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US Post Office to Issue Diwali Stamp

Posted on 2016/8/27 19:33:07 ( 312 reads )


WASHINGTON D.C., August 23, 2016 (Washington Post): It took petitions from everyone from schoolchildren to members of Congress, and 12 years of waiting. Soon, a long-hoped-for goal will be a stickum-backed reality of less than a square inch: a new postage stamp recognizing the holiday of Diwali. The stamp, announced by the U.S. Postal Service on Tuesday, will be the first stamp honoring the Hindu religion, joining U.S. postage that has marked Christian, Jewish and Muslim holidays in the past.

What's the value of an old-fashioned stamp in a society that uses less and less snail mail? "Stamps are miniature pieces of art that reflect the American experience," Mark Saunders at the U.S. Postal Service said. Members of the Hindu community and their supporters have asked for years to join the long list of themes that have inspired stamp art. Saunders said the first petition for a Diwali stamp was received in 2004. It's hard for a petition to make the cut: the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee receives about 40,000 stamp suggestions every year and only recommends about 25 to the postmaster general, Saunders said.

The call for a Diwali stamp grew louder. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) introduced a resolution in Congress last year in favor of a Diwali stamp. Indian diplomats in the United States expressed support for it, and thousands of Americans wrote letters and signed petitions. In the end, it was the volume of those petitions, not the high-profile support, that swayed the committee, said William Gicker, director of stamp development. "This was the biggest push, the most people writing in," he said. "From our standpoint, we are producing stamps for people to use for holidays ... Looking at the numbers, we saw that Diwali is a holiday that people send cards and correspondence. So we were happy to support that."

Photo of the new stamp at "source" above. At some point the stamp will be available for sale at https://store.usps.com/store/, but not as of this posting.

Calling Hinduism a Way of Life Is Meaningless: Sanjeev Sanyal

Posted on 2016/8/27 19:32:56 ( 279 reads )


INDIA, August 22, 2016 (Boom Live by Hindol Sengupta): Who is a Hindu? What does he believe or can he be an unbeliever and still be a Hindu? Why is Hinduism so open to everything and yet driven the same goal to adapt and accommodate everything? What does a Hindu seek? While addressing these questions Hindol Sengupta explores the modern Hindus and the societies they are living in.

In this video episode of Being Hindu, my friend Sanjeev Sanyal, economist, historian and the author of books like "Land of Seven Rivers" and most recently "The Ocean of Churn," and I talk about what Sanjeev calls the architecture of Hinduism and what I call Hinduism, the open source faith. What are we essentially saying? We are arguing that Hinduism is unique because while it sees The Truth as absolute and immutable but simultaneously acknowledges that there could be an infinite number of variations and permutations and combinations to approach that Truth.

So Hinduism, says Sanjeev, is like an operating system which provides the basic framework to structure the search, and different thinkers, sages, monks, philosophers have built apps on top of that architecture, on top of that operating system, building thoughts and ideas that assist people on the faith to knowing the Truth. In a sense, I argue, Hinduism is an open source faith allowing many ideas to flow in and provides nuances and directions of thought that assimilate and accommodate constantly and consistently.

Watch this interesting video discussion at "source" above.

American Held for Preaching Christianity to Nepalese

Posted on 2016/8/27 19:32:46 ( 274 reads )


JHAPA, NEPAL, August 24, 2016 (Himalayan Times): An American national was arrested for preaching Christianity to locals with an intention to force them into changing their religion. The suspect has been identified as 70-year-old Fomess Dolan, according to the Jhapa District Police Office. He was arrested from a local church, Hosma Academy. police added. According to police, he had entered Nepal without a visa via India.

He was posing himself as a doctor who had come to help the locals, stated DSP Hari Prasad Sharma of the DPO. He asked the women who came to him seeking treatment to wash off the sindur (vermilion powder) from their foreheads and discard potes (traditional glass beads worn by married Hindu women) in the name of Jesus. The locals then reported him to police for trying to make them change their religion.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/8/27 19:32:36 ( 113 reads )


The way to freedom is a way of silence--of silent resolve and silent service.
-- Sadhu Vaswani, (1879-1966) founder the Sadhu Vaswani Mission

South African Temple Celebrates a Decade of Devotion to Lord Ganesha

Posted on 2016/8/26 14:36:08 ( 398 reads )


DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA, August 19, 2016 (Rising Sun): It was a special moment for the organizers of the Lord Ganesha Float Procession when they unveiled two beautiful and divine murthis at the launch held at the Shri Marieammen Temple in Mount Edgecombe, recently.

The murthis, which are in the image of Lord Ganesha and Mother Ganga, will go on a pilgrimage to 27 temples in Newlands West, Durban North, Phoenix, Verulam and Marianhill for the next 10 days. This year is significant as the procession celebrates its 10th anniversary and takes place on September 3 and 4. The first float procession took place at the Blue Lagoon Park in 2007.

Hindu American Olympic Medal Winner Says Religion Taught Him Control on the Tennis Court

Posted on 2016/8/26 14:35:58 ( 513 reads )


UNITED STATES, August 21, 2016 (Washington Post): When Denver-born, 6' 4", Rajeev Ram stood on the Olympic podium alongside doubles partner Venus Williams to receive their silver medal in tennis, children much like the boy he once was sat rapt in front of their televisions at home. For Hindu American children, Ram is a new role model, one of the first Americans who share their religion to take home an Olympic medal.

He credits his parents, who were involved in their local Hindu community, with teaching him religious values that translated onto the tennis court. "Part of the Hindu religion teaches, more so than anything else, your control of your mind -- your self-control, basically," Ram said. For many, that self-control applies to an individual's mastery over his moral and ethical choices. But for Ram, self-control also meant mastery of his body. "Obviously, your body's going to do what your mind tells it to do. If you can have that inner control, a sense of peace, your body's going to follow," he said.

It's an idea his parents taught him: They cared not so much whether he won or lost his tennis matches as a child but whether he controlled his temper. He soon found that keeping calm wasn't just a virtue but a way to improve his score. It's also an idea prevalent in the Hindu tradition: Control of the mind leads to control over the body in yoga, too.

Hinduism Today Seeks Advice for Story on Assam

Posted on 2016/8/26 14:35:47 ( 453 reads )

KAPAA, HAWAII, August 26, 2016 (HPI): Hinduism Today is planning to have correspondent Rajiv Malik and photographer Thomas Kelly spend a week plus in Assam in October and is looking for local contacts and advice on what to cover and who to interview. We're wanting to cover all things Hindu in the Northeastern state.

If you can help, kindly email Acharya Arumuganathaswami, managing editor, at ar@hindu.org.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/8/26 14:35:37 ( 276 reads )


Suppose a thorn has pierced a man's foot. He picks up another thorn to pull out the one hurting him. After extracting the first with the help of the second, he throws both away. One should use the thorn of knowledge to pull out the thorn of ignorance, then throw away both, and realize God directly.
-- Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836-1886)

Posted on 2016/8/22 19:34:41 ( 0 reads )

Muscat Shree Ganesh Committee to Celebrate Feast from Sept 5

MUSCAT, OMAN, August 19, 2016 (Daiji World): Muscat Shree Ganesh Festival Committee is all set to organize and celebrate Shree Ganesh festival this year from September 5th to 7th at Muscat Shiva Temple. All arrangements are underway. This will be its 32nd year of celebration.

It all started 32 years ago with the initiative of Tulu Koota Muscat and the tradition is being carried on and is well maintained. The three-day festivities are filled with day-long poojas, homas, bhajans, keertans, dances, instrumental music, 108 coconut offerings, Laddu/Modaka Seve etc. Thousands of devotees will partake in the festivities. Besides the Indian ambassador to Muscat, a number of dignitaries from various business communities, social/cultural organizations will be attending the festivities. People from all parts of India, based in Muscat will attend to pay obeisance to Lord Ganesh and receive His blessings.

US Town Hopes to Make Hindu Temple Center of Revitalized Commercial District

Posted on 2016/8/22 19:34:31 ( 1247 reads )


LIBURN, GEORGIA, August 18, 2016 (Atlanta Journal Constitution): Lilburn officials hope to revitalize a commercial area surrounding a Hindu temple that has become one of Gwinnett County's top tourist destinations. The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir has drawn 1.8 million visitors since it opened in 2007 at the intersection of Lawrenceville Highway and Rockbridge Road. The Lilburn Community Improvement District hopes to capitalize on the mandir's presence by improving the area's pedestrian access, curb appeal and retail offerings. The plans underscore the economic importance of Gwinnett's growing immigrant community.

The mandir has helped change the face of Lilburn, drawing Asian Indian residents to the area. About 8 percent of Lilburn's 12,162 residents are Asian Indian, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. "We see the mandir as one of the main focal points in Gwinnett County," said Emory Morsberger, executive director of the community's improvement district. "It's a draw for high-income, well-educated people." The mandir is the largest Hindu temple in North America. Several hundred families worship there, and annual events like its Diwali - or Hindu New Year - celebration attract thousands of visitors. The mandir is open to the public and tours are available.

Uma Bharti Launches $83 Million Namami Gange Projects at Kanpur

Posted on 2016/8/22 19:34:21 ( 827 reads )


INDIA, August 19, 2016 (Press Information Bureau): Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharti launched various projects worth US$83 Million under Namami Gange program at Ganga Barrage in Kanpur today. This includes $9 million interception and diversion plan of Sisamau drain, $59 million networking schemes and river front development scheme at Bithoor worth $15 million. Fourteen Ghats and five crematoria will be constructed at Bithoor.

Speaking on the occasion the minister said her ministry will develop market for treated water based on hybrid annuity mode through the Private-Public Partnership (PPP) Model. She said the Water Resources Ministry is in the process of signing MOUs for this with various Ministries. Sushri Bharti said "We will follow the due process for Ganga conservation. No decision will be taken in haste so that public money is not wasted".

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/8/22 19:34:10 ( 644 reads )


I am sorry to say that there is too much point to the wisecrack that life is extinct on other planets because their scientists were more advanced than ours.
-- John F. Kennedy, (1917-1963) Former US president

US Took In 53,000 Hindu Refugees Over Decade

Posted on 2016/8/21 18:58:08 ( 925 reads )


WASHINGTON, D.C., August 19, 2016 (Tribune India): The US has accepted more than 53,000 Hindu refugees since 2005, almost all from Bhutan, the State Department has said. Between 2005 and August this year, as many as 53,662 Hindu refugees -- 53,015 from Bhutan -- have been accepted into the US. Of the remaining 647, Sri Lanka topped the list with 383, followed by Nepal (144), Myanmar (95), India (11), Pakistan (six), Vietnam (five), Bangladesh (two) and Cambodia (one).

The latest figures from the State Department suggest the maximum number of Hindu refugees -- 11,836 -- came to the country in 2009, followed by 9,190 in 2011, 8,401 in 2010, 7,380 in 2012 and 6,296 in 2008. This year, 1,234 Hindu refugees have entered America so far, of whom 1,181 are from Bhutan and 36 from Sri Lanka, suggests the data obtained from the State Department's Refugee Processing Center.

India's Oldest Man Ever Says Yoga, Celibacy Key to Long Life

Posted on 2016/8/21 18:57:58 ( 1404 reads )


KOLKATA, INDIA, August 18, 2016 (The Hindu): Looking remarkably unlined for his claimed 120 years, an Indian monk who says he is the oldest man to have ever lived puts his longevity down to no sex or spices, and daily yoga. Hindu monk Swami Sivananda was born on August 8, 1896, according to his passport. If true, his life would have spanned three centuries, but despite his apparent age he remains strong enough to perform yoga for hours at a time.

He is now applying to Guinness World Records to verify his claim. It currently lists Japan's Jiroemon Kimura, who died in June 2013 aged 116 years and 54 days, as the oldest man to have ever lived. India's passport authorities confirmed Sivananda's age from a temple register, the only record many Indians even decades younger have of their date of birth. However, it would be extremely difficult to independently verify his age.

Sivananda, from the holy city of Varanasi, grew up in extreme poverty and chose to become a monk, saying he owed his age to "yoga, discipline, and celibacy." "I lead a simple and disciplined life. I eat very simply - only boiled food without oil or spices, rice and boiled daal (lentil stew) with a couple of green chillies," he said after a two-hour yoga session in Kolkata. Fit and without any medical complications, he lives independently and even travels alone on trains.

You Are Not Your Brain: Why a Head Transplant Is Not What You think It Might Be

Posted on 2016/8/21 18:57:47 ( 1301 reads )


NEW YORK, U.S., August 18, 2016 (RNS by Charles Camosy): It has already been successful in other animals: Physicians have severed the spinal cords of one white mouse and one black mouse, switched their heads and produced living mice. Similar surgeries have been successful with dogs and monkeys. And now there is serious talk of doing a head transplant on a human being.

Valery Spiridonov has a rare genetic disease in which his motor neurons are destroyed and the muscles of his body are wasting away. He wants to be the first person to undergo a head transplant. Physicians would wait until the body of a brain-dead human being consented to a full-body donation for this purpose. They would then cool Spiridonov's brain in order to lessen neural damage, sever both spinal cords, attach Spiridonov's spinal cord to the donor spinal cord and use a drug to fuse the spinal cords. But even if the surgery were successful, it would be a mistake to describe this procedure as a brain transplant for Spiridonov. Here's why.

First, we are not our brains. The "move to the head" is a cultural product of the Western Enlightenment, focused on rationality and calculation as the primary aspect of what makes us human. Neuroscientists and philosophers of mind, for instance, have not been able to locate human consciousness and self-awareness in the brain.

Thomas Nagel and Alva Noe have demonstrated that a fully functioning, healthy brain is an inadequate explanation for fundamental aspects of human existence, including self-awareness. Nagel concludes that the materialist account of consciousness fails, and Noe claims that human consciousness must be understood as an "embodied" function of the entire human organism, holistically considered.

The question then, the article goes on to discuss, is "who" inhabits the body with the brain transplant: the person who provided the brain, or the person who provided the body?

More of this interesting article at "source" above.

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