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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/7/3 16:06:29 ( 436 reads )

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Only when we remain equipoised in praises and persecutions shall we be able to fulfill our objectives.
-- His Divine Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, spiritual head of Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha

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Hinduism Today Releases Documentary: "The History of Hindu India"
Posted on 2014/7/1 18:42:57 ( 1499 reads )

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KAUAI, HAWAII, July 1, 2014: The editorial team of Hinduism Today is pleased to announce the release of its professional documentary film, "The History of Hindu India" (Part 1), developed in collaboration with Dr. Shiva Bajpai, Professor Emeritus of History, California State University Northridge. More than a year in the making, the movie (http://bit.ly/HinduHistory) provides an authentic presentation of the history of India and Hinduism to non-Hindus for use in American 6th grade social study classes. It is equally useful for Hindu temple study groups and to introduce the Hindu religion to general audiences.

The film was received with enthusiasm at its first public showing to 350 people gathered at the "Meet the Publisher and Editor of Hinduism Today" on June 29. One young lady summed up the audience reaction, "Wow! I have to tell you, this is the first time I have ever seen my religion presented in a way that touched me so deeply. Tonight I feel proud to be a Hindu." Bhavna of the Hindu temple in Santiago Chile, who watched the Spanish-subtitled version, called it "a wonderful presentation." Tushar Agarwal of Dinodia Photo agency in Mumbai declared it "fabulous." At a pre-release showing in San Jose, California, members of the audience immediately requested a copy for local classes in Hinduism at temples and public schools.

The film was directed by Sushma Khadepaun and narrated by Roger Narayan. Both also served as producers for the movie which included filming at the 2013 Prayag Kumbha Mela and at temples in Chennai, India. Most funding for the project was granted by the Uberoi Foundation Institute for Curriculum Advancement. Subtitles are provided in five languages: French, Spanish, Balinese, Hindi and Tamil. It is available for free on YouTube in multiple resolutions at http://bit.ly/HinduHistory or http://youtu.be/dBZRTzXARWM?rel=0.

The documentary is based on the first chapter of our 2011 textbook, The History of Hindu India. The first section of the film, "Origins of Hinduism," includes much new material on the Indus Valley civilization, especially its parallels with subsequent Hindu culture of India, such as yoga, Shiva, the namaste greeting and more.

Section two, "Hindu Scriptures," introduces the Vedas, Puranas, Ramayana and Mahabharata, while section three, "Hindu Society," covers the caste system and the roles of men and women. The great achievements of early Indian empires such as those of the Guptas are described, including early advancements in medicine, mathematics and metallurgy.

Section four, "Hindu Belief, Practices and Saints" (one of the longest parts) explains the basic beliefs and practices of Hinduism as found today, including scriptures, Gods, Goddesses, saints, temples, pilgrimages and more. It presents the concept of dharma and the related practice of ahimsa as expressed in the lives of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez and Nelson Mandela. Karma is taught through an amusing animation of "What goes around, comes around." Hindu forms of worship are described as they are experienced at home and in the temple, along with spiritual practices such as japa and meditation. The section concludes with descriptions of Hindu saints, swamis and gurus, both men and women.

The final section, "Hindu Festivals," features spectacular footage of Diwali celebrations in India coupled with footage from the 2009 observance of Diwali at the White House by President Barack Obama. This is followed by video from the 2013 Kumbha Mela in Prayag, India.

The documentary concludes on this upbeat note, "Hinduism has persisted for thousands of years because the dharma, faith and culture have instilled in each Hindu a unique and strong sense of identity, family and spiritual purpose. It endures because it is a dynamic religion which gives complete freedom of practice accepts that there are many ways to worship God and provides festivals, temples, pilgrimages, gurus and scriptures to illumine the path, thereby celebrating life itself."

The movie is intended for use in middle schools, either in 6th or 7th grade, when the history of India is taught as part of ancient history. The film covers the standard US curriculum for ancient India, beginning with Indus Valley and continuing through the Gupta period, plus a religious overview, as is taught for other religions that same school year. Parents and community activists can bring "The History of Hindu India" to the attention of local schools as a means to offset the largely negative presentation of India and Hinduism which is otherwise being given. Additional resources for parents and teachers, including a complete set of lesson plans for the book, are available at: www.hinduismtoday.com/education/.

English: http://bit.ly/HinduHistory.
Subtitled versions:
French: http://bit.ly/HinduHistory-French
Spanish: http://bit.ly/HinduHistory-Spanish
Tamil: http://bit.ly/HinduHistory-Tamil
Hindi: http://bit.ly/HinduHistory-HindiSubtitles
Balinese: http://bit.ly/HinduHistory-Balinese
English: http://bit.ly/HinduHistory-English

Note to website managers: You are welcome to embed the movie in your site, but to do so you will need to use the YouTube URL and not the shorter bit.ly one above.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/7/1 18:25:37 ( 452 reads )

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Those from a religious background who believe that "There is only one life and when it's over, it's over " generally cry and have a very unhappy time over the departure of a loved one. This is very disturbing to the loved one from where they are in the inner world wondering, "Why the grief?" Because they are fine. They are happy, and they are free of a lot of karmas, a lot of worries, a lot of conflict, ready to start a new life. Those with a pure Asian religious background, who understand reincarnation, dharma, karma and the existence of God everywhere, will smile contentedly and say to themselves, "What a wonderful life the departed had!" and be joyous in the new world that the departed loved one is now experiencing.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today

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The World's Hindu Temples, Now in an App
Posted on 2014/6/30 16:18:49 ( 771 reads )

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SAN LEANDRO, CALIFORNIA, June 27, 2014 (India West): A new app just released for iOS lists more than 2,000 Hindu temples in some 50 countries. The "World's Best Hindu Temples Directory," available on iTunes, was conceived by Hari Iyer, an aviation engineer in Melbourne, Australia. A team of dedicated volunteers around the world have been working for months to compile and confirm the information, said Iyer.

"The iOS app is a priced at $1.99, which will help fund further development of the site and mapping of all the large temples in India," Iyer said in a statement. "Future plans also include an Android App which is in the making, and a massive update to the database with over 2,000 Hindu temples in Malaysia to be added soon."

Optimized for the iPhone 5, the app requires iOS 7.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The information is also available at AllHinduTemples.com, a site he said was mobile-responsive and designed to geolocate to the user's closest temples.

Visitors can register to upload photos and comments to the temple listings, or upload religious events on a calendar in wiki format. Temple managers can claim the ownership of the temple listing and update it with whatever details they choose, said Iyer.

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The Hindu Temple of Badenstedt Germany Gets a Full-Time Priest
Posted on 2014/6/30 16:18:43 ( 490 reads )

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HANOVER, BADENSTEDT, June 7, 2014 (Haz): The largest Hindu Temple In Northern Germany is in a warehouse in Badenstedt. Now the community has a full-time priest. The 40-year-old Indian has only been in Hanover since February of this year. The Tamil Hindu Cultural Society has brought him for full-time care of the Gods and the worship in the temple in Badenstedt.

The priest, Sivasri Saravana Sivachchariyar, comes from the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. On this Friday evening, he holds the ceremony, which is dedicated to the Goddess Sri Muthumariamman.

From the outside, one would never guess what is going on inside the building. For the Hindu temple is located in the commercial area of Badenstedt. To the left and right of it are warehouses and the temple seems hardly different from the neighboring buildings. Five years ago, the Hindu community has established the one-floor, white-painted hall - -it is now considered the largest Hindu temple in northern Germany. "Here, the temple does not interfere with local residents, we've located it here to avoid conflict," says our Hindu hostess, Rajiny Kumaraiah. The US$410,000 cost of the temple is being financed entirely by donations from supporters and community members.


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/6/30 16:18:36 ( 412 reads )

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Enquire: 'Who am I?' and you will find the answer. Look at a tree: from one seed arises a huge tree; from it comes numerous seeds, each one of which in its turn grows into a tree. No two fruits are alike. Yet it is one life that throbs in every particle of the tree. So, it is the same atman everywhere.
-- Sri Anandamayi Ma (1896-1982), Bengali mystic

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Hindu Devotees Gather For Firewalking Ceremony
Posted on 2014/6/29 18:34:06 ( 423 reads )

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FIJI, June 24, 2014 (Fiji Times): About 2,300 Hindu devotees gathered at the Lovu Sangam Temple on the outskirts of Lautoka early on Sunday morning for the annual firewalking ceremony.

Temple committee president Daniel Raju said preparations for the event began with the procession of a statue of the Goddess Mariamman to devotees' homes in the five days leading up to the firewalking ceremony. The Deity is revered as the Goddess of rain and is closely associated with the Goddess of time, change and destruction, Kali.

"The youngest person who walked across the hot coals was four years old and the eldest was 92-year-old Permal Poojari." Mr. Raju said the temple had been holding firewalking rituals since 1920 and 32 people participated in the firewalking ceremony this year.

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Thousands Attended Yoga Classes In Times Square To Celebrate Summer Solstice This Weekend
Posted on 2014/6/29 18:34:00 ( 520 reads )

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, June 23, 2014 (Medical Daily): Thousands of sun-worshipping yogis lined their mats up in the middle of Times Square to celebrate the summer solstice on Saturday. More than 11,000 people followed the Athleta sponsored events "Solstice in Times Square: Athleta Mind Over Madness Yoga" as they gradually moved from pose to pose in their bare feet.

The summer solstice occurs when the sun aligns directly over the Tropic of Cancer, which is the moment the earth's tilt toward the sun is at a maximum, on June 21. This is the only day of the year that the sun is at its highest point in the sky, making it the longest day of the calendar year, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.

Solstice means "standing on the sun" and marks the midsummer point when the earth returns back into the dark half of the year. The sun is an important aspect of yoga. In fact, one of the most familiar stances is Surya Namaskar, which means "sun salutation" and represents a symbolic movement of the human reliance on the sun. For thousands of years Hindus, who are one of the original creators of yoga, have revered the sun they call Surya because they believe it is the creator of all life. The sun salutation pose stems from the word namas, which means to bow or adore the sun and is used as a reminder of our place in the world.

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Going Vegetarian Halves CO2 Emissions From Your Food
Posted on 2014/6/29 18:33:54 ( 427 reads )

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UNITED KINGDOM, June 26, 2014 (New Scientist): As much as a quarter of our greenhouse gas emissions come from food production. But it's not clear how much would really be saved if people swapped their beef steaks for tofu burgers. On some estimates, going vegetarian could cut out 25 per cent of your diet-related emissions. But it all depends on what you eat instead of the meat. With some substitutions, emissions could even rise.

So Peter Scarborough and his colleagues at the University of Oxford took data on the real diets of more than 50,000 people in the UK, and calculated their diet-related carbon footprints. "This is the first paper to confirm and quantify the difference," says Scarborough.

They found that the benefits could be huge. If those eating more than 100 grams of meat a day went vegan, their food-related carbon footprint would shrink by 60 per cent, saving the equivalent of 1.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. Perhaps more realistically, if someone eating more than 100 grams of meat a day simply cut down to less than 50 grams a day, their food-related emissions would fall by a third. That would save almost a tonne of CO2 each year, about as much as an economy return flight between London and New York.

"This research presents a strong case for the greenhouse gas benefits of a low-meat diet," says Christopher Jones of the University of California, Berkeley. In 2011, Jones compared all the ways US households can cut their emissions. Although food was not the biggest source of emissions, it was where people could make the biggest and most cost-effective savings, by wasting less food and eating less meat. Jones calculated that saving each tonne of CO2 emissions would also save the household $600 to $700 (Environmental Science & Technology, DOI: 10.1021/es102221h).


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/6/29 18:33:47 ( 339 reads )

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Many people are afraid of silence. They have to be doing something all the time. Many people also are afraid of being alone. But actually no one ever is alone. He's always with his great divine Self. Every person has a great, divine Self within him, an absolutely perfect, shining, sublime being of light. The voice of this being is a loud silence. The voice of your soul is a loud silence. Many people have said that the voice of God is a deep, profound silence.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today

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First Batch of Amarnath Pilgrims to Leave Oon Friday Morning from Batal Only
Posted on 2014/6/28 17:30:29 ( 387 reads )

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JAMMU, INDIA, June 27, 2014 (India Today): The first batch of Shri Amaranth pilgrims will leave Jammu Yatri Niwas, the base camp for the yatra, on June 27 and these pilgrims, who will go through the Baltal route, are expected to have first darshan on June 28.

Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Shantmanu said Shri Amarnath Yatra will be allowed only through the short Baltal route and no pilgrims will be allowed via the longer Pahalgam route. About 1500 to 2000 pilgrims will leave on Friday morning. He said those yatris who have been registered to go via Phalgam will have the option to go for darshan via Baltla too if they want to go with these batches.

He added that following a heavy snowfall on the Phalgam route, it will not be possible to allow yatra through this route and any decision regarding this will be taken only after a go-ahead from the security agencies.

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World's Oldest Yoga Centre Still Going Strong
Posted on 2014/6/28 17:30:23 ( 488 reads )

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MUMBAI, INDIA, June 20, 2014 (Times Of India): Exactly 6,099 years from today, when future inhabitants of planet earth crack open a time capsule in an American university, they'll find four books on yoga -- in the form of microfilms -- published by a Santa Cruz institute. These publications found their way into the Crypt of Civilization in 1940, when researchers from Georgia's Oglethorpe University, hunting for the best documentation on yoga, arrived at The Yoga Institute in Mumbai.

Today, this 96-year-old institute -- possibly the world's oldest yoga centre -- celebrates World Yoga Day with a camp for police officers. In the 1990s, they also trained 600 textile workers. Currently, 1,000 students visit daily.

The institute was founded by Manibhai Haribhai Desai (later known as Shri Yogendra) in 1918 after he completed his training at Malsar ashram. The institute has several firsts to its credit. In 1920, Shri Yogendra opened an outpost in New York State and in 1937, his wife penned the first book on yoga for women. It is one of the four publications included in the Crypt of Civilization.

Kaivalyadhama Lonavla, started in 1924, is also one of the world's oldest yoga centres together with The Yoga Institute.

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Which UK Ethnic Group Is Most Likely to be Marry?
Posted on 2014/6/28 17:30:16 ( 392 reads )

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UNITED KINGDOM, June 24, 2014 (Daily Mail): Married couples are in decline, fuelled by changes in social attitudes and the arrival of families from abroad. The proportion of families with a couple who have tied the knot fell from 70 per cent in 2001 to 65 per cent in 2011, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. However, there are wide variations between the nationalities of families, with 85 per cent of Indian couples getting married compared to just 35 per cent of those from Somalia.

New research based on the 2011 Census shows that there were 15.8 million households living in England and Wales, with 9 in 10 of them comprising of a single family. While almost two-thirds (65 per cent) were married, the proportion with cohabiting couples and lone parent families rose in the decade from 2011. Some 85 per cent of families were headed by someone born in the UK.

But a breakdown based on the nationality of the "family reference person" shows how rates of marriage, cohabiting and living alone vary depending on where in the world one comes from. Marriage rates were highest among families headed by someone born in India (85 per cent, followed by Sri Lanka (84 per cent) and Afghanistan (83 per cent). The ONS said: "High proportions of married couples may reflect cultural attitudes towards family structures and marriage in the population."

See graphs at source for further information.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/6/28 17:30:02 ( 345 reads )

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Stop all your attachments to false values. In an ever-changing world there is nothing worthwhile for us to desire or weep for. Joys and sorrows are bound to come in human life; they are just two sides of the same coin.
-- Swami Chinmayananda (1916-1992), founder of the Chinmaya Mission

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President of India Receives Copy of Encyclopedia of Hinduism
Posted on 2014/6/24 16:08:58 ( 598 reads )

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INDIA, June 23, 2014 (Press Information Bureau): The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, received a copy of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism at a function at the Rashtrapati Bhavan Auditorium. Speaking on the occasion, the President complimented Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji of the Parmarth Niketan, who is the founder chairman of India Heritage Research Foundation, for undertaking the massive effort of bringing out the Encyclopedia of Hinduism.

The President said that Hindu religious philosophy identifies Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksh, as the foremost objectives of a human being. Striking a balance in human behavior in working towards these objectives has been prescribed as a key aim of human existence.

The President stated that the basic tenet of Hinduism is happiness, health and enlightenment for everyone and suffering, pain and agony for none. He quoted Mahatma Gandhi and said "If I were asked to define the Hindu creed, I should simply say: Search after truth through non-violent means. A man may not believe in God and still call himself a Hindu. Hinduism is a relentless pursuit after truth... Hinduism is the religion of truth. Truth is God. Denial of God we have known. Denial of truth we have not known."

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