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Hinduism Today's July-August-September 2015 issue available for free online.
Posted on 2015/6/25 22:32:48 ( 813 reads )

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KAUAI, HAWAII, June 25, 2015 (Hinduism Today): Each quarter our photographers and journalists take us on great journeys to Hinduism's cultural and religious centers. In this issue, our feature article unravels the complex city of Varanasi, Siva's Citadel. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited city on Earth, to which pilgrims flock for a glimpse of God on the River Ganga. It is also the holiest of places to die, and many spend their final days here in prayer and meditation. Come with us to Varanasi and hear the voices of the priests, the mourners, the Sanskrit scholars and common residents.

Food. Who is there who doesn't like food? And so we take you to the Royal Vega restaurant in Chennai's ITC Grand Chola Hotel for a vegetarian cuisine that is lavish enough for real-life royals. This high-end eatery redefines the vegetarian restaurant, drawing on India's courtly history and architecture and on Chef Manjit Gill's astounding knowledge of Indian gastronomy. Finally, a place where you can feel a little guilty while enjoying healthy foods.

Our 16-page Insight Section tells the story, and shares the profound philosophy, of Sri Ramanuja, a theological genius revered as one of India's five most important philosophical sages. He lived from 1017 to 1137 and changed the course of Indian spiritual life, redefining Vedanta to include bhakti and love of God as lofty sadhanas. Nainee Shaw illustrates the crucial events of his life, his struggle with his teacher and his bold message, which lives on today.

In Publisher's Desk, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami gives us a relevant explication of the Art of Listening, taking us through the morass of modern digital distractions and showing proven techniques to make us mindful of our conversations and our communications. A richer life and learning experience awaits those who have the tools.

Commentary and opinion are in abundance in this magazine. Swami Aksharananda of Guyana focuses on highschool youth in his nation. Justice C.V. Wigneswaran of Sri Lanka offers an interpretation of dispassion, tethered to faith and humility in service. Dr. Rita Sherma unravels the status of Hindu Dharma at Berkeley's Graduate Theological Union. Plus, our book reviewer delves into that ever-so-popular-in schools book, India Unveiled.

You'll always find a cartoon surrounded by inspiring and witty remarks in our "Quotes and Quips," many good reader responses in our "Letters" section and an array of diaspora stories from around the world in "Global Dharma."


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/6/25 22:32:43 ( 653 reads )

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The sages, being filled with universal love for all beings, did not want to keep their enlightenment to themselves. They declared to all: "O mortals, striving and struggling upon this Earth plane, weeping, wailing, buffeted by the vicissitudes of life: we have come upon a great discovery. There is something beyond these appearances, these vanishing names and forms that go to make up this universe. There is something beyond, which is the very source and support of all these objects of the phenomenal world. Why do you search in vain for happiness outside? Come, come, happiness resides within."
-- Swami Chidananda (1916-2008), president of Divine Life Society

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One Thousand Yogis Celebrate International Day of Yoga in Lisbon
Posted on 2015/6/23 4:15:11 ( 1097 reads )

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LISPON, PORTUGAL, June 21, 2015 (Noticias Locais): United by the motto "The Light is Coming," more than 1,000 people gathered at the Prof. Moniz Pereira to Athletics Track practice yoga, contribute to a day without bloodshed throughout the planet, celebrate ethnic and cultural diversity and inter-religious tolerance.

The Portuguese capital was thus one of the world epicenters of the first official commemoration of the International Day of Yoga, celebrated since 2002 by the Portuguese Yoga Confederation on the summer solstice and recognized by the UN in December 2014.

Organized by the Portuguese Confederation of Yoga and the Embassy of India - with the co-organization of the Lisbon City Council and supported by the Portuguese Government through the Secretary of State for Sports and Youth - the International day of Yoga brought together practitioners of all ages and representatives of the countries that have come to be associated with this cause that Portugal pioneered for the World in 2001, the year it sent a manifesto to the UN and UNESCO.

The celebrations began at 8:00 am in Prof. Moniz Pereira Athletics Track field, with an official message from the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, followed by a Global Classroom Yoga based on the Common Protocol of India.

The activities included tributes to key figures of Yoga in Portugal, Yoga demonstrations and a Master Class of Yoga, as well as Bharatanatyam (classical Indian dance), a duet by the famous Indian sitar master Ajay Sharma and Rao Kyao, a Lyrical Duet by countertenors Luis Pecas and Joao Paulo Ferreira, a presentation by the Naqshbandi Sufi Order and a presentation of the Omkara Choral Orchestra of the Portuguese Confederation of Yoga. Also a class of Yoga for Children and a class of yoga for pregnant women was held.

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"Yoga Day" Most Searched Term on Google
Posted on 2015/6/23 4:14:40 ( 946 reads )

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HYDERABAD, June 22, 2015 (The Hindu): By the time yoga had India in its grip early Sunday, it had already broken the Internet, which was flooded with searches, and the social media teeming with related videos, pictures and text.

Google Search analysis reveals "Yoga Day" was the most searched term on the popular search engine in India on Saturday. With over 200,000 searches, it beat "Father's Day" searches by a huge margin. As for the search term "yoga" and "Yoga Day," queries kept pouring from all of India but Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh saw higher expression of interest.

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Honoring the Roots, Celebrating International Day of Yoga
Posted on 2015/6/23 4:14:29 ( 912 reads )

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UNITED STATES, June 21, 2015 (Huffington Post):The Indian ambassador to the United Nations joined a room full of journalists this week to talk up the first International Day of Yoga. Ambassador Asoke Kumar Mukerji laid out some of the plans for the day in New York City, which includes a yoga teaching at the UN Plaza followed by a much larger event in Times Square that 20,000 people are expected to attend. In all, Mukerji boasted that up to 2 billion people in 192 countries around the world would be participating in the United Nations-sponsored event.

While it is clear that yoga is wildly popular in almost every corner of the world, much less understood are the origins of yoga, including the religious and cultural context out of which it grew. Changing that appears to be part of the aim of the International Day of Yoga -- and it is not without controversy. The idea for the UN-sponsored day was first proposed during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address to the General Assembly in September 2014, during which he laid out the personal, societal and even global benefits of yoga. The UN adopted the resolution proposed by the Indian mission just a few months later, with 177 countries sponsoring.

It is important to honor the roots of yoga, as contested as they are. It is equally crucial to celebrate the blossoms that are blooming in ways that would have surprised those practitioners in the past. For thousands of years, yoga grew in the rich and diverse soil of spirituality within South Asia -- in the 21st century, yoga's vitality continues to be revealed in its ability to transform lives from South America to Iceland, from atheists to Zoroastrians.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/6/23 4:14:24 ( 841 reads )

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Sattvic knowledge sees the one indestructible Being in all beings, the unity underlying the multiplicity of creation. Rajasic knowledge sees all things and creatures as separate and distinct. Tamasic knowledge, lacking any sense of perspective, sees one small part and mistakes it for the whole.
-- Bhagavad Gita 18:20-22

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PM Modi leads Yoga Day Celebration at Rajpath, India Sets Two World Records
Posted on 2015/6/22 4:07:13 ( 945 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, June 21, 2015 (Times of India): On a humid summer morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stretched his arms, bent his legs, rolled his neck and twisted every sinew in his body as India celebrated the first International Day of Yoga with gusto, muscling into the Guinness World Records.

Late Sunday evening, it was announced that the Union ministry of Ayush had set two records -- for the largest yoga session ever with 35,985 participants and for most nationalities, 84, taking part at a single venue. The earlier record on the first count was held by Vivekanand Kendra, a Gwalior-based institute, with 29,973 participants.

All of last week, the hype surrounding the event was more like a forthcoming Salman film or a world heavyweight title bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Or, both put together. Yet nothing really prepared you for what you saw -- a prime minister, literally on the mat, staring at the sky at Rajpath, one of the capital's most toffee-nosed boulevards.

Kapalbhati, bhujang aasan, trikon aasan, bharadwaj aasan and more -- Modi did the entire 35-minute yoga routine, even taking a brief break to supervise the children behind him. The PM was dressed for the occasion: a full-sleeve white T-shirt and pyjama with a tricolor stole he used to wipe his sweat. But for a brief pranayam, yoga guru Baba Ramdev sat quietly on stage. This was Modi's show.

It wasn't just Delhi. The event spread across India from the silver stretches of the Rann of Kutch to INS Virat on the high seas, to passengers in mid-air on morning flights. Ayush is estimated to have spent Rs 30-40 crore organizing the event across 650 camps. Abroad, enthusiasts spread themselves below the towering irons of Eiffel Tower and the phlegmatic temples of Cambodia.

For a great set of pictures of the day around the world:
http://abcnews.go.com/International/p ... y-31929796/image-31930067

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What is the Foundation of Yoga?
Posted on 2015/6/22 4:07:02 ( 924 reads )

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INDIA, June 21, 2015 (Cinema Rasik): Today is the first International Yoga Day. It is a major event. So we thought it would be helpful to lay out what is yoga, what is the foundation of yoga, why rigorous pronunciation of various Sanskrit mantras are important to yoga, and why Indian Dharmic Thought was the only one to discover yoga.

The foundation of yoga is described best in the simple but profound shloka (verse) from the Katha-Upanishad, one of ten most important treatises on Indian dharmic thought: Understand the atman as the owner/rider of the chariot & the Body as the chariot. Understand buddhi as the charioteer/driver and the Mind as the Reins.

The next time you get into your yoga-asana, remember the chariot analogy. The key to an optimal ride in a chariot is the balance between the driver, the reins & the horses. If you remember and embrace that, then you will begin to get the harmonious balance between your buddhi, your mind and the physiological processes of your body - the true essence of Yoga.

For the full article click on source above.



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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/6/22 4:06:57 ( 846 reads )

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Love is the only reality, and it is not a mere sentiment. It is the ultimate truth that lies at the heart of creation.
-- Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), Indian poet and Nobel laureate

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Bhagavad Gita Debuts in Communist China
Posted on 2015/6/21 3:28:36 ( 1075 reads )

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CHINA, June 20, 2015 (Hindustan Times): The Bhagavad Gita has made its debut in China with the release of a Chinese version during an international yoga conference being held in the Communist nation. Translated by professor Wang Zhu Cheng and Ling Hai of Zhejiang University in Shanghai and published by Sichuan People's Publications, the book was launched at a function attended by eminent yoga teachers from India who had converged at Dujiangyan in southwestern Sichuan province to attend the Yoga Festival.

This is perhaps the first time a well-known Hindu ancient religious text has been published in China. Last year, scholars from India and China published an Encyclopaedia on the age-old cultural contacts between the two countries, tracing back their history to over 2000 years.

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What's in a Hindu Name?
Posted on 2015/6/21 3:27:55 ( 953 reads )

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UNITED STATES, June 7, 2015 (Lassi With Lavina by Lavina Melwani): Recently US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard got married in a Vedic ceremony in Hawaii. A Hindu, she has even taken her congressional oath on the Bhagavad Gita. Her name Tulsi means the Holy Basil which is so central to Hindu belief. Her mother Carol Gabbard was brought up in the Brahma Madhva Gaudiya tradition and named her five children Bhakti (worship), Jai (a Hindu salutation), Aryan (noble one), Tulsi (sacred plant) and Vrindavan (Lord Krishna's abode).

It got me thinking - what's in a name and how can one use such a simple device to enhance the spiritual lives of one's children? It certainly has deeper connotations than naming a child after candy or a jewelry store! Hindus often name their children after Gods, kings and wonderful attributes. The namakarana or naming ceremony is a powerful one where the name of child is whispered to the child by the father or chosen relative after prayers.

For female children there are powerful Mother Goddesses to emulate, from Durga to Kali to Devi to Parvati. Saraswati is the Goddess of Learning and Lakshmi is the Goddess of Wealth. Sita is the incarnation of the perfect woman and Radha, the beloved of Krishna, is also a popular name because she depicts Cosmic Love, the striving of the soul for the Supreme Being.

Great kings and noble attributes are also popular choices

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/6/21 3:27:49 ( 846 reads )

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When individuals change for the better, then society will change, and when society changes, then the country will change.
-- Pramukh Swami Maharaj, BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha

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Preparations for New Kailash Pilgrimage Route in Place: China
Posted on 2015/6/20 1:43:22 ( 1075 reads )

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BEIJING, CHINA, June 17, 2015 (Daily Pioneer): China is pressing ahead with preparations to open the new second Kailash Manasarovar Yatra road route to Indian pilgrims on June 22 despite difficulties caused by the recent devastating earthquake in Nepal which has badly affected the border regions in Tibet. The first batch of the pilgrims was expected to travel through the new land route through Nathu La in Sikkim on June 22. Several Indian and Chinese officials were expected to take part in the event.

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The Aryan Imbroglio
Posted on 2015/6/20 1:42:52 ( 1013 reads )

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INDIA, June 15, 2015 (Mydigitalfc by Michel Danino): Surprisingly, whether Vedic literature, the earliest in India, begins before, during or after the Indus-Sarasvati civilisation remains an unsettled question after almost a century of Harappan archaeology. The answer hinges on whether one accepts or rejects the mainstream view that Aryan-speaking tribes swept into the Indian subcontinent around 1500 BC, some four centuries after the decline of the Harappan cities, and settled in northwest India to compose the Vedic hymns. In that perspective, the Indus-Sarasvati civilisation would be pre-Vedic and would therefore have little to do with subsequent developments in the Ganges plains, where, in the first millennium BC, a new civilisation emerges that will soon give rise to the kingdoms and empires we are familiar with, and ultimately to 'classical' India.

Mainstream or not, the Aryan theory has seen many avatars, from a brutal and massive conquering invasion swamping the indigenous people to a largely peaceful immigration limited to a few waves of 'trickling-in' Aryans. This tactical retreat -- a dilution, rather -- has been necessitated by the failure of archaeology, anthropology and genetics to support the old scenario, and their occasional success in opposing it. It would have completely faded away but for linguistics, which still insists on the origins of the Sanskritic branch of the Indo-European family of languages being located outside India -- but where and when, there seems to be no agreement in sight.

We cannot go deeper here into the complex question of the origins of Vedic culture, except to point out that the characterization ('demonization' would be more appropriate) of critics of the Aryan scenario as 'hindu chauvinists' or 'hindutva communalists' is deeply dishonest, although widespread in India as in the West. In reality, strong opposition to the Aryan paradigm was first voiced not by Indians but by European scholars such as British archaeologist and philologist Isaac Taylor (1890) or French archaeologist Salomon Reinah (1892). Several noted Indian scholars did follow suit -- PT Srinivasa Iyengar (1914), BN Datta (1936), AD Pusalker (1950), PV Kane (1953) -- as well as prominent public figures: Swami Vivekananda (1897), Sri Aurobindo (1914) or BR Ambedkar (1946), none of whom can invite the above invectives.

In recent decades, British anthropologist Edmund Leach, US bioanthropologist Kenneth AR Kennedy, US archaeologist Jim Shaffer, French archaeologist Jean-Paul Demoule, Italian linguist Angela Marcantonio, Estonian biologist Toomas Kivisild, all of them accomplished academics, have vigorously argued against the Aryan paradigm. Expectedly, our 'demonizers' have studiously ignored them, exerting themselves instead to create an impression in the public mind that hindu fanatics alone oppose the Aryan invasion/migration theory.

HPI adds: This is an excerpt from a recent SindHI-Indian Knowledge-Series article titled Ask the Past. The full article is available at source above.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/6/20 1:42:47 ( 810 reads )

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I know you are busy. At least, your mind has made you think so. Even so, can you not find some time to invite God, your Supreme Guest, to bless you--you and your life--with His all-illumining and all-fulfilling presence?
-- Sri Chinmoy, renowned spiritual leader, author, poet, artist, musician and athlete

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