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Roots Revival: India's Classical Dance Is Back En Vogue in Delhi

Posted on 2016/11/30 19:58:31 ( 364 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 26, 2016 (The Peninsula Qatar): Students elegantly curve their hands before breaking into synchronized footwork at a class in New Delhi, where growing numbers are signing up for Indian traditional dance classes rooted in Hindu mythology. Class participants range from from pre-teens to surgeons and marketing managers -- but they have all chosen to learn traditional Indian dance, which emerged from the country's temples centuries ago, over Western options such as ballet, jazz and hip hop.

"Tradition is becoming popular now," said Nitya Pant, a Mumbai-based marketing executive who practices Odissi -- an ancient temple-based dance that honors Hindu Lord Jagannath, Lord of the Universe. "No other form can give you the satisfaction that classical dance gives you," added the 29-year-old. "You feel like you're one with God."

India is home to eight major classical dance styles including Odissi and Bharatnatyam -- a genre originating in the country's southern temples more than 2,000 years ago -- that tell stories of gods through facial expressions, hand gestures and rapid footwork. Once performed in temples and royal courts, India's classical dance has found international resonance with troupes performing around the world. Thanks to a mushrooming Indian diaspora, traditional dance schools have popped up globally, piquing the interest of other nationalities too.

An Indian Thanksgiving - It's All about Gratitude

Posted on 2016/11/30 19:58:21 ( 274 reads )


UNITED STATES, November 22, 2016 (Lassi With Lavina, by Lavina Melwani): If Thanksgiving is a festival of gratitude, then Indians have been preparing for it their whole lives. In India, take a walk down the Mumbai waterfront in the early morning mist, and you see ordinary citizens quietly feeding the fish and the birds. Their daily day doesn't really begin until the deities in their home shrine have been venerated with fresh flowers and offered prasadam. It is only after eating a little of this blessed offering does the family sit down to their meals. Many remember to keep aside a portion of the food for a hungry person or the birds. It is all about sharing.

Every festival is about counting one's blessings and thanking God for them. Indeed, buying a new car or new home entails special puja or prayer ceremonies to bless the new item and to offer thanks. "Gratitude is exalted as one of the most important virtues (dharma) in many Hindu texts," says Dr. Vasudha Narayanan, Distinguished Professor of Religion, University of Florida. "It is both a human and divine virtue; prayers and panegyrics say Vishnu has qualities such as compassion and gratitude. By this they mean that if a human being does a good deed, the divine being wants to show His gratitude in many ways. The Ramayana says: Krte ca prati kartavyam esham dharmah sanatanah (Ramayana, Sundara Kanda) "To repay a good deed with another - this is the essence of Sanatana Dharma."

Are there any Hindu prayers which are popular with families for this occasion? Since saying of grace before food is not a traditional custom in India where often food was sanctified and served, this is new territory for Hindus. In fact, even for the South Indian festival of Pongal which is generally interpreted as thanksgiving, there are no specific prayers, says Narayanan. Yet as she points out, "The Hindu traditions are dynamic; we add, we modify, we jettison, and we co-opt rituals very easily.

More of this thoughtful article at "source" above.

Canteens at Govt. Medical Facilities to Provide Pure Vegetarian Meals

Posted on 2016/11/30 19:58:10 ( 262 reads )


SEREMBAN, MALAYSIA, November 17, 2016 (The Star): Vegetarians can now enjoy their meals without any worry when dining at cafeterias in government hospitals and other medical facilities. This follows a directive from the Health Ministry that these cafeteria operators must provide food that is strictly vegetarian to anyone who patronized their outlet. Ministry director-general Datuk Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah said the demand for vegetarian food from both patients and visitors to these facilities have been increasing.

Dr. Noor Hisham said the ministry decided to introduce the ruling after receiving many complaints from the public, especially those who had to stay at hospitals to look after their sick relatives. With the new ruling, cafeteria operators have also been told to be sensitive to the needs of vegans who consumed only greens, lacto-vegetarians who also took milk and dairy products and lacto-ovo-vegetarians who were okay with eating eggs.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/11/30 19:58:00 ( 177 reads )


You need to be a great theist before you can become a great monist. Theistic practices of humility, service and worship form the basis of yoga, which then leads to levels of samadhi and monistic realizations. It is a ladder with definite, clear steps.
-- Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, publisher of Hinduism Today

Hindu Pilgrims Cancel Trip to Pakistan Due to Tension

Posted on 2016/11/26 18:32:24 ( 546 reads )


ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN, November 27, 2016 (Navhind Times): About 200 Hindu pilgrims in India canceled their trip to Pakistan as they were not allowed to undertake the journey due to ongoing tension between the two countries, an official said today. The pilgrims were issued visas by Pakistan High Commission for the trip to holy Katas Raj Shiva temple in Chakwal district near capital Islamabad. They were scheduled to arrive in Pakistan on November 28 on a three-day pilgrimage to Katas temple complex, considered one the most holy sites for Hindus, said Siddique ul Farooq, chairman of Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB).

"Their scheduled visit has been canceled," Farooq told Dawn newspaper. "We had issued visas to the pilgrims but their government did not allow them to visit Pakistan," he said, adding that that comprehensive security arrangements had been made for the Indian pilgrims. Farooq cited the border tension as the reason behind the cancellation of the visit. However, the Indian ministry sources said they did not tell the pilgrims to cancel their trip and the call may have been taken by the organisers. Hindu pilgrims visit Katas Raj twice a year in February and November.

Yoga Practice Not Religiously Dangerous: Mizoram BJP

Posted on 2016/11/26 18:32:14 ( 518 reads )


MIZORAM, INDIA, November 26, 2016 (northeasttoday.in): The Mizoram BJP has stated that yoga practice is not religiously dangerous further it is safe as it is mostly related with physical exercise and mental health practice. While interacting with reporters, BJP vice-president F. Lal Thanzuala said, "Although classical yoga is related with Hindu philosophy, but if it is used for physical exercise and mental health practice by not chanting Hindu mantra there is nothing to be panic about it." He added that those who have talked about danger of practicing yoga did not know about provision of protection of Mizo religious belief enshrined in the constitution.

According to him article 371-G of the peace accord with the government of India signifies that no act of parliament which may affect religious or social practice of the Mizos can be implemented in Mizoram unless the state legislative assembly passed it. "If there is a directive from parliament to introduce yoga in Mizoram, state assembly session should be summoned in which a decision not to introduce yoga should be based on Article 371-G."

He further said, "As long as yoga is practice for physical or mental health or is practiced with Christian belief. It is not unsafe for Mizos." Mizoram is 87% Christian.

HPI note: This rather unusual declaration (especially coming from the BJP) apparently is in reaction to the Christian church here objecting to the observance of International Yoga Day in June. See http://www.firstpost.com/politics/in- ... ffronisation-2843530.html. In that article, the state BJP said, "We are having a difficult time in convincing the church and the people here, that Hindutva is not our agenda, but development is."

Health Benefits of Ghee

Posted on 2016/11/26 18:32:03 ( 528 reads )


INDIA, November 26, 2016 (mavcure.com by Dr. Hitesh Sharma): Whenever we think about health and supplements, we look for medicines and over the counter prescriptions. We forget to peep into our house. Your kitchen is the most important area. It has all the remedies in the cupboards and shelves; you just need to know the right ingredients. One such kitchen ingredient is the ghee that is prepared by almost all housewives in India. Nowadays people refrain from it thinking that it is the reason for ill health, obesity, and many other health problems. But it can do wonders for your mind and body if taken in moderate quantity.

For more of this in-depth article on how to prepare ghee, its health benefits and debunking myths associated with it, see "source" above.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/11/26 18:31:53 ( 297 reads )


If all the land were turned to paper and all the seas turned to ink, and all the forests into pens to write with, they would still not suffice to describe the greatness of the guru.
-- Kabir (1440-1518), Indian Saint

Himachal Temple Offerings Dip by 40 Percent after Demonetization

Posted on 2016/11/25 18:04:28 ( 464 reads )


SHIMLA, INDIA, November 25, 2016 (Indus Business Journal): The cash crunch owing to demonetization of high-value currency has severely hit the offerings in all major Hindu temples of Himachal Pradesh. Officials in temples said the cash offerings had fallen up to 40 percent and the footfall of devotees had also declined by almost half since the demonetization of November 8. Interestingly, the online offerings have also been impacted massively, they said.

"The daily cash offerings at the Chintpurni temple has fallen by up to 40 percent and the average number of devotees visiting the temple has halved on weekends," temple official Subhash Chand told IANS. He said the temple, the richest in the state, had stopped accepting the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes (US$7.50 - $15.00).

"Before the high-value currency notes were demonetized, daily cash offerings was around US$20,500 in 10 days. The offering has been reduced to $14,600 in the past 16 days," Brajeshwari Devi temple official Pawan Badyal said. "The number of devotees coming to the temple has fallen by 40 percent," he added. He said on an average the temple used to get $585 to $730 as online donations every month. "This month, no online offering came."

Call for Contributions for Hindu Section of new Encyclopedia of Indian Religions

Posted on 2016/11/25 18:04:18 ( 470 reads )


TEXAS, USA, November 3, 2016 (press release): Professor Pankaj Jain of the University of North Texas, has issued the following announcement: "We want to invite you to join an exciting project under the leadership of Professor Arvind Sharma, the "Encyclopedia of Indian Religion" (http://www.springer.com/series/15157). For Hinduism section, we are aiming for covering 300 topics overall (750,000 words approximately) of the below, varying lengths from 1,000 to 10,000 words. See https://unt.academia.edu/PankajJain for the list of entries for this project. Since the planned publication date is summer 2018, we are aiming for all submissions to be received by December 2017." Contact: pankajaindia@gmail.com

From the publisher's website on the project, "Encyclopedia of Indian Religions," Series Editor, Prof. Arvind Sharma, McGill University:

"The Encyclopedia of Indian Religions" offers a complete overview of Hinduism and all other religions found in India and the Diaspora, such as Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism and so on. It is strongly characterized by two special features, each pertaining to the fact that Hinduism is closely associated with India but has now become global in its reach. In relation to Hinduism in India, it views Hinduism not in isolation but in dynamic interaction, first with other religions of Indian origin and then with religions which did not originate in India but have been a lasting feature of its religious landscape, namely, Islam and Christianity and, to a lesser extent, Zoroastrianism and Judaism. Secondly, the encyclopedia seriously takes into account the phenomenon of Hinduism in the Diaspora. The Indian Diaspora is now beginning to make its presence felt, both in India and abroad. A strong sense of Hindu identity is emerging among diasporic Hindus. This has lead to an increasing amount of research on Hindu traditions and Indian identity, and the relation of Hinduism with other world religions. The Encyclopedia of Indian Religions will fill the need for information and clarification of modern day Hinduism and Hindu history and traditions to Hindus in the Diaspora. Three main aspects of diasporic Hinduism have been kept in mind while preparing this reference work: firstly the active language of diasporic Hindus is English. Secondly diasporic Hindus need a rational rather than a devotional or traditional exposition of the religion, and thirdly they need information and arguments to address the stereotypes which characterize the presentation of Hinduism in the academia and the media, especially in the West.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/11/25 18:04:07 ( 267 reads )


The unchangeable can only be realized in silence. Once realised, it will deeply affect the changeable, itself remaining unaffected. This attitude of silent observation is the very foundation of yoga. You see the picture, but you are not the picture.
-- Nisargadatta Maharaj (1897-1981), Hindu sage

Emotional Return to N.L. For Tamils Rescued 30 Years Ago

Posted on 2016/11/19 17:29:06 ( 979 reads )


NEWFOUNDLAND, CANADA, August 11, 2016 (CBC): There were hugs and tears Thursday in Admiral's Beach as a group of former Tamil refugees, who were found adrift in St. Mary's Bay 30 years ago, returned to the area to be reunited with their rescuers. The drama -- then and now -- is being made into a film by documentary maker Cyrus Sundar Singh, who accompanied former refugees and their families to Newfoundland.

The return journey started in Holyrood, where the group saw the lifeboats that brought them to the province on Aug. 11, 1986, a sight that was overwhelming for some. Four of the Sri Lankans visiting Thursday were among 155 Tamils found adrift near St. Shott's by a local skipper, Gus Dalton. The "boat people" had sought freedom from Lanka's civil war on a cargo ship that dumped them about 186 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, and by the time Dalton's crew discovered them three days later, they were dehydrated and starving. It was Dalton they most wanted to see Thursday, and they and assorted family and friends crammed into his Admiral's Beach home to pay homage. Dalton's and other fishing boats in the area dumped their catches in the ocean to make room for the refugees and bring them to shore.

Dalton, who's getting on in years and has difficulty talking, was happy to see the Sri Lankans. "I'm glad they come," he said. Most of the Sri Lankans settled in Montreal and Toronto. The group that returned to St. Mary's Bay on Thursday said one of the four children rescued, who was six months old at the time, is now a doctor. Another is an engineer.

Vedanta Society of Northern California Celebrates Temple Re-Dedication

Posted on 2016/11/19 17:28:56 ( 472 reads )


SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, November 18, 2016 (Press Release by Swami Tattwamayananda): The original temple of the Vedanta Society of Northern California, which was dedicated by its builder, Swami Trigunatita, in January, 1906, as being "The first Hindu Temple in the Whole Western World", was rededicated on October 29, 2016, the Holy Kali Puja day, after a two year period of strengthening and reconstruction. Formal worship was offered to Sri Ramakrishna, to the Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi, to Mother Kali in an image copied from a Belur Math image, and to Swami Vivekananda.

Swami Girishananda, the manager of Belur Math and a trustee of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, was the chief guest, and Swami Devapriyananda did the puja assisted by Swami Aparananda as the Tantra-Dharaka. On the next day, Sunday, October 30, from 1 PM until approximately 6 PM, in the New Temple auditorium, a public celebration was held, starting with a 45 minute audio-visual PowerPoint presentation on the history and significance of the Old Temple, with many photographs of Swamis and events associated with its century-long history.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/11/19 17:28:45 ( 351 reads )


It is my ambition to conquer the world by Hindu thought.
-- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)

The Indian Subcontinent Partition Documentation Project

Posted on 2016/11/18 19:06:12 ( 486 reads )


NEW YORK, NEW YORK, November 18, 2016 (ISPaD, Sachi G. Dastidar): Several Bengali-Americans in New York, individuals whose families were victims of Partition in the Indian Subcontinent - especially in Bengal - formed a partition documentation project called ISPaD or Indian Subcontinent Partition Documentation Project to save the history and experiences of lost and displaced individuals and families, their villages, their life, and that of survivors and protectors.

ISPaD's purposes include: a. Collection of personal stories of victims of partition of Indian Subcontinent, and that of survivors and protectors; b. Collection of historical records related to Indian Subcontinent partition; c. Study and documentation of partition-related demographic and social changes; d. To publish, disseminate, share stories and documents for readers in New York and beyond; e. To create bridges among partition victims and non-victims in the Subcontinent and in other countries including the U.S.; f. Organize meetings, seminars, scholarly research; g. Collaborate with established academic studies of displacement and genocide; h. To provide funds for partition documentation projects.

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