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Kerala Hosts Dance Festival

Posted on 2003/4/13 9:47:02 ( 1003 reads )


KERALA, INDIA, April 13, 2003: The Global Malayalee Council and Sree Sankara School of Classical Dances are jointly organizing a national dance and music festival to be held at Kalady, Kerala, May 6-9, 2003. Some of India's leading dancers and musicians will be performing along with the top performers from Kerala's youth festivals. Organizers anticipate over 200,000 people to attend the four day event. Readers kindly log on to "source" above for further information.

Christian Evangelists Make Inroads Into Muslim Kashmir

Posted on 2003/4/13 9:46:02 ( 1051 reads )


SRINAGAR, INDIA, April 5, 2003: Kashmir is witnessing an increase in conversion from Islam to Christianity. Christian groups are putting the number of new converts at over 10,000 and a Sunday Express investigation confirms that conversions have been taking place regularly across the Valley. At least a dozen Christian missions and churches based in the U.S., Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland have sent evangelists to the Valley and are sending in money through intermediaries based in New Delhi. Missionaries are getting immediate attention because they reach out to the poor, needy and those affected by violence. Also, they bring in a lot of money. Though conversions have not met any resistance from Muslim organizations, it has led to tensions between Kashmir's native Christians -- a minuscule community of 650 -- and the enthusiastic evangelists. The native Christians are increasingly getting vocal against the outsiders. "This type of conversions aren't good for local Christians who had shared a cordial relationship with Muslims here for centuries. The conversions they are doing are Biblically wrong. There are umpteen cases in which one person has been baptized thrice within a few months. These so-called evangelists have set up businesses in the garb of church and social work," says Pastor Leslie Richards, a native protestant living in Braen, Srinagar. "The converts here do it for monetary reasons and the people who convert them too do it for the same reasons," he adds.

How Lord Ganesha Charmed Shri Ma

Posted on 2003/4/12 9:49:02 ( 1167 reads )

Media Center

PONDICHERRY, INDIA, April 7, 2003: Mother of Shri Aurobindo Ashram, affectionately known as Shri Ma, was a great devotee of Lord Ganesha. The Pondicherry Shri Manakkula Vinayaka Devasthanam released a booklet in August, 2001, which gives an inspiring story of Shri Ma and her relationship with Lord Ganesha. "There is a famous 700-year-old temple of Manakkula Vinayaka adjacent to the Ashram. In the early sixties, Mother volunteered to give some land to the temple. It was a piece of land 120 feet by 12 feet belonging to the Sri Aurobindo Memorial Fund Society. Mother said it was to be done even if it meant demolition of part of the Ashram property. Mother also said that a partition wall could be built at the temple's cost if the temple management wanted to construct it, or it could be done at the Ashram's cost. The temple authorities had failed earlier to get the required land for Parikrama (path to circumambulate the temple) from the previous owner. So, they were very happy and grateful to Mother. Mother had recorded that in 1930 she had a vision of Ganesha during meditation and in that darshan, the Lord granted the boon of material help in abundance on Mother. The help 'came in torrents' as Mother herself described it."

Bhojshala Shrine Opens for Worship

Posted on 2003/4/12 9:48:02 ( 1082 reads )


DHAR, INDIA, April 8, 2003: A day after the Archaeological Survey of India ordered open the disputed Bhojshala shrine for Hindus every Tuesday nearly 600 people offered prayers there in an atmosphere of peace. The devotees, some of whom were beating drums, entered the shrine at 9:00 AM and there were no signs of any tensions. Meanwhile, a spokesperson from the local Hindu Jagran Manch Vishal Goyal has announced that Tuesdays would be observed as Deepavali in the city with lamps being lighted in every house in the evening. Like Ayodhya, Bhojshala is claimed by both Hindus and Muslims. For more information, see http://headlines.sify.com/1637news5.html.

Buddhism Comes Calling in India

Posted on 2003/4/12 9:47:02 ( 1080 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 28, 2003: Dalits, viewed as the traditional target for conversion, are not the only ones turning to Buddhism here. Even high-caste Hindus with upper middle-class backgrounds are increasingly attending Buddhist meditations. Their practice has a Japanese connection for there are about 100 Nichiren Buddhism cells in Delhi, says Madhumita Sen. She works for an international NGO and is a regular at the meetings of the followers of the Great Sage Nichiren Daishonin, a thirteenth century Japanese priest. Ms. Sen added that people from all social strata and faiths attend the meditation meetings.

South Africa Hindus Give Abandoned Temple To Christian Church

Posted on 2003/4/12 9:46:02 ( 1083 reads )


KWADUKUZA, SOUTH AFRICA, April 6, 2003: A Hindu temple that was abandoned by sugarcane farmers and their families because of crime and land invasions is to be converted into a church after being donated to a Christian organization. The Shree Hanuman Temple was built in 1982 by the Sing brothers and members of the Nonoti community, outside KwaDukuza. Madhan Sing, who built a temporary temple at his home, said the temple had been donated to the New Nation Church of God as a gesture of goodwill. "The Deities from the temple were removed two years ago when I moved out of Nonoti with my family after my wife was held up at gunpoint by a gang of armed men," he said. More than 20 farmers in the area have abandoned their farms in the wake of growing crime and steady invasion of their land by squatters. "We thought that, instead of turning it into a shop or butchery, it would be best if it continued to be a place of prayer. My family certainly has no regrets about converting our former temple into a church. The building will be put to good use for religious work." Sing is preparing to build a full-fledged temple in Stanger Manor for more than 200 worshippers. He said that he was confident that the donation of the temple would strengthen ties between the Christian and Hindu communities.

Malaysia's Thaipusam Fees Opposed

Posted on 2003/4/11 9:49:02 ( 914 reads )


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, April 5, 2003: Parti Keadilan Nasional wants the practice of charging fees for religious rites during Thaipusam changed and has submitted a memorandum to the Malaysia Hindu Sangam (MHS) asking for its help. The party's nine-member delegation handed the 17-point memo to Sangam president A. Vaithilingam yesterday. "We are asking the MHS to intervene for the benefit of devotees and the public," adding that all the points raised were based on public complaints. The issues raised include the collection of a US$2.63 fee for the Paal Kavadi (milk kavadi), the need to limit the tenure of Sri Maha Mariamman temple committee members to three years, the reduction of the hefty parking fees of $13.15 for buses and $2.63 for cars and the provision more public toilets and rubbish bins. Keadilan Youth has been protesting against the collection of fees for religious rites during Thaipusam celebrations. This is despite the temple committee having clarified in January, that the collection was for the maintenance and management of the temple which cost about $26,315 a month, as it did not get a single cent from the Government, although Batu Caves is a major tourist attraction. Vaithilingam said that although MHS is only an advisory body to all temples in the country, it would look into the issues raised by the delegation, adding that the memorandum would be discussed at their next national advisory council meeting.

American TV Hosts Hindu Worship Services

Posted on 2003/4/11 9:48:02 ( 1014 reads )


CHICAGO, U.S.A., April 6, 2003: A Chicago Indian immigrant is helping area Hindus who cannot get to distant temples by showing "jagrans" on a public access television program. Avi Verma's program, Jagran TV, is on Chicago Access Network Television (CAN TV). Jagran TV is a half-hour show featuring Hindu religious services called jagrans that Verma organizes. The show recently celebrated its first anniversary, and Verma said he plans to continue performing, taping, editing and airing the jagrans as long as the Hindu community and CAN TV want them. "There are too many senior citizens and too many new Indian immigrants. It's hard for them to go to the temples," Verma said. "We thought we should do something so people could do their prayers sitting in their living room." According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are about 35,000 Indians in Chicago, and many of them live around Devon Avenue, the heart of Chicago's Indian community. Yet, the area's Hindu temples are 30 to 90 minutes away, in Hyde Park or the western suburbs. Verma usually starts the program with puja, or scripture recital. The jagran then focuses on Hindi singing and chanting. Verma invites musicians from the community or sponsors them to come from India to perform.

Buddhist-Hindu Exhibit At Chicago Art Institute

Posted on 2003/4/11 9:47:02 ( 993 reads )

Chicago Sun Times

CHICAGO, U.S.A., March 30, 2003: A one-of-a-kind show of Buddhist and Hindu art opened at the Art Institute of Chicago this week featuring 187 works of painting and sculpture from Tibet, Nepal, Kashmir and Bhutan. The works in the exhibit were chosen entirely for their aesthetic qualities, not to illustrate any particular philosophy, says Dr. Pratapaditya Pal, the Art Institute visiting curator of Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian art. The purpose of the exhibit, he says "is to encourage the viewer first to look and enjoy the beauty of the objects and then to explore their spiritual import." Hindu Deities dominate the Nepalese and Indian galleries. Here the principals of karma and reincarnation, the cycles of life, death and rebirth are illustrated through Hindu mythology which provides a rich cast of characters, many in animal forms. It is a mythology that offers what Pal calls "the osmosis between the human, the animal and the divine" that characterizes Eastern religions. The exhibit spans 1,500 years, four countries and two major world religions.

Manuscripts To Be Documented

Posted on 2003/4/11 9:46:02 ( 887 reads )


VADODARA, INDIA, April 3, 2003: A rare collection of around 2,647 miniature paintings and manuscripts, many of which have never been exhibited at Baroda Museum and Picture Art Gallery, are being readied for a comprehensive digital documentation. Art historian Ratan Parimoo has been assigned by the State government for a comprehensive study of this rare collection. "The present documentation is more of an inventory. In the last 50 years there has been exhaustive research in the different schools of miniature paintings," says Parimoo, who's seeing the entire collection for the first time. The miniature paintings cover almost all schools of paintings and include some Japanese sketches. Parimoo says if properly researched and documented, the collection will equal the one at the National Museum Institute, New Delhi. "Documentation is the first duty of any museum. In this computer age, digitalization helps to make records easily available," S. N. Pandey, assistant director and art curator of Baroda Museum, says.

Hindu Proofreaders Needed for Project Gutenberg

Posted on 2003/4/11 9:45:02 ( 913 reads )


UNITED STATES, April 7, 2003: Michael Hart founded Project Gutenberg in 1971 with the idea that anything that can be entered into a computer can be reproduced indefinitely. This led to the concept of entering books into computers and sharing these books with the world. Due to copyright laws, it is only legal to do this with older books (copyrighted 75 or more years ago). As a result, Project Gutenberg is mostly comprised of the "Classics." They are presently working on The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa" and "Vedanta-Sutras with the commentary of Sankaracharya," but the process is slow because there are so few Hindu proofreaders. Most of the volunteer proofreaders here are not familiar with Hindu words and terms. Any help from the Hindu community, even if it's just for one or two pages, would be welcome. For information on how to sign up to be a proof reader and about Project Gutenberg, kindly log on to "source" above.

Specially Trained Priests Give More Meaning to Hindu Rituals

Posted on 2003/4/11 9:44:02 ( 886 reads )


KAUAI, U.S.A., April 7, 2003: The March 26 HPI carried a story about specially trained priests who are helping to give additional meaning to Hindu rituals. Several readers have requested who they can contact about this program and how to get the books mentioned in the article. Readers may kindly contact Mr. Girish Bhapat at Jnana Prabodhini, 510 Sadashiv Peth, 411030 Pune, India.

Ganges Pollution Increasing

Posted on 2003/4/6 9:49:02 ( 993 reads )

Source: Nationwide News Pty Limited

VARANASI, INDIA, March 29, 2003: Hindus yearn to visit the holy Ganges River, to bathe in its sacred waters known to cleanse or wash away all sins, and many Hindus hope to die in Varanasi in order to escape from the cycle of rebirth. Approximately 80,000 people bathe daily on the ancient ghats of Varanasi. The source of the Ganges is in an ice cave high in the Himalayas, and it makes its way through the most densely populated area of the world until it merges into the Bay of Bengal. It is precisely along this journey that the river has accumulated raw sewage, human ash, animal carcasses and industrial waste. In 1985, the Ganges Action Plan was launched to start the cleanup by installing sewage plants in major cities along the river. However, the plan failed as it used too much of India's valuable energy resources and the plants in many cities are now idle. Since 1985, a recent study indicates that the amount of sewage flowing into the Ganges has doubled. Amrit Dhillan, reporter for Nationwide News, says, "The sacred Ganges has become so filthy that even Hindu holy men refuse to bathe in it." From fasting, to attract government attention, to lodging a public petition in the courts, these holy men are protesting the condition of the river. "Tests last year of Varanasi water samples showed that the fecal coliform count (a measure of human and animal waste in water) was 50 times the level considered acceptable for human beings," said M.C. Mehta, a Varanasi lawyer and environmentalist. He added, "No scheme will work unless it involves public participation. You have to educate the people to treat the river differently." Presently, locals wash laundry in the river and dump rubbish, bodies, plastic bags and rotting garlands. Mishra Mehta's group called the Friends of Ganges have been trying to force the Indian government to approve a new project called Clean Ganges. Mishra herself says, "I want to do my holy dip and yet I know the river is filthy. So I compromise by not going all the way in."

Pilgrimaging by Helicopter to the Famous Amarnath Shrine

Posted on 2003/4/6 9:48:02 ( 893 reads )


KASHMIR, INDIA, March 23, 2003: Pilgrims planning to visit the famous Amarnath Shrine in South Kashmir this year will now have another option for travel. A helicopter service, sponsored by the Jammu and Kashmir government, and approved by the Amarnath Shrine Board, was adopted in order to attract more pilgrims but also to attract tourists. This year the month-long pilgrimage will start on July 12th and end on August 12th. Governor G.C. Saxena, head of the Amarnath board says, "The pilgrimage has the potential to contribute US$1,489,361 to $1,702,127 to the state's economy annually. Forty percent of the Amarnath pilgrim traffic gets dispersed to various tourist places in the valley, and this trend needs to be promoted further." HPI adds: One wonders the impact of this plan upon the holy pilgrimage now accomplished only after arduous trekking up to the cave. Especially the proposal to bring "tourists" seems questionable, as this is one of the great sacred places of Hinduism and not a mere tourist attraction.

Construction of a New Nine Planet Temple

Posted on 2003/4/6 9:47:02 ( 979 reads )


KONARK, ORISSA, March 23, 2003: Orissa International Center, a non-government organization, plans to submit a proposal to the Chief Minister of Orissa on April 1, that 100 acres of land between Konark and Chandrabaga be set aside for the building of a new Navagraha Temple. The temple would house the nine planets honored by the Indian school of astrology -- Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Rahu and Ketu. Presently the nine planets occupy a humble abode that is in a state of disrepair. The new temple will be located outside the Sun Temple at Konark. Paresh Nayak, chief functionary of the OIC says, "12,000 sculptors from different parts of the state would be engaged in building the temple. However, the details and amount of money to be spent has not been worked out." It is expected that money for the project will be collected from the people as well as NRI's of the state.

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