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Vedic Astrology Takes Root in Los Angeles
Posted on 2014/4/19 18:51:40 ( 173 reads )

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LOS ANGELES, April 03,2014 (by Grace Lim, SCPR): Aerospace engineer Dileep Bhat doesn't consider the science of his day job and his study of astrology as mutually exclusive. Growing up in India, Bhat learned about the ancient practice of Vedic astrology from his grandfather and uncle. The older men taught him to read and interpret astrological charts through the teachings in the Vedas, 6,000-year-old Sanskrit texts. Later, when Bhat moved to the U.S., some of his engineering colleagues questioned how he could work in science and believe in something so unscientific. "There are certain things in science, like gravity; ... you can't see it, but we all experience it. Astrology has the same kind of principle," Bhat said.

Vedic astrology, also known as Jyotish, has been part of Indian culture for thousands of years, but its followers have grown in the last few decades. As Western interest in zodiac astrology increased, so did interest in other types of astrology and fortune telling. Of course, not everyone buys into astrology's claims, Vedic or otherwise. But those who believe in Vedic astrology see an alternative to traditional Western, so-called zodiacal astrology.

A typical zodiac horoscope reading is based solely on the date of birth. But with Vedic astrology, three different factors -- the place and time of birth as well as the date are needed for a reading. Bhat uses computer software to turn the three factors into an astrological chart that is interpreted for an individual's personality traits, physical condition and life events.

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KFC Creates a Veggie Menu for India
Posted on 2014/4/19 18:51:34 ( 195 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 10, 2014 (Business Insider): KFC, the Kentucky-based fast-food chain known for its "finger-lickin' good" range of chicken fillets and burgers, has finally given in to India's penchant for vegetarianism. In what appears to be a first across all KFC franchises globally, KFC India has unveiled a segregated vegetarian menu along with a strong message about its newfound bias for vegetarian offerings.

Paneer Zinger and Veg Twister, in addition to the hot-selling Potato Krisper Burger, Veg Strips, Veg Rockin' Burger and Veg Rice Bowl will now vie for consumer mind space along with their popular non-veg counterparts. The company has not only introduced new products under its veg range, it has also tweaked its global tagline "So good" to "So veg, so good" to show its commitment towards the category.

Executives at the company say the new menu will help them satiate high local demand for vegetarian options. "We recognized an opportunity to deliver a significant vegetarian range for the Indian consumer, and to reach out to a broader target audience," says Dhruv Kaul, director of marketing at KFC India.

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Tourists flock To "Nang Dan" Parade in Nakhon Si Thammarat
Posted on 2014/4/19 18:51:28 ( 125 reads )

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NAKHON SI THAMMARAT, THAILAND, April 15, 2014 (Thai News): Thousands of Thai and foreign tourists have participated in the Nang Dan Parade during the Songkran Festival in southern Nakhon Si Thammarat province. The Nang Dan Parade is influenced by Hindu religious rituals, which are a part of the Hindu Swinging Ceremony or Tri Yampawai.

The intention of the ceremony is to engage three of the Hindu subordinate Gods to greet Shiva (Phra Isuan) when he pays a visit to the Earth in the second month of every year, in order to bless the town. The Nang Dan (Dan or Kradan means a plank) is made from three planks, the first one crafted as the Sun and the Moon, the second as the Vasudhara (Phra Mae Thorani), and the last one as the Ganga (Phra Mae Kongka). The parade is designed to welcome Shiva.

Chaowas Sanepong, Mayor of Nakhon City Municipality, presided over the Shiva worshiping ceremony at the PraSayom Base--the oldest Hindu construction that remains in the city.

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Canada Town to Allow Diwali Fireworks
Posted on 2014/4/19 18:51:22 ( 175 reads )

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MILTON, CANADA, March 17, 2014 (Weekly Voice): This small city west of Mississauga is the latest to approve Diwali fireworks as its council unanimously voted to amend a town fireworks bylaw, granting the fall celebration equal status with Victoria Day and Canada Day. The five-day festival, scheduled for October 23 this year, is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists and other South Asian religions. Also known as the festival of lights, Diwali holds spiritual significance in the lighting of lamps, candles and fireworks.

Under the previous bylaw, a $47 permit was required for those wanting to discharge family fireworks. That fee is waived for Victoria Day, Canada Day, and now Diwali. The by-law will stipulate that Diwali celebrant still have to go through a permit process and clear safety concerns.

Niraj Thakkar of non-profit group Halton Gujarati Samaj told the council "without the fireworks, Diwali is not complete." Thakkar says that the Halton Gujarati Samaj members worked tirelessly to approve the above amendment of bylaw by constantly calling each councilor and flooding the town hall on the day voting for amendment was to happen.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/4/19 18:51:15 ( 128 reads )

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To call woman the weaker sex is a libel; it is man's injustice to woman. If by strength is meant brute strength, then, indeed, is woman less brute than man. If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man's superior. Has she not greater intuition, is she not more self-sacrificing, has she not greater powers of endurance, has she not greater courage? Without her, man could not be. If nonviolence is the law of our being, the future is with woman. Who can make a more effective appeal to the heart than woman?
-- Mahatma Gandhi in Young India, 10/4/1930

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Uttarakhand Going All Out to Revive Char Dham Tourism
Posted on 2014/4/18 12:21:40 ( 225 reads )

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UTTARAKHAND, INDIA, April 11, 2014 (domain-b.com): With tourists from Maharashtra forming a considerable number of the total visitors to Uttarakhand, the state tourism board has begun the exercise of attracting Mumbaikars for the religious of Char Dham yatra, which is set to open for the season from next month. The pilgrimage, which starts during summer, has been popular since ancient times, as it involved difficult and arduous trekking through the hilly regions of Uttarakhand and is considered to be highly auspicious among Hindus.

The hill state, whose economy is hugely dependent on tourism, is home to Hindu holy mountain shrines of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, together constituting the Char Dham, which attract a large number of devotees and religious travelers every year. The Uttarakhand government is making special efforts to revive religious tourism following the death of thousands and devastation to these shrines in the flood-landslide disaster of last year, which cost the state US$200 million worth of business.

"We are in the process of rebuilding the state's infrastructure. We are ready to begin the holy yatra from 2 May with the opening of the Yamunotri and Gangotri gates," state tourism secretary Umakant Panwar told reporters in Mumbai. Panwar said that taking lessons from last year's tragedy, the state plans to contain the number of visitors at any given time. To enforce the plan, the tourism department has made arrangements for mandatory biometric registration of the all the visitors. Also, each visitor will be tracked with a GPS-based monitoring system.

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Temples in Tamil Nadu Welcome Jaya, the Tamil New Year
Posted on 2014/4/18 12:21:34 ( 224 reads )

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CHENNAI, INDIA, April 14, 2014 (Times Of India): The Tamil New Year in 2014 will be called Jaya, the 28th year in the 60-year Tamil calendar. Though January 1 is considered the New Year for official purposes, most Tamils follow the Tamil calendar and celebrate April 14 as new year.

Each Tamil New Year is named from a calendar of 60 names which starts with Prabhava (first in Sanskrit). The names repeat after every 60 years. Thus the outgoing year is Vijaya and the next Tamil year will be called Manmatha. In 1954, the Tamil New Year was called Jaya; those born that year will be celebrating their 60th birthday this year.

Temples and monasteries across the state have lined up several religious programs to mark the occasion. Special pujas and discourses have been planned at temples from Monday morning. At the monasteries, senior pandits will read the new almanac and predict the good and bad that the coming year has in store for people. "Jaya will bring all-round prosperity to the people of the country," forecasts astrologer R. Swaminathan. "There will be good rain and good harvest. People will be generally happy, but there is bound to be some hindrances during happy occasions," he said.

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Global Hindu Conference 2014 to Host Seminars on Hindu Historiography and Hinduism-Christianity Comparative Religion
Posted on 2014/4/18 12:21:28 ( 336 reads )

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SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA, April 17, 2014 (Press Release): Two major seminars on subjects that impact the global Hindu community will be hosted at the Global Hindu Conference 2014, scheduled for April 26th-27th weekend in San Jose, CA, USA.

One of the two seminars is on development of Hindu Historiography, which is a one-of-its kind initiative that is being done outside of, and in parallel to, the conventional academic establishment. Sumeet Saxena, the coordinator and chair of the historiography seminar, said that history plays too important of a role in self-identification of Hindus all over the world to be left only to the academia to deal with. The informal sector could also engage equally in history writing. The conventional academic framework, which is based on a Western worldview, is inadequate to capture the complexity of Hindu culture and civilizational experience, in order to properly express the Hindu historical narrative. Thus, the Western expression of Hindu history often stands at odds with the representation of Hindu community in global public affairs, leading to atypical "caste-sati" type caricatures, mocking and even hate crimes. Decades of discrimination has led to low self-esteem among Hindu youth, who now shun their Hindu identity in public spaces. Therefore, the use of unorthodox methods and setting is needed to accomplish the task of Hindu historiographical development.

Paramacharya Sadasivanathaswami and Acharya Arumuganathaswami, editor and managing editor, respectively, of Hinduism Today magazine will conduct a special session on the representation of Hinduism in American public schools. The presentation will draw on their two decades of experience with the portrayal of Hinduism in school textbooks. The target audience will be parents of Hindu children and social studies school teachers who teach Hinduism in public schools. The special session will feature the Northern California premiere of their documentary titled "The History of Hindu India" which is intended for use in public schools in the U.S. to supplement the deficient material now in use. The documentary establishes a historical continuum of faith and practice by narrating the history of Hinduism since the Indus Valley civilization until the modern age.

The other seminar at the conference will be on Hinduism-Christianity Comparative Religion. The purpose of the comparative religion seminar is to build competencies for a deeper and more meaningful engagement with the Christian world. The current Hindu-Christian interlocution is largely one-sided where the Hindus have been dependent on old ideological formulations that were formed in a colonial milieu of 19th century India, which is acutely compromised in its core and one that has yielded in indeterminate results. This necessitates the need to learn more and understand Christianity in a new light from its original sources.

Rajiv Varma, the conference director, expressed his satisfaction on the overall organization of the conference. Laying down the purpose and vision for the exercise, he stated that the central theme of the conference is to build intellectual competencies among the Hindus for a meaningful engagement with the outside world. Development of Hindu historiography is a must to write an authentic Hindu narrative. He added that it is imperative to build Hindu ideological competencies, and incrementally build clarity on the nature of Hinduism in relation to Abrahamic religions in general, and with Christianity in particular, in order to provide ideological direction to the next generation of Hindus. He also outlined a vision of establishing a comprehensive program for reviving Sindh's classical Hindu heritage, and integrating the efforts towards Pakistani Hindu refugee rehabilitation into that program. He clarified that this is necessary to establish an emotional and cultural connection between refugees and the global Hindu community.

For more information, click source above, or email Rajiv Varma at info@ghfinc.net or call at (281) 576-7496 or (281) 576 7496.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/4/18 12:21:22 ( 201 reads )

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In my silence, I experience one vast garden, spread out through the universe. All plants, all human beings, all higher devas are about it in various ways and each has his own uniqueness and beauty. Their presence and variety give me great delight. Every one of you adds in a special way to the glory of this garden."
-- Sri Anandamayi Ma, (1896-1982), Bengali mystic

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UK Gurkhas Install a Shivalingam at Gatterick Garrison Army Base
Posted on 2014/4/13 18:36:00 ( 497 reads )

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UNITED KINGDOM, April 10, 2014 (The Northern Echo): Hindu followers from across the region took part in a ceremony today to mark the installation of a statue at a temple for Gurkha soldiers. Shivalinga, the representation of the Hindu God Lord Shiva, was erected in an annex to the Gurkha Temple at the Infantry Training Centre (ITC) in Catterick Garrison.

The statue was donated by Swami Shri Gopal Sharan Devacharya Ji Maharaj, a high ranking Hindu priest who visited the ITC in 2012. Pundit Atmaram Dahal, Gurkha Company religious teacher, said: "The statue was constructed in India before being donated to our temple.

Captain Rajeshkumar Gurung, from Gurkha Company, said religion played an important part in the development of recruits, with religious teachers using examples of Lord Shiva to explain the moral component and duties of a soldier in combat.

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In Malang, Celebrating Nyepi With A Javanese Infusion
Posted on 2014/4/13 18:35:53 ( 336 reads )

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MALANG, INDONESIA, April 6, 2014 (The Jakarta Globe): Rice cakes wrapped in palm leaves, or ketupat, is a usually a treat reserved for the Islamic holiday of Idul Fitri, but for Hindus in Malang, East Java, ketupat serves as a customary dish in celebrating Nyepi, the day of silence.

Last week, 33 educational institutions and temples in Malang participated in a ceremony on Balekambang Beach to celebrate one of the biggest holidays in the local Hindu calendar. The ceremony, called Jala Nidhi Puja, is held before Nyepi and it beautifully displays the diversity of Indonesia. In Sanskrit, "jala " means sea, "nidhi " means sanctity and "puja " means ceremony.

Apart from the use of ketupat and the Javanese gamelan, Hindus in Malang also decorate their offerings differently from their better-known counterparts in Bali. Every offering contains five mandatory elements: leaves, flowers, fruits, water and incense. Suharsono, the chairman of the Indonesian Hindu Association (PDHI) in Malang, said that they customized their offerings according to the things that flourished in their hometown, but staples like yellow rice, bananas and yellow palm fronds were a common element.

More at source.

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World's Hindu Experts to Meet in Bali
Posted on 2014/4/13 18:35:47 ( 376 reads )

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DENPASAR, BALI, April 12, 2014 (The Jakarta Post): Hindu experts from around the world are slated to gather in Denpasar, Bali, next Thursday, to attend the second World Hindu Wisdom Meet. Five hundred delegates from six countries, namely India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore and the UK, have confirmed their attendance.

The meeting, which will discuss Hindu-based education, is being organized by the World Hindu Parisad, a Hindu discussion and deliberation forum that aims to expand the network of Hindus around the globe.

"We hope the meeting will result in a set of basic principles and essential referrals that can be used by Hindus for guidance in developing Hindu-based education and educational institutions," World Hindu Parisad's president, Ida Pedanda Ketut Sebali Tianyar Arimbawa, said during a press conference in Denpasar on Friday.

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Hinduism Today High Resolution Images of Saint Akka Mahadevi
Posted on 2014/4/13 18:35:42 ( 401 reads )

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KAUAI, HAWAII, April 12, 2014 (HPI): Click source above to see the three pieces of art we've found so far of Saint Akka Mahadevi of Karnataka. Unfortunately, none are high enough resolution for use in Hinduism Today magazine. We need photos taken at least 1024 pixels wide, with a file size of at least 1.5MB. If you have something, or know where we can get it, kindly email us at letters@hindu.org.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/4/13 18:35:35 ( 332 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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U.S. Congressman Introduces Legislation Make Religious Workers Visa Program Permanent
Posted on 2014/4/11 16:05:03 ( 362 reads )

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 10, 2014 (Hindu American Foundation): Leaders of the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) applauded the introduction of the Freedom of Faith Act by Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA) earlier today. The Foundation worked closely with Rep. Honda on the legislation, which permanently reauthorizes the Special Immigrant Non-Minister provision of the Religious Worker Visa program. The Religious Worker Visa program is considered essential to many faith communities in the U.S., particularly Hindus, who rely on the program for the continued vitality of their places of worship.

"Unlike other faiths, Hindus lack facilities in the United States to train priests and religious workers here," said Harsh Voruganti, Esq., HAF's Associate Director of Public Policy. "We depend heavily upon the Religious Worker Visa to effectively staff our temples and religious institutions." "For over two decades, Congress has reauthorized this program time and time again." Rep. Honda stated. "It's time we do what's right for our communities of faith and make permanent this program that allows workers who lead worship, officiate events, and offer pastoral care, to receive temporary visas like ministers and faith leaders do."

Absent Congressional action, the Special Immigrant Non-Minister provision is scheduled to expire in September 2015. The provision has been consistently renewed by Congress every three years, but supporters argue that the constant need for renewal is inefficient and hurts houses of worship. "Houses of worship, like businesses, cannot function in uncertainty," noted Padma Kuppa, a member of HAF's Board of Directors and a prominent interfaith activist in Greater Detroit. "It's difficult for a temple or church to make long-term management decisions when we don't know if this vital program will exist next year. The Freedom of Faith Act solves this dilemma."

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