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Spiritual leaders converge to Fiji

Posted on 2003/9/23 9:48:02 ( 930 reads )


FIJI, September 22, 2003: A group of Indian spiritual leaders is due in Fiji next month, as part of their spiritual journey in Australasian zone. The Chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, will be the chief guest. One of the significant ceremonies at the public function on Friday will be a Kalash Ceremony. The group has a kalash (pot) in which soil is collected from each country where the yaatra has gone so far. "Fiji Soil" will be presented to the group to be added and mixed in the kalash later. Apart from the public function, the group also plans to hold private meetings with interfaith religious leaders, women and youth organisations and representatives of various social, religious and cultural organisations. The Global Peace Mission is led by Hindu leader Jagadguru Sankaracharya Swami Divyanand Tirth Ji. The mission also includes renowned devotional bhajan singer Shri Anup Jalota, accompanied by master tabia player Pandey.

Old cave of Mata Vaishno Devi to be Opened for Devotees

Posted on 2003/9/23 9:47:02 ( 1018 reads )


JAMMU, INDIA, September 21, 2003: The management of Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board has decided to open the old cave of the shrine for the devotees during the Navratra festival starting from September 26, 2003. Disclosing this to the media, the Minister of State for PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control, Jugal Kishore Sharma, said that pilgrims who wish to visit the old cave will be allowed to enter in groups, whereas those who want to visit the large cave will proceed as usual. He said it was the wish of a large number of people to have darshan of Mata Vaishno Devi through the old cave, and the Shrine Board has made plans this year for 10,000 pilgrims at the old cave. He said special, elaborate security, transport and accommodation arrangements have been made for the smooth conduct of the festival.

Vedanta Centre Sydney Celebrates Anniversary

Posted on 2003/9/23 9:46:02 ( 947 reads )


SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, September 22, 2003: The Vedanta Centre of Sydney is a branch of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission. The centre conducts spiritual and cultural activities by conducting talks on the Bhagawad Gita, the Upanishads, the Yoga Sutras and other Vedantic subjects. The Centre will celebrate the 3rd Anniversary of its affiliation with the Ramakrishna Math and Mission on Saturday the 18th of October 2003 at the Macquarie Theatre, Macquarie University, North Ryde, Sydney, Australia. The program will start at 6 p.m. and will consist of a presentation on the history of the Ramakrishna order, release of a souvenir publication and devotional bhajans by Mr. Avijit Sarkar and troupe. Details of the program can be had by contacting the Centre at Tel: 02 9705 9050 or e-mail "source" above.

Request for Comments on Time Magazine Meditation Article

Posted on 2003/9/23 9:45:02 ( 1074 reads )


KAUAI, HAWAII, September 23, 2003: The August 4 issue of Time magazine carried an article on meditation called "Just Say Om" with the subhead, "Scientists study it. Doctors recommend it. Millions of Americans -- many of whom don't even own crystals -- practice it every day. Why? Because meditation works." The main text by Joel Stein begins, "The one thought I cannot purge, the one that keeps coming back and getting between me and my bliss, is this: What a waste of time. I am sitting cross-legged on a purple cushion with my eyes closed in a yoga studio with 40 people, most of them attractive women in workout outfits, and it is accomplishment enough that I am not thinking about them. Or giggling. I have concentrated on the sounds outside and then on my breath and then, supposedly, just on the present reality of my physical state -- a physical state concerned increasingly with the lack of blood in my right foot. But I let that pass." For $2.50 you can buy the full article here.

The report is generally positive, bringing forward recent scientific investigations into meditation. It is also rather simplistic, and tends to trivialize the traditional goal of meditation -- spiritual enlightenment. For example, Stein writes, "Contentment and inner peace are nice, but think how many American swould start meditating if you could convince them they would live longer because of it." Or, "In its most modern, Americanized forms, it has dropped the creepy mantra bit that has you memorize a secret phrase of syllable; instead you focus on a sound or on your breathing." Or, recounting the results of teaching "meditation" to jail inmates, "Approximately 56% of the newly enlightened prisoners returned to jail within two years."

Hinduism Today is seeking comments from knowledgable meditators on the article as part of a review of it in the magazine. Kindly e-mail to "source" above. It would be best to read the entire article. We don't have an e-mail version, only the pay-for-archive above, but can fax a few people the article if you e-mail us a fax number.

Hindu Canadian Community Rebuilds Temple Razed by Arson

Posted on 2003/9/22 9:49:02 ( 917 reads )

Hamilton Spectator

HAMILTON, ONTARIO, CANADA, September 13, 2003: In the aftermath of 9-11, the Hindu Samaj Temple in Hamilton was destroyed by arson in a hate-crime attack. Two years have passed since that trying time, and the Hindu community expects to open a new temple in November of this year. However, the community is still suffering from the senseless act on their spiritual home. In an effort to help heal the situation, Carolann Fernandes, a volunteer for a Healing Day of Prayer says, "A community prayer service will be held at City Hall aimed at uniting Hamilton Hindus with Hamiltonians of every faith in a desire for healing and harmony." This prayer service launches a three-month Discover India program started by two dozen Indian community groups that will include lectures, workshops, and exhibits about India. Mahendra Deonarain, religious secretary to the Hamilton Hindu Samaj community adds, "Construction of the new Hindu Samaj Temple has been delayed in part by a last-minute decision to expand floor space by 2,000 square feet. Hamiltonians contributed some $240,000 to the temple reconstruction, while insurance and assistance from the federal government brought the total rebuilding budget to $800,000."

Dara Singh Sentenced to Death for Missionary's Murder

Posted on 2003/9/22 9:48:02 ( 922 reads )


BHUBANESWAR, INDIA, September 22, 2003: An Indian court sentenced one man to death by hanging and 12 others to life in prison Monday for killing a Christian missionary from Australia and his two young sons in a mob attack, according to this report by the Associated Press. Graham Staines and his sons Philip, 10, and Timothy, 8, were killed in January 1999 when a Hindu mob burned their jeep while they slept outside a church in Manoharpur, a tribal village in eastern Orissa state. The chief defendant in the case, Dara Singh, was sentenced to death. Singh does not want to appeal the verdict, his defense attorney Bana Mohanty. "Singh says he will prefer to be hanged rather than go in for an appeal," Mohanty said. One of the 12 others given life sentences reportedly said earlier that the killers were provoked by the "corruption of tribal culture" by the missionaries, who allegedly fed villagers beef. "I did this because of the bitter relations with the Christians," Mahendra Hembram was quoted as saying by The Hindustan Times on Sunday in a letter to his sister-in-law. "After hearing so many things about the Christians, we decided to kill the Christians," he said in the letter, written while he was on the run before being arrested. Christian missionaries often are heralded for helping India's poor by setting up educational and health facilities in remote areas. However, they are also accused of using force, money and superstition to convert poor and illiterate villagers to their faith. The killings came at a time when Hindu nationalist groups were being blamed for a series of attacks on Christians and church property. The Home Ministry said a large number of those cases were related to land and property disputes, not religion.

Navaratri Celebrated by Gujaratis Across the U.S.A.

Posted on 2003/9/22 9:47:02 ( 932 reads )

India Tribune

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, September 16, 2003: On September 26, East Indian Americans and most especially Gujaratis, are preparing for a nine-day religious Navaratri festival featuring Garbha dancing, singing and praying. Dressed in their best traditional attire, Gujaratis in Chicago, Miami, New York and Los Angeles are gathering in locations across mainland U.S.A. In the Tri-state area alone there are four scheduled major Navaratri celebrations. Navaratri is explained in the article as a celebration of good triumphing over evil, and humanity prospering in spite of onslaughts of opposition and trials.The article asks readers to send details of Navaratri festivities in their community to India Tribune by e-mail at nadeem@indiatribune.com. The reports will be published in the September 27 issue of India Tribune.

Swami Madhu Paramhans Lectures Against Corruption

Posted on 2003/9/22 9:46:02 ( 1439 reads )


JAMMU, INDIA, September 21, 2003: A grand satsang (religious gathering) was organized today by Sant Ashram Ranjdi, at Satwari in which head of Sant Ashram Swami Madhu Paramhans Ji Maharaj delivered holy sermons. The Swami threw light on the rising rate of corruption in India which has even forced the World Bank to stop its help for various projects in India. He said every one is doing worship, but not in its true sense. He said people keep going for pilgrimages and even take holy dip in sacred rivers on certain occasions, but none of them can attain the ultimate salvation because in their places of work they continue to remain indulged in malpractices. He added that Dharma Gurus and other preachers cannot escape from their moral and spiritual responsibility in this regard. Swami Madhu Paramhans said further that the people have to re-think with cold mind as to wherein lies the fault. They have to make a critical analysis of the present social order and to think judiciously as to what can be a possible way out of this shattering social order that is bound to weaken the country in the times to come.

Hindu Wedding Ceremony Details Sought

Posted on 2003/9/22 9:45:02 ( 1004 reads )


AUSTRALIA, September 22, 2003: L. Anand of the Australia Hindu community requests a copy of a script for a traditional Hindu wedding. He may be e-mailed at "source" above. He also reports that the Hindu community around Sydney will be celebrating Deepavali in a big way on October 12 and that negotiations are underway for its celebration at New South Wales state parliament house.

Chandra Observatory Finds Sound in Space

Posted on 2003/9/21 9:49:02 ( 1000 reads )


USA, September 9, 2003: M. P. Bhattathiry notified HPI of this item and asks, "Could it be possible that the universe being created in the black hole is akin to one from the sound of Omkar as told in Vedas? Can anyone through some light with references in Vedas or Upanishadas regarding the theory of creation?"

The report reads, in part, "NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory detected sound waves, for the first time, from a super-massive black hole. The "note" is the deepest ever detected from an object in the universe. The tremendous amounts of energy carried by these sound waves may solve a long-standing problem in astrophysics. The black hole resides in the Perseus cluster, located 250 million light years from Earth. In 2002, astronomers obtained a deep Chandra observation that shows ripples in the gas filling the cluster. These ripples are evidence for sound waves that have traveled hundreds of thousands of light years away from the cluster's central black hole. "We have observed the prodigious amounts of light and heat created by black holes, now we have detected the sound," said Andrew Fabian of the Institute of Astronomy (IoA) in Cambridge, England, and leader of the study. In musical terms, the pitch of the sound generated by the black hole translates into the note of B flat. But, a human would have no chance of hearing this cosmic performance, because the note is 57 octaves lower than middle-C (by comparison a typical piano contains only about seven octaves). At a frequency over a million, billion times deeper than the limits of human hearing, this is the deepest note ever detected from an object in the universe.

New Study Shows Prayer Has Positive Effect on Health

Posted on 2003/9/21 9:48:02 ( 885 reads )


WASHINGTON, USA, September 20, 2003: Can praying be good for your health? A decade ago, most doctors and scientists would have dismissed any connection between prayer and medicine. However, new studies drawing a positive connection between faith and healing have sparked new debate in the United States over the issue. A recent Gallup poll shows that 95 percent of the population of the United States believes in God, and nearly 80 percent of people over 65-years-old are members of a church. A number of studies have shown that individuals who pray regularly and attend religious services stay healthier and live longer than those who rarely or never go to a church, synagogue or mosque. Dr. Harold Koenig of Duke University's director and founder of the Center for the Study of Religion, Spirituality and Health says, when he first opened the center in the 1990s he was afraid, "of being run out of town for practicing voodoo medicine." The University recently released a study of 4,000 women and men of different faiths. All the participants were 65 or older. It found that the relative risk of dying was 46 percent lower for those who frequently attend religious services. A study by the same group found that those who pray regularly have significantly lower blood pressure and healthier immune systems.

Hallmark to Add Hindu Deepavali Card

Posted on 2003/9/21 9:47:02 ( 1232 reads )


USA, September 17, 2003: This year, for the first time ever, Hallmark will sell cards for the Hindu celebration of Deepavali or Diwali, as well as for the Muslim holiday of Eid ul-Fitr. "With the increase in the number of Hindus and Muslims, we realized there was an ongoing need that we were not satisfying," said Deidre Parkes, spokeswoman for the Kansas City, Mo.-based Hallmark company that has been making greeting cards for Americans since 1910. While based on a desire to sell more cards, the new Hallmark cards are also a recognition of the changing face of America, said Egon Mayer, a sociologist at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Mayer directed the American Religious Identification Survey, which showed that the number of Hindu adults in the United States rose from 227,000 to 760,000 between 1990 and 2001. During the same period, the number of Muslim adults went from about 527,000 to 1.1 million.

Hindu Wedding in Nebraska

Posted on 2003/9/21 9:46:02 ( 1220 reads )


NORFOLK, NEBRASKA, September 14, 2003: When Reena Patel, daughter of Dr. N.P. and Sudha Patel, recently got married in Norfolk, the family had to bring in a priest from Chicago to perform the traditional Hindu wedding ceremony. The three-day wedding celebration attracted the attention of the local press who wrote this respectful, concise and clear article about the wedding. Traditionally, 80% of Hindu marriages are arranged but in this case, Reena and her husband Srinivas Yendru met while both were doing medical residencies at Tulane University in New Orleans. As both families are followers of the Hindu religion, the sacrament was carried out with sacred rites and blessings performed by Jagdish Joshi, a brahmin priest from Chicago. The article explains, "The traditional Hindu wedding ceremony was created more than 40 centuries ago and continues to be followed today with little variation. A couple takes seven symbolic steps together around homa fire -- for prosperity, strength, wealth, happiness, health, cheerful seasons, and love and companionship."

Nineteenth Century Photographs of India on Display at the San Francisco Legion of Honor

Posted on 2003/9/20 9:49:02 ( 891 reads )


SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, July 8, 2003: An exhibition of about 120 vintage photographs of India in the 19th century is on display at the San Francisco Legion of Honor from September 14, 2003 to February 15, 2004. The "Reverie and Reality, Nineteenth-Century Photographs of India from the Ehrenfeld Collection," includes the works of Linnaeus Tripe, Samuel Bourne, John Murray, and Lala Din Dayal. The subject matter ranges from famous architectural monuments to images of the natural landscape. The variety of humanity that inhabited this country during the time period is recorded in a series of photographs that range from scenes of daily life in villages to sumptuous and formal visits of foreign royalty. An awareness of the exotic is seen in photographs of elephants and lion hunts. "Reverie and Reality" is drawn from the significant collection of Dr. William Ehrenfeld of Tiburon, California. It is accompanied by a fully illustrated scholarly catalogue. Other aspects of Dr. Ehrenfeld's collection have been seen in two previous scholarly exhibitions: Indian Miniatures from the Ehrenfeld Collection, on view in 1985 at the Legion of Honor, and Interaction of Cultures: Indian and Western Painting 1780-1910, the Ehrenfeld Collection, on view in 1998 at the de Young Museum.

President Thabo Mbeki Speaks At Hindu Convention In Durban

Posted on 2003/9/20 9:48:02 ( 908 reads )


DURBIN, SOUTH AFRICA, September 6, 2003: The President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, spoke at the opening of the Hindu convention in Durban. In his address he said, "The process we are beginning today constitutes a significant development in the evolution of our society. There was a time when it was unthinkable that a religion which, according to the Apartheid ideology, was outside the officially sanctioned religious mainstream, could assume its rightful place in our spiritual life." He added, "In the new South Africa all religions are recognized and there is freedom of worship. We also believe that religious organizations must be at the forefront of inculcating strong religious and moral values in a society that is trying to reconstruct itself from the ravages of apartheid. Given our divided history, religious organizations have an important role to play in the reconstruction and development of our country, especially in the welfare and civil society sectors." Mbeki encouraged volunteerism in his speech, praised Mahatma Ghandi's influence in South Africa, and cited links between Hinduism and indigenous African religions. The full text can be read at "source" above.

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