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Federal Lawsuit Filed Challenging California Public School Curriculum's Depiction of Hinduism

Posted on 2017/2/8 19:56:41 ( 479 reads )


FREMONT, CA, February 8, 2017 (CAPEEM): California Parents for the Equalization of Educational Materials (CAPEEM), a Hindu-American advocacy organization, and three community members filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court this morning against public school officials at the California Department of Education, State Board of Education, and several school districts throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. The case challenges the discriminatory treatment of Hinduism in California's history-social science curriculum and the official endorsement of other religions, based upon the U.S. Constitution.

The curriculum framework adopted by the State Board of Education last summer devotes almost half the discussion of Hinduism to the caste system, which it portrays as a supposed Hindu religious belief. For every other religion, the SBE followed its policy of refusing negative examples that would instill prejudice -- there is no mention of negative interpretations of Christianity that supported slavery or condemned same-sex relationships.

The Complaint alleges numerous other ways the California curriculum treats Hinduism unfairly and differently from all other religions. Every faith except Hinduism is taught from the perspective of the believer, using the characters, narrative and values of the religion's teachings. Hinduism is not described with characters and stories and is barely acknowledged as a religion at all.

The complaint can be downloaded here: http://capeem.us14.list-manage.com/tr ... d=a1b9463951&e=6e315cbb3d.

Hindu Hospital Manager Accused of "Witchcraft" in South Africa

Posted on 2017/2/8 19:56:31 ( 330 reads )


DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA, February 7, 2017 (IOL): A Northdale Hospital operations manager, who was ordered to remove her Hindu deities from her work locker, is undergoing psychiatric treatment to help her come to terms with the ordeal. Last week, the manager was forced to remove her religious items - which included an incense stick, a statue of Hindu Deity Lord Muruga, and a framed photograph of Sai Baba - from her locker at the Pietermaritzburg hospital and show them to the hospital chief executive officer (CEO), Buhle Maphanga, as well as seven members of the hospital's executive committee.

Noel Desfontaines, general secretary for the Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa), said, "On the facts available, the operations manager can lodge a grievance for the manner in which she has been treated and also consider lodging a dispute with the CCMA for discrimination. If true, the actions of the CEO, Maphanga, appear to be extremely high-handed, ignorant and intolerable of an employee's religious belief. Maphanga's actions could certainly constitute a sufficiently serious offence that could justify dismissal," Desfontaines said.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2017/2/8 19:56:20 ( 312 reads )


Even in rags I am a God, fallen I am divine, high I triumph when down-trod, long I live when slain!
-- Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950), Indian philosopher and poet

Ganesha Statue Restoration Grabs Global Attention

Posted on 2017/2/7 20:55:44 ( 387 reads )


RAIPUR, INDIA, February 6, 2017 (Daily Pioneer): The 10th century statue of Lord Ganesha atop Dholkal hills of Dantewada district in insurgency-infested Bastar region of Chhattisgarh which was pushed down by unidentified miscreants some time back in a deep valley has grabbed global attention.

Thanks to personal interest and concern displayed by Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh who had directed the Dantewada District administration and the security forces after the incident to ensure that the statue gets restored in record time. The statue remains had fallen down at least 1,500 feet below in the valley.

The episode had grabbed international attention with extensive support shown by people on social media to see the statue is restored at the earliest considering not just the age of the statue but also its importance as one of India's key archaeological asset. It may be recalled that the unique discovery of the 1,000-year-old Ganesha statue located atop the Dholkal hills in the interiors of Maoist hotbed South Bastar was made in January 2013.

Thaipusam in Penang Chariot Issue Continues

Posted on 2017/2/7 20:55:33 ( 400 reads )


PENANG,MALAYSIA, February 7, 2017 (by Predeep Nambiar, Malaysia Today): The Penang Chettiars have refused to have their silver Thaipusam chariot run together with the hilltop Murugan Temple's new golden chariot on the eve of Thaipusam Day, which falls on Feb 9. The Penang Hindu Endowments Board (PHEB), which manages the hilltop temple, said the inaugural golden chariot would now leave at 5am, 90 minutes before the Chettiars' silver chariot at 6.30am.

"The PHEB had asked for all the chariots to run at the same time, but were refused any form of coordination or cooperation," Ramasamy said at a press conference in Komtar today. Lord Murugan temple's new chariot is to correct 'injustice' done to locals, says Penang Hindu Endowments Board chairman P Ramasamy. However, he said police had assured the board of their full cooperation to ensure both chariots run smoothly on Thaipusam.

Vegetarian Resource Group Awarding $20,000 in Scholarships

Posted on 2017/2/7 20:55:23 ( 324 reads )


UNITED STATES, February 7, 2017 (Vegetarian Resource Group): Due to the generosity of an anonymous donor, The Vegetarian Resource Group each year will award $20,000 in college scholarship money to graduating U.S. high school students who have promoted vegetarianism in their schools and/or communities.

One award of $10,000 and two awards of $5,000 will be given. Entries may only be sent by students graduating from high school in Spring 2017.The deadline is February 20, 2017. Applicants will be judged on having shown compassion, courage, and a strong commitment to promoting a peaceful world through a vegetarian diet/lifestyle. Payment will be made to the student's college (U.S. based only).

For more information on applications and submissions see "source" above or email vrg@vrg.org.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2017/2/7 20:55:12 ( 236 reads )


Many Western ideals and goals are based on the underlying attitude that there is only one life

Agama Expert: No Prohibition on Golden Temple Chariots

Posted on 2017/2/5 20:07:38 ( 726 reads )


GEORGE TOWN, MALAYSIA, February 5, 2017 (Hinduism Today): Dr. S.P. Sabharathnam, a renowned scholar of Saiva Agamas in Tamil Nadu, has weighed in on the controversy here regarding the Penang Hindu Endowment Board's new golden chariot which will debut at the February 9th festival of Thai Pusam to Lord Murugan. According to this article, http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2150406, a group called the United Hindu Religious Council citing a "ruling" by the Arupadai Veedu Trust that Murugan temples should not have golden chariot processions. The UHRC spokesperson said the ruling was based on "Hindu Agamic treatises, religious beliefs, norms and practices of Hinduism," and that chariots should only be made of wood or silver. The Penang Hindu Endowment Board chairman, P. Ramasamy, rejected the ruling, saying Hinduism is pluralistic and there is no central authority.

Dr. Sabharathnam supported Ramasamy's view: "The 'ruling' cited by the United Hindu Religious Council is baseless. After hearing of this issue I reviewed all chapters in available Agamas dealing with the construction and installation of temple chariots and I found no rule preventing the construction of temple chariots with gold, silver or copper or prohibiting the procession of such chariots around the city or village where the temple is situated."

"It can also not be claimed that 'Arupadai Veedu Trust is a top authority of the highest order for all Hindu religious matters pertaining to Muruga Perumaan religious-cultural festivities across the world,' " Sabharathnam concluded.

International Conference on Sri Aurobindo at Hindu University of America, May 4 and 5, 2017

Posted on 2017/2/5 20:07:28 ( 356 reads )


ORLANDO, FLORIDA, February 2, 2017 (Press Release): The Mahatma Gandhi Center for Non-Violence, Human Rights and World Peace at the Hindu University of America is organizing an international conference titled "Relevance of Sri Aurobindo and the Grand Visions of the Ancient Indian Wisdom" on May 4 and 5, 2017.

The conference aims to focus on Sri Aurobindo's philosophy and ancient Indian wisdom and their applicability to contemporary problems confronting the human society and the world. It is interested to engage scholars from academia, media, corporate sector, policymaking, non-governmental sectors, and grass-roots activism for an elaborate inquiry on the relevance of Sri Aurobindo's philosophy. The aim is to position Sri Aurobindo's ideas in theoretical and policy debates on individual, state, society and world.

Interested participants should send abstract of the paper (within 500 words) and a bionote (within 100 words) to conference@hua.edu by February 28, 2017. For further details about the conference see "source" above.

Spectacular Video of Srikalahasteewara Temple Fire Posted

Posted on 2017/2/5 20:07:18 ( 330 reads )


ANDHRA PRADESH, INDIA, February 4, 2017 (Times of India): A fire broke out in Srikalahasteeswara Temple premises in Andhra Pradesh's Chittoor a short while ago: now doused, no casualties reported. Short video at "source" above. It appears to be a temporary yagasala structure in front of the temple rajagopuram which was consumed. Such structures, often made of wood and palm fronds, have burned in the past, sometimes with loss of life.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2017/2/5 20:07:07 ( 304 reads )


Never think there is anything impossible for the soul. It is the greatest heresy to think so. If there is sin, this is the only sin--to say that you are weak, or others are weak.
-- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)

Waterfall Running Parallel to 272 Steps Will Be Latest Attraction in Batu Caves

Posted on 2017/2/2 19:05:08 ( 610 reads )


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, February 2, 2017 (The Malay Mail): A 410 ft. natural waterfall or as long as the 272 steps at the Sri Subramaniar Swamy Temple in Batu Caves will be the latest attraction for devotees, visitors and tourists during Thaipusam this year. Temple committee chairman Tan Sri R. Nadarajah said the committee had carried out upgrading works to beautify the waterfall and its surroundings to give the thousands of Hindus who visit Batu Caves on Feb 9, a cooling effect. Nadarajah added that the temple committee had also completed the construction of a 272-step fourth lane in December to add on to the three lanes in existence earlier, he told Bernama.

Hindu devotees throng Batu Caves by the thousands in a colorful fusion of faith, thanksgiving, and hope to mark the Thaipusam religious festival and pay homage to Lord Murugan. A 42.7m (140 ft.) statue of Lord Murugan, reputed to be the tallest statue of Lord Murugan in the world, stands at the main entrance as a symbol to welcome devotees to start their climb up the 272 steps.

The 166th year Thaipusam festivity starts in earnest on Tuesday (Feb. 7) when the silver chariot procession begins at the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Jalan Tun H S Lee bearing the statues of Lord Murugan and his two consorts, Valli and Theivanai at 10pm. "About 100,000 devotees plus 1,500 police personnel are expected to accompany the silver chariot which takes about 16 hours to reach Batu Caves," he said adding that the temple in Batu Caves will be operating 24 hours on Feb 8, 9 and 10 to cater for the thousands of devotees who carry the Kavadi or Pal Kudam and pay homage to Lord Murugan.

Russian Court Clears Yoga Teacher of Illegal Missionary Activity

Posted on 2017/2/2 19:04:58 ( 0 reads )


RUSSIA, January 18, 2017 (Radio Free Europe): A Russian computer programmer who was accused of conducting illegal missionary work after giving a lecture on yoga has been cleared of the charges by a court in St. Petersburg.

The 44-year-old Dmitry Ugay was detained by Russian police in October while giving a talk on the philosophical origins of yoga after police received a complaint accusing him of proselytizing for a sect. He was charged with illegal missionary activity -- an administrative offense under counterterrorism legislation signed by President Vladimir Putin in the summer of 2016.

The legislation placed restrictions on missionary activity and introduced administrative fines of up to 50,000 rubles ($840) for people who proselytize outside of venues registered to recognized religions. Critics said the case against Ugay showed that the legislation is loosely-worded and open to abuse.

Dangerous Fruit: Mystery of Deadly Outbreaks in India Is Solved

Posted on 2017/2/2 19:04:48 ( 380 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 31, 2017 (New York Times): Three years ago, Dr. Rajesh Yadav, an investigator with the India Epidemic Intelligence Service, moved to the city of Muzaffarpur, the site of one of the country's most mysterious outbreaks. And he waited. Every year in mid-May, as temperatures reached scorching heights, parents took children who had been healthy the night before to the hospital. The children awakened with a high-pitched cry in the early morning, many parents said. Then the youths began having seizures and slipping into comas. In about 40 percent of cases, they died.

Every year in July, with the arrival of monsoon rains, the outbreak ended as suddenly as it began. Beginning in 1995, investigations variously ascribed the phenomenon to heat stroke; to infections carried by rats, bats or sand flies; or to pesticides used in the region's ubiquitous lychee orchards. But there were few signposts for investigators. Instead of occurring in clusters, the illness typically struck only one child in a village, often leaving even siblings unaffected.

A joint investigation by India's National Center for Disease Control and the India office of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, published in the British medical journal The Lancet Global Health on Tuesday, has identified a surprising culprit: the lychee fruit itself, when eaten on an empty stomach by malnourished children. In 2015, as a result of the investigation, health officials began urging parents in the area to be sure to feed young children an evening meal and to limit their consumption of lychees. In two seasons, the number of reported cases per year dropped to less than 50 from hundreds.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2017/2/2 19:04:37 ( 339 reads )


Wisdom ceases to be wisdom when it becomes too proud to weep, too grave to laugh, and too self-full to seek other than itself.
-- Kabir (1440-1518), mystic Indian poet

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