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India's Supreme Court: Fatwas Have No Legal Backing, Can't Be Forced On People
Posted on 2014/2/26 18:19:14 ( 580 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 26, 2014 (Times Of India): In a significant ruling, the Supreme Court on Tuesday assured it would come to the rescue of any citizen who felt harassed by a fatwa issued by a Muslim cleric and said such fatwas had no sanction in law.

A bench of Justices C.K. Prasad and P.C. Ghose made it clear that the judiciary could redress a fatwa while hearing final arguments on a PIL by Vishwa Lochan Madan, drawing the court's attention to parallel Shariat courts that were mushrooming in India. Madan sought a declaration that such fatwas were illegal.

The bench said fatwas and dictates by muftis had no sanction in law. "Anything not sanctioned by the law need not be taken cognizance by anyone. The muftis can take up any issue and dictate a fatwa. But this will be akin to any common man's view on an issue," it said.

"If someone voluntarily follows the fatwas or directions of the religious figures, it is purely up to them. But can these dictates, fatwa or religious head's directions, be enforced in a court of law? If someone is punished for not obeying the fatwa, then the judiciary is there to set right that wrong," the bench said.


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/2/26 18:19:07 ( 425 reads )

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The syllable gu means shadows. The syllable ru, he who disperses them. Because of the power to disperse darkness, the guru is thus named.
-- Advayataraka Upanishad

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Tirupati Temple Board approves Annual Budget of US$388 Million.
Posted on 2014/2/25 18:40:51 ( 856 reads )

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INDIA, February 22, 2014 (TTD Devastanams): The TTD Trust board under the leadership of its Chairman Sri K. Bapi Raju has approved an approximately US$388 million budget for the fiscal year 2014-15.

The TTD board chief briefing the media persons on the expected income through various means said that the offerings to be made by millions of devotees in the temple hundi (offering box), are expected to fetch about $135 million while the interest on investments deposited in national banks by TTD was estimated to account for $106 million. The sale of human hair (a common penance at the temple is to have the head shaved) is expected to bring $31 million to TTD coffers, prasadams sale profiting TTD up to $31 million, and on rentals TTD is expecting an income of $17.5 million during the financial year 2014-15.

Meanwhile TTD has allotted $24 million to the Engineering department, $17.6 million towards Hindu Dharma Prachara activities, about $14 million towards education, a sum of $14.8 million on Health and Sanitation, $8.4 million to TTD Vigilance and Security wing and $5.8 million towards the development of TTD-run hospitals.

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Balinese Farmers Adhere to Subak Rituals
Posted on 2014/2/25 18:40:44 ( 506 reads )

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DENPASAR, BALI, January 21, 2014 (Jakarta Post): An academic from Dwijendra University in Denpasar, Dr. Gede Sedana, said that farmers grouped in subak (traditional farming and irrigation communities) conducted 15 different kinds of ritual for one rice cultivation period. "Dozens of times these rituals are carried out by farmers in a specific order according to the phase of the rice cultivation, either individually or in a group," said the rector of Dwijendra University's School of agriculture in Denpasar on Monday.

He said that the subak system continued to exist and develop even today and had become unique due to its spiritual element, which was significant in the management of agricultural irrigation. The rituals, or religious ceremonies, occurred dozens of times on the sidelines while the crops were growing, and were a strongly binding factor in subak irrigation management on the island.

"The strong belief in God is a part of the Tri Hita Karana philosophy, in which a harmonious relationship is maintained between humans and humans, humans and the environment and humans and God," said Sedana.

See Hinduism Today's 1989 article on Bali's water temples: http://www.hinduismtoday.com/modules/ ... ction/item.php?itemid=623


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/2/25 18:40:38 ( 467 reads )

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Love says, "I am everything." Wisdom says, "I am nothing." Between the two, my life flows. I express it by saying that I am both, and neither, and beyond both.
-- Nisargadatta Maharaj (1897-1981), Hindu sage

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Pashupati Premises All Decked Up For Shivaratri Festival
Posted on 2014/2/24 18:29:21 ( 497 reads )

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KATHMANDU, NEPAL, February 23, 2014 (ekantipur.com): Around 700,000 Hindu devotees are expected to visit the Pashupatinath Temple for the Shivaratri festival on Thursday. To manage the sea of people to route their way to the temple while ensuring their safety and convenience, the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) this year has made arrangement for four lines, among them one will be priority-based, where one could pay Rs 1,000 (US$10.23) for fast track access into the temple. The three other lineups will be the general queue requiring no entry fee. "From the normal lines, it would take 45 minutes to one hour to reach the main temple," said Gobinda Tandon, the member secretary of the PADT.

With only less than a week remaining for the festival, preparation works at the temple is well under way. While decoration and construction works on the Pashupatinath premises have completed, various sub-committees have been entrusted to carry out specific responsibilities concerning the pre and post events of the festival.

Security is a major concern for the organiser for the festival dedicated to Shiva. A total of 3,000 security personnel from the Nepal police and the Armed Police Force will be deployed to keep law and order during the festival. The PADT also has decided to deploy around 10,000 volunteers to assist the devotees.

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Following A Holy Path in Bali
Posted on 2014/2/24 18:29:15 ( 529 reads )

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BALI, INDONESIA, February 8, 2014 (Jakarta Post): Dressed in white Balinese attire, more than 120 devotee couples underwent the pewintenan gana wisesa ritual recently at Silayukti temple in Padangbai village, Karangasem. The ritual, which is a purification and initiation rite, elevates the spiritual and social status of the participants into pemangku (temple priests) for males and serati banten (offering makers) for females.

It was organized by Maha Gotra Pasek Sanak Sapta Rsi (MGPSSR), arguably the biggest clan-based organization on the island. Silayukti temple is a historic place of worship believed to have been constructed in 11th century by Mpu Kuturan, an influential sage with supernatural power who played a pivotal role in the birth of Balinese Hinduism.

After the end of the ritual, participants' bodies and minds are considered sufficiently "pure" to carry out important errands in the temple, including placing offerings in the shrine and sprinkling holy water on the devotees.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/2/24 18:29:08 ( 418 reads )

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It is impossible for me to reconcile with the idea of conversion as it happens today. It is an error and perhaps the greatest impediment to the world's progress toward peace. Why should a Christian want to convert a Hindu? Why should he not be satisfied if the Hindu is a good or godly man?
-- Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

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2014 Amarnath Yatra to Run from June 28 to August 10
Posted on 2014/2/21 18:09:11 ( 583 reads )

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INDIA, February 19th, 2014 (travPR.com): The Holy Amarnath Yatra (pilgrimage) 2014 dates have been announced. The 44-day Yatra will commence on June 28, an auspicious day as per Hindu Calendar and shall conclude on Raksha Bandhan on 10 Aug, 2014. A very special puja will be conducted on June 13, the day of Jyesth Purnima, to invoke the blessings of Lord Shiva for the safe yatra. This year, 7,500 yatris (pilgrims) on a per day per route basis will be allowed to register for the pilgrimage. This excludes Yatris who travel by helicopters to Panjtarni. The registration process is expected to commence on 1st March 2014.

In view of the complaints received from yatris last year, a new design of Yatra Permit Registration Forms has been created, which will have a number of high security features. This will ensure that the Yatra Permit Forms are not duplicated by unlawful elements. The Yatra Permit Form will be available at the designated 422 Bank Branches.

It is mandatory that the intending Yatris furnish the prescribed Compulsory Health Certificate (CHC) issued only by the authorized Doctors/Medical Institutes. No other certificate will be accepted. There is no change in the format of CHC this year. CHC must be issued only after February 1, 2014. The intending yatris must be above 13 years and below 75 years of age.

See:

http://www.hinduismtoday.com/modules/ ... tion/item.php?itemid=5363

For Hinduism Today's feature story on the 2012 yatra.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/2/21 18:09:05 ( 628 reads )

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He cannot be seen by the eye, and words cannot reveal Him. He cannot be reached by the senses, or by austerity or sacred actions. By the grace of wisdom and purity of mind, He can be seen, indivisible, in the silence of contemplation. This invisible Atman can be seen by the mind wherein the five senses are resting.
-- Atharva Veda

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Fiji Hindus Unite to Celebrate Their Country
Posted on 2014/2/20 18:46:49 ( 608 reads )

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NADI, FIJI, February 19, 2014 (Fiji Times): The first-ever gathering of Hindus to celebrate their contribution to the country will be held in Nadi in April. The conference will be held on April 12 and 13 at the Tanoa International Hotel.

Organisers of the event -- the Vishva Hindu Parishad Fiji or World Hindu Council of Fiji -- emphasized that the first Fiji National Hindu Conference was not a religious or philosophical meeting but rather, a community conference.

The theme is "The contribution of the Hindu community in strengthening and building Fiji" and it will cover economic, health, environmental, social and cultural aspects. The conference will provide a platform for all Hindu organisations, temples and like-minded groups to showcase their contributions to Fijian society in general and Hindu society in particular.

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Hindu American Foundation Responds To Book Controversy
Posted on 2014/2/20 18:46:43 ( 634 reads )

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SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, February 13, 2014 (HAF): In light of a multitude of inquiries with regard to Penguin India's decision to withdraw controversial scholar, Wendy Doniger's "The Hindus: An Alternative History," the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) issues the following statement.

HAF is against censorship or the banning of books in any country or fora. In fact, we have consistently held that Doniger's many published works are profoundly problematic based on their selective use of facts and questionable methodology, but the preferred course of action is to challenge and debate, provide rebuttals, and publish accounts of Hinduism and its history that present the deep insight and emic perspectives so obviously lacking in Doniger's work.

This particular case, however, is not one of banning, but the result of a legal, out-of-court settlement, which Penguin books entered into willingly with Delhi-based Shiksha Bachao Andolan ("The Save Education Movement"). In response to a lawsuit brought only four years ago under the Indian Penal Code, whose Section 295A forbids speech which "deliberately and maliciously inflames religious sentiment," Penguin appears to have calculated that the liability for errors and excessive editorial liberties taken by Doniger outweigh the potential harm its reputation may sustain by surrendering rather than championing free speech.

More at 'source'.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/2/20 18:46:37 ( 467 reads )

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Like the household fire, devotees seek the glory of the Lord even from afar and enshrine it in their inner chamber for enlightenment. The glory of our Lord is full of splendor, all-illuminative and worthy to be honored in every heart.
-- Rig Veda 7.1.2

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Pakistani Hindus Angered by Forced Conversions
Posted on 2014/2/18 18:54:51 ( 702 reads )

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PAKISTAN, February 17, 2014 (Saharasamay): A report from Karachi said on Monday, Feb. 17, that leaders of the community say girls as young as six years were being pressured to change their religion.

"Can you accept your daughters being forcibly married to Muslim men?" said Raj Kumar, whose niece Rinkle Kumari was allegedly forced to convert and marry a Muslim man in 2012. Kumar, whose niece's case made headlines and was taken up by the Supreme Court, was speaking at a seminar at the Karachi Press Club on Sunday, Feb. 16, on the theme "Hindus in Pakistan--issues and solutions".

Marju and Soma, parents of six-year-old Jumna and 10-year-old Pooja, residents of Mirpurkhas city in Sindh province, were present at the event. When their girls went missing on February 4, they raised an alarm. "After several reports in the media about our missing girls, it was found that they had been staying with a man named Rajab Pathan. The police of our area later produced them in court as Muslim children. Soma said the court sent the girls to a Darul Aman or womens' home following suspicions they may have been subjected to child abuse at home.

"Little Jumna has been given back to us now but Pooja is still at the Darul Aman. She seems to have been brainwashed into saying strange things about us. Her mind seems affected by the trauma," he said.

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Is Yoga the Secret to Olympic Gold?
Posted on 2014/2/18 18:54:45 ( 861 reads )

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UNITED STATES, February 14, 2014 (Huffington Post): Instead of going to Disney World after winning gold in the women's snowboarding slopestyle event, Jamie Anderson said she'll be headed to Wanderlust -- a yoga retreat on the North Shore of Oahu -- to celebrate.

Anderson credits yoga practice with helping her stay physically and mentally strong, and she's not the only one who feels that way in Sochi. In fact, we discovered so many Olympians-cum-yogis that if the United States Yoga Federation ever succeeds in making yoga asana, or posture yoga, an official Olympic sport, we'll most likely see some cross-sport competitors.

Women athletes aren't the only ones benefiting from yoga. America's coed luge team, for instance, is partnering with Indian rival Shiva Keshavan in order to gain stretching tips. "Yoga is something we have had with the team for a few years now," U.S. coach Mark Grimmette has said, "but Shiva and his wife know yoga well so they have been facilitating those sessions."

View images of yoga practicing Olympians at 'source'.

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