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Expat Balinese Hindus Celebrate Saraswati in Belgium
Posted on 2015/5/21 2:24:51 ( 406 reads )

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BELGIUM, May 5, 2015 (Dunia News): The celebration of Saraswati by Bali Hindus was held solemnly at Pura Santi Agung Bhuwana in Brugelette, Belgium on Saturday, May 2nd, 2015. At least 500 Balinese Hindus from 12 European countries participated. The event saw a series of ceremonies that began on Friday. A communal prayer ceremony ritual formally began the celebration on Saturday. This celebration was also attended by the Indonesian Ambassador to the Kingdom of Sweden and the Republic of Latvia, Dewa Made Juniarta Sastrawan. That afternoon he was asked to give a speech in front of the hundreds of Hindus who had come for the celebration.

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Does India Care About Its Stolen Artifacts?
Posted on 2015/5/21 2:24:46 ( 419 reads )

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INDIA, April 24, 2015 (Swarajya): A few days ago a US official revealed the full extent of "Operation Hidden Idol" which had recovered approximately 2,600 items worth an estimated 650 Crores ($100 million). This brought out the truth about scores of artefacts being stolen by just one disgraced art dealer, Subhash Kapoor. And this was just the number seized from his unsold stock in various storage lockers in America. Apart from this there are between 500-1000 objects held by various American museums, many of which are believed to be with unclear provenances (place of origin/source). It wouldn't be unreasonable then to imagine that are thousands of other such objects, smuggled from India which are held in various museums, in various countries or are with various private collectors. In any other country, information like this would have caused much furore. But in India, only a casual mention of the retrieval of a few pieces from Hawaii was made.

How an entire nation could have missed these important thefts is mind boggling. The arrest of one Vaman Ghiya and his associates in 2002 should have drawn our attention to crimes like this even earlier. Almost 10,000 artefacts are said to have been stolen and sold abroad by Ghiya and his associates. An association with Sotheby's has been mentioned, although their involvement in the case hasn't been determined. Yet, all this was forgotten or ignored when the Rajasthan High court acquitted Ghiya in early 2014.

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Sanskrit Popular in German Universities
Posted on 2015/5/21 2:24:40 ( 388 reads )

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UNITED KINGDOM, April 14, 2015 (Daily Mail): Will Germans be the eventual custodians of Sanskrit, its rich heritage and culture? If the demand for Sanskrit and Indology courses in Germany is any indication, that's what the future looks like. Unable to cope with the flood of applications from around the world, the South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg, had to start a summer school in spoken Sanskrit in Switzerland, Italy and - believe it or not - India too. "When we started it 15 years ago, we were almost ready to shut it after a couple of years. Instead, we had to increase strength and take the course to other European countries," said Professor Dr. Axel Michaels, head of classical Indology at the university.

In Germany, 14 of the top universities teach Sanskrit, classical and modern Indology compared to just four in the UK. The summer school spans a month in August every year and draws applications from across the globe. "So far, 254 students from 34 countries have participated in this course. Every year we have to reject many applications," said Dr. Michaels. "Even the core thoughts of Buddhism were in the Sanskrit language. To better understand the genesis of oriental philosophy, history, languages, sciences and culture, it's essential to read the original Sanskrit texts as these are some of the earliest thoughts and discoveries," he added.

More at source.


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/5/21 2:24:34 ( 363 reads )

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The atman in you is that which indwells all things." "Tell me, Yajnavalkya, about this atman that indwells all things." "It is that which transcends hunger and thirst, sorrow and delusion, old age and death."
-- Brihadaranyaka Upanishad III, 5A

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Indian Government to Audit 18,000 Temples and Monasteries
Posted on 2015/5/20 2:15:26 ( 556 reads )

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BHUBANESWAR, INDIA, May 16, 2015 ( Daily Pioneer): The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, for the first time, has initiated an audit of about 18,000 mutts and temples in Odisha. The State Government has enlisted these mutts (monasteries) and temples, which, apart from their own sources of income, also get Government aid. The mutts and temples, which have properties of over hundreds of thousands of US dollars, are now mired in gross irregularities. While some persons have encroached upon the mutt and temple land or sold these away at throwaway prices, some have forcibly taken possession of these religious institutions since years.

Sources said Principal Accountant General Amar Patnaik, in a letter to the Chief Secretary, has expressed his keenness for an audit of the mutts and temples and requested him to appoint the CAG as the auditor. The Law Department has begun the process for the proposed audit. A source in the Law Department said there is a provision for CAG audit of mutts and temples under Section (58) (3) of the Odisha Hindu Endowment Act, 1951. On the basis of this legal provision, the Law Department would send files to the office of the Chief Minister, on whose approval the CAG would conduct the audit, the source said.

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Bali Sees More Visitors From India
Posted on 2015/5/20 2:15:15 ( 527 reads )

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JAKARTA, BALI, May 17, 2015 (Jakarta Post) Bali provincial tourism office data revealed on Saturday that the number of tourists from India has increased by 47.52 percent in the first two months of the year to 17,400 people. "The significant increase of travelers from India is supported by good relations between India and Indonesia from the political, economic and cultural sectors," tourism practitioner Made Sudana said in Denpasar, Bali, on Saturday. Bali was the perfect place for Indians to visit since most people on Bali are Hindu, which is also the dominant religion in India, he said

"Hinduism is a religion that is growing in India and Bali. The people from both places find spiritual and cultural connections through Hinduism," he said. He added that many tourists from India were amazed by the development of Hinduism in Bali, including how this religion mixed beautifully with the local culture and arts, which was different from Hinduism in India. These uniqueness, he said, was the main attraction for Indian travelers.

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Thousands Expected for Hindu Ceremony
Posted on 2015/5/20 2:15:00 ( 507 reads )

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HIDDEN VALLEY, CALIFORNIA, May 17, 2015 (by Sarah Ruf, Maricopa Monitor): Organizers of a three-day religious ceremony expect about 5,000 worshipers to converge on a Maricopa-area temple this weekend.They will celebrate the addition of two new Hindu deities in the Maha Ganapati Temple, now home to 11 gods and their corresponding shrines.The Murti Prana Prathishtapana Kumbhabhishekam ritual started at 8:30 a.m. Friday and runs through Sunday afternoon.

The intricate hand-carved statues were shipped in from India. Each one took a skilled artisan nine months to complete. The temple is crafted to resemble a 16th century house of worship in India, and the main building touts three 26-foot vimanas, or towers, that are painstakingly carved by a trio of skilled workmen: C. Shanmuganathan, M. Elangovan-Ilangoyan and K. Thandapani."It's the only temple in Arizona to follow traditional designs," Natarajan said. It's all slated for completion in May 2017.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/5/20 2:14:54 ( 465 reads )

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The joy of the vengeful lasts only for a day, but the glory of the forbearing lasts until the end of time.
-- Tirukkural

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Fueled by Immigration, Hinduism Becomes Fourth-Largest Faith in US
Posted on 2015/5/17 3:00:00 ( 1025 reads )

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NEW YORK, U.S., May 13, 2015 (Times of India): Fueled by immigration, America's Hindu population has reached 2.23 million, an increase of about one million or 85.8 percent since 2007, making Hinduism the fourth-largest faith, according to estimates based on wide-ranging study of religions in the nation. The proportion of Hindus in the US population rose from 0.4 percent in 2007 to 0.7 percent last year, according to the Pew Research Center's "Religious Landscape Study" published on Tuesday.

The study only gave the percentage shares of Hindus in the population, rather than numbers, but calculations by IANS using the population proportions in the report and census projections showed that the number of Hindus rose from 1.2 million in 2007 out of a total US population of 301.2 million that year to 2.23 million in 2014 in a population of 318.88 million. This amounts to an increase of 1.03 million or 85.8 percent in the Hindu population during the seven-year period. Pew said that it may have underestimated the size of the Hindu population in an earlier report.

[HPI Note: In 2008, Hinduism Today estimated the population of Hindus in the US at 2.29 million -- see http://www.hinduismtoday.com/modules/ ... ction/item.php?itemid=158. It appears quite likely that the earlier number cited by Pew is indeed an underestimation, as there is no logical reason for such a sharp increase in the number of Hindus since 2008.]

Looking at the socio-economic profile of Hindus, the new Pew report released on Tuesday said they had the highest education and income levels of all religious groups in the US: 36 percent of the Hindus said their annual family income exceeded $100,000, compared with 19 percent of the overall population. The new report said that most of the increase in the Hindu population came through immigration and not conversions: 87 percent are immigrants and nine percent are the children of immigrants. Only 10 percent of the Hindus are converts, with Catholics and unaffiliated each accounting for 3 percent.

HPI Note: "Only 10 percent of the Hindus are converts" is actually the most startling statistic in this survey, and well beyond anything Hinduism Today would have guessed. That translates, using Pew's numbers of the Hindu population today, to 210,000 Hindu converts in the US.

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U.S. Becoming Less Christian, Study Finds; Unaffiliated Group Grows
Posted on 2015/5/17 2:50:20 ( 873 reads )

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UNITED STATES, May 14, 2015 (NBC News): The share of Americans who do not identify with a religion has grown dramatically and now surpasses every affiliation except evangelical Protestants, according to a survey released Tuesday. The Pew Research Center found that 22.8 percent of Americans were religiously unaffiliated last year -- up from 16.1 percent in 2007. That group includes atheists, agnostics and those who chose "nothing in particular."

In all, roughly seven in 10 Americans identified with some branch of Christianity, down from almost eight in 10 in 2007. The share of Americans who identify with a non-Christian faith grew to 5.9 percent, with pronounced growth among Muslims and Hindus.

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Celebration of the Thakkar Family-DCF Endowed Chair at UCI
Posted on 2015/5/17 2:50:10 ( 796 reads )

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IRVINE, CALIFORNIA, USA, May 16, 2015 (UCI): May 9th marked the public celebration of the establishment of the "Thakkar Family-DCF Presidential Chair in Vedic and Indic Civilizational Studies", at the School of Humanities at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). A $1.5M gift from the Thakkar Family and Dharma Civilization Foundation ("DCF") established the endowed chair in January 2015. Additionally, the UC President will be funding half a million dollars to establish a total endowment of 2 million dollars.

The Dean of Humanities at UCI, Dr. Georges Van Den Abbeele, hosted the event at the UCI campus which was attended by over a 100 guests. Dr. Abbeele thanked the donors and remarked, "This new endowed chair anchors UCI's religious studies program by permanently securing faculty-led research and instruction in one of the world's most influential religions, i.e. Hinduism." He also expressed hope that this Chair would mark the beginning towards the creation of a Center of Excellence for Indic Civilizational Studies, at the UCI. This chair is intended to foster the study and understanding of Hinduism and Vedic traditions. Plans are under way to create several other Chairs, dedicated to Jain, Sikh, Hindu & Buddhist studies respectively, together constituting a one of a kind, unique "India Center" focused on the Indic civilization and its contribution to the world.

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President of India Inaugurates 'Namaste India'
Posted on 2015/5/17 2:50:00 ( 795 reads )

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INDIA, May 11, 2015 (Press Info Bureau, India): The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, inaugurated a festival of Indian Culture in Russia, "Namaste India," in Moscow on May 10, 2015. Speaking on the occasion, the President said Indian culture and its heritage of art, music and cinema have enjoyed love and appreciation across Russia over centuries. In India too, there is enormous warmth and regard for Russian culture as showcased in its ballet, literature and traditions. Russia's Gerasim Lebedev, who was arguably the first European Indologist, pioneered the Bengali theatre 220 years ago in Kolkata.
The President said with the support of the Russian Ministry of Culture, Namaste Russia will reach various regions of Russia over the next six months. In response to the interest in Indian fine arts across Russia, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations will send Indian teachers of music and dance to regional centres in Russia. These efforts will help people living in different regions of Russia to deepen their engagement with contemporary and classical Indian culture. It is also important that the youth of two countries is encouraged to join these cultural exchanges. He said that he was delighted to learn that the logo for Namaste Russia is designed by a young Russian from the Russian town of Krasnoyarsk, who succeeded in an open competition with both Indians and Russians.


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/5/17 2:49:54 ( 747 reads )

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Mind is consciousness which has put on limitations. You are originally unlimited and perfect. Later you take on limitations and become the mind.
-- Ramana Maharshi, (1879-1950), South Indian mystic

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David Cameron says Britain Needs to Take Inspiration From Hinduism
Posted on 2015/5/16 2:30:00 ( 1044 reads )

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ENGLAND, May 11 , 2015 ( by Kounteya Sinha, Time of India): During one of his campaigning trips, Cameron, who has travelled to India thrice after taking over office in 2010, promised to visit the Akshardham temple in Delhi if he returns to 10 Downing Street as prime minister for the second term. Two days before Britain went into polls, prime minister David Cameron went all out to appease the Indian Hindu community in UK: ""I go around the country, I see our iconic buildings and statues Stonehenge, the Angel of the North, Big Ben and I'll tell you what - Neasden Mandir is one of them - one of our great British landmarks. The first traditional Hindu temple built in Europe wasn't in Germany, or France, or Spain it was here in Britain" Cameron also said that Britain needs to take inspiration from Hinduism if it wants to become better.

Cameron has earlier called Britain's relationship with India "the great partnership of the 21st century" and said UK can learn from the epic text Ramayana which is relevant even more in modern times. "When I look at the Ramayana and my understanding of the Hindu religion, there's so much that you have to say about the importance of family, about the importance of community, about the importance of voluntary service - these are all the values that our country needs more of. So, as you celebrate your values, let's make them our values, and let's have more of them in Britain," he said. He added "But for me what stands out most is this: the British Hindu values. I think of one of the Hindu goals of life, dharma - duty and right conduct. I see it around the country - in the fundraising you do for charities, like the Nepal Earthquake Appeal

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The Monk Who Changed Narendra Modi's life
Posted on 2015/5/16 2:29:55 ( 807 reads )

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NEW DEHLI,INDIA, May 4, 2015 ( by Mohua Chatterjee, Times of India): When Narendra Modi meets an ailing 95-year-old monk during his visit to Kolkata on May 9, he would be keeping a promise made to the guru whose advice led Modi to politics -- and, eventually, the country's prime ministership. Modi and the swami go back a long way. Not many know that Modi had a "prasadi" flower in his jacket pocket when he took oath as Prime Minister on May 26, 2014. It had arrived along with a letter addressing him as Narendrabhai, from Swami Atmasthananda in Belur.

In 1966, Swami Atmasthananda had come to Rajkot in Gujarat to head the city's RKM ashram. During his stint in Rajkot, a young Narendra, inspired by the life of Swami Vivekananda, reached his doorstep to take refuge at the ashram. He had already spent some years wandering and wanted to train himself for a spiritual life. After spending some time at the ashram under Atmasthananda's tutelage, Modi told him he wanted to become a monk. But the head monk replied that sanyas (renunciation) was not for him. His work was meant to be among the people and not in seclusion, young Narendra was told. A short while later, he joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and a life in politics followed.

The last time Modi visited Atmasthananda, he was still keeping well and the two had a long conversation. The monk blessed Modi, who sat by his feet. When Modi returns to see the swami, he may have to visit him in hospital as the head monk has been ailing since February. Modi has also offered to help RKM get the house where Swami Vivekananada had lived for some days in Aligarh, restored as an ashram. The PM will be going to Belur with updates on these two issues.

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