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Airline Vegetarian Meals

Posted on 2003/7/12 9:47:02 ( 1040 reads )


LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, JULY 2003: Traveling by air and ordering a vegetarian meal can be like playing Russian roulette. You simply don't know what will appear on your tray. Vegetarians who are planning to travel by plane may wonder what vegetarian food choices are available. Vegetarians in Paradise ("source") provides a chart of airlines who serve vegetarian/vegan meals as well as comments by passengers on some vegetarian menus served by the listed airlines. Vegetarians in Paradise is a comprehensive, nonprofit e-zine offering ideas on being a vegetarian, breaking news in the vegetarian world, reviews on vegetarian food companies and their products and much more.

Landslides Halt Mansarovar Yatra

Posted on 2003/7/11 9:49:02 ( 1008 reads )


PITHORAGARH, NEPAL, July 11, 2003: The Kailash-Mansarovar yatra came to an abrupt halt on the third day of the pilgrimage on Thursday when landslides blocked the road at Teentola, about 15 km from Dharchula, leaving the pilgrims stranded at Tawaghat, police said. This group is coming from India directly into Tibet, and not via Nepal through which most of the commercial pilgrimages pass on the way to Kailas. Public Works Department personnel were pressed into service to clear the road. The first batch of 16 pilgrims, who had reached Dharchula town on Wednesday, had left by bus for Mangati on Thursday morning. From Mangati, the last motorhead in Pithoragarh district, the pilgrims would start an arduous trek of 200 km to Kailash-Mansarovar in Tibet, officials said.

Indians' First Landing Site in West Indies to Be Restored

Posted on 2003/7/11 9:48:02 ( 977 reads )


PORT-OF-SPAIN, TRINIDAD, July 10, 2003: More than 158 years after the first Indians arrived in Trinidad and Tobago, plans are afoot to restore the island where more than 200,000 indentured Indian laborers were brought to work on sugar plantations. The project, which will be completed in three phases, is expected to cost US$1.8 million, and will reflect the period 1869 to 1917. The restoration work is expected to be finished in 2005. After African slaves were freed by an Act of the British Parliament on August 1, 1838, some 217,000 Indian laborers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh were brought here by the British from 1845 to 1917 to work on the sugar plantations.

Many Believe Light Skin is Lovely

Posted on 2003/7/11 9:47:02 ( 1031 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 5, 2003: The pharmacy clerk pulls a box of skin lightening cream from a glass cabinet, places it on the counter and says it's obvious why he sells so much of it. Women want to be beautiful and the key to that is inside the box, which has a series of drawings showing a woman growing pale to the point of near invisibility. "When a woman is more fair, she is more beautiful," Vishnu Kayat says. Seemingly, much of India agrees. Throughout India images of fair-skinned women are everywhere, especially in the fashion and movie Industry. Even marriage ads are filled with requests for "fair-skinned" brides and families advertising their "fair-skinned" daughter. (Those not so fortunate are of "wheat" complexion, not "dark.") Not surprisingly, sales of skin lighteners bring in more than US$100 million a year.

Not all Indians are comfortable with this celebration of fair skin, however, and the debate over the social divisions of skin tone has spilled into the media and politics. In a nation often tangled in its own cultural contradictions, it's a schizophrenic debate, tied to questions of caste, colonialism and the global media invasion. The result? The past few years have seen both an increase in the use of white women as advertising models -- and an increase in acceptance of dark skin as a sign of beauty. Lightness of skin tone has become a global issue as skin lighteners can be purchased from Tokyo to small towns in central Africa.

Nepal Releases Christians Accused of Missionary Activities

Posted on 2003/7/11 9:46:02 ( 978 reads )

Charisma News Service

KATMANDU, NEPAL, July 11, 2003: A Christian missionary and two local Christians jailed for four months on alleged proselytism charges in Nepal's western region have been released from jail. Earlier this year, they were on their way to visit a Christian family in the Pyuthan District when they were stopped and interrogated by police. After finding Bibles and other Christian literature in their bags, authorities arrested them on charges of "carrying Christian literature, preaching Christianity, and attempting to convert others to Christianity." They did not deny they were Christians throughout the hearing, but did deny ever attempting to force others to become Christians, which is a crime in Nepal. If convicted, they face three to six years in prison. HPI adds: This report from a Christian news service is not entirely accurate. The law against conversion in Nepal is against any conversion, not only those by force and enticement. The law is the country's attempt to protect an ancient way of life from the onslaught of well-funded missionaries. It is routinely flouted by the missionaries and, unfortunately, only haphazardly enforced by the government.

Fiji's Sri Siva Subrahmanya Swami Temple Celebrates 9th Maha Kumbhabhishekam

Posted on 2003/7/11 9:45:02 ( 1111 reads )


LAUTOKA, FIJI ISLANDS, July 8, 2003: Then India Sanmarga Ikya Sangam of Nadi, Fiji, has announced the celebration of the 9th Anniversary of Maha Kumbhabhishekam of the Sri Siva Subrahmanya Swami Temple on July 15, 2003, and the opening of new Navagraha Prathista on July 17-20, 2003. Sri K. V. Ravi Gurukal from the Sri Siva Subramanya Temple in Thirutani, India, will be the officiating priest. The Sangam invites all devotees of Lord Muruga to be part of the celebration. For additional information kindly contact Mr. Naidu at "source" above.

Sotheby's Faces Allegations of Selling Stolen Antiquities

Posted on 2003/7/10 9:49:02 ( 902 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, July 6, 2003: The arrest of Vaman Ghiya last month by the Indian police on allegations of stealing antiques has sent shock waves through London's antique trade world, and is likely to lead to an investigation of Sotheby's, the British auction house. A six-month investigation by the Indian police, called Operation Blackhole, has identified four more icons listed in Sotheby's catalogues in 1997 and 1999 as having been stolen from the Taneshwar temple, in Udaipur, in the 1960s. Although these were not directly connected with Ghiya, there is documentation that reveals that Sotheby's paid large commissions over the years to questionable art dealers. The evidence against Ghiya is being passed on to Interpol to probe the extent to which the auction house may have been involved. Sotheby's denies it ever knowingly sold stolen antiques. However, in a statement to The Observer, a British newspaper, it admitted to dealing with Ghiya, or companies connected to him in the past, but said they have had no dealings with him in recent years.

Amarnath Yatra Begins in Confusion

Posted on 2003/7/10 9:48:02 ( 1112 reads )


JAMMU AND KASHMIR, July 9, 2003: The annual Amarnath pilgrimage got under way Wednesday morning amid confusion and chaos, as the first group of 3,500 devotees left for the Himalayan cave shrine from the Maulana Azad Memorial stadium. Charges of police harassment and protests by the pilgrims delayed the start by over two hours. The discontent against repeated frisking and police highhandedness climaxed in protest demonstrations in the stadium after registered pilgrims were stopped from boarding the buses headed towards Amarnath. Devotees who had come from all over the country complained that there was no arrangement for food and shelter inside the stadium and that there was only one water tap for everyone assembled. Deputy commissioner Pawan Kotwal said the pilgrims were not behaving in a "disciplined fashion and were causing problems." Reacting to the allegations made by the pilgrims, he said they were "making unnecessary demands."

The annual pilgrimage, which lasts over a month, concludes on Sharavn Purnima -- the day Hindus celebrate as Raksha Bandhana, when brothers vow to protect their sisters. The journey to the Amarnath shrine in south Kashmir is arduous and includes a nearly 30-mile trek in the Himalayan heights through glaciers and high passes before reaching the cave.

Andra Government Moves to Take Temple Lands

Posted on 2003/7/10 9:47:02 ( 964 reads )


HYDERABAD, INDIA, July 6, 2003: Because of a public outcry and litigation in the high court, the Andhra Pradesh government has backed off from its demand of US$7,774,202 from Lord Venkateswara shrine at Tirupati, however lesser known temples may not be so lucky. The Naidu government has initiated moves to take away temple lands and distribute them among poorer sections in the name of social justice. According to endowment department sources, around 80 percent of the approximately 27,000 temples have no income other than what they get from the vested lands. And once the lands are taken away, puja in many temples will have to be stopped. The decision to acquire endowment lands was prompted after district collectors reported the unavailability of adequate government land and secondly because of litigation involving available lands. The government had previously acquired temple lands for bus stands and municipal buildings, but has yet to reimburse the endowment department $6,000,000 towards the value of the acquired land.

Puri Temple Gains "Corpus Fund" Through Land Sales

Posted on 2003/7/10 9:46:02 ( 917 reads )

Deccan Chronicle

VISAKHAPATNAM, INDIA, July 7, 2003: The famous Puri Jagannath Swamy Temple will soon have a US$21 million corpus fund. The temple managing committee has decided to sell "unwanted lands" of the temple which are located in Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal. Chairman of the temple managing committee, Gajapathi Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb, told a group of newsmen that the land identification process had been launched and the disposal would begin soon. The $21 million corpus fund would include the amount made through sale of lands, donations collected from the devotees and sponsors, and the regular income the temple makes. These funds will help the temple to meet all its ritual, maintenance and administrative expenses. Presently, the temple is making only around $400,000 per year while expenditures are twice that amount. The State government is presently extending aid to meet the expenses.

Saivite and Vaishnavite Sects May Bathe in Peace at Kumbha Mela

Posted on 2003/7/10 9:45:02 ( 1099 reads )


NASHIK, INDIA, July 8, 2003: This Kumbha Mela may witness the coming together of the disciples of Lord Siva and Vishnu. The Saivite mahants are trying to persuade Vaishnavite sadhus to take a holy dip at Trimbakeshwar during the fair to end an age-old feud between the two sects. Mahant Purushottamdasji Maharaj of Anand Akhada of the Saiva sect and chief of the Trimbakeshwar Akhada Parishad Mahant Sagaranandji said Saivite Mahants will request their Vaishnavite counterparts to bathe at Trimbakeshwar. This is the first time such efforts are being made since 1838 when a dispute over rights to bathe first at a kund led to bloodshed. Hundreds were killed on both sides until the then Peshwa ruler intervened. He decided the Saivites would bathe at Trimbakeshwar while the Vaishnavite would bathe at Ram Kund at Nashik, 30 km away.

Priestly Patriarch Sri Sambamurthy Sivachariar Attains Maha Samadhi

Posted on 2003/7/9 9:49:02 ( 3704 reads )


CHENNAI, INDIA, July 9, 2003: Sri T.S. Sambamurthy Sivachariar attained the lotus feet of Goddess Kaligambal on July 7, 2003, at 4:15 am in Chennai and was cremated with all rituals on July 8. Sri Sambamurthy was a diabetic, on kidney dialysis and had had heart by-pass surgery. He stopped eating solid food on January 3 of this year and subsisted on liquid food until his passing. He breathed his last while holding the icon of Goddess Kaligambal which from his shrine room.

Born on February 11, 1925, on Uthiram, in the town of Thirumazhisai, Tamil Nadu, South India, son of the renowned priest Sri Shanmuga, he was trained in the priesthood at home under the tutelage of his father and relatives. Upon his marriage, he commenced his priest work. During his long lifetime, Sambamurthy Sivachariar was instrumental in raising the stature of the Hindu priestly profession around the world. Having been greatly reduced in size and stature over the last two hundred years by the forces of secularization and worldliness, Sambamurthy Sivachariar held tight to the priestly traditions while training his sons and sons-in-law as humble, devout and knowledgeable servants for the temples of Lord Siva, the Goddess and the other Gods of the Hindu pantheon. As head of a large number of Sivacharyas, Sri Sambamurthy traveled the globe dedicating temples and seeing to it that traditional ritual worship was followed. Sri Sambamurthy garnered the respect of everyone who met him, even those not normally generous in their regard for priests.

Such was Sri Sambamurthy's expertise that by age 76 he had participated in more than 2,000 kumbhabhishekams, the most complex of all temple ceremonies, all across India and in many other countries. Sri Sambamurthy presided over a number of special peace yagnas, fire ceremonies, for India's welfare in times of famine and disasters. Outside of India, he dedicated temples in Washington D.C., Texas, Boston, Hawaii, U.K., Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Australia and Thailand. He also represented Hinduism at world religious conferences and received dozens of awards. Most recently he represented the Saivite priesthood at the Millennium Peace Summit of World Religious and Spiritual Leaders held at the United Nations in August, 2000, and was Hinduism Today's 2001 Hindu of the Year recipient. Hinduism Today reporter Sivakamasundari Shanmugasundaram wrote of him, "I can easily say that Sri Sambamurthy commands the respect that he does all over the world because of two things, his spiritual demeanor and serenity and his unparalleled devotion." Every day without fail he performed an hour of personal worship of God. Every Monday he observed silence, no matter what the event transpiring or the VIPs present. He was a strict vegetarian, and observed all the rules of personal purity necessary to do the priestly work. Though he probably had more visa stamps in his passport than most international businessmen, he made no special attempt to profit from his popularity. In fact, when the government of India offered to give him the very valuable priest's house of the Kaaligambal Temple, where he was head priest, he refused, saying it should be retained for the next head priest.

Sri Sambamurthy was a leading member of the South India Archaka Sangam, the foremost association of Saiva priests. He and his sons also actively trained his family's young men in the priesthood. Sri Sambamurthy was a forward-looking priest, aware of the needs of a global Hinduism. He offered to train and ordain anyone as a priest who was willing to dedicate their life to the worship of Lord Siva and follow the disciplines of the priesthood. In this manner, he would establish new lineages, especially in other countries, of people born there. As a result, many priests trained by him are serving around the world. He was honored and respected worldwide because of the extraordinary effort he made to meet the spiritual needs of Hindus around the world.

His passing was covered in many news media, including India's Raj and Jaya TV, the dailies Dinar Mala and others, the Hindu, and in Canada, London, Reunion, Mauritius, Kuala Lumpur and other areas.

Swami Chidananda Saraswati Leads Pilgrimage to Mansarovar

Posted on 2003/7/9 9:48:02 ( 1214 reads )


KATMANDU, NEPAL, July 4, 2003: H.H. Swami Chidananda Saraswati, affectionately known as Muniji, head of the Parmarth Niketan ashram in Rishikesh, will lead nearly 200 pilgrims from 13 countries to Lake Mansarovar, near Mount Kailash in Tibet, to inaugurate a rest house for tourists and pilgrims. The project, funded by the Rishikesh-based India Heritage Research Foundation (IHRF), includes running a clinic and cleaning up the area near the lake.

The pilgrims will depart Katmandu for Lhasa on Saturday. This will be the climax to an effort that can be traced back to 1998 when Muniji first went on pilgrimage to Kailash. Moved by the desperateness of the situation of the people living there, Muniji set up a one-man bureau in Katmandu that spent two years negotiating with Beijing to get permission for the project. An agreement was signed between Swami, sponsor IHRF, Chinese and Tibetan senior officials in Katmandu on December 15, 2000. It states that "for future projects in the region, including schools, hospitals, rest houses, sanitation programs, the government of Tibet/China will give first priority to IHRF to sponsor the project." It required great diplomatic skill to arrange this agreement with the Chinese government.

Major Beautification Drive At Basar Temple

Posted on 2003/7/9 9:47:02 ( 1061 reads )


BASAR, INDIA, July 7, 2003: The temple town of Basar in Adilabad district, famous for the only temple of Goddess Saraswati in South India, is getting a massive facelift thanks to the combined efforts of various departments which have taken up projects to the tune of over US$200,000. The Forest Department, Panchayat Raj, Roads & Buildings Department, the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority, and the Endowments Department have come forward to beautify the famous temple. The Gnana Saraswati Devasthanam is spending a major share of its earnings towards providing amenities and additional facilities to the pilgrims. The temple has taken care to cater to the increasing number of pilgrims thronging the place. Among the many projects are new roads and the laying of new pipelines to provide safe drinking water. Thirty acres of land around the temple hills have been developed with greenery and gardens. The entire facade of the temple has changed after the beautification process added planters, soft landscaping and ornamental plants. The temple attracts around 5 million pilgrims every year.

World Hindu Federation Opposes Move to Declare Nepal a Secular State

Posted on 2003/7/9 9:46:02 ( 1014 reads )


KATMANDU, NEPAL, July 9, 2003: The World Hindu Federation has opposed any move to declare Nepal, a predominantly Hindu nation, a secular state. A country, where 90 percent of its population including Buddhists, Vedic, Jain and Sikhs are the followers of the Arya Sanatan Hindu religion, a secular state is both "ridiculous and against the principles of democracy," WHF President Bharat Keshar Singh said in a statement here.

A meeting of members of the dissolved House of Representatives adopted an 18-point agenda on Saturday, which said equal status be given to all religions by amending the constitution. However, Nepali Congress spokesman Arjun Narsingh K C denied that the agitating parties have passed any resolution demanding to declare Nepal a secular state. "We have not mentioned the word secularism in our agenda. We have only voiced for treating all the religions in an equal manner. We emphasized on protecting all the religions," he added.

HPI adds: Nepal is the special target of Christian missionaries, who pour millions of dollars a year into conversion efforts in the country, even though coversion is illegal. The proposal to make Nepal a "secular" state would greatly further their efforts.

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