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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/11/8 17:15:47 ( 631 reads )

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Discipline your speech. Speak the truth at all costs. Speak little. Speak sweetly. Always utter encouraging words. Never condemn, criticize or discourage. Do not raise your voice and shout at little children or subordinates.
-- Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh (1887-1963)

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Alagappa Alagappan, Founder of the Flushing Ganesha Temple, Passes on at 88
Posted on 2014/11/3 17:11:03 ( 1132 reads )

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, November 1, 2014 (New York Times): In 1968, on a trip to his native India, Alagappa Alagappan dreamed that an ancient Hindu God told him to visit a medium. So he did, and on his first visit the medium read palm leaves to tell him that Lord Ganesha wanted to settle in a city beginning with the letter N.

By the time of his death, on Oct. 24 at the age of 88, Mr. Alagappan, a retired United Nations official who lived in Queens, had become "the father of the temple-building movement in North America," as a Hindu leader in Texas wrote in an email to Mr. Alagappan's family.

Mr. Alagappan started the project close to home, in his adopted city whose name began with N [New York]. Mr. Alagappan helped form the Hindu Temple Society of North America, which in 1977 opened a temple in Flushing, Queens (a borough of New York City). Today there are 700 Hindu temples in the United States, serving a Hindu population that since 1965 has increased thirtyfold, to about 1.5 million.

HPI Note: Our founder, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, knew Alagappan and was a strong supporter of Flushing Ganesha temple in its early years, encouraging him to set an example of traditional orthodox worship for future Hindu temples in the US.

More at 'source.'

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Sanskrit and Russian: Ancient Kinship
Posted on 2014/11/3 17:10:57 ( 1197 reads )

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INDIA/RUSSIA, November 3, 2014 (by Rakesh Krishnan Simha, In.Rbth): When was the last time you had a shot of vodka? Well, next time you have one, remember that this Russian word has its origins in the Vedic Sanskrit word for water - udaka. The striking similarities in Sanskrit and Russian indicate that during some period of history, the speakers of the two languages lived close together. While it is commonly known that both languages belong to the Indo-European family of languages, most people believe the relation between Russian and Sanskrit is as distant as that between Persian and Sanskrit or Latin and Sanskrit. Linguist and author W.R. Rishi writes in his book "India & Russia: Linguistic & Cultural Affinity" that Russian and Sanskrit share a deeper connection.

According to Rishi, the relation between these two languages is very close and correspondence between these two languages is so minute that it cannot be attributed to mere chance. "The facts...lead us to conclude that during some period of history the speakers of Sanskrit and Russian lived close together." The two languages have two broad similarities. One, Russian is the only European language that shares a strong common grammatical base with Sanskrit. Secondly, both Russian and Sanskrit are pleasing to the ear. The very name Sanskrit means carefully constructed, systematically formed, polished and refined. Colonial era linguist William Jones wrote: "Sanskrit language is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin and more exquisitely refined than either."

Linguist S. Zharnikova writes in Science & Life: "There are many Russian names and words in Russian the origin of which can easily be traced with the help of the Sanskrit language. What explains the similarities? Vedic Sanskrit was spoken as late as 300 BCE but its antiquity may stretch back thousands of years from that date. Russian may either be the result of ancient Indians taking their language and culture from the banks of the Saraswati river to the banks of the Ob River (in Siberia). The discovery of Shiva statues in Central Asia and Russia points to the spread of Hindu culture far beyond the Indian heartland.

For more, go to source

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/11/3 17:10:51 ( 872 reads )

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The son's duty to his father is to make the world ask, "by what great austerities did he merit such a son?"
-- Tirukkural

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Honoring Rajendra Chola I in Tamil Nadu
Posted on 2014/11/2 17:31:43 ( 1641 reads )

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CHENNAI, INDIA, July 27, 2014 (Telegraph India): Tamil Nadu's leaders, for all their prickly championing of Tamil culture, let the 1,000th anniversary of the coronation of the greatest Tamil king ever pass without a flutter last week. It was left to a group of writers, historians, retired archaeologists and academics to honour the memory of Rajendra Chola I (960-1044), whose empire stretched from Bengal to India's southern tip, covered the whole of Sri Lanka and extended up to Indonesia.

A University of Madras professor said the Centre and the Archaeological Survey of India should have led the celebrations. "Rajendra was India's first global king, not just because of his conquests but also because he opened trade to foreigners and founded a formidable navy that lorded over the Bay of Bengal," the professor said. "During his time, the Bay came to be called the Chola Lake."

"(Southeast Asian king) Suryavarman I, with the help of Rajendra, re-established the Khmer kingdom in Cambodia. His successor Suryavarman II built the Angkor Wat, the world's largest Hindu temple, with the help of artisans sent by Rajendra." Like his father Raja Raja Chola, who built the grand Shiva temple at Thanjavur, Rajendra too built temples and dug lakes. His greatest architectural feat is the temple at Gangaikondacholapuram, where he had a near-replica of the Thanjavur Big Temple built, but in a smaller version. Both temples are Unesco heritage sites.


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/11/2 17:31:37 ( 705 reads )

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Years ago, I used to walk for miles to meet my Guru. The distance appeared no longer than a few furlongs.
-- Dada J.P. Vaswani

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An Epic Retelling: Geet Ramayan completes 60 years
Posted on 2014/11/1 18:25:48 ( 857 reads )

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PUNE. INDIA, October 29 , 2014( by Amruta Lakhe, Indian express): On April 1, 1955, at 8.45 am sharp, presenter Purushottam Joshi of All India Radio (AIR), Pune, announced the start of a new program -- Geet Ramayan. It was the morning after Ram Navami celebrations, with the festive mood still palpable. The weekly program, a retelling of the Ramayana in verses, was written by GD Madgulkar and the music was composed by Sudhir Phadke. "Madgulkar and Phadke didn't know it then, but with that first song, a tradition was born," says Shridhar Phadke. Since 2005, he has been carrying his father's legacy forward by performing the songs across the country. People would tie garlands to the radio and pray before the program would begin. "This weekly ritual was followed for the entire year that the programme was aired," says Shridhar.

"At that time, the Ramayana only belonged to scholars. But with Geet Ramayan, it reached the smallest shops and houses," says Shridhar. The collaboration was a first-of-its-kind project on the Indian radio. Madgulkar's writing was simple and lucid. Yet, it retained the complexities of the epic. The show's popularity did not wane after it went off air in 1956. "After 1956, recordings circulated in the form of LPs, cassettes and later as CDs. Phadke and Madgulkar performed the songs all over the country in a two-hour-long Geet Ramayan program. In later years, the songs were translated and sung in Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Telugu, Sanskrit and Kannada, among other languages. A compilation of the songs was published in over nine languages, including Braille.

Today, Shridhar and Anand are taking steps to familiarise the youth with Geet Ramayan. Earlier this year, Madgulkar's family launched an app to download the songs, apart from select documentation of Geet Ramayan, available on its website.

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The Godhra Riots - Postscript: The Masterminds
Posted on 2014/11/1 18:25:42 ( 972 reads )

https://www.scribd.com/doc/244384543/T ... e-Masterminds-Nicole-Elfi

OCTOBER 30, 2014 (scribd by Nicole Elfi): This is a postscript to The Godhra Riots: Sifting Fact from Fiction, July 2013, by the same author. In May this year, the people of India chose their Prime Minister. Over twelve years, several inquiry commissions -- the Tewatia Committee (2010), the Nanavati Commission (2008), the Special Investigation Team (2011) under the Supreme Court -- cleared Narendra Modi of all charges of having masterminded or, at least, encouraged the Godhra riots.

This report by Elfi goes into the evidence and court cases and convictions of those responsible for the attack on the train in Godhra station which started the turmoil. Go to source above for full report.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/11/1 18:25:36 ( 693 reads )

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Listen for silence in noisy places; feel at peace in the midst of disturbance; awaken joy when there is no reason.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today

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Solving The Puzzling Mental Illness of Bhutanese Refugees
Posted on 2014/10/29 10:42:26 ( 963 reads )

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KANSAS, USA, October 28, 2014( by Alex Smith, Kcur):The community health specialist,Dr Lemaster has been working for the past several years to address the unique challenges of Bhutanese refugees. Many Bhutanese refugees have had trouble adapting to life in the United States. "Within a month of getting here, somebody committed suicide and we began to be become aware that the risk of suicide in the Bhutanese refugees is about three times the risk of in other refugee groups," LeMaster says. "So we started looking into that." He tried art therapy, dance therapy, tai chi and even a petting zoo and finally yoga.
Yoga therapist Claudia Cardin-Kleffner specializes in working with people with chronic health conditions. LeMaster says that earlier in his career, he would have been hesitant to prescribe yoga and was surprised by the program's success. The women's levels of pain on a standard pain index dropped dramatically. Participants also showed major improvements on standard measures of anxiety, depression and acculturation.
Studies have shown that yoga helps the brain, heart and nervous system. But why did it work in this case when physical therapy and medication failed? That's something LeMaster is still trying to understand. But the answer may have to do with nothing more mysterious than cultural familiarity. Whether it was the yoga or mere coincidence, there hasn't been a suicide among the Kansas City refugees since LeMaster instituted the program. Now he's exploring how yoga and other culturally-specific practices can be used to help additional immigrant groups.

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Portals of Gangotri Shrine Closed to Public
Posted on 2014/10/29 10:42:00 ( 740 reads )

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DEHRADUN, INDIA, October 25, 2014 (Daily Pioneer): The portals of the Gangotri shrine were closed to the public for the winter on Friday. Meanwhile, preparations have also been made for the closure of the portals of Kedarnath and Yamunotri on Saturday. Multitudes of devotees from various parts of Uttarkashi district and beyond arrived at Gangotri shrine on Friday. After ceremonial prayers and amidst Vedic chanting, a statue of Goddess Ganga was carried out of the shrine in a palanquin by devotees at 12:50 pm.
The devotees left with the palanquin carrying a statue of Ganga for Mukhba, also in Uttarkashi district. Ganga is ceremoniously worshipped at Mukhba during the winters when the Gangotri shrine remains closed to the public. Starting this year, the State Government has planned to facilitate winter pilgrimage to the places where the deities of Char Dham shrines are ritually worshipped during the winter when the main shrines are closed to the public.

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Secretary Kerry to Host Diwali Celebration
Posted on 2014/10/29 10:41:29 ( 654 reads )

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WASHINGTON, D.C., October 22, 2014 (U.S. Department of State): Secretary of State John Kerry will host the Obama Administration's Annual Diwali Celebration to honor the Hindu, Sikh, and Jain holiday celebrated throughout the world. The event will be held at 6 p.m. on October 23, in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the U.S. Department of State.
After an introduction by Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal, Secretary Kerry will deliver remarks that celebrate the important contributions Indian and South-Asian Americans have made to the United States, and highlight the State Department's commitment to human dignity, compassion, and service - a commitment that is at the heart of all great faiths.

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Diwali: Hearing Earth's Cry
Posted on 2014/10/28 12:04:47 ( 712 reads )

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MINNESOTA, U.S., October 15, 2014 (Huffington Post by Anantanand Rambachan): On the occasion of Diwali 2014, I want to share a reflection on one of the central narratives associated, in the Hindu tradition, with this festival. This is the narrative that connects Diwali with the celebration and rejoicing over the return of Rama to his home, after a lengthy exile, and his defeat of the oppressive and tyrannical, Ravana. Citizens welcomed him by lighting thousands of lamps, even as over one billion Hindus do today throughout the world. The story of Rama has become a central narrative of Diwali because of the Hindu understanding of Rama as embodying divinity and also because it addresses the universal human longing for freedom from oppression and the hope of living in a world where there is peace, justice and prosperity.
Rama's return to his home in Ayodhya and the joyous illumination of the city with earthen lamps conclude the story of his life as told in most versions of the Ramayana. I want, however, to return to the beginning of the story. For this, I turn to the version of the life of Rama authored by the religious poet Tulasidas in the 15th century.
I chose to describe Tulasidas' profound and poetic framing of the advent of Rama since it speaks powerfully to our contemporary context and especially to our degradation of the earth and its fragile climate. His narrative deepens our understanding of our relationship with the earth and suggests a fundamental value for our transformation.
More at 'source.'

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Singapore's Three National Monuments to Undergo Repair Work
Posted on 2014/10/28 12:04:26 ( 729 reads )

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Singapore, October 15, 2014 (IBN Live): Singapore's National Heritage Board (NHB) has disbursed more than US$1 million in grant for repairs and restoration work at three national monuments, including the oldest Hindu temple in the country.
It has accorded $44,000 to Sri Mariamman Temple, a Dravidian style temple at South Bridge Road in the Central Business District (CBD) for a repairs and face lift work Strengthening work would be carried out on a single-story shrine next to its main prayer hall, after a crack line developed on a column of the temple.
Jean Wee, NHB director of preservation of Sites and Monuments, said national monuments need to be protected carefully and sensitively through meticulous restorations. "It is therefore important for us to work hand-in-hand with monument owners and do the best we can to safeguard our heritage," The Straits Times quoted Ms. Wee as saying.

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Pilgrims Leave for Badrinath Yatra Under Special Scheme
Posted on 2014/10/28 12:03:32 ( 691 reads )

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DEHRADUN, INDIA, October 14, 2014 (Daily Pioneer): As many as 29 pilgrims under the 'Mere Buzurg Mere Teerth' (MBMT) scheme left for the Badrinath pilgrimage from Bageshwar on Monday. MBMT is a free of cost scheme launched by the State Government for people above 65 years of age.
The registration of the next batch of pilgrims which will leave for pilgrimage under the scheme on October 20, will be done between October 14 and 19, said the officials concerned of the Bageshwar district administration.
This is the third batch of pilgrims being taken under MBMT from Bageshwar. As many as 58 pilgrims in two batches under the scheme had already gone on pilgrimage from Bageshwar, as the officials concerned said. More so, as many as 26 pilgrims under the same scheme had also gone for the Badrinath pilgrimage from Udham Singh Nagar.

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