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Ancient Hindu Temple Reopens after 27 Years in Kashmir

Posted on 2016/5/1 19:59:07 ( 3178 reads )


SRINAGAR, JAMMU/KASHMIR, April 28, 2016 (The North Lines): Centuries-old Vetaal Bero temple in the highly-sensitive area that had been shut after most pandits were forced to migrate to Jammu and other parts of the country due to militancy in 1990, was reopened on Thursday. Jogi Langkar (canteen where food is served for sadhus) in Rainawari area of Srinagar, the locality in the heart of old city that was once home to a high number of Kashmiri pandits, is again reverberating with the sound of temple bells after 27 long years.

"After the migration of Kashmiri pandits, the area of the temple was illegally sold by Dharmarth Trust to a local property dealer. When residents in the area came to know about it, they informed Kashmiri pandits of the locality in Jammu, who responded with swift legal action and the area was recovered from the property dealer," Rajindra, who resides near the locality, said.

Another Kashmiri pandit Utpal Koul, who used to reside next to the temple, said, "This temple is centuries old, even I remember during early nineties special langar used to be organized here for Amarnath pilgrims. Today is the birth anniversary of Lord Bero and we came to celebrate this festival here from different areas of the country and even some families have come from US for this occasion."

Veggies In Cattle Country: Leading Texas Hospital Now Promoting Plant-Based Diet

Posted on 2016/5/1 19:58:57 ( 2836 reads )


MIDLAND, TEXAS, april 28, 2016 (Fronteras Desk): A leading hospital in Texas is making a name for itself by taking on the ranching industry, an iconic fixture in the history of the Lone Star State. The hospital is now promoting a plant-based diet rich in vegetables and whole grains for patients and visitors.

Nurturing cattle, sending them to the feedlot and then onto the slaughterhouse is a part of the culture here, burnished into a big part of what makes Texas, Texas. Now, Midland Memorial Hospital, a major medical player in the heart of cattle country, has become the first in the state to buck that culture.

"We decided to embark on offering plant-based meals first for the patients as a prescribed diet," cardiac surgeon Dr. Staton Awtrey said. "And then to roll that out and offer that to staff and visitors." "They might change their diet to not have a heart attack. But they have all these collateral benefits they never anticipated," Awtrey said. Awtrey also claimed a plant-based diet will mitigate or reverse and ultimately cure arthritis, diabetes and hypertension. Awtrey said plant-based food promotes weight loss and the ability to get off certain kinds of medications.

[The full article includes an entertaining audio interview with a Texan fully converted to a vegetarian diet.]

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/5/1 19:58:47 ( 2733 reads )


Like treasure hidden in the ground, like flavor in the fruit, like gold in the rock, and oil in the seed, the Absolute is hidden in the heart.
-- Akka Mahadevi, twelfth-century Vira Saiva saint

House of Representative Speaker Paul Ryan Invites PM Modi to Address Joint Session of US Congress

Posted on 2016/4/29 20:38:32 ( 3908 reads )


WASHINGTON D.C., April 29, 2016 (Zee News): Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been invited to address a joint session of the United States Congress on June 8 during his visit here.

"The friendship between the United States and India is a pillar of stability in an important region of the world," US House Speaker Paul Ryan said. "This address presents a special opportunity to hear from the elected leader of the world's most populous democracy on how our two nations can work together to promote our shared values and to increase prosperity. We look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Modi to the United States Capitol."

Teach Students Tirukkural: Madras High Court

Posted on 2016/4/29 20:38:21 ( 3849 reads )


MADURAI, INDIA, April 29, 2016 (Deccan Chronicle): Observing that the Tirukkural alone can take the younger generation on a righteous path, the Madurai bench of Madras high court directed the state government to include 108 chapters of Tirukkural, the great Tamil masterpiece on ethics, in the curriculum of students from VI standard to XII standards in the school syllabus for the next academic year.

Dismissing the argument of special government pleader V.R. Shanmuganathan that inclusion of entire Tirukkural as subject would increase the burden on the students, Justice R. Mahadevan said that though maths and science are considered to be most difficult subjects for school students, the government has never had any second thoughts to reduce the portions because they considered it necessary for the academic development of the student.

"Moral science is equally important and if not more. A mere intelligent but a person without moral aptitude can ruin the society more than an unintelligent person with morals," he observed.

How Many British Officers Were in India at Independence?

Posted on 2016/4/29 20:38:11 ( 2534 reads )

KAUAI, HAWAII, April 29, 2016 (Hinduism Today): As part of research for part four of our movie series, "The Hinduism of Hindu India," the question came up of how many British officers were in the total military of India which in 1947 numbered 2.5 million? If you have an authorative source for this information please contact the managing editor, Acharya Arumuganathawami, at ar@hindu.org.

And part one of the History of Hindu India has at this moment reached 1,076,511 views. View it at:

Parts two and three are also posted; links are provided in description of part one.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/4/29 20:38:00 ( 2483 reads )


The average man of the world goes about his daily life not knowing that subconsciously he is seeking the Absolute Truth, the Beloved in the jiva. The mind-body equipment of man contains this Beloved, yet he seeks for it everywhere else but within. The musk deer attracted by its own scent searches for it in the woods. Little does it know that in its body is the source of this fragrance. Saint Kabir (1440-1518)

South Arica's Arya Samaj Celebrates its 90th Anniversary

Posted on 2016/4/27 20:09:11 ( 3806 reads )


SOUTH AFRICA, April 27, 2016 (Arya Samaj, SA): The Arya Samaj SA, celebrated ninety years of its founding recently at the Durban Exhibition Centre, with dignitaries from government and international visitors attending. The chief guest, Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, emphasized the key role that civil society has to play in strengthening any democracy. "Organisations like the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha serve as the moral conscience of the nation and keeps everybody honest," he said. Mr Sihle Zikalala, provincial leader of the ANC in KZN, acknowledged the role the Arya Samaj had played in the liberation struggle in this country, but said new challenges such as building social cohesion loom large. "Your organization can play a role in contributing to this cohesion," he added.

Swami Aryavesh, spiritual head of the Arya Samaj movement worldwide which is based in India, said that Arya Samaj is not just a religious organization. It is one which concerns itself primarily with social justice and nobody should be content with pursuing his own welfare only. "We should seek our welfare by promoting the welfare of others," he stressed. A new grouping, Arya Samaj Africa was launched, following a workshop where a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by delegates from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Mauritius and Malawi. Organisations from these countries will collaborate, share expertise and resources to tackle common challenges in their respective countries.

Temples' plea on tuskers shot down

Posted on 2016/4/27 20:09:01 ( 3310 reads )


KERALA, INDIA, April 27, 2016 (The Hindu): With an eye on public safety and prevention of cruelty to elephants, the Social Forestry Division has disallowed the use of the animals for non-ritualistic practices in the district. An application by the Mukkolakkal Sree Mahaganapathy Temple in Mannanthala to parade 12 elephants at its annual festival in May was turned down a few days ago.The decision was taken after a team conducted a spot inspection, during which it was found that the arrangements were inadequate for parading elephants for ceremonies such as Gaja Puja and Aanayoottu. However, the temple was allowed to conduct a procession featuring an elephant on the concluding day of the festival. A notice issued by the Social Forestry Division stated that the decision was made in adherence to a ruling by the Supreme Court on April 18 last year, which had directed temple committees to ensure that the Kerala Captive Elephants (Management and Maintenance) Rules, 2012, were strictly complied with.

S. Sugathan, president of the temple trust, said, "We have been following this custom for nearly 30 years. The unexpected decision has forced us to make alternative arrangements. We will not defy the directions of the Forest Department," he said. The temple would discontinue such ceremonies from next year and also refrain from using firecrackers, he added. P.K. Jayakumar Sharma, Deputy Conservator of Forests (Social Forestry), said the restrictions were not meant to hinder temple rituals. A stringent stance had to be taken against the use of elephants for such programs in view of the recent killings of mahouts by elephants. The rising temperature is one of the factors that prompted the decision. The local police have been asked to ensure that temple authorities adhere to the directive.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/4/27 20:08:50 ( 3310 reads )


You shine, all living things emerge. You disappear, they go to rest. Recognizing our innocence, O golden-haired Sun, arise; let each day be better than the last.
-- Rig Veda (X, 37, 9)

Fast Changing Religious Demography of Kerala

Posted on 2016/4/26 19:57:15 ( 4052 reads )

KERALA, INDIA, APRIL 27, 2016 (by J. K Bajaj, CPS, India): Like Assam, West Bengal, Purnia and Santhal Pargana region of Bihar and Jharkhand, parts of Western Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Mewat of Haryana and Rajasthan, and many of the States in the northeast--has seen a drastic change in its religious demography in the Census period, beginning from 1901. The share of Indian Religionists in Kerala, who are almost all Hindus, has declined from nearly 69 percent in 1901 to 55 percent in 2011, marking a loss of 14 percentage points in 11 decades. Unlike in the other regions mentioned above, in Kerala, both Christians and Muslims have considerable presence and both have gained in their share in this period. Of the loss of 14 percentage points suffered by the Indian Religionists, 9.6 percentage points have accrued to the Muslims and 4.3 to the Christians. Christians had in fact gained 7 percentage points between 1901 and 1961; after that they have lost about 3 percentage points, with the rapid rise in the share of Muslims in the recent decades.

This large rise in share of Muslims has taken place even though they are not behind others in literacy, urbanisation or even prosperity. Kerala, thus, proves that imbalance in growth of different communities does not disappear with rising literacy and lowering growth rates, as is fondly believed by many. During 2001-11, Muslims in Kerala have grown by 12.8 percent, while Hindus have grown by 2.2 and Christians by 1.4 percent. Such is the yawning and persistent gap between the Muslims and others. Christians and Muslims are concentrated in South and North Kerala, respectively. The share of Muslims has grown in both parts and Indian Religionists have lost in both. However, the decline of the latter has been more pronounced in North Kerala, where their share has fallen from 69.1 percent in 1901 to 50.7 percent in 2011. Of this loss of more than 18 percentage points, 14 have been lost after 1951. Since 1951, Muslims have gained by 12 percentage points, and Christians by more than 2 percentage points.

Caste Hierarchy and Discrimination in the Vedas

Posted on 2016/4/26 19:57:05 ( 3959 reads )


INDIA, April 21, 2016 (Swarajya Magazine by Swami Venkataraman): The Hindu sacred texts clearly relate varnas to the guna i.e., behavior and character, rather than the birth. The argument against the notion that a hierarchical caste system is "divinely inspired" and "intrinsic" to Hinduism is powerful and profound. The 90th Sukta of the 10th mandala in the Rig Veda, talks about the entire universe as the body of God (Purusha), and of all creation as emerging from only Him; proving the hierarchy based theory wrong.

Underlying the discourse on caste (an inaccurate and misleading term that conflates the distinct concepts of the four varnas and the numerous jatis), is an assertion that the caste system, along with its in-built hierarchy and discrimination, is intrinsic to the practice of Hinduism. While sloganeering often revolves around opposing Manuwad or burning the Manusmriti, the more formal criticism leveled by academics and activists, and thus reflected in the media is rooted from the idea that the caste system is divinely inspired.

Many hone on making one verse in the "Purusha Sukta" of the Rig Veda, one of the most chanted hymns of the entire Vedic corpus; as an evidence that the Vedas are themselves conceived of a hierarchical and a discriminatory caste system. But does the Purusha Sukta really do so? This is not mere academic curiosity. The solution to any problem relies on a correct diagnosis and even as they acknowledge the social history of caste-based discrimination in India, it is important for Hindus, and non-Hindus, to know whether the Sukta really does sanction a birth-based hierarchy.

Much more at "source" where the author argues Purusha Sukta does not sanction birth-based hierarchy.

The Academic Assault on Hinduism

Posted on 2016/4/26 19:56:55 ( 4000 reads )


CALIFORNIA, USA, April 27, 2016 (by Aseem Shukla, Religion News Service): An open letter to the California Department of Education, signed by a group of academics, many of whom are sympathetic to the Indian left, is threatening to downgrade, and in many cases remove, the terms India and Hinduism from schoolbooks.Two years ago, Hindu and Indian-American groups began working with the department's Instructional Quality Commission to ensure a culturally competent and accurate curriculum framework to be passed on to teachers and textbook publishers of sixth and seventh grade world history. In collaboration with leading historians and religious studies professors, the Hindu American Foundation and other advocacy groups submitted several recommendations that would give Hinduism accurate and equitable in comparison to other religious traditions. Many of the Hindu American Foundation's suggestions were incorporated, but the process was interrupted with the zero-hour arrival of said open letter by academics collectivized under the rubric of South Asia Faculty Group.

Many of these scholars offering alterations focusing on Hinduism, ironically include specialists in Islamic studies, such as Asad Q. Ahmad, Shahzad Bashir and Chris Chekuri, as well as prominent Indian Americans of the Indian left, such as Kamala Viswesaran, amongst others. The demands in their letter were breathtaking: Replace mentions of ancient India with the nebulous "South Asia"; replace "Hinduism" with "ancient religion(s) of India"; remove several favorable references to Hinduism; and unequivocally locate the horrendous practice of caste-based discrimination as an integral part of the practice of Hinduism. Reducing ancient India to the anodyne "South Asia" may be geographically accurate, but scholars know that there was never an entity called "Ancient South Asia." Ruins of the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations exist in Libya, Israel, Jordan and Turkey, among many other countries, but the names of the civilizations have not been replaced.

Why would the professors delete the word "Hinduism," which a billion people in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and elsewhere call their own -- and 3 million Americans embrace -- and replace it with a host of terms that have no use in common parlance? Why try so hard to erase India (the Hindu American Foundation launched #donteraseindia to counter precisely that)? And why would the faculty group preserve "Hinduism" only to link it to caste? The politics behind these changes are complex, but what is clear is that such deletions and substitutions bear no relevance to actual practitioners of Hinduism. And while academics today are eager to engage in contentious socio-political causes, they must not use the privilege of their position to impose campus politics on a middle school curriculum. Because what matters is that erasing Hinduism from texts does not erase bullying that Hindu and Indian-American children face stemming from ignorance arising from such deletions.

For more, go to source

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/4/26 19:56:44 ( 3465 reads )


He is the Supreme Brahman, the Self of all, the chief foundation of this world, subtler than the subtle, eternal. That thou art; thou art That.
-- Atharva Veda, Kaivalya Upanishad

In the Wake of the Earthquake: "Normal" in Nepal Spells Trouble

Posted on 2016/4/25 19:53:42 ( 4112 reads )


KATHMANDU, NEPAL, April 21, 2016 (Global Research by Barbara Nimri Aziz): Nepal has fallen into a troubling, dysfunctional state of normality which has little to do with last year's earthquake that destroyed villages, leveled temples and schools, killing almost 9,000 people in and around Kathmandu Valley. The county's capital, a city of four million, needs to awaken from its comatose state, a condition that may seem an outcome of the earthquake, but in fact is a result of deep-seated endemic problems:- bad leadership, misplaced and mismanaged development policies and funds, factionalism, and an over-dependence on India.

Yes, Nepal generates news: For the spiritually minded, Patan's ancient Hindu temples are being restored and yoga retreats can be booked online. Image-makers provide appropriate graphics for those who continue to deny Nepal's reality--that is, a nation absent basic services for its people and where government responsibility is hard to find.

Winter has moved on so those cold nights without fuel have passed. But (unrelated to the earthquake) millions of Nepalis face ongoing hardships and bleak prospects about the democratic benefits promised them - first by the introduction of multi-parties, then by the ceasefire with Maoist rebels, then by the king's ouster and declaration of Nepal as a republic, and finally, last summer, with the passage of a new constitution.

More of this analysis at "source".

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