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Canada Mints Diwali Gold and Silver Coins


Posted on 2016/9/21 19:19:18 ( 269 reads )

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CANADA, September 20, 2016 (Canada Mint): The Canadian Mint has issued a Diwali coin by Canadian artist Meera Sethi. The coin is inspired by the colorful Indian folk art of Rangoli, which traditionally adorns entrances and floors during Diwali. Within the geometric and floral-inspired pattern lie numerous cultural symbols that represent the "Festival of Lights" as a cherished multi-ethnic celebration--one that is very much at home in Canada, where it is celebrated by Indo-Canadians across the country.

Roughly 51% of Indo-Canadians reside in the Greater Toronto Area, while Vancouver is home to Canada's second-largest population; these important communities are represented by each province's official floral emblem: the trillium and the Pacific dogwood, respectively. Key spiritual symbols--such as those associated with Sikhism and Jainism--surround a ring of clay lamps, which light up homes and hearts during Diwali. The most widely known Canadian symbol, the beloved maple leaf, forms an inner ring around the sacred symbol "OM"--that eternal sound of creation--which is positioned in the centre to release spiritual energy in all directions. [The queen, naturally, is on the other side, in case you're wondering.]

The one ounce coin issued in gold (US$2,119.84) and the differently designed coin in silver ($69.62), can be ordered at "source" above. (The spot price today for an ounce of gold is $1,336.20, and for silver $19.96.)



US Veterans Administration Revises Policy on Religious Expression


Posted on 2016/9/21 19:19:07 ( 404 reads )



WASHINGTON, D.C., September 21, 2016 (Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty): Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty is expressing gratitude to the Department of Veterans Affairs for its recent memorandum to key officials that updates the policy guidance on religious exercise and expression in VA facilities and property.

The updated policy guidance allows outside groups and individuals to sing religious songs during holidays on VA property. As the policy guidance states, "Once the director authorizes holiday singing in a designated location, VA must remain neutral regarding the views expressed by the group or individual generally or in its holiday songs." The policy guidance also clarifies that church groups may sing Christmas carols, and the VA cannot restrict the religious content of songs.

The policy also allows Veteran Service Organizations to set up displays with religious items on VA property. For example, the VA must remain neutral regarding the use of any religious item, such as a Bible, in a display recognizing prisoners of war or those missing in action.

[HPI adds: While this press release is coming from a Christian organization and dealing mainly with Christmas, the revised policy allows all religious groups the same privileges, for example, Hindus could perform bhajan for Hindu soldiers at a VA hospital.]



Sydney Opera House Performance part of "Confluence Festival of India" in Australia


Posted on 2016/9/21 19:18:57 ( 222 reads )

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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, September 19, 2016 (Press Information Bureau): A special event for the upcoming Confluence Festival of India in Australia showcased the best of the festival at a gala reception and concert at the iconic venue of the Sydney Opera House last night. The event included the infectious, happy tones of India's most popular folk band, Raghu Dixit, a dazzling performance from the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble, one of the India's foremost dance companies, and a performance of the Manipuri dance, Pung Cholom, where acrobatics, martial arts and drums come together to form an energetic and thrilling spectacle.

The gala also included a unique coming together of Australian and Indian performing art forms showcasing distinct movements, rhythms and inherent similarities. The collaboration focused on highlighting the unique aspects of each distinct genre while using the universality of dance and music to create a seamless performance. The show blended Indian and western musical traditions with eastern and western voices of faith, through poetry, and prayer.

Confluence Festival of India in Australia is the most significant exhibition of Indian arts and culture ever to be staged in Australia, involving world-class performers in a showcase of the stunning and vibrant variety of India's artistic cultures and traditions. Festival performances are taking place in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Alice Springs between August 15 and November 8.



Japan's Newest Technology Innovation: Priest Delivery via Amazon.com


Posted on 2016/9/21 19:18:47 ( 157 reads )

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SAKAI, JAPAN, September 20, 2016 (New York Times): The stubble-haired Buddhist priest lit incense at a small, cupboard like altar just as members of his order have done for centuries. As the priest chanted sutras, Yutaka Kai closed his eyes and prayed for his wife, who died last year of complications from a knee replacement. Mr. Kai, 68, set aside his family's devout Buddhism when he left his rural hometown decades ago to work in a tire factory. That meant Mr. Kai did not have a local temple to turn to for the first anniversary of his wife's death, a milestone for Japanese Buddhists.

Cue the internet. In modern Japan, a Buddhist priest can now be found just a few mouse clicks away, on Amazon.com. The priest at Mrs. Kai's memorial, Junku Soko, is part of a controversial business that is disrupting traditional funeral arrangements in Japan. In a country where regulations and powerful interests have stymied much of the so-called gig economy -- Uber, for instance, is barely a blip here -- a network of freelancing priests is making gains in the unlikely sphere of religion. Their venture is viewed by some as unseemly, and it has drawn condemnation from Buddhist leaders.

An umbrella group representing Japan's many Buddhist sects complained publicly after Amazon began offering obosan-bin -- priest delivery -- on its Japanese site last year, in partnership with a local start-up. But the priests and their backers say they are addressing real needs. They assert that obosan-bin is helping to preserve Buddhist traditions by making them accessible to the millions of people in Japan who have become estranged from the religion.

More at "source" above.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/9/21 19:18:36 ( 103 reads )

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The practice of yoga is not for ourselves alone, but for the Divine; its aim is to work out the will of the Divine in the world, to effect a spiritual transformation and to bring down a divine nature into the life of humanity. It is not personal ananda, but the bringing down of the divine ananda, the Satya Yuga, upon the Earth.
-- Sri Aurobindo, (1872-1950), Indian philosopher and reformer



Hinduism Today's October 2016 Issue Now On-Line


Posted on 2016/9/18 19:48:43 ( 651 reads )

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KAUAI, HAWAII, September 18, 2016: Hinduism Today's October/November/December 2016 issue has gone to press and is now available online free of charge at hinduismtoday.com. You can also download our free Hinduism Today app and get the full magazine on your mobile device at http://www.himalayanacademy.com/apps/hinduism-today.

The magic of India's spiritual geography comes to life as senior correspondent Rajiv Malik and photographer Arun Mishra guide us through Vrindavan, Lord Krishna's land of childhood leelas, which still take place nightly in the town's sacred tulsi groves, the plant after which the city takes its name. Tour the temples with them and meet the swamis, scholars, priests and the Bhagawat katha vachaks, those who daily tell the stories of Krishna's pastimes.

Our 16-page Insight section this issue is a foray into the deep philosophies that India has given birth to over the millennia. It's called "The Six Streams of Hindu Philosophy: Celebrating Diversity in the Quest for Supreme Knowledge." Written by none other than Mahamahopadhyaya Swami Bhadreshdas, senior disciple of the late Guru Pramukh Swami Maharaj (who blessed the article in the days before his passing), this is a rare English-language overview of the traditional schools. Amazingly, the world renowned artist, Pieter Weltevrede who lives in the Netherlands, agreed to produce seven masterpieces of art depicting each school in a remarkable way. Great writing married to great art depicting great ideas.

Join us as we indulge in a photographic feast of this year's Kumbha Mela in the sacred city of Ujjain. Learn about the process of rudraksha bead authentication and how our field test failed to find any fake beads.

See India's rich traditions of Hindu spiritual expression as showcased in the Puja and Piety exhibit in Southern California. British celebrities in the BBC documentary Welcome to the Real Marigold Hotel tell their real life accounts of exploring life in India for their craft. Dr. S.P. Sabharathnam Sivachariyar, Ph.D. highlights the nature of Siva as form and manifest energy as told in the Saiva Agamas. We also review Professor Vamsee Juluri's Ph.D.'s book "Rearming Hinduism" in which he discusses the immediate need to both vigorously defend and bolster our religion within media and academia. This issue's opinion piece explores what it means to be a young Hindu in the US while achieving a balance between academic and religious study.

Go to our website, source above, or download our app to read the latest edition

IOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hinduism-today/id1023295974?mt=8

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/det ... com.HinduismToday.android



Bali Becomes More Popular with Indian Tourists


Posted on 2016/9/18 19:48:33 ( 433 reads )

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JAKARTA, BALI ,September 18, 2016 (Antara News): ali Island, Indonesia's most famous tourist resort, and India, share a striking similarity: both have a Hindu majority population. The people of Bali, and even those in several parts of Indonesia, also share the Ramayana and Mahabharata epics of India. Bali and India, however, also have their own unique culture, traditions and characteristics. It is reported that during his visit to Java and Bali in 1927, Rabindranath Tagore, an Indian poet, was so enamored by Bali that he said, "Wherever I go on the island, I see God." Then, 23 years later in 1950, Indias then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru hailed Bali as the "Morning of the World".

In the past, Bali was not a favorite destination of Indian tourists. But lately, thanks to intensified promotional activities in India organized by the Indonesian government, the number of Indian tourists visiting Bali has shown a relatively significant surge. In addition to tourist promotion, the Indonesian government's visa free policy has also helped to significantly boost the number of foreign tourists. India is one of the nearly 100 countries that receive the visa-free facility. From January to July 2016, the number of Indian tourist arrivals in Bali recorded the highest increase, with 107,046 visitors, or a 59.07 percent rise, from 67,296 in the same period of the previous year. The Bali tourism office has set a target to receive 4.4 million foreign tourists this year.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/9/18 19:48:22 ( 252 reads )

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When in despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end they always fall--think of it, always.
-- Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)



Britain's Youngest Indian Parliamentarian Jitesh Gadhia Takes Rig Veda to the House of Lords


Posted on 2016/9/14 19:53:17 ( 1107 reads )

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UNITED KINGDOM, September 14, 2016 (by Arjit Barman, Economics Times): Britain's newest peer swore his oath of allegiance on an ancient book--the Rig Veda. At 46, Jitesh Gadhia is currently the youngest Briton of Indian origin in the House of Lords, where the average age of 800 peers is about 69. An investment banker of repute, Gadhia has been part of some of the largest investment flows between the UK and India and also helped craft Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech last November to a full house at Wembley Stadium.

A rainmaker with storied European franchises like ABN and Barclays and private equity giant Blackstone, Gadhia has also been responsible for several headline-grabbing, cross-border deals during the buyout boom years of 2000-7, including the biggest involving an Indian business-Tata Steel's acquisition of Corus.

Now the banker and businessman of Gujarati descent has made history by pledging allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II using the ancient Vedic text of the Rig Veda, considered the world's oldest religious scripture in continuous use and dating back to 1500 BC. For some years now, new members have been permitted to choose a religious text other than the Bible, but no one has used the Rig Veda before. In the US, Keith Ellison became the first Muslim in Congress in 2007, taking his oath with a Quran that had been once owned by Thomas Jefferson, according to the Washington Post. (Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard took her oath of office on the Bhagavad Gita.)

The 167-year-old first edition copy of the Rig Veda that Gadhia will also be gifting to the Parliament has special significance. It was edited and published in 1849 by Max Mueller, the German academic and Indophile who lived and studied for most of his life in Oxford and was one of the pioneers of Sanskrit and Vedic studies in Europe. His compilation of the Rig Veda, in the traditional Devanagari script, was published under the patronage of the East India Company which paid Rs 900,000 to support the effort.

"I wanted a copy of the original Sanskrit text but my research took me to Max Mueller and finally my intense search bore fruit and I managed to source it from a rare books specialist," Gadhia told ET from London, soon after the ceremony that was attended by his extended family, friends and fellow parliamentarians cutting across party lines.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/9/14 19:53:07 ( 340 reads )

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We who have come from the East here have been told day after day in a patronizing way that we ought to accept Christianity because Christian nations are the most prosperous. We look about us and see England as the most prosperous nation in the world, with her foot on the neck of 250 million Asiatics. We look back in history and see Christian Spain's wealth beginning with the invasion of Mexico. Such prosperity comes from cutting the throats of fellow men. At such a price the Hindu will not have prosperity.
-- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, at the Parliament of the World's Religions, 1893



Celebrating Lord Ganesha's Birthday


Posted on 2016/9/12 19:34:47 ( 587 reads )

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BRICKFIELDS, MALAYSIA, September 10, 2016 (The Star): Decked out in finery with devotees at his side, Lord Ganesha strolled through the streets of Brickfields on a silver chariot to mark his birthday, the Vinayagar Chathurthi festival. Hindus converged at the Sri Sakthi Karpaga Vinayagar Temple in Jalan Berhala in Brickfields to celebrate the birth of the elephant God, Vinayagar, or Ganesha, as He is commonly known.

For over 50 years, the temple has led the chariot procession on the streets in Brickfields as devotees throng the place to catch a glimpse of Lord Ganesha as it is considered highly auspicious. Celebrations at the temple started as early as 3.30am with a special Homam prayer followed by lunch at the temple grounds as well as the chariot procession that began at 7.30pm. Temple president S.K.K. Naidu said more than 10,000 devotees participated in the day-long festival.

"Lord Ganesha is the remover of obstacles and we usually pray to him before we begin anything special," he added. The Brickfields Karpaga Vinayagar temple however is considered special because of its rarity. Karpaga Vinayagar is the 33rd form of Lord Ganapathy and his trunk is curled towards his right, a rare depiction. In his hand is the Shiva Linga, a form of Lord Shiva. Naidu said most believe that they are praying to both Gods at once when paying homage to the Karpaga Vinayagar.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/9/12 19:34:37 ( 306 reads )

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As long as someone cries out "O God! O God!" be sure that he has not found God, for whoever has found Him becomes still.
-- Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836-1886)



An App to Guide You Through Meenakshi Temple


Posted on 2016/9/7 18:51:03 ( 1078 reads )

Source

MADURAI, INDIA, August 23, 2016 (The Hindu): When you travel to Madurai next time, there will be no need to research through online and offline material to know about the world famous Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple. Your mobile phone will be a virtual guide to take you on a tour of the temple, besides providing a peek into the ancient city's history.

A free-to-download app developed by Chennai-based Aseuro Technologies provides information on the background of the temple, stories and miracles associated with it, its architectural marvels, history of Madurai, hours of worship, dos and don'ts, not to mention where to park, or find a restaurant. In 23 audio sections, it describes the important places in the temple in Tamil, English and Hindi.

Temple official Karumuttu T. Kannan launched the app on Monday, said it was the first of its kind for a temple in the country and very user-friendly. Srikanth Iyer of Aseuro Technologies said it took 18 months for them to develop the app after intensive research and review by temple authorities. It had become necessary as authentic information was not available for visitors to many places of tourist importance. "We have made a beginning with the Madurai temple and will soon come out with apps for Belur temple and Mahabalipuram," he said.

For information on downloading the app, see "source" above.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/9/7 18:50:52 ( 566 reads )

Source

The fragrance of the flower is never borne against the breeze, but the fragrance of human virtues diffuses itself everywhere.
-- Ramayana



Trinidad Observes Ganesha Festival


Posted on 2016/9/6 20:42:05 ( 811 reads )

HPI

TRINIDAD/TOBAGO, September 6, 2016 (by Paras Ramoutar): Hindus in Trinidad and Tobago are well-poised to celebrate the annual festival of Lord Ganesh Ustav from Sunday September 4 to 15 following weeks of abstinence, meditation and rituals. Hindus will flock to 300-plus temples, along with private and other public places, to seek Lord Ganesh's blessings and guidance in all their spiritual and material undertakings. This Lord Ganesh Ustav has taken a new initiative and it is only second to Divali, Hindu's flagship observance. For the past weeks, there have been literally hundreds of Lord Ganesh Yagnas spread across the nation. Several East Indian television and radio frequencies have been airing special programs to mark the occasion, and this is duplicated in the print media.

Devotees chant and sing while parading Lord Ganesha Murtis, constructed from clay or mud, which are worshipped and submerged in the ocean at the end of the celebrations. This is accompanied by music trucks and microphones belting out exclusive Lord Ganesh bhajans and kirtans, and rituals and holy prayers. The East Indian puja stores have reported brisk sales to mark the occasion, and scores of life-sized murtis have been specially-imported from India. Additionally, these murtis are environment friendly.

There has been upsurge of young people participating in the observance which, Pundit Seereeram Maharaj of the Shiv Kailash Temple, Santa Phillipa Road, Caparo, said, "augurs well for the future of Hinduism in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean." Trinidad and Tobago is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society with 44 per cent of the 1.3 million population are of East Indian extraction.

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