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Brahmins Do Not Have Monopoly to Perform Temple Puja


Posted on 2002/10/9 8:43:02 ( 804 reads )


Source: The Hindustan Times





NEW DELHI, INDIA, October 5, 2002: The Supreme Court has ruled that brahmins do not have a monopoly over performing puja in a temple and said a non-brahmin, properly trained and well-versed with the rituals, could be appointed as a pujari (temple priest). "As long as anyone well-versed and properly trained and qualified to perform the puja in a manner conducive and appropriate to the worship of the particular deity, is appointed as priest, no valid or legally justifiable grievance can be made in a court of law," the court said on Thursday. This ruling was given by Justice S. Rajendra Babu and Justice Doraiswamy Raju who upheld the appointment of a non-brahmin as pujari in Kongoopilly Neerikode Siva Temple at Alangad village in Ernakulam, Kerala. Justice Raju, writing for the Bench, said no doubt only a qualified person, well-versed and properly trained for the purpose, alone could perform pujas in the temple since he not only had to enter the sanctum sanctorum but also touch the icon installed therein.






Community Program to Understand Other Religions Successful


Posted on 2002/10/9 8:42:02 ( 899 reads )


Source: Corpus Christi Caller-Times





CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS, October 7, 2002: It was a little awkward at first, but one-by-one people of many faiths, from all corners of the city, removed their shoes and walked a path toward understanding. Almost 200 people participated Sunday afternoon in Hindu 101 at the BAPS Swami Narayan Sanstha Hindu temple on Paul Jones Avenue as part of the National Conference for Community and Justice's "Experiencing Our Neighbors' Faith" program, whereby people experience the worship services of other religions. Before entering the temple, visitors had to remove their shoes at the front door. "We remove our shoes as a mark of humility," Sri Jnanpurushdas Santh, or priest, told the crowd. "And also because it is our goal to come into the temple as natural as possible and leave the things we carry with us outside. The temple is the place for the mind." Sunday's seminar was the kickoff to the monthly program that promotes cultural and religious understanding. Faith leaders from the Hindu, Muslim, Judaism, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Bahai, Metropolitan Church, Catholic and Unitarian-Universalist communities will take part in the program. All sessions are free and open to the public. Organizer Prarbha Mulukutla said she was pleasantly surprised by the turnout. Attendees were ushered into the temple and split off into sections by gender. Seated cross-legged on the floor, they all listened to traditional prayer songs and explanations of the three bodies that exist in the Hindu religion, including the physical body, the mind and the spirit, and the five basic elements of earth, water, fire, air and space. Jnanpurushdas gave a detailed explanation of the opening prayers. Tammy Wong of San Antonio said she hopes to come back next month to visit a Muslim mosque. She was in town for the weekend and attended the session with a friend from the Unitarian-Universalist church. She said she had done some research on the Hindu faith but had not had the opportunity to sit through a service before. "It is beautiful," she said.






No Fireworks for Fiji Deepavali


Posted on 2002/10/9 8:41:02 ( 924 reads )


Source: Fiji Daily Post





SUVA, FIJI, October 1, 2002: It will be another quiet Deepavali this year, with government deciding not to lift a ban on fireworks. Although the minister for commerce, Tomasi Vuetilovoni, said firecrackers could be used for special events once permission was granted, there will still be no firecrackers this Deepavali. Deepavali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, will be celebrated on November 4. Mr Vuetilovoni said the legal notice that was recently gazetted "is to allow people to be made aware of what type of crackers could be imported into the country and this did not mean the ban was lifted." However, police sources yesterday said after the May, 2000, coup a fireworks ban had been put in place because it would be hard to distinguish the difference in sound of firecrackers and weapons being fired. "The security forces do not want anyone to undermine security on the pretext of it being firecrackers and, of course, safety is another reason for human beings because there has been a couple of fatal tragedies," the police source said.






Archbishop of Sarajevo Cautions about Islam


Posted on 2002/10/8 8:49:02 ( 936 reads )


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SARAJEVO, BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA, October 7, 2002: Cardinal Vinko Puljic, archbishop of Sarajevo, has been discussing with representatives of European episcopates the difficulty of coexistence with Islam. The cardinal has been the host of the plenary assembly of the Council of European Bishops' Conferences (CCEE). Excerpts from this very informative interview: Q: How are relations between Catholics and Muslims in Bosnia? Cardinal Puljic: Ten years ago, before the war, they were very good. However, from that moment, the situation has changed. The first sign was the arrival of humanitarian aid from Arab countries: It was distributed only to Muslims; it was prohibited to give it to Christians. Our Caritas (a Catholic aid agency), instead, made no ethnic or religious distinctions; everyone could benefit. However for them, the aid was a means to promote the Islamization of society. Q: Does this process continue today? Cardinal Puljic: Of course. They have not limited themselves to repair mosques damaged by the war. They have built very many new ones, more than 10 in Sarajevo alone, and, in addition, many Muslim schools, and an Islamic theology school. A massive propaganda financed by Iran, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia has also been launched -- propaganda that at times does not spare harsh attacks on the Christian religion. I must say that the chief ulema of the Muslim community of Bosnia has condemned these periodic attacks. Nevertheless, they cause concern."






World Hindu Federation Meets in Nepal


Posted on 2002/10/8 8:48:02 ( 1196 reads )


Source: Dr. Hari Bansh Jha, Hinduism Today Correspondent





KATHMANDU, NEPAL, October 8, 2002: At Hotel Everest Sheraton in Kathmandu, the capital city of world's only Hindu Kingdom Nepal, the three-day 15th Executive Committee Meeting of World Hindu Federation (WHF) commenced on September 9 with the objective of giving new life to the world body. Attended by delegates of OMKAR family from Nepal, apart from delegates of India, Malaysia, USA, Bangladesh and Indonesia, the function had participants from Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh religions. Chief Guest of WHF opening ceremony, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba of Nepal said that the Hindu religion is based on Basudhaib Kutumbakam i.e. universal brotherhood. He added that the age-long religion and culture would be preserved for the country's sovereignty, national unity and existence. Krishna Gopal Tondon, Chairman of the WHF remarked, "Secularism has fragmented the Hindu society. We are not propagating any worship, puja or offering. We only want all the Hindus of the world to remember their root and what they have learned from their forefathers." Representing Nepal, Atmanand Giri expressed anxiety over the deteriorating human values at the level of the families and the nation. In order to give boost to the human values, he suggested that Bal Mandir and Shishu Mandir should be established in which the children should be given moral education. In its final resolutions, the WHF decided to amend its constitution. It will be presented to the General Assembly to be held in India in the next year. The venue of the Assembly is not yet decided but it would be organized in one of these places - Ayodhya, Banaras or Gorakhpur. It was also decided that His Majesty the King of Nepal should be felicitated and he should be asked to become Chief Patron of WHF in the International Conference on Hindu Religion to be held in Nepal.






Ageless Work, an Ageless Dancer of Bali


Posted on 2002/10/8 8:47:02 ( 866 reads )


GO TO SOURCE





NEW YORK, NEW YORK, October 6, 2002: Since most Balinese dances are centuries old, people attend performances not so much for the stories as for the chance to see different interpretations of familiar roles. They judge the artists mainly on the eloquence of hand gestures and facial expressions. After so many years, Ms. Cenik has developed an attitude toward her art that is both secular and spiritual. "I think of it as my sport," she said. "I teach or perform every day because it makes me happy. But I dance first for the Hindu deities." At 82, Ni Ketut Cenik is the most venerated dancer in Bali. When she takes part in the "Master Dancers of Bali" program presented by the World Music Institute on Friday at Symphony Space in Manhattan, she will be performing outside her homeland for the first time. Ms. Cenik will perform a favorite work, the Joged Pingitan, a sacred dance inspired by the female deity Ratu Magelung. She will be joined in the program by I Made Djimat, 52, renowned for his interpretation of the fierce warrior dance Baris Tungal, and Ida Bagus Suteja Manuaba, 57, who will demonstrate his theatrical gifts in the meditative Kebyar Duduk. "I hope people will appreciate the beauty of our dances," Ms. Cenik said.






Sri Lankan Buddhist Leaders Pressure Government Over Christians


Posted on 2002/10/8 8:46:02 ( 769 reads )


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COLOMBO, SRI LANKA, October 4, 2002: In the wake of Buddhist leaders in Sri Lanka exerting pressure on the prime minister and the government to rescind the visas of Christian missionaries and ban conversions to Christianity, Gospel for Asia has asked their followers to pray to keep Christian missionaries active in Sri Lanka (see their website at "source"). Buddhist leaders are also lobbying to keep foreign funds earmarked for Christian Missionary work from entering the country and for allowing village monks be empowered to enforce the proposed laws and punish offenders. Gospel for Asia claims to have started over 100 churches and to operate two Bible schools in Sri Lanka.






Akshardham Temple Opens for Devotees


Posted on 2002/10/7 8:49:02 ( 1062 reads )


Source: NDTV.com





GANDHINAGAR, INDIA, October 7, 2001: Thirteen days after the gates of the Akshardham Swaminarayan Temple were closed since the September 24 terrorists' attack, devotees were allowed inside on the first day of Navaratri today. "The gates were thrown open at 9:34 am after the traditional arati and shanti paath in presence of senior saint, Sant Ishwarcharan Swami," a spokesman of the temple said. Armed CRPF personnel stood guarding at strategic locations to ensure safety and security for the devotees. Prior to September 24, arms were not allowed inside the 25 acre temple premises, considered a premier pilgrimage center in the region. In the wake of the attack, the Gujarat government has made unprecedented security arrangements for the nine-day Navaratri festival beginning today. A major attraction during the Navaratri celebrations is the folk dance of garba. But garba organizers say their biggest problem is not security, but the 10 pm deadline set by the police for using loud speakers in their functions. Many of the garba organizers in the state have pulled out due to the heavy security arrangements required and the deadline. The state government has deployed more than 50,000 police as well as State Reserve Police and para-military forces to make sure that the festival celebrations go off peacefully.






Indian Mime Artistes to America


Posted on 2002/10/7 8:48:02 ( 825 reads )


Source: http://www.mimeindia.com





KOLKATA, INDIA, October 1, 2002: Internationally known mime artist Shri Niranjan Goswami has been invited by the Banga Mela committee to perform Mukabhinaya at their cultural program in Nashville, Tennessee in July, 2003. Shri Goswami will donate proceeds from the performance to the National Mime Institute's Building Fund and to the Hridaya Akash, an Indian Mime Theater (IMT) project for the literacy, culture and value development in slum children of Tangra area, Kolkata. Since its inception in 1976, IMT has been working tirelessly for the development and promotion of Mukabhinaya (silent acting, the Indian version of Pantomime). Mukabhinaya, which contains elements of classical Indian dances, has achieved the status of a separate indigenous art form from the Government of India. To organize a performance in your area or to find out more about IMT you can visit their website at "source" above.






Selling Organs a Bad Idea, Research Says


Posted on 2002/10/7 8:47:02 ( 819 reads )


GO TO SOURCE





STATE COLLEGE, PENNSYLVANIA, October 1, 2002: A recent study found that people in southern India who hoped to escape poverty by selling a kidney were often worse off financially and less healthy after surgery. Dr. Madhav Goyal, a State college-based internist with the Geisinger Health system, found that a majority of donors were women and that at least some were forced by their husbands to sell their kidneys. "We were expecting that they would break even. We didn't expect that they would be worse off," says Goyal, whose study appears in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association. Interviews with 305 kidney donors in the city of Chennai found: Ninety-six percent sold their kidneys to pay off debt. Donors were promised an average of $1,410 for a kidney but received an average of $1,070. Some were paid as little as $450. The average family income of donors dropped from $660 at the time of the operation to $420 at the time of the survey, mainly because of the health consequences. Of the 292 who sold to pay off debts, 216 still had debts at the time of the survey.






US Panel Accuses India of Religious Freedom Violation


Posted on 2002/10/4 9:49:02 ( 747 reads )


Source: AFP





WASHINGTON, D.C., October 3, 2002: A US government advisory panel has recommended that the State Department designate 12 nations "countries of particular concern" because of their alleged violations of religious freedom, a move that could trigger sanctions against them. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom said the nations should include Myanmar, North Korea, India, Iran, Iraq, Laos, Pakistan, China, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan and Vietnam. The International Religious Freedom Act adopted in 1998 requires that countries found in particularly severe violations of religious freedom be considered by the US President for diplomatic or economic sanctions. "We hope to see actions commensurate with the severity of these abuses," said commission chairman Felice Gaer after sending the recommendations to Secretary of State Colin Powell. Last year the commission complained at length in its report that its recommendations were being ignored by the State Department. The commission is mostly concerned with freedom for Christians, and only somewhat with religious freedom for other religions.






108 Vinas Recital at Meenakshi Temple


Posted on 2002/10/4 9:48:02 ( 902 reads )


GO TO SOURCE





MADURAI, SOUTH INDIA, October 4, 2002: The popular Meenakshi Amman temple here is organizing a "108 veenai isai vazhipadu" (offering worship by playing 108 veenas), to invoke the blessings of Goddess Saraswathi for the educational advancement of the students of Tamil Nadu. Executive officer of the temple P. Bhaskaran told reporters here that the worship would be held on October 15 to coincide with the auspicious Vijayadasami Day, when all the children will start "Aksharabyasam" (starting to learn alphabet).






Historians Analyze NCERT changes


Posted on 2002/10/4 9:47:02 ( 856 reads )


Source: Hindustan Times





DELHI, INDIA, October 3, 2002: Historians congregated in the Capital on Wednesday to analyze India's Supreme Court's verdict on the ongoing debate over the National Curriculum Framework for Secondary Education [NCFSE]. It was felt that although the NCERT had been given the go-ahead to publish the new text books,there was need to analyze the content of these new text books to ascertain the actual changes that the NCFSE has brought about in education. The text changes are being challenged by many historians, who claim they amount to the communalization of education. Proponents, however, state the changes are needed to eliminate the anti-religious bias in the text inserted by the many Marxist historians of India.






Vandals Desecrate Hindu Temple in Pakistan


Posted on 2002/10/4 9:46:02 ( 743 reads )


GO TO SOURCE





QUETTA, PAKISTAN, October 1, 2002: A Hindu temple in southwest Pakistan was broken into and a religious icon was damaged over the weekend, a local Hindu leader said Monday. The desecration occurred in a temple in a village of Mustung district, 55 kilometers southwest of the Baluchistan provincial capital Quetta. "Some people broke into Shunkar temple in Khasam village on the night falling between Friday and Saturday, removed some tin sheets of the roof of the veranda and partially damaged the main icon," Rattan Chand, the head of Hindu Panchayat district, told AFP by phone. He said local officials had pledged to pursue those responsible. Five deadly strikes on churches, a school and last week on the office of a Christian charity organization have left 38 people dead, mainly Pakistanis.






Jagran Editor Narendra Mohan Passes Away


Posted on 2002/10/4 9:45:02 ( 966 reads )


Source: HPI





DELHI, INDIA, October 4, 2002: Sri Narendra Mohan, the editor-in-chief of the Jagran group of newspapers passed away on September 20, 2002, at the age of 68. He died at New Delhi's Apollo Hospital following multiorgan failure. Known as the pillar of Hindi journalism, Mohan had been a member of the Rajya Sabha on the ticket of Bhartiya Janta Party and was a member of several parliamentary committees. He championed the cause of Hindu values and Hinduism inside the parliament and also through his very popular editorial columns of the Hindi daily Dainik Jagran. He was very vocal about the problems faced by the Hindu community worldwide and used to express his concern through the electronic media also, time to time. He was quite close to many Hindu saints including Sri Chidananda Saraswati [Muni Ji] of Parmarth Niketan. Sri Mohan was an eminent scholar and had authored a large number of poems and stories besides penning thousands of articles for his editorial columns. He authored several books including - Bhartiya Sanskriti and Hindutva. He was born in Jalaun District on October 10th, 1934. He became a member of Rajya Sabha in 1996. Dainik Jagran is now the top newspaper in the country both in terms of circulation and its reach. It is published from over one dozen centers including New Delhi. As there are very few editors in India of the stature of Sri Mohan espousing the cause of Hindus and Hinduism, his death is a very big loss to the cause of Hinduism in India.




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