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Shri Shivarudra Balayogi to Visit Malaysia
Posted on 2002/5/27 23:45:02 ( 616 reads )


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MALAYSIA, May 28, 2002: Shri Shivarudra Balayogi Maharaj will be visiting Malaysia June 1-14, 2002. His itinerary will take him to several states and diverse segments of the Indian population in Malaysia ranging from the privileged to the mentally handicapped. The Venerable Yogi requested that he be brought to the poor and the forgotten members of this society and the organizers are taking every effort to fulfil this request of this Great Soul, according to the organizers. For more information, click "source" above. For those living in Malaysia, the visit of the Venerable Yogi allows Malaysian Hindus to receive darshan and instruction directly from the spiritual successor of the Great Siddha Purusha, Sri Sri Shivabalayogi Maharaj. Babaji's programs will consist of a short talk on a spiritual topic, the opportunity for initiation into Dhyana Yoga Meditation, bhajanas and the chance to ask questions of, as time allows. All programs are free of charge.




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Catholic Priest from India Charged with Molestation in New York
Posted on 2002/5/27 23:44:02 ( 619 reads )


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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, May 24, 2002: Investigators arrested the first Roman Catholic priest yesterday to be charged in New York based on the old case files that the church recently turned over to sex-abuse prosecutors, according to this article in the New York Times. The priest, the Rev. Francis X. Nelson, 38, was handcuffed near his Harlem church and charged with molesting a 12-year-old girl at her home in Brooklyn three years ago. The church officials supervising the priest had been aware of the allegations in 1999 and considered them credible, but he was allowed to transfer from Brooklyn to the Archdiocese of New York, where officials say they first learned of the accusation on Wednesday. Father Nelson was charged with two counts of sexual abuse in the second degree and one count of endangering the welfare of a child, misdemeanor charges that each carry a penalty of up to one year in prison, the Brooklyn district attorney's office said. Father Nelson is a native of India. Catholic diocese officials investigated the allegation three years ago. They did not believe Father Nelson's denial and ordered him out of the diocese, said a spokesman for the diocese, Frank DeRosa. On July 21, 1999, Bishop Thomas V. Daily of Brooklyn told Father Nelson's bishop in India, Leon A. Tharmaraj, of his decision, Mr. DeRosa said. Bishop Tharmaraj, of the Diocese of Kottar in the region of Tamil Nadu, happened to be in New York and agreed to Father Nelson's departure, the spokesman said. Three days after meeting with Bishop Daily, Bishop Tharmaraj signed a document declaring Father Nelson in good standing and free of allegations, said Joseph Zwilling, the spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York. The document is necessary for priests to work in a diocese not their own. Further, Mr. Zwilling said that St. Mary's pastor, Thomas Doyle, wrote a letter on Aug. 3 "attesting to his good character and his good work in the parish, with no indication of any difficulties."




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World Religions Project Within Metropolitan Detroit
Posted on 2002/5/23 23:49:02 ( 536 reads )


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DEARBORN, MICHIGAN, May 22, 2002: The Pluralism Project was developed by Diana L Eck at Harvard University to study and document the growing religious diversity of the United States with a special view to its new immigrant religious communities. The affliated Pluralism Project at the University of Michigan-Dearborn is a co-sponsor of the summer seminar "Worldviews: Foundations for Inter-religious Dialogue for Students of Christian Ministry" which will be offered in Detroit/Dearborn June 10-15, 2002. This course will "introduce people engaged in ministry in a multi-religious society to the beliefs and practices of several of the world's religions." While geared towards Episcopal clergy and lay leaders, anyone may attend. The Pluralism Project is currently sponsoring "World Religions in Metropolitan Detroit," an exhibition of 55 photographs presenting the ongoing research of the Pluralism Project and the University. The exhibition shows the diversity of Metropolitan Detroit's religious landscape and is designed for a general audience. The photographs and text are intended to encourage dialogue and foster a greater sense of community among the residents of Michigan. For a slide show of the photos, including several of Hindu temples and ceremonies, click on "source" above.




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India's Cultural Invasion of the West: First Curry, Then Saris, Next Bollywood Films
Posted on 2002/5/23 23:48:02 ( 598 reads )


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MUMBAI, INDIA, May 19, 2002: Until May 26, a corner of London's Oxford Street will look like Madhuri Dixit. Gaudy saris and bawdy sets have transformed century-old department store Selfridges into an Indian film set as part of a "23 Days of Bollywood" store promotion. Nearby, you can dine at celebrity chef Kuldeep Singh's, new eatery -- Chowky. British film Institute's biggest-ever festival, ImaginAsia, is staging hundreds of events around the UK. In June, the Victoria and Albert Museum unveils "The Art of Bollywood," and across town, A. R. Rehman launches his new musical extravaganza with Andrew Lloyd Weber, "Bombay Dreams." The surge is sweeping the US too. Anil Ki Awaz plays on 96.1 FM in the Bay Area of California, while henna tattoos and Indian food draw large lines at local fairs across the country.




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Malaysia Hindu Sangam Plays Matchmaker
Posted on 2002/5/23 23:47:02 ( 590 reads )


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PETALING, MALAYSIA, May 24, 2002: Concerned with the high number of Hindu youth not being able to find the right marriage partners, the Malaysia Hindu Sangam will continue its successful matchmaking program. The program is aimed at helping eligible Hindu bachelors, single women, widows, widowers and divorcees find suitable life partners. Held for the second time, the Swayamvaram, or partner-choosing, will be on June 9 from 8:00 AM at the Shri Lakshmi Narayan Temple in Kg Kasipillay, Kuala Lumpur. Organizing committee chairman Krishna Raj Mohan said the association was happy that the first Swayamvaram received tremendous support and was a success. Many of those who took part in that Swayamvaram are now happily married. To ensure that no individuals abuse the program, she said parents would have to accompany their children. "Swayamvaram" originally meant a gathering in which a woman would either choose her own husband from a group of assembled hopefuls or marry the one among them who won a contest -- as Arjuna won Draupadi and Rama won Sita. Today the term is used for meetings, such as that assembled by the Sangam, of young men and women, usually accompanied by their parents, seeking prospective life partners. The method has met with substantial success in India as well as in the West.




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Himachal Government to Introduce Astrology Course
Posted on 2002/5/22 23:49:02 ( 572 reads )


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SHIMLA, INDIA, May 19, 2002: The Himachal Pradesh government proposes to introduce astrology as a subject in regular classes at various levels of learning, said Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal. Introduction of astrology would help preserve the ancient system of knowledge so that the younger generation could know more about India's rich culture and traditions as well as Hinduism, he told a religious congregation. Dhumal added in his address that no religion teaches hatred against humanity and there should not be any restriction on following a particular religion. "Religion should be equated with duty such as son's duty to look after his parents, teachers' duty to guide his students and rulers duty to provide protection to his subjects," he said. Dhumal also spoke on the relevance of the Vedas.




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American Megachurches as Minitowns
Posted on 2002/5/22 23:48:02 ( 697 reads )


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LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY, May 9, 2002: Southeast Christian Church is an example of a new breed of magachurch -- a full-service "24/7" sprawling village, which offers many of the conveniences and trappings of secular life centered around a spiritual core. While unusual for America, it is similar to the temple towns of India, and represents the impulse of humans to live in a spiritual environment. In this American version, it is possible to eat, shop, go to school, bank, work out, scale a rock-climbing wall and pray there, all without leaving the grounds. These churches are no longer simply places to worship, they have become part resort, part mall, part extended family and part town square. In Glendale, Arizona, the 12,000-member Community Church of Joy, which has a school, conference center, bookstore and mortuary on its 187-acre property, has embarked on a $100 million campaign to build a housing development, a hotel, convention center, skate park and water-slide park, transforming itself into what Dr. Walt Kallestad, the senior pastor, calls a "destination center." The churches have even become alternative employers. At the Brentwood Baptist Church in Houston, a McDonald's will open this month. Part of its goal is to provide jobs for young people and create a controlled, protective setting for kids. By making it possible to inhabit the church from morning to night, cradle to grave, these full-service churches can shelter congregants, said Dr. Randall Ballmer, a professor of American religion at Barnard College, from "a broader society that seems unsafe, unpredictable and out of control, underscored by school shootings and terrorism." This lengthy article goes on to discuss the pros and cons of these new communities including tensions between church and state that have arisen.




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Book, "Hindu Temples of North America," Released
Posted on 2002/5/22 23:47:02 ( 597 reads )


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WINTER PARK, FLORIDA, May 23, 2002: The Hindu University of America announced the release of "Hindu Temples of North America." The book covers Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh Temples located across the United States and Canada. Architecture, iconography, art work and history of temples are featured. It contains 320 full-color pages with rare photographs and line drawings at a cost of $65 if ordered before July 27, 2002. The book is published jointly by Hindu University of America, Council of Hindu Temples of North America and Titan Graphics and Publications. For more information, e-mail "source" above.




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Fiji PM's Coup Claim Sparks Row
Posted on 2002/5/21 23:49:02 ( 591 reads )


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FIJI, May 22, 2002: Fiji Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase has sparked a furious row by claiming a coup two years ago was part of a plan by God to depose the country's Indian-led government. Critics claim his remarks amount to blasphemy. "The SDL coalition won because it was God's plan," Qarase said. "I believe God wanted to terminate that government." In the coup, Speight and a gang of soldiers stormed parliament and took Mahendra Chaudhry, Fiji's first ethnic Indian leader, and his government hostage. The military later intervened and installed Qarase as prime minister before eventually organizing elections last year, which Qarase's Soqosoqo Duavatani Lewenivanua (SDL) party won. Indigenous Fijians, the bulk of them Methodists, make up 51 per cent of Fiji's 800,000 people. Indians, predominantly Hindu, account for 44 per cent, and racial tension has been a constant source of political instability in the Pacific nation.




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Gill Sees No Remorse for Riots in Gujarat
Posted on 2002/5/21 23:48:02 ( 563 reads )


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GANDHINAGAR, GUJARAT, INDIA, May 22, 2002: Calling it a "Kalinga effect," where a remorseful Emperor Ashok (circa 270 bce) became a messiah of peace seeing the death and destruction caused by war, "supercop" K. P. S. Gill regrets that he has not seen such a trend in Gujarat after all the violence. "I do not see this happening here. Ordinarily, this happens in the society within 10 days. Even two-and-a-half months later, this is yet to begin (here)," he told reporters here. Gill said in bewilderment, "Generally, there is a sense of repentance after violence. Unfortunately, I do not find that here." Gill claimed that communal violence in Gujarat has already been contained. "one cannot now roam about freely with a dagger in hand on any Ahmedabad street," he remarked.




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Pakistan Editorials Turn Alarmist
Posted on 2002/5/21 23:47:02 ( 632 reads )


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PAKISTAN, May 22, 2002: The Times of India provided an informative roundup of editorial comment in the Pakistan press on the current high level of tension between India and Pakistan. One sample, from the Pak News, is indicative of the kind of thinking going through the nation: "From the recent turn of events it is becoming clear that despite being the frontline state in the global war of terrorism, the Americans and the Indians are both planning a joint attack on Pakistan. On the surface it will be India but with full backing, material and logistics support of coalition forces. US are having joint army exercise in India and India just concluded its own war games. US Assistant Secretary of States for South Asia Christina Rocca was in New Delhi not for peace talks but for strategy on how and when to do launch such an attack. She visited Pakistan just to put Pakistan off guard. It is not a surprise that immediately after her visit firing by India across all of Kashmir Line of Control started. The 'green signal' to go ahead for this action and expelling of Ashraf Jehangir Qazi Pakistan's Ambassador to India appears to have come from the Americans."




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First Buddhist High School Opened on Oahu
Posted on 2002/5/21 23:46:02 ( 656 reads )


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HONOLULU, HAWAII, May 15, 2002: The Pacific Buddhist Academy will open its doors in August of 2003 and will offer Buddhist education from pre-kindergarten through Grade 12. Under the umbrella of the Honpa Hongwanja Mission of Hawaii, the school presently offers education for pre-school through the eighth grade. With a US$1.5 million contribution from church headquarters in Kyoto, the academy will focus on a peace curriculum with the integration of Buddhist values of compassion and community service. Temple president Mary Tanouye says, "It will be peace as a subject and peace as a way of behaving. We will have teachers who are imbued in the teachings of Buddhism." In collaboration with the Spark Matsunaga Institute for Peace at UH and the United Nations Peace Project, the academy wants to produce a faculty team similar to the system used at universities. The Buddhist school has a long history in Hawaii. It first started in 1902, was closed during World War II, but in 1949 it opened its doors to elementary age students. In 1994, the school was able to offer a curriculum up to grade eight. Hindus could use this model to start creating Hindu schools across the nation.




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Music Training Center to be Inaugurated
Posted on 2002/5/21 23:45:02 ( 553 reads )


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HYDERABAD, INDIA, May 20, 2002: Coinciding with the birth anniversary of saint-poet Annamacharya, a temple-cum-auditorium complex, Annamacharya Sadanam, will be inaugurated by chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on May 24 at Madhapur. The complex, which is part of the Annamacharya Bhavana Vahini (ABV) project, a spiritual and cultural organization, will be used for training singers in music along with training in yoga, meditation, naturopathy, philosophy and Sanskrit. Addressing reporters on Saturday, ABV founder president Dr Shobha Raju said the first phase of the complex was completed at an estimated cost of US$2.5 million The land for the project was leased by the state government to the ABV in 1998 for propagating devotional music, she said.




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Eminent Astrologer Predicts Tough Times Ahead
Posted on 2002/5/20 23:49:02 ( 641 reads )


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BANGALORE, INDIA, April 25, 2002: An infrequent and distinctive configuration happening only once in a century where five planets ( Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) are grouped together on the same side of the Sun, has an eminent Indian astrologer predicting tough times in the world. Gayatri Devi Vasudev, who correctly interpreted the science of astrology to foretell the September 11 tragedy, says, "The months of May and June, 2002, will not be peaceful for the world." She predicts that India will face harsh criticism for not putting a stop to the violence in Gujarat state, that Pakistan's military ruler will soon exit his office and that the United States will suffer a setback in its war against terrorism. Gayatri Devi further says, "The charts only indicate trends that can be countered by faith in God and in the inherent divinity of fellow humans."




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Special Chariot for Lord Ganesha Carved by Sri Lankan Sculptor
Posted on 2002/5/20 23:48:02 ( 590 reads )


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TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA, May 10, 2002: With a fellowship of over 10,000 Hindus, the Richmond Hill Temple in the Toronto area is in the middle of a 15-day long festival honoring Lord Ganesa, the remover of obstacles. In the midst of it all, Saravanamuthu Jeyarajah, a talented sculptor from Sri Lanka, is carving a three-ton chariot to carry Lord Ganesha in a three-hour procession around the main temple on May 24th. Measuring 10 meters high and 6 meters in diameter, the chariot is shaped like a lotus and is made of wood. When asked about the design Jeyarajah replies, "I have no blueprint. It comes out of my head. God has blessed me with the ability to do this. My family has been doing this for generations." After completion, the chariot will be the largest in North America. The 15-day festival called "Rathotsavam," or chariot festival, is one of the three major festivals celebrated at the Richmond Temple. Hindus around the world have been observing chariot festivals for thousands of years. On May 24, the height of the festivities, the article says, "A tiny intricately fashioned bronze and copper icon of Ganesha will be placed inside the heart of the chariot." Temple executor director Taguram Thiagaraja explains, "The festival is significant because the Lord Ganesa bestows all blessings on the people who see him. It is a time when Ganesa is among the people."




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