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Rama in the Museum and in Real Life

Posted on 2016/12/16 20:50:14 ( 447 reads )


SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, December 13, 2016 (Creative India Mag, by Vamsee Juluri): Hanuman, the "monkey grammarian" of Octavio Paz's book by the same name, stands beautifully in the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. His eyes look sparkling and alive, his face reveals the enunciation of a word, wonderful and pleasing, no doubt. His body is alert and finger raised. Hanuman is making a point, obviously, and he looks delighted in the act of speaking (to his beloved Ramayya and Sitamma, possibly). We can only wonder at the beauty of the thoughts that must be in his mind.

When I picture Hanuman, it is often in depictions of his physical prowess and accomplishment, in flight usually, with the mountain on his palm. The Hanuman in this particular depiction (above), embodiment of the perfect word, kind, impeccable, the friend who appears and wins Rama over with the perfection of his speech, is how I will now think of him and adore when I write and speak. The speaking Hanuman, and many other treasures on display at the exhibit; painting scrolls with vivid Jatayus, elegantly beautiful and divine Sitas, towering stone Ramas and Hanumans, and numerous pop culture nods as well. Projectors play loops of Ramayanas, as well as Southeast Asian dance drama. A good museum experience.

It is art, sure, but is it just art? Just who is speaking for this living tradition here? What is a living tradition? For one thing, it is right there all around the Asian Art Museum too. Drive a few miles South or East from there, in the Bay Area, and you have one of the largest clusters of Hindu temples in North America, and one of the largest and most eclectic collections of Hindu Americans living here as well. Does the museum acknowledge the existence of this world?

Much more of this interesting article at "source" abovein which the author analyzes and compares the sterile analytical approach of the museum setting to the rich experience of the ordinary Hindu with his Gods.

Seven Pooja Rooms Dedicated to Seven Different Gods

Posted on 2016/12/16 20:50:02 ( 414 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 11, 2016 (Homify by Ritika Tiwari): In Hinduism, each day of the week is dedicated to a God or Goddess. People fast on particular days in order to please the Lords. In this ideabook we present 7 designs of Pooja rooms to appease the Gods this week. Sunday is dedicated to Sun God. Surya Dev is worshiped on Sundays and those who worship the Lord with dedication receive good fortune. The Good of light is known to shun away all the darkness around you. This is the reason why people prefer a sun-facing house. Those who keep the fast of Sunday wear red and offer red flowers to Surya Dev. As red is the color of Lord Surya, it is known for spreading warmth all around.

More at "source" above, including photos in this magazine of home design and decoration.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/12/16 20:49:52 ( 309 reads )


The outer worship is approaching God properly, presenting ourselves acceptably. It is to offer our love, our adoration and then to speak out our prayer, our petition. The inner worship is to enjoy God's presence and not rush away, to stay, to sit, to meditate awhile and bask in the shakti, endeavoring to realize the Self within.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today

Profile of Kauai's Hindu Monastery

Posted on 2016/12/11 13:28:06 ( 855 reads )


KAUAI, HAWAII, December 7, 2016 (Flux Hawaii by Jon Letman): The monks of Kauai's Hindu Monastery [home of Hinduism Today and HPI] live a quiet life of prayer, meditation, and asceticism in pursuit of divine consciousness, begins this article that recently appeared in Flux Hawaii as part of their "Good Life" series. In 1969, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami set foot on the Garden Isle of Kaua'i. Widely respected in the Hindu world, Subramuniyaswami trained in Sri Lanka under Jnanaguru Yogaswami, a famed mystic. But it was the lush forests of Kaua'i that so captivated Subramuniyaswami, who would, one year later, found Kauai Aadheenam, a 382-acre Hindu monastery on the banks of the Wailua River.

This monastery, which began as a cloistered retreat, has become well-known internationally over the last 15 years. (Despite its remote location, the monks maintain a popular quarterly print magazine, Hinduism Today, which was founded in 1979 by Subramuniyaswami and reaches Hindus around the globe with its online version.) Here, beneath the shadow of Mount Wai'ale'ale, 21 monks from six nations--India, Malaysia, Canada, Singapore, France, and the United States--lead a spartan but fulfilled life, adhering closely to the Tamil culture, traditions, and theology of South India and Sri Lanka, and remaining true to the ideals of simplicity, austerity, and goodness, as defined by Subramuniyaswami

"Perfection isn't measured by intellect or emotion," says Paramacharya Sadasivanatha Palaniswami, a monk with a long gray beard, whose saffron-colored robes indicate his elder rank. "The perfection is our soul." A monk's purpose, Palaniswami says, is to find perfection and to learn to abide there constantly. "Only then can you really share that with others," he says.

For the full article as well as photos, see "source" above.

Hindu University of America Launches Online Master's Degree Program on Conflict, Peace and Hindu Philosophy

Posted on 2016/12/11 13:27:55 ( 826 reads )


ORLANDO, FLORIDA, December 10, 2016 (Press Release): The Mahatma Gandhi Center for Non-Violence, Human Rights and World Peace at the Hindu University of America is launching an online Master of Arts program in conflict, peace and Hindu philosophy starting in January 2017.

The program aims at enriching the discipline of conflict and peace studies by providing a Hindu perspective. The dominant perspectives in conflict resolution prioritize rigid notions on peace and security, often at the cost of other perspectives from pluralistic cultures and traditions. This program aims to widen the discipline by drawing upon the finer principles of Hinduism. It brings into focus ideas and contributions of the philosophers, leaders and yogis from dharmic traditions. For example, Mahatma Gandhi's principles of ahimsha (non-violence) and satyagraha (love for truth) provide powerful tools to examine global problems, ranging from inter-state and intra-state conflicts, radicalization of religion, degradation of environment and rich-poor divide, and offer ways to address them. The core courses of the program such as principles of Hinduism, Gandhian conflict resolution and introduction to conflict and peace studies are designed to offer an integral approach to conflict and peace in which the best elements from the East and the West are factored. The program will train academicians, professionals and peace activists from across the world to integrate the core principles of Hinduism with other cultures and traditions towards resolving conflicts at various levels.

For further details about the program click "source" above or email Dr. Debidatta Aurobinda Mahapatra, Director, Mahatma Gandhi Center, Hindu University of America, damahapatra@hua.edu.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/12/11 13:27:45 ( 418 reads )


A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches and thoughts, the consequences of even the least of them is far-reaching.
-- Swami Sivananda, (1887-1963) founder of the Divine Life Society

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/12/10 18:13:16 ( 449 reads )


The mind cannot know what is beyond itself; but the mind is known by what is beyond, that essence of timelessness and spacelessness which makes everything perceivable, yet itself is beyond perception.
-- Nisargadatta Maharaj (1897-1981), Hindu sage

Temple Event Marks Links Between Hindu Community and the Armed Forces

Posted on 2016/12/9 19:02:45 ( 552 reads )


BOLTON, UNITED KINGDOM, August 9, 2016 (The Bolton News): Bolton made its debut as the venue for a national celebration of the links between the Hindu community and the Armed Forces. Members of Britain's Army, Navy and Air Force, Hindus from Bolton and people who travelled from as far as India, gathered at the Krishna Temple yesterday for a special event.

The Beverly Road temple hosted the start of Raksha Bandhan, a Hindu festival that celebrates bonds of protection. The national event organized by the Armed Forces Hindu Network was held in the town for the first time with the support of the Bolton Hindu Forum. There are about 950 Hindus serving in the Armed Forces, with 900 in the Army, 35 in the RAF and 15 in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.

The Armed Forces Hindu Network held its first series of Raksha Bandhan events last year.
Raksha Bandhan, also known as Rakhi, celebrates brotherhood and love, with Raksha meaning protection and Bandhan the verb to tie. For the Armed Forces, the festival is a chance to celebrate its links with the community, as well as improve engagement and emphasize the shared values of commitment, respect, integrity and loyalty.

Himalayan Academy's Annual "Digital Dharma Drive" Almost Half-Way to $70,000 Goal

Posted on 2016/12/9 19:02:34 ( 593 reads )


KAUAI, HAWAII, December 9, 2016 (HPI): Now five weeks into its two month run, Himalayan Academy's Digital Dharma Drive has raised $33,000. Among several of the Academy's projects supported by the drive is the one you are reading: Hindu Press International, so please donate today at "source" above.

In announcing the drive November 1st, Hinduism Today publisher Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami wrote:

"A number of accomplishments have been achieved since we wrote to you a year ago. Our Hinduism Today website underwent a major upgrade to its look and functionality. Parts Two and Part Three of our movie History of Hindu India were completed and added to our YouTube channel. The pace of the addition of new viewers is impressive. Part One has past 1.5 million views, Part Two 570,000 and Part Three 475,000. Clearly the series is fulfilling a need. Parts Four and Five are in the editing stage. Another accomplishment is our second mobile app. It is available through the Apple and Google stores. The title is 'Spiritual Workout' The app provides a ten-minute routine of spiritual practice with multiple options in each of the five areas of sadhana.

"As you know, following the vision of our Gurudeva, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, all the material on our websites--and now our new mobile apps--is available for free online. However, to cover needed professional fees and to continue to upgrade and expand, we ask for donations the last two months of the year, following the model of Wikipedia. For six years running, you have responded generously, and after another year of working hard to enhance the sites and their resources, we are back again with this appeal.

"In our 'How Your Donations Were Used' page (https://donate.himalayanacademy.com/ddd/ddd-faq.shtml), we detail what we did with your past generosity, and what we hope to accomplish in the coming year. Your contribution this year will go to the enhancement of our websites and their content, and the development of mobile apps. The funds we raise in this drive do not pay staff salaries or administrative overhead, since these sites are created and maintained by selfless monks who work for free and live simply in our remote monastery on the island of Kauai."

Donate today and support us in our efforts to sustain, improve and expand our Hindu digital resources for the benefit of this and future generations.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/12/9 19:02:23 ( 344 reads )


All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark.
-- Swami Vivekananda, (1863-1902) founder Ramakrishna Mission

Temples Attacked in Bangladesh

Posted on 2016/12/8 16:51:51 ( 546 reads )


DHAKA, BANGLADESH, December 4, 2016 (Dhaka Tribune): Unidentified criminals vandalized two Hindu temples in Pabna and Netrakona early yesterday, amid attacks on Hindu worshipping places and houses at different places across the country carried out in the last couple of months. Locals of Mymensinghorohi village under Shingherbangla union of Netrakona sadar told the Dhaka Tribune's Hanif Ullah Akash that they had found the doors of the Kali temple opened yesterday morning. Upon entering the temple premises, they found smashed bits and pieces of the statues and furniture. Locals found two of the statues - one of Kali and another of Shiva - about 600 feet away from the temple.

Additional District Magistrate Abdul Matin visited the site and said the responsible parties would be identified and punished accordingly. Netrakona Superintendent of Police Joydeb Chowdhury said: "Our officers have canvassed the site. We are treating the case with priority." He blamed vested interests for the attack aimed at hampering communal harmony.

Christianity's Rise Tests Nepal's New Secularism

Posted on 2016/12/8 16:51:40 ( 587 reads )


KATHMANDU, NEPAL, December 4, 2016 (Nikkei Asian Review): Saturday is the one day off in Nepal's working week and therefore has become the holy day for Nepal's growing Christian community. At the Nepal Isai Mandali-Gyaneshwor Church in Kathmandu about 300 Christians gather every Saturday to pray, sing hymns, listen to bible sermons and praise the Lord. M.J. Shah remains somewhat unique among Nepali Christians. Most significantly, he is related to the royal family and is therefore of a higher caste than most. Christianity has been on the rise since Nepal went secular, at least in name, in 2008. Previously Christian missionaries were banned from the kingdom. Now there are over 8,000 Christian churches in the country and more than one million converts, although exact estimates are difficult to find.

The earthquake and aftershocks of April 2015 provided another fillip for the country's "Christian soldiers." The quakes, which destroyed more than 800,000 homes and left thousands dead, offered an opportunity for Nepal's growing Christian community to do what Christians do best -- provide charity to the poor and neglected in the name of "brotherly love." Christian charities managed to distribute relief packages in some of the country's most remote areas, which the government's operations failed to reach due to lack of funding or manpower.

Under Nepal's new constitution, pushed through in September 2015, people have the right to practice their religion but are barred from proselytizing. In fact, the charter implies that the country's original religions -- Hinduism, Buddhism and the animistic beliefs and practices of the Kirat minority (the indigenous race) should be protected. "Secularism means protection of religions and cultures being practiced since ancient times, and religious and cultural freedom," reads the constitution. Christianity clearly does not qualify as an "ancient" sect in the former Hindu kingdom.

More at "source" above.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/12/8 16:51:30 ( 393 reads )


Himself will create, Himself will protect, Himself will annihilate, Himself will obscure. Having done these, He will bestow liberation, pervading and ruling all.
-- Tirumular, Saiva rishi, author of the Tirumantiram

Thousands Gather for Consecration Ceremony of Newly Renovated Sri Siva Durga Temple

Posted on 2016/12/5 19:16:27 ( 846 reads )


SINGAPORE, December 4, 2016 (Straits Times): Nearly 20,000 Hindus queued up under the morning sun to enter the renovated Sri Siva Durga temple after a special consecration ceremony on Sunday Dec 4. The temple in Potong Pasir had undergone a two-year, US$2.7 million reconstruction.

All Hindu temples undergo renovations and repairs every 12 years, and the temple and its deities have to be re-consecrated through a ritual known as maha kumbabhishekam. The temple's vice-president G. Krishnamurthi, 45, said he was "extremely delighted" by the turnout. It helped that the rebuilt temple could accommodate more people, he said. It can host 500 worshippers, up from 300 previously.

Other races and religions in the community helped out for the event. Volunteers from the Mahakaruna Buddhist Society distributed breakfast and drinks to the crowd. The Church of Ascension, located next to the temple, brought forward its Sunday service to Saturday evening so that its car park could be used for the event. A nearby coffee shop removed its tables to make space for the devotees, and also voluntarily stopped the sale of alcohol in the morning as a mark of respect.

India Needs to Find a Sane Way to Discuss Relative Decline in Hindu Population

Posted on 2016/12/5 19:16:16 ( 660 reads )


INDIA, April 23, 2015 (Economic Times by Sadanand Dhume): Is India's overwhelming Hindu majority shrinking? A recent survey by the Pew Research Center echoes news reports based on leaked figures from the 2011 census. For the first time since independence in 1947, fewer than four in five Indians self-identifies as a Hindu. The Pew survey suggests a more nuanced picture than the overheated rhetoric that grabs the headlines. With fertility rates comfortably above the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman, in absolute terms India's Hindu population is growing, not declining. Over the next 35 years, it will swell by over 300 million people to total nearly 1.3 billion.

In relative terms, however, these numbers suggest a gentle but steady decline compared to other faiths. In 1951, not long after the ravages of Partition, India was about 85% Hindu. By 2050 it will be 77 per cent Hindu. Most of the change in India can be explained by a sharp projected uptick in the Muslim population thanks to higher fertility rates. The average Indian Muslim woman bears 3.2 children; the average Hindu has 2.5 children. Over the next 35 years, Muslims in India will swell to about 311 million, or more than 18 per cent of the population, up from their current 14 per cent share. The survey predicts that by 2050, India will house the world's largest Muslim population, ahead of Indonesia and Pakistan.

India will need to find a way to talk about religious demographics as other nations do -- mostly without fuss, rancor or wild policy suggestions. Over the coming decades, India's changing religious demographics will likely upend politics as we know it, particularly in states with large Muslim populations such as West Bengal and Assam. To understand what these changes mean, India's public square needs to host a debate that reflects neither the apathy of the Left nor the shrillness of the extreme Right. This means talking about aggregate trends without losing sight of individual rights. Only then can the country confidently come to terms with its changing demographic future.

More at "source" above.

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