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Theft of Sita Play in UK
Posted on 2001/11/15 22:47:02 ( 702 reads )


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LONDON, U.K., November 10, 2001: A joint Australian-Indonesian venture The Ramayana written and directed by Nigel Jamieson and brought to the U.K. by the London International Festival of Theatre received rave reviews from theater critics. The story from the Hindu epic and dealing with the abduction of Sita by Ravana took on a different perspective as it was seen through the eyes of a pair of comic servants, using the technique of Indonesian shadow-puppetry. Reviewed as fascinating, the show's political and ecological dimension, Terry Gilliam-style images created a powerful impression of an urban hell. Jamieson's show, while critical of Suharto's Indonesia, where the Ramayana is the most popular story, also proves that artistic cross-fertilization is a present-day possibility, two cultures combine to produce both a celebration of theatrical craft and a scathing attack on unrestrained market forces and environmental destruction.




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Few Divali Fireworks this Year
Posted on 2001/11/15 22:46:02 ( 698 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 13, 2001: The festival of lights and fireworks, Divali, is just round the corner but wholesalers of firecrackers in the capital have done only a fraction of the business they normally do. Compared to a business of around US$13,000 that they averaged in the last ten to seven days before Divali last year, sellers in Sadar Bazaar, the capital's wholesale market, are already foreseeing a dip of more than 50 per cent in their earnings. "The business has never been so slow. We are hardly selling anything. It just doesn't seem like Divali," says Virendra Kumar, a wholesaler.




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Request for Clippings and Video of Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami's Passing
Posted on 2001/11/15 22:45:02 ( 704 reads )


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KAUAI, HAWAII, November 16, 2001: The staff of Hinduism Today requests clippings or video tape of television coverage of the passing of Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami kindly be sent on to us at: Hinduism Today, 107 Kaholalele Road, Kapaa, HI 96746. We are especially trying to get a video tape of the CNN coverage on November 14 or 15.




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Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, World Hindu Leader, Passes Away at 74
Posted on 2001/11/12 22:49:02 ( 673 reads )


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KAUAI, HAWAII, USA, November 13, 2001: Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, one of Hinduism's foremost spiritual teachers, a prolific author and publisher of Hinduism Today magazine and Hindu Press International news service, passed away today at age 74 at his ashram home on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, USA. A spokesperson for the ashram said the Hindu master discovered on October 9 that he had advanced intestinal cancer. Three medical teams of radiologists and oncologists in Hawaii, Washington State and California all concurred that even the most aggressive treatment regimens would not prove effective, and estimated he had just a few months to live. Consequently, Subramuniyaswami declined any treatment beyond palliative measures, and made the decision to follow the Indian yogic practice, called Prayopavesa in Sanskrit scripture, to abstain from nourishment and take water only from that day on. He died on the 32nd day of his self-declared fast, passing on quietly at 11:54 pm on November 12, 2001, surrounded by his 23 monastics.Upon news of his impending passage, prayers and worship were offered in hundreds of temples around the world by tens of thousands of Hindus. The suddenness of the events especially stunned the 2.5 million Tamils of Sri Lanka, for whom Subramuniyaswami, the successor of Lanka's great guru Yogaswami, is their hereditary spiritual leader.At his passing, Subramuniyaswami consoled his sorrowful monks, telling them, "Don't be sad, soon I will be with you 24 hours a day, working with you all from the inner planes." Bereaved devotees arriving at the ashram heard the same message, and by the time of the passing, a great peace had descended upon the ashram and all connected with it. His designated successor, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, was duly installed as guru of the ashram, formally known as Kauai Aadheenam.When notified of his passing, Sita Ram Goel, one of India's most influential Hindu writers and thinkers, wrote, "Subramuniyaswami has done great work for Hinduism, and the recent reawakening of the Hindu mind carries his stamp." Ma Yoga Shakti, renowned teacher and Hinduism Today's Hindu of the Year for 2000, said, "For more than three decades, Subramuniyaswami, a highly enlightened soul of the West -- a Hanuman of today, a reincarnation of Siva Himself -- has watered the roots of Hinduism with great zeal, faith, enthusiasm and whole-heartedness." Few in the Hindu world would not recognize the tall, white-haired American who had gained prominence over the decades for his practical and clear-minded books replete with explanations of everything Hindu, from the most basic beliefs and daily practices to the loftiest refined philosophy and yoga techniques. He was equally famous as founder and publisher of Hinduism Today, an award-winning, international, full-color magazine, respected for its authoritative reporting on Hindu events, institutions, personalities, issues and controversies around the world. Among his innovative projects are the creation of Iraivan Temple on Kauai, the first all-stone, hand-carved granite temple ever built in the West, the founding of Hindu Heritage Endowment to perpetually fund worthy Hindu institutions and his participation in numerous international conferences on religion, peace and interfaith harmony. He inspired and guided the construction of dozens of temples among Hindu communities outside of India, especially in America, Canada, Europe, Mauritius, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.From his ashram in Hawaii, Subramuniyaswami continued to follow his own guru's instruction to bring Saivism to the Western world by teaching others to "know thy Self by thyself" and thus "see God Siva everywhere." Among his honors are being named one of 25 "presidents" of religion at the 1996 Parliament of the World Religions held in Chicago, and receiving the U Thant Peace Award while attending the Millennium Peace Summit of World Religious and Spiritual Leaders held at the United Nations in August, 2000. This award was previously given to the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Pope John Paul and Mother Teresa. On August 25, 2000, he addressed 1,200 spiritual leaders during the UN events in New York."Just before his passing," said the monastery spokesperson, "He asked devotees worldwide to carry his work and institutions forward with unstinting vigor, to keep one another strong on the spiritual path, to work diligently on their personal spiritual disciplines and to live every moment in harmony and love for all peoples. His monks, gathered from six nations, forged in the fires of his wisdom and love, are well-prepared to keep his mission potent and effective. Equally, his family devotees are pure, one-minded and deeply committed. These two communities will continue the work together: building the Iraivan Temple, managing the Spiritual Park in Mauritius, shepherding souls on the Saivite path of enlightenment, continuing the many publications, teaching children their Saivite Hindu religion, preserving traditional culture and art, protecting Hindu priests and the indigenous faiths of the world, contributing to our local Kauai community, guiding the future of Hinduism around the globe and working to reduce violence, child-beating and spouse abuse."Click on "source" above for extensive further information and high-resolution photos suitable for publication:




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Icon Recovered from Well Inside Puri Temple
Posted on 2001/11/11 22:49:02 ( 684 reads )


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PURI, INDIA, November 12, 2001: The icon of Madan Mohan, found missing from Sri Jagannath Temple, was recovered from inside a well in the temple complex on Monday, official sources said. Another icon of Narayani, also missing since Sunday, is yet to be traced. The two feet high astadhatu (eight metals) idol of Madan Mohan, regarded as representative of Lord Jagannath was sighted in a well inside Nilachal Upabana in the 12th century temple complex. Fire brigade personnel pumped out the water and retrieved the icon, the disappearance of which had caused commotion in the temple town forcing Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to seek a government probe. There are over a dozen wells inside the shrine complex and efforts were on to pump out water from them to trace the icon of Narayani.




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Returning to Religion -- Fashion or Natural Transition?
Posted on 2001/11/11 22:48:02 ( 667 reads )


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NEW YORK, USA, November 10, 2001: Shoba Narayan, a working mother residing in New York, reflects on her return to religion. "Recently, I had an epiphany of the sort one normally experiences in middle age: I realized that, within my social circle, religion had become quite fashionable. Many of my friends are middle-aged Hindu Indians with successful careers and at least two children. Like me, they came to this country over a decade ago, usually carrying nothing more than a suitcase and a few hundred dollars. They wanted to offer their kids the best of the East and West: Eastern tranquility combined with Western go-getting. So we return to the temple. Last weekend, for instance, I stood before the icon of the God Ganesh at the Hindu temple in Queens, muttering incoherent Sanskrit chants as I clutched the hands of my four-year-old daughter, Ranjini. I felt like an impostor caught in the middle of a strange, surrealistic set. I was part of the scene, yet I wasn't. I had become a born-again Hindu, that's what. Now on Sundays, I drag my daughter to the temple. Instead of wearing figure-hugging designer clothes, I wear voluminous saris. I don't scoff at tradition; I attempt to follow it. I have turned into someone I had sworn I would never become: a Hindu mom."




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Funding for Spiritual Healing Study
Posted on 2001/11/11 22:47:02 ( 711 reads )


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SCOTLAND, U. K., November 12, 2001: Researchers at a Scottish university have been awarded government funding to investigate the effects of spiritual healing on asthmatics. The Scottish Executive is backing a team of scientists from Aberdeen University in their bid to test the effects of spiritual healers on 50 people and will investigate claims by practitioners that they can channel healing energies by passing their hands over a patient's body. Some asthmatics claim to have derived some benefits from spiritual healing but researchers at Strathclyde University say the problem is closely related to dust mites.




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Empowered Dalits Convert to a New Home
Posted on 2001/11/10 22:49:02 ( 706 reads )


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HIVALI, INDIA, November 11, 2001: In Uttar Pradesh, Dalits are taking Buddhist vows and firing parting shots at the upper castes. Leading the movement is Udit Raj, an income-tax official who headed the November 4 conversion ceremony of thousands of "outcaste" Hindus to Buddhism in Delhi. "Since we were thwarted in Delhi [by the police preventing more Dalits from attending], I will now carry it on in villages," says the president of the All-India Confederation of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribe Organisations. Of the 7,000 residents of this dusty village, 3,000 are Dalits. Udit Raj says: "Embracing Buddhism is a sort of homecoming for us. Buddhism, after all, was born here." A forest of hands goes up when he asks, "How many of you will further propagate the Buddhist message? Let nobody address you as a Dalit. Tick him off and tell him to address you as a Bodhi."




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Two Sacred Icons Stolen from Jagannath Temple
Posted on 2001/11/10 22:48:02 ( 687 reads )


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PURI, INDIA, November 11, 2001: Close on the heels of the burglary at the 11th century Lingaraj temple at Bhubaneswar a week ago, miscreants stole two icons including that of Lord Madan Mohan from the Sri Jagannath temple here early on Sunday. The two-foot-high ashtadhatu or eight metal idol, regarded as the representative of Lord Jagannath, was found missing when workers came to open the sanctum sanctorum of the 12th century shrine at dawn on Sunday. The silver idol of Narayani, the deity of the new moon day, was also untraceable, temple administration sources said. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said that his government would ask for a CBI inquiry. In the meantime, the investigation is being carried out by the state crime branch of police.




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Hindus gather for Durga Puja in Wales
Posted on 2001/11/10 22:47:02 ( 792 reads )


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CARDIFF, WALES, October 26, 2001: Hundreds of Hindus joined together in Cardiff for a feast at the city's India Centre as the community joins others across the world in celebrating Durga Puja. Friday's colorful event marks the culmination of 10 days of festivities and religious ritual at the Centre in Splott. Up to 200 of Cardiff's Hindu community have been gathering there each day, in worship of the goddess Durga. The President of the Hindu Cultural Association (Wales), Prabhat Kumar, described it is a major event in the Hindu calendar. A statue of Durga was commissioned in Kolkata (Calcutta) and imported for the event. The India Centre was opened two years ago. Since 1989, committee members had been driving up to 250 miles every Sunday, going from door-to-door collecting donations from the 8,000 strong Hindu community across south-east Wales. The UK Millennium Commission finally came to their aid, ten years later, offering a grant of US$466,000. This enabled the committee finally to build the $874,000 community centre.




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This Diwali Has Lost Its Sparkle
Posted on 2001/11/9 22:49:02 ( 659 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 10, 2001: Markets are relatively deserted, retailers are disillusioned. It's apparent that a depressed economy has eaten into the country's biggest spending season, with everyone penny-pinching. Business has been less than ever before and shows no sign of picking up even with the festival of lights only a few days away. With higher international prices and a deepening economic slowdown, jewellery dealers, big and small, say business is less than 50% of that expected. There is, in fact, no sector that is not feeling the pinch. People are thinking twice about making smaller purchases too. Apparel stores across town have slashed prices and are offering freebies and discounts galore. State emporia, too, have put up traditional festive season discounts, but the festivities are clearly low-key. Puneet, a dealer in dry fruits, says demand is poor. "The war, tighter security is affecting the mood of the people. Nobody is spending." Even the price of gold is being impacted, according to a report by Reuters. They say, "Traders and industry officials said demand for gold jewelry in top-consumer India is likely to remain depressed despite the Hindu festival Diwali and the wedding season this month because of high international prices and a deep global slowdown." The price of gold briefly reached $300 after September 11, but has now dropped back to around $280.




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Devotees to Sati Temples Do Not Glorify Sati
Posted on 2001/11/9 22:48:02 ( 699 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 7, 2001: A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court upheld the validity of the commission of sati (Prevention) Act 1987, which bans sati and its glorification, but held that the act did not apply to existing sati temples. The 1987 Act was enacted in the wake of the suicide of Roop Kanwar on the pyre of her husband in September, 1987 at Deorala in Rajasthan. There are, however, a number of ancient temples, many in Rajasthan, upon the site where a widow had committed sati in the past. The contention on behalf of the sati temples involved in the legal action was that the temples and the devotees concerned neither observed any ceremony in connection with the practice of sati, nor did they support or glorify the commission of sati as defined under the Act.




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Seminar on Hindu Dharma Success With Educators
Posted on 2001/11/9 22:47:02 ( 743 reads )


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HOUSTON, TEXAS, November 8, 2001: A hundred teachers, counselors and psychologists from the Houston school districts gathered at the Strake Jesuit College to attend the first seminar on Hindu Culture And Values, held by the World Hindu Council of America (Vishwa Hindu Parishad / VHP) -- Houston Chapter. Erudite Hindu scholars and members of the community sought to simplify for the better understanding of those attending, Hindu concepts of God and worship, scriptural teachings, traditions, arts, culture, family and social structures. The three-hour seminar, the first in a series of many held in the hope of promoting better understanding between teachers and their students of Hindu faith, went a long way in dispelling several misconceptions about Hindu beliefs. "This was a super learning experience," enthused clergyman Rev. Roger D. Christman. Houston Independent School District psychologist Dr. Kellie Gray-Smith was excited about future seminars of the same. "We learned a lot," she said. For more information email VHP president Beth Kulkarni at "source" above.




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Christian Radio Station Warned Over Content
Posted on 2001/11/9 22:46:02 ( 763 reads )


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LONDON, U. K., November 10, 2001: London-based Premier Christian Radio was given a "yellow card" by the Radio Authority for a number of breaches of program rules, including criticism of other religions. Premier said it has since introduced "rigorous measures" to prevent offensive material being broadcast in future. The authority warned of "substantial sanctions" if more occur. They included one instance where the Koran and the holy books of Hindus and Buddhists were described as "full of superstition and absurdities." The watchdog's program code does not allow religious beliefs to be denigrated or attacked. The Radio Authority, a government agency, is responsible for all stations except those of the BBC, and invites any complaints about radio broadcasts to be e-mailed to : reception@radioauthority.org.uk




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Bangladeshi Hindus Held at Border
Posted on 2001/11/6 22:49:02 ( 801 reads )


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BANGLADESH, November 7, 2001: Bangladeshi border guards have detained 124 people belonging to the country's minority Hindu community while they were trying to cross the border into India. Police officials from the southern border district of Satkhira said the detained included many women and children. None had any valid travel documents. Local journalists say these Hindu families were apparently fleeing their villages following reports of torture on Hindu communities in different parts of the country. The detained Hindu families told police officials they were travelling to India to meet relatives. Civil rights groups in Bangladesh say Hindus are being targeted for having voted against the ruling four-party coalition in last month's general election.




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