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Court Advisor Recommends Padmanabhaswamy Temple Priests be paid $8,500 per month
Posted on 2014/5/18 16:55:11 ( 553 reads )

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KERALA, INDIA, May 15, 2014 (Times Of India): [HPI Note: The logic behind the advisor's recommendation is not explained in this widely circulated article and remains something of a mystery.]

The best graduates from IITs and IIMs dream of the salary amicus curiae Gopal Subramaniam has recommended for head priests of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram. In his report to the Supreme Court on management of the temple, which shot into the limelight after wealth estimated at US$17 billion was discovered, Subramaniam listed the hierarchy of priests with thantris at the top followed by periyanambi, panchakavyathunambi, thakkadam and thiruvambadi nambis. He said the thantris should be paid US$8,500 (rupees five lakh) per month.

Starting with the thantris, the amicus said none of the four main priests reside within the temple complex. This is because their earnings from conducting rituals in the temple were meagre which forced them to perform rituals outside. He said their residential quarters too were in dilapidated condition. "It is submitted that an amount that is proportional to the stature of the thantris should be fixed by the temple authorities, preferably a sum of $8,500, to be paid according to the directions of the (head) thantri," the report said.

Subramaniam said the salaries of the four periyanambis, the high priests who maintain celibacy during their tenure in the temple to perform archana and offer worship to the deity, was worse. "The salaries of nambis are very low, around $213 per month and they are not entitled to emoluments being temporary staff," he said and provided a graded salary structure for them as per their status in the conduct of rituals in the temple. The amicus recommended to the apex court that "archana commission can be fixed at 7% after consultation with the temple authorities and the salary of the periyanambi should be around $1,500 per month". "The panchakavyathunambi should be paid $1,365 per month as salary while thakkadam and thiruvambadi nambis should receive $1,025 per month," he said.

More information in this article:
http://www.newindianexpress.com/state ... /04/30/article2197135.ece

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The Dharma Santi Celebration Of Nyepi Holy Day For Hindus In Balikpapan
Posted on 2014/5/18 16:55:05 ( 526 reads )

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BALIKPAPAN, INDONESIA, May 5, 2014 (Kaltim Post): It's not only Indonesia's Muslims who have the halal bi-halal ceremony. Indonesian Hindus also have a tradition of a day dedicated to seeking forgiveness and harmony with friends and relatives. It's called Dharma Santi and is observed after the Nyepi New Year's day.

Dharma Santi means cleaning the mental, moral, and spiritual parts of life. This manifests religious harmony. "It's like halal bi-halal. Where all devotees of the religion can forgive each other. In doing so harmony is materialized." said the chairman of the Balikpapan branch of the Indonesian Hindu Association (PHDI), I Dewa Made Wirya Atmaja, on the sidelines of the celebration of Dharma Santi at the Pura Giri Natha Jaya temple on Re Martadinata Street.

This activity has been held for the last ten years. It was attended by over 500 people. Made said that there are 400 Hindu families in Balikpapan comprising 1,600 souls. The festivity went from 7 to 10 pm and featured dances from around the country. It closed with a Bondres mask dance, which is a humorous Balinese dance depicting funny folk stories.

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Hindu Temple Consecrated In Washington State
Posted on 2014/5/18 16:54:59 ( 459 reads )

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BOTHELL, WASHINGTON, May 14, 2014 (The Republic): When yellow-robed priests pulled back the burgundy curtain of a shrine inside the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center in Bothell, more than a thousand people who had squeezed into the smoke-filled building let out tears and gasps of joy. It was the crowd's first glimpse of not just the temple's first formally consecrated statue, but the nation's first formally consecrated Hindu temple shrine in the Pacific Northwest.

Indian craftsmen called shilpis, descended from generations of other temple craftsmen, had spent six months molding the statue's shrine. The Deity itself was hand-sculpted in India out of black granite. Finally, after three days of rituals last weekend called Kumbabhishekam, the Deity Prasanna Venkateshwara was brought to life. Related to Vishnu, preserver of life in the universe, the Deity will play a key role in formal rituals performed at the shrine.

"This is a 27-year-old dream come true," said Mani Vadari, chairman of the HTCC's board, who first worshipped with other Hindus in church basements, rented spaces and homes when he came to the Seattle area in the 1980s. The group he worshipped with then consisted of fewer than 100 families. Today, that number has ballooned, largely due to an influx of Indian software engineers who have immigrated to the area. From 2000 to 2012, U.S. Census data show the Indian population in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties of Washington State nearly tripled from about 20,000 to 59,000.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/5/18 16:54:53 ( 367 reads )

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He is the Supreme Brahman, the Self of all, the chief foundation of this world, subtler than the subtle, eternal. That thou art; thou art That.
-- Atharva Veda, Kaivalya Upanishad

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Puri Rath Yatra: Temple To Ban Chariot-Climbing, Touching Deity
Posted on 2014/5/17 18:30:00 ( 455 reads )

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BHUBANESWAR, INDIA, May 12, 2014 (NDTV): Ahead of the ensuing annual Rath Yatra festival, the Jagannath Temple managing committee today asked the Odisha government to stop the practice of devotees climbing atop chariots and touching the Lord.

Puri King Gajapati King Divyasingha Deb, who headed the committee, said this while presiding over a meeting of religious heads who supported Puri Shankaracharya Nischalananda Saraswati's view of climbing atop chariots and touching the Lord as a 'sin'. Hindu pundits from different matts and sects also supported the Puri seer and opined that climbing the chariots was against Hindu religion as well as scriptures.

The issue was discussed in detail as Daitapati priests, who play a significant role during the Rath Yatra, opposed Shankaracharya's view. The priests claim that the devotees should not be prevented from climbing the chariots and touching the Lord because the tradition has been followed for generations.

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US Museum Won't Give Cambodian Statue Back
Posted on 2014/5/17 18:29:23 ( 427 reads )

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CAMBODIA, May 15, 2014 (by Laignee Barron, Phnom Penh Post): Buoyed by a series of recent antiquity return agreements, Cambodia hoped it would soon restore the full panoply of statues looted from a 10th-century temple north of Angkor Wat. But an Ohio art museum announced yesterday that a sculpture it houses will not be making the return trip just yet.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper yesterday reported that the Cleveland Museum of Art contests Cambodia's claim that the kneeling Hindu Monkey God was pillaged from the Prasat Chen temple. According to the newspaper, the museum sent one of its curators to Cambodia last winter to investigate the origins of the Hanuman statue. Equipped with a replica of the statue, the art historian could not make a match with any of the temple's empty pedestals. Cambodian officials said they were not aware the museum had conducted the investigation.

"It's surprising they would say it's not from there. We're sure this Hanuman is from the Koh Ker complex," Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts heritage director Hab Touch said. Archaeologists from the French School of Asian Studies helped the government identify the looted statues of Prasat Chen using tableaus of the full scene of the temple as well as of the nearby Banteay Srei temple. Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, said the investigation is a "politically and strategically motivated" defense, not a search for truth. He added that the Cambodian government needs to hire an independent expert to examine all evidence.

With six of the temple's nine statues on the way back to the Kingdom, the National Museum is preparing a special exhibition to open in June, including two pieces returned by the New York Metropolitan a year ago, one returned from Sotheby's, one from Christie's and one from the Norton Simon Museum. Meanwhile, the Denver Art Museum, which houses the Rama statue that Cambodian experts allege was also looted from Prasat Chen, said it is "committed to further research regarding [the] history and provenance" of its artefact.

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US Museum Won't Give Cambodian Statue Back
Posted on 2014/5/17 18:25:53 ( 492 reads )

Source

CAMBODIA, May 15, 2014 (by Laignee Barron, Phnom Penh Post): Buoyed by a series of recent antiquity return agreements, Cambodia hoped it would soon restore the full panoply of statues looted from a 10th-century temple north of Angkor Wat. But an Ohio art museum announced yesterday that a sculpture it houses will not be making the return trip just yet.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper yesterday reported that the Cleveland Museum of Art contests Cambodia's claim that the kneeling Hindu Monkey God was pillaged from the Prasat Chen temple. According to the newspaper, the museum sent one of its curators to Cambodia last winter to investigate the origins of the Hanuman statue. Equipped with a replica of the statue, the art historian could not make a match with any of the temple's empty pedestals. Cambodian officials said they were not aware the museum had conducted the investigation.

"It's surprising they would say it's not from there. We're sure this Hanuman is from the Koh Ker complex," Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts heritage director Hab Touch said. Archaeologists from the French School of Asian Studies helped the government identify the looted statues of Prasat Chen using tableaus of the full scene of the temple as well as of the nearby Banteay Srei temple. Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, said the investigation is a "politically and strategically motivated" defense, not a search for truth. He added that the Cambodian government needs to hire an independent expert to examine all evidence.

With six of the temple's nine statues on the way back to the Kingdom, the National Museum is preparing a special exhibition to open in June, including two pieces returned by the New York Metropolitan a year ago, one returned from Sotheby's, one from Christie's and one from the Norton Simon Museum. Meanwhile, the Denver Art Museum, which houses the Rama statue that Cambodian experts allege was also looted from Prasat Chen, said it is "committed to further research regarding [the] history and provenance" of its artefact.

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It's India Week in Buenos Aires
Posted on 2014/5/17 18:24:54 ( 377 reads )

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BUENOS, AIRES, May 12, 2014 (lanoticia1): Begun on May 10th, India Week will continue until the 16th at the Municipal House of Culture in the Amarante Brown district of the capital. A wealth of mysticism and ancient Indian culture with the best of cinema, music, dance, literature, cuisine, philosophy, meditation and yoga is being presented.

Daniel Bolettieri, mayor of the district, and the Indian Ambassador, Amarendra Kathua, teamed up to produce the event in order to strengthen the link between India and the City of Arts and Ideas. The mayor said : "All Argentines deserve to know more about India, which is far from us geographically but, because it has similar concerns, is close to us in our hearts."

"India is a very important market for us. We're fostering a commercial relationship with the intention to increase the technological and other imports from India and increase our exports to that area of the world as well," said Bolettieri.


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/5/17 18:24:47 ( 301 reads )

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When I think of myself as a body, I am your servant, my Lord; when I think of myself as an individual soul, I am part of you; but when I realize I am atman, you and I become one.
-- Lord Hanuman in the epic Ramayana

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Lost Horizons: Mediaeval City Uncovered in Cambodia
Posted on 2014/5/16 16:10:37 ( 553 reads )

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CAMBODIA, June 15, 2014 (Sydney Morning Herald): Archaeologists using revolutionary airborne laser technology have discovered a lost mediaeval city that thrived on a mist-shrouded Cambodian mountain 1200 years ago. The stunning discovery of the city, Mahendraparvata, includes temples hidden by jungle for centuries - temples that archaeologists believe have never been looted. Mahendraparvata existed 350 years before Angkor Wat, the Hindu temple that has captivated interest across the world and is visited by more than two million people each year.

An instrument called Lidar strapped to a helicopter which criss-crossed a mountain north of the Angkor Wat complex provided data that matched years of ground research by archaeologists. The research revealed the city that founded the Angkor Empire in 802 ce.
The University of Sydney's archaeology research center in Cambodia brought the Lidar instrument to Cambodia and played a key role in the discovery that is set to revolutionize archaeology across the world.

Archaeologists and exploration and mapping experts have uncovered more than two dozen previously unrecorded temples and evidence of ancient canals, dykes and roads using satellite navigation co-ordinates gathered from the instrument's data. In effect the Lidar technology peeled away the jungle canopy using billions of laser pulses, allowing archaeologists to see for the first time structures that were in perfect squares, completing a map of the city which years of painstaking ground research had been unable to achieve.

More at source, including a fabulous 10 minute video describing the project.

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The Real Significance of Mahendraparvata
Posted on 2014/5/16 16:10:31 ( 387 reads )

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CAMBODIA, November 28, 2013 (The Diplomat by Damian Evans): In June of this year, along with sixteen of my colleagues, I published an academic paper on the use of airborne laser scanning ("lidar") for archaeology that made front-page news across the world [see above article]. In it, we described how we had used lidar technology to uncover and map elements of the medieval urban landscape around the famous temples of Angkor, in Cambodia, that had previously been obscured by vegetation. The release of that paper was the culmination of many years of meticulous planning and painstaking research, but there was one thing for which we found ourselves completely unprepared: the storm of attention devoted to something that was almost a footnote in that paper, the discovery of the so-called "lost city" of Mahendraparvata on a mountain plateau at the northern periphery of Angkor.

I'd also like to think that the findings we describe in that publication are significant - but for a totally different set of reasons than you'll hear about in the media coverage. To begin with, we shouldn't imagine that archaeologists have such an abundance of research funds that we would gamble a quarter of a million dollars laser-scanning a random stretch of forest in the hope that we might accidentally find a city lying on the forest floor. In most areas (including Mahendraparvata, as we clearly explained in the paper), a century or more of prior scholarship had lent considerable weight to the theory that urban areas extended between and beyond the well-known temples. But to know those cities by way of actually seeing them for the first time is an entirely different thing, at least for archaeologists, and that is why the University of Sydney brought together and led a consortium of institutions to undertake the lidar program.

Perhaps more important than that is the fact that Cambodians and their ancestors have been living in this part of Southeast Asia, apparently without interruption, for thousands of years. The temple-cities of greater Angkor are immensely important national icons, and the sense of shared history that they underpin lies at the very heart of Cambodian nationhood. They have never been "lost" or "abandoned" by Khmer people, who in fact have shown a remarkable resilience in the face of historical forces that have sometimes seemed bent on their destruction.

More at source.

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Temple Consecration within Precinct of Mauritius Prison
Posted on 2014/5/16 16:10:23 ( 399 reads )

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MAURITIUS, February 21, 2014( Le Mauricien): A Tamil-style Hindu temple was consecrated in the precinct of the new high-security Melrose Prison in the presence of representatives from religious bodies of surrounding villages, members of non-governmental organizations as well as executives of the prison. The new prison now has four places of worship, two of them Hindu, for prisoners. The inmates are free to practice their religion and have access to recognized representatives of their respective faiths.

According to the Commissioner of Prisons, Jean Bruneau, spiritual well-being helps an inmate to reflect on the wrongs he has committed and turn a page in his life. "Spirituality will also help to change his behavior and to reconcile with himself, others and God," he says. The Commissioner cited a wise saying of Saint Avvaiyar "Kovil ila ouril iroukavendam" which translates as "Never live in a place where there is no place of worship." He argues that a place of worship is a prominent landmark where people meet, pray, socialize and can also benefit from spiritual guides and moral values. Emphasis is also placed on how to behave and to show respect in society as a good citizen. Spiritual well- being brings a social reorientation and assists inmates to rediscover hope, self-dignity, love and compassion for others. Belief in God transforms his heart, his character and personality, which is conducive to rehabilitation.

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India Unveiled: Spirit, Tradition, People
Posted on 2014/5/16 16:10:08 ( 441 reads )

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CHICAGO, USA, May 15, 2014 (by Tim Sommers): India Unveiled's author Robert Arnett and Editor, Smita Turakhia have done it again. The sixth edition of the beautifully produced, multi-award winning coffee table book will be released by Publisher Atman Press on May 22, 2014. The new volume contains 308 pages and 307 photographs reproduced on acid-free archival paper. With an eye toward furthering understanding and neutralizing prejudice toward differences in our society today, this updated version acknowledges India's modernity while giving full credence and more explanation of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism, the four religions that originated in India. The book addresses topics such as the mother aspect of God, the symbolism of murti, the symbolism of Aum, why Hindus respect cows, and the caste system.

The book includes a timeline of India and the World, which is more in line with archeological discoveries and India's ancient texts and history, rather than based on colonial influenced, dated ideas about the history of the country. From the soaring temple gates of Tamil Nadu to the delicately carved marble temples of Jainism, to the Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar, to the spectacular arati ceremony at Hardwar, India Unveiled truly reveals the diversity and sacredness of the oldest continuously living civilization on earth. Indian-Americans in particular will appreciate this work, which focuses on their rich and noble lineage. Arnett's simple style of writing along with the captivating photographs will give all a deeper appreciation of their heritage. India Unveiled will be the centerpiece of discussions in many homes where there is curiosity about India and a respect for her tradition.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/5/16 16:10:02 ( 353 reads )

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Life should be dynamic, full of movement, flowing endlessly like the mighty Ganges. Life's movement should be channelled in the right direction. Life becomes a burden for many people because it has lost its dynamism. For them life is not like a flowing river. It is a static, turbid puddle.Understand that action gives movement to life, knowledge gives it direction and devotion bestows the inspiration to life's journey.
-- Rameshbhai Oza, inspired performer of Vaishnava kathas

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Indian Railway Starts Pilgrim Train from Chennai to Nepal
Posted on 2014/5/12 18:42:11 ( 783 reads )

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KOLKATA, INDIA, May 5, 2014 (Times Of India): After offering tour packages to popular destinations like Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has launched a tourist train from Chennai to Nepal, primarily aimed at pilgrims from south India. Those opting for this tour will be taken around Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage destinations in north India and Nepal.

It will be an exclusive AC tourist train for a round trip from Chennai, covering Allahabad, Varanasi (Kasi), Ayodhya, Kathmandu, Manakamana, Pokhara and Kushinagar. The train will start from Chennai Central on May 11 and return on May 23. The train will pass through Vijaywada and Warangal for the benefit of pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh.

The tour includes travel by the AC Tourist Train, AC hotel accommodation at places where night stay will be required, buses for transfers and sightseeing, on-board and off-board vegetarian catering, services of tour escort and security. In this trip, the tourists will get an opportunity to bathe in the Triveni Sangam (confluence of rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati) in Allahabad, visit the famous Vishwanath temple and Visalakshi temple in Varanasi (Kasi), visit Pashupathinath Temple, Swayambhunath (a Buddhist Temple) and Budha Nilkantha (Lord Vishnu) temple in Kathmandu.

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