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Hindu Press International
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Singapore Conserves 179-Year-Old Temple
Posted on 2014/6/22 17:57:35 ( 406 reads )

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SINGAPORE, June 6, 2014 (NDTV): A 179-year-old Hindu temple in Singapore, which is among the 75 heritage buildings proposed for conservation, will reopen this month after a US$5.6 million makeover. The Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple was built as a small shrine in 1835 by early Tamil immigrants.

A dozen craftsmen from Tamil Nadu have been doing restoration work to the temple's 640 statues and deities, depicting scenes from Hindu mythology. The craftsmen have also restored and painted the temple's eight domes and decorative cement fixtures on its ceilings and facade. "Some of these feature gold foil embellishments and colorful stones," said the temple's 59-year-old secretary Selvakumar R.

The temple was proposed for conservation under the Draft Master Plan 2013 which was gazetted today. "The temple also served as a place for refuge for devotees during Japanese Occupation of Singapore," a spokesperson at Singapore's Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said. The URA spokesperson said the temple was both historically and socially significant. It is one of the 15 places of worship listed for conservation. The temple is popular among Singapore's Tamil community and migrant workers from South India who spend their weekend and day off in Little India.

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Unique Shiva Temple Created in Mumbai
Posted on 2014/6/22 17:57:29 ( 401 reads )

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MUMBAI, INDIA, November 1, 2010 (de zeen Magazine): Edmund Sumner has photographed a temple by Mumbai studio Sameep Padora and Associates. Called Shiv Temple, the project involved simplifying a traditional temple design by removing the usual decoration but maintaining symbolic elements. A wood-clad frame wraps around one corner making the entrance while the interior is illuminated by skylight. The temple was constructed by the villagers using local stone from a quarry near the site.

Photos at source.


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/6/22 17:57:22 ( 318 reads )

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The practice of yoga is not for ourselves alone, but for the Divine; its aim is to work out the will of the Divine in the world, to effect a spiritual transformation and to bring down a divine nature into the life of humanity. It is not personal ananda, but the bringing down of the divine ananda, the Satya Yuga, upon the Earth.
-- Sri Aurobindo, (1872-1950), Indian philosopher and reformer

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Rajan Zed Opens US House of Representatives Session with Hindu Prayer
Posted on 2014/6/21 15:56:33 ( 605 reads )

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WASHINGTON, DC, June 21, 2014 (indiablooms.com): Rajan Zed, first Hindu to offer the opening prayer in the US Senate, delivered the third opening Hindu prayer in the House of Representatives on June 19.

Starting and concluding with "Om," Zed read the Gayatri Mantra followed by excerpts from the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita--all in English. He sprinkled a few drops of Ganga water on the House podium. He presented a copy of Bhagavad-Gita to Congressman Michael Honda, who introduced and thanked Zed. He was presented with certificate of appreciation by House Speaker John Boehner, and spoke with Honda, Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards from Maryland, Congresswoman Janice Hahn from California and House Chaplain Fr. Patrick J. Conroy.

The first Hindu leader to give the opening prayer in Congress was Venkatachalapathi Samuldrala, priest of the Shiva Hindu Temple in Parma, Ohio, in 2000, on the day that the Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, addressed a joint session of Congress. The second for the House was Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami of Kauai Aadheenam in 2013 at the invitation of Representative Ed Royce of California and Rep. Tulsi Gabbar of Hawaii (the first Hindu representative in Congress).

Zed was famously heckled as he began his prayer in the Senate in 2007, an astonishing and shocking breach of protocol in that dignified chamber. The Christian protestors were arrested.

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Pashupati Trust Issues Permits for Priests
Posted on 2014/6/21 15:56:19 ( 299 reads )

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KATHMANDU, NEPAL, June 18, 2014 (My Repbulica): Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) has issued permits to only 330 priests to carry out rituals on the premises of the famous Hindu shrine. The PADT selected the 330 priests on the basis of their academic qualification. From now onward, priests other than the ones approved by the PADT won't be allowed to perform rituals near the temple.

Before making the selection, the PADT had issued an open notice for all the interested priests to submit their bio data, academic qualification and other important documents by June 10. Govind Tandon, member-secretary at the PADT, said that the trust officials felt the need to vet the priests as most of them lacked even basic knowledge about rituals they have been performing. They have been doing it just to earn money.

According to him, the trust will distribute identity cards to the 330 priests and assign them spots outside the premises of the temple. Tandan also informed that the authorized priests will have to pay some amount to the PADT office as rent. The PADT office has also asked the priests, who have been performing rituals inside (near west gate of the temple), the premises of the temple, to submit their academic qualification and other documents. The PADT will fix the number of priests for that place as well.

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Indian-Born Sanjay Rajaram Wins 2014 World Food Prize
Posted on 2014/6/21 15:56:13 ( 386 reads )

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WASHINGTON, June 19, 2014 (Indian Express): India-born plant scientist Sanjaya Rajaram has been named the winner of the US$250,000 World Food Prize for his breakthrough achievement in increasing global wheat production by more than 200 million tonnes following the Green Revolution. Rajaram's contributions in successfully cross-breeding winter and spring wheat varieties, which were distinct gene pools and had been isolated from one another for hundreds of years, led to him developing plants that have higher yields and a broad genetic base. More than 480 high-yielding wheat varieties bred by Rajaram have been released in 51 countries on six continents and have been widely adopted by small- and large-scale farmers alike.

"Rajaram's work serves as an inspiration to us all to do more, whether in the private or public sector," said US Secretary of State John Kerry at an event where he delivered the keynote address. "When you do the math, when our planet needs to support two billion more people in the next three decades, it's not hard to figure out: This is the time for a second green revolution," Kerry said. Rajaram followed Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Norman E Borlaug at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, CIMMYT, leading its Wheat Program from 1976 to 2001.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/6/21 15:56:06 ( 346 reads )

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He is the Supreme Brahman, the Self of all, the chief foundation of this world, subtler than the subtle, eternal. That thou art; thou art That.
-- Atharva Veda, Kaivalya Upanishad

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India Continues To Promote Culture In Fiji
Posted on 2014/6/18 18:06:34 ( 449 reads )

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FIJI, June 14, 2014 (The Jet): The Government of India via its Indian Council for Cultural Relations continues to assist people of Fiji with donations of musical instruments and educational scholarships. Director Indian Cultural Centre in Fiji, Kishan Lal Kanojia said,
"The musical Instruments sent from Indian Council for Cultural Relations were gifted by His Excellency the High Commissioner Shri Vinod Kumar on June 7, 2014 in the Northern Division." He said various academic and cultural organizations were gifted musical Instruments and religious texts.

The Indian Cultural Centre in Fiji was the first ever to be established by the Indian government outside the subcontinent and has to date provided thousands of scholarships for students to study in India over its 41-years of existence in Fiji. "We will continue to promote culture and education to the best of our ability," Mr Kanojia said.

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Consecrating a Temple: Hindu Community Dedicates First Area House of Worship in Daytona Beach
Posted on 2014/6/18 18:06:27 ( 422 reads )

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DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA, June 14, 2014 (Daytona Beach News-Journal): Wearing saris and carrying offerings of flowers and coconuts, women and girls processed from North Beach Street to the Hindu Cultural Association building on Madison Avenue east of Mulberry Street in Daytona Beach. The procession on June 7 marked the beginning of a weeklong series of observances and rituals that would consecrate the Hindu Cultural Association building into a religious temple or "mandir," the first Hindu temple for Volusia County, members said.

The Hindu Cultural Association purchased the 1.2-acre site at 150 Madison Ave. in 2006, according to the Volusia County Property Appraiser. After a fundraising campaign, the 6,110-square-foot building was completed last year with a value of $377,093. It opened in late 2013 for cultural events and meetings but the building would not gain its religious status until this week, members said.

On Monday, in a nine-hour ceremony from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., statues were imbued with religious significance as believers "put the soul to the statues," believing them to be living representations of Deities.

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Broadcast Media Told to Preserve Balinese Culture
Posted on 2014/6/18 18:06:22 ( 353 reads )

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BALI, INDONESIA, June 16, 2014 (Bali Daily): The Bali chapter of the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) has called on all broadcast media to play an active role in preserving Balinese culture by airing cultural activities regularly. The commission head Anak Agung Gede Rai Sahadewa said on Saturday that the richness and uniqueness of Balinese culture needed to be introduced at a deeper level and not in entertainment-oriented programs only.

"The broadcasts can also help preserve the culture, which is known by people all around the world. Broadcast media have an ability to do this," Sahadewa said after the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the broadcasting of cultural and religious programs. The MoU marked the commitment of local television and radio stations across Bali to regularly broadcast cultural and religious content in their daily programming.

Sahadewa said the MoU would be an initial step in increasing the awareness of all broadcast media in Bali of the role of cultural preservation. "One of the main roles and functions of the broadcast media as stipulated in national law is the preservation of national and local culture. The broadcast media is also obliged to uphold morality and religious values, including Balinese culture, which is imbued with the spirit of Hinduism," Sahadewa said.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/6/18 18:06:15 ( 397 reads )

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You may develop a thousand virtues and be reckoned as the greatest in the land. But the lotus of your heart will not blossom until you receive the grace of the Guru, the grace of God!
-- Dada Sadhu Vaswani

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Pakistani Temple Faces Water Shortages
Posted on 2014/6/17 17:52:06 ( 465 reads )

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ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN, June 16, 2014 (The Express Tribune): The two-storey Krishna Mandir, nestled in a bustling market in Rawalpindi, welcomes worshipers with a small cage-like gate and a guard. As the only place of worship for more than 3,000 Hindus in the twin cities, the temple management always struggles to fulfill the water requirement for regular worshipers.

In October 2012, the ETPB made an allocation of US$5,000 for the rehabilitation of the temple, but, the funds never came through. The allocation was meant for boring a well for regular supply of water, but, two years on, no work could be initiated. "There is nothing extravagant about this temple. It's a humble building with minimal visual appeal. Our demand is to have some basic amenities such as water," Pakistan Hindu-Sikh Social Welfare Council President Jagmohan Kumar Arora told The Express Tribune.

He said that there were no set timings for water supply, and the wait can be as long as two to three days. "We store water, not knowing when will be blessed with it again," said Arora.

ETPB Shrines Deputy Secretary Azhar Sulehri said funds have been allocated for renovation and repair of shrines across Pakistan. He said that while renovations were done regularly, minorities were also given funds on special occasions such as Diwali and Holi for the maintenance work. While acknowledging the problems at the temple, Sulheri said a tender for the project was advertised thrice, but got no response. He said that according to the law, if a project did not get a response against the tender, then the government can move to take it on with special instructions. He said the ETPB chairman recently approved a water boring project for the temple and work on the project will begin in a few months.

At the same time, Arora said that while sending in regular requests for a follow-up, government teams occasionally turns up at the temple with assurance that the requests will be entertained. "It's been two years and nothing has been done."

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Hindu Mandir Priests' Conference Held in May
Posted on 2014/6/17 17:52:00 ( 319 reads )

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FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA, June 17, 2014 (World Hindu Council of America): Hindu Mandir Priests' Conference (HMPC) grew out of the Hindu Mandir Executives' Conference (HMEC). The mission of HMEC is to provide leadership to the Hindu-American community by promoting program activities to nourish, protect and sustain Hindu Dharma in North America through Hindu Temples. The 3rd HMPC was hosted by Durga Temple, Fairfax Station, VA, from May 29 - 30, 2014.

Over 30 Pundits and 50 adult and youth delegates, representing more than 25 Mandirs and Hindu organizations, attended this year's conference. The Theme of the conference was "Role of Temple Priests in 21st Century." The conference was organized into 7 sessions, and the topics were consistent with the HMPC's objective: Sustainability and Advancement of Sanatana Dharma by making the modes of worship meaningful and relevant for the younger generation of Hindus. The seven sessions were: Inaugural Session, Bal Samskaras, Open Forum, Priests-Management-Devotees, Roles of Priests not associated with Mandir and other Topics, Education & Training, and Concluding Session.

Deep Prajjwalan, Sri Ganesha Atharvashirsha by all priests formally opened the conference. The convener, Sant Gupta and the President of Executive Board of Durga Temple, Srilekha Palle delivered the welcome address and conference goals and objectives. Ekatmata Mantra led by Abhaya Asthana followed by Vandana by Durga BalGokulam Children led by Madhuri Prasad set the tone for the rest of conference. Emcee for the evening was Navin Kadakia of Pittsburgh thanked The World Hindu Council of America (VHP of America) for providing the leadership for such an important event.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/6/17 17:51:53 ( 317 reads )

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You may turn your bones to fuel, your flesh to meat, letting them roast and sizzle in the gold-red blaze of severe austerities. But unless your heart melts in love's sweet ecstacy, you never can possess my Lord Siva, my treasure-trove.
-- Tirumantiram Verse 272

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Chariot Climbing Ban: Temple Asks Odisha Government to Review Decision
Posted on 2014/6/16 18:33:06 ( 345 reads )

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BHUBANESWAR, INDIA, June 15, 2014 (Odisha Today): The Govardhan Peeth, the seat of Puri Shankaracharya, today slammed the Odisha Government for not imposing a blanket ban on devotees climbing chariots during Lord Jagannath's Rath Yatra and demanded to reconsider its decision. "The state government should reconsider its decision and impose a complete ban during the entire festival. No decision should be taken in a haste," the official spokesman of Govardhan Peeth Manoj Kumar Rath said here.

Stating that the government's decision leaves ample scope for priests and servitors to allow devotees to climb on the chariots and touch the Deities, Rath appealed people to raise their voice to protest the move. In absence of Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati, Rath along with Govardhan Peeth Council chairman Amiya Kumar Mohapatra and Biswamber Das, Vice-President of Mukti Mandap Pandit Sabha of Sri Jagannth Temple, rejected the state government's decision of allowing the devotees to climb the chariots and touching the Deities.

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