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Nepalese Hindu Monarchs Worship at Meenakshi Temple


Posted on 2003/3/26 8:47:02 ( 814 reads )


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MADURAI, INDIA, March 24, 2003: Nepal King Gyanendra and Queen Komal Rajalakshmi Devi offered prayers and had "archana" at the Sri Meenakshi Amman-Sundareswar temple in Madurai on Monday. The King and his entourage, accompanied by the officials from the External Affairs ministry, were given a traditional welcome by folk dancers at the entrance of the temple. Later they were received by the temple priests with "Poornakumbha Mariadai" at the temple's south Gopuram. Goddess Meenakshi, the temple's main deity, was bedecked with the diamond crown, traditionally worn only three times a year. The King spent about an hour going around the temple where his majesty was presented with a silk shawl, books on temple history, and prasadam near the temple's Golden chariot, where the King and Queen were seated.






Maryland Temple Plans Fund Raising for Kauai's Iraivan Temple


Posted on 2003/3/26 8:46:02 ( 923 reads )


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MARYLAND, USA: A fund raising dinner with live entertainment for San Marga's Iraivan Temple will be held on Saturday, April 19, 2003, from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Murugan Temple of North America. The temple is located at 6300 Princess Garden Parkway, Lanham, Maryland. For further information kindly contact "source" above.






A Handy Guide and Description for Blessing Your Car


Posted on 2003/3/26 8:45:02 ( 1635 reads )


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NEW YORK, USA, May 25, 2002: Hindus bless all implements or items to be used for daily life, protecting them from bad influences and blessing them in God's name. This is true of things like homes, cars and motorized vehicles of all types. Emmigration hasn't hampered the tradition, and every temple in the US is prepared to do such blessings, one of the most popular of which is for a new car. At this website a devotee shares an instructive step-by-step description of her car blessing ceremony, complete with photos.






Paris Hosts Hindustani Music Fete


Posted on 2003/3/23 8:49:02 ( 864 reads )


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PARIS, FRANCE, March 17, 2003: In Paris more than three months of festivities dedicated to Hindustani classical music from the 14th to the 20th centuries opens this week. It will include concerts, films, talks and a show of rare instruments from north India. Held at the Cite de la Musique from March 19 to June 29, the mainstay of the fete will be an exhibition of instruments, including sarangis and sitars, and including manuscripts, drawings and paintings from private and public collections. High points will be a forum on raga music and Kathak dance on March 22, including a full night of music put on by nine musicians from India. The Susheela Raman Quintet and the Trilok Gurtu Group with singer Shankar Mahadevan will offer the new sounds created by the mix of traditional Hindustani music, Western, blues and reggae.






A Reader Responds to "Inauspicious Thursday" Story


Posted on 2003/3/23 8:48:02 ( 1084 reads )


Source: HPI





KAUAI, UNITED STATES, March 23, 2003: Prof. R. Vaidyanathan gives his view on "inauspicious Thursday" which led Air India to cancel a Thursday flight out of North East India. He wrote, "I read with interest about people in Guwahathi considering Thursdays as not auspicious. It is not the people of entire North East. This belief is mainly in Assam. In Karnataka, a large number of people consider Thursday to be auspicious and the well-known Saint Raghavendra is offered special prayers/puja on that day. A popular song by actor/singer Rajkumar starts as " Guru vara Bandhamma" etc. (who came on a Thursday) regarding Saint Raghavendra. But many people in Karnataka consider Tuesday to be inauspicious. The train from Bangalore to Madras is not crowded on Tuesdays. They will not start factories or construction or long travel on Tuesdays. There was a report some time before that the Bajrang Dal students demanded that Tuesday be declared as weekly holiday in Lucknow University suggesting Tuesday is important/holy for Hanuman. It would be an interesting study to find out inauspicious and holy days as believed by different communities in India."






Arthashastra On-Line


Posted on 2003/3/23 8:47:02 ( 1301 reads )


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USA, March 23, 2003: Those interested in purusing Kautilya's Arthashastra may find the complete text at "source" above. Arthashastra is a remarkable treatise on sophisticated government written 2,300 years ago.






U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Says India Did Act on Gujarat Violence


Posted on 2003/3/22 8:49:02 ( 765 reads )


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WASHINGTON D.C., March 22, 2003: The Indian government has taken "much action" against those behind the Gujarat violence but it was not reflected due to the "agonizingly slow" legal system in the country, US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Christina Rocca has said. "There have been a number of arrests and prosecutions," she said on Friday, responding to questions on the Gujarat violence during her testimony before a Subcommittee on Asia and Pacific. "The legal system in India is agonizingly slow and that gives the impression that nothing is happening. But the fact of the matter is that they did take action and they are continuing to take action," she said. "This was a stain on their secular record. And no one is more concerned about it, I believe, than the Indians themselves."






Mystery Powder Prompts Scare in U.S. Post Office


Posted on 2003/3/22 8:48:02 ( 863 reads )


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FOXBORO, MASSACHUSETTS, March 20, 2003: A red powdery substance discovered Monday in a letter by mailroom workers at Invensys prompted a partial evacuation of the facility. With the heightened alert due to the war with Iraq, local firefighters were concerned when responding to a call about an unknown powdery substance at the Invensys mailroom. Deputy Chief Steve Bagley declared a Tier 1 alert, a low-level hazardous materials emergency. Also responding to the scene were five members of a regional hazardous materials team, who donned "hazmat" (hazardess materials) suits and entered the building to secure the letter mailed from an unfamiliar address in India. Local firefighters had planned to transport the letter for analysis to the state Department of Public Health in Boston the following day when they learned the substance in question was kumkum powder, used by millions of Hindu women and in temple ceremonies.






Air India Gives in to Customer Demand and Drops "Inauspicious Thursday" Flight


Posted on 2003/3/22 8:47:02 ( 812 reads )


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GUWAHTI, INDIA, March 19, 2003: So many people of north east India have refused to fly on Thursdays, Air India has been forced to change its schedule to Sundays. "It is now official. The flight will be on Sunday," said an Air India official here yesterday, much to the relief of the travel agents for whom it had been a big headache. "There is a long tradition of not doing anything good on Thursday afternoons. So why should one fly abroad?" asked Powal Barua of Travel Aid. Air India, which initially wanted to drop the flight, has now rescheduled it, giving in to the region's overwhelming demand. HPI is interested to learn the reason this area of India considers Thursday inauspicious.






Devotees Walk the Dakor Pilgrimage


Posted on 2003/3/21 8:49:02 ( 874 reads )


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MEHAMDABAD, INDIA, March 14, 2003: All roads seem to lead to Dakor, Kheda district, as pilgrims of various age groups, from one to 75, walk the stretch of road for a "darshan of Ranchhod Rai" (Lord Krishna.) Close to a million people were expected to visit the pilgrimage shrine before the 17th, the Poonam of Holi. Since the early hours of Friday, groups of people passed along the road that joins Jashodanagar Char Rasta and Mehamdabad city. "I have made it a point to walk from Viramgam to Dakor every year for the past 30 years, except for one or two years when I had to miss it as I was not keeping well. Although it is getting difficult nowadays, I will continue to walk every year," said 75-year old Sakhiben Rathod of Viramgam. A large number of organizations have set up stalls every 50 meters along the road between Ahmedabad and Dakor. Water, juice, snacks and even food is being provided free. While devotees have been visiting the temple on the Poonam of Holi for many decades, recently the number of pilgrims has increased drastically.






Devotees Walk the Dakor Pilgrimage


Posted on 2003/3/21 8:49:02 ( 888 reads )

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MEHAMDABAD, INDIA, March 14, 2003: All roads seem to lead to Dakor, Kheda district, as pilgrims of various age groups, from one to 75, walk the stretch of road for a "darshan of Ranchhod Rai" (Lord Krishna.) Close to a million people were expected to visit the pilgrimage shrine before the 17th, the Poonam of Holi. Since the early hours of Friday, groups of people passed along the road that joins Jashodanagar Char Rasta and Mehamdabad city. "I have made it a point to walk from Viramgam to Dakor every year for the past 30 years, except for one or two years when I had to miss it as I was not keeping well. Although it is getting difficult nowadays, I will continue to walk every year," said 75-year old Sakhiben Rathod of Viramgam. A large number of organizations have set up stalls every 50 meters along the road between Ahmedabad and Dakor. Water, juice, snacks and even food is being provided free. While devotees have been visiting the temple on the Poonam of Holi for many decades, recently the number of pilgrims has increased drastically.




Indian Cooking Can Be Bad for Your Heart


Posted on 2003/3/21 8:48:02 ( 978 reads )

Source: Canadian Press

ONTARIO, CANADA, March 15, 2003: Indo-Canadians are being warned that their traditional cooking, heavy on clarified butter and whole-milk yogurt, is bad for their hearts. The issue has become something of a crusade for Edmonton Hindu priest Acharya Shiv Shankar Diwivedi. He's been seeing too many people in their 40s and 50s suffering heart attacks, and has made heart-healthy living a major theme when talking with temple devotees. "The south Asian community is not doing much exercise and they're following the tradition of heavy and rich food," Diwivedi says. Many resist change because the food is what their forefathers ate, he says. However, in India life was less stressful and much more vigorous physically, he reminds them. The cause has been picked up by south Asian physicians and other health professionals, who have organized a day-long conference today on heart disease specifically for Indo-Canadians. "Indo-Canadians have a higher than average risk of heart attack," says Dr. Sunil Desai, a pediatric oncologist. "And while the rich diet and lack of exercise are part of the problem, there may also be a genetic predisposition among Indo-Canadians to heart disease. What we call normal cholesterol for the white population may not apply to the Indian population," he says. Neelam Makhani, a dietitian with Caritas hospitals, says that while many Indo-Canadians are vegetarian, their cooking involves a lot of deep frying in clarified butter (and other oils). The other problem, she says, is that south Asians use homogenized milk to make yogurt, one of their staple foods.




The Ramayana Comes to The Bay Area


Posted on 2003/3/21 8:47:02 ( 879 reads )

Source: San Francisco Weekly

SAN FRANCISCO, U.S.A., March 13, 2003: The ambitious retelling of the epic Hindu myth, Ramayana, hits its stride with the A.C.T. Conservatory's production. This epic story of King Rama, exiled by his stepmother and forced to wander the Indian subcontinent with Princess Sita and a number of friends before he rises again to his rightful throne, is one of two story cycles that serve as epic sources of Hindu myth. Until they're needed onstage, New York director Ruben Polendo has actors sit quietly around the floor at little mirrored tables doing their own makeup. Jeffrey Evans plays his own score on a variety of bells and drums. Near the middle of the story, the action hits full stride with the stories of Hanuman, the monkey king, and his straw-dressed ape-men retaking the ancient island of Lanka from Ravana and his men. The show is worth the price of admission and offers a rare taste of traditional Hindu theater.




Indian NGO Initiates "Safe Holi" Practices


Posted on 2003/3/20 8:49:02 ( 826 reads )


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PUNE, INDIA, March 15, 2003: The non-governmental organization (NGO), Kalpavriksha, has offered healthy alternatives to chemical colors to ensure safe celebrations of Holi. Kalpavriksha has obtained 100 percent natural and safe colors from Delhi-based NGO Development Alternatives. The have headed a campaign against highly toxic dyes and powders used for Holi colors and are teaching women to make eco-friendly colors. Many of the colors can be prepared at home with ingredients found in the house or garden such as beets, turmeric, marigold flowers and powdered hibiscus. Other NGOs who were successful in their campaign against water and noise pollution during Ganesha Visarjana and Deepavali festivals have appealed to people not to cut and burn trees for Holi and urged everyone to collect the garbage littering the streets following the festivities.






So When Was Holi Supposed to Be?


Posted on 2003/3/20 8:48:02 ( 868 reads )


Source: HPI





KAUAI, U.S.A., March 20, 2003: As reported recently, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs in India declared Holi should be celebrated on March 19, while many Hindu priests held that Holi was actually a day earlier. HPI asked readers for their authoritative comments, and a number were received here from astrologers and priests giving their insights into the conundrum. All but one agreed Holi should be celebrated on March 18. Respected astrologer Chakrapani Ullal gave the following insight: "All festivities are observed according to the thithis (a "lunar day," see below). Therefore it is important to know when it begins and when it ends. Sometimes differences among some religious leaders arise because many Panchangas (Hindu religious calendars) do not use the same ayanamsha (calendar of astrological data). They calculate according to a formula without making adjustments. These differences result in the observation of thithis slightly differently. Some would think that since puranmashi (or prathama, the full moon) has ended after sunrise maybe Holi should be observed the following day (19th.) However, I think once puranmashi is over in the morning, Holi could begin thereafter on the 18th. I fully agree with Laxmi Narayan Shastriji (chief priest of the Birla Temple, India)." Most Hindu festivals are calculated according to the tithis. A tithi is a lunar day, approximately 1/30 of the time it takes the moon to orbit the Earth. Because of their means of calculation (based on the difference of the longitudinal angle between the position of the sun and the moon), tithis vary in length. A second person knowledgeable in astrology explained the issue this way. "The holiday is celebrated on prathama, the day after the full moon tithi. Usually we consider that the tithi at sunrise to rule the day, so in this case, purnima tithi rules the18th, even though prathama starts at 9:45 am. The problem is, prathama thithi ends in the early morning of the 19th, so most of that day will actually be dvitiya and the scriptures say Holi should be celebrated on prathama (the day after full moon). Consequently, in a case like this, most would designate the 18th as Holi."




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