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Hindu Press International
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Thousands Worship at Pushkar Lake
Posted on 2002/11/25 0:48:02 ( 612 reads )


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PUSHKAR, INDIA, November 19, 2002: The annual full-moon festival was attended by devotees who took a holy dip in Pushkar Lake while temple bells rang and Vedic mantras were chanted. Despite the cold winds, an estimated 100,000 devotees participated in the pilgrimage that coincides with the Pushkar Fair. After bathing, food was distributed to sadhus and pilgrims worshipped at various temples located around the lake. The highlight of the festivity was worshipping at the Brahma temple which is the only temple in the country honoring Brahma, the Hindu God of creation.




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Ganesha Devotee Builds Temple Dedicated to "Cricket Ganesha"
Posted on 2002/11/25 0:47:02 ( 680 reads )


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CHENNAI, INDIA, November 22, 2002: Field hockey may be India's national game but ask any Indian which sport is the national obsession, and he would say cricket. Everything comes to a standstill when the Indian team is playing. And if India wins, which of late has not been often, it becomes a cause for national celebration. In the latest indication of how Indian fans' love for cricket borders on obsession, a devotee of Lord Ganesha has installed a "cricket icon" for all Hindus to worship. The temple in Chennai, which is dedicated to cricket Lord Ganesha, was consecrated by Ramakrishnan, a Hindu devotee of Lord Ganesha. Ramakrishnan claims that the temple came up as a result of a vow he had taken during a match. There is one Ganesha icon with a trunk pointing to the right for good luck to right-handed batsmen and another with its trunk pointed to the left for good luck to left-handed batsmen. And such is the faith of cricket enthusiasts that many come to the temple before an Indian match to pray for the team's success.




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Hindu Spirituality Conference Announced
Posted on 2002/11/25 0:46:02 ( 660 reads )


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EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND, November 25, 2002: A Hindu Spirituality Conference, sponsored by the Edinburgh International Center for World Spiritualities, is planned for Saturday, December 21, 2002. The Consulate General of India, Edinburgh, will host the conference from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. According to organizers, this is one of a series of conferences that "celebrates the strength and diversity of the world's spiritual traditions in Scotland and internationally." For additional information readers may contact Neill Walker at "source" above.




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Militants Attack Jammu's Raghunath Temple
Posted on 2002/11/24 0:49:02 ( 624 reads )


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JAMMU, INDIA, November 24, 2002: A group of heavily armed militants stormed the Raghunath temple in Jammu which was packed with Sunday evening devotees. Throwing grenades and firing from guns, seven people were killed, including one of the attackers, and 28 injured. The militants were still holed up inside the temple and a fierce gun battle with security forces was on amid reports that another terrorist was hiding in a nearby Rupewallah temple and that simultaneous firing was going on there too. Police said an unspecified number of militants entered the temple at around 7 p.m., lobbed 12 grenades and fired at random after they struck at two places in quick succession. The militants first struck at Shaheedi chowk opposite the Congress headquarters and later triggered a blast near a hotel in the market area from where thousands of pilgrims set off to the Vaishnodevi shrine. Earlier, local residents, armed with homemade weapons, had taken to the streets in an attempt to take on the raiders, while the National Security Guard commandos are leaving Delhi for Jammu. The Raghunath temple was the scene of a similar attack on March 30, in which ten people, including three soldiers and two militants, were killed. The temple is visited by hundreds of thousands of Hindu pilgrims from across the country every year.




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A Million Devotees Bathe in the Ganges
Posted on 2002/11/24 0:48:02 ( 689 reads )


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PATNA, INDIA, November 19, 2002 : About one million Hindu devotees bathed in the holy Ganges in Bihar to mark the festival of Kartika Purnima. Pilgrims filled Patna, most having come from rural areas all over the state and neighboring Uttar Pradesh. Hundreds of Hindus from neighboring Nepal also reached Sonepur to participate in the pilgrimage. Hundreds of thousands raised slogans such as "Har Har Mahadev" at the confluence of the Ganges and Gandak rivers at Sonepur, about 40 km from Patna. Many devotees later visited the Sonepur Fair where Asia's largest cattle fair commenced on Monday, with owners bringing an estimated 50,000 animals including elephants, camels, cows, bulls and horses for sale. The fair is held over an area of nearly 200 acres. Not only Hindus, but people from all communities throng the fair.




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Aging Population Changing Traditional Indian Family
Posted on 2002/11/24 0:47:02 ( 747 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 20, 2002: According to the United Nations almost 80 million people in India are over 60, and by the year 2021 that number will increase to 137 million. That means India's population is aging, resulting in several implications on health, economic security, family life and well-being of people. The responsibility of a larger group of older people has to be borne by a relatively smaller, younger group of adult workers. The state does not have adequate sources to meet the demand on its services. In India, parents were once honored as Gods and it was the duty of the sons, to respect and care for his parents. Even now, in most homes, older parents live with their sons and families. If there is more than one son, the eldest son bears the responsibility of caring for the aged parents. This tradition is practiced by both the rich and the poor. The tradition assured that old people were not only looked after, but they had a role to play in the family by taking care of the grandchildren and providing guidance to the younger generation on matters of customs and traditions. But that is all changing. The joint family has broken down and older people are considered a burden by the younger generation. Quality old age homes are few and they can only be found in India's major metropolitan areas. Serviced apartments are also not easily available to senior citizens.




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Effort to Rename California Street Sparks Cultural Debate
Posted on 2002/11/24 0:46:02 ( 678 reads )


Source: San Jose Mercury News





SAN JOSE, U.S.A., November 20, 2002: When leaders of the Hindu Temple and Community Center asked the city to abandon Persian Drive and rename it Mandir Drive after the Hindi name for "temple," it started an emotional feud of national pride between local Indian and Iranian Americans. Stunned by a sudden outburst of objections by local Iranians, the temple withdrew its proposal last week at a city council hearing, but temple officials still plan to pursue their request. Both sides say they want a compromise, but they are also equally adamant that their heritage and cultural contributions somehow be represented along the nondescript, two-lane road. The Hindu Temple has occupied an office building at 430 Persian Drive for a decade. "We are 11 percent of the population of Sunnyvale, and this is one of the largest community centers in Northern California," said Naranji Patel, president of the temple that serves 5,300 families. "We thought we could get recognition from the city for this, and that might bring more people to the temple, and we could leave a legacy for our children." More than a week ago, local Iranians heard of the proposal to banish the historical name of their homeland from city maps. Iran was called Persia for centuries until 1935, and "Persian" is still used to refer to a language and ethnicity. "The word Persian resonates with profound meaning to Iranians, the way Thomas Jefferson resonates with Americans," said Shahin Tabrizi, former president of the Persian Center in Berkeley. "Persian has deep emotions for us." Iranian-Americans say they are especially sensitive to the name change because of anti-Middle Eastern sentiment in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Temple officials say they meant no disrespect. While local Iranians are grateful the temple withdrew its request, both sides are trying hard to be conciliatory and polite and to work out a solution.




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"India" as a Common First Name in Britain and USA
Posted on 2002/11/24 0:45:02 ( 646 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 18, 2002: In March 2003, Oxford Reference Online will be available to internet users. Of interest to Hindus is the Oxford Dictionary of First Names where India is listed as a common first name for children in Britain and the United States. The dictionary says, "India as a first name is presumably from the name of the subcontinent, and apparently taken into regular use as a result of its occurrence in 'Gone with the Wind' (India Wilkes, a character in this 1939 classic movie on the American Civil War)." Along with the dictionary of first names, 99 other dictionaries, usage, quotations and subject reference books of the Oxford University Press will be available on the internet.




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Aging Palani Deity in the Midst of a Controversy
Posted on 2002/11/23 0:49:02 ( 830 reads )


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PALANI, INDIA, November 20, 2002 : Named Dhandayuthapani, the presiding Deity at the famous Palani Hills Temple is Lord Karthikeya. The saint physician and composer, Bogar Siddhar, is believed to have crafted the existing statue using nine highly toxic herbs over 5,000 years ago. The aging murthi has been developing cracks and for some years abhishekams have been limited to selected days in the year. The controversy over the reported attempts to replace the murthi has resurfaced with a proposal to install a 100 kg golden statue alongside the main Deity. The controversy comes after the recent row, which arose after the Archaeological Survey of India expressed an interest in taking over the Sri Arunachaleshwarar temple at Thiruvannamalai. Various organizations have questioned reports about the cracks and have threatened protests if any effort is made to replace the ancient statue. Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Minister P. C. Ramaswamy has so far declined to respond to questions regarding the possibility of making changes in the ancient Palani Hills Temple. V. Ganapati Sthapati, India's foremost temple architect, commented to Hinduism Today on the Palani Hills Deity several years ago, saying there are established procedures in the shastras for the replacement of aging or damaged Deities.




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India Development and Relief Fund Says They Aren't Funding Hate Campaigns
Posted on 2002/11/23 0:48:02 ( 706 reads )


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MARYLAND, U.S.A., November 22, 2002: The India Development and Relief Fund, a Maryland-based charity, has denied allegations that it is raising millions of dollars from nonresident Indians and American corporations and using the money to fund a "hate campaign" in India. A group of Christians have released in New Delhi a report accusing IDRF of being a front organization for the Sangh Parivar and its numerous concerns and of funneling millions of dollars every year to be used by "violent, sectarian Hindu supremacist organizations." "IDRF dismisses the allegations made by the groups as pure concoction, untruthful and self contradicting," the charity said in a statement on Friday. The report by Biju Mathew, a New York based professor, "is merely a string of allegations, manipulated skillfully by piecing together information available on the IDRF web site," IDRF stated. The statement by IDRF continues, "The allegations do not stand up to any rational scrutiny. Donors to IDRF are among most well-informed of the donors to any South Asian nonprofit charitable organizations operating in the US. IDRF questions the credibility, motives and the political agenda of these splintered and virtually unknown groups that have launched the Hate Campaign against IDRF. IDRF does not subscribe to any religious, political or sectarian agendas. Furthermore, IDRF does not discriminate against any religion, sect or race in either the collection or distribution of funds."




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The Eagles Have Not Landed on Lord Siva's Sacred Hill
Posted on 2002/11/23 0:47:02 ( 613 reads )


Source: Hindustan Times





TIRUKKALUKUNRAM, INDIA, November 19, 2002: It used to be a fascinating sight. At the stroke of noon every day, two eagles would appear from nowhere and descend on the Vedagiriswarar Temple atop a hill at Tirukkalukunram. There they would eat the rice pongal served by a temple priest, wash their beaks in a pond and fly away. Thousands of pilgrims would visit Tirukkalukunram -- literally the hill of the holy eagles -- 60 km from Chennai, to watch this spectacle that took place unfailingly for decades. But, for nearly ten years the eagles have not appeared. Efforts are under way to train a pair of eagles to fly to the temple and eat pongal. The local community has asked the wildlife department to check out the exact species of the birds from old photos and see if younger birds of the same species from nearby areas can be housed atop the hill.




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Helicopter Service for Vaishno Devi Pilgrims
Posted on 2002/11/23 0:46:02 ( 656 reads )


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JAMMU, INDIA, November 18, 2002: For hundreds of ailing or aging pilgrims unable to make it to the Vaishno Devi shrine near Jammu because of the difficult terrain, a new helicopter service is a perfect alternative. The helicopter service will be available from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., beginning November 19. The management says they hope to make a helicopter available every 15 minutes. The service will cost US$43 for a single journey and $86 for a round journey. "It was an enjoyable ride in the helicopter. All through we have had no problem. I am now planning to bring my mother who can't walk up to the shrine," said Anil Singh, the first passenger who used the new service. Many pilgrims prefer the traditional barefoot climb. But for those who would otherwise not make the pilgrimage, this is a welcome alternative.




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International Association of the History of Religions Conference
Posted on 2002/11/23 0:45:02 ( 634 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 20, 2002: The Center for the Study of Developing Societies, in collaboration with India International Center, will host a regional conference of the International Association of the History of Religions in New Delhi from December 18-21, 2003. The last date for submission of abstracts is December 15, 2002. The conference aims to encourage rigorous secular studies of the religious traditions in India, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Jainism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Sikhism, including their various sects and branches. Also, in order to promote the study of religions in India as a careful secular discipline, the conference hopes to establish a process for bringing together on a regular basis scholars in India who are working in the field of religion. For more information on the conference readers may contact "source" above. HPI adds: It is a fact of the academic world that Indian universities rarely have a department of religion, something present at nearly every Western university. There are almost no "professors of Hinduism" in India itself, while there are "professors of Hinduism" at Western universities. As a result, much academic research on Hinduism published in the most respected academic journals has taken place in the West and not in India.




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Telegrams to the Next Life?
Posted on 2002/11/23 0:44:02 ( 580 reads )


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November 23, 2002: This website states that "For a fee of $10 per word (5 word minimum), a customer can have a telegram delivered to someone who has passed away. This is done with the help of terminally Ill volunteers who memorize the telegrams before passing away, and then deliver the telegrams after they have passed away. We call this an 'afterlife telegram.' " HPI is pretty certain this cute website is an elaborate joke, but it does contain some creative theological musings on how one might deliver such a message in the afterlife.




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Ayurvedic Medicine Takes on the World
Posted on 2002/11/22 0:49:02 ( 616 reads )


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COCHIN, INDIA, November 5, 2002: Delegates to the world's first conference on traditional medicine are leaving the southern Indian city of Cochin pledging to raise the global profile of ayurvedic remedies. More than 2,000 Indian and foreign delegates spent four days discussing the relevance of the 5,000-year-old tradition of herbal and alternative medication in the modern world. Prominent practitioners and academics from India and elsewhere spoke about the benefits of natural, nonchemical and noninvasive traditional medical practices. Ayurveda uses herbs and spices like basil, turmeric, garlic, ginger and aloe vera, as well as yoga exercises, to treat physical and psychological problems. D. N. Tewari, chairman of the Ayurveda Task Force in India's Planning Commission, say ayurveda's attractions are growing by the day. "The world as a whole is switching over from chemical drugs to natural drugs," he told the BBC, "because they are nonnarcotic, they have no side-effects and are easily available." With 15,000 plant species, India was well placed to increase its share of the US$75 billion global market in medicinal plants, which is growing by at least seven percent a year.




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