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Hindus and Sikhs Pray Together in Afghanistan
Posted on 2002/1/30 22:48:02 ( 565 reads )


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KABUL, AFGHANISTAN, January 20, 2002: Sikhs and Hindus worship and pray together at five ruined houses in the city of Kabul. In the early part of 1990, 50,000 Sikhs and Hindus lived in Afghanistan. Today less than 2,000 are in the country and according to this article, "In Kabul there are exactly 520 Sikhs and Hindus, in 40 Sikh and 10 Hindu families." Even though the two religions are distinct, they have chosen to pray together partly because of few numbers and also because they speak the same language and have the same origins. Once prosperous merchants, bankers, moneylenders or currency exchangers, they were uprooted from their homes and occupations in late 1992, early 1993, when Muslims in the country retaliated because of the attack on the Babri Masjid mosque in northern India. The mujahedeen government of this period did little to stop the looting. When the Taliban came into power in 1996, the Hindu and Sikh community kept secretly praying. However they were further segregated when the Taliban tried to force them to wear a distinguishing yellow cloth. Some lost property under this regime, and they could not live in the same house as Muslims. With the downfall of the Taliban, the community is leery about the future as part of the mujahedeen government is now in power again. However in December of 2001, the government met with Sikhs and Hindus to assure them that they are part of Afghanistan. Those who fled the country over a decade ago are watching in hopes of returning someday.




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Indians Mark Earthquake Anniversary
Posted on 2002/1/30 22:47:02 ( 652 reads )


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BHUJ, INDIA, January 27, 2001: Hindu priests in thousands of temples led community prayers Saturday as people in the western Indian state of Gujarat grieved on the anniversary of a devastating 7.9-magnitude earthquake a year ago. Men, women and children crowded colorful tents that sprang up overnight at street corners and outside temples to accommodate the masses mourning the more than 13,000 victims. The temblor, rated the worst natural disaster of 2001 by the U.S. Geological Survey, destroyed 1.2 million homes and caused an estimated $4.5 billion in damage. The prayers reached a crescendo at 8:46 a.m., the moment the earthquake struck. Temple bells rang out and devotees banged tiny cymbals, blew on conch shells and sang in unison. Priests chanted prayers and read from sacred texts. Women in saris lit hundreds of small oil lamps in memory of the dead.




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Lata Mangeshkar: God I
Posted on 2002/1/30 22:46:02 ( 632 reads )


A HREF="http://spirituality.indiatimes.com/ArticleShow.asp?ArticleID=1749850092"GO TO SOURCE/A/P
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MUMBAI, INDIA, January 27, 2002: The following are excerpts from an interview with India's nightingale of song, Lata Mangeshkar, on her thoughts of God. "Nothing in this world can happen without God's mercy, that's my firm belief. I was raised in a very religious family and follow the precepts of Hinduism. Though I love my religion, I respect all religions as much. I visit and derive tremendous peace from all places of worship. I pray every night before sleeping and I have my own puja (shrine) room at home. Besides reciting formal prayers, I keep having informal conversations with God, more of telling than asking. If somebody has hurt me, been rude to me or wronged me, I confide in God as I would to a friend or my mother. But I never wish that any harm should befall that person because I believe in karma. If somebody wrongs me, I take it in my stride thinking I must have wronged that person in my past life...." The interview can be read in its entirety at source above.
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University Grants Commission Planning Courses in All Faiths
Posted on 2002/1/26 22:49:02 ( 601 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, JANUARY 25, 2002: After the decision to introduce Paurohitya (vedic priestly rituals) and Jyotirvigyan (vedic astrology) in Indian universities, the University Grants Commission (UGC) is now considering opening departments in other religions as well. Although the UGC has not made a final decision, the proposal is to open departments in Christian priesthood, Sikhism and Deeniyat (training of Muslim clergy). Before proceeding with the opening of the department of Paurohitya, it was felt that it would be appropriate if the UGC also opened departments for other religions as well to maintain regional balance. UGC officials said the measure was being considered after the commission received letters from different religious groups requesting specialized courses and training programs in their particular belief. The commission has received proposals from 42 universities for the Paurohitya program of priest training.




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Doctors: Dalai Lama's Condition "Not Serious"
Posted on 2002/1/26 22:48:02 ( 624 reads )


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MUMBAI, INDIA, January 27, 2002: Ailing Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, was flown in here on Sunday from Patna and admitted to Leelavati Hospital for treatment even as preliminary tests ruled out any "lump" in his stomach. "According to initial tests, there is no trace of any lump as was suggested in Patna," hospital sources told PTI, adding detail reports would be available on Monday. The Dalai Lama, who suffered a bout of gastroenteritis a fortnight ago, was brought to the metropolis for extensive investigation after doctors attending on him in Bihar diagnosed a "lump" in his stomach. "It is not serious. There is nothing to be worried about," they said giving a sense of assurance to the Tibetan leader's followers gathered at the hospital. The Dalai Lama's illness and security concerns both contributed to the cancellation of the ten-day Kalchakra festival in Bodh Gaya on January 24. The meeting had been threatened by Naxalites, Maoist type communist rebels who have formed a Peoples' War Group in Andhra Pradesh. According to HPI's correspondent in Delhi, "They have no specific score to settle with Dalai Lama but would try to attack any leader of any religious organization."




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Gujarat Ayurved University Holds International Seminar
Posted on 2002/1/26 22:47:02 ( 729 reads )


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JAMNAGAR, GUJARAT, January 27, 2002: The Third International Seminar on Ayurveda is to be held February 3 to 5, 2002 at the Gujarat Ayurved University here. Detailed information is available at "source." His Excellency The Governor of Gujarat and Chancellor of the University Shri Sundar Singh Bhandari have consented to be the Chief Guest and Preside over the Inaugural Function on February 3, 2002 at 10 AM. Excellent response has been received from various corners of the world. The delegates from USA, Argentina, Germany, The Netherlands, Australia, Russia, Japan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Venezuela, UK, Greece, Bangladesh, Mauritius and Czech Republic have already confirmed their participation in the International Seminar.




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Parmarth Niketan to Hold International Yoga Festival
Posted on 2002/1/26 22:46:02 ( 616 reads )


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RISHIKESH, INDIA, January 27, 2002: Jointly organized by Uttranchal Tourism and Parmarth Niketan Ashram (IHRF), this year's Yoga Festival provides a wide range of yogic theories and techniques. There will be classes in Kundalini Yoga, Kriya Yoga, Power Yoga, Yoga Nidra, Pranayama and Meditation. There will also lectures by renowned yogis and masters, question-answer sessions, discussions, and much more. The dates for this year's Yoga Festival are February 26 - March 3. For more information, e-mail "source" above.




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Vidyadeesha Theertha Swamiji Ascends Paryaya Peetha
Posted on 2002/1/25 22:49:02 ( 672 reads )


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UDUPI, INDIA, JANUARY 18, 2002: The unwritten spiritual philosophies propounded by Madhva, the great 13th century exponent of Vaishnava dualism, are being followed faithfully by the Udupi Srikrishna Math for the last 500 years, Sri Vishwapriya Theertha Sripada, the junior pontiff of Adamar Math, said here today. Speaking at the Srikrishna Math's Rajangana, he said that four days after Makara Sankranthi, the rights of performing puja to Lord Krishna will be handed over to the next swamiji. Palimaru Math seer Sri Vidyadeesha Theertha Swamiji ascended the Paryaya Peetha today amid religious ceremonies. Seers from the eight Udupi Mutts of Tirupathi, Sriranga, Pushkar, Dwaraka, Mantralaya, Kateelu, and Kandandala maths honored the new head priest. They take turns holding the right to perform the puja to Lord Krishna at the head temple.




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Thai Pusam Message From Malaysia Hindu Sangam
Posted on 2002/1/25 22:48:02 ( 658 reads )


Source: Press Release





KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, January 26, 2002: "Under the brightness of the full moon during the Tamil calendar month of "Thai" when the star of "Poosam" is in its prime, the devotees of Lord Muruga all over the world, especially where Tamils live in large numbers, fulfill their vows on Thai Pusam day. A festival which was once mainly held in Batu Caves and Penang has now spread to many other temples of Lord Subramaniya (popularly known as Muruga) to all parts of Malaysia, making it a truly national festival. It is now attracting thousands of devotees to Sungai Petani, Ipoh, Johor Baru and Kuala Selangor. The Malaysia Hindu Sangam calls upon all devotees to give top priority to devotion to Lord Muruga. Devotees should be disciplined and should co-operate with temple authorities and the security officials involved. Devotees must bear in mind the tremendous efforts of the officials and give a helping hand when required rather than be critics. It is believed that about 1.5 million devotees will be involved throughout the country with almost another one million tourists. The Malaysia Hindu Sangam wishes all Hindus success in fulfilling their respective vows during Thai Pusam and may they be blessed by Lord Muruga." A. Vaithilingam, President, Malaysia Hindu Sangam.




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Assisi Congregation Gets Vegetarian Lunch
Posted on 2002/1/25 22:47:02 ( 722 reads )


Source: Press Reports





ASSISI, ITALY, January 25, 2002: Pope John Paul II welcomed representatives of 12 religions to a vegetarian lunch in the Apostolic Palace today, calling them "friends" united in a "commitment to the cause of peace." The Roman Catholic pontiff offered lunch to the more than 200 men and women from throughout the world who had joined him Thursday on a pilgrimage to Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis. Only five Hindus were included in the gathering, even though one in six people today is a Hindu. There were 100 Christians, 11 Jews, 31 Muslims, 32 Buddhists and ten Sikhs. So as not to offend against the dietary laws of any religion, the Vatican served the religious leaders a vegetarian meal with no alcohol and no cream for the dessert, but the menu was mainly Italian. Each of the religions was sent to separate places in Assisi for a prayer session. The Catholics are forbidden from holding common worship with other religions in a way which might imply any equality of faiths.




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Canadian Scientist Reaches out Globally to Teach Food Preservation
Posted on 2002/1/25 22:46:02 ( 684 reads )


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MONTREAL, CANADA, January 14, 2002: With a philosophy that is all encompassing, Vijaya Raghavan teaches his students at McGill University, "We are on a globe in the universe and it is our duty to be helpful to others." From humble beginnings as the son of a silk factory worker in India, Vijaya teaches agriculture engineering and has been in North America since 1969. Working in the specialty of post harvest control, Raghavan has researched ways to control the 25-30% rate of spoilage that plagues most perishable crops grown in India and China. Having received almost 19 million dollars worth of grant money in the course of his career, Raghavan has introduced low-cost techniques to prevent food spoilage. These techniques are three-fold and include the following: 1. Osmotic Drying - -Fruits are soaked in a sugar solution to remove moisture before they are stored. 2. Micowave Drying -- Food is dehydrated in an oven which reduces the drying time by more than half. 3. Silicone membranes are used on the mouth of storage containers to slow down oxygen exposure and the resultant decay. With the movement of products in the global market in the last decade, Raghavan sees a huge potential for India in exporting fruits when his techniques are used to keep food fresh. He points out that the beloved mango is now readily available for purchase all year long in Montreal.




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Status Quo For Batu Caves After Cabinet Intervenes
Posted on 2002/1/24 22:49:02 ( 580 reads )


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KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, Wednesday 23, 2001: The Energy, Communications and Multimedia Ministry of Malaysia has decided to revert to the old postal code for Batu Caves after the issue was brought up at the cabinet meeting today. MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said Minister Datuk Amar Leo Moggie had agreed to the reversal as the issue had touched the sensitivities of many Indians around the country and also because the name Batu Caves held much historical significance. The Batu Caves area will now have the postal code 68100 Batu Caves instead of 68100 Selayang. Batu Caves is well known among locals and tourists as the annual Thaipusam festival is celebrated grandly at the Hindu temple there. More than 1.2 million people are expected to converge here for the festival, which falls on Monday.




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Pilgrims in Kerala Discouraged by Traffic
Posted on 2002/1/24 22:48:02 ( 629 reads )


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KERALA, INDIA, January 18, 2002: Tis the season for Ayyappa devotees to make their annual pilgrimage to Sabarimala. Most pilgrims partake in the festivities on Makaravilakku when the Ayyappa Murthi is dressed in traditional attire and a divine light appears on top of the hill. In an effort to control the flow of traffic, the government prohibited private vehicles from parking within 22 kilometers of the pilgrimage spot. Devotees were assured that they would be able to catch a bus back to their vehicles after the festivities. However very few buses were available and some anxious pilgrims handled the situation by damaging vehicles and government cabins. Chief police W. Joseph Dawsa said, "The sudden rush of pilgrims appeared to have generated difficulties." Two inspectors posted at Sabarimala said, "The Central Government's refusal to give forest land for parking vehicles at Pampa was at the cause of the traffic problem in Sabarimala." Most devotees wait until the last day of the two-month long pilgrimage and this further contributes to the traffic problem.




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NGOs Leave Kutch
Posted on 2002/1/24 22:47:02 ( 595 reads )


Source: Times News Network





BHUJ, GUJARAT, January 24, 2002: Soon after the killer quake on January 26 last year, as talk of rehabilitation of Kutch began, non-government organizations (NGOs) started to be mentioned as the "prime movers'' for this purpose. But a year later, the NGO experiment in rebuilding Kutch has been, at best, a mixed success. Though 64 NGOs, including a number of religious organization, are working in Kutch (76 in the entire state), a large number of them have abandoned their plans and have gone away. "To start with, they did not realize that rehabilitation is a complex process and involves more than just constructing houses,'' says Maheswar Sahu, chief executive officer of Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority (GSDMA). "After initial surveys, they realized that they did not have the requisite experience.'' Also funding was growing scarce, another factor in the rebuilding of Kutch.




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Atlanta Indian Professionals Network
Posted on 2002/1/24 22:46:02 ( 664 reads )


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ATLANTA, USA, January 23, 2002: Indian American and other interested professionals, particularly those based in Atlanta, are invited to join for free the Indian Professionals Network. For additional information go to "source" above. The website includes extensive information on local religious organizations and events.




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