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Vadodara Preparing for Navaratri Festivities


Posted on 2002/10/2 9:47:02 ( 890 reads )


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VADODARA, INDIA, September 30, 2002: Though there are apprehensions about terrorist attacks after the recent violence in the state, most citizens of Vadodara plan to enjoy Navaratri ("Nine Nights," festival to the Goddess) with the same vigor as ever. They also feel that limiting the festivity to 10 pm, as per a Supreme Court judgement, is not fair. They say it is the festival of nine nights and closing the celebrations as early as 10 pm would be ridiculous. Garba (traditional dance for this festival) enthusiasts say that though they are worried by the recent attacks, Navaratri celebrations cannot be stalled. There is some uncertainty regarding the garba timings as the city police have written to the state government to declare the official time limit for the celebrations. But most garba organizers feel that the BJP would not want to hurt the sentiments of the people by limiting the festivities to 10 pm, which traditionally is the time when garbas begin here and continue until after midnight. According to garba enthusiast Parul Dhruv and her teenage daughter, despite feeling insecure after the attacks, they want to make the most of their favorite festival and have already started preparing for it. "Navaratri comes just once a year. Though I feel insecure, I believe life has to go on and one cannot live in fear. I will certainly go out and enjoy the festivities. It's a risk, but I also have faith in the security measures that the organizers would be taking," said Dhruv.






Over 20,000 worship at Swaminarayan Temple


Posted on 2002/10/1 9:49:02 ( 899 reads )


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GANDHINAGAR, INDIA, September 29, 2002: Joining in a special prayer gathering with Pramukh Swami Shastrinarayan Swarupdas, 20,000 devotees assembled inside the Swaminarayan Temple for the first time since the terrorist attack. Thousands stood outside and watched the program live on closed-circuit TVs and queues extended half-a-kilometer from the temple as visitors kept pouring in. Gun-toting security personnel stood with binoculars at vantage points to protect the crowds. Even security personnel joined in offering floral tributes and holding lamps during the arati, worship. The temple will officially re-open on October 1, Tuesday, exactly a week after the attack that killed over 30 people.






UK Upgrades Ayurveda Medicine


Posted on 2002/10/1 9:48:02 ( 848 reads )


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UNITED KINGDOM, September 26, 2002: The United Kingdom has agreed to upgrade ayurveda from single drugs category three to one, thus accepting its scientific base. The UK government has also set up a Herbal Medicines Regulatory Working Group to consider the possibility of suggesting enhancement of law to regulate drugs and practice in herbal medicines, including ayurveda, a government release said here Wednesday. British authorities have worked out a tentative curricula of 2,560 hours, in which ayurveda has been allotted 1,150 hours. However, this is inadequate and, in the given situation, only two options remained -- either to be left out of the herbal medicine regulation course or have a foothold with a dominant ayurveda content, it said. To promote ayurveda at the international level, the Department of Indian Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy forwarded to the British authorities a core curricula covering 1,700 hours of teaching of ayurveda. The Indian Government is also trying to get a recognition for the five-and-half year ayurveda BAMS course and registration of India-qualified physicians in the UK.






Singles Flock to "Swayamvaram" in Chennai


Posted on 2002/10/1 9:47:02 ( 870 reads )


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CHENNAI, INDIA, September 28, 2002: In the days of yore in the country, kings adopted the custom of 'Swayamvaram' to allow their daughters choose their life partner. TamilMatrimony.com, an online matrimonial service, brought back the tradition of Swayamvaram to Chennai on Friday. It brought together parents of over 2,000 prospective brides from different castes within the Tamil community to find a match for their girl. Two days before the matchmaking event, the website provided parents with a list of prospective grooms looking for brides and vice versa. They also provided them with basic information like educational qualification, employment, emoluments, caste and the expectations from the life partner. The bride's parents congregated at a popular marriage hall in the city, where the prospective grooms' parents were provided numbers. These numbers were given to the parents of the brides so that they could interact and select the prospective groom for their daughter. A couple of astrologers were on hand to study the horoscope of the prospective groom once the parents of a girl found the boy of their preference. The event is being held over two days.






RK Mission Swamis Visiting Puerto Rico


Posted on 2002/10/1 9:46:02 ( 864 reads )


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PUERTO RICO, October 1, 2002: Swami Sahananda and Swami Atmarupananda from Ramakrishna order are visiting the island. Swami Swahananda will give the lecture titled "The Guru and the Initiation" on October 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the conference hall on the third floor of the condominio El Centro11, #500 Ave. Munoz Rivera Hato Rey. Swami Sahananda served the order in India until the late 1960's and then he was sent to US. He has been serving the order for the last 25 year as the head of the Vedanta Society of Southern California. He guided the additional monastery in San Diego and fostered and opened the Vedanta center of Greater Washington D.C and the Vivekananda retreat at Ridgely, New York. Swami Atmarupananda is the resident minister of the Vivekananda Retreat Ridgely and also the director of La Sociadad Vedanta de Puerto Rico. For further information contact "source" above.






Young Hindu Men Participate in a Religious Samskara


Posted on 2002/10/1 9:45:02 ( 856 reads )


Source: Edmonton Journal





EDMONTON, ALBERTA, August 17, 2002: A group of thirteen young men ranging in age from twelve to twenty-four were honored with a special samskara or rite of passage -- bestowal of the sacred thread -- at the North Indian Temple in Alberta, Canada. Entering the temple on the north side, the participants, bare-footed and in yellow robes, were showered with flower petals and mantras while they were instructed to avoid negative words to others. The article says, "Temple members placed sacred threads over the participants, the threads bestowing strength, radiance and illumination upon the recipients." Hindu Society of Alberta members said, "The rite marks a young person's spiritual birth and his obligation to help society as well as being responsible for his own well-being. It's required before a Hindu man can marry and is one of 16 purification rites performed throughout a person's life."






Experts Warn, Don't Be a Monster Parent


Posted on 2002/10/1 9:44:02 ( 1090 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, September 29, 2002: Beating up children has traditionally been seen as a parental right in India. Even today, dad beats up mom, mom beats up child and child beats up the teddy bear. But experts say it is NOT OK to beat up children. Why do parents use physical means and why is it counter-productive? Parents beat up children to discipline and teach them lessons. But according to Vatsala Sivasubramanian, a counselor with Mira Nursery School, "Learning never takes place in a situation of fear." Story-telling and increasing communication work much better. Parents spank children to give vent to their own frustration, anger and tiredness. Says Rajat Mitra, a clinical psychologist: "Deal with your own anger." Working with hardened criminals, Mitra has found most of them have witnessed or faced severe violence as children. Experts say, it's best to talk to children more and use story telling as a method of teaching. Also, forming support groups with other parents may help to reduce stress and find solutions to parenting challenges.






Book Tries to Link Hitler with Buddhism and Hinduism


Posted on 2002/9/28 9:49:02 ( 993 reads )


Source: Deutsche Presse-Agentur





HAMBURG, GERMANY, September 19, 2002: Adolf Hitler was fascinated with Buddhism and Hinduism, and many of his henchmen viewed him as a Krishna-like divine warrior who would cleanse the Earth of "vermin" in a baptism of fire, according to a headline-making new book. The book "Hitler-Buddha-Krishna" is by a controversial Austrian husband-and-wife team of authors who have generated publicity in Europe with a number of books exploring what they call the "violence- prone" side of Buddhism and Hinduism. It was this side of those Eastern philosophies - the image of the vengeful demigod annihilating enemies without mercy to create a new earthly order - which fascinated Hitler as a young man and which continues to fascinate impressionable young neo-Nazis, say the authors. In fact, there is little new in the book by Herbert and Mariana Roettgen, according to this article in the German press, who write under the pseudonym Victor and Victoria Trimondi. Beyond linking the swastika with Hindu symbolism, the authors fail to prove that Hitler himself actually had more than a brief flirtation with Eastern philosophy in pre-World War I Vienna. But this latest book has nonetheless drawn press attention in Austria and Germany, with more- or-less serious interviews appearing under invariably sensationalist photos of Hitler superimposed over the Buddha. "Hitler was a Buddhist" screamed a typical headline in Bild, Europe's biggest tabloid.






Mumbai Police Crack Down on Fake Holymen


Posted on 2002/9/28 9:48:02 ( 1028 reads )


Source: The Hindustan Times





MUMBAI, INDIA, September 19, 2002: In tradition-bound India, says this article, if someone claims to be able to levitate or pull a gold chain out of thin air, it does not take long for him to become known as a "Godman." There are numerous so-called "Miracle Babas" who are just out to get rich by duping as many people as fast as they can. Mumbai Police are cracking down on the charlatans and have called for the help of a group known as the All India Committee to Eradicate Superstition and Blind Faith, to convince people special power is more often than not sleight of hand or illusion. "The campaign is meant to be an eye-opener. We want to put a complete stop to those posing as Godmen. They are involved in outright cheating and violent acts," joint commissioner of police for crime in Mumbai, SS Vagal, said. "It's simple. If you want people to bow down at you then you perform a trick," said well-known magician Anand Tayade, who is helping with the campaign against the fraud.






Hindu Temple Finds Home in Massachusetts Industrial Park


Posted on 2002/9/28 9:47:02 ( 863 reads )


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LOWELL, MASSACHUSETTS, September 23, 2002: Last January, Wayne Burgett moved his tool manufacturing business into part of a vacant 50,000 square-foot building in the Black Brook Industrial Park in Lowell. Burgett figured it was only a matter of time before some other large firm snatched up what remained of the warehouse-like structure. Burgett has a new neighbor. But it's not another company, It's a Hindu temple. The building, located at 50 Stedman St, was recently sold for $1.5 million to Swaminarayan BAPS Northeast, an international organization that operates 345 Hindu temples worldwide. The group has already renovated the inside of the structure and opened the temple hall on Saturday. The opening marks the second Hindu temple in Lowell. The temple operations take up about 70 percent of the building. Burgett's company and another firm occupy the rest. Burgett said he has no intention of moving. The sale of the building to a religious institution is a sign of the economic times in Massachusetts, where once-coveted manufacturing space is now cheap and readily available.






Teen Sex and Abortions on the Rise Across India


Posted on 2002/9/28 9:46:02 ( 996 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, September 20, 2002: Sexual activity, abortions and deaths from illegal abortions among teens in India is on the rise. Up to 60 million Indian women seek abortions every year. Some 100,000 died last year due to hazardous practices used in embryo removal. Four out of every five who died were 15-19 years old. An overwhelming majority of them were unmarried. "Increased teenage premarital sex has pushed up the number of unwanted pregnancies and abortions," gynecologist Dr. Kamini A. Rao said in a press conference in New Delhi. "The reason is that unwed pregnant girls are scared to seek parents' help and are forced to go to quacks who perform unsafe abortions." In the United States, where abortions are legal and sexual information is easily accessible, the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) recently published birth statistics showing American teen pregnancies fell to a record low in 2001. There were 352,953 births for women, ages 15 to 19 in the United States. The birthrate for teenagers 15-17 years fell 8 percent in 2001, and has dropped 35 percent since 1991. Statistics published by the CDC for 1998 (the most recent data) show that American teens, ages 15 to 19, had 146,377 abortions.






Religious Leaders Appeal for Peace in Gujarat


Posted on 2002/9/27 9:49:02 ( 1748 reads )


Source: ndtv.com





SARANGPUR HANUMAN, GUJARAT, September 27, 2002):Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the head of the Bochanwasi Swaminarayan sect, today made an appeal for peace and compassion in Gujarat. "What happened in Akshardham should not become an excuse for violence. People should maintain the calm and peace and not take the law into their own hands. God will dispense the justice," Pramukh Swami said. It was a busy day for the Pramukh Swami who is currently staying at the sect's training centre for sadhus in the village of Sarangpur Hanuman, three hours from Ahmedabad. Among his first visitors was Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. "After such a terrible incident it is my duty to come and pay my respects to Pramukh Swamiji," Modi said. Even before the Chief Ministers had left, a delegation of over 25 Muslim leaders from different parts of Ahmedabad arrived to meet the Pramukh Swami and express their community's outrage over the horrifying incident. "It is unfortunate that our religious leaders are caught between the politicians and the fundamentalist groups and have not appealed for peace. Swamiji has shown the way for this," says a resident of the city. The people of Gujarat, however, appear convinced that despite these appeals violence can only be kept at bay if politicians are willing to absorb the message of peace.






Temple Attacked After 9/11 Breaks Ground for New Building


Posted on 2002/9/27 9:48:02 ( 874 reads )


Source: Hamilton Spectator





HAMILTON, ONTARIO, CANADA, September 19, 2002: Before the ruins of a burned-out temple, Hamilton's Hindu community broke new ground yesterday and vowed to rebuild. About 60 people attended a traditional sod-turning ceremony held on the lawn outside the charred Hindu Samaj Temple. "It's a great day," said N. D. (Andy) Patel, the temple's general secretary. "When people hear of the ground-breaking ceremony, they'll say, 'Ah, the temple will be built!' It brings us joy." The Twenty Road temple was gutted in a $600,000 arson last year, just days after the 9/11 terrorist attack. The torching devastated the congregation, which suddenly found itself without a place of worship, and without a center for community and culture. But Patel said that last night's ground-breaking ceremony is a chance for Hamilton Hindus to move forward from the arson. "Everyone will put it behind them now. But there will still be scars," he said. The ceremony, called Bhumi Pooja, is like a ground-breaking but has a religious element. Participants ask the Deities to bless the building project so that everything goes smoothly and so that unity is maintained in the new building.






Bangladesh Sets Budgets for Hindu Trust


Posted on 2002/9/27 9:47:02 ( 1131 reads )


Source: United News of Bangladesh





DHAKA, INDIA, September 18, 2002: The Trustee Board of Hindu Religious Welfare Trust under the Ministry of Religious Affairs has announced a budget of US$378,000 for 2002-2003 fiscal year. The budget was approved at a meeting held here today with State Minister for Religious Affairs and Trustee Board Chairman Mosharef Hossain Shahjahan in the chair. In the budget, $104,000 has been allocated as donation for renovation of monasteries and temples, and destitute while $86,800 for Durga Puja, $3,500 for Saraswati Puja, $52,000 for Dhakeswari Mondir and $1,302 for puja at Langalband. In addition, $15,625 has been earmarked for purchasing land for the office of the Hindu religious welfare trust or construction of building for the trust.






"Being Different Syndrome" Hits Indian Wedding Scene


Posted on 2002/9/27 9:46:02 ( 991 reads )


Source: Hindustan Times





MUMBAI, INDIA, September 18, 2002: Exotic French wines, cheese layered crisp pastas, and crystal chandeliers are finding there way into today's modern Indian Weddings according to this article by Jacinta D'Souza. The Indian wedding, largely a grand affair, with months of painstaking efforts going into drawing up the invitees' list and checking out the best venues in town, is all now passe with professional event managers stepping in to ensure it is an "all fun and no sweat" affair. "The Indian Wedding market has grown four-fold. The purchasing power of the to-be-wed couples has also increased almost four times," according to Preeti Kumar, director of the Mega Wedding show held here recently. More couples are deciding to wed in exotic locales such as inside a palace or near a waterfront or picturesque landscape. Thai and Mexican food are the current favorites for the wedding cuisine. Other trends include; theme weddings, silk flowers, and designer wedding outfits for both bride and groom. The wedding jewelry is also ceasing to be an "all gold affair" as people are buying more diamond sets. The current formula in the wedding market is IVQ--Innovation, Variety and Quality, says event manager Kanwar, though the essence largely remains Indian.




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