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Dalits Protest Exclusion from Festival

Posted on 2016/7/30 18:29:37 ( 1258 reads )


INDIA, July 28, 2016 (The News Minute): Frustrated by their exclusion from a festival of the Deity Bhadra Kaliamman in the Mahasakhthi Amman temple, 250 Dalit families living in the Pazhangkallimedu and Nagapalli villages in Nagapattinam district recently threatened to convert to Islam. Although caste Hindu authorities have subsequently agreed to allow them a day to celebrate their Deity, the Dalit families still seem apprehensive about how far the agreement will hold.

The main demand of the Dalits is to perform Mandagapadi, that is, to lead the rituals on one day in the five-day annual temple festival. "Bhadra Kaliamman is our Deity, whom we have been worshipping from generations. But now, we are not left with any other way than to convert to Islam," said Senthil Kumar, district Union Secretary of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK).

For these Dalits, the refusal to recognize their right to worship devalues their contribution towards the temple. "We built the temple in 2009 and it is government-aided. Then why should we not be allowed to celebrate the temple festival for one day?" asked Vetrivel, President of the temple trust in the village.

Travancore Temple Board Plans Godly Lessons

Posted on 2016/7/30 18:29:27 ( 973 reads )


KOCHI, INDIA, July 26, 2016 (Deccan Chronicle): The Travancore Devaswom Board will set up religious study centres in all temples under it within a year so as to attract more people to the "path of faith," the board president Prayar Gopalakrishnan said on Monday. "Currently such centers are functional in about 200 temples. We will co-ordinate and streamline their functioning.

In the rest of the temples, centres will be started in a phased manner. The aim is to attract maximum people to the religious faiths and beliefs," Mr. Gopalakrishnan told DC. There are 1,248 temples under the control of the board. It's compulsory for children or grandchildren of members of temple advisory committees to attend the classes, he said. However, the financial implication for the initiative would be kept at a minimum.

The centres will have facilities such as computers, DTP and multi-media projector, among others. "Basically the classes will be on the core values and principles based on traditional epics such as Ramayana and Mahabharatha.

Compassion In 4 Dharmic Traditions Released in Delhi

Posted on 2016/7/30 18:29:17 ( 1002 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 26, 2016 (Times of India): RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Tuesday pitched for spread of compassion as he said practicing the value offers solution to many present-day concerns like extremism of all forms, materialism and self-centeredness among people. "We need to understand what is at the core of our religious traditions. Satya (truth) and shuchita (piousness) are at its core and both are not possible without compassion. Hence, we will have to begin with compassion," Bhagwat said.

"The imbalance, extremism after the destruction of religion, competition with each other, the rampant rise in self-centeredness...all these we can fight by practicing compassion and truth...To be able to do that, we should practise compassion," he said during launch of a book titled "Compassion in 4 Dharmic Traditions".

The event was attended by BJP veteran LK Advani and Union Minister for Science, Technology and Earth Sciences Harsh Vardhan.

The former Deputy Prime Minister said the work, edited by Ved Nanda, showed how there are commonalities in religions like Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism when it comes to compassion. The book is a set of papers delivered by a wide range of scholars at the Uberoi Foundation Experts Meeting at the Naropa Institute, Denver, Colorado, in 2014.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/7/30 18:29:06 ( 763 reads )


The son's duty to his father is to make the world ask, "by what great austerities did he merit such a son?"
-- Tirukkural

Himachal Pradesh Govt set to Takeover Raghunathji Temple Under its Control

Posted on 2016/7/29 19:38:44 ( 1004 reads )


HIMACHAL PRADESH, INDIA July 27, 2016 (Press Trust of India): The Himachal Pradesh government is all set to take over the famous Raghunathji temple in Sultanpur palace of erstwhile ruling family of Kullu under its control, as a proposal in this regard has been approved by the state cabinet. President of Himachal Lokhit Party (HLP) and former BJP leader, Maheshwar Singh who is descendant of ruling family is chief Kardar (caretaker) of Raghunathji temple. Raghunathji is the presiding Deity of about 300 local devatas (gods) of the region and all festivities revolve around Him during the famous international Dussehra festival.

Maheshwar said he was yet to be informed about the cabinet's decision and "necessary legal action would be taken if the government initiates the process of taking control of the temple under the Himachal Pradesh Hindu Public Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act 1984". The Raghunathji temple was in the news following theft of the Deity of Raghunathji along with other artefacts in December, 2014, which were later recovered.

Hyderabad: 20,000 Ganesh Statues for Festival to Be Above 20 Feet

Posted on 2016/7/29 19:38:34 ( 1070 reads )


HYDERABAD, INDIA, July 24, 2016 (Deccan Chronicle): Hyderabad and Cyberabad together will have a hundred thousand Ganesh pandals this year. The 10 day-festival will start on September 5 and the Khairatabad Ganesh along with statues exceeding 20 feet will be immersed on September 15. Samiti secretary R. Shashidhar said, "the number of pandals in the twin cities and Cyberabad will be 100,000. We are expecting more to be set up Khairatabad will have the tallest statue at 58 feet.

"We have asked the organizers to avoid the Metro Rail corridor and accept the state government plan to decentralize the immersion process with special enclosures for immersion at 10 lakes in the city including Hussainsagar." Besides, HMDA has purchased a US$445 million machine to take out the statues once they are immersed.

Huge Quake for the Himalayas? Ancient Hindu Temples Hold Clues

Posted on 2016/7/29 19:38:23 ( 992 reads )


HIMACHAL PRADESH,INDIA, July 27, 2016 (by Tia Ghose, Live Science News): A damaged and clamped pillar at the Lakshmi Narayan Temple in the Chamba region of India is a sign of a past earthquake. The damage likely occurred hundreds of years ago, meaning the nearby fault has had a lot of time to build up stress. Past earthquakes that damaged ancient temples perched high in the Himalayas could be harbingers of dangerous quakes to come, new research suggests. The area, a picturesque, tourist mountain town in Himachal Pradesh, is sandwiched between two regions where catastrophic earthquakes have killed tens of thousands of people. But researchers didn't think this area was at high risk until now. The findings suggest that the region is overdue for a major earthquake.

The area near the Himalayas is laced with terrifying faults. In 2005, a magnitude-7.6 earthquake shook a region of Pakistan called Azad Kashmir, killing 86,000 people and displacing millions. And in 1905, a magnitude-7.8 quake rattled the Kangra Valley in Punjab, India, killing 20,000 people. But sandwiched between these two regions is the picturesque mountain town of Chamba, and it sustained no damage in these earthquakes. As such, the researchers wanted to know whether the region also faces a large earthquake risk.The team analyzed most ancient structures in the region. Among the most notable are the stone Lakshmi Narayan temples and the wooden Bharmour Chitrari temples, which were built around the year 680. Of course, it can be difficult to determine what causes pillars to tilt and floors to deform. But it turns out that the waves rippling out from an earthquake travel in a clear orientation that can make earthquake damage easy to identify, the researchers said. Now that the region's earthquake risk has been identified, it's up to engineers to build structures that are safe enough to withstand such an event, Joshi added.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/7/29 19:38:13 ( 706 reads )


"Sweet are the sounds of the flute and the lute," say those who have not heard the prattle of their own children.
-- Tirukkural

The Saga of the Sarasvati River

Posted on 2016/7/28 15:01:18 ( 1063 reads )


INDIA, July 25, 2016 (mydigitalfc.om by Michel Danino): For some reason, unless it is for no reason, the word "mythical" has come to stick to the bygone Sarasvati river, with most mass media articles about its supposed "rediscovery" religiously starting with it. Unfortunately, rarely if ever have their authors researched what they write about. And since cutting-edge technology sells as well as religion, we are also told that the river's lost bed was "rediscovered" in recent years through satellite imagery.

So let us attempt to go beyond these newsworthy but misleading sound bites. There is, of course, nothing "mythical" about the river, even if it acquired the status of a goddess in the earliest literature. Praised in the Rig-Veda's hymns as a "mighty" river flowing "from the mountain to the sea," the Nadistuti Sukta (or Hymn in Praise of Rivers) precisely located it between the Yamuna and the Sutlej, which would not have been the case had it been regarded as "mythical." The river undergoes changes in the late vedic literature: a few centuries later, a few brahmanas (commentaries on the Vedas) depict it as disappearing in the desert at a point called Vinashana or Adarshana, which soon became a highly revered pilgrimage site; it has been located by scholars in northern Rajasthan's Hanumangarh district.

The Mahabharata, whose great war is waged in the Kurukshetra region watered by the Sarasvati and its tributaries, paints a similar picture, adding some details about the broken-up westward course of the river as Balarama, Krishna's brother, journeys on a pilgrimage from Prabhas on the Arabian Sea to the river's source in the Shivalik hills. The evidence from the literature is thus perfectly consistent with a physical river that happens to dry up (for reasons I will not go into here). If the Sarasvati was ever "mythical," it is at Prayag (modern Allahabad), where she was made to join Ganga and Yamuna as an "invisible" river -- a convenient device to remember her despite no physical reality at that spot.

For the full article with illustration go to:

First Page: http://epaper.mydigitalfc.com/articledetailpage.aspx?id=5948355
Second Page: http://epaper.mydigitalfc.com/articledetailpage.aspx?id=5948358

California Department of Education Recruiting Textbook Reviewers

Posted on 2016/7/28 15:01:07 ( 962 reads )


CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA, July 28, 2016 (press release): California has recently revised its history Framework for grade VI (equivalent to sixth standard in India). This document outlines what is to be in the textbooks. Sixth grade covers all ancient civilizations and has extensive chapters on Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions, whether living or extinct. Christianity and Islam are covered in seventh grade textbooks (which includes the medieval period), along with the Bhakti movement in Hinduism and the development of Sikhism. The adoption of new textbooks guided by this revised Framework is preceded by extensive public review and comment, allowing for various advocacy groups to revise and improve these textbooks, fix errors and eliminate--or insert--biases.

The Framework section on Ancient India and Hinduism, adopted after a 8-year process, was particularly contentious with some academics arguing to remove "Hinduism" and "India: from the Framework in favor of "religion of ancient India" and "South Asia." While most references to Hinduism and India were retained, some instances were deleted before the framework was approved by the California Department of Education. The next phase involves the development of textbooks and their review. California is recruiting reviewers: PhDs in history, teachers, parents and concerned citizens can apply without any requirement of residency in California. If you are interested in ensuring the proper representation of India and Hinduism in 6th grade textbooks, please go to http://www.hindupedia.com/en/Hinduism_in_California_Textbooks where you can learn more about what is happening and how to participate in the process.

These new California textbooks will set the standard for the rest of the country, especially for states which do not have the extensive guidelines California creates for what is to be taught. So even if you are not a California resident, this revision process could very well impact what is taught in your state's schools.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/7/28 15:00:56 ( 803 reads )


Of all blessings we know of none greater than the begetting of children endowed with intelligence.
-- Tirukkural

U.S. Department of Education Takes Actions to Address Religious Discrimination

Posted on 2016/7/25 20:35:32 ( 1318 reads )


USA, July 25, 2016 (Ed.gov Press Release): As part of ongoing efforts to encourage respect for students of all faiths and beliefs, the U.S. Department of Education today shared a series of actions that confront discrimination and promote inclusive school environments. The steps include a new website on religious discrimination, an updated civil rights complaint form, an expanded survey of America's public schools on religious-based bullying, technical assistance for schools, and recent outreach on confronting religious harassment in education. "Students of all religions should feel safe, welcome and valued in our nation's schools," said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon. "We will continue to work with schools and communities to stop discrimination and harassment so that all students have an equal opportunity to participate in school no matter who they are, where they come from or which faith, if any, they subscribe to."

"Today's announcement underscores that we are concerned about the well being of students. On the prevention side, President Obama's Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, started in 2011, is another important resource," said the Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell, director of the Department's Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. "Our agency has had the privilege of coordinating the Challenge which provides college students from many religious traditions as well as nonbelievers to work together to tackle community problems. This higher education civic engagement allows students from religiously diverse backgrounds to build bridges of understanding across cultural and religious lines and helps prevent intolerance."

The Department's Office for Civil Rights launched a new page, Religious Discrimination, http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/religion.html, on its website with information about federal laws that protect students from discrimination involving their religion. The page links to OCR policy guidance, notable case resolutions, and resources in multiple languages and from other federal agencies.

For more, go to source

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/7/25 20:35:20 ( 824 reads )


Through meditation and by giving full attention to one thing at a time, we can learn to direct attention where we choose.
-- Eknath Easwaran

Tamil Nadu CM Thanks Harish Rawat for Promising to Install Valluvar Statue

Posted on 2016/7/24 19:19:55 ( 0 reads )


CHENNAI, INDIA, July 23, 2016 (Deccan Chronicle): Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Friday wrote to her Uttarakhand counterpart Harish Rawat thanking him for taking steps to install the Thiruvalluvar statue within the government Mela Bhavan in Haridwar. "I am grateful that you have responded speedily and positively to the outpouring of sentiments of the people of TN on this sensitive issue," she told Rawat, who had dispatched a senior Tamil IAS officer in Uttarkhand to identify a suitable spot for the statue's installation.

Ms. Jayalalithaa in her letter told Rawat that the Thiruvalluvar statue issue had caused "considerable disquiet" in TN. Several political leaders in TN had expressed concern over the statue of the poet-saint lying wrapped in a park in Haridwar after the efforts by BJP MP Tarun Vijay to install it on the banks of Ganga failed due to protest from local sadhus.

It appeared that the sadhus were against the Thiruvalluvar statue being erected in an area where only the statues of Hindu deities have been installed. According to R. Meenakshi Sundaram, vice-chairman of the Mussoorie-Dehradun Development Authority, a suitable spot inside the Mela Bhavan will be decided after consulting the Ganga Sabha and the Akhil Bharatiya Akahara Parishad representatives.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/7/24 19:19:44 ( 847 reads )


To say "through silence He is realized" is not correct, because Supreme Knowledge does not come "through" anything. Supreme Knowledge reveals Itself.
-- Anandamayi Ma

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