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Japan's Delightfully Delectable Vegetables

Posted on 2003/6/27 9:46:02 ( 892 reads )


TOKYO, JAPAN, June 22, 2003: If you grew up in America in the 40's and 50's you ate the usual vegetables -- carrots, potatoes, peas and corn. However, upon arriving in Japan in the 60's the author of this very long article encountered the most incredible variety of plant foods and claims the Japanese botanical bounty continues to amaze, delight and nourish her daily. Describing the culinary delights of five exceptional restaurants, three in Tokyo and one each in Kyoto and Yokohama, that celebrate Japan's rich array of native vegetables, this article will entice you with unique vegetarian dishes. Although not all the restaurants are strictly vegetarian, their vegetarian fare and accompanying mouth watering photographs make this well worth the read.

Ujjain Hosts Simhastha in 2004

Posted on 2003/6/27 9:45:02 ( 977 reads )


UJJAIN, INDIA, June 27, 2003: In the summer of 2004 the ancient city of Ujjain will be part of an historic event, The Simhastha, which signifies the movement of the planets into the zodiac of Leo, Simha Rasi. The spiritual milieu at the Kumbha Mela, the largest human gathering on the planet for the purpose of worshipping the Divine, attracts people from all over the world. The sheer size of the event is stunning. Thousands of sadhus, along with millions of pilgrims making their obeisance to an ancient tradition will be on hand. SITA World Travel has set up a camp called Sita's Nivana and from the comfort of the camp one can participate in one of the oldest rituals of Hinduism. Complete details of this event, together with a program outline can be found at "source" above.

Hindu Youth Conference Planned in Canada

Posted on 2003/6/27 9:44:02 ( 1081 reads )


ONTARIO, CANADA, June 27, 2003: The Hindu Students Association at McMaster University at Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, in association with The Federation of Hindu Temples of Canada, are sponsoring a Hindu Youth Conference, for ages 16-27, on July 6, 2003, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The goal of the conference is to teach Hindu youth, and interested non-Hindus, about Hindu Dharma and to unite Hindu youth for a more dynamic future in the 21st century. For additional information kindly contact Vikas Tandon at "source" above or log onto their website at http://www.geocities.com/hyconference where program details are available as well as registration information.

Arranged Marriages Get A Little Rearranging

Posted on 2003/6/26 9:49:02 ( 1093 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, JUNE 21, 2003: Young Indians and Pakistanis are reshaping the tradition of arranged marriages in Britain. While couples were once introduced exclusively by relatives and friends, there is now a boom in Asian marriage web sites, chat rooms and personal advertisements. But South Asian "speed dating" -- Hindus one night, Muslims the next -- is the latest phenomenon to hit London, with men and women meeting each other for just three minutes at restaurants and bars before moving on to the next potential mate. Arranged marriages are still the norm within these communities in Britain, but the nature of the arrangement has evolved, mostly by necessity. What the young Indians and Pakistanis of Britain have done, in effect, is to modernize practices that had evolved among the urban middle class in India in recent decades, allowing the prospective bride and groom a little more than one fleeting meeting to make up their minds. "The term we use now is 'assisted' arranged marriage," said Maha Khan, a 23-year-old London Muslim woman. "The whole concept has changed a lot. Parents have become more open and more liberal in their concept of marriage and courtship." HPI adds: One wonders how open the parents will be when the UK catches up with the US, where one out of every three babies is born to an unwed mother, according to the most recent statistics.

India's Mega Crop Diversity

Posted on 2003/6/26 9:48:02 ( 1266 reads )


NEW DELHI,INDIA, May 20, 2003: National and international debates on agriculture are increasingly talking of a new buzzword: agrobiodiversity (HPI's translation: "the old way of doing things"). Diversity in agriculture can produce a variety of foods which are safe to eat and also provide fodder for farm animals. It is in contrast to the dominant viewpoint that you grow a single crop, sell the produce, and purchase your food from the market. This lengthy article relates the success of several farmers who are preserving biodiversity in India despite the struggle against State policies that aggressively promote a monoculture (single cropping) system. Diversified crops maintain soil fertility for crops are planted in such a way that if one crop draws upon soil nutrients, another crop puts it back into the soil. Diversity also means insurance against crop failure for if one crop fails there is another crop to fall back on. And diversity ensures food security -- at any time of the year, some crop is ready for harvest; and lastly, diversity helps preserve locally adapted seeds not available in the market. India is classified among the 12 mega-diversity centers of the world, in relation to crops. As many as 167 species of crops have originated here and the genetic diversity within these species is astounding. For example, there are 50,000 varieties of rice and 1,000 varieties of mango. This diversity is the result of centuries of careful selection and crossbreeding by India's farmers and herdsman.

St. Louis Temple Arson Teen Gets Time in "Boot Camp"

Posted on 2003/6/26 9:47:02 ( 900 reads )


ST. LOUIS, U.S.A., June 24, 2003: A judge has ordered 120 days in a prison boot camp for a young man who firebombed the Hindu Temple in west St. Louis County this year. Nathaniel Connor, 17, pled guilty Tuesday in St. Louis County Circuit Court of two counts each of second-degree arson and criminal possession of a weapon. Judge John F. Kintz also sentenced Connor to five years of probation if he graduates from boot camp -- or three years in prison if he flunks. Also part of the plea agreement is restitution for the damage to the temple. That figure has yet to be determined. Connor admitted that he and an accomplice threw Molotov cocktails at the temple's door on February 22 and through a window on March 1 of 2003. Resulting fires caused minor damage to the temple, but considerable consternation to temple members, who worried they had been targets of hate crimes. HPI adds: a prison boot camp is run like an army training camp with an extremely strict regime of physical and mental education.

Bankim Chand Gossai Awarded MBE for Service to U.K. Hindu community

Posted on 2003/6/26 9:46:02 ( 980 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, June 14, 2003: Guyanese Bankim Chand Gossai was awarded an MBE (Member of the British Empire) for his services to the Hindu community in South London during Her Majesty's Queen Elizabeth II birthday honors. Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan in London said that Gossai and Ramesh Charan formed the Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan some 21 years ago. The institute promotes Indian culture and Sanatana Dharma where classes in Hindi, Indian music, yoga, Sanskrit and Hinduism are held. The organization has among its members Guyanese, Trinidadians, Mauritians, East Africans, Indians, Fijians and Europeans.

200 People Reconverted to Hinduism

Posted on 2003/6/26 9:45:02 ( 1078 reads )


RAIPUR, INDIA, June 24, 2003: Around 200 people were reconverted to Hinduism in the presence of Union Minister of State for Forestry Dilip Singh Judeo at Parswani village in Mahasamund district today. The 200 individuals represented 51 families spread over 12 villages and were reconverted at a "ghar wapsi" program organized by the Dharma Jagaran Parishad. Exhorting the people to work for the protection of Hinduism, Judeo said Hindu Dharma was in danger due to conversions, which had reduced Hindus to minority status in six Indian states.

New U.S. Senate Chaplain a Vegetarian

Posted on 2003/6/26 9:44:02 ( 850 reads )


WASHINGTON D.C., U.S.A., June 21, 2003: For 25 years, and most recently as the U.S. Navy's chief of chaplains, Pastor Barry C. Black has led interfaith services on aircraft carriers and destroyers and counseled military personnel. Now, after retirement from the military August 15, 2003, the rear admiral is set to become spiritual counselor to members of the U.S. Senate as its official chaplain. "I was elated when the opportunity to provide ministry there came available," said Black, who loves the pluralistic religious environment of the military and sees a parallel in the multi-faith makeup on Capitol Hill. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist named Black this week as 62nd Senate chaplain, the first African American and the first Seventh-day Adventist to be appointed chaplain in either house of Congress. His appointment is subject to approval by the full Senate, which is expected. Members of the Seventh-day Adventist faith follow Old Testament dietary restrictions, which include no shellfish or pork, and are encouraged to be vegetarians. Black said that he is a "vegetarian by choice," not requirement. The most visible duty of the Senate chaplain is opening each session with a prayer -- or providing a guest chaplain to do it -- and Black said he would follow the lead of his predecessor in using such general terms as "Lord " and "God' to address the deity and closing with such phrases as "in Your name."

"Power-Napping" Boosts Productivity

Posted on 2003/6/26 9:43:02 ( 917 reads )


BOSTON, U.S.A., June 23, 2003: Getting an hour's sleep during the day may be as beneficial as a whole night in bed, according to scientists. But the "power-nap" only works if the sleep is of the right quality, say the experts from Harvard University. Experts also add that a full night's sleep is still necessary for many vital body functions, even though a short sleep may boost learning and memory. The Harvard research, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, compared the learning and memory skills of two groups of people during a single day, and again the following morning. One group was told not to sleep at all during the day, and, as expected, their performance tailed off into the afternoon and evening. The other group was allowed to have an hour or 90 minutes nap at 2 p.m. The researchers were looking for two different sleep phases -- slow wave sleep, and rapid eye movement, which is normally associated with dreaming. Those whose sleep involved both phases fared significantly better than those who had no sleep when given a learning test later in the day.

Celebration of Swami Purnanand's 40 years in Mauritius

Posted on 2003/6/25 9:49:02 ( 1953 reads )


PORT LOUIS, MAURITIUS, June 25, 2003: The Hindu organizations of Mauritius are honoring Pujya Swami Purnanandji Maharaj for his 40 years of religious service to the county during a month-long celebration this June. His 75th birthday is being celebrated this month along with a whole series of activities. This program was initiated by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Sanatan Sarvodaye Sabha and Human Service Trust and other Hindu organizations. The leaders of the Hindu Maha Sabha (HMS), Mauritius Sanatan Dharma Temples Federation, Arya Sabha (Mauritius), Mauritius Marathi Mandali Federation and Ramayan Center came together to praise the man who they consider "an institution." Hallooman Girdharee, of the HMS, says the swami is considered as one of the religious leaders having had the biggest influence in the life of the Hindus of Mauritius. He was a pioneer in the organization of processions "in the sanatanist way" by interpreting bhajanas and kirtans (pious songs) and by popularizing prayer sessions such as the Bhagwat Katha and by establishing traditional ashrams in the country. The celebration will culminate on June 29 at the prestigious Indira Gandhi Cultural Center in Phoenix. The cultural program this day will be by performers from Chandigarh, India. On this occasion, the organizers also plan to present Dharma Bhushan Awards to ten social workers of Mauritius. During the last 40 years, Swami Purnanandji Maharaj has founded the Shree Sanatan Sarvodaye Sabha de Triolet (1970); Sarvodaye Ashram de Triolet (1972); Shantiniketan Vidoushi Sabha de Terre-Rouge (1974); Shree Satyanarain Mandir de Terre-Rouge (1991); International Nature Cure Center de Grand-Baie (2000) and Somnath Mandir de Triolet (2002).

Kumbha Mela Fever Grips Nashik

Posted on 2003/6/25 9:48:02 ( 1013 reads )


NASHIK, INDIA, June 24, 2003: Nashik and Trimbakeshwar are currently in the midst of intense activity as they prepare for the thousands of pilgrims anticipated for the Sinhashtha Kumbha Mela or the Festival of the Nectar of Immortality. Over 2,500 people are working in three shifts to erect 35,000 sheds on 840 plots, each 4,000 sq. ft in area, at Tapovan on the banks of the Godavari. Elsewhere, a 100-bed hospital, computerized railway and bus reservation counters, two hi-tech communication centers and ration and utility shops are taking shape, while US$2,361,528.55 is being spent on half-a-dozen bathing ghats at the confluence of Ahilya-Godavari and Gangasagar reservoir in Trimbakeshwar.

Sadhus have already begun to arrive on horses, elephants and camels, while palanquins and chariots are being embellished with silver, gold and woodwork. The Maharashtran Government is expecting over 300,500 sadhus and 750,000 devotees between July and August. In 1992 220,000 devotees thronged the Godavari on the main parvani (auspicious day) alone. This year more than 400,000 are expected. "It is tough to manage the crowd in the monsoon, but not impossible," says Mahesh Zagade, district collector, Nashik, who is coordinating the seven special committees set up for the event.

Austrian Magistrate Says Hinduism Not a Recognized Religion

Posted on 2003/6/25 9:47:02 ( 1018 reads )


VIENNA, AUSTRIA, June 20, 2003: Mr. Ashok Kaushal, a Hindu living in Vienna, Austria, has been refused by Austrian authorities to register himself and his son as Hindus. Mr. Kaushal, born in India as a Hindu has been living in Austria more than 15 years and is an Austrian citizen. When he recently had to reregister his documents in Vienna, the magistrate refused to put into his birth certificate "Hindu" as his religious denomination. He explained that Hinduism is not a "recognized" religion in Austria and therefore left blank the column of the religion in the document. The same thing happened when Mr. Kaushal went to register the birth of his son Tejas, who was born June 7, 2003. The magistrate refused to register him as a Hindu also and issued his birth certificate without a religious denomination. Austrian authorities are neglecting the fundamental human right of religious freedom while not recognizing one of the oldest religions in the world with more than 1.5 billion followers, according to this release from Yoga in Daily Life. For additional information, kindly contact "source" above.

President Mbeki Invited to South Africa's First Hindu Convention

Posted on 2003/6/24 9:49:02 ( 897 reads )


SOUTH AFRICA, June 24, 2003: South African President Thabo Mbeki has been invited to that country's first Hindu convention later this year. Ashwin Trikamjee, president of the South African Hindu Maha Sabha, said the September convention would focus on the challenges facing Hindus in post-apartheid South Africa. "Our objective is unity among all Hindu organizations. We need to have a unified approach to meet the challenges that face Hindus, for example, the issue of conversions, with Hindus moving to Christianity," he said. "Also the question of uniformity in different religious organizations and observance of religious festivals and ceremonies will be discussed." Between 500 and 1,000 delegates are expected to attend. Among the topics which will be discussed are nurturing the Hindu religion, the need for Hindu representation at all levels of government and the roles and functions of Hindu priests in South Africa.

No Elephant for Lord Jagannath's Annual Chariot Festival

Posted on 2003/6/24 9:48:02 ( 973 reads )


PURI, ORISSA, June 22, 2003: The elephant will no longer be used as part of the age-old rituals in the annual rath yatra (car festival) of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra, which begins on July 1. The temple authorities have decided to break with the tradition of an elephant leading the procession of the Puri king from his palace to the three chariots, parked near the Temple's Lion Gate. Last year Laxmi, an elephant who came all the way from Varanasi to perform the ritual, died, and the Temple authorities came under severe criticism from the general public as well as the wildlife lovers for not attending on the ailing elephant properly. Also, as a result, the Temple management was accused of being in violation of the Wildlife Protection Act.

Arranging an elephant became a problem for the Temple management after the Nandankanan Zoo Authority in nearby Bhubaneswar refused to part with its pet elephants, Prema and Basanti, to lead the procession of the Puri Gajapati in 2000 car festival. For decades Prema was used in the rituals as she was docile, obedient and better trained by the mahut to accommodate the surging crowd during the car festival. Basanti, the other female elephant of the zoo, also accompanied her for at least five years. The practice of using elephants from the zoo was discontinued in 2000 when the two female elephants on their way to participate in the car festival damaged several houses near Patia village. Wildlife officials attributed the behavior of these two elephants to the loud honking by a passing vehicle. Since then, the zoo authority decided not to send them to participate in the festival. A senior zoo official said the crowd behavior, the traffic and the road condition had changed over the years and were no longer conducive for the elephants to join the rituals as it would be difficult to ensure everyone's security. Moreover, the mahut who used to guide and interact with Prema for over a decade is no longer alive, and the zoo officials felt that it would be too dangerous to send Prema to the car festival with another mahut.

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