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Karnataka Temples Conduct Pujas for Rain

Posted on 2003/6/1 9:49:02 ( 942 reads )


BANGALORE, INDIA, May 31, 2003: Faced with acute water scarcity and the prospect of the monsoon being delayed, the Karnataka government is asking temples to conduct pujas to bring rain. Places of worship will reverberate with prayers on June 4 and 5, seeking the assistance of the Gods to solve the crisis as drinking water sources are fast dwindling because the rains have failed for the last three years. Karnataka Minister for Rural Water Supply K. B. Koliwad told a press conference in Bangalore on Saturday that he has asked all elected representatives to organize prayers at all places of worship and mobilize people to pray for rain. This is not the first time the Karnataka government has undertaken such a step. The late R. Gundu Rao made such an attempt in the 1970s directing "the Muzrai department" to ensure that bells rang out in temples and prayers rent the air to gain the help of the Gods. In 1988 after the state was devastated by three successive drought years, the government performed a puja at the Thippagondanahally reservoir, which supplies drinking water to one-third of the city, to bring rain. While the much publicized puja performed by late Shivabalayogi failed to bring rain immediately, in the next two years the Thippagondanahally reservoir was filled to the brim following copious rain in the Arkavathi river catchments area. Koliwad said in Ranebennur district he would visit all the places of worship on both days and offer prayers. Karnataka's Chief Minister, S. M. Krishna, has already worshiped near Mangalore, Sringeri, Thirupathi, Chamundi Hills and M. M. Hills, where his family deity is worshipped.

Panchamuka Anjaneya Murthi to be Installed

Posted on 2003/6/1 9:48:02 ( 875 reads )


PAPPANCHAVADI, INDIA, May 30, 2003: The installation of the 36-foot high Viswaroopa, Jayamangala, Panchamuka Sri Anjaneya Swami idol and the Panchamuka Hanumath Yantra in Panchavati Kshethram, popularly known as Pappanchavadi on the Tindivanam-Pondicherry highway via Kilianur, will take place between 10:30 a.m. and 12 noon on June 11, according to S. Ramani Anna, managing trustee, Sri Jayamaruthi Seva Trust and Panchamuka Jayamaruthi Charitable Trust. The unique statue, with the faces of Anjaneya, Narasimha, Varaha and Garuda on four sides and that of Hayagriva above them, has been carved out of a single boulder, weighing 150 tons, brought from the hills of Pazhaiyaseevaram, in the Swarnam Silpakalaikkoodam in Kelambakkam on the old Mahabalipuram road. Dinakar Sarma of Kumbakonam, Vaidhyanatha Sastrigal of Pudukkottai and Sundaresa Josyar of Maruthuvakkudi will conduct the homas and pujas.

National Geographic Carries Article On India's "Untouchables"

Posted on 2003/6/1 9:47:02 ( 1172 reads )


UNITED STATES, May 20, 2003: The June issue of National Geographic carries an article on India's "untouchables." The on-line home page has drawn criticism for linking the subject of untouchables back to Hinduism as the underlying cause that mandates caste injustice. It is not known whether the article mentions that caste discrimination is perpetrated in India by Christians and Muslims as well as Hindus, or if coverage is given to any of the positive initiatives that have been taken to combat this social problem at multiple levels. However, as one Hindu pointed out, as long as Hindu society fails to stop the practice, it will be open to rightly deserved criticism.

Singapore Troops Use Video Games to Hone Fighting Skills

Posted on 2003/6/1 9:46:02 ( 854 reads )


SINGAPORE, May 21, 2003: The Singapore army is using computer games, some of them based on commercially available software, to help sharpen the combat skills of its troops, officials said Wednesday. "As part of its continued emphasis to leverage on technology to augment its training, the Army has introduced the use of personal computer (PC) gaming and PC-based simulation to hone the fighting skills of its soldiers," the defense ministry said in a statement. Among the new training tools introduced at the Army Officers' Advanced School is Joint Conflict And Tactical Simulation, which trains commanders in various combat scenarios and joint operations. Full Spectrum Command, focusing on urban warfare and developed in partnership with the US Army, was also launched. Off-the-shelf games like Operation Flashpoint, a popular product which has sold more than a million copies worldwide, are being modified to simulate Singaporean weapons, vehicles and soldiers. "Although PC games are traditionally deemed as entertainment tools, the Army and its key technology partner the Defense Science and Technology Agency, recognize that they can effectively complement the conventional training methods such as field training," the ministry said. Some of these same games are readily available to consumers and are often viewed by kids as harmless video games. HPI adds: Critics of these killing games point to the military use of such games as additional proof that the games are unsuited to children. One US Army special forces expert said that the repeated action of shooting and killing, shooting and killing, in these realistic game settings, even if "make believe," makes it easier for a child -- or a soldier -- to kill for real.

McDonald's: Where's the Beef? Just About Everywhere, Including the Fries!

Posted on 2003/6/1 9:45:02 ( 919 reads )


KAUAI, HAWAII, June 1, 2003: An HPI reader asked a logical question upon hearing about the $10,000,000 settlement and apology coming from McDonald's for misleading vegetarians into thinking the company's french fries were vegetarian. He asked, "Did they take the meat out?" The answer is no.

On their list of ingredients ("source" above) is this: "Large French Fries: Potatoes, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, natural flavor (beef source), dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate (to preserve natural color). Cooked in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (may contain partially hydrogenated soybean oil and/or partially hydrogenated corn oil and/or partially hydrogenated canola oil and/or cottonseed oil and/or sunflower oil and/or corn oil). TBHQ and citric acid added to help preserve freshness. Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an anti-foaming agent."

Prior to the lawsuit, this list just said "natural flavor" without any further qualification, and vegetarians often assumed the flavor was not meat-derived.

So, what can a vegetarian eat at McDonald's? Not much. A scroll through the list of ingredients reveals vegetarian lettuce and tomatoes (hard to change that), maybe a Big Mac bun, but not the Big Mac sauce (egg yolks). Forget the "Creamy Herb Sauce" and "Tartar Sauce" (both with egg yolks) as well as "California Cobb Salad (without chicken)" but with chopped cooked eggs. You can -- but would you? -- eat the mustard (out of the packet), the ketchup, the dried onions and the pickle slices. You might be tempted by the "Ceasar Salad (without chicken)" except for the part about Paramesan Cheese, cheese culture and "enzymes," any of which could contain rennet (an enzyme derived from calf's stomach, but also produced artificially, used to make cheese). It does appear -- but we make no guarantee -- that the "Side Salad" and the "Butter Garlic Croutons" along with "Newman's Own Light Balsamic Vianaigrette" salad dressing, might be vegetarian, but not vegan, what with the "butter oil" in the croutons.

Have a nice lunch. The coffee's OK.

Hinduism Today Benefits from McDonald's Settlement on Beef-Tainted Fries

Posted on 2003/5/29 9:49:02 ( 914 reads )

Hindu Press International

KAUAI, HAWAII, May 29, 2003: McDonald's corporation is settling a lawsuit brought by vegetarians who were misled into believing McDonald's french fries were vegetarian when, in fact, they were flavored with beef (see HPI, May 27). Out of the US$10 million, $250,000 was allotted to the Hindu Heritage Endowment (www.hheonline.org/) to endow 1,000 complimentary subscriptions to Hinduism Today magazine in the United States. The money will be put in a conservative investment fund and the proceeds used to pay for the subscriptions. The principle, however, remains intact forever. This is the same fund which holds the money paid for lifetime subscriptions to Hinduism Today. HHE was founded by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, also founder of Hinduism Today and Hindu Press International, as a permanent endowment for the benefit of various Hindu institutions and causes. The total endowment has recently passed $3.3 million. Thousands of Hindus have donated to it, and some have established their own special funds within it to endow projects of their choice to the benefit of Hindus and Hinduism. The terms of the settlement required, among other things, that the recipient organizations be dedicated to the values of Hindu, Sikh and other beef-less dietary rules, vegetarianism or Kosher dietary rules, or children's nutrition or hunger relief. Hinduism Today qualified for its consistent and on-going advocacy of vegetarianism.

Over 3,500 pilgrims to Take Part in Amarnath Yatra

Posted on 2003/5/29 9:48:02 ( 842 reads )


SRINAGAR, INDIA, May 29, 2003: Over 3,500 pilgrims are expected to take part in the annual Amarnath Yatra that will commence July 12, official sources said here on Thursday. Base camps for the month-long yatra at Nunwan and Baltal will start functioning on July 5. Of the 3,500 pilgrims who will take part in the yatra, 2,700 are scheduled for the traditional route passing through Pahalgam, while 800 yatris will take the shorter Baltal hill track. Drinking water, diesel generator sets, sufficient quantities of food grains and firewood will be available for the pilgrims. Medical camps will be set up at all stages of the yatra, besides the mini-hospitals at Nunwan, Pahalgam and Baltal. BSNL will install telephone booths at Pahalgam, Chandanwari, Sheshnag, Panchtarni, the Amarnath Cave itself, Baltal Sonamarg and Manigam, and the police telecommunication department would provide wireless facilities for coordination along the hill track. The authorities said the ban on polyethylene bags, plastic crockery and pitching plastic tents at all stages of the yatra will be strictly enforced to prevent pollution hazards.

Yoga Craze In UK Offers New Avenues For Indian Designers

Posted on 2003/5/29 9:47:02 ( 816 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, May 27, 2003: Yoga has been in vogue for some time among celebrities, but this month it officially goes mainstream in Britain. It's a come-on cue for yoga instructors in India and fashion designers like Rohit Bal, Adarsh Gill and Ritu Beri. Yoga expert Aina Wethal attracts at her Pineapple Fitness Center at Coven garden in London disciples who are as keen on fashion as much as they are on yoga. She believes that clothes must flow when one is doing yoga, so they must be light and breathable. High Street chains led by Marks and Spencer (M&S) have realized not only the craze for yoga's "inner strength and realization of peace" but also women's desire to wear comfortable clothes. M&S are about to launch a Yoga and Pilates range of clothes, called Mind and Body, in stores throughout Britain. Reportedly, the range will go to their Indian stores in the near future. Julia Robson, fashion writer, said yoga clothes are fueling a fitness-gear scramble not seen since Jane Fonda's Workout topped the video charts in the 80s. Other chains from French Connection to Gap are featuring clothes in their ranges that are apt for yoga. They now join the sportswear brands like Nike's and Adidas.

Navaratri Festival Called a Cultural Not Religious Event by U.K. Gujarati Community

Posted on 2003/5/29 9:46:02 ( 913 reads )

U.K. Newsquest Regional Press

LONDON, ENGLAND, May 23, 2003: This year's Navaratri Festival may receive no funding because of council guidelines not to support events which have the primary purpose of promoting religion. The Sarvoday Hindu Association has sent the grant appeal back to the committee which rejected it in hopes of changing the decision. The contention was whether the event was primarily religious or not. More than 60 members of the Gujarati community argued it was a cultural event with people from all religions as well as nonreligious Gujaratis attending. They said the only religious part of the festival is a 15-minute prayer said each night which is as much a part of their culture as the dance, dress and food associated with the event. Navaratri is a nine-day festival associated with the worship of the Goddess in the form of the Universal Mother, but many younger residents spoke about the relative insignificance of the religion and the importance of the event socially and culturally with people from all walks of life attending. Speaking after Tuesday's meeting, grants and awards chairman councilor Rolson Davies said, "I can understand and appreciate the argument being put forward by the representatives of the community as to why they felt it was a cultural event. The allocation of a grant depends on whether the panel decides the cultural element outweighs the religious element." HPI adds: It is unfortunate that the Gujarati community made such a declaration, that one of the most holy festivals of Hinduism is a mere "cultural event." Perhaps it has been reduced to such in England, but in India the religious aspect of it remains intact. If the city council were to have accepted their request, the council would also have to fund Christmas, which, with the decline of belief in Christianity, has become as much or more a social observance than a religious one.

Dr. N. S. Rajaram to Lecture on History and Archeology of the Mahabharata

Posted on 2003/5/29 9:45:02 ( 1009 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, May 29, 2003: NHSF King's College London is hosting a lecture by respected academician and scientist, Dr. N.S. Rajaram, on the history and archeology of the Mahabharata. This free lecture is scheduled for Saturday, May 31, at 3:00 p.m. The venue is King's College London, Waterloo Campus, Stamford Lecture Theater, Franklin-Wilkins Building, 150 Stamford Street, London SE1 9NN. Dr. Rajaram has worked in U.S. academia and the high technology industry for over twenty years. Since 1992, he has been an independent researcher and writer working on the history and science of ancient civilizations. He is the author of ten books including the widely known Vedic Aryans and The Origins of Civilization with Dr. David Frawley and The Deciphered Indus Script with N. Jha, and Search for the Historical Krishna. Kindly contact "source" above for further information regarding the lecture.

Priests Of Orissa's Puri Temple to Receive Health Care From the Government

Posted on 2003/5/28 9:49:02 ( 911 reads )

Aajtak Television News (India)

ORISSA, INDIA, May 28, 2003: After a report on the poor physical and mental condition of the priests of the Puri Temple, the government has now decided to have a "medical camp" to take charge of their medical care. This action was taken after Aajtak Channel highlighted the illnesses being faced by these priests. The priests themselves are also very relieved for, until the news report, no one had been concerned about their debilitated health condition. Prafful Chand Gadhai, Health Minister in the Orissa Government says, "The camp will have general physicians, neurosurgeons and other surgeons and specialist doctors examine the priests. After the results of the camp are out, the requisite treatment would also be given to those who need it."

Last week Aajtak telecast a news story telling how over two thousand priests of the Puri Temple have to walk up and down the stairs of the temple a number of times everyday. After doing much physical work daily, these priests consume bhang (marijuana), an intoxicating drug for relaxation. Due to this, around seventy percent of the priests are suffering from mental diseases. Dev Khunita, a priest, said that they are happy with the government's decision. Starting from May 30, the camp will be held for three days, and over 1,500 priests will be examined during this time.

Thai Hindu Temple to Reopen

Posted on 2003/5/28 9:48:02 ( 899 reads )

The Nation (Thailand)

BANGKOK, THAILAND, MAY 24, 2003: The ancient, Hindu-style Preah Vihear Temple will reopen the same day as next weekend's joint Thai-Cambodian cabinet meeting, Defense Minister General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, said yesterday. "The reopening is expected on May 31, the day both cabinets meet to discuss several matters of bilateral cooperation," he said. Chavalit said Deputy Prime Minister Chaturon Chaisang would be present when the sole access to the temple in Preah Vihear province, adjacent to Thailand's Si Sa Ket, is reopened from the Thai side. Citing poor sanitation and polluted water issuing from the Cambodian side, Si Sa Ket authorities had closed off access, blocking all entry to the ancient structure. The opening is also intended to smooth relations between the countries which have become strained due to border disputes over who has claim to certain ancient temples.

International Hindu Human Rights Seminar to be Held in The Hague

Posted on 2003/5/28 9:47:02 ( 1018 reads )


NETHERLANDS, THE HAGUE, May 26, 2003: Working Group Agni is an organization whose goals are to protect the values of Hinduism throughout the world. In this context it also promotes human rights and provides humanitarian aid. In Bangladesh, and other countries, Hindus are facing extreme human rights violations which they believe needs the attention of the global community. For this purpose Working Group Agni, together with other Hindu institutions, has organized an international human rights seminar to bring to the world stage human rights violations on Hindus in Bangladesh and other countries. The seminar will be June 27 to 30, 2003, in The Hague at the International Court of Justice, the Netherlands, Europe. During the seminar, participating organizations will discuss the creation of an international Hindu human rights' organization which would have more power and impact in discussions with established organizations, such as the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and other governments. Readers may kindly contact Mr. Sradhanand Sital, Chairman, and read further on Working Group Agni at "source" above.

Indonesia May Become Home to World Meditation Center

Posted on 2003/5/28 9:46:02 ( 850 reads )

Jakarta Post

PURWOKERTO, INDONESIA, May 23, 2003: The government is considering turning Java's oldest Hindu temple complex at the Dieng plateau in Central Java into an international center for meditation. State Minister for Culture and Tourism I Gde Ardika said on Wednesday that due to its historical importance, the Dieng complex deserved to become an important center for meditation. He said many Hindu priests meditate at the temple complex, which is located on a 2,000-meter-high plateau 26 kilometers northwest of Wonosobo in Central Java. Ardika said the plan should be carefully considered, taking the impact on the non-Hindu community living nearby the complex into account. The name Dieng comes from Di Hyang which means "Abode of the Gods"

Help Us Rate the Airline's Vegetarian Menus

Posted on 2003/5/28 9:45:02 ( 895 reads )


KAUAI, USA, May 28, 2003: Hinduism Today is preparing a story on in-flight vegetarian meals, inspired by the discovery that EVA's "Hindu" meal includes chicken. Send a short statement to "source" on your experience with in-flight vegetarian meals, including your best and worst experiences and your suggestions for fellow veggie travelers.

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