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Sixty-Eighth Kanchi Shankaracharya to be Honored
Posted on 2002/1/7 22:47:02 ( 568 reads )


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KANCHI, INDIA, January 8, 2001: The Eighth Annual Aradhana of Jeevan Muktha and Parabrahmaswaroopi, the 68th Acharya of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Mahaswamigal will be performed at the Brindavan at Sri Matam Complex on Thursday, January 10, 2002. The week-long celebrations commence on January 5, 2002. Details of the Aradhana at Kanchipuram and elsewhere (Calcutta, Chicago, Atlanta, New Jersey etc.), as also daily updates at Kanchipuram are available at "source" above.




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Hindu Shadow Puppetry Loses Allure in Indonesia
Posted on 2002/1/4 22:49:02 ( 607 reads )


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JAKARTA, INDONESIA, January 2, 2002: The ancient world of the Indonesian wayang kulit, Indonesia's renowned shadow puppets, is fast disappearing. Sugiri, 47, a well-known dalang, or puppeteer, is carrying on a family tradition that goes back more than 300 years. "All my family and relatives can play dalang or play the instruments," said Sugiri. But although the wayang kulit retains a hard-core following on Java, the traditional puppet shows are struggling to maintain their popularity in an increasingly urbanized country awash in foreign soap operas and other cultural imports. Some Indonesians are fearful that they are fighting a losing battle to save their signature art form. There are only a few schools left where students can learn how to make and perform with the traditional puppets. Indonesia's economic crisis of the past four years has quickened wayang's retreat, making performances too expensive for many people. Puppetry was introduced to Indonesia about 900 years ago by traders and immigrants from India, Arabia, and China. In wayang kulit, the dalang sits on a mat behind an illuminated screen, manipulating the puppets to cast their shadows. The stories are sometimes based on local Javanese tales but more often on Javanese adaptations of the Hindu epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharata.




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Government Offers Land for Ram Museum in Delhi
Posted on 2002/1/4 22:48:02 ( 605 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 3, 2001: The Indian government will allot land in the capital for the construction of a museum depicting the journeys of Lord Ram across the country. "While Rashtrapati Bhavan and India Gate [both built under British rule] reflect a century or so of our history, the museum would bring to life 10,000 years of the country's heritage and inspire people to visit all the places visited by Lord Ram," said Union Urban Development Minister Ananth Kumar. Offering the plot of land to the Mahasangh, Kumar hoped the museum would be as grand as the proposed Ram temple at Ayodhya. Equating "Ram darshan" [receiving blessing by the sight of Ram] with "Bharat darshan," Kumar said the story of Ram's journey should be incorporated in the curricula to make the younger generation aware of it.




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Muslim, Hindu, Christian Holidays Overlap in Guyana This Year
Posted on 2002/1/4 22:47:02 ( 690 reads )


Source: CNN





GEORGETOWN, GUYANA, January 4, 2002: Conflicting dates for holidays this year have Christians, Hindus and Muslims in Guyana asking how to honor all religious traditions without rescheduling some celebrations in the South American country. This year, the Hindu festival of Phagwah, Holi, which joyously celebrates spring and the Hindu new year, falls on the same day as the Christians' solemn Good Friday -- March 29. After many letters from readers debating whether some holidays should be rescheduled, the Stabroek News newspaper took a position in an editorial Friday, saying it is a major challenge for multi-faith societies such as Guyana. "There can be no question of any religious holiday being moved to another date," the newspaper said. "We just have to adapt to the situation and find ways of ensuring there is no unnecessary friction."




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Karnataka's Dattatreya Shrine, both Temple and Mosque
Posted on 2002/1/4 22:46:02 ( 643 reads )


Source: G. K. Nair, HPI correspondent





CHIKMAGALUR, KARNATAKA, January 4, 2002: The Dattatreya temple here is under the possession of Muslims for many years. It functions like a mosque, except on the Hindu holiday of Dattatreya Jayanti in December, when Hindus come to pay homage to the original God of the temple. Hindus come on others days as well, even though the Muslim rituals are going on. Now there has been a move by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal to post a Hindu priest there and to recover the actual icon of Lord Dattatreya which is said to be in a cave inside the shrine. The three-day "Datta Jayanti" celebrations which concluded at the Dattatreya Peeta had more than 15,000 persons come in from all over the State to pay homage at the hilltop shrine.




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California College of Ayurveda Certification Programs Start in April and June 2002
Posted on 2002/1/4 22:45:02 ( 583 reads )


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GRASS VALLEY, CALIFORNIA, January 2, 2002: For those seeking a career path in the holistic health field, the California College of Ayurveda announces several programs that lead to certification as a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist (C.A.S.). The College's upcoming programs include full-time weekday studies starting April 23 in Grass Valley, California. The program runs three days per week for 15 months. They also offer extended weekend program starting June 7 in Oakland, California. Held one three-day weekend per month for approximately two years, the extended program provides an ideal way for students to work while attending school. Contact "source" above for more information.




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Australia Temple Prays for Rain to Stop Fires
Posted on 2002/1/3 22:49:02 ( 606 reads )


Source: Press Release





HELENSBURGH, AUSTRALIA, January 4, 2002: The Sri Venkateswara Temple announced today special ceremonies to invoke Varuna, God of the oceans, seas and water in general, for rain and the calming of the wind and fire threatening the area around Sydney. At least 15,000 firefighters have been battling the blazes, according to the BBC. There is no end in sight to the bush fires which are still threatening thousands of homes. One fire came dangerously close to the temple before it was extinguished by the local Rural Fire Service. Blazes have destroyed half a million hectares (1,235,000 acres) of bushland across the state for 12 days. More than 100 fires are still blazing. Ash from the fires -- which are visible from space -- has been dropping in New Zealand 2,200km (1,400 miles) away. The temple ceremony, called Varuna Homan, is being conducted in Australia for the first time. Temples around the world are invited to also pray that the fires be brought under control.




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Muslim Terrorists Who Attacked Hindu Temple Convicted in Malaysia
Posted on 2002/1/3 22:48:02 ( 557 reads )


Source: Reuters





KUALA LUMPAR, MALAYSIA, December 28, 2001: Convicting three men to death from a Muslim sect called the Al-Ma'unah and pronouncing a life sentence on 16 other members of the movement, a Malaysian court is trying to stop the self-declared jihad (holy war) in its country. In a stable country where ethnic Chinese and Indians also comprise part of the culture, Judge Zulkefli focused on the intent of the Muslim sect to form an Islamic state by pursuing an Islamic jihad. In the year 2001, the Muslim sect attacked a Hindu temple, a power company's electric tower, breweries, and an army base in Northern Malaysia where both a policeman and soldier were killed when the gang attempted to steal arms and ammunition.




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India's Home Minister in America
Posted on 2002/1/3 22:47:02 ( 639 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 3, 2002: Union Home Minister L K Advani's six-day visit to the United States beginning January 8 will take him across the country from New York to San Francisco and bring him face to face with some of the top decision-makers in the Bush Administration. These include Secretary of State Colin Powell, Attorney General John Ashcroft who sent him the invitation, the Mayor of New York, the top brass of the FBI and the CIA. A ''brief session'' with President George Bush is also likely. Advani will be escorted to Ground Zero to pay his respects to the victims of the 9-11 attack. Advani's main agenda is to discuss ways to set up a strong intelligence-sharing mechanism between India and the United States.




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Meditation Works for Attention Deficit Disorder
Posted on 2002/1/3 22:46:02 ( 575 reads )


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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, DECEMBER 30, 2001: Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) will be taught to meditate as an alternative way of controlling their behavior in a Sydney program that is the first of its kind. The children, aged 10 and under, will be taught meditation techniques practiced by devotees of Sahaja Yoga, a method of meditation founded in India. The techniques -- intended to relax the mind and to improve concentration -- include lying still and repeating affirmations. Program coordinator Dr. Ramesh Manocha said the unit decided to set up a trial program after requests from a number of teachers and schools looking for better ways of controlling classes with ADHD children. "We are not particularly interested in the spiritual dimension of Yoga, but its therapeutic use," he said. "ADHD is essentially a problem of attention control and meditation is a way of helping people control their attention span." ADHD is a behavioral disorder which affects up to one in 20 children. Currently an estimated 50,000 children in Australia use drugs to control ADHD.




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Inauspicious Beginnings Become Popular for Marriage
Posted on 2002/1/3 22:45:02 ( 927 reads )


Source: Times of India





AMEDABAD, INDIA, JANUARY 1, 2002: As if the existing increase in the divorce rate in India wasn't enough, people are actually now planning to get married during astrologically inauspicious times. For example, some so-called progressive Gujaratis have started ignoring the no-marriages-during Kamurta tradition. Many are getting married in Kamurta (December 14 to January 14), a time when in Gujarat even government projects will not be inaugurated. Maulik Shah, a wedding invitation expert, says the main reason for having marriages during Kamurta is the easy availability of decorators, wedding planners and caterers who are normally out of work during the inauspicious month. Another is that non-resident Gujaratis return to Gujarat to arrange marriages during their Christmas vacation period in the West. Some astrologers argue, for unknown reasons, that the Kamurta applies only to residents of Gujarat, not to the expatriates who stay abroad.




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Latest MeeRa Issue Released
Posted on 2002/1/3 22:44:02 ( 589 reads )


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WELLESLEY, MASSACHUSETTS, January 4, 2002: Are you planning a trip to India with children? Taking your children to India is like giving them an intense course in culture and family life of India and it can become overwhelming to both parents as well as children. One thing you can do is have your children take pictures. Buy an inexpensive camera that your child can use. Let him or her take pictures of what he or she finds important or interesting. Make an album and have the children share with classmates after coming back. For several other helpful ideas on the subject, check out the recent issue of MeeRa Links. To subscribe to this free service contact "source" above.




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Protests Made Over Comments on Sacred Ash
Posted on 2002/1/2 22:49:02 ( 585 reads )


Source: Times of India





CHENNAI, INDIA, January 3, 2002: About 60 volunteers of the Tamil Nadu unit of Shiv Sena were taken into custody on Wednesday when they attempted to take out a procession to former chief minister M. Karunanidhi's residence here in protest against his reported remarks that applying "Vibhuti" (sacred ash) on the forehead was superstitious. Earlier, the Sainiks also held a demonstration condemning Karunanidhi for his remarks, police said.




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Giant Bamiyan Buddhas to be Restored
Posted on 2002/1/2 22:48:02 ( 548 reads )


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AFGHANISTAN, DECEMBER 30, 2001: The new Afghan Government has said it plans to rebuild the historic giant statues of Buddha at Bamiyan destroyed by the Taliban. The giant Buddhas were dynamited by the old regime which viewed them as an affront to Islam. The new Minister of Information and Culture, Raheen Makhdoom, said his government would like to rebuild the destroyed statues as soon as possible. He said that while the rebuilt Buddhas would not be exactly what they once were, it was necessary to reconstruct them. The two statues stood between 40 and 50 meters high and were over 1,500 years old.




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Australian Court Curtails Public Worship in Home
Posted on 2002/1/2 22:47:02 ( 678 reads )


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CAMPBELLTOWN, AUSTRALIA, December 27, 2001: For over 10 years Prem and Rama Misra have been worshipping a sacred Hindu icon, a gift from King Birendra of Nepal, in their Australian home. They have been recently ordered by the Land & Environment Court that the small temple on their residence be used solely for private worship. Judge Dennis Cowdroy said, "Private events conducted by the residents of the dwelling would not be prohibited unless they could be characterized as constituting 'public worship' as defined by the High Court of Australia." Mr. Misra feels that the situation has not changed and told Campbelltown council, "It's not a place for public worship. Irrespective of zoning, it's a holy site, and council should work around it to see how that can be recognized." Investigation by council revealed that the dwelling has a prayer and meditation room with over 100 chairs stacked against the wall and that the proposed tennis court is used as a car park.




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