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Religious Leaders of Other Faiths Rejoice With Christians

Posted on 2002/12/17 8:48:02 ( 823 reads )

Source: Vancouver Sun

BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA, December 11, 2002: The following is a letter to the editor, Vancouver Sun: "We, 40 clergy of diverse historic faiths in the Greater Vancouver regional district, have banded together as the Clergy for Compassion and Harmony (CCH). We would like to state categorically that we, religious leaders of many of the Buddhist, visible minority Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Jain, Kabir, Konko, Sikh and Zoroastrian faith communities, do not support any letters to the editor claiming to be concerned that the celebration of Christmas is embarrassing to or disrespectful of the religious sensitivities of the people of other faiths. A few self-appointed individuals, at this time of Advent and the Christmas season, may voice disapproval of joyous public celebration of Christmas as offensive to the people of other faiths. We do not believe they really represent the people of minority faiths. The CCH rejoices with the Christian majority peoples in their celebration of the birth of their savior. May Christians receive special blessings and renewal in their faith and life through all their joyous reflection and celebration at this season. We trust that Christians in their turn respect and accept the joyous celebration of festivals of other faiths. Acharya S.P. Dwivedi, President, Clergy for Compassion and Harmony."

Mantras For Expectant Mothers

Posted on 2002/12/17 8:47:02 ( 1171 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 13, 2002: Not many music companies give a thought to motherhood, but Dhadkan, along with Sony Music has released an album entitled "Garbham Dehi" for expectant mothers at US$1.35. At this sensitive and important phase in a woman's life, an expectant mother needs care and attention in many areas, including spiritual, they believe. The mantras on the album are divided into three sections: those to be heard before conceiving a child, those listened to during pregnancy for the safety of the mother and child and mantras to be heard after delivery for the safety and overall development of the child. The slokas have been sung by Raghunandan Panshikar, while music has been composed by Bhupal Panshikar. The script is by Dr. B.P. Vyas. Readers may contact "source" above for additional information.

Militants Accused of Forcible Conversion on Tripura Tribals

Posted on 2002/12/17 8:46:02 ( 788 reads )


TRIPURA, INDIA, December 8, 2002: Tribal Hindus in Tripura have formed vigilante groups, claiming militants are attempting to convert people at gunpoint to Christianity. Rampada Jamatia, a leader of the Jamatia tribal community, said that the forced conversions were being carried out by the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT). "We believe up to 5,000 tribal villagers were coerced into converting to Christianity by the NLFT during the past couple of years," Jamatia said in Jirania, 25 kilometers east of Agartala. Community chiefs and religious heads of 19 tribes met recently and formed a platform called the Tribal Culture Protection Committee to counter the militant threat. "The committee will discuss ways and means on how best to tackle the threat to our religion and culture, besides lobbying the local government to ensure protection for the religious rights of the tribes people," said tribal chieftain Bikram Bahadur Jamatia.

Chinese-Born Ethnic Indian Receives Chinese Citizenship

Posted on 2002/12/17 8:45:02 ( 910 reads )

Source: Hindustan Times

HONG KONG, CHINA, December 8, 2002: East Indians in Hong Kong may now have an opportunity to become Chinese citizens. Fifteen-year-old Vehka Harjani, born in Hong Kong, has been granted Chinese nationality and a Hong Kong passport. She is the first recorded case where an Ethnic Indian with no Chinese blood or relatives has obtained these documents. In the past, ethnic Indians applying for Chinese citizenship were denied. A top Indian consular official says, "It is a pointer towards a new approach towards ethnic minorities." Indian businessman and social activist Ravi Gidumal adds, "The move is an important milestone for Hong Kong Indians."

British Minister Bans Yoga from Church

Posted on 2002/12/17 8:44:02 ( 800 reads )


HENHAM, ENGLAND, November 31, 2002: An English vicar has banned yoga from his church because he fears the exercise classes could lead participants on a path to "Eastern mysticism." The Rev. Richard Farr, of St. Mary's in Henham, on the Essex-Hertfordshire border, said he had enforced the ban after Tom Newstead, the yoga instructor, had confirmed that the ultimate aim of yoga was to enable participants to "ascend to a higher spiritual plane." "We are here to tell people about Jesus and his exclusive claims. It seems completely inappropriate that we should give someone a platform who is advocating different spirituality's," Farr said. Newstead, whose classes included several members of the congregation, was said to be surprised by the ban. Yoga, a Hindu system of exercise and meditation, has supporters in the medical profession who say it can relieve stress as well as help with spinal and muscular ailments.

New Delhi Toy Shop Owners Admonished for Using Wild Animals in Live Shows

Posted on 2002/12/17 8:43:02 ( 816 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 11, 2002: Toy shop owners in Khan market sometimes engage tribal people to entertain Delhi's rich kids on their birthdays with dancing bears, elephant rides, monkey shows or snake charmers. When activist-politician Maneka Gandhi got word of a recent engagement at the Kuwaiti Embassy, she reported the toy shop owner to the police. Ms. Gandhi says, "Under the Wildlife Act, possession of wildlife is an offense and carries a prosecution of five years imprisonment and a fine of US$1,038." Upon investigation, the police could find no evidence that the toy shop owner had done anything illegal. However, alerted by the complaint, several toy shops in the Khan market who used to arrange for these shows on request from families have stopped doing so.

Hindu Students Announce "Solidarity in Diversity" Conference

Posted on 2002/12/17 8:42:02 ( 780 reads )


ATLANTA, U.S.A., December 17, 2002: The Emory Hindu Students Council is holding a conference entitled, "Solidarity in Diversity: A journey through diverse religious practices in Hinduism." Scheduled for January 17-20, 2003, the conference will host speakers including Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Dr. Arvind Sharma and Dr. Vasudha Narayanan. Discussion workshops, an Indian classical music concert, banquet and cultural show are included in the program. People of all faiths are encouraged to attend. For more information readers may log onto "source" above.

Pejawar Seer Speaks Out for Anti-conversion Act

Posted on 2002/12/16 8:49:02 ( 769 reads )


DHARWAD, INDIA, December 16, 2002: Pejawar Aadheenam Mahasannidhanam, H.H. Vishwesha Teertha, has supported the anti-conversion act passed by Tamil Nadu and urged all state governments to follow suit. Speaking to reporters at Dharwad recently, His Holiness called upon all the political parties in the country to include as one of their goals the support of the anti-conversion act. He clarified that he was not opposed to those volunteering to convert to other religions, but only opposed conversion by force and coercive means. Swami advocated the need to form district level committees comprising the representatives of various religions and the government to monitor the activities of some religious organizations which are allegedly indulging in converting people by force or enticement.

Communists Succeed in Removing Sanskrit Education in Nepal

Posted on 2002/12/16 8:48:02 ( 859 reads )


KATMANDU, NEPAL, December 10, 2002: Nepal has ordered it's schools to drop compulsory Sanskrit lessons, but denies it has caved in to demands by Maoist rebels who say the language is foreign to the Himalayan Kingdom. The abolition of Sanskrit lessons is key amongst a list of educational reforms demanded by the rebels who have called on students to boycott classes across Nepal indefinitely from Monday. The Himalayan Times quoted Education Minister Devi Ojha as saying the decision was not made to comply with the rebels.

British Find Better Nutrition Helps Curb Violent Behavior

Posted on 2002/12/16 8:47:02 ( 803 reads )


BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, ENGLAND, December 15, 2002: A study by researchers at the Buckinghamshire Aylesbury Young Offenders Institution found that adding nutrients to the inmates' diet reduced antisocial behavior in the unit. The British Home Office backed the study conducted on behalf of Natural Justice, which involved 231 18- to 21-year-old men in the maximum-security jail. Half of the offenders received daily nutritional supplements, while the rest received placebos. Both groups included a comparable mix of anxious, depressed and aggressive individuals. Their antisocial behaviors, ranging from violent assaults to swearing at the guards, were recorded before and during the experiment. Published in the July issue of The British Journal of Psychiatry, the results show that the inmates on supplements committed 25 percent fewer offenses than those taking placebos. The major implication, researchers said, is that boosting a diet can be a cheap and effective way of preventing offenses. Dr. Gesch's team reported inmates receiving supplements committed 35 percent fewer offenses than before starting the trial, compared with a seven per cent reduction in those taking placebos. However the improvement in behavior wasn't necessarily long lasting. Shortly after the experiment ended, the prison staff reported that violence against them rose by 40 percent.

Reggae Group UB40 Play For Peace in Sri Lanka

Posted on 2002/12/16 8:46:02 ( 835 reads )


COLOMBO, SRI LANKA, December 13, 2002: British reggae group, UB40, say the world should learn from Sri Lanka's peace process. The group is in Colombo and recently gave a concert for peace in Sri Lanka. The organizers say the idea is to reintegrate Sri Lanka into the rest of the world after two decades of civil war and show that the island is now safe to visit. Minister of Commerce Ravi Karunanayake says this is the biggest band to visit Sri Lanka for more than a decade. The concert is being simultaneously broadcast on screens in provincial towns in the conflict areas, including Jaffna. The minister says he hopes UB40 will fall in love with Sri Lanka and write a peace song for the island. Some might ask why Sri Lankans in the north and east need a foreign reggae band when many still do not have enough to eat or proper shelter. But after decades of bombardment, curfew and fear, the organizers would argue they're ready for some entertainment, too.

Research Reveals Not So Positive Attitudes Regarding Evangelicals

Posted on 2002/12/16 8:45:02 ( 732 reads )


CALIFORNIA, USA, December 13, 2002: A Christian marketing research company says non-Christians in the United States view evangelical Christians "somewhat more kindly than prostitutes, but with less affection than lesbians and lawyers." According to George Barna, president of Barna Research Group, many non-Christians expressed negative impressions of evangelicals because they don't know who or what an evangelical is. The BRG, which analyzes cultural trends in Christianity, asked non-Christian respondents to rank and compare their impressions of evangelicals against eleven categories of people. Military officers ranked top with a 56% favorable impression, next ministers, then born-again Christians, Democrats, Republicans, real-estate agents, movie and TV performers, lawyers, lesbians, evangelicals (at 22% favorable) and prostitutes (at 5% favorable).

Ancient Recipe Gives India's Taj Mahal a Face-Lift

Posted on 2002/12/15 8:49:02 ( 797 reads )


AGRA, INDIA, December 8, 2002: The world famous 17-century Taj Mahal received a face-lift. Exposure to industrial pollution had left the marble Mogul tomb stained with black and yellow impurities. Wanting to restore the monument to its original splendor, archaeologists discovered that a mud-pack was used in the 16-century to restore Indian buildings. Using the formula as described in the 16-century Mogul journal, Ain-I-Akbary, the archaeologists combined soil, cereal, milk and lime to recreate the ancient recipe, the same ingredients once used by Indian women to beautify their skin. In any case, the results were astonishing. The Taj Mahal marble is now gleaming white. The mixture has been used to clean the interior, the gateway, and the four surrounding minarets. News of the mud-pack formula has been far-reaching. Scientists from Rome have traveled to Agra to observe the process and they have returned home to treat marble statues in Rome and Florence. The mud, brushed on in layers until it is an inch deep, draws out the polluting sulfates and carbonates. After 24 hours, the mud is washed off with warm water.

New York Fashion Scene Embraces Yoga

Posted on 2002/12/15 8:48:02 ( 798 reads )


NEW YORK CITY, U.S.A., December 12, 2002: In this droll look at New York's famous fashion scene, Kate Betts' "view" takes a fresh look at Hinduism's ancient practice of Yoga. "The last thing I thought I would be buying at the Marc Jacobs boutique in SoHo (Manhattan) was a sticky yoga mat. Yoga was for sincere, mantra-chanting people who liked to do tree poses in public. Not something that ever seemed likely to preoccupy the glittering, self-besotted members of the fashion tribe. We follow trends, not gurus. Our masters are Miuccia Prada (clothes) and Manolo Blahnik (shoes). We worship at the altar of consumerism, and can see the universe in a bead on a Fendi baguette (a US$500 lady's purse). We do not by nature believe there is a clear line between divinity and a divine pair of shoes. It's hard to fathom why fashion, which has thrived for centuries on humanity's most nakedly materialistic tendencies, would now be embracing a spiritual tradition that aspires to move people beyond the illusion of appearances. But yoga is not just fashionable, with some 18 million practitioners in the United States; it has come to permeate every nook of the fashion world itself. Christy Turlington was on a recent cover of Vogue demonstrating the bow pose in a Calvin Klein evening dress. At runway shows, you hear musical Indian names like Iyengar, Kripalu and Sivananda peppering conversations. Every stylist, makeup artist and fashion publicist worth her weight in Nuala sweats is bowing to some newfound guru at corner gymnasiums and SoHo lofts. Then I heard about Eddie Stern, a leading teacher of Ashtanga, and whose New York studio is the V.I.P. room of yoga. Ashtanga is known as boot camp yoga. Devotees break down in tears in the middle of the more difficult postures. The word is, an Ashtanga workout can change your life if you survive it. As karma would have it, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the 86-year-old brahmin-born guru of Ashtanga yoga, was making his twice-a-year visit to New York to conduct a workshop. Ashtanga enthusiasts were pouring into Manhattan from all over the country to practice with this amazingly elastic grandfather they called Guruji." To conclude this long and humorous article, go to "source" above.

British Pastor's Six Steps for Converting Hindus to Christianity

Posted on 2002/12/15 8:47:02 ( 810 reads )


UNITED KINGDOM: In this article, Juge Ram, a Christian convert from Hinduism and Pastor of Emmanuel Church in Birmingham, England, answers questions on Hinduism and explains how to reach Hindus with the Bible. After giving a detailed background of Hindu beliefs and culture, he suggests a few methods which Christians can use to reach out to Hindus. Firstly, Hindus arriving from India generally feel isolated or have difficulties knowing how things operate. Christians can use these opportunities to offer them assistance, establish friendships and win their trust. Christians can befriend and help the Hindu wife who is often at home all day alone with the children and may need friendship and assistance adjusting to a new culture. Christians should help them as much as possible and try to get into their homes. It may be a long and slow process, but it is one of the most successful ways of bringing Hindus to Christianity. Secondly, the local churches need to demonstrate a concern for the Hindus in their communities. If there is a large Asian community and many members cannot speak English, they need to hear the religious teachings in their own language. This can be done by having Christian literature in appropriate languages. The church may consider including books in Asian languages in Christian bookshops or bookstalls at local events. From time to time churches can have a bilingual service or an Asian evening. In addition, a bilingual sermon or a recording of the Bible in their own language can be a powerful tool for communicating with non-English speaking Hindus. Thirdly, Christians must be aware of cultural differences when approaching Hindus or risk offending them. For example, a woman who wants to be a witness to her Asian friends should not wear miniskirts or other revealing clothing. Men should approach men only. Fourthly, Christians should not attack Hinduism or risk alienating the Hindus. Rather, it is suggested that Christians ask questions about their religion and let Hindus see the "folly" of it themselves. Fifthly, Hindus are very polite and may give the impression that they are listening and interested. Christians must not be fooled by this and think that because they agree with them they are genuinely interested. Many Hindus will say they believe in Christ and they may even speak of repentance, but they will continue to worship Hindu Gods. Therefore, Christians must make it clear to Hindus that they need to make a clean break from Hinduism. Lastly, Christians should use the Bible when witnessing. They can read the Bible with Hindus and point out how relevant it is to their lives. Christians must treat the Bible with respect and never put it on the floor. Hindus can be given copies of the New Testament in their own language if they cannot read English. Christians should explain biblical terms through a simple biblical framework and use biblical or other illustrations to assist them in conveying their message. The pastor concludes by saying that Hindus are lost, spiritually blind and are without hope in this world and in the next. He says that only Christ can release them and exhorts Christians to share the gospel with them with great humility and great confidence. The number of practicing Christians in England drops at a rate of 1,000 per day.

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