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On-line Prayer Services Pay Off
Posted on 2002/8/5 1:46:02 ( 645 reads )


Source: Toronto Star





ONTARIO, CANADA, June 30, 2002: When an astrologer warned Anasuya Dhanrajgir that bad luck was on her horizon, she took the road increasingly travelled by modern Hindus. In the old days, the astrologer's advice might have suggested the 39-year-old Anasuya to take a 900-mile journey to a temple on the southern tip of India. Instead, the stage designer and mother of three logged onto the Internet where Hindu temples offer ceremonies. She found that technology offered an easy way to keep the faith, and a new means of communicating with some of her religion's millions deities. The site -- www.prarthana.com -- is named after the Sanskrit word for worship. It offers to conduct prayer rituals for a fee at some 400 temples across India. With the click of her mouse, Anasuya placed an order for a ceremony or puja, which she was told would cost US$25.00. "We performed the puja on Anasuya's behalf," says K. Ganesan, the Web site's founder. The company sent her an e-mail confirming the ceremony had been completed on the proper day. The temple sent Anasuya a parcel with part of the offerings. Ganesan estimates that the number of Web sites offering similar services to Hindus has swelled to 300. Many customers are overseas Indians unable to pray in person at home temples.




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Omaha Restaurant Transformed into Hindu Temple
Posted on 2002/8/5 1:45:02 ( 755 reads )


Source: Omaha World-Herald





OMAHA, NEBRASKA, July 10, 2002: From sunup to sundown, 11 Indian workers commit themselves to the meticulous duty of crafting a Hindu temple. The visiting temple carvers work in a building tucked away in a corner of southwest Omaha. Slowly, the unique temple architecture is distinguishing itself from the area's common strip malls. The renovation is one of two milestones for the Hindu temple, which has been open at 13010 Arbor St. behind a Target store since 1994. In July, the temple welcomed its first full-time priest, which now allows for daily services. The popularity of the Hindu temple, which draws members from eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, is driving the US$1.2 million project. Membership has grown six-fold to 600 families in just five years. To renovate their building, local Hindu leaders turned to India's premier temple architect, V. Ganapati Sthapati. Last March, the carvers, or silpis, took up residence in the Omaha temple, said V. T. Ramakrishnan, the temple's president. Ramakrishnan said a Memorial Day, 2003, service is planned to open the temple.




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Paramhans Opposes High Court Suggestion for Excavation in Ayodhya
Posted on 2002/8/5 1:44:02 ( 662 reads )


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AYODHYA, INDIA, August 3, 2002: Ram Janambhoomi Trust president Mahant Ramchandra Paramhans on Saturday opposed the Allahabad high court's suggestion for excavation at the disputed temple site in Ayodhya. "The makeshift temple cannot be shifted to facilitate excavation as it has been existing there for long and no court or government will be allowed to effect shifting of the deities as it goes against the tenets of Hindu religion," he told reporters in Ayodhya. "there should be no doubt about the existence of the Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya," the Mahant said. The Mahant stated that old artifacts and a carved black stone structure with engraving of Hindu deities were found in the debris of the demolished structure. "These relics are still kept in the custody of the Faizabad district administration," he said. There are procedures for moving temples, including the Deities, but not for the purpose of archeological excavation.




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State-level Autonomous Body Soon to Ensure Temple Rituals
Posted on 2002/8/5 1:43:02 ( 640 reads )


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VIJAYAWADA, INDIA, July 28, 2002: The Endowments Minister, D. Sivarama Raju, on Sunday said that the Government would soon set up an autonomous State level advisory council for ensuring proper conduct of puja, worship, and other rituals in temples as ordained in the scriptures. The proposed advisory council would be filled with Vedic pundits, archakas (priests) and Hindu religious scholars fully conversant with Hindu dharma. The council would advise and supervise the conduct of the rituals that has to be followed by priests in the temples. Speaking to reporters here at Chinna Jeeyar Ashrama, Sitanagaram, the Minister admitted that the need for such an advisory body had become essential in the wake of criticism that many temples were not performing the regular aradhana ceremonies and other rituals as advised in the scripture.




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Asian Indians at Greater Risk of Heart Disease
Posted on 2002/8/5 1:42:02 ( 808 reads )


Source: MSN





BERKLEY, CALIFORNIA, July 28, 2002: Asian-Indians are at a greater risk of contracting heart disease, more so than others of any descent with high cholesterol and even smokers. Researchers from the University of California-Berkley Center for Family and Community Health have concluded that, "Indians around the globe have the highest rate of heart disease, usually two to three times higher than Americans, Europeans, Chinese and Japanese." Susan Ivey, one of the Berkley researchers, says, "Most physicians trained in the U.S. are not aware their Asian-Indian patients are at risk." San Jose Mercury News reports, "About 25 per cent of heart attacks among men of Indian descent occur when they are younger than 40, unheard of in other populations." The article also goes on to say that research done in the UK several years back suggested that there may be a genetic link. However, there is a general lack of awareness of the problem in the U.S. Indo-American Community.




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People With Religious Beliefs Recover Quicker From Grief
Posted on 2002/8/5 1:41:02 ( 723 reads )


Source: Reuters





LONDON, ENGLAND, June 29, 2002: A study done in the U.K. at the Royal Free and University College Medical School in London, indicates that people who practise religion recover more quickly and heal faster when a relative or close friend dies. Dr. Michael King and his colleagues studied 129 relatives and close friends of patients who had a terminal illness. The June 29 issue of the British Medical Journal says, "Forty-three percent of the study group said they had strong religious beliefs, 41% said they had low religious beliefs and the remaining 16% did not report any religious beliefs." Ninety-five individuals from the original control group participated in the follow-up at one month, nine month,and fourteen month intervals. The group with strong spiritual beliefs recovered steadily from their grief and reported progressively less grief at the designated intervals. Those with low religious beliefs started to recover after nine months. However, the nonbelievers still were intensely grieving at fourteen months. King says, "Perhaps people without spiritual beliefs are a vulnerable group, in terms of impact of bereavement."




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Hindu Pundit Advises Against Corporal Punishment
Posted on 2002/8/4 1:49:02 ( 770 reads )


Source: Ottawa Citizen





OTTAWA, CANADA, June 29, 2002: In a regular column, "Ask the Religion Experts," the Ottawa citizen interviewed Pandit Madhu Sahasrabudhe who is affiliated with the Hindu Temple of Ottawa-Carleton and president of the Capital Region Interfaith Council on the subject of corporal punishment of children. He advised, "To discipline is to train and instruct a child in proper conduct in accordance with established rules. In the Hindu perspective, it is the responsibility of the parent or the guru (teacher) to discipline a child. However, I believe this question refers to disciplining children by punishment to instill proper conduct and that such punishment may take the form of spanking. It is only by inference from what I have read and heard that I can say that, in the Hindu tradition, punishment is not an acceptable form of discipline. As a Hindu, I believe I was born for a divine purpose. My aim in life is to improve myself, body and soul, to the highest level of perfection through a process of self-purification and enlightenment. The Hindu scriptures -- the Veda, the Upanishads, Bhagavad-Gita, and Manu-Smruti -- all deal with proper conduct through rituals and sacraments (Samskars) toward that enlightenment. The ill effects of anger, animosity, hatred and avarice, among others, are clearly described, but there is no reference to punishment to be given to children or even to fellow men if they do not follow the rules. I can also infer that spanking as wilful hurting is an expression of anger and frustration that should be avoided, yet it is prevalent." Write to Ask the Religion Experts to drogers@thecitizen.southam.ca.




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Shankaracharya of Puri in Gujarat
Posted on 2002/8/4 1:48:02 ( 678 reads )


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VASAN, GUJARAT, August 4, 2002: The Puri Shankarachrya will be staying in this village for the next two months to promote the feeling of brotherhood among people of Gujarat. The Shankaracharya's stay at Vasania Mahdev temple in Vasan village, about 12 kilometres from Gandhinagar, acquires significance as it is the native village of state Congress chief Shankarsinh Vaghela. A Vaghela trust that runs the temple is his host. The aide expects Governor S.S. Bhandari and chief minister Narendra Modi to pay respects to the seer soon. Vaghela, along with ex-CM Dilip Parikh, met him early this week. The seer says his main purpose during the Chaturmas, rainy season, stay at Vasania Mahedev is to tell the people of Gujarat "how to live in an atmosphere of peace and non-violence." On August 14, the Shankaracharya has called a meeting of 500 sadhus of Gujarat to work out a strategy on how to take the message of peace and nonviolence to the people. After his stay at Vasania Mahadev, he would be making a trip to all over Gujarat with a message of peace. Having refused state commando security, he qualified natural calamities in the state as "God's fury over man's evil deeds."




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Fiji Minister Criticises Country's Indians
Posted on 2002/8/4 1:47:02 ( 688 reads )


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SUVA, FIJI, August 3, 2002: A Fiji cabinet minister who likened ethnic Indians to "weeds taking up space" this week came under fierce attack from politicians, Fiji's ethnic Indian community and women's groups. Minister for Women Asenaca Caucau made the remark in Parliament and Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's silence over the issue has not helped his government's image. Race relations are tense among Fiji's 830,000 people, 51 percent of whom are indigenous Polynesian or Melanesian, while 44 percent are ethnic Indian. An Indian-dominated government was overthrown in a coup in 1987 and the first Indian Prime Minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, was overthrown in a 2000 coup. Caucau told Parliament Monday that Indians were like weeds taking up space just as they were doing globally. She was speaking in Fijian. She blamed Chaudhry for the 2000 coup attributing it to his "arrogant leadership style." Later she told television her comments were "not racist." Unlike previous reactions to such widespread outcry against this government, there has been no letter in support of Caucau or the State and no government official has come to her defense.




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Fiji Military Recruits Indian Officers For First Time
Posted on 2002/8/4 1:46:02 ( 748 reads )


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AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND, March 6, 2002: Ethnic Indians have been admitted to the officer ranks of Fiji's battered military force, 60 years after their grandfathers raised a controversy for not signing up to fight the Japanese during World War II. "It's been my childhood ambition to become a soldier and to serve the nation," Shalesh Kumar, 20, told the Fiji Sun on Wednesday. He was one of 10 ethnic Indians signed into the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) officer cadet corps for the first time. At one press conference during the 2000 coup drama, then RFMF spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Filipo Tarakinikini, referring to World War II, said that rather than fight even when the Japanese were close by, Fiji's Indians went on strike for more pay. Journalist Shubha Singh, whose father served in Fiji as an Indian diplomat, notes the long-term impact in a just-published book, Fiji: A Precarious Coalition. "To this day, the Fijians point to the Indian reluctance to join the armed forces as a negative feature that called into question their loyalty to their new homeland." Around 51 percent of Fijis 800,000 people are indigenous Fijian and 44 percent Indian.




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Freed Bonded Laborers Thank Swami Agnivesh
Posted on 2002/8/4 1:45:02 ( 688 reads )


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GWALIOR, INDIA, July 10, 2002: The initiative of Swami Agnivesh freed 89 bonded labors and their families of almost ten years. The contractors subjected them to exploitation, molestation, rape and all sorts of inhuman treatment. "We had a sound sleep last night and the bright sun this morning is making us realize the end of the slavery era," said laborers Batan Lal and Siddha after escaping to reach Swami Agnivesh's Delhi office to narrate their despicable condition. Freed and gathered at Morar Hospital the laborers undergo medical checkup. It has been a sort of feast day for them with elaborate arrangements by the administration. There was jubilation among the liberated laborers. The laborers touched Swami Agnivesh's feet as mark of respect. They said no one else could have dared to penetrate the invincible fortress of Devi Singh. The contractor hired laborers with assurance of paying US$2.05 per person per day. Instead, he paid them ration coupons worth $1.23 and never made payment in cash. In case of an accident or minor injury, a hefty sum of money was deducted from their wages in the name of treatment, said a laborer. Urging the administration to eliminate the evil from the society, Swami Agnivesh reported about 4,000 to 5,000 bonded laborers in Gwalior and Shivpuri region with similar exploitation.




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Three Thousand UK Hindu Youth Celebrate
Posted on 2002/8/4 1:44:02 ( 651 reads )


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PRESTON, ENGLAND, 26 July, 2002: Three thousand youth, volunteers, dignitaries and families gathered in the first of three ground-breaking national events branded Get Connected and developed by Hindu Youth UK. Prime Minister Tony Blair commented, "This event provides young British Hindus with an important opportunity to explore their culture and their faith." The event was opened with obeisances to Lord Ganesha followed by a series of addresses from visiting dignitaries and inspiring Hindu hymns sung by the local youth. Attendees witness a whole myriad of on and off stage activities. A Hindu priest went through the intricacies of a traditional marriage ceremony. Young ladies illustrated how to correctly sport a sari and others were mesmerized by the transformations achievable using the science of Vaastu Shastra, the ancient mystical treatise on architecture. Several leading Hindu youth organizations, were also on call to talk about on-going seva, service, and spiritual activities taking place around the UK. A creative kids zone where children of all ages took part in supervised games, coloring competitions and screenings of animated Hindu epics. Spirituality zone played host to a series of speakers and debates on popular Hindu topics. Visitors from all faiths and cultural backgrounders attended the event.




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Argentina University Opens Indo-Oriental Studies Department
Posted on 2002/8/4 1:43:02 ( 816 reads )


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BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA, August 4, 2002: Dr. Edgardo Nestor de Vincenzi, president of the Interamerican Open University announced the inauguration of their new Department of Indo-oriental Studies August 8. The department will be under the academic direction of Dr. Sergio Lais-Suarez, Chairman of the Department of Ayurveda Medicine, Main Professor of the Unity of Statistics Development of the University, and President of the Argentina-India's Friendship House, together with Dr. Fernando Fernandez Escalante former Ambassador of Argentina in India. During this celebration the Interamerican Open University will convey to the Indian Ambassador in Argentina, Mr. Nigam Prakash the "Honoris Causa Diploma of Professor" and the Indian Embassy will honor Dr. Sergio Lais-Suarez with the "Friends of India 2002" Award, all in the presence of more of 250 top personalities of the country including scholars, congress man, faculty, journalist, etc. For more information, contact "source" above.




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White House Defends Bush's Omission of Hinduism
Posted on 2002/8/3 1:49:02 ( 602 reads )


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WASHINGTON, D.C., July 31, 2002: White House press secretary Ari Fleischer had a tough time explaining why President George W. Bush failed to mention Hinduism among the religions practiced in the US, even as he asserted that in line with the country's pluralistic traditions, the President had equal regard for people from all faiths. Bush had reportedly failed to list Hinduism among the religions practiced in America, though he took Christianity, Judaism and Islam in the reckoning. However, Fleischer said that he was not sure about the authenticity of the statements and would check the record to ascertain whether the President had really made such an omission. He also pointed out that President had included Hindus at faith-based meetings, where he met members of the community personally.




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Police Battle Black Magic in Andhra Pradesh
Posted on 2002/8/3 1:48:02 ( 709 reads )


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HYDERABAD, INDIA June 24, 2002: Several cases of people being killed on suspicion of practicing sorcery in Andhra Pradesh have spurred the police to launch a campaign to combat age-old superstitions. The latest victim was stoned to death by four people as they suspected he had put a curse on a member of their family. In another incident a month ago, a man was dragged out of the house and set on fire, blaming him for using witchcraft to steal gold chains. The lack of basic medical care in areas of rural Andhra Pradesh force many people to seek the help of self-proclaimed sorcerers. For a small fee, the practitioners of black magic not only offer to cure an ailing person, but also cast spells on presumed enemies. However, things can go horribly wrong when angry mobs turn against the so-called sorcerers. On an average, between a dozen to two dozen people accused of practicing sorcery are killed every year in Andhra Pradesh. Judicial magistrates and other officials have been talking to the villagers to impress upon them the serious consequences of killing someone.




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