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Muslim Leaders Reject Compromise Plan on Ayodhya
Posted on 2002/3/9 22:48:02 ( 617 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 10, 2002: Muslim leaders in India have rejected a proposal which was meant to ease tensions over a disputed holy site in the northern town of Ayodhya. The proposal was made by one of India's top Hindu religious leaders who is mediating with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. The Shankaracharya of Kanchi, Jayendra Saraswati, had suggested that Hindus be given the land next to the disputed area for a symbolic prayer pending a judgement by the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Senior Muslim leaders under the banner of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board rejected the idea at a meeting in Delhi. Muslims are angry that although the VHP says it will accept whatever ruling the Indian Supreme Court makes on the future of the site, it is still planning to hold a symbolic prayer ceremony there on 15 March. There is apprehension in India that this ceremony could spark a new round of violence.




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400,000 Pilgrims Expected for Maha Sivaratri in Mauritius
Posted on 2002/3/9 22:47:02 ( 654 reads )


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GRAND BASSIN, MAURITIUS, March 10, 2002: Since last Thursday, March 7, Maha Sivaratri pilgrims have begun their long walk towards the sacred lake here known as Ganga Talao. Most of these pilgrims are from the north of the island, which is the farthest point from the sacred lake. Devotees who live closer to the lake will begin their walk in the days to come. Drivers are urged to use caution to avoid pilgrims walking at night on the main road to the southern mountain shrine. The organizers of the event estimate that there will be not less 400,000 pilgrims this year participating in the pilgrimage. Lots of preparation this year will ensure that pilgrims benefit from better traffic control, improved lighting, and improvements on the banks surrounding the sacred lake. Extra police will be stationed along the pilgrimage route to assure the safety of the pilgrims. At the initiative of the Human Service Trust, the leaders of Hindu corporations of the country, notably those of the Hindu Maha Sabha, the Hindu House, the Mauritius Andhra Maha Sabha, the Mauritius Marathi Mandali Federation, the Voice of Hindu, among others, have grouped together their efforts to prepare for the Maha Sivaratri celebration. The great festival in honor of Lord Siva is celebrated around the world by devotees who worship Him throughout the night. This year it happens to fall on Mauritius Independence Day.




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Hindu Community Offered Protection in Pakistan
Posted on 2002/3/9 22:46:02 ( 543 reads )


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KARACHI, PAKISTAN, March 1, 2002: Rioting in the state of Gujarat and the resultant violence against Muslims has caused Pakistani authorities to offer vigilant protection of the Hindu community. Minority Hindus live mainly in the southern Sindh province and mostly in the capital city of Karachi. Deputy Inspector General of Police in Karachi, Tariq Jamil said, " Extra policeman had been stationed outside Hindu temples and residences to deter any retaliation." In the past the small Hindu Pakistan community has suffered any backlash from violence against Muslims in India.




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Shivarudrabalayogi's Sivaratri Message
Posted on 2002/3/9 22:45:02 ( 634 reads )


Source: Press Release





INDIA, March 6, 2002: Sri Shivarudrabalayogi issued the following message on the occasion of Sivaratri in response to devotees' questions about violence in the world. "Do not worry, the violence will recede. Since the Beginning, these tensions have always come in the Creation of the Divine from time to time. There is no need to worry. Meditate, light a candle and pray for peace. Pray that peace and happiness prevail in the world and that people's minds will become peaceful and non-violent. Pray for a better world. You can pray as individuals or in a group. Even one person praying sincerely can make a difference. Results come from sincerity. Do not worry, God will help with world. Prayer is very important. Sincerely close your eyes, concentrate between the eyebrows and then pray to the Divine directly. Pray for your individual peace and for the peace of the world. We need not pray using any specific name of God, necessarily. God is One. Pray to the all-pervading Divine. Mind also belongs to the Divine. Like a concentrated ray of the Sun touches back to the Sun -- when the mind gets concentrated it touches introvert to the Divine and and Divine Grace will naturally flow. Concentrate your mind and pray sincerely for yourself and the whole world so that all may have Peace."




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Proof of Prayer's Power
Posted on 2002/3/9 22:44:02 ( 620 reads )


Source: BBC





UNITED KINGDOM, February 27, 2002: This BBC news report brings to light some of the insights about prayer. Dr. David Laws of the University of Manchester, who has studied the effects of prayer on sick patients said, "For me it's not a matter of persuading God to do something, but of people praying for peace looking to become peaceful people. It starts with the internal effect and that, hopefully, will have an impact on the outside world." Professor Leslie Francis of the University of Bangor has conducted 31 experiments to determine the results of prayer. Hundreds of patients recovering from heart surgery were divided into two groups, one group was prayed for, one group was not prayed for. No one in either group knew about the experiments. Laws said, "The findings are quite staggering. Studies show that patients in hospital who are being prayed for (even when they do not know they are being prayed for) are more likely to recover."




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Assistance Sought with Business Study
Posted on 2002/3/9 22:43:02 ( 622 reads )


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QUEBEC, CANADA, March 10, 2002: Dorra Skander, a researcher at Laval University, Quebec, seeks assistance from fellow Canadians for her project on Indian methods of business negotiation. If you can help with her project, kindly e-mail her at "source" above.




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Hinduism Today Seeking Help With Article on Mark Twain in India
Posted on 2002/3/9 22:42:02 ( 722 reads )


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KAUAI, HAWAII, March 10, 2002: Hinduism Today is running an article on the experiences of famed American author and lecturer Mark Twain in India in the 1890s. We are looking for photos of him taken in India, and would be delighted to consult with anyone who is knowledgeable in any way about his visit there.




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Bharat Sadhu Samaj Accuses VHP of Surrender on Temple Issue
Posted on 2002/3/8 22:49:02 ( 632 reads )


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PATNA, INDIA, March 8, 2002: The Bharat Sadhu Samaj on Friday accused the VHP of abject surrender on the issue of temple construction at Ayodhya by committing itself to adhere to the Court's verdict. ''The VHP's abject surrender on the Ayodhya issue is under political pressure.....The VHP leaders should desist from misguiding the Hindus any further,'' the BSS general secretary, Swami Harinarayananand, said in a statement here. ''It (VHP) has played with the sentiments of millions of people as the birthplace of Lord Rama is only one in the world which cannot be adjudicated, shifted or altered,'' he said. There was no point in pressing ahead with shilapujan on March 15, he said adding that by its surrender before the Prime Minister, the VHP has, in one stroke, laid waste all the sacrifices made by hundreds of karsevaks. The swami said since the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court was looking into the title claims between the Nirmohi Akhara of Ayodhya and the Sunni-Shia board, the VHP should not have come into the picture. He suggested that the matter could best be settled by mutual consent and understanding between the religious leaders of the two communities of Ayodhya.




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US Gives Grant for Varendra Museum in Bangladesh
Posted on 2002/3/8 22:48:02 ( 560 reads )


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BANGLADESH, March 1, 2002: United States Ambassador to Bangladesh Mary Ann Peters presented a check from the US government amounting to $10,800 US to Dr Faisul Islam Farouqui, Vice-Chancellor of Rajshahi University and Dr Sayefuddin Chowdhury, Director, Varendra Museum at the US Embassy yesterday, says a US Embassy press release. The money, from the Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation, will be used to improve the lighting and display of precious and historic materials housed in the Varendra Research Museum in Rajshahi. For more than 70 years, the Varendra Museum has been a vital resource for scholars and researchers intent on study of the arts, culture and history of Bengal. The museum houses the richest and largest collection of Buddhist and Hindu stone sculptures in this country. It is also a repository of priceless manuscripts, books and periodicals. The museum houses an outstanding collection of Bangla document and rare Bengali, Arabic and Sanskrit manuscripts as well as other rare document in Persian and Sanskrit.




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Pranayam Has Scientific Basis, Says US Expert
Posted on 2002/3/8 22:47:02 ( 929 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 3, 2002: A senior psychiatrist at Columbia University, New York, Dr. Richard P Brown, says certain yogic breathing techniques may help people connect better with each other and regulate their dietary intake and thereby help lose weight. In New Delhi to participate in a two-day international symposium on Sudarshan Kriya, Pranayam and consciousness, organized by the Institute Rotary Cancer Hospital at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences in association with the Times Foundation, Brown has been experimenting with meditation techniques to cure his patients of depression. Dr. Brown explains, yogic breathing techniques such as Pranayam and Sudarshan Kriya can activate certain positive bodily processes. Rapid breathing activates a nerve, Vagus, that connects with the diaphragm and some of the organs, including the heart and the brain. As a result of this stimulation, messages are sent along three different pathways that tell the body to shut off areas of worry while awakening areas that control feelings of happiness in the brain. Dr. Brown began quite early on in his practice of psychiatry looking for natural treatments. The best results so far have been with Sudarshan Kriya he said. "Doctors need to understand that there is a scientific basis to it and it is not just a suggestion. It helps control eating disorders as well."




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Hinduism Today Seeks Sabarimala Pilgrimage Photos
Posted on 2002/3/8 22:46:02 ( 628 reads )


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KAUAI, HAWAII, March 9, 2002: Hinduism Today is doing a major story on the famed Sabarimala pilgrimage of Kerala in its next issue. The editors are seeking high quality photos of the temple and its surroundings during the height of the pilgrimage. If you can supply these, or know someone who can, please e-mail "source" above.




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McDonald's Apologizes, Pays Damages for Meat-Spiked French Fries
Posted on 2002/3/7 22:49:02 ( 578 reads )


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WASHINGTON, D.C., March 8, 2002: Fast food behemoth McDonald's has agreed to publicly apologize to "Hindus, vegetarians and others" for failing to disclose the use of animal products in foods it identified as vegetarian. The company will also donate $10 million to concerns supported by these groups as part of a settlement in a class-action lawsuit initiated by Seattle-based Indian-American attorney Harish Bharti. Starting next month, pending court approval, the fast food giant will insert advertisements in newspapers apologizing for its mistake. "We acknowledge that, upon our switch to vegetable oil in the early 1990s for the purpose of reducing cholesterol, mistakes were made in communicating to the public and customers about the ingredients in our French fries and hash browns. Those mistakes included instances in which French fries and hash browns sold at US restaurants were improperly identified as vegetarian," the ads will say. "We regret we did not provide these customers with complete information, and we sincerely apologize for any hardship that these miscommunications have caused among Hindus, vegetarians and others," the settlement-ad will say. As a result of the flap, and under the terms of the settlement, McDonald's has also promised to enhance its disclosure standards and create a Dietary Practice/Vegetarian Advisory Panel of experts that will advise the fast food chain on dietary restrictions and guidelines. The lawsuit arose from an episode in April 2001 when some Indian-American vegetarians on the West Coast accused McDonald's of misleading customers by presenting its golden fries as vegetarian. While McDonald did phase out animal fat in favor of vegetable oil for frying, it was later revealed that the firm continued to use "miniscule" amounts of beef flavoring to "enhance" taste.




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South Africa Interfaith Conference Tackles HIV/AIDS
Posted on 2002/3/7 22:48:02 ( 605 reads )


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DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA, March 6, 2002: More than 100 leaders from 15 faiths began a two-day conference considering the role religion plays in responding to HIV/AIDS. Tamil, Hindu, Zionist Christian Church, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, African Independent Churches, Church of Nazareth, Telegu and Bahal representatives as well as representatives from several Christian denominations are attending the workshop. At the conference opening, Health Minister Manto Tahabalala-Msimang emphasized that a strengthened faith-based sector response had the potential to "reap measurable results" both in terms of providing care and reducing the prevailing stigma surrounding the epidemic. The minister said the challenge lay in ensuring each community of faith finds its own place within the HIV/AIDS care system.




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UK Hindu Students Forum Petitions Against Beckham Painting
Posted on 2002/3/7 22:47:02 ( 1339 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, March 7, 2002: The National Hindu Students Forum (UK) has launched a petition against the depiction of David, Victoria & Brooklyn Beckham as Lord Siva, Goddess Parvati and Lord Ganesh. Their press release from Shrien Dewani states, "This painting caused offense to the society's members because of the manner in which it appears to mock the importance of Hindu deities and portray the Beckham family as Hindu Gods. This petition is not an attack on the artists or any form of free artistic expression." Beckham is a famed England footballer.




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Bali's Female Puppet Master
Posted on 2002/3/7 22:46:02 ( 672 reads )


Source: Jakarta Post





BALI, INDONESIA, February 22, 2002: Ni Nyoman Tjandri is one of the few female puppet masters in Indonesia. Born to an artist father, Tjandri was familiar with and fond of all forms of the Balinese performing arts, especially the arja, a Balinese traditional drama that incorporates music and dance. The talented Tjandri gradually developed superb dance and vocal techniques through interaction with her father, I Made Kredek, and fellow artists. After her father's death, Tjandri decided to learn the Kawi language to continue his efforts to master Balinese literature. She went to the well-known dalang I Nyoman Ganjreng. Instead of giving Kawi lessons, Nyoman Ganjreng gave the girl four puppet figures. The puppet master told her she had to master the Kawi language through wayang stories, mostly derived from Ancient Indian and East Javanese epics and legends. In 1979 Tjandri decided to learn the art of the dalang seriously and intensively. All wayang performances present a story, which is told by a dalang. A dalang must master at least 100 stories and be able to enliven each of the characters portrayed with distinctive vocal sounds. Being a dalang, one must have plenty of physical stamina and a thorough knowledge of both the ancient Kawi language and high and low Balinese language, as well as its literature. Tjandri is frequently invited to perform both on local and overseas stages.




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