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Hindus Pray for Peace at New Year
Posted on 2001/11/19 22:48:02 ( 645 reads )


Source: Los Angeles Times





LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, November 17, 2001: To mark the Hindu New Year of 2058, more than 2,000 gathered at Valley Hindu Temple to light ritual fires, recite prayers for peace and offer food to Lord Krishna. The New Year was celebrated on the fourth day of the five-day festival of Divali, the festival of lights. At the noon service, devotees placed nearly 200 Indian delicacies representing all regions of India on a six-tier tower, the annkut or "heap of grains," at the base of a statue of Krishna. "Before any food is eaten in the New Year, it is first blessed by the gods," said Kadam Shodhan, a temple trustee. "It is believed that by offering the annkut to the gods on Hindu New Year, one's food supply is never exhausted." Worshippers gathered to chant mantras and offer prayers for world peace.




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Temple Theft Drawing More Attention in Orissa
Posted on 2001/11/19 22:47:02 ( 624 reads )


Source: The Hindu





ORISSA, INDIA, November 16, 2001: Recent temple thefts of precious murthis from the Sri Jagannath Complex in Puri has caused an investigation into the effectiveness of the police force of the state in recovering the stolen property. Quoting the article, "There had been as many as 19 temple thefts in the five years from 1996 to 2000. The police have been able to solve only eight cases." Similarly, "A total of 33 antique thefts were reported from 1996 to 2000, only five have been solved." The investigation has also resulted in the suspension of eight Jagannath Temple Police and eight state police. So far the police believe that the culprits are all part of one gang. However, they are not ruling out the possibility that antique smuggling may be part of the scenario. In the meantime, Chief Minister, Mr. Naveen Patnaik, has ordered extra security at the Sri Jagannath temple.




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UK Asians Warned To Quit Smoking
Posted on 2001/11/19 22:46:02 ( 581 reads )


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UNITED KINGDOM, November 16, 2001: An advertising campaign to warn Asian communities in the UK of the dangers of smoking and chewing tobacco is being launched by the government. It hopes to encourage people in Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Indian communities to quit the habit, particularly as they are more susceptible to the diseases that result from nicotine addiction. The Department of Health campaign will be launched to coincide with Ramadan, Islam's holiest month, when Muslims have to abstain from smoking between sunrise and sunset. The problem is serious as rates of angina, heart attack, stroke, diabetes and blood pressure are more than 50% higher than the UK national average among Pakistani and Bangladeshi men. Some 44% of Bangladeshi men in the UK smoke, compared with 27% of the general male population.




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Request for NY Times Article Clipping
Posted on 2001/11/19 22:45:02 ( 721 reads )


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KAUAI, HAWAII, November 20, 2001: We request any HPI reader to send us the printed version of the story on Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami's passing that appeared in the November 18, Sunday, edition of the New York Times under "obituaries."




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Houston Hindus Celebrate Gurudeva's Life in Serene Shraddhanjali
Posted on 2001/11/18 22:49:02 ( 669 reads )


Source: Hinduism Today Correspondent Kalyani Giri





HOUSTON, TEXAS, November 18, 2001: Prominent Hindu leaders from Houston's many organizations and members of the local community gathered on November 18, at Keshav Smruti to celebrate the life of Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, affectionately known as Gurudeva. The charismatic Hindu religious leader passed away on November 12 after a short battle with cancer at his ashram/monastery home on the island of Kauai. It was a poignant event attended by fifty people, beginning with a soul-stirring rendition of shlokas by Rathna Kumar, followed by shared memories and laughter as speakers told of their personal experiences when meeting with Gurudeva. Many told of his quick wit and related mystical experiences while in his presence. Speakers included incoming President of Vishwa Hindu Parishad Suresh Patel, India Culture Center's Harshat Patel, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh's Dinesh Shah, Hindu Student's Council representative Nutan Mehta, Punnyabhoomi editor Somarajan Nair and social activist Sam Kannappan. Nutan Mehta held aloft a copy of Hinduism Today magazine (started by Gurudeva and published by his order) carrying the cover story on the Hindu Student's Council and spoke eloquently of Gurudeva's championing the causes upheld by youth. It was also a ceremony with a difference. In deference to Gurudeva's love of the cultural arts, the program included a Kuchipudi classical dance item by Bharath Guntupalli, a student of dance guru Rathna Kumar. A student of Gurudeva's, Tara Barrie Hull, read from his works and told emotionally how the spiritual master's teachings had turned her life around. Sam Kannappan spoke of Gurudeva's visit to a home in Sugarland, where the backyard was bare. But three hours after Gurudeva had visualized three "beautiful trees" growing side by side in the yard, a city worker knocked at the door carrying three trees saying they were surplus, requesting the householder if he could plant them in his garden. "I still visit that house just to see those trees," Kannappan told attendees. Vijay Pallod of VHP spoke of Gurudeva's monks who had attended a conference in Houston. All lingered after the ceremony to revel in the peaceful atmosphere created just by reflecting on a great soul.




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Divali Nagar Sustains Trinidad's Cultural Diversity
Posted on 2001/11/18 22:48:02 ( 609 reads )


Source: Hinduism Today Correspondent Paras Ramoutar





TRINIDAD, November 19, 2001: The 15th Annual Divali Nagar ended with an inspirational observation by the President of Trinidad and Tobago, His Excellency President A.N.R. Robinson. He was among a host of dignitaries who included Prime Minister Basdeo Panday and Mrs. Oma Panday. Prime Minister Panday who visited the Nagar on Saturday night November 10, used the occasion to refer to the original Educational Concordat which was signed in 1960 by the then Premier Dr. Eric Williams Government and the Catholic Church which outlined how denominational schools were to be managed. In 1998, when the concordat was first revised a Cabinet Committee was appointed to ensure more involvement by other major religious groups including Muslims and Hindus. Prime Ministers Panday assured that a new concordat would ensure that the, "widest ever religious spectrum [would] be embraced in the operation of our education system." But the Divali Nagar platform also heard from Minister of Education, and also Minister of Human Development, Culture and Youth Affairs, Ganga Singh that the orthodox method of education has failed to teach citizens about harmonious living, and suggested that yoga exercises would be introduced into the physical education curriculum in schools, "to add spiritual discipline in that subject area and to help attack the problems of social deviance at their roots." MP for Chaguanas, Minister of Community Empowerment, Sports and Consumer Affairs, in an address at the closing night, that, "our cultural diversity in a multi-ethnic nation state has succeeded by preserving the identity of our indigenous people."




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Academic's Murder Sparks Hindu Protest in Bangladesh
Posted on 2001/11/18 22:47:02 ( 712 reads )


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DHAKA, BANGLADESH, November 17, 2001: Minority Hindus in the southern Bangladeshi port city of Chittagong have staged a violent protest following the murder of a prominent university professor Gopal Krishna Mahuri, who was shot dead at point-blank range on Friday by unidentified assailants. His killers escaped after the shooting. Protesters said he was killed because he was a Hindu, but it was unclear if the murder was connected to the persecution of Bangladeshi Hindus since the election. The murder of Professor Mahuri coincided with a visit to Chittagong by Bangladeshi Home Minister Altaf Hossain Chowdhury. Professor Mahuri was a widely respected academic who had taught at Nazirhat College in Chittagong for more than 35 years.




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Sabarimala in Kerala Opens for Pilgrimage
Posted on 2001/11/18 22:46:02 ( 624 reads )


Source: The Hindu





PATHANAMTHITTA, INDIA, November 15, 2001: The sanctum sanctorum of the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple has been opened for the two-month-long annual Mandalam-Makaravilaku pilgrim season. The holy hillock witnessed a heavy rush today when the temple was opened for the pilgrim season. The Tantri (head priest), Mr. Kantaru Mohanaru, said that the Neyyabhishekam ritual would begin tomorrow morning, the first day of the Malayalam month of Vruschikam. The Police department has set up about 50 police aid-posts at Pampa and surrounding areas and over 1,000 police personnel have been assigned to monitor the law and order situation at Sabarimala and to control the vehicular traffic. This year's annual temple festival at Sabarimala will be held from December 9 to 18. The Makaravilakku season begins on January 1, 2002 and the temple will be closed on January 20 after the two-month annual pilgrim season.




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Gurudeva's Maha Samadhi Reported in New York Times
Posted on 2001/11/17 22:49:02 ( 804 reads )


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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, November 18, 2001: Today's issue of the New York Times contains a lengthy story on the passing of Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami at "source." It recounts how "the native Californian who sought spiritual meaning in India as a young man and became the spiritual leader of Sri Lankan Hindus, died on Tuesday at his ashram on the Hawaiian island of Kauai."




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South African Maestro of Music Dead at 77
Posted on 2001/11/17 22:48:02 ( 664 reads )


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DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA, November 18, 2001: Percussion maestro and South Africa's doyen of Carnatic music Gopalan Govender passed away here on November 17. He was 77 years of age. During the 1900s in the apartheid years, he started a renaissance among generations of indentured laborers, instilling in them a sense of pride in their rich cultural heritage through music. He taught the percussion instruments tabla and mridangam -- and propagated the learning of devotional songs culled from the texts of ancient texts such as the Thevaram and Thirupuggazh. Whatever knowledge imparted, he did so free of charge. Govender took his initial training under his first guru Murugas Naidoo of the Transvaal and later, from M.V. Murthy and Ranganathan while studying in Chennai, India. He started the New India Orchestra in 1940 and was a popular musician with South Africa's most famous band, the Ranjeni Orchestra. His awards included the Indian Academy of South Africa's prestigious Nadaraja Award in 1985, Natal Tamil Vedic Society's Mahalakshmi Award and the time-honored gesture of respect, the Ponn Aadai or Golden Shawl. He was a trustee of the Natal Tamil Vedic Society as well as a lifelong Honorary Vice President of the southern hemisphere's largest temple, the Shri Vaidyanatha Easwarar Alayam. He is survived by his wife Sarasvathi.




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Pollution Soars on Divali Night
Posted on 2001/11/17 22:47:02 ( 642 reads )


Source: Hinduistan Times





NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 15, 2001: The highly publicized campaign to limit firecrackers proved unsuccessful in Delhi this year with Divali being more polluted and noisy than in the recent past. The Delhi government put the blame on an atmospheric condition called inversion. This condition sets in due to low night temperatures with little wind movement. It created stable atmospheric conditions, preventing the dispersal of pollutants into the air. Even Delhi Health Minister, Dr. AK Walia, admitted the air in Delhi on Wednesday night caused more damage to Delhi residents health than during previous years.




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Vandals Desecrate Statues in South African Hindu Temple
Posted on 2001/11/16 22:49:02 ( 778 reads )


Source: Rediff on the Net





DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA, November 15, 2001: The desecration of statues of Hindu deities at one of South Africa's oldest temples on the eve of Divali has shocked devotees here. "The century old statues, originally imported from India, have always stood in shrines outside the Narainsamy Temple," said a spokesman for the temple, Tiny Moodley. This was to allow devotees access at any time. The vandalism appears to have been the work of pranksters, who smashed the statues and left the pieces lying there. "They probably did not even realize the sentimental and religious significance the statues had for devotees worshipping here for decades," Moodley said. The statues, which were a significant feature of the temple and attracted thousands of tourists each year, will now have to be replaced by others from India, and serious consideration is being given to erecting a fence around the temple premises to restrict access. Some months ago, brass statues of Hindu gods were stolen from the historic Mariamman Temple in Pretoria, probably to be sold as scrap metal by thieves.




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The Oregonian Newspaper on Divali
Posted on 2001/11/16 22:48:02 ( 589 reads )


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PORTLAND, OREGON, USA, November 16, 2001: Many members of Oregon's Indian community of doctors, business owners, high-tech employees and blue collar workers come together this week to mark Divali, the Festival of Lights celebrated by Hindus. As Indians gather in lantern-decorated temples and homes all over Oregon to pray, share meals and enjoy fireworks, the increasing number of celebrations reflects the community's growth. Indians are by far the fastest-growing Asian-American subgroup in Oregon. Census data show the population mushrooming about fivefold in the past 20 years, from 1,900 in 1980 to 3,500 in 1990, to nearly 10,000 in 2000. In pulling those worlds together for the first American-born generation, occasions such as Divali are particularly important, community members say. When you first arrive in America, it's easy to forget your roots, said Sivagami Vanka of Beaverton, a nutritionist and Indian dance teacher who immigrated from Chennai 20 years ago. "Now, we are able to pull the best of both worlds."




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Deepavali Message from Malaysia's Prime Minister
Posted on 2001/11/16 22:47:02 ( 623 reads )


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KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, November 14, 2001: The Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, has urged Malaysians to sustain efforts to consolidate the prevailing racial tolerance and help the nation preserve the prosperity it has been blessed with. He said it was the stability and harmony arising from the spirit of coexistence of all its citizens that steered Malaysia into being the most developed of developing countries. "Without these values we may not be able to advance and prosper at a level we are enjoying now," Dr. Mahathir said in a message to mark Divali which is being celebrated by all Malaysian Hindus today. Despite Muslims forming the majority of its people, the rights of other communities to profess in other faiths and practice own cultures are preserved and enshrined in the Constitution, he said.




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HPI Reader on "Theft of Sita" Play
Posted on 2001/11/16 22:46:02 ( 0 reads )


Source: Hinduism Today





OXFORD, ENGLAND, November 17, 2001: "In my opinion," writes A. Khaitan of Oxford University, "The 'Theft of Sita' play is nothing more than an attempt to disparage what the Hindu epic, Ramayana, is about. I saw the play tonight (in Oxford) and was utterly disgusted. Far from sticking to the true Ramayana, the play made references to Sita as a prostitute and had inappropriate sexual innuendo tied in throughout. I asked for my money back. The Ramayana should not be used as a literary device for anything, especially considering its sacred value to Hindus and the ease in which others can misinterpret the epic. If the same happened about a Islamic event, people in Oxford would have been up in arms!"




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