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Australian PM Tony Abbott Returns 11th Century Stolen Statues to Modi
Posted on 2014/9/6 17:23:32 ( 886 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, September 5, 2014 (New Indian Express): Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Friday handed over to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi two antique statues of Hindu deities which were stolen from temples in Tamil Nadu before being bought by art galleries in Australia.

During his meeting with Modi, Abbott returned the statues, one of which is a Nataraja -- the dancing Shiva -- which belonged to the Chola dynasty of 11th-12th century. The other sculpture is of Ardhanariswara, which represents Shiva in half-female form, and dates back to 10th century.

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Temple Demolition: Pakistani Hindus Seek Redress
Posted on 2014/9/6 17:23:25 ( 804 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, September 5, 2014 (Business Standard): As Pakistani authorities are all set to raze a 79-year-old temple in Rawalpindi, anger and disappointment prevail among the country's Hindu minority that is seeking protection and freedom to practice their religion in an Islamic state.

Hindus have been living in Rawalpindi for over a century and the 1935-built Maharishi Valmik Swamiji Mandir in the Gracy Lines area of the Chaklala cantonment holds major significance as it enables them to worship and conduct religious festivities. Its entrance is decorated with Pakistani flags, a sign of the Hindu minorities' patriotism and love for the country where they were born and grew up.

When notice to demolish such an old temple was issued July 18, a sense of anger, fear, and panic gripped not just the over 20,000 Hindus of Rawalpindi and neighboring Islamabad but also the two million Hindus - a dwindling community - living across Pakistan, a nation of 180 million people.

Lahore-based journalist Raza Wazir felt the demolition of the temple symbolizes "a trend in Pakistan where the space for religious plurality and tolerance of different beliefs is fast shrinking". It is indicative of a change in the attitude of the authorities as well as the active members of society who "no longer consider it their duty to care for faiths other than Islam", Wazir told IANS in an email, adding: "This is surely a bad sign for the progress of Pakistan's democratic culture."

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Call for papers: Digital Hinduism Academic Anthology
Posted on 2014/9/5 18:00:00 ( 885 reads )



WASHINGTON, D.C., September 5, 2014 (Press Release): In this anthology edited by Vamsee Juluri and Murali Balaji, we seek to show how the digital age has transformed the way Hinduism is communicated -- and practiced -- across the world. From online worship services and philosophical forums, articulations of LGBT Hindu identities through online portals, devotional social media sites and non-Indian Hindu bloggers, to the iterations of Hinduphobia on various web portals, this anthology reflects the diverse and interdisciplinary scholarship resulting from an ancient religion's interactions with new media. Chapters must be no longer than 7,000 words in APA citation style. For full consideration, please submit a 150-word abstract to murali@hafsite.org by October 15.

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Chinese President Xi May Offer India New Route for Kailash Yatra
Posted on 2014/9/5 17:51:49 ( 922 reads )

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INDIA, September 4, 2014 (Hindustan Times): In a major political gesture, Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to announce the opening of a new safe route for Indian pilgrims visiting Kailash and Manasarovar in Tibet via Sikkim during his forthcoming visit to India. Besides a package of major investments, Xi may announce the opening of the route sought by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their first meeting in Fortaleza in Brazil in July this year.

Expectations are high that the route through Nathu La border point in Sikkim would be part of the big gesture of friendship not only to strike chord with Modi but also the people at large, especially Hindus and Buddhists considering its religious importance.

Modi wanted the second route for the Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra, keeping in view the terrain difficulties of the existing routes through Uttarakhand and Nepal which involves an arduous journey involving heavy tracking or by mules. The Yatra involves trekking at high altitudes of up to 19,500 feet.

More at "source."

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Ganesha Festival in UK
Posted on 2014/9/5 17:51:44 ( 739 reads )

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UNITED KINGDOM, September 3, 2014 (Echo): Thousands of people turned out to the country's biggest festival celebrating the Hindu God Ganesh. More than 10,000 Hindus descended on Shoebury's East Beach for the Ganesh Visarjan on Sunday after a procession from Blackgate Road to a marquee on the beach.

Worshippers enjoyed food, live music, singing and dancing. The festival ended with a water ceremony at 6pm, where statues of Ganesh were washed in the Thames Estuary and showered with flower petals.

Worshippers came in coaches from all over the country, including Birmingham, Leicester and Nottingham, with organiser Jay Gokani, of the Hounslow Hindu temple in West London, describing it as a great success.

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Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam Owns $1.6 Billion in Properties across India, Nepal
Posted on 2014/9/5 17:51:38 ( 697 reads )

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HYDERABAD, INDIA, August 27, 2014 (Deccan Chronicle): Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) has land, shopping complexes and other buildings not only in Andhra Pradesh but also in Nepal, Delhi, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Pondicherry, Haryana and Odisha.

"The market value of the landed properties owned by the TTD is about US$1.6 billion. In all, there is 4,657.51 acres of land belonging to TTD in the then undivided Andhra Pradesh, and another 125.75 acres outside Andhra Pradesh including Nepal and other states in India," said Endowments Minister Manikyal Rao.

However, YSRC members Chintala Ramachandra Reddy and Peddireddygari Ramachandra Reddy said the worth of TTD properties would be over $8 billion and that the TTD officials are failing to protect the properties of Lord Venkateswara. While no assurance was given by the minister on House Committee, he said the government will take all steps to ensure that every inch of TTD land and other properties are protected.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/9/5 17:51:25 ( 629 reads )

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Do not say that you do not have time for God. The busiest of men will have the most leisure, and the laziest will always be short of time, for the former utilizes time and the latter only wastes it. If you really want God, you will find time for Him.
-- Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati (1912-1954), 34th pontiff of Sri Sringeri Sharada Peetham

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Houston Celebrates Janamashtami
Posted on 2014/9/4 18:12:01 ( 597 reads )

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HOUSTON, TEXAS, August 28, 2014 (Indo American News): This year attendance at the premier, nonprofit event marking the birth of Lord Krishna - on 17 August, 3228 BC, according to the Bhagvata Purana - was at an all-time high of 8,000, reversing a decline over the past few years that had concerned the organizing group, the Hindus of Greater Houston. This year, the HGH had pulled out all the stops, it seemed, and made some fundamental changes that generated the enthusiasm among area Hindus to attend in large numbers as the Janamashtami event was held this past evening Saturday, August 23.

Since its inception in 1990 as a venue for bringing the celebration of life and wisdom of one of the major divinities in Hinduism, Lord Krishna, the Janamashtami festival has sought to bring together all the temples and other Hindu organizations under one roof to show not only the unity among these groups in the metropolitan area but also bring the culture and beauty of Hinduism - and by extension, India - to the Houston community.

This year nearly 70 booths displayed their products and services, including the area restaurants, and for the first time, 15 commercial booths were allowed to locate to the other side of the booths with religious affiliations, which still formed the colorful majority of the booths towards the center and right of the elevated stage in the back of the cavernous hall. "Hindus of the greater Houston area celebrated the birth of Lord Krishna in a truly grand style at this Silver Jubilee celebration," said Thara Narasimhan, a Board member and longtime supporter of HGH. "True to tradition, it was a celebration of many accolades, celebrities and achievements of the past and present community Hindu leaders."

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Two Elephants in Catania's Municipal Plaza
Posted on 2014/9/4 18:11:55 ( 581 reads )

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CATANIA, SICILY, September 1, 2014 (CTZEN--translated from Italian): The Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of the son of Shiva and Parvati, called Ganesha Chaturthi, has been celebrated with a quiet but colorful procession through the streets. Fifty devotees, all of Mauritian origin and from the little temple of the Catania Shiv Shakti Association took part in the event. Swami Ramchandas, from India, was brought by the group to participate. Accompanied by singing and dancing, the colorful (and biodegradable) Ganesha statue was carried on a small palanquin, through the Duomo Plaza past Il Liotru, the ancient elephant statue (official symbol of the city, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catania for a photo), on the way to the nearby seashore for immersion.

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Thousands Come to Altare Ashram to Celebrate Ganesh
Posted on 2014/9/4 18:11:48 ( 539 reads )

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ALTARE, ITALY, august 31,2014 (La Stampa--translated from Italian): Over two thousand Hindu devotees and a large number of dignitaries came to celebrate the annual festival of Ganesha Caturthi at the Gitananda Ashram. The event was a great success. As has been a tradition for many years now, the Ashram hosted a heartfelt celebration dedicated to the the birthday of the God Ganesh, who is most loved by the Hindu faithful. The day was divided into two parts, with an early morning visit to the temple dedicated to prayers and rituals, and the later part dedicated to speeches by the important personalities present, including the Consul General of India, who arrived from Milan, and the Ambassador of India to Italy, who came specially from Rome. The closing event was the procession with the statue of the God.

"Our celebration of Ganesha Caturthi was based on prayer for peace in the world - explained the leaders of the Ashram - for which we asked for peace for everyone, without distinction of any kind. And we hope that our request will be heard." Devotees came from all over the north of Italy, and also from some neighboring European countries. The Ashram was founded in 1984 (this year celebrated thirty years of work) as a place of prayer and study of the Hindu tradition by Yogasri Swami Yogananda Giri.

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Nepal Flooding Presents Gospel Opportunities
Posted on 2014/9/4 18:11:40 ( 521 reads )

https://www.mnnonline.org/news/nepal-f ... nts-gospel-opportunities/

NEPAL, August 27, 2014 (Mission Network News): HPI Note: This is from a Christian news source.

Nearly 300 people have died and more than 100 are missing due to severe Nepal flooding. Heavy rain, which began August 13, has affected 25 of Nepal's 75 districts, overflowing riverbanks and causing landslides. More than 22,000 people have been displaced. A ministry leader supported by Christian Aid Mission reports that he has "never, in the past 52 years," seen this kind of flooding in Bardia.

Many homeless families are living at the school run by this ministry-a school that recently received negative attention from a news channel in Nepal after it became known that several children converted to Christianity there. Converting someone to a religion other than Hinduism was illegal in Nepal until 2008, when it changed from the world's only Hindu Kingdom to a secular state.

The Nepalese government is ill-equipped to respond to such a disaster. According to one ministry leader assisted by Christian Aid Mission, the government is calling upon "each able individual to contribute 100 rupees [$1] for the people in the affected regions." Indigenous ministries inside Nepal are in a unique position to reach out to their hurting neighbors in Jesus' name immediately, with help wired directly from Christian Aid Mission.


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/9/4 18:11:33 ( 476 reads )

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Do you realize now the sacred significance and the supreme importance of the guru's role in the evolution of man? It was not without reason that the India of the past carefully tended and kept alive the lamp of guru-tattva. It is therefore not without reason that India, year after year, age after age, commemorates anew this ancient concept of the guru, adores it and pays homage to it again and again, and thereby reaffirms its belief and allegiance to it. For the true Indian knows that the guru is the only guarantee for the individual to transcend the bondage of sorrow and death, and experience the Consciousness of the Reality.
-- Swami Sivananda (1887-1963), founder of Divine Life Society, Rishikesh

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Heavy Rain Forces 50,000 Pilgrims to Abandon Nanda Devi Jat Yatra
Posted on 2014/9/3 18:37:43 ( 541 reads )

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INDIA, September 1, 2014 (Daily Mail): Poor preparation and bad weather saved the Uttarakhand government a catastrophe as it forced a major chunk of pilgrims to abandon the Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra midway at Bedni in the Chamoli district.

Monday saw over 50,000 pilgrims return, while only 8,000 opted to undertake the arduous trek for Patar Nachoniya, located at an altitude of 12,000 feet above sea level.

Mohan Singh, a native of Tharali said: "I had passed the medical test but I decided to return after the heavy rainfall. We stayed in the open under our umbrella after a wet Sunday night." "The state government makes huge claims of elaborated arrangements in television commercials but on ground nothing exists," said another villager.

The Yatra is hosted every twelfth year and is presently underway in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district. "The number is now manageable and I am thankful to people for accepting my appeal to withdraw their Yatra. They retreated on their own," said Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat.

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Indian Community Launches Museum in Australia
Posted on 2014/9/3 18:37:37 ( 491 reads )

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MELBOURNE, August 11, 2014 ( Times of India): Members of the Indian diaspora in Australia have opened their first museum comprising over 1,200 rare pieces including pictures, paintings, photographs, coins and stamps here on the Independence day. Partly funded by the Indian High Commission in Canberra, the museum is an initiative of Federation of Indian Associations of Victoria (FIAV).The museum has artworks as old as 1800s showcasing rich Indian History, Hindu culture and mythology along with several astonishing International arts.The entire collection showcased in the museum is a personal collection of an Indian doctor, living in Melbourne, Dinesh Parekh who has been collecting artefacts for the last 50 years.

Named as Museum India, the collection has several original paintings, high quality lithographs, chromolithographs, engravings from 1840s onwards, sculptures, coins from 500 bce onwards and stamp collection for the public. The museum was launched by Consul General of Melbourne Manika Jain in the presence of the state Minister of planning Matthew Guy, Dandenong Mayor Jim Memeti and several other high profile leaders and Indian community members.

This project has been supported by Melbourne Consul general of India, specially through Indian High Commission and Pravasi Bharti community.

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Kailash Yatra Breaks all Past Records
Posted on 2014/9/3 18:37:31 ( 381 reads )

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INDIA, August 22, 2014 (Hindustan Times): Giving a reason for officials to smile, more than 900 pilgrims have visited Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) this year, 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. (Many more pilgrims take the easier route by jeep or even helicopter via Nepal.)

The pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar is considered one of the difficult pilgrimages. On the Indian side, beyond Malti, pilgrims have to trek the route on foot. The last station on the Indian side is Liphulekh pass.

After last years' flash floods, the rains ravaged roads and damaged a bridge at Kimjyoti in Pithoragarh district. Last year, owing to the adverse situation, the yatra was suspended midway. 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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