A "YOGA THERAPY WING" is being added to five Delhi-area hospitals. It's a decision reached over two years ago when Delhi's Health Minister visited the Vivekananda Yoga Kendra hospital in Bangalore. He was impressed by their success with diabetes, cancer and ulcer patients. The Kendra is now charged with training therapists and instructors for the new wings--over 150 so far. "It is our dream that yoga therapy will become a normal form of treatment in most hospitals in the near future," said the Kendra's Dr. Nagendra.
JUST AS KRISHNA lovingly herded His cows, primatologists tried to tenderly trap and relocate over six-hundred Rhesus monkeys--nearly half the sacred city's "Hanuman sena"--from Vrindaban to six other forested sites 20 to 40 miles away. The monkeys had long been a nuisance to the residents--19% said they had been bitten, 96% harassed. But it was growing malnourishment and disease among the monkeys which prompted the removal to better areas. Careful to preserve family units, not a single monkey was reported injured in what is believed to be the world's largest monkey translocation.
HONG KONG HINDUS are among the up to 8,000 mostly Indian and Pakistani citizens chosen to receive full British National Overseas passports. The decision partially resolves the danger that non-Chinese ethnic minorities possessing British Dependent Territory Citizen passports would be rendered stateless when Britain gives Hong Kong back to China in June.
THAIPUSAM MAY BE a safer, more traditional festival now at Malaysia's Batu Caves. Modern drums and bongos have been banned from devotional ceremonies; "only traditional musical instruments are to be used in the functions," said Sri Subramaniaswamy Temple secretary G. Gopalakrishna. Also banned are whips, and spears over three-feet in length. The annual Murugan festival is certainly more efficient at Singapore's Sri Thendayuthapani Temple, where instead of shaving 7,000 heads at the temple tank on Thaipusam day, all but 500 pilgrims had their heads shaved a day or two earlier.
NAZHAT SHAMEEM, FIJI'S Director of Public Prosecutions, says the courts have a duty to preserve religious tolerance by imposing sentences strict enough to deter those who would break into churches or temples and violate peoples' religious freedom. A man who pleaded guilty to vandalizing the image of a Hindu deity received just a suspended sentence. He said he was acting on instructions of the Bible when he damaged the statue, "God said people should not worship idols." Ms. Shameem notes in most of the 76 such incidents over the last two-years, the suspects remain unknown.
PARENTAL RESPECT IS PART of the new daily regimen for New Delhi's school students instituted by former election commissioner T.N. Seshan. A government-issued calendar containing Do's & Don't's for children includes this at the top of the list: "Today I have greeted or touched the feet of my parents." After that comes things like being on time, being quiet, not fighting, finishing homework and caring for books. Students are expected to evaluate themselves daily.
SAFEGUARDING THE HIMALAYAN environment means protection even from pilgrims. Guidelines recently decreed by the High Court in Allahabad include regulating the burning of trash and collection of non-biodegradable materials, relocating tea shops from too near the glacier between Bhojbasa and Gomukh and placing toilet facilities every 2.5 miles between Bhojbasa and Gangotri. Environmentalists, however, say the Court and state are still too accommodating to development and tourism, and indifferent to the delicate alpine meadows so easily disturbed by tourist's trash and grazing cattle.
BHUTAN'S KING Jigme Singye Wanchuk has granted US$5,500 to promote the teaching of Sanskrit in two pathasalas (traditional schools). Noting that the royal gift will strengthen the teaching of Hinduism in the predominantly Buddhist kingdom, Devi Charan Dayal, pandit of the Dhoban pathasala, said "We are very grateful for the grant because it signifies the King's support to his citizens and his encouragement in preserving our cultural heritage."
GREENPEACE, the international non-governmental organization dedicated to environmental concerns, hopes to see Greenpeace India fully formed and self-sufficient in two years. Known for its "Save the Whales" campaign at sea, and for its anti-nuclear flotilla in the South Pacific, Greenpeace hopes to distribute information aimed at holding India's industrial development in check while offering alternative technologies.
RIGHT-WING TERRORISTS are claiming responsibility for anti-Indian attacks in South Africa, including three Christmas Eve bombings which killed four and injured scores of others. "The bombers demanded that Indians be withdrawn from Parliament. The bombers said they did not regard Indians as indigenous people, describing them as 'anti-Christ because they did not accept Jesus Christ,'" reports India Abroad. The Mandela government has condemned the attacks, attributing them to people unprepared to forget the "days of the apartheid era."
SADHANA AND SHASTRAS for MBAs? Sure. It's part of the Vedantic Approach in Management curriculum for post-graduate Business Administration students at the Sri Sringeri Sharada Institute of Management, founded in part by Swami Paramananda Bharati. The two-year, full-time program has all the rigors of a business school, but also includes transformational workshops and self-development through sadhana so that students "will acquire strength, fearlessness and wisdom to identify and traverse the difficult path to the goal of life."
MONUMENT TO SAINT Tiruvalluvar is proceeding once again in Tamil Nadu. Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi says his government is committed to preserving Tiruvalluvar's legacy and to propagating his timeless ethical opus, the Tirukural. The massive statue of the weaver-saint will be located on a small island offshore, next to the Vivekananda Rock Memorial at Kanyakumari.
Briefly is compiled from press, TV and wire-service reports and edited by Ravi Peruman, award-winning radio journalist at KGO in San Francisco.