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Oklahoma Get A Taste Of India

Posted on 2003/11/6 8:45:02 ( 855 reads )

News Report

TULSA, OKLAHOMA, USA, November 6, 2003. Hundreds turned out during the one-day India Fest organized by the Hindu Temple of Greater Tulsa which included lots of food, art, music and dancing with a bit of history, culture and Hinduism. Visitors listened to Indian music, sampled some of the spicy cuisine and learned about the history of one of the most-populated countries in the world with a very diverse culture. The Indian community in the Tulsa area consists of about 500 families. India Fest was held as a fund-raiser for the temple, which was built in 1998. Much of the interior is unfinished, and there are plans for a cultural library and community center. Visitors took off their shoes for a tour of the temple and an overview of Hinduism. "To tell you the truth, I didn't know anything about the religion until today," said Ray Collins. "I think it's important for people to step outside of themselves and see what others are like." Many lined up to have their hands adorned with henna art, which are temporary tattoos created with a paste made from the leaves of a plant, an art form that goes back 2,500 years in India. Kim Brandt, 16, selected a flowery design and watched as one of the artists applied it to her palm. "It's going to be a souvenir I can keep for a while," she said. "Besides, it's the only tattoo my mom will let me get." In a tent filled with tables and chairs, Mary Lentz dug into a plate piled high with rice and vegetables. "The food is why I came out here today, but I've ended up learning a lot about the culture. It really puts everything in the right perspective," she said.

International Conference on Mahabharata December, 2003

Posted on 2003/11/6 8:44:02 ( 873 reads )


CHENNAI, INDIA, November 6, 2003: Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam is organizing an International Conference on Mahabharatha from December 24 to 28, 2003, at Chennai, Tamilnadu , South India. The conference will focus attention on contribution of Mahabharata and Puranas to art, thought and literature in Asian and South East Asian Countries. The focus would be on their spread and contribution to religious edifices, philosophy, art, music and dance in India, Nepal, Tibet, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, China, Japan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Central Asia. More details are available at "source" above.

Correction: US Post Office Issues No Dipavali Stamp

Posted on 2003/11/6 8:43:02 ( 895 reads )


KAUAI, HAWAII, November 6, 2003: Madhukar and Savita Jhingan of Stamps of India ("source") sent us this following information in regard to a Times of India report that the US Post Office had issued a stamp commemorating Dipavali. Madhukar writes, "A philatelist and specialist in US postmark, Mr. Paul Brenner, had made enquires on my behalf and contacted the postmaster of College Park, the local temple and others who might know of this postmark (supposedly a special postmark was issued for Dipavali also). No one knows anything about it. He also checked with Washington and was told that the schedule of stamps to be issued in 2004 is pretty much already determined and there are NO plans to issue a Dipavali stamp. Since there is a long lead time between the idea for a stamp and its issuance, there may be such a stamp in 2005. There was a Dipavali postmark used in 2002 and Times of India article's description seems to be of this 2002 postmark which was in Maryland, and a one-time event."

Hospital Program Means No One Dies Alone

Posted on 2003/11/6 8:42:02 ( 837 reads )

Religion News Service

EUGENE, OREGON, November 5, 2003: It has been nearly two years since Sandra Clarke, a nurse at Sacred Heart Medical Center, launched the program she calls No One Dies Alone, but already her grass-roots effort has earned national attention, and hospitals around the country are asking how they can replicate her idea. As baby boomers age, as families shrink and settle far apart and as more people choose to live by themselves, the number of those who have no one to be with them at the end of their lives likely will grow. Even now, Clarke picks up the phone two or three times a month to arrange for a volunteer to sit with someone who might otherwise die alone. Most of the patients the program serves are elderly. Many have outlived friends and relatives. A few have been abandoned by family. Some have alienated themselves. Others among the dying are far from home -- new residents, or strangers traveling in the area when tragedy strikes, and family can't get to the hospital soon enough. When the nursing staff learns of someone who has less than 72 hours to live, a "do not resuscitate" order and no one else around, they page Clarke, who gets out her list of volunteers and starts to call. Anyone who volunteers with No One Dies alone must be employed at the hospital or have at least six months' experience volunteering there. Everyone attends an hour-long orientation, which covers topics such as how to determine whether someone is in pain and how to tell when someone has died. Volunteers get few instructions, though they are told not to talk about religion unless the patient asks. Clarke urges volunteers to treat the dying person as they would family or friends. "It has to come from the heart," she says.

A Technical Question on Vikram Samvat Era

Posted on 2003/11/6 8:41:02 ( 1063 reads )


USA, November 6, 2003: Mayank Gandhi hopes someone knows the answer to this rather technical question. You may e-mail her at "source" above.

"My understanding till recently was that the great king Vikram Aditya (of the Gupta dynasty) was responsible for the Vikram samvat era, which commenced in 56 bce and which we Hindus follow even today. Therefore, it is 'Vikram' samvat 2060 today. My initial confusion was that how did this era start in 56 bce when Vikram Aditya only ruled between 380-413 ce. In fact, the entire Gupta dynasty (320-540/647ce) ruled hundreds of years after this 'Vikram samvat' era commenced. I know now that there is a history-mythology explanation to this discrepancy, i.e. the Vikramaditya of Vikram samvat is a mythological creation (capital Ujjain) and the famous Vikram-Vetal stories refer to him, whereas the Vikramaditya (or Chandragupta II) of the Gupta dynasty is a historical figure whose capital was Pataliputra (Patna). 1. My question who is the author/creator of the mythological entity? 2. Also any idea why 58 bce and why no linkage to any 'Yug'?"

Paramhas Sri Swami Madhavananda Attains Mahasamadi

Posted on 2003/11/5 8:49:02 ( 1251 reads )


RAJASTHAN, INDIA, November 5, 2003: The International Sri Deep Madhavananda Ashrams ("source") announced today: "With deep sadness we let you know that our dear Satgurudev His Holiness Hindu Dharm Samrat Paramhans Sri Swami Madhavananda Puriji Maharaj, beloved Master of His Holiness Vishwa Guru Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Swami Maheshwaranandaji, has entered into Mahasamadhi on Friday, Oct. 31, 2003. The Mahasamadhi ceremony has taken place on Sunday, Nov. 2, 2003, in OM Vishwa Deep Gurukul Swami Maheshwarananda Ashram, Education & Research Center Jadan, Dist. Pali, Rajasthan, India. His Holiness Jagadguru Sri Shankaracharya Sri Swami Narendranandaji Sarasvati from Kashi, Mahamandaleshwars of Panchayati Maha Nirvani Akhara, many Swamis, Sadhus and tens of thousands of Bhaktas paid their respect and followed the last way of the physical form of this great Master and Saint on this planet.

"Paramhans Sri Swami Madhavanandaji was spiritual successor of Bhagwan Sri Deep Narayan Mahaprabhuji from Bari Khatu, Dist. Nagaur, Rajasthan. As the direct disciple of Sri Mahaprabhuji, he attained the blessed state of God-Realization through pure devotion and service to his Master. 'Enter the kingdom of the Lord through the gate of sacrifice,' is his encouragement to all seekers of God, for union with God is attained only when there is complete, unconditional surrender of body, mind and soul.

"Sri Madhavanandaji was born on September 11, 1923, as Tekchanda Garg in the village of Nipal, in Pali, Dist. Rajasthan. His father was a Pandit and learned astrologer, and a humble devotee of Lord Siva and Lord Rama. His mother was especially devoted to Lord Krishna. From early childhood Sri Madhavanandaji was strongly devoted to Lord Krishna. At the age of 17, he attended a Satsang (religious gathering) held by Sri Mahaprabhuji in Jodhpur. The moment he stood before him he saw none other than Lord Krishna to whom he meditated daily. He got Sannyas Diksha in 1942, and was assigned as Paramhansa by his Master. For more than 20 years Paramhans Swami Madhavanandaji lived with Sri Mahaprabhuji and during that time faithfully recorded Mahaprabhuji's Bhajans and Satsangs. He also wrote the life story of his beloved Master in the book Lila Amrit -- the Divine Self of Sri Mahaprabhuji.

"Inspired by the grace and divine mercy of his Master, he tried to help people wherever he could. He also involved himself in social work and was committed to the preservation of the ethical values of the Vedic culture and religion, Sat Sanatan Dharma. He spread the divine message of Sri Mahaprabhuji through whole of India. As an accomplished singer, he often expressed these teachings in the form of Bhajans (religious songs). He built several ashrams in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Today, these spiritual centers of pilgrimage are visited by devotees from within India and abroad. After travelling through India, Europe and North America spreading the teachings of Mahaprabhuji, he lived mostly in his ashrams in Rajasthan and worked for the well being of the entire world through prayer and meditation. In India and throughout the whole world his disciples affectionally called him Holy Guruji. Verily he was one of the rare spiritual masters of modern time. By setting an example through his life of pure devotion to God, and service to all living beings Paramhans Swami Madhavanandaji has been an inspiration and to all seekers of the Truth. On Nov. 15, 2003, His Holiness Vishwa Guru Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda will be inaugurated with Paramhans Sri Swami Madhavanandaji's Chadar as his spiritual successor."

Motilal Banarsidas Withdraws Ganesha Book

Posted on 2003/11/5 8:48:02 ( 905 reads )

Press Reports

DELHI, INDIA, November 5, 2003: Famed publisher Motilal Banarsidass has decided not to reprint Paul Courtwright's controversial book on Lord Ganesha. Publisher Rajeev Jain wrote the following e-mail to Dr. Rao, who brought the book to his attention. "Firstly, I am obliged that you have gone through the book and made us aware about the extremely objectionable passages including the cover of the book. In fact, the book was published in 1985 by Oxford University Press and we never heard any adverse comments, hence without getting that reviewed we undertook the publication since it was originally published by an internationally established publisher. We did not care to go through the book thinking that this would be academically well acceptable. We are extremely sorry that the content of the book has hurt the sentiments of our beloved readers and the community at large. We offer our sincerest apologies to all our readers. We have already withdrawn the circulation of the book from the market and discontinued the sale. Further, we ensure that no such lapse shall ever occur in future. This need not be reiterated that MLBD has ever published any such offensive matter knowingly in the entire history of their publication for the last 100 years. Being one of the best-known publishers devoted to Hinduism and ancient Indian culture we would never think to tarnish the image of any religion. This has been an omission on our part and we are really apologetic to the readers for its publication. May we request you to kindly circulate our letter of apology to various religious organizations, centres, and the Hindu community at large."

London Vivekananda Center Update

Posted on 2003/11/5 8:47:02 ( 885 reads )


LONDON, U.K., October 27, 2003: The Vivekananda Center in London had a busy week according to this recently submitted report. Jay Lakhani writes, in part, "On October 22nd we were invited by Coventry University to participate at a 'Peace and Reconciliation' talk where we presented Hindu ideas of Religious Pluralism as the key for resolving the issue of strife in the name of religion. On October 24 we were invited to do a religious seminar for about 100 sixth form youngsters (17 and 18 year olds) at Edgware High School. On October 25, perhaps for the first time in the history of the Anglican church, a strictly Anglican body arranged a one-day retreat for its mainly Christian congregation to be led by a Hindu. The theme of the retreat was silence and meditation. On October 27 we were invited to address a large meeting of the Metropolitan Police Authority drawn mainly from Scotland Yard. We focused on the important contribution Hindus have already made in professional fields and even more important contribution Hindus will make towards restoring the spiritual health of the host nation."

Yoga For Teachers Rouses Ire of Croatian Bishops

Posted on 2003/11/4 8:49:02 ( 870 reads )


ZAGREB, CROATIA, November 2, 2003: Croatian elementary school teacher Marijana Ivanovic has taken up yoga to help her relax. "Yoga really helps recharge one's batteries and eases my lower-back pain," said Ivanovic, who has taught for more than 30 years, during the first session of a state-supported yoga program for teachers. The education ministry introduced the program this year as part of efforts to help teachers work better, according to this Reuters report. The ministry awarded US$7,624 in annual support to a local group known as "Yoga in Daily Life," which draws on the teachings of Hindu spiritual leader Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda, known as Swamiji. The sessions are held in the four largest Croatian cities -- Zageb, Split, Rijeka and Pula. Vedrana Josipovic, who is in charge of the program, insists they have nothing to do with the institutionalization of yoga in schools. But the program is at the center of a highly charged public debate because it has fallen foul of the powerful Roman Catholic church in this majority Catholic country. The Croatian Bishops' Conference said the program would "make an unacceptable favor to an organization and its founder who wants to introduce Hinduistic religious practice in Croatian schools." It said everything was being done under the guise of exercise. The bishops' statement appeared to have an immediate impact in a country where almost 90 percent of the people profess to be Catholic. Local media reported that interest in the yoga program had fallen sharply after the protest. Yoga ran into similar trouble in Slovakia in 2001 when a proposal to teach yoga in schools was eventually dropped in the face of fierce opposition from Slovakia's Catholic church and allies in the rightwing government.

Goa Governor Calls For Rebuilding Temples

Posted on 2003/11/4 8:48:02 ( 881 reads )


GOA, INDIA, November 3, 2003: In a function attended by prominent members of the RSS and VHP in Goa, Governor Kidar Nath Sahani said the reconstruction of temples destroyed by Portuguese colonizers in Goa was a matter of "national identity and heritage". He said getting funds for the purpose would be no problem. An official government communique quotes Mr Sahani as having said, "The reconstruction of temples demolished by the Portuguese and erstwhile regimes has great importance in the nation-building and in bringing about national awakening among the people." "People from all faiths should come together and extend cooperation in this mammoth task as it involves issues of national identity and heritage." The governor's comments on Friday, were made at the site of the Shree Mahalsa temple in Verna, where the demolished temple is being rebuilt. Four smaller temples, Shree Sateri, Ganesh, Mahalaxmi and Nagadevata are also to be constructed.The reconstruction will cost US$1,000,000. The government communique said that the old temple was demolished by the Portuguese in 1567. Goa was colonized by the proselytizing Portuguese in 1510 and liberated only 451 years later in 1961. Hundreds of temples were razed by the colonial power. At the same time the Portuguese destroyed temples across Sri Lanka, including the famed Nallur Temple of Jaffna.

Global Poll: Women Like Their Lives Better

Posted on 2003/11/4 8:47:02 ( 898 reads )


WASHINGTON, D.C., October 29, 2003: All around the world, from rich countries in North America to the poorest nations in Africa and Asia, men and women tend to differ from one another when it comes to their outlook on life, their family, their future and the world at large, begins this lengthy article. Women are somewhat happier than men with their lives overall, according to 38,000 interviews in 44 countries conducted by the Pew Research Center for the Pew Global Attitudes Survey. And, compared with five years ago, the women surveyed reported more often than men that they had made progress in their lives. The global gender gap is not limited to happiness, for it also reflects differing life perspectives. Women show greater concern about issues that directly affect the family and home life. Men express more concern about issues outside the home and more optimism about the future. Men are happier with their family life and more optimistic about what lies ahead for their children. All over the world, men and women in the same country had roughly the same response to a question asking them where they stand in achieving their lives' goals. The happiest people (both men and women) live in Canada and the United States among the countries Pew surveyed. The people least satisfied with their lives live in Eastern Europe and parts of Africa. For the full article click on "source" above.

4.6 Million Visit Vaishno Devi in Jammu

Posted on 2003/11/3 8:49:02 ( 893 reads )


JAMMU, INDIA, November 2, 2003: A record number of over 4.6 million pilgrims from various parts of the country have visited the holy cave shrine of Mata Vaishnodevi in Trikuta hills of Jammu and Kashmir through October, 2003. During the corresponding period of last year, 3.7 million pilgrims visited the holy cave shrine. Currently, 18,000 to 19,000 pilgrims are daily reaching the base camp at Katra for their onward journey to the holy cave shrine. Elaborate security arrangements have also been made by the police department enroute to darbar and at the base camp in Katra town.

Hindus Upset with Book on Lord Ganesha

Posted on 2003/11/3 8:48:02 ( 1045 reads )


HOUSTON, TEXAS, November 2, 2003: A nude picture of Lord Ganesha on the cover of a new book and the contents have evoked protests from Hindus across the United States. The nude portrayal of Lord Ganesha on the book Ganesa, Lord of Obstacles, Lord of Beginnings, by Emory University Professor Paul Courtright has earned the wrath of Hindu scholars in Houston, according to this article in the Hindustan Times, who say several passages quoted in the book "are seemingly insensitive to Hindu belief or faith." A petition is also being circulated and signed online to protest against the book and demands that publishers withdraw it from circulation. A release issued by the scholars claimed that so far about 5,000 people have signed the petition expressing their displeasure (the URL for the petition is not working at this time). According to the release, the book "is not only ridiculing and insulting Hinduism but has utterly disgusting and distasteful material which is mind-boggling and throws a direct challenge to our traditional beliefs and practices."

Hinduism Today Seeking Hindus Who Speak to Non-Hindu Groups on Hinduism

Posted on 2003/11/3 8:47:02 ( 934 reads )


KAUAI, HAWAII, November 3, 2003: Hinduism Today magazine is preparing a feature story on Hindus who talk about Hinduism to non-Hindu groups, such as school classes, interfaith meetings, hospital and nursing staff, social club meetings, etc. We want to interview those so engaged and share their experiences and suggestions with our readers, such as how to answer, "Why do you worship cows?" or "What is reincarnation?" If you know someone who has experience in this area, kindly send "source" above their contact information. We want to focus on lay Hindus, rather than swamis or priests. Hindu academics, such as professors, would qualify for this particular story if they are presenting Hinduism to non-Hindus on behalf of the Hindu community.

England's House of Commons Celebrates Diwali

Posted on 2003/11/2 8:49:02 ( 875 reads )


LONDON, UK, October 30, 2003: In a momentous occasion for the Indian community in Britain, Diwali has been celebrated inside the House of Commons, with Prime Minister Tony Blair lighting the traditional lamp to mark the festivities. Presiding over the function, attended by more than 100 Members of Parliament and 400 guests, Blair said that he was "deeply touched by the unity, warmth and joy this festival brings each year and the spirit with which it is celebrated." "It is a great privilege and pleasure for me to share in the joy of celebrating Diwali with the Hindu community in the House of Commons. Diwali is now celebrated by different communities across the UK and its growing popularity helps to strengthen the bonds between them," he said. "The Prime Minister's celebration of Diwali in the House of Commons is a unique achievement in the history of the British Parliament," India-born MP Keith Vaz said who organized support from other parliamentarians for holding the event. "The major difference this year is that we have introduced an interfaith element to the celebrations," said Ramesh Kalidai, general secretary of the Hindu Center for Communications and coordinator for the event. "Leaders of all the main faiths and all three political parties came together at the House of Commons to celebrate and share the universal message of Diwali."

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