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Priests Object to Online Pind Daan, the Post-Death Rituals


Posted on 2016/9/26 19:21:01 ( 239 reads )

Source

INDIA, September 26, 2016 (by Amrita Verma, The Asian Age): Hindu priests in Allahabad and Varanasi demanded a ban on performing the pind daan, a post-death ritual believed to ensure salvation for departed souls, over the Internet. The pind daan is performed mainly during the Pitra Paksh, a 16-day lunar period during which Hindus pay ritual homage to their ancestors.

Pandit Kishore Upadhyaya, a priest from Varanasi, said that the growing trend of offering online pind daan was "unethical" and should be banned. "The ritual requires the person to be physically present and make offerings to the departed souls. It is an elaborate ritual and cannot be performed in absentia," he said.

According to him, a large number of websites now offer "online tarpan" for a price. These websites are doing big business, but the people are being duped, he said. "We understand that working people are short on time and cannot travel to religious places like Gaya, Allahabad, Varanasi or Haridwar to perform the ritual, but they can opt for the ritual in their own cities. In fact, some religious organisations even arrange for collective pind daan for those who cannot afford to travel," he said.

Another Varanasi priest, Pandit Shiv Misra, said that the idea of online pind daan was "ridiculous," and should be stopped. "This is almost like asking someone else to eat or sleep for you. How can anyone else pray for me? The websites that are offering the 'services' take money and then claim to have performed the rituals for your ancestors," he said.

The priests have decided to take up the matter in the annual Magh Mela that is held in Allahabad in January and ask the Dharam Sansad to convince the government to ban the virtual pind daan services. "We have come to know that a website that offers virtual 'pind daan' in Varanasi, is receiving 200-250 requests every day which means a large number of people are being fleeced," said Pandit Shiv Misra.



History of India Visually Over 5,000 Years


Posted on 2016/9/26 19:20:51 ( 0 reads )

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INDIA, May 2016 (You Tube): This video will show the entire history of India from 29th century BCE to 2016 in the form of an ever-changing map indicating the location of the cultures and empires that existed over the centuries. Indus Valley and Vedic periods are shown as they changed decade by decade, after 413 bce, the maps change each year. The 12-minute video shows the growth and demise of dynasties, empires and kingdoms in India and Sri Lanka from 2800 BCE right through to 2016.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/9/26 19:20:40 ( 151 reads )

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The sages, being filled with universal love for all beings, did not want to keep their enlightenment to themselves. They declared to all: "O mortals, striving and struggling upon this Earth plane, weeping, wailing, buffeted by the vicissitudes of life: we have come upon a great discovery. There is something beyond these appearances, these vanishing names and forms that go to make up this universe. There is something beyond, which is the very source and support of all these objects of the phenomenal world. Why do you search in vain for happiness outside? Come, come, happiness resides within."
-- Swami Chidananda (1916-2008), president of Divine Life Society



Sri Ramanuja: The Great Integrator


Posted on 2016/9/25 19:13:34 ( 276 reads )

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INDIA, May 5, 2016 (The Hindu, by Dr. Prema Nandakumar): What makes Sri Ramanuja relevant today? Dr. Prema Nandakumar writes on the saint-philosopher in the context of his 1,000th birth anniversary. One thousand years have gone by. Ten centuries. In India alone, there were so many kingdoms which tried their best to put an end to the religious and cultural traditions that had flourished from time immemorial. In spite of all that, Vedic culture not only survived but also gained new spaces. The adherents of the culture have had the benefit of leadership by spiritual personalities from time to time, re-formatting the culture in a positive manner without losing any of its seminal strengths. Of such great men, Sri Ramanuja, who was born in the 11 century, takes the pride of place as he remains relevant even today.

How shall we crown Sri Ramanuja? Is he a fine-tuned philosopher or a poet? Does his sociological thinking exceed the commentator? Does he loom large as a temple-builder or as a management expert? Does his concern for helping the common man out-top his blazing spirituality? Is he greater as a student or as a teacher? A deeper and wider engagement in his life and ministry makes it very, very difficult to decide. But one thing is clear. His virtue was compassion: his means, integration. The two main reasons why Sri Ramanuja remains perfectly relevant even today.

Sister Nivedita said that the history of India is the land itself. Applied to Sri Ramanuja, we can read his life in the temples, the rituals he set up, in his philosophy and poetry, and his untiring and patient moves to bring down man-made differences and integrate the society by applying the ideal of compassion. "He (Ramanuja) felt for the downtrodden, he sympathised with them. He took up the ceremonies, the accretions that had gathered, made them pure so far as they could be, and instituted new ceremonies, new methods of worship, for the people who absolutely required them. At the same time he opened the door to the highest; spiritual worship from the Brahmin to the Pariah." That was Ramanuja's work.

Much more at "source" above.



First Swadeshi Indology Conference


Posted on 2016/9/25 19:13:23 ( 238 reads )

Source

CHENNAI, INDIA, September 25, 2016 (Swadeshi Indology): The first Swadeshi Indology Conference was held in Chennai on July 6-7, 2016. A welcome address was given by Prof. K.S. Kannah and the keynote address by the organizer, Rajiv Malhotra.

A few themes of the conference:

Is Sanskrit dead or alive?
Critique of Sheldon Pollock's views on Shastras
Ramayama as a Political Tool
Pollock's position that Sanskrit was responsible for holocaust
Some Indic viewpoints to refute Pollock's positions
Murty Classical Library--a panel discussion

A summary of the conference with a complete list of presenters, themes and accompanying videos is at "source" above.

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