Hindu Press International


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Amarnath Yatra to Commence from July 2

Posted on 2016/1/21 17:43:45 ( 1710 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 21, 2016 (India Today): The annual yatra to the Himalayan cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir will begin from July 2, the governing board said today. The Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board approved the pilgrimage this year for 48 days, while the duration was 59 days last year. The board, however, did not specify the reason for curtailing the duration of the yatra. [HPI adds: Inclement weather striking during the yatra is a main concern, as it could trap thousands on the mountainous route.]

"The Board, keeping in view the foremost concern of safety and security of the pilgrims, decided that a 48-day Yatra would commence on 2nd July 2016, an auspicious day (Massik Shivratri) as per the Hindu Calendar and conclude on Shravan Purnima (Raksha Bandan) on 18th August 2016", the Board's spokesperson said.

Keeping in mind the present capacity of the tracks, available infrastructure in the yatra area and all other relevant considerations the board decided that, excluding yatris who would travel by helicopters on either route to Panjtarni, 7,500 pilgrims would be allowed to register for Yatra 2016 on per-day per-route basis, Chief Executive Officer, P.K. Tripathi said.

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Slow Genocide of Minorities in Pakistan: Farahnaz Ispahani

Posted on 2016/1/21 17:43:35 ( 1749 reads )

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PAKISTAN, January 19, 2016 (Live Mint by Farahnaz Ispahani): From 23% in 1947, Pakistan's minorities today constitute a mere 3-4% of the population, says Farahnaz Ispahani, media advisor to the president of Pakistan from 2008 to 2012 in her book Purifying the Land of the Pure: Pakistan's Religious Minorities.

She blames the successive Pakistan presidents and prime ministers for launching a slow genocide against minorities in the country to shore up their political base. She specifically blames Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, the Pak army general who was the country's 6th president, for creating a militant group to target Shias, Ahmadis, Hindus and Christians.

When asked about the title, Purifying the Land of the Pure, Ispahani said, "Pakistan itself means pure land. The reason I chose it is because I have traced in my book, using historical archives, how Pakistan which set out to be a secular, albeit Muslims majority, state, ended up becoming what it is today. When Pakistan was being formed in 1947, Pakistan's population of non-Muslims was 23%, today we are somewhere between 3%-4%. So there has been a purification of minorities."

Much more at "source" above.

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Free Panchangams Available for 284 Cities for 2016-2017 and 2017-2018

Posted on 2016/1/21 17:43:20 ( 1682 reads )

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KAUAI, HAWAII, January 21, 2016: A comprehensive panchangam, Hindu astrological calendar, is now available for free download. For 284 cities, it includes the local year, half-year, season, month (solar and lunar), rasi (moon sign), day (solar and lunar), karana (half day), nakshatra, kalas, yogas, festival days, and auspicious days.

The calendar used by the monastics at Kauai's Hindu Monastery blossomed from humble beginnings in the early 1970s when it was known as the "balanced life calendar." It provided the monks and families a way to plan their daily routine of work and sadhana. For use in the monastery, the panchangam follows a schedule typical of a priestly gurukulam in India, four to six days of service followed by two or three days of retreat during the new, full and quarterly phases of the moon.

Download from "source" above. You can also order a panchangam for a city not on the list of 284 for $2.99, as well as a birth chart for $6.99 (here)


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Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/1/21 17:43:09 ( 1518 reads )

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He who befriends a man whose conduct is vicious, whose vision impure, and who is notoriously crooked, is rapidly ruined.
-- Chanakya (350-275 bce), Indian politician, strategist and writer

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Chariots Replace Elephants in Temples

Posted on 2016/1/20 20:04:59 ( 1681 reads )

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THRISSUR, INDIA, January 13, 2016 (Deccan Chronicle): The trend of sparing elephants from temple festivals is catching up in view of the increasing incidents of the animals running amok causing even fatal accidents. A temple owned by a tantric family Kavanattumana in Irinjalakkuda here conducted the festival without elephants and introduced chariots for carrying thidambu (replica of the murthi) for temple ceremonies the other day. The officials of the Kombara Sree Krishna temple told DC that in three other temples owned by the family in Thrissur, they were planning to replace elephants with chariot.

"We had been using an elephant per day during the five-day festival. For the pallivetta ceremony when the murthi is taken out, we used to have three elephants. But considering the safety of devotees on festival grounds and temple premises we decided to move over to a specially designed chariot at a cost of US$3,000," Mr Ravi Namboothiri of Kavanattumana told DC. Tantric scriptures in Vishnusamhita have mentioned that the murthi can be taken out either on the back of an elephant or a chariot, he said.

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Malaysian Temple Turns 100 in Style

Posted on 2016/1/20 20:04:49 ( 1603 reads )

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KAJANG, MALAYSIA, January 17, 2016 (The Star): Old is indeed gold and that proverb rings true of the Sri Subramaniya Swami Temple in Kajang as more than a thousand devotees celebrated its 100th anniversary celebration. The highlight was marked with Lord Murugan adorned in gold-plated armor.

During the prayers, 1,008 pots were filled with holy water and herbs, and passed via a human chain into the temple. Inside the temple, the water was poured over Lord Murugan before it was poured in little bottles or plastic bags to be distributed to the devotees to drink.

Temple management committee president Datuk K. Kirubakaran said, "the beauty of the event is to see the crowd coming to worship, as in Hinduism, vibrations are also created by devotees thronging the temple." The temple is the oldest Hindu place of worship in Selangor. In fact, a shrine was already placed at the site even before 1916, but the century mark is counted from when a group of Hindu pioneers bought the land in Jalan Reko here.

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Spain's Queen Letizia, a Yoga Enthusiast, Visits Madrid Fair

Posted on 2016/1/20 20:04:39 ( 1534 reads )

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MADRID, SPAIN, January 20, 2016 (EFE Estilo): The queen of Spain spent 90 minutes at the inauguration of the 36th edition of the tourism fair in Madrid which expects to receive more than 223,000 visitors. The fair is hosting 9,500 companies, institutions and tourist agencies from 165 countries. The Queen's inaugural tour included stops at five pavilions of different countries involved.

At the "Incredible India" pavilion she was greeted by the Indian Ambassador, Vikram Misri, and also by a young Spanish yoga teacher, Elsa Aguirre, who has had a chance to talk with Letizia on the benefits of yoga and the importance of the unified teaching methods in training courses that have begun to teach at Spanish universities. In front of a large figure representing a yogi under the slogan in English "Yoga is the journey of self, through the self, to the Self," the Queen explained to Elsa that she also practices yoga using the Iyengar technique - which has been popularized in the West by the guru of the same name.

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Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/1/20 20:04:28 ( 1390 reads )

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In the end, the Great Mystery is known as one, as two, as neither one nor two. Most people try to experience God through other people. Disciples see a guru as God. Wives see their husband as God. Devotees see the Deity in the temple as God. But all the time, behind the eyes of their seeing, is God.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of hinduism today

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Ardh Kumbh Mela Opens to Colorful Start in Haridwar

Posted on 2016/1/19 18:07:46 ( 1779 reads )

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HARIDWAR, INDIA, January 14, 2016 (Hindustan Times): The Ardh Kumbh Mela opened to a colorful start in Haridwar, with thousands of devotees taking part in the first snan or holy dip in the Ganga on the auspicious occasion of Makar Sankranti on Thursday. The Har Ki Pauri - the famous ghat on the banks on the Ganga in Haridwar - witnessed a rush of pilgrims from across the country, with devotees immersing themselves into the icy waters of the Ganga.

The Ardh Kumbh Mela takes place in Haridwar and Allahabad every six years (off the cycle of the Maha Kumbh Mela every 12 years). Attending it is considered to be highly auspicious and a dip in the holy waters of the Ganga is believed to absolve one's sins.

The police and other security forces were seen manning the ghats, with metal detectors, sniffer dogs and tear gas on standby. Aerial drones kept an eye on the activities at the Har Ki Pauri, even as officials at a nearby watch tower were on guard. Deputy mela officer Avdhesh Kumar Singh said that an estimated 500,000 pilgrims had already arrived in the holy city. "The Kumbh Mela has been proceeding peacefully, with no untoward incident having been reported so far. We are keeping a close eye on developments," he said.

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700,000 Take Dip at Holy Confluence at Bay of Bengal

Posted on 2016/1/19 18:07:36 ( 1643 reads )

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GANGASAGAR, INDIA, January 15, 2016 (The Statesman): Around 700,000 pilgrims took the holy dip on the day of Makar Sankranti at the confluence of the Hooghly river (a branch of the Ganga) and Bay of Bengal on Thursday. Those who took the holy bath on the day came not just from different states of India, but also from countries like Nepal, Thailand and others.

Devotees started pouring into the bay near the convergence point of river Hooghly and Bay of Bengal at 4 a.m. The auspicious bath went on till afternoon. However, a large number of devotees, naga sadhus, monks of several ashrams, including the Shankaracharya of Govardhana Math of Puri, will take holy dip tomorrow at the auspicious moment (Mahendrakkhan). Around 1,400,000 people have visited Gangasagar till Thursday.

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Now, Tirukkural Will Be Set to Carnatic Music

Posted on 2016/1/19 18:07:25 ( 1610 reads )

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INDIA, January 15, 2016 (The Hindu): Tirukural, a moral treatise in pithy verse is rarely associated with music. Now, Chitraveena exponent N. Ravikiran is planning to set to music all 1330 couplets. He will begin the work on January 12 at the International Institute of Tamil Studies in Taramani.

"It is possible to make use of the lyrical beauty of the kurals (couplets) and set them to music. I have decided to complete the task in 50 hours," said Mr. Ravikiran when asked how a work not meant for musical rendering would fit into the grammar of Carnatic ragas.

Mr. Ravikiran said he would use over 300 Carnatic ragas for setting the couplets to music. "Besides I will use Hindustani and folk tunes, tunes suitable for Western orchestra and tunes to capture the attention of children. My objective is also to make Tirukural popular on concert platforms on a par with traditional keerthanas," he said.

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Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/1/19 18:07:15 ( 1240 reads )

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There is no greater mystery than that we keep seeking reality though, in fact, we are reality. We think that there is something hiding reality and that this must be destroyed before reality is gained. How ridiculous! A day will dawn when you will laugh at all your past efforts. That which will be on the day you laugh is also here and now.
-- Sri Ramana Maharishi (1879-1950), South Indian mystic

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Government Not to Interfere in Sabarimala Temple Traditions

Posted on 2016/1/14 18:20:55 ( 1901 reads )

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, INDIA, January 13, 2016 (Deccan Chronicle): Kerala government on Wednesday made it clear that it would not interfere in the customs and traditions of Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala where entry of women in the age group of 10 to 50 are banned.

"Government has a declared stand on matters like this. It will not interfere on issues of customs and beliefs," Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told reporters after a cabinet meeting. Chandy was reacting to the supreme court observation that practice of banning entry of women and girls was not supported by the constitutional scheme. The apex court had also directed the state government to file an affidavit in the case.

Chandy said the government never interfered in the matters of other religions such as that of Muslims and Christians. "How can it interfere on customs and beliefs of Hindu faith?," he asked. Yesterday, the Travancore Devaswom Board that manages the temple had stated that the restriction was part of custom and traditions of the shrine and wanted it to continue

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Governing Body Denies Recognition to Akhara of Eunuchs at Kumbha Mela

Posted on 2016/1/14 18:20:45 ( 2033 reads )

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INDORE, INDIA, January 11, 2016 (Zee News): Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad, the apex body of Hindu ascetic organisations, has refused to grant recognition to the newly-formed Kinnar Akhara, the religious representation of eunuchs, to participate in Simhastha (Kumbh) Mela (held in Ujjain in 2016) even as the Kinnar members asserted that they do not need permission from the ABAP to participate in the fair. Transgender rights activist Lakshmi Narayan Tripathi also supported the Kinnar Akhara .

"We have not sought any recognition from Akhara Parishad and who are they to recognise anyone? Kinnars (eunuchs) are born as hermits and have played an important role in the protection of Hindu religion. We don't need any certificate from anyone," Laxmi told reporters today after taking part in the Kshipra river cleanliness drive. Replying to a query on ABAP President Mahant Narendra Giri's recent statement that it would not grant recognition to Kinnar Akhara, Laxmi said, "Narendra Giri is unnecessarily making statements. It hardly affects us. We will take part in every activity of the Simhastha Mela."

Laxmi said that some seers are opposing Kinnars' participation in Simhastha as they fear that if the third gender comes to lead the religious world, then what will happen to them. Questioning the existence of 13 main Akharas, Laxmi asked, "Which Hindu scripture has a mention of the Akhara system? On the other hand, there is a special mention of eunuchs in several holy books of Sanatan Hindu Dharm." Laxmi said, "The existence of eunuchs is being denied for centuries. To gain our existence and to take part in the main stream of society, we have formed our own Akhara.

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A 4,000-Year-Old Craft finds its Way from Bastar

Posted on 2016/1/14 18:20:35 ( 1781 reads )

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KERALA, INDIA, January 12, 2016 (The Hindu): The Kerala Folklore Akademi at Chirakkal here has come alive with the exhibition of techniques and craft of a style of metal casting that survives among the tribal people of Bastar in Chattisgarh. Called Dhokra, it is apparently the earliest known method of metal casting. A group of 10 Dhokra artisans from Bastar is camping in the Akademi for the live display of their traditional bell metal casting technique as part of the 10-day metal casting workshop being organised by the Akademi. "Dhokra is a traditional tribal bell metal artwork using layers of wax," said Bannu Ram Baidh, a master craftsman of the visiting team from Bastar. The craft also supports the tribe's livelihood, he said.

The work begins with the making of a clay core which roughly resembles the product. The clay core is then covered by a layer of bee's wax and the sculptor carves out the shape. It is then covered with a thick layer of clay. The wax melts when the clay is cooked and thus forms a mould to be filled with molten metal. "Dhokra work is a combination of art and craft," said Akademi vice-chairman Suresh Koothuparamba, who is an artist himself. It is a 4,000-year old tradition of metal casting, he added.

Akademi secretary M. Pradeep Kumar said that the ongoing Dhokra workshop is being hosted by the Akademi to introduce to the people in the State a cultural legacy of the people of Bastar that still continues.

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