Hindu Press International


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Is Veganism a Religion?

Posted on 2016/1/13 19:32:25 ( 941 reads )

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GERMANY, January 12, 2016 (Religion Watch): As a radical stream of vegetarianism, veganism--that refuses any product of animal origin, including eggs, milk or honey--bears many of the marks of a religious belief, writes German Protestant theologian Kai M. Funkschmidt in a two-part article in the November and December issues of Materialdienst der EZW. Funkschmidt understands veganism as a kind of substitute for religion. Veganism was born in the 1940s, with the foundation of the Vegan Society in London in 1944. Like vegetarianism, some of its promoters associated it with specific religious views. More significantly, however, it has found a home in movements concerned about the environment and animal rights. While veganism used to make up a subsection of the vegetarian movement, and remains a smaller part of vegetarianism, it is growing and now attracting wider interest (as is evidenced by the large number of books of vegan cooking). It goes beyond a small, committed milieu. Berlin has become a kind of "vegan capital" of Europe, with 36 vegan restaurants already open by 2013.

Ethical vegans consider food as an issue of "right behavior", with consequences not only for oneself, but for the world as well. Funkschmidt identifies several features of ethical veganism that come close to religion. First, an aspiration toward individual health and healing. It also includes a notion of universal salvation; thanks to veganism, the world is supposed to overcome hunger and live in peace. Conversion is another feature, with many vegans having reported the experience of a "moment of awakening."

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Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/1/13 19:32:14 ( 827 reads )

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God is within you. He has no eyes, no ears, but we place Him outside and worship. God has become father, mother and guru. God has become this mango tree also. God has become you and He has become I.
-- Satguru Yogaswami (1872-1964), Sri Lanka's most revered contemporary mystic

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Green Light For Live Music at Thaipusam

Posted on 2016/1/12 19:36:47 ( 1134 reads )

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SINGAPORE, January 11, 2016 (News Asia): Live music will be allowed for this year's Thaipusam street procession for the first time in more than four decades. The Hindu Endowments Board (HEB) and the police said yesterday that musicians, who have been given approval, can play specified traditional instruments at three points along the route.The instruments are the nadaswaram horn, the tavil drum and the Indian drum. The decision to relax the rules comes after 10 feedback sessions conducted by the board with 116 members of the Hindu community over a period of two months, ending in April. All participants shared that music is important to the festival with 65 per cent wanting traditional auspicious Indian instruments to be part of the religious event.

A ban has been in place since 1973 that restricts the playing of musical instruments due to a history of rivalry and fights between competing groups which disrupted the procession. The authorities have allowed music to be transmitted over broadcast systems at several designated points along the procession since 2012. Despite the ban, devotees have been playing instruments on the streets over the years.

HEB chairman R. Jayachandran described the Government's acceptance of the board's recommendations as a "historical first step"."It shows that the authorities are taking the concerns and needs of the community seriously," he said.

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Hindu Gods Revered in Jaan

Posted on 2016/1/12 19:36:37 ( 1103 reads )

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KOLKATA, INDIA, January 11, 2016 (Times of India): Did you know that at least 20 Hindu Deities are regularly worshipped in Japan? In fact, there are hundreds of shrines to Goddess Saraswati alone in that country, along with innumerable representations of Lakshmi, Indra, Brahma, Ganesha, Garuda and others.

Even Deities forgotten in India are worshipped in Japan. A unique exhibition at Indian Museum here is set to throw light on the country's long lost history that survives in a foreign land. The Japan Foundation and filmmaker and art-historian Benoy K. Behl have collaborated to hold an exhibition of rare photographs that will be inaugurated on Monday and will continue until January 21.

The research that accompanies Behl's photographs reveals startling facts about the importance of Indian heritage in Japan. For instance, the 6th century Siddham script is preserved in Japan, though it has disappeared from India. Beejaksharas (or etymology of alphabets) of Sanskrit in this script are regarded as holy and given great importance. Each deity has a Beejakshara and these are venerated by the people, even though most of them cannot read it.

More at "source"

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World Institute for Hinduism Launched

Posted on 2016/1/12 19:36:27 ( 1055 reads )

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SINGAPORE, January 6, 2016 (WISH): People in Singapore and possibly around the world, will have the opportunity to learn Hinduism in a structured manner from 2016. The Hindu Hub (Singapore) has launched an academic wing, called the World Institute for Hinduism (WISH) to cater to the growing need for credible and professional learning of Hinduism.

WISH has multiple departments covering areas such as Philosophy, Yoga, Hindu Psychology and Counseling, Sanskrit, Vedic Management and Leadership and Vedic Sciences. Most of its courses will be delivered via an online platform as this will enable the students to learn from any location around the globe. There will be courses from certificate levels all the way up to doctorate programs.

The Hindu Hub has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Hindu University of America from Florida, USA (www.hua.edu) to provide the latter's programs in South East Asia, New Zealand and Australia. With this partnership, passionate individuals can obtain degrees in Hindu-related subjects at the comfort of their home without compromising on the quality of the program.

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Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/1/12 19:36:16 ( 889 reads )

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A drop melting into the sea, this everyone can see. But the sea absorbed in a drop--this only a rare one can follow!
-- Saint Kabir (1440-1518)

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Temple Lands to be Registered in the Name of the Presiding Deity in Telangana

Posted on 2016/1/11 19:44:53 ( 1197 reads )

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HYDERABAD, INDIA, January 10, 2016 (Deccan Chronicle): Presiding Deities in temples will now own lands in Telangana [as is the traditional practice across India for Hindu temples]. The Telangana state government will be registering temple lands in the name of Gods and issue fresh deeds. Since the Deity is a perpetual minor in legal terms, endowment officials in the concerned districts will sign on the registration documents on behalf of the Deities.

If the government wants to utilize temple lands for any development activity or for welfare schemes, it will have to take permission from the High Court. This is to check encroachment of temple lands and enable temple authorities to fight legal cases in courts against encroachers on their own by submitting the ownership documents.

At present, there are no proper land ownership documents with temples or the government, giving scope to land sharks to encroach on temple lands easily. Some are registered in the name of temple trusts, committees and individuals. Over 10,000 acres of temple land has already been encroached on, which the government now plans to reclaim by issuing deeds in the name of the Deities.

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Data on More than 5.5 Million Artists Collected for Cultural Mapping of India

Posted on 2016/1/11 19:44:43 ( 1120 reads )

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INDIA, January 8, 2016 (Press Information Bureau): The project of "Cultural Mapping of India" under which data of artists shall be collected, has been initiated by the Ministry of Culture in order to carry out a survey on Cultural Topography of the country. A number of meetings of experts has been held since 15 May, 2015 in order to conceptualize the project. The work of entry of data of artists has been assigned to Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT), New Delhi. So far data on more than 5.5 million artists has been collected.

Under this scheme, a web portal would be developed through National Informatics Centre (NIC) for collection of data directly from artistes online for cultural mapping, which will serve as an artist repository and which can be used in future for the purpose of providing grant-in aid under various cultural schemes administered by this ministry.

The mandate of the Ministry of Culture is to preserve, promote, explore and share India's culture and heritage along with its ethos and values for the benefit of mankind. In pursuance of this vision, among others, the ministry has been administering a few finance-based schemes to identify, nurture hand-hold and train the upcoming and budding artistes on a sustained basis. This is carried out by way of grant of scholarships, fellowships, pensions, and other forms of grants/assistance.

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Hindu Studies: An Education in Religious Studies and Bias

Posted on 2016/1/11 19:44:33 ( 714 reads )

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UNITED STATES, January 6, 2016 (Patheos, by Padma Kuppa): I was pleased to start the new year off with information about how, in pre-colonial India, Hindu temples were premier educational institutions. January also reminded me of my own pursuit of Hindu studies: several years ago, I wanted to enroll in a Hindu studies class at a local college, and found there are no such classes in our region - especially not one solely focused on Hinduism, and especially not taught by a practicing Hindu.

But then came a ray of light - the Dharma Civilization Foundation has recently given major gifts to universities in California, in order to encourage the study of Hinduism, especially at the graduate level. When I discovered DCF's mission, and specifically their initiatives in California, I was thrilled - maybe there would be a ripple effect, and universities and individuals in around the US would also receive funding for Hindu studies!

It is important to understand that faculty in most colleges and universities who conduct research on and teach any of the major religious traditions beyond introductory courses are very often either practitioners of the traditions they specialize in or are at least involved in and generally supportive of the traditions they are researching and teaching. That is, with the exception of Hinduism, where most who teach about the tradition are not practicing Hindus, and many Hindus see the result of this being a decidedly anti-Hindu attitude in many departments and courses. Consequently, Hindus are now wanting to become involved and have a say in the way their traditions are being presented.

Much more at "source" above.

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Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/1/11 19:44:22 ( 637 reads )

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Rise above the cycle of unhappiness, desire, acquisition, excitement and unhappiness again.
-- Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, publisher of hinduism today

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Two Charged in Attack on Priest, Temple in Bangladesh

Posted on 2016/1/8 13:39:48 ( 1055 reads )

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DHAKA, BANGLADESH, January 7, 2016 (UCA News): Two members of a banned Islamic militant group have been arrested and charged for the shooting of an Italian missionary priest and the bombing of a Hindu temple in Bangladesh last year. Muhammad Sarwar and Abdur Rahman, alleged members of the Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh, were arrested Jan. 4 and appeared before the Chief Judicial Magistrate court in Dinajpur two days later, a police official said. "Abdur Rahman has confessed his involvement in the temple bombing before the court," Redwanur Rahim, Dinajpur police spokesman, told ucanews.com. Rahim said he expects more arrests in the cases will be forthcoming.

On Dec. 10, about nine people were hurt when 15 armed attackers detonated four crude bombs and opened fire on worshippers at a Hindu temple in Kaharul. Police arrested two alleged militants, Shariful Islam and Muhammad Musabbir, the following day for the attack after local villagers captured them with firearms. On Dec. 17, Islam confessed to police that beside the temple attack, he also masterminded and personally carried out the attack on Father Piero.

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The Year of the Spirits

Posted on 2016/1/8 13:39:38 ( 1036 reads )

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BALI, INDONESIA, January 7, 2016 (The Jakarta Post): One of Bali's high priests, Ida Pedanda Gede Made Gunung, says while he cannot predict what 2016 holds, he can see the road to harmony for mankind. For more than three centuries the family of Ida Pedanda Gede Made Gunung has served the people of Blah Batu and Bali. As Hindu high priests, or pedanda, they have led religious rituals and offered spiritual guidance to their communities. "2016 is a very good year for studying the spiritual side of life, because its numbers total nine. So it really is a very good year for the study of the spiritual," says the high priest who guides his community with humor and wisdom.

As the eighth generation of high priests dating back to the 17th century, Pedanda Gunung redraws esoteric philosophies into simple homilies that anyone can understand, making the wisdoms that have been handed down father to son accessible to all. Even former US president, George Bush took advice from Pedanda Gunung during his "war on terrorism" visit to Indonesia in 2003. "I told him all people want peace, but that is not realistic when weapons are fired," says Pedanda Gunung seated on the veranda of his home in Blah Batu.

With the turning of the year, Pedanda Gunung says the road to harmony for Indonesia is achievable once people recognize differing beliefs all lead to the same destination. "If you imagine Jakarta as heaven, for example, you can get there by plane, or bus, or motor bike, or even walk. So why do people fight over how you arrive in Jakarta. People who argue over how you make the journey are not thinking, because that is about the vehicle only, not about the destination. That destination, heaven, is the same for all, no matter how you get there," says Pedanda Gunung in the clear language he is famous for.

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Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/1/8 13:39:28 ( 866 reads )

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India has come to preserve spiritual traditions which many ancient cultures and countries have lost. Today Hinduism represents not only India but the ancient wisdom of humanity. In Hinduism many ancient countries can still rediscover their religious past, their old Gods and their old spiritual traditions.
-- Ram Swarup (1920-1998), Indian writer and scholar

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Batu Caves Readied for Thai Pusam

Posted on 2016/1/7 19:32:10 ( 1031 reads )

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KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, January 7, 2016 (The Sun Daily): The Batu Caves temple committee has spent some US$136,000 on refurbishment works at the Sri Subramaniar Swamy Temple. According Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Devasthanam chairman Tan Sri R. Nadarajah, the money was spent on new tiles, LED lights and upgrading the staircases inside the upper cave temple.

He added that more than 1.5 million Hindu devotees are expected to turn up at Batu Caves for the four-day Thaipusam celebration. Devotees are expected to take advantages of weekend holiday as the Thaipusam celebration, falls on a Sunday (Jan 24, 2016). "We will be celebrating the Thaipusam festival for four days, from Jan 22 until Jan 25," said Nadarajah.

Nadarajah said the Silver Chariot procession will begin its journey from Sri Maha Mariamman Temple, Kuala Lumpur at 10pm on Jan 22 and it is expected to reach at about 2.30pm at Batu Caves, the next day.

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Rejuvenation Camp for Temple Elephants Begins in TN

Posted on 2016/1/7 19:32:00 ( 1022 reads )

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COIMBATORE, INDIA, January 7, 2016 (News Today): Rejuvenation camp for temple elephants began today at Thekkampatti on the Banks of Bhavani river near Mettupalayam, about 31 miles from here. Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Minister Kamaraj inaugurated the 48-day camp in which a total of 30 female elephants are taking part.

There will be special diet for the pachyderms, taking into account their age and body status with individual mahouts attending the day to day activities, officials said. Besides sugarcane, banana and palm leaves, the elephants will be fed ragi, rice, horse grams and green grams with special medicines prescribed by the veterinarians from time to time, they said.

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