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Kailash Yatra Breaks All past Records
Posted on 2014/9/25 17:49:30 ( 486 reads )

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INDIA, August 22, 2014 (Hindustan Times): Giving a reason for officials to smile, more than 900 pilgrims have pilgrimaged on foot to Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) this year via the India route, setting a new record of sorts. The yatra is an annual affair which passes through Uttarakhand and goes till Kailash Mansarovar in TAR under China.

The 18th batch of the yatra left from Pithoragarh for its destination on Wednesday. This is the last batch and with this batch, total number of pilgrims has reached 909, breaking all past records since 1981.

The pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar by this route is considered one of the difficult pilgrimages (you can take a Land Rover to the base from Nepal, or even fly in by helicopter--for US$3,199 each...). On the Indian side, beyond Malti, pilgrims have to trek the route on foot. The last station on the Indian side is Liphulekh pass. The yatra began on June 12 through an old route but later the administration decided to move pilgrims through an alternative route. Despite odds, the yatra went on successfully.

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Did you Study Indian History and Hinduism in California During 6th Grade? If So, We'd Like to Hear from You.
Posted on 2014/9/25 17:49:24 ( 564 reads )



KAUAI, HAWAII, September 25, 2014 (HPI): As readers may know, the California State Board of Education's Instructional Quality Commission just set in motion a 60-day review period for the revised Framework for History-Social Studies. In this revised Framework, which sets the classroom curriculum for each grade, the section on India and Hinduism has been extensively changed, in our opinion, often for the worse.

Hinduism Today is working with organizations and scholars to create a set of recommended changes to the revised Framework, and as part of that we need to demonstrate the problems created by the existing one.

We have heard anecdotal reports from Hindu students that they've been humiliated in class by the nature of the sections on India, focused as they are almost entirely on caste in most books. One student went home and told his mother, "I don't want to be a Hindu any more." Another was taunted with the question, "What's your caste?"

We've appealed to parents to send us more such reports, but are not getting a big response, we believe because they don't want their school-age children to be brought into a controversy.

However, what is being taught now has been the same since the early 1990s. So you attended sixth grade in California years ago, we'd like to hear what it was like for you during the week India and Hinduism was taught.

It is very important that we collect this data immediately. Your name can be used or not as you prefer.

Send reports to Acharya Arumuganathaswami, Managing Editor, Hinduism Today Magazine: ar@hindu.org

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/9/25 17:49:18 ( 428 reads )

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According as one acts, so does he become. One becomes virtuous by virtuous action, bad by bad action.
-- Yajur Veda, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.4.5

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The On-Going Battle for Custodianship of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple and its Immense Wealth
Posted on 2014/9/22 18:40:00 ( 683 reads )

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On the day the first vault was opened, the court team also tried to open a second, known as Kallara B. Today, the question of whether to open Kallara B to examine its contents is at the center of a bitter and protracted Supreme Court battle, as is the bigger question of exactly who should control the temple, and its priceless treasure. The Varmas, the former royal family of Travancore, now part of the modern state of Kerala, have staunchly opposed opening the vault, citing fears it will disturb the temple's spiritual energy, anger the Deity and bring them ill fortune. "They believe death will visit them if Kallara B would be opened," KK Venugopal, a family lawyer, told the judges during a Supreme Court hearing in August.

Yet the Travancore royals are on the defensive when it comes to the temple and its affairs. In April, Gopal Subramanium, a top lawyer appointed as amicus curiae, an independent adviser to the court accused the erstwhile royals of a "large-scale breach of moral and fiduciary duties" to Lord Padmanabha. In his exhaustive 575-page report, he argued there was no proper accounting of public donations received or monies spent at the temple, nor proper records of temple assets. Following this sharp criticism, the Supreme Court ordered the former royal family to hand over their keys to the temple and its vaults, severing their centuries-old role as the shrine's main custodians.

The court-ordered opening and inventorying of Kallara B seems inevitable -- and there is fierce speculation over what it will reveal. Meanwhile, Princess Gowri Parvathi who is the niece of the last Travancore Maharaja insists her family, now led by her older brother, will keep fighting for the restoration of its custodianship of the shrine it insists it had served faithfully for centuries. "We have no claim even to one little coin within the temple," she says. "We are saying it all belongs to the Deity and to Him only. We are not fighting to gain control of the riches - not at all. We want our good name vindicated. This is our life. It's not about possessions. We are fighting for our life."

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California Governor Vetoes Bill to Revise School Textbook Content Standards
Posted on 2014/9/22 18:34:12 ( 560 reads )

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SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, September 19, 2014 (HPI): California governor Jerry Brown vetoed Senate Bill 1057 which would have called for the revision of the "Content Standards" which guide the creation of the state's history-social science books for grades K-12. The Hindu-American community was disappointed with the veto as the bill could have improved the presentation of Hinduism and Indian history in the state's school system.

In vetoing the bill, the governor said, "This bill would require the State Board of Education to adopt history-social science content standards by July 30, 2018. I agree that providing up to date instructional guidance to educators for use in their classrooms is important. This is precisely why the State Board of Education is currently updating the history-social science framework which is on track to be adopted next spring. I am concerned that this bill may slow progress that is already underway, and does not include a role for the Instructional Quality Commission. For these reasons, I am unable to sign this bill."

For the full text of the original bill, go to:
http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/fac ... l?bill_id=201320140SB1057

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Know how Durga Puja is celebrated in East India
Posted on 2014/9/22 18:34:06 ( 591 reads )

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INDIA, September 8, 2014 (by Anindita Dev, zeenews): It's that time of the year for the Bengali Hindus and Assamese, who wake up to the Dhak (drum) beats every morning, following the ten-day long festival of Durga Puja. Durga Puja is also referred to as Durgotsava in Bengali, which marks the victory of Durga over the buffalo demon, Mahishasura. It symbolises the victory of good over evil. The celebration of Durga Puja is culturally significant and holds emotional value for the people of Bengal, Assam and adjoining areas.

Throughout the 6 days of this festival, the cities their cultural milieu. Pandals are set up in all the nooks and corner of city, wherever possible. The Deities are creatively crafted by the potters, out of clay and the life-size Deities of Durga along with her children are installed in the pandals. Community puja or Sarbojanin puja, take up the role of organizing the puja in their locality by housing Deities in pandals and make-shift temples. The five-day worship of the Goddess ends with a grand procession of immersing the Deity in the nearby river. This marks an emotional moment, as She leaves Her home to reunite with Shiva, marked by Vijayadashami. This indicates Durga's victory over the evil and in Northern part of the country, it is known as Dusherra which marks Rama's victory over the demon Ravana.

During the five-day celebration, devotees abstain from alcohol, meat, onions, and wheat. This is something similar to people observing fasts during the Navratras.The end of Navratri calls for an auspicious time for new business or considered lucky for any new work, following a number of rituals which leads to Shubho Bijoya.

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Lord Ganesha Figure Immersed in Pattaya Bay, Thailand
Posted on 2014/9/22 18:33:53 ( 539 reads )

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PATTAYA, THAILAND, September 12, 2014 (Pattaya Mail): Followers of the Hindu and Buddhist God Ganesha capped a 15-day festival with a ceremony lowering a statue of the "God of Success" into the sea at Bali Hai Pier. Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh and Pattaya Ganesha Lovers Club President Chaiwat Detnathee led the faithful at a fire sacrifice and prayer ceremony Aug. 28 as part of the Ganesha Chaturthi celebration.

The centerpiece of the event was the ritual immersion of an eight-foot-tall Ganesha figure into the sea, symbolizing a ritual see-off of the Lord in His journey towards His abode in Kailash while taking away with Him the misfortunes of His devotees.

The Aug. 15-30 festival -- the sixth year it has been held in Thailand -- is the country's largest celebration of its kind. The festival included a parade through Pattaya to display Ganesha's image so followers could pray for their own success and obstacles to be removed. Pattaya officials and club leaders then led followers in an evening candle-lighting ceremony.


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/9/22 18:33:47 ( 534 reads )

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When the fundamentalists of any religion teach an unrelenting duality based on good and evil, man and nature or God and Devil, this creates friends and enemies. This belief is a sacrilege to Hindus, because they know that the attitudes which are the by-product are totally dualistic, and for good to triumph over that which is alien or evil, it must kill out that which is considered to be evil. The Hindu looks at nothing as intrinsically evil. To him the ground is sacred. The sky is sacred. The sun is sacred. His wife is a Goddess. Her husband is a God. Their children are devas. Their home is a shrine.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today

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Government to Install Electric Crematorium at Haridwar
Posted on 2014/9/21 11:39:17 ( 612 reads )

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INDIA, September 17, 2014 (Daily Pioneer): In a bid to save the environment, the State Government is all set to install an electric crematorium at Haridwar. "Union Minister for Water Resource Uma Bharati has agreed that she would consider the proposal," said Chief Minister Harish Rawat while addressing the media after meeting Bharti at the Chief Minister's residence on Tuesday late evening.

Bharti said she had come here as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's emissary. She added that she is here to support the State in saving the Ganga river from pollution. "We know Uttarakhand is already enjoying a special category status, but the disaster in 2013 annihilated the State tourism, and thus the State has become more special for Prime Minister Modi," she said.

The CM said, "We have urged Bharti to review the Eco Sensitive Zone area because it has severely dented into our development. As Ganga river is directly associated with our lifeline and it flows from Uttarakhand we are pretty serious about its cleanliness. For this, we are giving emphasis on the sewerage system and we would focus on solid waste management at the same time. As we have limited resources we would need financial help from the Union Government for its execution. Besides, we would install electric crematorium at Haridwar.""

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The Police in San Luis Practice Yoga for Stress
Posted on 2014/9/21 11:39:11 ( 600 reads )

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SAN LUIS, ARGENTINA, September 8, 2014 (La Nacion): With support from the Ministry of Education of the province of San Luis, an Ayurvedic program, a system of traditional Indian medicine that balances mind and body, has begun. The police in the province of San Luis will have a rare opportunity to learn how to reduce stress levels in a program called "Ayurvedic Anti-Stress Program," a scientifically valid way to achieve balance between mind and body.

This program, which will be given at the Institute of Public Security, is intended for security officers who carry out their front-line duties in street services and law enforcement agencies, such as firefighters, police, radio command, traffic police and special units. The turnout is 50 per month, which will make a total of 200, and the total duration of the program shall be the final four months of 2014; with a provision that it will be continued with more participants in 2015.

According to the government of San Luis, since 1974 there have been over 600 scientific studies on this program at more than 250 universities and medical schools in 33 countries, which have shown many benefits among which are: faster recovery from post-traumatic stress, increase in short term memory and long-term increase in the rate of growth of intelligence, improvement in study and learning, less need for medical care, reducing hypertension, lowering cholesterol, free radicals, anxiety, insomnia and depression, marked stress reduction, deep relaxation, greater efficiency and productivity, effective rehabilitation of prisoners, reduced substance abuse, among many others.

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Calf in India Born with Third Eye Causes a Stir
Posted on 2014/9/21 11:39:05 ( 727 reads )

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CHENNAI, INDIA, September 17, 2014 (UPI): A calf born in India with a third eye in the middle of its forehead is being hailed as an incarnation of the Hindu God Siva. The owner of the animal, a Tamil Nadu state resident identified as Meghala, said the "miracle calf" born two weeks ago is an incarnation of Lord Siva sent to the village to bring good luck. Hindu children have been visiting the calf to touch its head for good luck and a blessing from Shiva.

Short video at "source" of a calf which indeed has a third eye in the middle of its forehead.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/9/21 11:38:58 ( 454 reads )

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You may develop a thousand virtues and be reckoned as the greatest in the land. But the lotus of your heart will not blossom until you receive the grace of the Guru, the grace of God!
-- Dada Sadhu Vaswani

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Preparations for Kate Festival Vietnam
Posted on 2014/9/20 16:41:21 ( 556 reads )

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VIETNAM, September 3, 2014 (Muinetourism). Kate Festival 2014 (commemorating the dead and honoring heroes) will officially take place from the 22nd to 23rd of October (in the beginning of the seventh month of the Cham calendar) at Po Sah Inu towers (Phan Thiet city) with many interesting traditional Hindu rituals and festivities.

In order to continue to introduce and promote cultural assets and traditional art of the Cham people and to participate in local tourism activities, ritual and festive parts of this festival are logically connected according to traditional rites, to show reverence, provide a cheerful atmosphere and solidarity between ethnic communities in Binh Thuan. the ritual program of Kate Festival will be strictly organized according to traditional custom, under the direction of Cham dignitaries from Ham Thuan Bac district.

As scheduled, rites will be officially started from 10:00 am on 22nd October. Afterwards, a ceremony to pray for peace will be performed by Bani and Balamon dignitaries at the Main Tower in the afternoon. Festive activities, such as a competition of arranging and decorating sacrifice to Po Sah Inu Goddess or traditional art performances with the participation of artists from Blue Ocean Theatre of Binh Thuan, will also be organized in this afternoon.

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Dharma Studies to Open in Berkeley
Posted on 2014/9/20 16:41:14 ( 541 reads )

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SIMI VALLEY, CALIFORNIA, May 14, 2014 (India Journal): The southern California-based Dharma Civilization Foundation (DCF) and the Berkeley-based Graduate Theological Union (GTU) have agreed to establish a Center for Dharma Studies within the GTU, as well as the first Graduate School of Hindu Dharma Studies in higher education. The first two courses in Dharma studies will be offered in the fall semester of 2014.

Initial course offerings will include a course on the classical sacred texts of Hinduism, with emphasis on commentaries of Adi Shankara, taught by Dr. Ann Berliner, Professor Emerita at Cal State Fresno; and a course on comparative Indian ethics taught by Dr. Purushottama Bilimoria, Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Studies at Deakin University, Australia and former Visiting Professor at UC Berkeley. In the near future are moves to enhance GTUs common M.A. and Ph.D. programs with Hindu and Dharma centered concentrations.

The Dharma Civilization Foundation, founded in Los Angeles two years ago, is an organization of academic, professional, and spiritual leaders from the Indian-American community aiming to establish the systematic study of Dharma, its interpretation and contemporary application, through the creation of academic and intellectual infrastructure in the U.S. Swami Dayananda Saraswati, founder of Arsha Vidya Gurukulam in the U.S. and India initially recommended the GTU for a meaningful collaboration with DCF. He expressed the view that the GTU's uniqueness lies in its way of teaching - where each professor is also a practitioner of the religion.

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Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams to Effect Changes in Darshan Patterns
Posted on 2014/9/20 16:41:08 ( 519 reads )

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TIRUMALA, INDIA, September 17, 2014 (Deccan Chronicle): Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams is all set to effect changes in the darshan patterns during the nine-day annual Brahmotsavam slated between September 26 and October 4 at Tirumala. In view of the heavy influx of devotees expected to throng the Tirumala hill shrine during the festivities, the temple administration has already cancelled VIP break darshan and select arjitha sevas till the completion of the festival.

TTD JEO K.S. Srinivasa Raju, who inspected the ongoing arrangements here on Tuesday, told media persons that darshan for the aged, physically challenged and the parents of newborns would be cancelled during Brahmotsavam. The JEO added that current booking of US$5 special entry tickets would also be cancelled during the festival.

However, the temple administration would allow the devotees who booked their tickets in advance through the internet and e-Darshan quota for the darshan of Lord Venkateswara under the $5 special darshan. The temple administration also plans to restrict the number of tickets to be issued under the $.80 darshan system. Mr Srinivasa Raju appealed to all the devotees to turn up in traditional wear for the darshan of Lord Venkateswara as it has been made mandatory for select darshan systems.

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