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Hindu Temples in the US Growing in Spirit and Scale
Posted on 2015/8/3 18:55:52 ( 347 reads )

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UNITED STATES, July 26, 2015 (Economic Times): If you read between the lines of the vandalized signboard in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, you'll see more than just 60 shotgun pellet holes perforating the blue sans serif lettering that reads 'Hindu Temple'. The punctures, though ominous, do little to threaten the place of the Hindu temple - in Forsyth County, or the rest of America.

For America's growing number of Indian immigrants, a temple is a way to transplant a bit of home in the US. The Hindu demographic is doing quite well economically. According to Pew, 36 per cent say their annual family income exceeds $100,000, compared to 19 per cent of the overall public. As America's three million Hindus grow in stature, so do their symbols of ethnic identity - their temples.

The institution first arrived on America's West Coast in 1906, via Swami Vivekananda's Vedanta Society in San Francisco, writes Karen Pechilis Prentiss for Harvard's Pluralism Project, and it concerned itself chiefly with scriptural study and meditation. It was only in the 70s when the Indian migrant population began to expand on the back of the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 that temples for ritualistic worship and cultural incubation developed. This was when Alagappa Alagappan, one of the leaders of the temple movement in late 20th century America, helped establish the Hindu Temple Society in 1970 in Flushing, New York. Today, the temple count in the US touches 800, according Hindu American Foundation (HAF).

In last year's Pew survey that gauged the general American sentiment towards different religions, Hindus score 50 on a 'feeling thermometer' of 1 to 100, two points ahead of Mormons and three below Buddhists, which means the US public is ambivalent towards Hinduism, exhibiting no greater positive or negative attitude toward it.

Much more at source.

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Inside the Mind of a Tyrant
Posted on 2015/8/3 18:55:41 ( 284 reads )

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INDIA, August 2, 2015 (New Indian Express by Anuja Chandramouli): Having successfully completed a quintet of books skilfully chronicling the rise and fall of the Moghul Empire, Alex Rutherford is back with Traitors in the Shadows, which examines the reign of Aurangzeb, one of the most contradictory and vilified figures in Indian history. Rutherford is on familiar terrain and his reverence for the historical material shines through in his narrative as he paints an enduring portrait of the tyrant who was not without redeeming qualities though one clearly has to hunt for them using a powerful microscope.

He was a devout Muslim, whose stern and extreme adherence to the strictures of his religion saw him undo all the hard work put in by his ancestors like Akbar to cultivate the bonds of brotherhood between those of all faiths by adopting a policy of religious intolerance. Aurangzeb banned the celebration of Hindu festivals like Holi and Diwali, ordered the destruction of temples and re-imposed the dreaded Jizya--higher taxation for all non-Muslims--to drive home his power over them. His actions were motivated by a misguided sense of political acuity as well and intended to make a strong statement against rebels like Shivaji and later the Jats, Rajputs and Sikhs, to discourage his other subjects from throwing in their lot with them.

More at source.


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/8/3 18:55:31 ( 243 reads )

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Life is meant for God-realization. If you die without attaining God-realization, your life is in vain. Even having one hundred gurus will not help, unless the disciple has a great desire for liberation and tries to get rid of all that stands in the way.
-- Swami Chidananda (1916-2008), President of Divine Life Society

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River Rafting Banned in Rishikesh Area
Posted on 2015/8/2 20:19:30 ( 463 reads )

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DEHRADUN/NEW DELHI, August 2, 2015 (Times of India): A day after the National Green Tribunal accepted the Uttarakhand government's submission that no new licenses will be issued to rafting camps and that renewal of licenses will also not be considered for the time being, both the rafting industry in the hill state and the hordes of tourists from Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh who troop in for the popular river rafting activity are an unsure lot. NGT has also directed the Centre to submit its views on the impact of river rafting in the area. Though there is no blanket ban on rafting as yet - the next hearing in the case is on August 7 - plans for the time being have gone awry.

River rafting, a US$11 million-industry in Rishikesh that began in the 1980s with just five people, attracts a large number of domestic as well as foreign tourists. Campsites near the Ganga are weekend getaways for many in north India, with tourists in the thousands favoring a quick trip there for some much needed respite from city life. Rafting also offers one of the few options for adventure sports enthusiasts in north India.

At the heart of the NGT order is a petition by Social Action for Forest and Environment (SAFE), an NGO, which has raised a clutch of concerns about the large number of rafting camps, which include disturbance to wildlife, pollution caused due to waste junked by rafters, open defecation on the river bed, trees cut to make way for construction of camps, levelling of the river bed and much more.

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Texas Hindu Temple Opens with World Record
Posted on 2015/8/2 20:19:20 ( 548 reads )

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FRISCO, TEXAS, August 1, 2015 (WFAA): When you look inside the new Hanuman Temple in Frisco, North Texas on Saturday, you'll realize why it was built. Thousands of Hindus, most of them living in or around the city, crowded into the 34,000-square-foot temple to celebrate its official opening. The Indian population in the region is growing. In Collin County alone, it has more than tripled since the turn of the century. "Look at the 10-mile radius around the temple," said Temple Chairman Prakasa Rao Velagapudiand. "Seventy, 80, maybe even 90 percent of them have Indian background."

They celebrated the opening in spectacular fashion by setting a new Guinness World Record. After 24 hours of continuous chanting, the group set the world record for the longest chanting marathon.

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