block-printed using vegetable dyes."

Photos at "source" for this interesting article.

Trinidad Hindus Observe Nau Raatri, Ram Nowni

Posted on 2016/4/16 19:27:37 ( 3796 reads )

PORT-OF-SPAIN, TRINIDAD, April 14, 2016 (HPI by Paras Ramoutar): For several weeks now, Hindus in Trinidad have joined their counterparts in the Indian diaspora worldwide in the observance of Nau Raatri and Ram Nowi. Observances have been taking place at hundreds of mandirs, other public places and in homes. Devout Hindus have been abstaining from all forms of merriment, alcoholic drinks and meats as they pay serious obeisances to Mother Durga, Mother Lakshmi and Mother Saraswati, and this nine-day affair will culminate on Saturday with the observance of Ram Nowni.

Spiritual Leader of the Edinburgh Hindu Temple, Pundit Ramesh Tiwari, in his nightly homily, has continued to underscore that devotion to the Feminine Aspect of the Supreme Being is the way to go. "Just as your earthly mother responds to your pains, your cries and your problems, likewise Mother Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati would respond if your approach them with benevolence, faith and devotion. Nothing remains impossible to achieve or to realize if your devotion in executed with faith," he said.

Some 24 percent of the population of 1.3 million people are Hindus. Hinduism was brought here between the period 1945 and 1917 when just about 150,000 East Indians were brought here from India, principally Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to work on the restoration of a declining agricultural sector following the freedom of slaves.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/4/16 19:27:26 ( 3773 reads )


The atman in you is that which indwells all things." "Tell me, Yajnavalkya, about this atman that indwells all things." "It is that which transcends hunger and thirst, sorrow and delusion, old age and death."
-- Brihadaranyaka Upanishad III, 5A

Trimbakeshwar Temple Revokes Ban on Men's Entry in Sanctum

Posted on 2016/4/15 18:24:40 ( 3249 reads )


NASHIK, INDIA, April 12, 2016 (Deccan Chronicle): The Trimbakeshwar Temple authorities have gone back on their April 3 resolution wherein they decided to ban entry of men, too, into the core worship area at the famous Lord Shiva shrine here. A meeting of the Trimbakeshwar Devasthan Trust held here on Sunday cancelled its earlier resolution restricting entry of males into the sanctum sanctorum. The Trust revoked its decision of April 3 owing to pressure from locals, Nagare, who presided over the meeting of the trustees said. The meeting did not decide anything on the centuries-old ban on women's entry into the core area, he said.

However, the temple trustees were unanimous about seeking further guidance from the Bombay High Court in the matter even after its recent ruling that it is the fundamental right of women to go into places of worship. The court had also directed the Maharashtra government to take pro-active steps for ensuring compliance with the law for the prevention of discrimination against women vis-a vis entry to places of worship. Women, can, however have 'darshan' from outside the core area.

The ancient temple, located 30 kms from Nashik, is a major Lord Shiva shrine of the country, which has one of the 12 jyotirlingas, drawing devotees from far and wide. According to Ghule, a member of the Trimbakeshwar Temple Trust, the ban on entry of women into the garbhagriha (inner sanctum) is an age-old tradition and not something enforced in recent times. The ban goes back to the Peshwa period. Some priests in the temple town said most of the women devotees might not want to defy the tradition.They claimed that there are certain rays that concentrate in the core area which could probably be harmful to the health of women.

HAF Launches New Campaign to Oppose California Curriculum Edits

Posted on 2016/4/15 18:24:30 ( 3171 reads )


SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, April 12, 2016 (India West): Strengthening its fight against proposed edits to the California school curriculum, which seek to remove some references to India and Hinduism and replace them with the terms "South Asia" and "ancient Indian religion," respectively, the Hindu American Foundation launched a campaign on social media April 6 to keep Hindu and Indian history included and accurate within the framework of the textbooks.

Called #DontEraseIndia, the campaign will continue until May 11-12, which is when the State Board of Education hearing is scheduled that will make a decision on whether or not to incorporate the suggested edits, which HAF says reinforce cultural stereotypes and historical inaccuracies. According to HAF, there are 33 places in the sixth and seventh grade curriculum where any reference to India or Hinduism will either be removed or replaced.

On March 24, over 100 Hindu Americans staged a silent protest outside the Department of Education building in Sacramento, Calif., to voice their concerns regarding the California Department of Education Instructional Quality Commission's plans to accept edits made by a group of South Asian studies faculty members to California state textbooks from Grade 6-10. Samir Kalra, HAF director and senior fellow for Human Rights, had earlier told India-West that the majority of the edits that the faculty group were trying to suggest were "negative in nature in relation to Hinduism and India" and that they were trying to "erase a lot of the identity and contribution of Hinduism and ancient Indian civilization."

The Aryan-Dravidian Divide Is a Political Myth

Posted on 2016/4/15 18:24:19 ( 3288 reads )


INDIA, April 12, 2016 (Swarajya Magazine by David Frawley): Traveling throughout India, including much time in the south, I have been trying to make sense of the proposed Aryan-Dravidian divide, and the call for a pure Dravidian culture that one hears in Tamil Nadu. The first thing one notices is that the most pure Sanskrit names are found in Tamil Nadu, extending to Dravidian political leaders like Jayalalitha and Karunanidhi. Yet this is just the beginning of numerous connections between the culture of south and the north.

If you are looking for the region of India where ancient Vedic teachings are best preserved, you will find it in Dravidian Kerala, where ancient Vedic rituals and fire sacrifices are regularly performed with precision and devotion. In the south one finds the largest Hindu temple complexes, dwarfing anything in the north. Yet the temples are of the same great deities as Shiva, Vishnu, Devi and Ganesha as in the north. Southern temples reverberate with the same Sanskrit chants as in the north, with some chants in Tamil as the north has some in Hindi.

Behind this Aryan-Dravidian divide idea is the historical debate whether the so-called Aryans invaded or migrated into India from the north and pushed the Dravidians to the south - as Western historians have proposed (supposed to have happened around 1500 BC). This theory is under severe scrutiny today and has no real evidence on the ground to prove it, including no Aryan race type ever discovered archaeologically - but even if it has some validity it is an event, more than three thousand years old. It is hard to see its relevance as defining Dravidian versus Aryan culture today.

Much more at "source".

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