Hindu Press International


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Buddhist Monks Throng Puspagiri Festival in Orissa

Posted on 2002/12/10 8:48:02 ( 771 reads )


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DHAULI, INDIA, December 10, 2002: Nearly 100 Buddhist monks and pilgrims from Myanmar, Japan, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Cambodia were in Dhauli to plant a peepal tree symbolizing peace. Dhauli is the site of the 3rd century BCE Kalinga War, one of the bloodiest wars in ancient Indian history, and following which Emperor Ashoka converted to Buddhism. "We have come here to grow a plant called a Bodhi Tree. This plant symbolizes the peace between your people and our people and between your country and our country," said a Burmese visitor. The Buddhist group, which started its journey from the Rajarani Temple in Bhubaneswar, are here to participate in the three-day Puspagiri Festival jointly organized by the state tourism department and Nirvan Pilgrim Society. Orissa has had a long association with Buddhism dating back to the 6th century BCE when Buddha was preaching his new religion. Buddhism flourished in the state for several centuries until its decline in the 12th century AD. "The Buddhists are most welcome to our state and...with the Buddhist monks coming to the state, we hope the Buddhist tourism should get a kick start," said A. U. Singhdeo, Orissa's Minister of Tourism. The Myanmar Buddhists intend to erect a stupa at a cost of US$425,000 at the base of Dhauli hills. It will be similar to the Shanti Stupa erected by the Japanese on the hilltop 30 years ago. It is hoped the Puspagiri Mela will now be an annual affair and will draw thousands of Buddhist tourists from around the world.




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How Christian Missionaries in India Use Social Service as a Conversion Technique

Posted on 2002/12/10 8:47:02 ( 751 reads )


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UNITED STATES, December 10, 2002: Following is a verbatim report from a Christian news organization on missionary work in India: "A ministry in India is finding that its social and educational ministries are bearing much fruit when combined with a spiritual emphasis. This particular ministry, begun 30 years ago, cares for 95 children of leprous parents in a children's home. Living apart from the parents prevents the children from contracting the same dread disease and also gives them an education, that otherwise would pass them by. Most of the children come from non-Christian families. Along with the children's home, the ministry also operates two elementary schools. The biggest one teaches 1,800 day-students from mostly Sikh and Hindu homes and employs 70 teachers. A third school is scheduled to open in March 2003. The ministry also runs a daily dispensary with a retired public health person. A Christian doctor is joining the team and plans to begin operating a mobile health clinic in February. Amid this social and educational ministry the mission group has been able to plant 45 churches with a total constituency of over 4,800 believers. 'This year we started church fellowships in two new places with full time workers, and our churches are growing rapidly,' the director said."




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Grand Yaagam Planned for Spring of 2003 in Kerala

Posted on 2002/12/9 8:49:02 ( 783 reads )


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MULAMKUNNATHKAVU, INDIA, October 29, 2002: After 19 years, a yaagam is being organized at Mulamkunnathkavu, Trissur district, for April 2003. Performed by Rig Veda expert Vaidikan Thekkat Neelakandan Namboothiri, training for the yaagam began in October of 2002. The purpose of the ceremony is to cleanse the environment by burning ghee, seeds and healing herbs. Readers may contact "source" above for additional information.




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Hindu Family Honored for Upholding Family Values

Posted on 2002/12/9 8:48:02 ( 933 reads )


Source: New Jersey Media Group





BERGEN COUNTY, NEW JERSEY, November 28, 2002: This heart-warming article describes a Hindu family living life following Hindu values and ideals. Kokila and Kishor Vyas were honored by the New Jersey Parents Foundation last July as Parents of the Year. Kokila recalls a message delivered by a Hindu priest at a festival in 1986 who said, "An over-emphasis on accumulating wealth comes at the risk of losing one's children." Soon after, Kokila quit her job and stayed home to tend to her newborn son, Shaunak. As part of the family sacrifice, Kishor sometimes had to work longer hours to meet expenses, however, the couple persevered and attribute their success to their Hindu faith. Through living frugally, Kokila has always been there for both their children, Shaunak now 16, and his 14-year old sister, Jigisha. Her presence has enabled the teenagers to participate in drama, sports, dance, school plays and more. Kishor's aging parents now live in their home, too. Kishor says, "Keeping any religion helps make a good family life. Prayer and values help children in any society." The Vyas start each day with prayers in the family shrine room and they attend many religious and cultural programs offered by the Arya Samaj Hindu congregation. Shaunak and Jigisha have emulated their parents by giving back to the community through volunteer work with organizations such as the March of Dimes and Oakland Animal Refuge. Kokila says, "Shaunak and Jigisha follow how we are talking to each other, not fighting in 23 years of marriage." After the children are grown, Kishor and Kokila plan to reach out to the community by teaching children's religious classes. On a final note the couple adds, "We don't expect anything material from our children. Spiritual achievement should be the goal of life. When they keep good grades and they love us, that's our gift."




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Hindu Sangam to Build a Museum Commemorating Arrival of South Indians to Fiji

Posted on 2002/12/9 8:47:02 ( 781 reads )


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NADI, FIJI, October 27, 2002: The spring of 2003 will mark the 100th Anniversary of the first arrival of South Indians to Fiji from Chennai. To commemorate the occasion, the India Sanmarga Ikya Sangam has set aside a half-acre parcel of land where they plan to build a museum. Founded in 1926, the Sangam runs 26 primary and high schools as well as many Hindu temples in Fiji. Funding for the museum will be sponsored by the National Sangam parent body in conjunction with other branches and Sangam organizations overseas. Those knowledgeable about the India diaspora who might help with the museum are welcome to contact "source" above.




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150-Year-Old Kali Temple Insured Against Terrorism

Posted on 2002/12/9 8:46:02 ( 868 reads )


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KOLKATA, INDIA, Thursday, December 5, 2002: Devotees visiting the 150-year-old Dakshineswar Kali Temple near Kolkata (Calcutta) may soon be insured against terrorist attacks. Though properties of temples are often insured against theft, this is the first temple to cover devotees as well under an anti-terrorist insurance umbrella. The temple, draws five thousand devotees daily and at its annual festival, Kalpataru Utsav, beginning December 15, that number soars to 1.5 million. The temple could be paying an annual premium of US$1.25 million in this first of its kind policy. Insurance companies say the concept exists, it is known as public liability insurance. However, figuring out how many devotees will be covered under the insurance at a time and for how much is proving tricky. The whole idea is yet to sink in among regular devotees. The temple has 20 guards of its own, with two of them armed while four men staff a police camp on the premises on a regular basis. On special occasions, like the forthcoming festival, the state does increase deployment of police.




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Naga Sadhus to Guard India's Temples

Posted on 2002/12/9 8:45:02 ( 858 reads )


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LUCKNOW, INDIA, December 6, 2002: Over 50 akharas (monastic orders) and ashrams in Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal will soon prepare themselves for a new role when hundreds of thousands of Naga Sadhus associated with them would take up the security of temples and religious shrines in the country. "The Naga sadhus, numbering over 500,000 in the country, will not sit idle if temples continue to be targeted by non-believers," said Mahamandaleshwar of Juna Akhara. "The Naga sect, founded by Shankaracharya to protect the sadhus and saints in the event of attacks, had virtually drifted away from their defined role after the supremacy of Sanatana Dharma was established in the country," said a member of Sriram Hastakhchar Abhiyan Samiti. When the threat to temples and other religious shrines abated, the Naga sadhus assumed different roles.




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Hindu Gods Create Sanctity in Washington Museum

Posted on 2002/12/9 8:44:02 ( 750 reads )


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WASHINGTON D.C., U.S.A., December 6, 2002: An exhibition at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery here, "The Sensuous and the Sacred: Chola Bronzes From South India," doesn't waste much time. Its opening salute to this glorious art of the Chola period consists of three spectacular bronzes of God Siva as Nataraja, Lord of Dance. In each, Siva balances on his right leg while crooking his left up and across his body, communicating the sense of imminent motion -- be it a spin across the heavens or a tremor of devotion -- that animates all great Indian sculpture. The dancing Sivas, lent by museums in Dallas and Amsterdam and an unnamed private collector, lead off a succession of works, many of which are well known and widely reproduced, but are rarely, if ever, seen in one another's company. In a collaboration between the Sackler and the American Federation of Arts, this exhibition has been organized by Vidya Dehejia, a professor of art history at Columbia University and formerly the chief curator and deputy director of the Sackler. It is the first in the United States to concentrate solely on the bronze temple sculptures created during the nearly four-century reign of the devout, munificent and innovative Chola emperors. It would not be an overstatement to say that these sculptures are among the most beautiful ever made, in any material. There are 56 here, and they easily overcome the first requirement of any Sackler show, distracting viewers from the depressing reality of a museum that is mostly underground, nearly devoid of natural light and plagued by a confusing layout. The sculptures' transporting combination of formal perfection, religious gravity and life-affirming alertness can make the setting all but disappear.




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Europe's Largest Hindu Temple Consecrated in Germany

Posted on 2002/12/8 8:49:02 ( 942 reads )


Source: News Report





HAMM, GERMANY, October 2, 2002: The Ruhr Valley in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, is well known for its coal mining and steel tempering. And from now on it will also be associated with Europe's largest Hindu Temple. Dedicated to Sri Kamakshi Ambal, the temple was officially opened in Hamm-Uentrop, an industrial zone just outside the city, in ceremonies from June 30 to July 7, 2002. All consecration rituals were carried out by 14 priests who came especially for this occasion from India, Sri Lanka, Australia and the United States. Sri Lankan Priest Siva Paskaran's years of hard work and unflagging dedication to realize this dream have paid off, much to the delight of the 600 Hindus of Hamm and Germany's overall Hindu community of about 45,000. Seventeen years ago, Paskaran arrived in Germany as a refugee from war-torn Sri Lanka. He was on his way from Berlin to Paris, but when the train pulled into Hamm, hunger compelled him to disembark. For him, this was a sign from above that he should stay there and build a temple. The priest sought out a German architect by randomly pointing to a name in the yellow pages, Heinz-Rainer Eichhorst. This architect had never designed temples and had never been to India but was thrilled by the challenge of the project. He packed his bags and accompanied the priest for three weeks on travels through southern India to view large temple complexes. "You only get the chance to do a project like this once in a lifetime," he says. After plans were approved by the local authorities, the temple cornerstone was laid in March 2000. Ten Indian temple-building craftsmen are still at work decorating the 700 square meters of facade with sculptures and ornamentation. Now more than 15,000 people who come from all over Europe each year for the festival honoring Sri Kamakshi Ambal have a magnificent place of worship.




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Interfaith Awareness Week Declared by Wisconsin Governor

Posted on 2002/12/8 8:48:02 ( 779 reads )


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MADISON, U.S.A., December 8, 2002: The Governor of Wisconsin has declared the week of December 9 as "Interfaith Awareness Week," with the main purpose of the celebration to develop awareness and establish mutual understanding and respect among religions. The American Hindu Association, along with six other faith groups, is participating. The inaugurating events will be on Tuesday, December 10 from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. in the Rotunda of the State Capital. Wisconsin's Governor, the County Executive, and the Mayor of Madison will send their proclamation on the inauguration day. Exhibits from all faiths, including the Hindu Association, will be on display. Kripa Baskaran will perform a dance on behalf of the American Hindu Association. Readers may contact "source" above for additional information.




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Scientific Confirmation of Ancient Hindu Civilization

Posted on 2002/12/8 8:47:02 ( 770 reads )


Source: News Report





BANGALORE, INDIA, December 2, 2002: The discovery of long-forgotten underwater settlements off the coast of Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, by American marine archaeologists has pushed the antiquity of civilization in South India back by a few millennia and showed a link with Vedic civilization. This finding was voiced here on Monday by the noted American scholar in the Vedas and Hinduism, Dr. David Frawley. He was speaking along with Navarathna Rajaram, engineer and historian, who deciphered the Harappan seals. Dr. Frawley said fishermen along the Mahabalipuram coast had been mentioning the existence of temples and other structures beneath the Bay of Bengal and they had now been corroborated by underwater videography. He stressed the southern links of the civilization of ancient India, and said that the Vedic civilization was older than those of Mesopotamia and other regions held to be the most ancient by Western scholars by at least 4,000 years. Dr. Frawley argued that the Vedic civilization had maritime connections like most other civilizations. Rejecting the Aryan-Dravidian divide theory still adhered to by a section of historians, he quoted from the Rig Veda to point out that its most prominent sage, Vasistha, was the younger brother of Agasthya, the most prominent sage of South India. The Aryans and the Dravidians were the same people, Frawley asserts. The linguistic diversity of India was not surprising as it was a country of continental proportions. In a joint statement, the two scholars said that though the people of India were living at a time of exciting discoveries, they were concerned that there appeared to be some political pressure to deny students the benefit of those findings. An example was the discovery of the Vedic river, Saraswathi, which was one of the major triumphs of 20th century archaeology. It was an exciting story of satellite photography and archaeology working together to shed light on the Vedic tradition. "Our children should take pride in such discoveries. Yet we are told that vested interests in some States are directing teachers and textbook writers not to mention the Saraswati river.'' It was a throwback to the 16th century when Galileo was told by the Church not to teach the solar system. Such anti-intellectual attitudes should have no place in education, they said.




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Business Leaders to Incorporate Spirituality at World Economic Forum

Posted on 2002/12/8 8:46:02 ( 920 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 30, 2002: A unique concept has been masterminded by Klaus Schwab, president of the World Economic Forum, which will manifest at Davos, Switzerland, January 24, 2003. Business leaders of the WEF have collaborated with forty spiritual leaders, representing a variety of world religions, to bring spirituality to the forum which, up until 9-11 has been focused on economics and technology. Schwab calls the new agenda a trust agenda and says, "A war will lead to enormous tension in the Western and Islamic world, and we need platforms where the two worlds can meet. We have decided to integrate various spiritual dimensions at Davos 2003." Hindus will be represented by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living Foundation.




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Ecumenical Thanksgiving Gathering Held at Texas Hindu Temple

Posted on 2002/12/8 8:45:02 ( 718 reads )


Source: Austin American Stateman





AUSTIN, U.S.A., November 28, 2002: This year's 18th Ecumenical Thanksgiving Gathering sponsored by the Austin Area Inter-religious Ministries was held at the Barsana Dham Hindu temple. Attended by over 1,000 leaders from the Catholic, Episcopal, Protestant denominations, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam and Hindu faiths, the gathering demonstrated America's religious freedom. Respecting Hindu tradition, everybody attending the ceremony took off their shoes before entering the temple. Rev. Greg McDonnell, president of the Ministries boards said, "This is as close a look as you're going to get at heaven on Earth." This comment was made after the reverend surveyed the multiracial audience wearing the attire of their religious tradition.




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Indian Women May Be Prosecuted for Seeking Sex-Determinate Tests

Posted on 2002/12/8 8:44:02 ( 768 reads )


Source: Times of India





BANGALORE, INDIA, December 8, 2002: Women too will henceforth be punished with three years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 50,000 if they undergo sex-determination test, if the National Committee on Empowerment of Women have their say. In more than 98 per cent of the cases, pregnant women are forced by their families to terminate or abort the foetus if it is a girl child. Yet, the National Committee on Empowerment of Women has recommended that these women too be punished. How can the government punish the woman for no fault of hers, this article asks, when more often than not, she is forced by her family to undertake the sex-selection test. "The woman's marriage is at stake if she refuses," said Sabu George of the Center for Women Studies Development, Delhi. George said, "The government must prevent doctors from indulging in such unethical practices rather than punish hapless women." The organization has decided to take legal action against the committee. But Committee Chairperson Margaret Alva justified the punishment for women saying, "The mother is a collaborator in the entire process of eliminating the girl child. It is wrong to say that the majority of women who undergo sex-determination tests are illiterate and poor. It is the educated who undergo the test. A woman should have some kind of sensitivity. Punishing the woman will instill fear in her family, which will contribute towards ending the menace of female infanticide," she told the Sunday Times of India from Delhi.




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Bengali Internet and Print Publications Announced

Posted on 2002/12/8 8:43:02 ( 749 reads )


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KOLKATA, INDIA, December 8, 2002: Since 1995 the first Bengali Internet Daily has been successfully online and published from India. The publishers announce a new publication of a print media Bengali magazine from Kolkata called "Sangbad Bichitra." Editor Dr. Subhra Bose invites Benaglis or others interested in Bengali news to visit their website to give their views, suggestions or to subscribe to Sangbad Bichitra. Additionally, Dr. Bose would like to communicate with other Bengali's residing outside India and invites them to contact him at "source" above. HPI asks readers to note they must be fluent in Bengali to read their website.




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