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Chariot Parade Marks Mini Thaipusam


Posted on 2016/4/25 19:53:32 ( 3661 reads )

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PENANG, MALAYSIA, April 22, 2016 (The Star): The annual Chitraparuvam Festival, also known as mini Thaipusam, started at the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Queen Street, Penang, with a chariot procession.More than 600 devotees joined in the prayers at the temple at about 6.30pm on Wednesday before the statue of Lord Muruga was placed on the elaborately decorated wooden chariot at 7.15pm.

The chariot made its journey past Chulia Street, Datuk Keramat Road and Kebun Bunga Road. Its destination is the Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Hilltop Temple in Kebun Bunga Road. Hindu Mahajana Sangam chairman M. Neelamegam said the chariot would leave the hilltop temple for its return journey at 6.30pm today. It is expected to reach the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Queen Street at 7am tomorrow.

Hundreds of devotees made offerings of fruits, flowers and coconuts. They also smashed coconuts before the chariot pulled by two bulls left the temple at 7.45pm. Devotees also carried paal kudam (milk pots) and kavadis.



Junior Pontiff Appointed for Madurai Aadheenam


Posted on 2016/4/25 19:53:22 ( 3676 reads )

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MADURAi, INDIA, April 22, 2016 (Times of India): V. Thirunavukarasu of Pillaiarpatti in Sivaganga district was appointed junior pontiff of the 1,500-year old Madurai Aadheenam by 292nd pontiff Srila Sri Arunagirinatha Gurugnanasambanda Desika Paramacharya Swamigal on Wednesday.

Announcing Thirunavukarasu's appointment, Arunagirinatha said, "After performing the necessary rituals he was appointed as my successor and will hereafter be called as Srila Sri Kumarasundara Gurugnanasambanda Desika Paramacharya Swamigal."

He said that Thirunavukarasu is the sixth son of S. P. Vaidyanathan and Indhra of Pillayarpatti. He completed his undergraduation in Tamil at the college of Dharmapura Aadheenam Mutt and postgraduation in Alagappa University, Karaikudi. He was trained in Sanskrit at Pillaiarpatti Karpaga Vinayagar Vedagama College and also learnt yoga teaching.




Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/4/25 19:53:11 ( 3618 reads )

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Anger is nothing but an attachment for an object, when expressed towards an obstacle between ourselves and the object of our attachment.
-- Swami Chinmayananda (1916-1993), founder of Chinmaya Mission



Ujjain Kumbhs Mela Begins with Royal Bath


Posted on 2016/4/24 19:28:19 ( 3032 reads )

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UJJAIN, INDIA, April 22, 2016 (NewsX Bureau): Madhya Pradesh's holy city Ujjain has geared up for the biggest religious convergence of Hindus - Simhastha-Kumbh Mela which began on April 22nd. Over 50 million devotees are expected to visit the holy city. The Simhastha - one of the biggest Hindus faithful gatherings commenced with shahi snaan (royal bath) in Shipra at dawn on Friday. Juna Akhara is the first to venture into the river for the shahi snaan followed by seers of other Akharas.

Simhastha mela is being held here after a gap of every 12 years at Ujjain, which is also the abode of Lord Mahakaleshwar, one of the 12 Jyotirlings in the country. At present, 25,000 security personnel have been deployed from central forces during the royal bath in Shipra River.

Kumbh Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith in which Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred river. According to medieval Hindu mythology, Lord Vishnu dropped drops of Amrita at four places, while transporting it in a kumbh. These four places are identified as the present-day sites of the Simhastha-Kumbh Mela. The festival is one of the largest peaceful gatherings in the world, and considered as the world's largest congregation of religious pilgrims.



Women Activists Finally Enter Trimbakeshwar Temple


Posted on 2016/4/24 19:28:08 ( 2963 reads )

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MUMBAI, INDIA, April 22, 2016 (Daily Pioneer): After two failed attempts, women activists owing allegiance to Pune-based Swarajya Sanghatana finally entered the sanctum sanctorum of Trimbakeshwar temple in Nashik district of north Maharashtra, amidst tight security. A day after several activists were manhandled by villagers when they tried to gain entry inside Garbha Griha of Swarajya Sanghatana president Vanita Gutte and six other women activists formally entered the core worship area at 6.05 am. Of them, three women activists performed puja to the presiding deity.

Keeping in view Wednesday's untoward incident which saw local women and villagers manhandle and physically prevent women activists from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, the temple management and police had made elaborate security arrangements to ensure smooth entry of the Swarajya Sanghatana activists inside the core worship area.

The Trimbakeshwar temple has now become the third famous temple where women have been allowed to enter sanctum sanctorum to offer prayers. Earlier, women activists had entered core worship areas of Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmednagar district and Mahalakshmi temple at Kolhapur in western Maharashtra.



Temple Cars Wade Through Sea of People


Posted on 2016/4/24 19:27:58 ( 2928 reads )

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MADURAI, INDIA, April 21, 2016 (The Hindu): Exquisitely decorated temple cars of Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple here waded through a sea of people along the Masi Streets on the penultimate day of the annual Chithirai festival on Wednesday. The Deities - Lord Sundareswarar with Piriyavidai and Goddess Meenakshi - ascended the respective cars before sunrise and devotees started to pull the marvellous showcases of native art and craft by 6 a.m.

In the past, it took a long time, sometimes a week, for people to pull the cars from their base on East Masi Street and back. This is said to be one of the reasons for King Thirumalai Nayak to telescope the Saivite and Vaishnavite festivals into one Chithiral festival for the historic city. The remodeled cars, with hydraulic brakes, now take only a few hours to ambulate the Masi Streets. A seasoned temple employee guided the devotees in pulling the car through shouts of "Hara Hara Sankara, Meenakshi Sundara."

People occupied every bit of space available on the streets, footpath and in buildings on the flanks. Service organisations and devotees offered drinking water, buttermilk and juices for those who walked along with the cars. Police personnel posted all along the route ensured that the cars reached their destination without any hiccup and there was no instance of crime.

Good photos at "source" of the event.



$400 Million Push to Traditional Medicines Sought


Posted on 2016/4/24 19:27:47 ( 2911 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 22, 2016 (Daily Pioneer): A central task force for Ayush has sought investment of US$400 million at the national level to give all-round push to the traditional systems of medicines Ayurveda, Unani, Yoga, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa, homeopathy and naturopathy to make it competitive at the global level.

Noting that strengthening the Ayush sector in education, industry and public health is critical to prepare the country for its journey towards integrative healthcare, the task force headed by HR Nagendra, Chancellor, S-VYASA Yoga University, Bengaluru in its report has pitched for large scale multi-centric clinical research involving reputed Ayush and modern medical colleges, universities, hospitals and research institutions both in the public or private sector.




Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/4/24 19:27:37 ( 1670 reads )

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On the pathway of spiritual excellence, words that discourage and those that publicize faults of others are lethal poisons.
-- His Divine Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, spiritual head of Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha



Nepal's Heritage Sites Still in Ruins a Year after Quake


Posted on 2016/4/20 18:08:47 ( 3169 reads )

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KATHMANDU VALLEY, NEPAL, April 19, 2016 (Nikkei Asian Review): Deftly handling tiny chisels and swabs of cloth, a dozen village women painstakingly chip away the crust and grime of centuries, restoring to life images of Brahma, Vishnu and other Hindu Deities that grace an architectural masterwork.The skilled workers are putting the finishing touches to a shrine at Changu Narayan, a holy site becoming doubly renown: It is Nepal's oldest Hindu temple and the first of numerous artistic treasures to be resurrected following the April 25, 2015 killer earthquake.

One year later, the temples and palaces at the world's largest concentration of UNESCO World Heritage Sites remain heaps of rubble. Other structures that had suffered seismic damage were still being propped up by wooden beams, the victims, experts say, of Nepal's political infighting, bureaucratic lethargy, dearth of resources and possible corruption. This is despite millions of dollars pledged by international donors.

At a magnitude of 7.8, the earthquake decimated or damaged, by the government's estimate, nearly 3,000 religious and culturally significant sites. UNESCO says it will take some $200 million to restore these monuments. "There was a real rush of goodwill after the quake, together with lots of chaos and duplication," said Stefaan Poortman, executive director of the U.S.-based Global Heritage Fund who visited Nepal recently. "Then there was a period of emergency conservation. But now we have a bottleneck in the government, with organizations waiting for restoration projects to be approved."



Indonesian Tamils Celebrate Thaipusam Festival in Islamic Aceh Province


Posted on 2016/4/20 18:08:36 ( 3109 reads )

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BANDA ACEH, INDONESIA, April 17, 2016 (Latin America Herald Tribune): The size of the Hindu community in Indonesia's northwest Aceh province is small, but Sunday devotees made a big impression with their Thaipusam festival. About 500 people from the Tamil community joined Thaipusam celebrations since Friday for the three-day festival, which culminated Sunday with a procession of singing, dancing and praying through the city of Banda Aceh.

For the previous two days, festival goers went to the local Hindu temple where they prayed, enjoyed fellowship, burned incense and made offerings to Hindu Gods. Thaipusam, celebrated by Tamil people in countries of South and Southeast Asia, commemorates the mythical occasion when the Goddess Parvati gave Murugan a spear to defeat the demon Soorapadman.

Until the devastating tsunami of December, 2004, the Hindu community had been larger in Aceh province, but the disaster, which destroyed the local Hindu temple, saw many of them move to Medan to start new lives. Only about 12 Hindu households, comprising less than 100 people, reportedly remain in Banda Aceh, and this weekend's festival was only the third time the community has celebrated Thaipusam since their temple was rebuilt following the 2004 disaster.



How Christianity and Islam Took Over the World, in 90 Seconds


Posted on 2016/4/20 18:08:26 ( 2617 reads )

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UNITED KINGDOM, April 17, 2016 (Independent): This [somewhat inaccurate] video depicts the growth and spread of the world's two largest religions over a span of 2,000 years. Represented in white and green, respectively, Christianity and Islam spring up from obscurity in the Middle East to morph into globe-spanning juggernauts.

It was produced last year by the Western Conservatory of the Arts and Sciences, a rather grandiosely named Christian ministry based in Tennessee, as an accompaniment to a supposedly historically accurate map that depicts the "Spread of the Gospel." A note on the ministry's website cites biblical scripture, pitching the map as a "beautiful visual reminder that 'the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world ... is bearing fruit and increasing.' "

Real historians will doubtless find plenty to quibble about with the broad sweep of the canvas that this video represents. And, to be sure, this ministry doesn't exactly have an objective approach to the history of Islam. And India, which represents almost a sixth of humanity, is hardly a Christian nation (as it appears in the last frame of the map). Rather it is majority-Hindu and has a far greater number of Muslims than Christians within its borders.

View video at "source".



Hinduism Today Website Fixes Letters to Editor Submission


Posted on 2016/4/20 18:08:16 ( 2357 reads )



KAUAI, HAWAII, April 20, 2016 (HPI): Readers finally pointed out to us that our letters to the editor module on hinduismtoday.com was not working correctly for several weeks. It's been fixed, and please, if you had something to say, but couldn't, just email us directly at letters@hindu.org, or go through the "About Us" tab on the website. We very much enjoy hearing from you!



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/4/20 18:08:05 ( 2329 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



How Trust in Interfaith Relations Avoided Riots after the Akshardham Terror Attack in 2002


Posted on 2016/4/18 19:31:00 ( 3678 reads )

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INDIA, April 16, 2016 (Scroll.us, by Sadhu Brahmaviharidas): BAPS was severely tested on 24 September 2002. What would later be classified as one of the worst terrorist attacks on a religious place in modern India engulfed the heart of BAPS. Its renowned Swaminarayan Akshardham, a 23-acre cultural complex dedicated to Bhagwan Swaminarayan in Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat, was besieged by two terrorists at 4:45 pm. Armed with AK-47 guns and hand grenades, the terrorists randomly and mercilessly killed 31 innocent pilgrims, including a sadhu of BAPS, and seriously wounded 70 others.

The attack was strongly condemned. National and international religious, political, and social leaders expressed their pain and solidarity. However, Pramukh Swami Maharaj stayed calm and composed amid this turmoil. He walked the path of prayer and forgiveness. The attack resulted in perhaps the most widespread nationwide bandh (general strike) independent India has seen. While debates, allegations, and anger mounted, Swamiji guided the crisis towards a peaceful outcome.

Pramukh Swami Maharaj's emotional stability and a larger sense of responsibility to society kept BAPS together. In the days to follow, despite suffering a fever, Swamiji visited the Civil Hospital to comfort the injured and meet the families of the deceased. He sanctified the entire Akshardham complex and organised a public prayer and condolence assembly. All throughout, his actions did not seek sympathy, but ensured stability and spiritual maturity. His message to the people on the same night of the attack was broadcast nationally and internationally. It focused on peace and prayer, wherein he appealed "to all the people of Gujarat and India to maintain peace and unity in the wake of this national tragedy".

Much more at "source" on this insightful account.



Mastery of the Body, Challenge of the Spirit


Posted on 2016/4/18 19:30:50 ( 2976 reads )

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HAVANA, CUBA, November 24, 2016 (14y Medio): In the 90s, when some Cubans chose to flee the country on a raft, Elsa Hermida found that practicing yoga was the best way to overcome the crisis that surrounded her. It was at that time, at the gothic Sacred Heart church in the Havana city center, that she met Professor Eduardo Pimentel, with whom she set a course where meditation and asanas (postures) became inseparable.

In the parish hall, Elsa Hermida and Pimentel, who became her life partner, created a program that until today teaches yoga throughout the country. For a quarter century, this smiling woman of infinite patience has helped hundreds of people begin to practice this unique physical and spiritual discipline. She now runs a community center in her own home, where three times a week the room is filled with people practicing postures and stretching.

Among the results of this constant work was the creation of the Cuban Yoga Association in 1990. Last June, the Association celebrated the World Day of Yoga with two days of classes, workshops and conferences. Today the number of people practicing the discipline in the country has increased not only in the capital city but also in the provinces of Matanzas, Havana, Ciego de Avila and Cienfuegos.

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