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Hindu Press International
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Jayendra Saraswati Interviewed on Ayodhya
Posted on 2002/5/1 23:47:02 ( 657 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 29, 2002: Sri Jayendra Saraswathi, the Kanchi Shankaracharya, says that by imposing President's rule in Gujarat, peace could be restored to the disturbed state. He spoke to Narayani Ganesh of the Times of India in New Delhi, fresh from a trip to Ayodhya. Here are excerpts from the interview: "I went to Ayodhya to see for myself what the atmosphere is like, now. I did what ordinary citizens do -- I offered prayers at the mandir. I did prarthana (prayer) for 15 minutes at the Ram Janambhoomi site. There is absolute shanti (peace) among the people of Ayodhya. Havan (fire ceremony) is in progress; kar seva (selfless service) is also going on. In Ayodhya, there are 10 mosques in good condition. Namaz is being offered, businesses are being conducted and children are going to school. Some 1,000 Muslims live there and there are 300 Muslim homes interspersed with Hindu homes, all living in peace. There are 108 mandirs. Four or five old mosques have fallen apart on their own; there's no problem. There's no local disturbance. It is the people who come from outside who create problems. They rake up long-forgotten issues -- the so-called kar sevaks, the political activists and pracharaks and even some Muslims from Delhi and other places. Locally, Hindus and Muslims live amicably. Both communities feel that now those outside elements have left, peace will prevail. Time is a great healer, they say, and, therefore, it is only a matter of time before sectarian passions stoked by mischief-makers die down completely. They don't want interference from Delhi." With regard to the Gujarat riots, the Shankaracharya said, "This is my appeal. If a few members of a particular community commit violent acts, we cannot hold the entire community to ransom. The see-saw violence in Gujarat must be brought to an end forthwith. Peace should prevail. In Gujarat, the train incident happened. Protesting against violent acts is justified. But taking this to extreme forms of retaliation is not okay. If there was an action and it had a reaction, it doesn't mean that this has to carry on. Peace should be restored." Asked about "rajdharma," the just rule of the king, His Holiness said, "What rajdharma? When there is no raja (king), how can there be rajdharma? We are a democracy. The praja (citizen) is supreme." Asked if he was hopeful that one day a Ram temple would come up at the Janmabhoomi site, he replied, "(Laughs). Mandir or no mandir, Ram is present, anyway. So, how does it matter?"




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Request for Tamil Calligraphy
Posted on 2002/5/1 23:46:02 ( 863 reads )


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KAUAI, HAWAII, May 2, 2002: Hinduism Today is seeking the Tamil alphabet in elegant hand-drawn calligraphy for use as a display font for book titles and like applications. We are familiar with all the computer fonts on the market, but are looking for something with a more graceful, organic and traditional sense to it. If you are an accomplished calligrapher and would like to help, kindly contact "source" above.




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Traditional Kumkum Recipe Sought
Posted on 2002/5/1 23:45:02 ( 855 reads )


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KAUAI, HAWAII, May 2, 2002: An HPI reader has requested a traditional recipe to make kumkum, the red powder or paste offered to the Diety in temple ceremonies and put on the forehead of the devotees. If you know how to make it in the traditional fashion with lime and tumeric, kindly contact "source" above.




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Help Gujarat Victims
Posted on 2002/5/1 23:44:02 ( 796 reads )


Source: Hinduism Today





OKEMOS, MICHIGAN, May 2, 2002: The International Service Society founded by Shrikumar Poddar is actively raising funds to help all victims of the Gujarat riots. They have set up a matching fund program where each donation over $250 will be matched with an equal amount, all forwarded for relief efforts in Gujarat without deducting any overhead expense. For more information, contact ISS, Amin Tejani, 1-888-511-7341, or write ISS at 2601 Cochise Lane, Okemos, Michigan, 48864-2055, USA. The ISS has a reliable track record in relief efforts.




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Indra Devi Passes On at Age 102
Posted on 2002/4/30 23:49:02 ( 683 reads )


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BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA, April 30, 2002: Indra Devi, the daughter of European nobility who introduced the ancient discipline of yoga to the Kremlin leadership and Hollywood stars, passed away on Thursday in Buenos Aires. She was 102. Known to her followers as Mataji, she was a student of Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, the legendary guru who gained worldwide attention for stopping his heartbeat for two minutes. She was his first female student. She was born Eugenie Peterson in Riga, Latvia, on May 12, 1899. She attended drama school in Moscow as a girl, and escaped to Berlin with her mother in 1917. Her fascination with India began at 15, when she read a book by the poet Rabindranath Tagore. In 1927 she sailed for India. Here, the Maharaj and Maharini of Mysore introduced her to Sri Krishnamacharya. After being trained as a yoga teacher she traveled to Shanghai with her husband. There she held five classes a day in the bedroom of Madame Chiang Kaishek, wife of the nationalist leader and a new yoga enthusiast. She found her way to Hollywood in 1947 and discovered ready students among movie stars, who found yoga's breathing and relaxation techniques useful to their work. Her students included Gloria Swanson, Greta Garbo, Jennifer Jones and the violinist Yehudi Menuhin. In 1960, India's ambassador to Moscow arranged for her to meet the top soviet leaders, including Aleksei Kosygin, the premier, and Andrei Gromyko, the foreign minister. After she spoke to them of the benefits of yoga, it was legalized in Russia. In 1982 she visited Argentina, where she formed a foundation to spread her yoga methods.




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Muslim Scholar Masters Vedic Verses
Posted on 2002/4/30 23:48:02 ( 713 reads )


Source: Hindustan Times





UTTAR PRADESH, INDIA, April 27, 2002: If the uncommonness of Pandit Syed Husain Shastri's name is not enough to surprise you, his activities certainly will. For a devout Muslim, he has an unusual routine. Every morning as the bell chimes 8 at the RSS-run Saraswati Shishu Mandir, Husain begins the day with his soulful Vedic chants. It is a ritual he has faithfully followed for the last 22 years. Husain's use of the Hindu scriptures makes him notable in Malihabad district of Uttar Pradesh, an area predominantly populated by Muslim. His knowledge of Sanskrit rivals and even betters that of many acknowledged Hindu experts. A true believer of the faith, he offers prayers at the mosque everyday. But even here he makes the Azaan, Muslim prayer, in Sanskrit. Sanskrit fascinated him from childhood. He was awarded the degree of a Shastri by the Lucknow University in 1958 after successfully completing his post-graduate studies.




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Shrinking Russia Says No to Migrants
Posted on 2002/4/30 23:47:02 ( 657 reads )


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MOSCOW, RUSSIA, April 25, 2002: Russia is facing a demographic crisis so dire that its population could shrink by half within 50 years. The obvious solution, to encourage young immigrants from overpopulated Asian neighbors such as China or India, is so politically sensitive that Russian leaders refuse to even discuss it, reported The Christian Science Monitor recently. Russia faces a double whammy, it said. Like most of the developed world, birthrates have fallen far below levels that would sustain the population. Births now stand at 1.1 per woman, far short of the 2.4 needed to stabilize the population. At the same time, the death rates, particularly among working-age males, have shot up due to post-Soviet poverty, substance abuse, disease, stress and other ills. The population has fallen from 149 million a decade ago to just over 144 million now and experts say it is losing a million each year. Mr Lev Gudkov, a demographer with the independent Russian Center for Public Opinion Research, predicted that there could be one pensioner for every worker in Russia within 20 years. The Russian nationalists have been blaming the crisis on women, and their solution amounts to removing them from the labor market and sending them home to have more children. Unlike most Western countries, which make up for lower birthrates through immigration that provides workers to keep economies growing and tax revenues flush, Russia is not to open to the idea. Said Mr. Yevgeny Krasinyev, head of migration studies at the official Institute of Social and Economic Population Studies in Moscow: ''The only acceptable sources of immigrants for us are the Russian-speaking populations of former Soviet countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).'' But the flow from the CIS is slowing to a trickle.




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Prime Minister: Malaysia to Remain A Moderate Muslim Nation
Posted on 2002/4/30 23:46:02 ( 638 reads )


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KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, April 26, 2002: Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad yesterday denounced terrorism, reiterating that Malaysia would remain a moderate Muslim nation, during the installation of the country's new king. The Malaysian authorities have jailed 62 people in the past year alleged to have belonged to an extremist group that plotted to overthrow the government. Some of the detainees are accused of planning to blow up US targets in neighboring Singapore, and one, Yazid Sufaat, is said to have let two of the Sept 11 hijackers use his apartment in 2000. Dr Mahathir said that the Malaysian government would continue to uphold Islam as the country's main religion, but it would also ensure freedom of worship for the followers of other religions in Malaysia. He added that any group which uses Islam to serve personal or political interests will be subjected to government action.




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Universe in "Endless Cycle"
Posted on 2002/4/30 23:45:02 ( 853 reads )


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USA, April 26, 2002: Two scientists from the USA and UK, Paul Steinhardt and Neil Turok, have put forward a new model to explain how the cosmos is and where it might be going. They say it is necessary to take account of startling new discoveries -- in particular, the observation that everything in the universe is moving apart at an accelerating rate. They propose the idea that the cosmos goes through an endless cycle -- of Big Bang, expansion and stagnation -- which is driven by an as yet unexplained "dark energy." They have put forward their views in the journal Science. What they are proposing in this new picture is that the Big Bang is not a beginning of time but really just the latest in an infinite series of cycles -- exactly what Hindus have been saying for the last several thousand years.




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Trinidad Scholar Comments on Gujarat
Posted on 2002/4/30 23:44:02 ( 669 reads )


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TRINIDAD, May 1, 2002: Anantanand Rambachan, professor of religion at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, USA, and a native of Trinidad, wrote in the Trinidad Express recently, "The current violence between Hindus and Muslims in India must stir pain, sadness and outrage among the followers of Hinduism everywhere and be unequivocally denounced." Another part of his article reads, "Although pained memories of victimhood can stretch long into the past, how far are we willing to reach back into time to resuscitate ancient battles and victimize the innocent?" His article brought a sharp and often personal retort from Parsuram Maharaj of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha. Parsuram wrote, "The Hindu and Muslim communities in Trinidad and Tobago since the time of indentureship have existed side by side in a harmonious manner that can serve as an example to religious tolerance to other parts of the world. ... Rambachan also fails to recall that the most important Hindu scriptural texts are delivered with violence as a backdrop. ... Hindu incarnations of God always spoke of peace but they were always armed to back it up if the need arose." Sat Maharaj, Secretary of the Maha Sabha also wrote a response. "Rambachan continues perpetuation of the myth of the weak and docile Hindus." Rambachan responded to both comments in a further article, "Violence and Hindu Identity." He said, in part, "What is truly disturbing on this particular issue, however, is the manner in which a text like the Bhagavad Gita is routinely and uncritically cited to legitimize and justify the violence which was unleashed in Gujarat." The original articles and responses are available in full at "source" above.




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Ayurveda International Symposium Set For Berkeley, California May 2
Posted on 2002/4/30 23:43:02 ( 648 reads )


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BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA, May 1, 2002: For anyone who loves Ayurveda, the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine presents a symposium of Ayurvedic teachers and practioners this weekend at the Pauley Ballroom of the University of California at Berkeley, California. A truly impressive line up of speakers from India, UK, Australia and USA will be presenting panel discussions, research presentations and workshops on Ayurveda, Hatha Yoga, Vastu, Vedanta, Sanskrit and Jyotish. For further information, click "source" above.




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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Receives "Phoenix Award" in Atlanta
Posted on 2002/4/30 23:42:02 ( 719 reads )


Source: Francois Gautier





ATLANTA, GEORGIA, April 29, 2002: On a whirlwind tour of the United States, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the world renowned founder of the Art of Living Movement, represented in 140 countries, has just been given the Phoenix award, one of the highest honors to be bestowed by the State of Georgia. The President of the Georgia Senate, Senator James, has declared that "in recognition of his and the Art of Living Foundation's outstanding contribution to humanity, April the 29th will be henceforth observed as the Sri Sri Ravi Shankar day." The resolution added that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, "through a simple, down to earth and practical program, called the Art of Living Basic course, is bringing relief to millions of people."




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New York Human Rights Group Criticizes Gujarat Administration
Posted on 2002/4/29 23:49:02 ( 632 reads )


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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, April 30, 2002: A New York-based human rights group has launched a strong attack on the government of India's western state of Gujarat, alleging that state officials were directly involved in the killings of hundreds of Muslims, according to this report on the BBC. What happened in Gujarat was not a spontaneous uprising, but was a carefully orchestrated attack against Muslims, they state. Human Rights Watch, which carried out its own investigations, says the violence was pre-planned and the state government was now involved in a massive cover-up of its role in the rioting. The Gujarat Government has been under attack by the opposition as well as several welfare groups for failing to prevent the spread of violence in the state. But the Human Rights Watch report is the most damning so far. It says at the height of the riots between February 28 and March 2, thousands of attackers descended on Muslim neighborhoods, clad in saffron scarves and khaki shorts -- the uniform of Hindu right-wing groups. The report said they were guided by voter lists and print-outs giving addresses of Muslim-owned properties, information they obtained from the local municipality. HPI adds: The chilling report can be read in full at http://www.hrw.org/. Its most provocative and questionable claim, that the riots were somehow planned in advance of the Godhra train attack, is based upon "rumors" the presence of various activists in the area before the riots. Some recent BBC and NY times reports have picked up on this pre-planned angle so strongly that they did not even mention the Godhra train attack as the starting point for the riots.




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Hindu Priest Murdered by Thieves at Bangladesh Temple
Posted on 2002/4/29 23:48:02 ( 661 reads )


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KHAGRACHHARI, BANGLADESH, April 30, 2002: Two persons, one of them a Hindu priest, were killed and another person was injured in separate incidents in the Khagrachhari hill district in last two days. Madan Gopal, 45, priest of Radha Madan Ashram in Manikchhari Upazila was stabbed to death by a gang of criminals at the temple Sunday night, police sources said. The criminals also looted a gold statuette from the temple. Temple authorities said the murder of the priest was a sequel to a dispute over tolls demanded by some criminals. The priest had refused to give in to their demand. The police arrested one Sanwar Hossain on suspicion. The Hindus in Khagrachhari brought out a protest rally after the murder and demanded punishment of the culprits.




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Links Proposed Between Ancient India and Central America's Mayans
Posted on 2002/4/29 23:47:02 ( 668 reads )


Source: Deccan Chronicle





HYDERABAD, INDIA, April 29, 2002: Recent studies suggests a link between Indus Valley and Mayans of Central America. The studies focused on the calendars of the two advanced civilizations. The Indus Valley inhabitants followed a calender based on the movements of Jupiter, and the Mayans followed one based on the Venus. In the Puranas, a secondary Hindu scripture, Jupiter, Brihaspati, was acknowledged to be the leader of the gods, while Venus, Shukra, was the leader of the asuras. The texts further state that the devas and asuras lived on opposite sides of the Earth. Mexico and India are at opposite sides in longitude. The correspondences were pointed out by B. G. Siddarth, director of the B. M. Birla Science Centre in Hyderabad. He also said the Hindu story of the churning of the ocean has been found in carvings in Mexico, as well Mayan representations of a tortoise carrying twelve pillars similar to Indian illustrations. Dr. Ganapati Sthapati of Chennai, a foremost expert on Vastu shatra, the ancient Hindu architecture, has visited the Mayan structures in Central America and found many similarities between the design and construction methods of the Mayans and that of the ancient Hindus.




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