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The Saga of the Sarasvati River

Posted on 2016/7/28 15:01:18 ( 343 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 ( 268 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 ( 194 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 ( 668 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 ( 503 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

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