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The Saga of the Sarasvati River

Posted on 2016/7/28 15:01:18 ( 380 reads )


INDIA, July 25, 2016 (mydigitalfc.om by Michel Danino): For some reason, unless it is for no reason, the word "mythical" has come to stick to the bygone Sarasvati river, with most mass media articles about its supposed "rediscovery" religiously starting with it. Unfortunately, rarely if ever have their authors researched what they write about. And since cutting-edge technology sells as well as religion, we are also told that the river's lost bed was "rediscovered" in recent years through satellite imagery.

So let us attempt to go beyond these newsworthy but misleading sound bites. There is, of course, nothing "mythical" about the river, even if it acquired the status of a goddess in the earliest literature. Praised in the Rig-Veda's hymns as a "mighty" river flowing "from the mountain to the sea," the Nadistuti Sukta (or Hymn in Praise of Rivers) precisely located it between the Yamuna and the Sutlej, which would not have been the case had it been regarded as "mythical." The river undergoes changes in the late vedic literature: a few centuries later, a few brahmanas (commentaries on the Vedas) depict it as disappearing in the desert at a point called Vinashana or Adarshana, which soon became a highly revered pilgrimage site; it has been located by scholars in northern Rajasthan's Hanumangarh district.

The Mahabharata, whose great war is waged in the Kurukshetra region watered by the Sarasvati and its tributaries, paints a similar picture, adding some details about the broken-up westward course of the river as Balarama, Krishna's brother, journeys on a pilgrimage from Prabhas on the Arabian Sea to the river's source in the Shivalik hills. The evidence from the literature is thus perfectly consistent with a physical river that happens to dry up (for reasons I will not go into here). If the Sarasvati was ever "mythical," it is at Prayag (modern Allahabad), where she was made to join Ganga and Yamuna as an "invisible" river -- a convenient device to remember her despite no physical reality at that spot.

For the full article with illustration go to:

First Page: http://epaper.mydigitalfc.com/articledetailpage.aspx?id=5948355
Second Page: http://epaper.mydigitalfc.com/articledetailpage.aspx?id=5948358

California Department of Education Recruiting Textbook Reviewers

Posted on 2016/7/28 15:01:07 ( 304 reads )


CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA, July 28, 2016 (press release): California has recently revised its history Framework for grade VI (equivalent to sixth standard in India). This document outlines what is to be in the textbooks. Sixth grade covers all ancient civilizations and has extensive chapters on Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions, whether living or extinct. Christianity and Islam are covered in seventh grade textbooks (which includes the medieval period), along with the Bhakti movement in Hinduism and the development of Sikhism. The adoption of new textbooks guided by this revised Framework is preceded by extensive public review and comment, allowing for various advocacy groups to revise and improve these textbooks, fix errors and eliminate--or insert--biases.

The Framework section on Ancient India and Hinduism, adopted after a 8-year process, was particularly contentious with some academics arguing to remove "Hinduism" and "India: from the Framework in favor of "religion of ancient India" and "South Asia." While most references to Hinduism and India were retained, some instances were deleted before the framework was approved by the California Department of Education. The next phase involves the development of textbooks and their review. California is recruiting reviewers: PhDs in history, teachers, parents and concerned citizens can apply without any requirement of residency in California. If you are interested in ensuring the proper representation of India and Hinduism in 6th grade textbooks, please go to http://www.hindupedia.com/en/Hinduism_in_California_Textbooks where you can learn more about what is happening and how to participate in the process.

These new California textbooks will set the standard for the rest of the country, especially for states which do not have the extensive guidelines California creates for what is to be taught. So even if you are not a California resident, this revision process could very well impact what is taught in your state's schools.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/7/28 15:00:56 ( 229 reads )


Of all blessings we know of none greater than the begetting of children endowed with intelligence.
-- Tirukkural

U.S. Department of Education Takes Actions to Address Religious Discrimination

Posted on 2016/7/25 20:35:32 ( 697 reads )


USA, July 25, 2016 (Ed.gov Press Release): As part of ongoing efforts to encourage respect for students of all faiths and beliefs, the U.S. Department of Education today shared a series of actions that confront discrimination and promote inclusive school environments. The steps include a new website on religious discrimination, an updated civil rights complaint form, an expanded survey of America's public schools on religious-based bullying, technical assistance for schools, and recent outreach on confronting religious harassment in education. "Students of all religions should feel safe, welcome and valued in our nation's schools," said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon. "We will continue to work with schools and communities to stop discrimination and harassment so that all students have an equal opportunity to participate in school no matter who they are, where they come from or which faith, if any, they subscribe to."

"Today's announcement underscores that we are concerned about the well being of students. On the prevention side, President Obama's Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, started in 2011, is another important resource," said the Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell, director of the Department's Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. "Our agency has had the privilege of coordinating the Challenge which provides college students from many religious traditions as well as nonbelievers to work together to tackle community problems. This higher education civic engagement allows students from religiously diverse backgrounds to build bridges of understanding across cultural and religious lines and helps prevent intolerance."

The Department's Office for Civil Rights launched a new page, Religious Discrimination, http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/religion.html, on its website with information about federal laws that protect students from discrimination involving their religion. The page links to OCR policy guidance, notable case resolutions, and resources in multiple languages and from other federal agencies.

For more, go to source

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/7/25 20:35:20 ( 531 reads )


Through meditation and by giving full attention to one thing at a time, we can learn to direct attention where we choose.
-- Eknath Easwaran

Tamil Nadu CM Thanks Harish Rawat for Promising to Install Valluvar Statue

Posted on 2016/7/24 19:19:55 ( 0 reads )


CHENNAI, INDIA, July 23, 2016 (Deccan Chronicle): Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Friday wrote to her Uttarakhand counterpart Harish Rawat thanking him for taking steps to install the Thiruvalluvar statue within the government Mela Bhavan in Haridwar. "I am grateful that you have responded speedily and positively to the outpouring of sentiments of the people of TN on this sensitive issue," she told Rawat, who had dispatched a senior Tamil IAS officer in Uttarkhand to identify a suitable spot for the statue's installation.

Ms. Jayalalithaa in her letter told Rawat that the Thiruvalluvar statue issue had caused "considerable disquiet" in TN. Several political leaders in TN had expressed concern over the statue of the poet-saint lying wrapped in a park in Haridwar after the efforts by BJP MP Tarun Vijay to install it on the banks of Ganga failed due to protest from local sadhus.

It appeared that the sadhus were against the Thiruvalluvar statue being erected in an area where only the statues of Hindu deities have been installed. According to R. Meenakshi Sundaram, vice-chairman of the Mussoorie-Dehradun Development Authority, a suitable spot inside the Mela Bhavan will be decided after consulting the Ganga Sabha and the Akhil Bharatiya Akahara Parishad representatives.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/7/24 19:19:44 ( 563 reads )


To say "through silence He is realized" is not correct, because Supreme Knowledge does not come "through" anything. Supreme Knowledge reveals Itself.
-- Anandamayi Ma

Jayalalithaa Asks Modi to Resolve Thiruvalluvar Statue Issue

Posted on 2016/7/22 18:43:47 ( 863 reads )


TAMIL NADU, INDIA, July 21, 2016 (The Hindu): Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to urgently take up with the Uttarakhand government the issue of installation of a statue of Tamil sage poet Thiruvalluvar in Haridwar. "It is learnt that the Thiruvalluvar statue is now lying in the Dam Kothi Guest House, Haridwar, in an abandoned condition. The visuals beamed on television screens is causing outrage in Tamil Nadu," Ms. Jayalalithaa said.

Thiruvalluvar is a celebrated poet believed to have lived between 3rd Century BC and 1st Century BC. He wrote the most popular Tamil literary works Thirukkural, also known as the common creed. The verses are a moral guide for human beings and have been translated in several languages. "The object of the Thiruvalluvar Ganga Payanam is to show solidarity of the North with the Tamil saint poet Thiruvalluvar's message of equality and ending social discrimination in society," Ms. Jayalalithaa said.

According to her, due to the local protests, the installation of Thiruvalluvar statue at Har ki Pauri was prevented and was installed at Shankaracharya Chowk, Haridwar, on June 28. The statute was to be unveiled on June 29 by the Governor and Chief Minister of Uttarakhand.

Five Star Mayor of Turin to Create Italy's First Vegetarian City

Posted on 2016/7/22 18:43:36 ( 840 reads )


TURIN, ITALY, July 21, 2016 (The Guardian): From vitello tonnato - veal with tuna sauce - to beef braised in the Piedmont region's most famous red wine, brasato al Barolo, meat dishes have been central to the food tradition of northern Italy for centuries. But Chiara Appendino, the new mayor of Turin and a force in the populist Five Star Movement (M5S), could be about to change all that with her pledge this week to promote vegetarian and vegan diets as a "priority" in her administration.

According to M5S's 62-page manifesto - which also called for better urban planning and the protection of public land - Turin's new mayor said the endorsement of meat-free and even dairy-free living was fundamental to the protection of the environment, health, and the wellbeing of animals. While the specifics of the strategy have not been disclosed, the city is expected to set up educational projects in schools to teach students about animal welfare and nutrition.

The move is unprecedented in Italian municipal government, but is in keeping with the views of the eurosceptic M5S. The party espouses some progressive values, such as environmentalism, conservation and green energy, but is ambiguous on migration and did not support a recent extension of parental rights to LGBT Italians.

Be a California Textbook Reviewer

Posted on 2016/7/22 18:43:26 ( 835 reads )


SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, July 21, 2016 (Hindu American Foundation): In order to ensure an accurate and balanced portrayal of Hinduism and ancient India, Hindu American community members in California are urged to apply to become reviewers for the state's textbook adoption process. This process, which concludes in 2017, selects new History-Social Science textbooks for grades K-8.

Between now and October 19, the California Department of Education is accepting applications for instructional materials reviewers. If selected, a reviewer would participate in the textbook adoption process next year.

Your feedback would be critical to shaping how Hinduism is viewed in California textbooks for up to the next two decades. Parents, community members, educators living in California are amongst those encouraged to apply.

To apply to become a reviewer, go to the California Department of Education Website:


which fully explains the duties and requirements.

To learn more about the textbook adoption process, contact the Hindu American Foundation at education@hafsite.org.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/7/22 18:43:16 ( 720 reads )


You may develop a thousand virtues and be reckoned as the greatest in the land. But the lotus of your heart will not blossom until you receive the grace of the Guru, the grace of God!
-- Dada Sadhu Vaswani

Years-Long Advocacy for Reform and Equity in California Textbooks for Hindu, Indian and South Asian History Concludes with the Approval of the New Framework

Posted on 2016/7/21 20:10:00 ( 1109 reads )


SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, July 21, 2016 (Diya TV): State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced Thursday that the State Board of Education approve the History-Social Science Framework for California Public Schools, which will update and upgrade history and social science instruction in California. Leaders of the Hindu American Foundation also announced Thursday that important progress had been made in the effort to ensure that Hinduism and India are presented equitably and accurately in the aforementioned framework.

"This is a big win for our students," Torlakson said in a statement. "This document will improve the teaching and learning of history and social science. It will give our students access to the latest historical research and help them learn about the diversity of our state and the contributions of people and groups who may not have received the appropriate recognition in the past." Approved after a nearly two-year long process, the framework, with the input from multiple Hindu American community groups, parents and schoolchildren, now incorporates prominent mention of Hinduism's pluralistic ethos, Hindu sages of diverse backgrounds, and the importance of the Bhakti movement.

Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom presented the Board with a letter on July 11, urging them to adopt a framework that would "accurately portray the unique contribution of California's diverse communities." Newsom applauded the Board's efforts to reinsert specific references to India in the framework, however, added that replacing references to Hinduism still left much to be desired.

Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, sent a letter to the Board as well. She applauded the efforts of the Instructional Quality Commission, just as Newsom had, but urged the Board to ensure the additional concerns of the Hindu-American community were addressed. "As the first and only serving Hindu American Member of Congress, I have worked actively throughout my many years of service to promote diversity, equality, and pluralism," she wrote. "I firmly believe in the significance of creating an education system and textbooks that uphold these important American values."

Hindu American Foundation's senior director and Human Rights Fellow Samir Kalra voiced public disappointment after the Board could not be swayed to hear those additional changes requested by Hindus. "The Board showed much sensitivity to activists representing Islam and Muslims, by adjusting the frameworks slightly to show the religion in a more positive light," Kalra said, adding however that the same sentiment was paid to the further discussion of additional changes for Hindus. "We only wish they had shown the same empathy when discussing further changes on the presentation of Hinduism," Kalra said.

Much more at "source" above including an excellent video interview.

Chinmaya Mission Set to Open Its First University in India

Posted on 2016/7/21 20:07:40 ( 1061 reads )


INDIA, July 20, 2016 (Chinmaya University): We are delighted to announce that the Government of India has granted in-principle approval for the establishment of Chinmaya Mission's first university, Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth. The University will be a deemed University for Sanskrit and Indian Knowledge and Traditions, including Performing Arts, in the de novo category for preservation of our cultural heritage. The main campus is at Chinmaya International Foundation, Veliyanad, Kerala at the birth-home of Adi Sankaracharya and the constituent campus is at Chinmaya Naada Bindu, Kolwan, Maharashtra, at the Vision Centre for Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda.

To read more about this milestone achievement, please visit the website at "source".

Technology Saves 3 Temples from Demolition

Posted on 2016/7/21 20:07:29 ( 962 reads )


INDIA, July 21, 2016 (The Hindu): Each time a highway road is widened, anything in the way including temples, trees, homes, and school buildings are removed for the carriageway, with few exceptions. Recently, three temples situated adjacent to national highways have been physically lifted and moved from the roads. "We have shifted temples in Hosur, Kallakurichi and Ambur using technology. We strengthen the foundation of the temple when it is placed at a new location," says Gurdeep Kumar, Chief Executive Engineer, TDBD Engineering Works.

The company recently received a certificate from the Limca Book of Records for lifting and moving temples at Coimbatore and Kallakurichi. S. Ravi, one of the trustees of the Maha Mariamman Temple at Kattukottai in Yaamaper, said they had visited the Ambur temple before taking the decision. "The temple was on the road and the National Highways authorities said it had to be demolished. But we were sentimentally attached to it since it was constructed by our forefathers. So we approached this company that shifted it for us. We have also performed the kumbhabhishekam of the temple and it looks new now," he said.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/7/21 20:07:18 ( 854 reads )


"I went to the root of things, and found nothing but Him alone."
-- Mira Bai (1500-1550), princess of Rajasthan, Northwest India, a saint celebrated for her lyrical poetry dedicated to Krishna

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