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Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/12/2 19:29:45 ( 238 reads )


There is no place more powerful for practice, more blessed or more marvelous than Mount Kailash.
-- Milarepa (c.1052–1135), Tibet's most revered yogi

A Sea Change in Pilgrimage to Sabarimala over Two Decades

Posted on 2016/12/1 18:54:12 ( 445 reads )


VIJAYAWADA, INDIA, November 30, 2016 (The Hindu): A lot of water must have flowed down the Pamba River in the past two decades and many changes have taken place in the journey to the popular Ayyappa shrine at Sabarimala. Joint Director of Ground Water and Ayyappa devotee A. Varaprasada Rao who had been to Sabarimala nearly two dozen times over two decades said there were many changes in the journey since he first went there in the early 90s.

Though the number had increased manifold the journey had become comfortable, he said. Earlier, pilgrims who started their journey from Vijayawada in the night reached Kalahasti by dawn where they broke their journey to get a darshan of Sri Kalahasteeswara before they continued their journey to Pamba. Because of the improvement in roads the motor vehicles, usually buses, are covering greater distance and faster. Now, Kanipakam has become the shrine for the first break.

The journey to Sabarimala is dotted by many shrines. Mr. Varaprasada Rao said the Tamil Nadu and Kerala governments had over the two decades renovated the shrines that were in a very dilapidated condition. "Besides the larger shrines like Siripuram, Thiruvannamalai, Palani and Guruvayur, there are several smaller shrines like Bhavani and the smaller Ayyappa temples which have been renovated. Facilities including parking for buses have been created near these shrines," he said.

Over 300 Ancient Manuscripts on Yoga to Be Deciphered

Posted on 2016/12/1 18:54:01 ( 543 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 27, 2016 (Sunday Guardian Live): Around 300-400 manuscripts exist on different types of yoga in India's treasure box, not one of which has been deciphered. According to the National Mission for Manuscripts (NMM), these are part of the approximately ten million manuscripts in the country that are yet to be published. In fact, less than 10% of ancient manuscripts in India have been published.

The oldest manuscript in NMM's database belongs to the 6th century and is written in the Gilgit script, which belongs to the Gilgit Baltistan region in the north. Since its inception in 2003, the NMM has managed to create a database of over 4 million manuscripts in secular and religious sciences in over 57 scripts. However, scholars complain that the lack of published manuscripts, especially in ancient Indian sciences, has slackened India's potential dominance in the international scientific industry. Scholars believe that a major reason behind this has been the lack of political goodwill in investing in transliteration of ancient manuscripts.

The value of ancient Indian manuscripts is evident with Japan's rapid growth in ayurvedic research as the Asian neighbor has been known to invest in developing advanced ayurvedic technology. "Illiteracy in our ancient research has led us to follow the lead of other cultures because we do not know how much our heritage and science had excelled in the world. This ignorance has made us late-risers, but a genuine effort is needed to promote the study of ancient Indian texts that can help us in governance, scientific research, cultural development and medicine," said Dr. N.C. Kar, an expert in manuscripts and a coordinator at NMM.

Britain's New Five Pound Bank Note Contains Beef

Posted on 2016/12/1 18:53:51 ( 426 reads )


LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, November 30, 2016 (New York Times): When it released a new 5-pound note in September, the Bank of England said the new polymer bills were stronger, safer and better for the environment. One thing they are not, it turns out, is meat-free. To the dismay of vegans and vegetarians across Britain, the Bank of England has confirmed that tallow was used in the base of the new notes, which are worth about US$6.25. Tallow, a hard, fatty substance usually made from rendered beef or mutton suet, is much more likely to be found in soap and candles than in a currency.

"There is a trace of tallow in the polymer pellets used in the base substrate of the polymer #5 notes," the Bank of England said repeatedly in responses to inquiries this week on social media. That led to an outpouring of outrage. The anger was not just abundant but also swift. By 4 p.m. British time on Wednesday, a petition calling on the Bank of England to make a vegan-friendly bank note -- "This is unacceptable to millions of vegans, vegetarians, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and others in the U.K," it reads -- had received almost 100,000 signatures.

The new notes also represent something of a problem for Hindus. Cows are considered sacred in Hinduism, and eating beef is prohibited. The latest census, released in 2012, showed that there were more than 800,000 Hindus in England and Wales, making them one of the biggest religious groups there.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/12/1 18:53:41 ( 224 reads )


It's important to go into solitude from time to time and think about God, especially for those who busy themselves day and night with worldly duties and responsibilities. When the plant is young, it should be fenced on all sides, otherwise goats and cattle may eat it up.
-- Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836–1886)

Roots Revival: India's Classical Dance Is Back En Vogue in Delhi

Posted on 2016/11/30 19:58:31 ( 368 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 26, 2016 (The Peninsula Qatar): Students elegantly curve their hands before breaking into synchronized footwork at a class in New Delhi, where growing numbers are signing up for Indian traditional dance classes rooted in Hindu mythology. Class participants range from from pre-teens to surgeons and marketing managers -- but they have all chosen to learn traditional Indian dance, which emerged from the country's temples centuries ago, over Western options such as ballet, jazz and hip hop.

"Tradition is becoming popular now," said Nitya Pant, a Mumbai-based marketing executive who practices Odissi -- an ancient temple-based dance that honors Hindu Lord Jagannath, Lord of the Universe. "No other form can give you the satisfaction that classical dance gives you," added the 29-year-old. "You feel like you're one with God."

India is home to eight major classical dance styles including Odissi and Bharatnatyam -- a genre originating in the country's southern temples more than 2,000 years ago -- that tell stories of gods through facial expressions, hand gestures and rapid footwork. Once performed in temples and royal courts, India's classical dance has found international resonance with troupes performing around the world. Thanks to a mushrooming Indian diaspora, traditional dance schools have popped up globally, piquing the interest of other nationalities too.

An Indian Thanksgiving - It's All about Gratitude

Posted on 2016/11/30 19:58:21 ( 284 reads )


UNITED STATES, November 22, 2016 (Lassi With Lavina, by Lavina Melwani): If Thanksgiving is a festival of gratitude, then Indians have been preparing for it their whole lives. In India, take a walk down the Mumbai waterfront in the early morning mist, and you see ordinary citizens quietly feeding the fish and the birds. Their daily day doesn't really begin until the deities in their home shrine have been venerated with fresh flowers and offered prasadam. It is only after eating a little of this blessed offering does the family sit down to their meals. Many remember to keep aside a portion of the food for a hungry person or the birds. It is all about sharing.

Every festival is about counting one's blessings and thanking God for them. Indeed, buying a new car or new home entails special puja or prayer ceremonies to bless the new item and to offer thanks. "Gratitude is exalted as one of the most important virtues (dharma) in many Hindu texts," says Dr. Vasudha Narayanan, Distinguished Professor of Religion, University of Florida. "It is both a human and divine virtue; prayers and panegyrics say Vishnu has qualities such as compassion and gratitude. By this they mean that if a human being does a good deed, the divine being wants to show His gratitude in many ways. The Ramayana says: Krte ca prati kartavyam esham dharmah sanatanah (Ramayana, Sundara Kanda) "To repay a good deed with another - this is the essence of Sanatana Dharma."

Are there any Hindu prayers which are popular with families for this occasion? Since saying of grace before food is not a traditional custom in India where often food was sanctified and served, this is new territory for Hindus. In fact, even for the South Indian festival of Pongal which is generally interpreted as thanksgiving, there are no specific prayers, says Narayanan. Yet as she points out, "The Hindu traditions are dynamic; we add, we modify, we jettison, and we co-opt rituals very easily.

More of this thoughtful article at "source" above.

Canteens at Govt. Medical Facilities to Provide Pure Vegetarian Meals

Posted on 2016/11/30 19:58:10 ( 273 reads )


SEREMBAN, MALAYSIA, November 17, 2016 (The Star): Vegetarians can now enjoy their meals without any worry when dining at cafeterias in government hospitals and other medical facilities. This follows a directive from the Health Ministry that these cafeteria operators must provide food that is strictly vegetarian to anyone who patronized their outlet. Ministry director-general Datuk Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah said the demand for vegetarian food from both patients and visitors to these facilities have been increasing.

Dr. Noor Hisham said the ministry decided to introduce the ruling after receiving many complaints from the public, especially those who had to stay at hospitals to look after their sick relatives. With the new ruling, cafeteria operators have also been told to be sensitive to the needs of vegans who consumed only greens, lacto-vegetarians who also took milk and dairy products and lacto-ovo-vegetarians who were okay with eating eggs.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/11/30 19:58:00 ( 186 reads )


You need to be a great theist before you can become a great monist. Theistic practices of humility, service and worship form the basis of yoga, which then leads to levels of samadhi and monistic realizations. It is a ladder with definite, clear steps.
-- Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, publisher of Hinduism Today

Hindu Pilgrims Cancel Trip to Pakistan Due to Tension

Posted on 2016/11/26 18:32:24 ( 551 reads )


ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN, November 27, 2016 (Navhind Times): About 200 Hindu pilgrims in India canceled their trip to Pakistan as they were not allowed to undertake the journey due to ongoing tension between the two countries, an official said today. The pilgrims were issued visas by Pakistan High Commission for the trip to holy Katas Raj Shiva temple in Chakwal district near capital Islamabad. They were scheduled to arrive in Pakistan on November 28 on a three-day pilgrimage to Katas temple complex, considered one the most holy sites for Hindus, said Siddique ul Farooq, chairman of Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB).

"Their scheduled visit has been canceled," Farooq told Dawn newspaper. "We had issued visas to the pilgrims but their government did not allow them to visit Pakistan," he said, adding that that comprehensive security arrangements had been made for the Indian pilgrims. Farooq cited the border tension as the reason behind the cancellation of the visit. However, the Indian ministry sources said they did not tell the pilgrims to cancel their trip and the call may have been taken by the organisers. Hindu pilgrims visit Katas Raj twice a year in February and November.

Yoga Practice Not Religiously Dangerous: Mizoram BJP

Posted on 2016/11/26 18:32:14 ( 524 reads )


MIZORAM, INDIA, November 26, 2016 (northeasttoday.in): The Mizoram BJP has stated that yoga practice is not religiously dangerous further it is safe as it is mostly related with physical exercise and mental health practice. While interacting with reporters, BJP vice-president F. Lal Thanzuala said, "Although classical yoga is related with Hindu philosophy, but if it is used for physical exercise and mental health practice by not chanting Hindu mantra there is nothing to be panic about it." He added that those who have talked about danger of practicing yoga did not know about provision of protection of Mizo religious belief enshrined in the constitution.

According to him article 371-G of the peace accord with the government of India signifies that no act of parliament which may affect religious or social practice of the Mizos can be implemented in Mizoram unless the state legislative assembly passed it. "If there is a directive from parliament to introduce yoga in Mizoram, state assembly session should be summoned in which a decision not to introduce yoga should be based on Article 371-G."

He further said, "As long as yoga is practice for physical or mental health or is practiced with Christian belief. It is not unsafe for Mizos." Mizoram is 87% Christian.

HPI note: This rather unusual declaration (especially coming from the BJP) apparently is in reaction to the Christian church here objecting to the observance of International Yoga Day in June. See http://www.firstpost.com/politics/in- ... ffronisation-2843530.html. In that article, the state BJP said, "We are having a difficult time in convincing the church and the people here, that Hindutva is not our agenda, but development is."

Health Benefits of Ghee

Posted on 2016/11/26 18:32:03 ( 536 reads )


INDIA, November 26, 2016 (mavcure.com by Dr. Hitesh Sharma): Whenever we think about health and supplements, we look for medicines and over the counter prescriptions. We forget to peep into our house. Your kitchen is the most important area. It has all the remedies in the cupboards and shelves; you just need to know the right ingredients. One such kitchen ingredient is the ghee that is prepared by almost all housewives in India. Nowadays people refrain from it thinking that it is the reason for ill health, obesity, and many other health problems. But it can do wonders for your mind and body if taken in moderate quantity.

For more of this in-depth article on how to prepare ghee, its health benefits and debunking myths associated with it, see "source" above.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/11/26 18:31:53 ( 301 reads )


If all the land were turned to paper and all the seas turned to ink, and all the forests into pens to write with, they would still not suffice to describe the greatness of the guru.
-- Kabir (1440-1518), Indian Saint

Himachal Temple Offerings Dip by 40 Percent after Demonetization

Posted on 2016/11/25 18:04:28 ( 466 reads )


SHIMLA, INDIA, November 25, 2016 (Indus Business Journal): The cash crunch owing to demonetization of high-value currency has severely hit the offerings in all major Hindu temples of Himachal Pradesh. Officials in temples said the cash offerings had fallen up to 40 percent and the footfall of devotees had also declined by almost half since the demonetization of November 8. Interestingly, the online offerings have also been impacted massively, they said.

"The daily cash offerings at the Chintpurni temple has fallen by up to 40 percent and the average number of devotees visiting the temple has halved on weekends," temple official Subhash Chand told IANS. He said the temple, the richest in the state, had stopped accepting the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes (US$7.50 - $15.00).

"Before the high-value currency notes were demonetized, daily cash offerings was around US$20,500 in 10 days. The offering has been reduced to $14,600 in the past 16 days," Brajeshwari Devi temple official Pawan Badyal said. "The number of devotees coming to the temple has fallen by 40 percent," he added. He said on an average the temple used to get $585 to $730 as online donations every month. "This month, no online offering came."

Call for Contributions for Hindu Section of new Encyclopedia of Indian Religions

Posted on 2016/11/25 18:04:18 ( 476 reads )


TEXAS, USA, November 3, 2016 (press release): Professor Pankaj Jain of the University of North Texas, has issued the following announcement: "We want to invite you to join an exciting project under the leadership of Professor Arvind Sharma, the "Encyclopedia of Indian Religion" (http://www.springer.com/series/15157). For Hinduism section, we are aiming for covering 300 topics overall (750,000 words approximately) of the below, varying lengths from 1,000 to 10,000 words. See https://unt.academia.edu/PankajJain for the list of entries for this project. Since the planned publication date is summer 2018, we are aiming for all submissions to be received by December 2017." Contact: pankajaindia@gmail.com

From the publisher's website on the project, "Encyclopedia of Indian Religions," Series Editor, Prof. Arvind Sharma, McGill University:

"The Encyclopedia of Indian Religions" offers a complete overview of Hinduism and all other religions found in India and the Diaspora, such as Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism and so on. It is strongly characterized by two special features, each pertaining to the fact that Hinduism is closely associated with India but has now become global in its reach. In relation to Hinduism in India, it views Hinduism not in isolation but in dynamic interaction, first with other religions of Indian origin and then with religions which did not originate in India but have been a lasting feature of its religious landscape, namely, Islam and Christianity and, to a lesser extent, Zoroastrianism and Judaism. Secondly, the encyclopedia seriously takes into account the phenomenon of Hinduism in the Diaspora. The Indian Diaspora is now beginning to make its presence felt, both in India and abroad. A strong sense of Hindu identity is emerging among diasporic Hindus. This has lead to an increasing amount of research on Hindu traditions and Indian identity, and the relation of Hinduism with other world religions. The Encyclopedia of Indian Religions will fill the need for information and clarification of modern day Hinduism and Hindu history and traditions to Hindus in the Diaspora. Three main aspects of diasporic Hinduism have been kept in mind while preparing this reference work: firstly the active language of diasporic Hindus is English. Secondly diasporic Hindus need a rational rather than a devotional or traditional exposition of the religion, and thirdly they need information and arguments to address the stereotypes which characterize the presentation of Hinduism in the academia and the media, especially in the West.

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