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Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/8/8 14:29:29 ( 958 reads )


The delicate anicham flower withers when merely smelled, but an unwelcome look is enough to wither a guest's heart.
-- Tirukkural

Where Is Hinduism Heading? An Appeal from the Editors to Update Our Hindu Megatrends

Posted on 2016/8/5 18:30:31 ( 2034 reads )

KAPAA, HAWAII, August 5, 2016 (HPI): Back in 1992 Hinduism Today developed a list of 12 Megatrends (and 8 Minitrends) focusing on the continuing evolution of Sanatana Dharma. This list is dated, and so we are preparing an upgrade, and seeking creative and savvy input that will make the 2017 edition even more insightful. Please help us update this list! Comments for additions, changes, deletions, may be sent to our Editor in Chief here: sadasivanatha@hindu.org


1) More temerity. We see a replacement of historical timidness with a new-found pride and determination to preserve dharma. This is being called the Hindu Renaissance.

2) Rebirth of Ritual. When the Germans first brought Hinduism to the West, philosophy was emphasized and ceremony ignored. When Vedanta swept into Europe and America, nothing was said about puja. Today's seekers don't just listen to lectures anymore, and they aren't agonizing over idol worship, as did their less-informed forerunners. Instead, they are mastering the mantras and sitting for long, elaborate rites. This devotional thrust has become a major theme in Hindu groups and yoga institutions

3) Influence Outside India. An intensification of the influence of Hindu dharma in the West, including environmental groups, the health and vegetarian movement, the ecumenical movement, the yoga movement, new age movement and more

4) The Ascent of Women. The emergence of women at all levels of Hindu religion, and their refusal to tolerate unfairness in forced marriages, spouse abuse or economic disadvantage:

5) Temples Return. The reversal of centuries of decline in temple emphasis, reflected in the remarkable flood of temples being constructed, especially outside of India. In a related trend, lesser tirthas, once considered low-caste, are becoming popular and losing their stigma - Katiragama and Sabarimalai are examples. Thus, old pilgrimage sites are now competing with new, aggressively-financed ones

6) More Seva, More Outreach. A tendency to be more extroverted, to creatively reach out to help and serve others coupled with the institutionalization of many kinds of social service and the sometimes violent approach to solving social problems;

7) Building Resources. Once-scarce Hindu resources are becoming abundant. These include children's courses, Hindu schools and academies for art, dance and music, a first-ever Hindu encyclopedia, the rise of Sanskrit studies and more university courses focusing on Asian studies

8) India's Rise. India's emergence as the world's newest superpower, a fact made more momentous by the 1992 demise of communism

9) Touting Technology. The dizzy change from an agricultural era to one of technology, nuclear power, space exploration and communications (backyard satellite TV dishes giving uncensored access to Western broadcasting, and Apple computer's recent agreement to produce Macintoshes in India are two indications)

10) Setbacks. Key setbacks, such as difficulties in preserving the culture and tradition, failure to teach Hinduism to a whole generation of children, abandoning the vegetarian ethic, public perception problems caused by "anti-cult" Christians like TV evangelist Pat Robertson and the (now deceased) non-Hindu leader Rajneesh

11) Academia. Increased academic honesty. Hindus (and most non-Christians, including American Indians, Jews, Hawaiians and Pagans) have endured the abuse flung their way by scholars of the past. Even dictionary writers have published their prejudices. An early Webster's New International Dictionary defines swami as "often equivalent to yogi, fakir, wonder-worker, etc." Recently Webster has done better in its New World Dictionary: "A Hindu title of respect, especially for a Hindu religious teacher: a learned man. pundit." That improvement reveals the new intellectual balance among scholars toward non-Christian matters

12) Wider View. Movement away from village life and consciousness to a global presence.


13) Trademark Wars. Corporate protectionism. Something extraordinary is happening in the global dharma business. Hinduism is doing well in the marketplace, and people want a piece of the action. SYDA copyrighted the term Siddha Yoga. Another group is seeking exclusive use of Self-Realization. A third is said to have locked up the word vairagi, the term for a desireless and detached soul. Does all this portend a future where groups divide up our spiritual teachings and terms, then fight to defend their claims? One hopes not.

14) Cry for Justice. Condemnation of injustice. There is a loud cry among Hindus against injustice toward untouchables, widows, wives and children. If this sounds familiar, it is. Every society is looking at these issues more now than ever.

15) New friendships. One hears too little about the smaller, gentler cultures with no voice in politics. Recently, Pagans, Polynesians, Wiccans, Gypsies and Aborigines have rediscovered a kinship with Hinduism and are forging informal ties. A related trend is the fast growing rapport of Indians and Blacks.

16) Less strict mores. Historically, swamis and sadhus have been celibate monks. In fact, if one was not, he was assiduously avoided, even maligned. There is a trend of late for Hindus to accept, or at least tolerate, married swamis. A related microtrend is coed ashram life. The strict separation of single men and women engaged in yoga and spiritual pursuits is no longer an assumed protocol. Men and women are sharing the same living facilities, and experiencing the often difficult consequences of such arrangements.

17) Redefining Hinduism. Oddly, to call oneself a Hindu in India carries with it an implication of communalism. Hinduism is reemerging there, but political ambitions are in the way. A new model of Hinduism needs to be developed and defined in a universal sense. There is a tendency in India to misrepresent and improperly classify Hinduism as right wing and fundamentalist, whereas Hinduism stands for ecology, vegetarianism, etc. (which are left wing in the West). Hinduism is a positive term. For a long time, people would say, "I'm a Christian" or "I'm a Buddhist," but the Hindu would say, "I'm a follower of all religions." That's not so true today.

18) Burial versus cremation. In Sri Lanka, under the weight of years of ethnic struggles that have cost 17,000 lives, Hindus have stopped cremating and begun to bury their dead. A similar trend is emerging outside of Asia, where cremation facilities are lacking and burial is the only option.

19) Dharma can be entertaining. Major visitor centers are evolving, designed around Hindu thought and culture. Swaminaranaya's Cultural Festivals. TM's Disney-like Veda-Land and the Brahma Kumaris" Global Museum in Kenya are examples. Also, bold. Creative movie-makers are finding new ways to make the old epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana work, and films are breaking out of old constraints.

20) No more Colonial mind. Once Hindus wanted to ape everything Western. No longer. It's stylish to be yourself these days. One result: we are enjoying our uniqueness and breaking our addiction to comparing ourselves with the rest or the world.

MEGATRENDS is a term coined by futurologist John Naisbett in 1982 to name the major underlying forces that are transforming society and shaping the future. To formulate these ten Hindu megatrends, we solicited the advice of the following prominent Hindu religious leaders, scholars, priest and business people. Each contributed to our analysis, however, the final conclusions as given above are the responsibility of Hinduism Today alone: Swami Bhasyananda, Vivekananda Vedanta Society, Illinois; Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Arsha Vidya Pitham, Pennsylvania; Swami Parvati Devyashram, Sri Rajarajeshwari Peetham, Pennsylvania; H.H. Sri Swami Satchidananda, Integral Yoga Institute, Virginia; Pundit R. Ravichandran, priest, California; Mr. Vidyasagar Anand, Chairman, European Council of Hindu Organizations, United Kingdom; Dr. Mahesh Mehta, President, Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, Massachusetts; Dr. S.M. Ponniah, Advisor, Malaysia Hindu Sangum; Dr. David Knipe, Professor of South Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin; Dr. Seshagiri Rao, Professor of Hindu Religion, University of Virginia; Dr. H. Daniel Smith, Professor of Religion, Syracuse University, New York; Mr. Arvind Ghosh, publisher, Texas; Mr. Srikumar Poddar, businessman, Michigan.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/8/5 18:30:21 ( 1186 reads )


Wealth's Goddess dwells in the hospitable home of those who host guests with a smiling face.
-- Tirukkural

West Bengal to be Renamed to Bangla or Bongo in Bengali, and Bengal in English.

Posted on 2016/8/4 18:27:28 ( 1477 reads )


WEST BENGAL. INDIA August 4, 2016 (by Arkadev Goshal, IBTimes): The Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government has decided to change the name of the state, which is seen as a vestige of the British era when there was an East Bengal to complement the West Bengal of today. The state Cabinet took the decision to change the name to Bangla or Bongo in Bengali, and Bengal in English. A special session of the state Assembly will be called to consider this proposal and send it to the Central government to be brought into effect, Partha Chatterjee, the state Education Minister said.

The name West Bengal has been a major source of confusion for many, given that it is in the eastern part of India. The reason it is called West Bengal lies in the division of Bengal, as it was, in the early 1900s by the British. They divided Bengal into two parts on the basis of religion, with the eastern one having a predominantly Muslim population, while the western one had a bigger Hindu population. The Partition of Bengal, as it came to be known, was done by then Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon, in 1905. Although it was reunited in 1911 after a protracted struggle by not just Bengalis but Indians from other parts as well to that end, the schism remained, as did the names East Bengal and West Bengal. The differences resurfaced during the Partition of India in 1947, when East Bengal became East Pakistan. It would go on to achieve independence from Pakistan in 1975 as Bangladesh. However, West Bengal's name has remained unchanged since the time it came to be, even as states like Odisha and cities like Mumbai, Chennai and even West Bengal's capital Kolkata shed their anglicized names and assumed their traditional and cultural identities.

High Court Stays Temple Takeover of Kullu Temple

Posted on 2016/8/4 18:27:18 ( 1211 reads )


SHIMLA, INDIA , August 4, 2016 (Times of India): Himachal Pradesh high court on Monday stayed the operation and execution of the July 26 notice whereby Maheshwar Singh was requested to hand over all temple properties -- movable and immovable, temporary and permanent fixtures, structures and devices as well as stock, stores and cash including cash books among others -- to the chairman of Raghunath Temple Trust Sultanpur, Kullu. A division bench comprising Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Chander Bhusan Barowalia clarified that in the interregnum, no further action in terms of the notification for taking over the Raghunath temple shall be taken.

Being a Hindu, Being an Ambassador for Hinduism

Posted on 2016/8/4 18:27:07 ( 1219 reads )


DETROIT, MICHIGAN, July 31, 2016 (Patheos by Padma Kuppa): We live amid challenging times, where ignorance about your neighbor can lead to not just "otherizing" someone you don't know, but also to violence -- violence that stems from fear and distrust of someone whose beliefs and practices seem alien and in opposition to your own. When I moved to Michigan nearly two decades ago, I was one of a handful of people "farmed out" to be a speaker when the meager temple office staff received a call asking for a Hindu representative, from schools, colleges and other groups actively seeking to meet and talk to a Hindu. In 2006, as a result of the increasing stream of requests that I personally received (I had co-founded an interfaith organization in 2005), the Temple formed the Outreach Committee with this mission: "Take the lead to represent the Bharatiya Temple in Inter-faith and Intra-faith activities in the Metro Detroit area. The committee will accomplish this by working with many different wisdom traditions, groups, specific audiences or the general public."

Ten years later, the Committee continues to fulfill its mission, but the critical nature of its purpose has not engaged the consciousness of the broader Temple membership or the large Hindu community in the region. I have also realized that we have a larger challenge: to ensure that the Hindu community is better prepared for the ever-increasing number of non-Hindu visitors. While the need for outreach efforts has multiplied, the basic challenge for Hindus in America still remains: outreach is not in our DNA, and we are not able to articulate our faith in a way that dispels stereotypes and reduces bullying of our children.

More of this insightful article at "source" above.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/8/4 18:26:56 ( 1059 reads )


The whole purpose of earning wealth and maintaining a home is to provide hospitality to guests.
-- Tirukkural

Himachal Pradesh Raghunath Temple Take-Over Challenged

Posted on 2016/8/3 19:53:08 ( 1242 reads )


HIMACHAL PRADESH, INDIA August 1, 2016 (Tribune India): Himachal Lokhit Party president and Chief Kardar (caretaker) of Lord Raghunath temple, Maheshwar Singh has challenged the government's decision to take over the temple in the High Court. Maheshwar contended in his petition that the temple was built and established by the Late Raja Jagat. The petitioner challenged the decision of the government on the ground that the action of the state was illegal, arbitrary and against provisions of the Constitution of India. It was further contended that the government could not add the temple in the schedule of the Himachal Pradesh Religious and Charitable Endowment Act without proper inquiry and giving an opportunity of hearing to the petitioner. He further contended that the affairs of temple had been managed by his family since its establishment.

Swami Nithyananda Files Case against Appointment of Junior Pontiff of Madurai Adheenam

Posted on 2016/8/3 19:52:58 ( 1155 reads )


MADURAI, INDIA, August 1, 2016 (Times of India): Three months after the appointment of a junior pontiff for the 1,500-year-old Madurai Adheenam (Mutt), founder of Dhyana Peetam Swami Nithyananda has filed a suit against the appointment before the Madurai sub court. On April 21, the mutt's 292nd pontiff Srila Sri Arunagirinatha Gurugnanasambanda Desika Paramacharya Swamigal had appointed V Thirunavukarasu of Pillaiyarpatti in Sivaganga district, as his successor. When the matter came up for hearing on Saturday, the petitioner's counsel told that as far as Madurai Mutt is concerned, a junior pontiff could be appointed once during the tenure of the mutt head. Accordingly, the mutt head had appointed the petitioner Nithyananda, as junior pontiff on April 27, 2012. However, after some months, Arunagirinatha filed a case before the high court bench seeking to declare that the appointment was not valid and the concerned case is pending before the court. While the case is pending, the pontiff has appointed a new junior pontiff this year. Thus, his action was against the mutt provisions and the appointment of the new junior pontiff should be cancelled.

It may be recalled that the appointment of Nithyananda as junior pontiff evoked wide criticism and stiff opposition from various organisations across the state. Adhering to demands, the Madurai pontiff removed Nithyananda from the post of junior pontiff in the next six months.

Namami Gange Projects Worth US$60 Million Approved

Posted on 2016/8/3 19:52:47 ( 1086 reads )


INDIA, August 4, 2016 (Press Information Bureau): In another major step towards implementation in Namami Gange in mission mode the empowered steering committee of National Ganga River Basin Authority today approved various projects worth US$60 million. The projects include development of ghats and crematoria in the stretch from Rudraprayag to Guptkashi (Uttarakhand), rehabilitation/development works of ghats and crematoria at Kanpur, interception and diversion of flow of sisamau and other nalas of Kanpur city, development of ghats and crematoria in Bijnor on Ramganga, Uttar Pradesh, development works of ghats and crematorium at Allahabad, modernization/new construction of ghats including public amenities/ crematoria/ river front development work etc in Kahalgaon, Bihar, development of ghats and crematoria in the stretch from Sahibganj to Rajmahal, Jharkhand, construction and upgradation of electric crematoria at Bhatpara and Naihati in West Bengal afforestation program in the state of West Bengal and development of 13 ghats and five crematoria at Bithoor in UP.

Baba Ramdev Opens Hindu Fair in Chennai

Posted on 2016/8/3 19:52:37 ( 1155 reads )


CHENNAI, INDIA, August 2, 2016 (New Indian Express): The annual Hindu Spiritual and Service Fair will be inaugurated by yoga guru Baba Ramdev at 5.30 pm on Tuesday in the presence of Jain, Buddhist and Sikh scholars at the AM Jain college grounds here. Ahead of the six-day Fair, a mass yoga event was organized in which over 10,000 schoolboys participated. That was followed by a mass singing program called Ganathon in which 10,000 college girls took part. Also hundreds of Vivekananda Raths rolled into various institutions to spread the message and ideals of the Fair.

Attended by thousands, the Fair is now in its eighth year. This year's edition will focus on the revival of traditional games of India. According to S. Gurumurthy, the brain behind the Fair, over 1,000 competitions in about 180 traditional games will be conducted during the Fair.

The Fair's core message is environment protection and conservation. The program is innovative since it links yoga positions to the six themes of the Fair, namely conserve forest and protect wildlife, preserve ecology, sustain environment, inculcate family and social values, promote women's honor and instill patriotism. For instance, the Vrukshasana (tree position) is linked to reverence for trees and conservation of forests and Bhjujangasana (snake position) for protecting wildlife.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/8/3 19:52:26 ( 1015 reads )


Are you depressed? Remember, within you is the Power. If you will but release a fraction of it, you can make the impossible possible.
-- Dada J.P. Vaswani

Badrinath Yatra Stalled Temporarily, Landslides Cripple State

Posted on 2016/7/31 18:00:27 ( 1568 reads )


DEHRADUN, INDIA, July 31, 2016 (Daily Pioneer): Heavy rainfall across Uttarakhand has affected the mountainous regions. Due to this, Badrinath Yatra has been suspended temporarily. Several roads across Dehradun district have been blocked too following rainfall-triggered landslides.

The administration has made relief centres for those affected by the rains and the landslides the rain had spawned. Special arrangements have been made too for the pilgrims who are stranded midway. It is learnt from the official sources that Pithoragarh, Chamoli, Pauri, Tehri, Uttarkashi, Champawat and Nainital districts have borne the maximum brunt of the recent rainy spell.

How India's Post Office Bottles Its Ganga Water

Posted on 2016/7/31 18:00:17 ( 1195 reads )


NEW DELHI. INDIA, July 31, 2016 (Times of India): Please remove your shoes before entering the room, comes the unusual request from a senior official at the Rail Mail Service (RMS) Bhawan near Delhi's Kashmere Gate. The room in question was unremarkable until recently, when it became a reliquary for bottled Ganga. The river's water has seemingly sanctified an otherwise utilitarian space whose contents have thus far been courier packages and daily mail.

Just weeks after Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad promised to have Ganga water delivered to people's doorsteps via the Indian postal service, the scheme has become a hit not just in the national capital, but also in other states like Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh. It is the first end-to-end product operation handled by India Post. Since the day of its inception in the first week of July, the RMS Bhawan has dispatched over 49,000 bottles to 22 postal circles in the country.

"It is a very systematic procedure. Mussoorie Express gets the water from the Ganga in Rishikesh, and at times from Gangotri. Around 7-8 people from the Rishikesh post office collect the water directly from the river. They send it to us in cans with a capacity of 20 litres each. Overnight, the train reaches New Delhi. Our men go and collect it early morning and bring it to RMS Bhawan," adds the official. Once it reaches RMS Bhawan, the water is treated in two rooms, cleared of sediment, and then packaged. "You can drink it of course, it is holy after all. But we want to make sure that there are no unwanted particles, like soil or little stones, in it. It comes straight from the river which is why we filter it properly," says the official.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/7/31 17:59:56 ( 1004 reads )


Whenever you have the chance, laugh as much as you can. By this all the rigid knots in your body will be loosened. But to laugh superficially is not enough; your whole being must be united in laughter, both inwardly and outwardly. Do you know how this is to be expressed? You literally shake with merriment from head to foot; so that it is impossible to tell which part of your body is most affected. I want you to laugh with your whole countenance, with your whole heart and with all the breath of your life.
-- Anandamayi Ma from Anandamayi--Her Life and Wisdom by Richard Lannoy

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