India moved swiftly to challenge a US patent on "American Basmati" rice granted to the RiceTec company of Texas. RiceTec president Robin Andrews expressed surprise at the challenge, claiming Basmati is "a generic name of a class of rice," and not a protected regional product such as Scotch or Champagne. But RiceTec has fought before with mixed success to claim an American form of the gourmet aromatic rice from India and Pakistan. In 1996 they were pressured to take "Kasmati" off the UK market. In 1997 the International Trademark and Tariff Commission denied them approval for "Texmati," "Kasmati" or "Jasmati" brand names.
Anandamayi Ma's Legacy
Richard Lannoy first met Anandamayi in 1954 in Varanasi, India. A young and idealistic photographer, he resolved to capture on film the profound spiritual presence of this great Hindu saint, perhaps the most respected of this century. In a self-effacing afterword to his superb photographic essay, Anandamayi, Her Life and Wisdom, Lannoy confesses how publisher after publisher scorned his proposed book on the unknown holy woman. But by the 1990s, wrote an older and wiser Lannoy, "Times have changed. Interest in Anandamayi, both in India and abroad, has greatly increased, along with the emergence of a whole new spiritual mood and awakened sensitivity to the mystical life."
The elegant result of Lannoy's persistent determination is a 160-page, large format book with dozens of classic black and white photos, most taken by Lannoy, and many pages of commentary on her life and teachings. An example: "Man is a human being," said Anandamayi, "only inasmuch as he aspires to Self-realization. This is what human birth is meant for. If man pursues anything but that, he wastes his time and energy, he lives his life in vain. To realize the One is the supreme duty of every human being."
TO ORDER, WRITE ELEMENT BOOKS, INC., POST OFFICE BOX 830, ROCKPORT, MASSACHUSETTS 01966 USA
Indonesia Banks On Ganesha
If the Indian rupee's slow descent towards 40 to the US dollar has you worried, be grateful you don't live in Indonesia. Its rupiah sank from 2,500 to the dollar early last year to a low of 12,000 and now sits near 9,000. Most Indonesian companies are technically bankrupt and unable to import raw materials. Manufacturing activities have largely ceased. The country has the largest Muslim population in the world--but also many Hindus--and saw fit to include our Lord Ganesha on its new 20,000 rupiah note ($2.20). Help from the Lord of Obstacles is desperately needed as the economic woes extend beyond Indonesia and could spark regional instability in Southeast Asia.
Radar Reveals Angkor Wat
Nasa radar pierced the veil of vegetation in the jungles of Cambodia and helped reveal long-lost ruins of Hindu and Buddhist temples at Angkor, which in its 12th century heyday was a city of one million people. The vast complex of more than one thousand temples covering 100 square miles in northern Cambodia is virtually uninhabited today. It is also inaccessible due to poor roads, land mines and political instability. Looting of the ancient site is rampant. The most famous temple, Angkor Wat, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, dates to 1150 ce. It is surrounded by a moat and approached via a massive causeway. The city's vast hydrological system includes a reservoir five miles long. In 1996, a NASA DC-8 jet overflew the area to gather radar data then subjected to analysis at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. The resulting, just released, false-color, three-dimensional image is "more accurate than most maps of the USA," said a JPL scientist. John Stubbs, vice president for programs at the World Monuments Fund, a nonprofit organization, called the new findings and the joint effort of JPL and archaeologists "extremely promising." "The real story here," he said, "is a collaboration between archaeologists and rocket scientists who actually know very little about each other's trade working serendipitously to break new ground in archaeology." More images can be retrieved at jpl.nasa.gov/new/
Encyclopedia Deal Signed
The encyclopedia of Hinduism project took a giant leap forward on March 5 with the long-awaited signing of a contract with the University of South Carolina Press, USA, to publish the 18-volume work. "The encyclopedia will present Hinduism as a living religion and not as a museum piece," said Dr. K.L. Seshagiri Rao, Chief Editor, at the signing. More than 1,200 international scholars are presently at work on ten thousand entries grouped in twelve subject areas. An enormous amount of work remains to be done on the project, and Hindus worldwide should offer their support and assistance to complete this landmark project.
CONTACT: ENCYCLOPEDIA OF HINDUISM, 937 ASSEMBLY STREET, #1018, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA, COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA 29208-0001 USA
Swastika Win In Canada
The Ontario press council in Canada upheld in March Prakash Mody's complaint against the Toronto Star newspaper for its incorrect depiction of the Nazi swastika. For years Mody, a Jain, has urged the media to print the Nazi version of the swastika tilted at a 45-degree angle and labeled "Nazi swastika." The swastika, a mark of good fortune to several faiths including Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, is most often used by those faiths upright, with the arms horizontal or vertical. "Even graffiti artists know the Nazis made their swastika at an angle," Mody told the council. Surely, he said, journalists who could remember to type "Jeep" with a capital "J" because it is a trademark, could make a distinction between the two forms of the swastika symbol. The council agreed, and it will now be so in Ontario.
Dr. Dean Ornish, who advocates meditation, a vegetarian diet and caring interpersonal relationships in reversing heart disease, prostate cancer and other health problems, made the cover of the March 16th Newsweek. The devotee of Swami Satchidananda of Integral Yoga Institute, USA, is helping change the face of Western medicine.
The man who sees, who breathes, who hears words spoken, obtains his nourishment through me alone. Unrecognizing me, he yet dwells in me. Listen, you who know! What I say is worthy of belief.
Rig Veda, Devi Sukta 10.125.4
Not within the field of vision stands this form. No one soever sees Him with the eye. By heart, by thought, by mind apprehended, they who know Him become immortal.
Krishna Yajur veda, Katha Upanishad 6.9
As priests with fingers produce fire from two sticks by the motion of their hands, in the same way, with the coordinated efforts of their deep thinking and noble actions, wise men manifest and extend the glory of the effulgent Lord, who is excellent, and to be realized at depth with subtle eyes, the ever vigilant sovereign Lord of creation.
Rig Veda 7.1.1
By consciousness is spread out sacrifice; it also spreads out the worlds. All the Gods meditate on Brahman as the foremost wisdom. He who knows Brahman as wisdom and is not neglectful, who has destroyed sin in his body--that man attains all his desires.
Krishna Yajur Veda, Taittiriya Up. 2.5
This is the Lord of all, the Knower of all, the inner controller. This is the source of all, the beginning and end of all beings.
Atharva Veda, Mandukya Upanishad 6
I have known, beyond all darkness, that great Person of golden effulgence. Only by knowing him does one conquer death. There is no other way of escaping the wheel of birth, death and rebirth.
Krishna Yajur Veda, Svetasvatara Upanishad 3.8