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Odisha Shuts Down over Irregularities in Jagannath Temple Rituals
Posted on 2015/6/29 4:00:06 ( 213 reads )

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ODISHA, INDIA, June 28, 2015 (Hindustan Times): A Congress-sponsored dawn-to-dusk shutdown on Friday brought normal life to a standstill in Odisha as people rallied behind the opposition party's demand for action over alleged irregularities in rituals at the iconic Jagannath Temple in Puri. The Congress called the strike demanding the resignation of chief minister Naveen Patnaik, institution of a judicial probe and action against servitors and officials responsible for the alleged irregularities in the rituals performed during Nabakalebara, a periodical renewal of the wooden statues in the temple. The temple, visited by hundreds of thousands of Hindu faithful every year, houses the murthis of Lord Jagannath (Krishna), Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra (their sister) in the temple.

The Nabakalebara rituals are among the most important festivals at the Jagannath Temple and performed once in 12 years or 19 years whenever there are two ashadhas (double rainy seasons) preceding the Ratha Yatra. The rituals require searching for new sacred neem wood for carving out new statues and transferring their souls to the new images from the old in a ritual called Brahma Parivartan (soul transfer). However, there are allegations that this year's rituals - completed on June 16 - were marked by gross irregularities with several servitors not officially assigned for the job barging into the forbidden area to witness the rare event. Many allegedly even clicked photos on mobile phones.

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Thousands Celebrate Rebirth of Indianapolis Hindu Temple
Posted on 2015/6/29 3:59:56 ( 202 reads )

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INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, June 7, 2015 (Indy Star): Nearly 5,000 people went to the Hindu Temple of Central Indiana on Sunday for the final day of an inauguration event for the temple's $10 million expansion. From Wednesday to Sunday, ceremonies were held to consecrate the new space. Aided by cranes and scaffolding, priests on Sunday blessed the stone sculpture Deities. The thousands of people watching from the ground cheered and waved as a helicopter hovered above the temple, dropping flowers and holy water.

The Hindu Temple of Central Indiana originally opened in 2006, providing a place of worship for devotees throughout the Midwest. Indiana now has other temples, including ones in Avon, Merrillville, Lafayette and Fort Wayne. The expansion adds a worship hall that includes 17 shrines, and a skylight surrounded by four new carved towers.

Photos at source.

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Court Asked to Revisit Ruling over Hindu Temple in West Forsyth
Posted on 2015/6/29 3:59:46 ( 227 reads )

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WEST FORSYTH, GEORGIA, June 24, 2015 (by Kelly Whitmire, Forsyth News): The ongoing saga over plans for a Hindu temple in west Forsyth has taken a couple of twists this month. First, Forsyth County has filed a motion for reconsideration of Chief Superior Court Judge Jeffrey S. Bagley's decision to reverse a conditional use permit awarded last summer to Chinmaya Mission of Alpharetta. Chinmaya wants to operate a religious place of worship and priest residence in an existing structure that is about 10,000 square feet on nearly 11 acres off Pittman Road. In his ruling May 29, Bagley denied a motion for summary judgment made by Chinmaya and returned the proposal back to the county's planning department, where Chinmaya must begin the application process anew.

The move had been sought by James Cartwright and the Polo Fields Golf and Country Club Homeowners Association Inc. In addition, the county commission has decided against revisiting the local Zoning Board of Appeal's decision that the proposed temple would have a religious use rather than an educational one. The zoning panel's ruling essentially affirmed the commission's 2014 decision to grant the conditional use permit. Under the land's zoning as agriculture district, or A1, a religious center with a conditional use permit would be allowed while a school or personal service center would not.

Those backing the mission as a religious center compared the classes to Sunday school in Christian churches and said the children who attend them go to regular public or private school. They also maintained that all churches have separate programs not tied directly to worship.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/6/29 3:59:35 ( 189 reads )

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He who befriends a man whose conduct is vicious, whose vision impure, and who is notoriously crooked, is rapidly ruined.
-- Chanakya (350-275 bce), Indian politician, strategist and writer

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Indian Pilgrims Step out on New Tibetan Route
Posted on 2015/6/28 1:57:21 ( 406 reads )

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CHINA, June 23, 2-15 (Ecns--this is a Chinese government announcement): Fifty people have started a 12-day journey using a new path that makes it easier for Indian pilgrims to visit sacred religious sites in the Tibet autonomous region. The pilgrims are using the Nathu La Pass, which was officially opened in Dromo county, Tibet, on Monday. Hindus regard Tibet's Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar as holy religious sites, and pilgrims cross the border to pay homage at both between June and November.

The opening ceremony was held at the Nathu La Pass and was attended by officials from China and India along with the pilgrims. China's Tibet borders India, with both countries enjoying close relations over thousands of years as a result of frequent exchanges. Dong Mingjun, vice-chairman of the Tibet autonomous region, said, "This event is a practical action in implementing the important consensus reached by leaders of the two countries, and an important measure in further deepening the traditional China-India friendship."

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Hinduism Spreads in Ghana, Reaches Togo
Posted on 2015/6/28 1:56:47 ( 384 reads )

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ACCRA, GHANA, November 6, 2011 (Zee News): From just two dozen people in the mid 1970s to 3,000 families now, Hinduism is spreading in Ghana and has also made its way into neighboring Togo. Hindu worship began to grow in Ghana after African spiritual leader, Essel ji, was initiated by Swami Krishnanda ji Saraswati of Mauritius into the Holy Order of Renunciation in 1976 as Swami Ghanananda, said Kwesi Anamoah, national president of the African Hindu Temple here.

"We have not achieved this through the winning of souls as other religions do, but have attracted people into the practice of Hinduism simply by the lives we lead," he said, adding: "Our lives shine in the community to attract people." Anamoah said that the practice of Hinduism as a religion and its unique philosophy is helping to change the lives of those who have accepted the faith. He said the first ever Hindu monastery has been built in Ghana and it is from here that Hinduism is spreading.

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Chucking Corporate Chairs for Yoga Mats
Posted on 2015/6/28 1:56:42 ( 395 reads )

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INDIA, June 21, 2015 (The Hindu): Vasant Jajoo once sat in front of the computer for hours to beat deadlines. But six years ago, he decided to opt for the road less travelled. Mr. Jajoo is among the youngsters in Bengaluru, who have given up their office jobs and trained themselves to become yoga instructors. They say the transition was more than just a "career switch"; it was choosing a different way of living.

He, for instance, holds a Master's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. He bid goodbye to the telecom software industry after 17 years. "The corporate lifestyle did not suit me. Monetarily it was very rewarding, but I led a mechanical life and there was little physical activity," he says. He has since trained around 500 students. Interestingly, this career switch has not necessarily meant opting for a life of penury. With corporate companies also starting yoga training in their offices as stress management activities and individuals opting for personalized yoga classes, trainers say opportunities are increasing and the money is good.

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Malaysia's Attempt to Move Diwali Holidays Faces Heat
Posted on 2015/6/27 4:40:54 ( 546 reads )

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KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, June 25, 2015 (CanIndia): A recent attempt by Malaysia's Terengganu state education department to include Diwali holiday dates in the summer to extend the Hari Raya break has faced the ire of the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA). The MCA political party expressed its disapproval of the education department's directive allowing schools to bring forward the November 11-12 Diwali holidays to July 22-23 to extend the Hari Raya break, forcing the Diwali days to be regular school days, a release from MCA said.

"This is inconsiderate as Hindu students and teachers, who as fellow Malaysians, will want to celebrate Diwali with their families and friends," MCA vice-president Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said in statement. MCA has called on the Terengganu Education Department to be sensitive with religious holidays and follow strictly to those gazetted by the Federal government. Hari Raya is one of the biggest holidays in Malaysia, celebrated by Muslims at the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

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Terengganu Schools with Hindu Teachers, Students to Follow Scheduled Deepavali Holidays
Posted on 2015/6/27 4:40:49 ( 457 reads )

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KUALA TERENGGANU, MALAYSIA, June 25, 2015 (The Star): Only schools without any Hindu students and teachers are allowed to bring forward two out of four days from their Deepavali holidays, state Education director Shafruddin Ali Hussin said. "The recommendation does not apply to schools with Hindu students or teachers as they will still follow the gazetted holidays," said Shafruddin.

He was commenting on the misunderstanding over a recommendation that schools in the state bring forward the gazetted holidays for Deepavali, which led to him being accused of being inconsiderate to Hindu students. This was following the department's directive to bring forward Nov 11 and 12 (Deepavali holidays) to July 22 and 23 (to extend the Hari Raya break from June 17). "This means all schools in Terengganu will still get at least two days off to celebrate the Deepavali holidays on Nov 9 and 10, and schools with Hindu students and pupils will still get full four days holiday since they are not eligible to bring forward Nov 11 and 12 to extend Hari Raya break," Shafruddin said.

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No Stopping the Forces: Army, Navy Brave Odds to Celebrate Yoga Day
Posted on 2015/6/27 4:40:43 ( 469 reads )

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INDIA, June 22, 2015 (Deccan Chronicle): With 'Yoga Across the Oceans' as the theme for the First International Yoga Day, various benefits of yoga were amply demonstrated by the conduct of yoga on board all Indian Naval ships deployed from the South China Sea in the East to the Mediterranean Sea on Sunday Morning. A beautiful photo gallery at "source" features the Indian Army and Navy personnel observing International Yoga Day.


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/6/27 4:40:38 ( 435 reads )

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Only in the depth of pure silence can we hear God's voice. Silence is like an upright empty glass that is capable of being filled with, and retaining, the water of knowledge.
-- Mata Amritanandamayi Ma,

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Sri Lanka to Reconstruct Two heritage Temples in Nepal Damaged by Earthquake
Posted on 2015/6/27 4:00:00 ( 347 reads )

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COLOMBO, SRI LANKA, June 24, 2015 (Sri lanka Times): The Sri Lankan government will take part in the International Conference on Nepal's Reconstruction scheduled to be held on 25th June in Kathmandu. The Sri-Lankan Minister of Disaster Management, A.H.M Fowzie accompanied by the Secretary for Resettlement and Reconstruction Affairs will represent the Sri Lankan government at the international conference titled "Toward a Resilient Nepal" organized by the Government of Nepal.

The purpose of the Conference is to coordinate efforts among partner governments and organizations involved in the reconstruction efforts following the 25th April earthquake and aftershocks in Nepal. At the Conference, Sri Lanka will undertake to reconstruct two heritage temples that were damaged by the earthquake - the Anandakuti Vihar and the Rato Macchindranath Hindu Temple.

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Mauritius: The Greatest Country on Earth
Posted on 2015/6/25 22:32:54 ( 715 reads )

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MAURITIUS, June 23, 2015, (by Joseph E. Stiglitz, Slate Magazine): (HPI note: 48% of Mauritians are Hindus and the largest religious group on the island.) Suppose someone were to describe to you a small country that provided free education through university for all of its citizens, transportation for school children, and free health care--including heart surgery--for all. You might suspect that such a country is either phenomenally rich or on the fast track to fiscal crisis. After all, rich countries in Europe have increasingly found that they cannot pay for university education and are asking young people and their families to bear the costs. For its part, the United States has never attempted to give free college for all, and it took a bitter battle just to ensure that America's poor get access to health care.

But Mauritius, a tropical island nation of 1.3 million people off the east coast of Africa, is neither particularly rich nor on its way to budgetary ruin. Nonetheless, it has spent the last decades successfully building a diverse economy, a democratic political system and a strong social safety net. Many countries, not least the United States, could learn from its experience. In a recent visit I had a chance to see some of the leaps Mauritius has taken--accomplishments that can seem bewildering in light of the debate in the United States and elsewhere.

Consider home ownership: While American conservatives say that the government's attempt to extend homeownership to 70 percent of the U.S. population was responsible for the financial meltdown, 87 percent of Mauritians own their own homes--without fueling a housing bubble.
For more, go to source

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Hinduism Today's July-August-September 2015 issue available for free online.
Posted on 2015/6/25 22:32:48 ( 763 reads )

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KAUAI, HAWAII, June 25, 2015 (Hinduism Today): Each quarter our photographers and journalists take us on great journeys to Hinduism's cultural and religious centers. In this issue, our feature article unravels the complex city of Varanasi, Siva's Citadel. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited city on Earth, to which pilgrims flock for a glimpse of God on the River Ganga. It is also the holiest of places to die, and many spend their final days here in prayer and meditation. Come with us to Varanasi and hear the voices of the priests, the mourners, the Sanskrit scholars and common residents.

Food. Who is there who doesn't like food? And so we take you to the Royal Vega restaurant in Chennai's ITC Grand Chola Hotel for a vegetarian cuisine that is lavish enough for real-life royals. This high-end eatery redefines the vegetarian restaurant, drawing on India's courtly history and architecture and on Chef Manjit Gill's astounding knowledge of Indian gastronomy. Finally, a place where you can feel a little guilty while enjoying healthy foods.

Our 16-page Insight Section tells the story, and shares the profound philosophy, of Sri Ramanuja, a theological genius revered as one of India's five most important philosophical sages. He lived from 1017 to 1137 and changed the course of Indian spiritual life, redefining Vedanta to include bhakti and love of God as lofty sadhanas. Nainee Shaw illustrates the crucial events of his life, his struggle with his teacher and his bold message, which lives on today.

In Publisher's Desk, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami gives us a relevant explication of the Art of Listening, taking us through the morass of modern digital distractions and showing proven techniques to make us mindful of our conversations and our communications. A richer life and learning experience awaits those who have the tools.

Commentary and opinion are in abundance in this magazine. Swami Aksharananda of Guyana focuses on highschool youth in his nation. Justice C.V. Wigneswaran of Sri Lanka offers an interpretation of dispassion, tethered to faith and humility in service. Dr. Rita Sherma unravels the status of Hindu Dharma at Berkeley's Graduate Theological Union. Plus, our book reviewer delves into that ever-so-popular-in schools book, India Unveiled.

You'll always find a cartoon surrounded by inspiring and witty remarks in our "Quotes and Quips," many good reader responses in our "Letters" section and an array of diaspora stories from around the world in "Global Dharma."


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/6/25 22:32:43 ( 615 reads )

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The sages, being filled with universal love for all beings, did not want to keep their enlightenment to themselves. They declared to all: "O mortals, striving and struggling upon this Earth plane, weeping, wailing, buffeted by the vicissitudes of life: we have come upon a great discovery. There is something beyond these appearances, these vanishing names and forms that go to make up this universe. There is something beyond, which is the very source and support of all these objects of the phenomenal world. Why do you search in vain for happiness outside? Come, come, happiness resides within."
-- Swami Chidananda (1916-2008), president of Divine Life Society

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