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Guru Purnima's Intrinsic Message Of EcoDharmic Harmony
Posted on 2014/7/20 18:11:32 ( 419 reads )

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UNITED STATES, July 14, 2014 (Huffington Post by Anju Bhargava): Guru Purnima is observed by the entire Dharmic community - Buddhists, Hindus, Jains and Sikhs and it also has a strong message of environmental harmony. The Dharmic traditions believe Gurus are an important part of our lives as they help us understand the great Dharma-based Spiritual teachings with roots in the Vedas.

The dictates of the natural seasons of Mother Earth guided our Gurus and the communities. Now, many of us hope our communities will honor the teachings from the ancient times and sustain Mother Earth by taking steps to reduce our carbon footprint and develop EcoDharmic conservation habits.

We at Hindu American Seva Communities (HASC) are celebrating Guru Purnima through a historic partnership with EPA's ENERGY STAR(R) program. Our tradition shows our environmental leadership potential which, if harnessed, can influence global climate change policies. Given the ancient intrinsic harmony in our collective Dharmic traditions, surely we can achieve our values of conservation and energy efficiency through our temples and devotees.


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/7/20 18:11:25 ( 353 reads )

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Life is meant for God-realization. If you die without attaining God-realization, your life is in vain. Even having one hundred gurus will not help, unless the disciple has a great desire for liberation and tries to get rid of all that stands in the way.
-- Swami Chidananda (1916-2008), President of Divine Life Society

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Seeking an Indian Perspective on History
Posted on 2014/7/16 18:32:48 ( 608 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 16, 2014 (Indian Express): Prof. Yellapragada Sudershan Rao, who headed Kakatiya University's history department, has been appointed by the new government as chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research. In an interview to The Indian Express, Rao says an Indian perspective to history has been missing.

"In the past 200 years, generally Indian history has been seen from the perspective of Western historians. It is not a secret that the methodology to study our history was only
western. We are in fact rejecting all others saying that these do not meet the West-inspired standards and parameters. Earlier it was British historians who did so, and post-Independence study of Indian history has been dominated by Marxists. Marxism is not India. Later came subaltern views. I am only posing a question -- can there be any Indian perspective.. any alternative methodology?" says Rao.

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Tamil Film Featuring Vegetarianism a Surprise Hit
Posted on 2014/7/16 18:32:33 ( 0 reads )

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TAMIL NADU, INDIA, July 12, 2014 (by Sudha G Tilak): In a state where not eating meat is associated with brahminism, it is remarkable that the film has not attracted charges of reinforcing casteism. A Tamil film espousing vegetarianism is not only running to packed cinemas across the state, but also winning critical acclaim in the regional press. Titled Saivam, the film was released on June 27 in more than 220 theaters in India and abroad. In Tamil Nadu, where vegetarianism is a euphemism for brahminism and where contemporary politics has been shaped by a social movement with a strong anti-brahmin current, the film's success is remarkable because it has so far not faced accusations of caste-bias or imposing brahmin values. More to the point, it has not attracted controversy probably because it has been able to convey that it is advocating vegetarianism out of a compassion for animals and not concern of caste purity.

Vegetarianism is a sensitive subject in Tamil Nadu. But brahmins are not the only vegetarians in the state. Saiva Pillais, land-owning devotees of Siva, and the Vellalars, an agricultural community, also do not eat meat. Indeed, the Tamil word for vegetarian is saivam, from which the film get its title. But a form of discrimination in the state's real estate market reinforces vegetarianism's almost exclusive association with brahmins. But Vijay, the film maker, who is a vegetarian said his film had managed to win converts. He said he had been receiving texts and email messages from Tamils across the world, telling him how moved they had been by the film's message of compassion. A leading filmmaker phoned him to say he'd turned vegetarian after watching the film.

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Balinese In Melbourne Raise Funds For Temple
Posted on 2014/7/16 18:32:27 ( 518 reads )

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, June 24, 2014 (Bali Daily): The Balinese community living in Melbourne, Australia, is raising funds to build a Hindu temple in the city where they have established a banjar (customary hamlet) with around 300 members.

At an estimated cost of US$167,000, the community is appealing to local businesses in Bali to help raise funds to build a place where they can hold gatherings and activities to celebrate Balinese art and culture.

"We really hope that one day we can have a dedicated place for our activities. We want to build a temple here," said Nyoman Dwija Putra. He added that building a hall and a temple was necessary to facilitate the many Balinese people marrying Australians. "We believe it would play an important role as a place to celebrate Balinese art and culture. Many of the Balinese living here are in mixed marriages. Their children often miss out on their Balinese heritage," he explained.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/7/16 18:32:20 ( 444 reads )

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Before you start some work, always ask yourself three questions: Why am I doing it? What might the results be? Can I be successful? Only when you think deeply and find satisfactory answers to these questions, then proceed.
-- Chanakya (350-275 bce), Indian politician, strategist and writer

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Mauritius Lord Murugan Conscecrated
Posted on 2014/7/15 18:33:41 ( 612 reads )

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GRAND BASIN, MAURITIUS, July 11, 2014 (Le Mauricien): On Saturday, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami oversaw the dedication of a statue of the God Muruga at the Somnath Spiritual Park temple at Grand Bassin. This initiative of the Sri Skanda Foundation, the Hindu House and the Spiritual Park at Riviere-du-Rempart saw the participation of a large contingent of the faithful, who recited Vedic verses in praise of Lord Muruga, son of Shiva, and poured holy water and offerings, like curd and honey on the statue of the Hindu Deity.

The Minister of Arts and Culture (Hon. Mookhesswur Choonee) was present at this religious event. Several monks accompanying Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami were also present, as well as artists from the National Integrated Forum of Artists and Activists of India, who gave a representation of the Colours of India at the initiative of the Global Rainbow Foundation Monday at the Indira Gandhi Cultural Center, in Phoenix.

Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami is the spiritual leader of Kauai Aadheenam, a spiritual complex in the Hawaiian Islands. He became the spiritual leader of the monastery since the founder, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, attained samadhi in 2001. Subramuniyaswami, more affectionately known as Gurudeva, appointed Bodhinatha, a disciple by his side for 37 years, as his successor.

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Sanskrit Training In India; 'Sanscript' Your Success Story
Posted on 2014/7/15 18:33:35 ( 542 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 9, 2014 (Hindustan Times): When minister Sushma Swaraj and other members of Parliament were sworn in last month, they chose to take their oath in Sanskrit. The language is gradually gaining popularity but there is still a long way to go when it comes to beating the misconception that Sanskrit is just related to the traditions of Hindu worship and rituals. Some educational institutions are making efforts to popularize the language among students.

"As part of Delhi University's undergraduate degree programme, students can learn the nuances of fashion, make-up, stress management, Vedic mathematics, acting, script writing, arts and aesthetics, medicine, astronomy, and climatology as these have a deep connection with the language," says Dr. Pankaj Mishra of St Stephen's Sanskrit department.

This traditional way of learning has become possible with the establishment of universities for Sanskrit studies by the Central government and many state governments. Now, there are 15 Sanskrit universities in India," says Shrinivasa Varakhedi, vice chancellor, Karnataka Sanskrit University.

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Delhi Is Now World's Second Most Populous City
Posted on 2014/7/15 18:33:29 ( 460 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 12, 2014 (The Hindu): Delhi is now the world's second most populous city with 25 million inhabitants. Tokyo remains the world's largest city with 38 million inhabitants. The 2014 revision of the World Urbanisation Prospects by U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA)'s Population Division has pointed to rapid urban growth in India, China and Nigeria.

Further, the report says that while Tokyo's population is projected to decline, Delhi's would continue to grow rapidly and by 2030, the Capital would have 36 million inhabitants. Among the other most populous cities, Mumbai is in the top six with a population of 21 million.

The number of mega cities with a population of over 10 million has risen rapidly. While there were 10 such cities in 1990, there are 28 now and by 2030, the world is projected to have 41 mega cities with 10 million inhabitants or more. In Delhi, the pressure of such rapid increase in population has already started showing. Be it water, power, education, health care, infrastructure, law and order or sanitation, all the systems are under immense pressure, which is only set to increase.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/7/15 18:33:22 ( 382 reads )

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One must seek the shortest way and the fastest means to get back home--to turn the spark within into a blaze, to be merged in and to identify with that greater fire which ignited the spark.
-- Swami Nityananda of Ganeshpuri (1885-1961), South Indian Mystic

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Mahabharata Historian Gets Research Reins
Posted on 2014/7/14 17:35:15 ( 602 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 2, 2014 (Telegraph India): A retired history professor who has written articles arguing that stories from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are truthful accounts of events that took place has been named chief of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), the government agency to promote historical research.

Yellapragada Sudershan Rao, whose interests include Vedic literature, Sanatana Dharma and Bharatiya Sanskriti, set the tone for his three-year tenure after taking charge on Saturday. Under his leadership, the ICHR, he told The Telegraph, should take up projects to rewrite ancient history to establish the "continuous Indian civilization," including the period of the two epics.

"The stories of the Ramayaan and the Mahabharata cannot be termed a-historical just because there is not enough archaeological hard evidence. Excavations cannot be done in many places since people are living there and you cannot evict them," explained Rao.

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Victoria, BC, Canada Holds India Cultural Festival
Posted on 2014/7/14 17:35:09 ( 462 reads )

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VICTORIA, BC CANADA, June 27, 2014 (Times Colonist): Music, movies, dance and the auspicious arrangement of home furniture are featured in this year's Cultural and Arts Festival of India at the Victoria Hindu Temple. A Mosaic of Music, Movies and Dance is this year's cultural theme for the festival, running today and Sunday, and the temple wants to honor more than 100 years of Indian film.

Suresh Basrur, temple trustee, said the first Indian movie was created in 1913, a silent picture called Raja Harishchandra. Indian cinema has since exploded into the colossal, colorful art form it is now. Other elements of this year's festival are palm readings, astrology sessions and the always popular (and hilarious) lessons in how to wear a sari.

The Victoria Hindu Temple in Central Saanich dates back to 1995, when Hindu families in the Victoria area banded together to buy the 100-year-old, no-longer-used St. Mary's Anglican Church. Now, about 200 Hindu families, nearly 400 people, count themselves as temple members.

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The History of Hindu India: A Review
Posted on 2014/7/14 17:35:02 ( 571 reads )

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WASHINGTON, DC, July 10, 2014 (by Murali Balaji): Teaching history continues to be one of the biggest challenges in school districts across America, as schools must often grapple with outdated standards and old and inaccurate textbooks. In addition, teachers can sometimes struggle transitioning to the most current pedagogical approaches.

History can also be highly politicized, as we continue to see in states such as Texas, where small but vocal groups envisage instructional materials and curriculum shaped solely by their own world views. Teachers I've trained complain that they're often caught in the middle between angry parents and school district or even state-level mandates. Moreover, there aren't many vetted multimedia resources that can engage students across grade levels.

Teaching about Hinduism and ancient Indian history is especially problematic because Hinduism and India aren't one and the same. However, the Himalayan Academy's nuanced approach in their newly released "History of Hindu India" video provides a great template of explaining the overlaps by highlighting the development of Hindu culture in what is now India over thousands of years. The video, narrated by Roger (Raj) Narayan, supplements Himalayan Academy's textbook of the same name. Go to http://www.himalayanacademy.com/readlearn/hindu-history for all versions.

Himalayan Academy, which publishes the acclaimed Hinduism Today magazine, produced the video and the textbook in "response to the problem of negative portrayal of Hinduism and India in school textbooks," and their approach relied on academic expertise and vetting. The primary author was Shiva Bajpai, professor emeritus of history at California State University Northridge, while noted religion scholars such as Anantanand Rambachan, Jeffrey Long, T.S. Rukmani and Klaus Klostermaier were consulted for accuracy.

The video provides a compelling look at underrepresented aspects of India's history, as well as the development of Hinduism from both a cultural and philosophical standpoint. Developed primarily for sixth graders, the video can be used at almost all grade levels through high school. While its tone is positive, the content isn't preachy and aligns to meet state and local standards on teaching about religion.

Perhaps the most valuable aspect of the video is that it can also be used by parents (Hindu and non-Hindu alike) for cultural education. It has already been released with Tamil, Hindi, Spanish, French, Balinese and English subtitles. The video's distribution can be an important tool to help expand understandings about Hinduism in classrooms across the country.

Murali Balaji is Director of Education and Curriculum Reform, Hindu American Foundation

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/7/14 17:34:56 ( 416 reads )

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If you long to see God, take to spiritual practices. What is the good of merely crying, "O God! O God!"?
-- Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836-1886)

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Om at the Airport: Helsinki Offering Yoga for Stressed Travelers
Posted on 2014/7/9 17:02:35 ( 642 reads )

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HELSINKI, FINLAND, June 10, 2014 (New York Daily News): Passengers departing Helsinki can now reduce the stress of travel by participating in pre-flight yoga and Pilates classes being offered through the airport's TravelLab, which aims to improve the experience of flying. As part of a testing phase, a limited selection of Om sessions are available to all passengers, regardless of which airline and class of service they selected.

Classes are held in the newly opened "Kainuu" relaxation space near gate 30, designed by TravelLab with a great outdoors theme. During the test phase, classes, which are 20 minutes long, have been few and far between, meaning passengers looking to pop into a session may have a hard time finding one that corresponds with their flight schedule. The Kainuu relaxation space is open 24 hours per day, however, so passengers looking to practice independently may do so at any time. (A final yoga class was scheduled for June 10).

Helsinki Airport is the latest of several to add a yoga program: others include San Francisco, Dallas Fort Worth and Chicago O'Hare.

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