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Sanatan Society Encourages a Spiritual Celebration of Ganesha Chaturthi


Posted on 2002/9/1 9:46:02 ( 858 reads )


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September 1, 2002: As Ganesha Chaturthi approaches, devotees are encouraged to check out the web site created by the Sanatan Society. A comprehensive "Campaign for awareness of spiritually correct way of celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi" details nine points including the history of Ganesh Chaturthi, the science behind the rituals, interesting facts about Lord Ganesh, and the science behind sculpting murthis. Inspiring pilgrims to worship with intense devotion and faith, the Sanatan Society discourages the often current practices where the festival surrounding Ganesha Chaturthi has turned into a massive social event and an advertising event for some businesses. Loud non-religious music may be played while adults and children ignore the celebration and turn to socializing. In 1894, Lokmanya Tilak started the public celebration of Lord Ganesh by placing an icon of the Lord in Vinchurkar Wada, Maharashtra. A revival in the population was started and the festival took on a highly spiritual significance for many years.






Planned 9/11 Interfaith Observances Prompt Tensions


Posted on 2002/8/29 9:49:02 ( 865 reads )


Source: Religion News Service





USA, August 29, 2002: As diverse communities across America prepare to solemnly remember the day last year when thousands died and millions cried out to God, yearnings abound to see believers of all types mark the occasion by praying together. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, for instance, in July called on "all faith communities to participate in the national observance by opening houses of worship on September 11, 2002, for interfaith visits, prayers ... to foster national unity and religious tolerance." Yet while some faith communities adapt easily to interfaith worship, the more theologically conservative ones are feeling torn by an intense dilemma. As Americans, they aspire to demonstrate their country's tolerance of differences. But as believers, they feel compelled to be clear that all paths do not in fact lead to the same God. When that subtle, dual message feels obscured by a public event that mixes prayer and politics, interfaith worship can cause a crisis of integrity. Nowhere has that strain played out more painfully in the past year than for the 2.6 million-member Missouri Synod. After taking part in a highly acclaimed interfaith service at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 23 last year, the Rev. David Benke was suspended indefinitely from his job as president of the church's 45,000-member Atlantic District. A church investigation had found him guilty of "syncretism" and "unionism" because "The signal (sent by his presence there) was: While there may be differences as to how people worship or pray, in the end, all religions pray to the same God." "Joining in prayer with pagan clerics in Yankee Stadium was an offense both to God and to all Christians," said the June 25 report by the Rev. Wallace Schulz. "What's the purpose of an interfaith service?" asked one Baptist minister. "It's to show everybody that we can all get along. But not until everything and everyone is brought together under Jesus Christ, until everyone bows the knee to Christ, will there be a peaceful world. (In the meantime), to use worship as a means of promoting something else is wrong."






VHP Reconversion Drive in West Bengal District


Posted on 2002/8/29 9:48:02 ( 1049 reads )


Source: Hindustan Times





WEST BENGAL, INDIA, August 22, 2002: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Thursday brought back to Hinduism one Muslim and six Christian families at a paribartan ("transformation") ceremony in the West Bengal's Malda district. The ceremony, which took place in Bharat Sevashram Sangh's ashram at Tajpur, kicks off a reconversion program planned by the VHP in the adivasi (tribal) belt of the district, claimed senior VHP leaders. The families all filed affidavits before a local Malda court last week swearing that they were converting to Hinduism of their own free will. VHP spokesman Ajoy Kumar Nandi said, "We'll be intensifying our paribartan program to bring back people who were lured into Christianity and Islam." The reconverted families confirmed Nandi's charges. "We were lured into Christianity by offers of food, medicines, education, money and building materials. But the promises did not materialize. We then realized it was wrong to have embraced Christianity, and so we are coming back to our religion,"said Raja Hansda of Srirampur village.






Court Orders Release of Monkey


Posted on 2002/8/29 9:47:02 ( 856 reads )


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HYDERABAD, INDIA, August 29, 2002: A court in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh has ordered the state authorities to help free a monkey that has been confined inside a temple for the last month. The monkey has been kept within the temple's inner-most chambers in the belief that it is the reincarnation of a much loved Hindu Monkey God - Hanuman. The court issued the orders in response to a petition filed by an animal rights group, Karuna, based in Anantapur. The court directed the Anantapur district superintendent of police to send a team of veterinary doctors to examine the condition of the monkey and treat it as necessary. On its part, the well-cared-for monkey appears to show no inclination to leave the temple.






Saudi's Censorship Mostly Leaves Hinduism Out


Posted on 2002/8/29 9:46:02 ( 845 reads )


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USA, August 29, 2002: The Saudi government is censoring public Internet access to a degree that goes significantly but haphazardly beyond its stated central goal of blocking sexually explicit content that violates the values of Islam, according to a recent study by Harvard Law School researchers. The study's detailed list of blocked sites offers a glimpse into the areas that the Saudi government has deemed most troubling. Among them are sites related to pornography, women's rights, gays and lesbians, non-Islamic religions and criticism of political restrictions. Many humor and entertainment sites have also been blocked. HPI found only 12 "Hindu" sites listed ("source" above) among those blocked, but the logic for inclusion was not clear as most did not even appear to mention Islam.






250 Youth Converted to Christianity in Tamil Nadu


Posted on 2002/8/28 9:49:02 ( 935 reads )


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MADURAI, INDIA, August 25, 2002: Some 250 Scheduled Caste (the dalits or "untouchables," who number 160 million in India) youths from the southern districts of Tamil Nadu were converted into Christianity at a function here on Saturday night, Seventh Day Adventist Church sources said. The Church had shot into the limelight in 2001 when it converted more than 1,500 dalit Hindus into Christianity. The sources said that the SC youths, in the age group of 20, were converted during the Thirumarai Peruvizha (conference) held at their school. The youths from Dindigul, Ammapatti, Sankarankovil, Tirunelveli, Manamadurai and Sivaganga agreed to convert after the pastors convinced them about the benefits they would have if they embraced Christianity. The baptism was held as the final event of the south Tamil conference. According to some converts, they were brought here with promises of economic emancipation. The website of the Church claims that more than 10,000 people had recently been converted in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.






Narayana Guru Jayanthi Celebrated


Posted on 2002/8/28 9:48:02 ( 807 reads )


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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, INDIA, August 23, 2002: Sree Narayana Guru Jayanthi (birthday) was celebrated all over Kerala with religious prayer meetings and communal harmony congregations. Hundreds of people from various parts of the state took part in the all-religious meeting at the Shivagiri math, founded by the Guru at Varkela and Guru's birth-place Gurukulam at Chembashanthi near here. Special pujas, cultural meetings and annadhanam (feedings) were also held at Aruvikara temple and other temples set up by the Guru. Sree Narayana Guru, social reformer of the state, coined the famous phrase, "one caste, one religion and one God for mankind." Processions were also held at many places exhorting people to follow the values and teachings of Narayana Guru.






Astronomy and Mathematics in Ancient India


Posted on 2002/8/28 9:47:02 ( 838 reads )


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AUSTIN, TEXAS, August, 24, 2002: Hindu creation theory, astronomical time spans, binary system of number representation, modern languages, the invention of zero and algorithms are but some of the scholarly subjects detailing Hindu scientific accomplishments on this University of Texas website. One small example: "Astronomical time spans: Apart from the peoples of the Mayan civilization, the ancient Hindus appear to be the only people who even thought beyond a few thousand years. In the famed book Cosmos, physicist-astronomer-teacher Carl Sagan writes "The dates on Mayan inscriptions also range deep into the past and occasionally far into the future. One inscription refers to a time more than a million years ago and another perhaps refers to events of 400 million years ago ... the time scales are prodigious." Hindu scriptures refer to time scales that vary from ordinary Earth day and night to the day and night of the Brahma that are a few billion earth years long. Sagan continues, "A millennium before Europeans were willing to divest themselves of the Biblical idea that the world was a few thousand years old, the Mayans were thinking of millions and the Hindus billions."






Sri Sarada Nuns to Visit Puerto Rico


Posted on 2002/8/28 9:46:02 ( 820 reads )


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PUERTO RICO, August 28, 2002: Pravrayilka Satchiprana and Pravrayika Prabuddhaprana, the two nuns from Order of Sri Sarada Math, Kolkata, India are travelling in the United States, visiting Vedanta societies and Sarada maths (nunneries) for the last two months. They both will be visiting the Vedanta Society of Puerto Rico on August 29 and will be staying here till September 2. They will be giving lectures on Karmayoga on August 30 evening.There will be a special puja for janmastami the next day, and a retreat from August 31 to September 2. For more information, contact "source" above






Didi Ma Ritambara Visits New Jersey Temple


Posted on 2002/8/28 9:45:02 ( 1031 reads )


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KENDALL PARK, NEW JERSEY, August 24, 2002: Poojaneeya Sadhwi Ritambara addressed a gathering of about five hundred Hindus at Durga Mandir, Kendall Park, New Jersey on August 24. A report forwarded by one of her devotees ("source" above) states that Ritambara gave investment tips to the audience. She advised Hindus to invest in the most undervalued stock -- children in America. She also advised the audience to invest in "the most neglected but highly undervalued stock, the Hindu children of Bharath." Ritambara promoted such programs as the Vatsalya Gram Project, Ekal Vidyaalay Foundation and Adopt-a Child program under India Development Relief Fund, saying, "Earnings on these investments were immense with no possibility of capital risk." While she was happy to see the mushrooming of Hindu temples in America, Ritambara appealed to Hindus to "shun divisive mentality, which could lead to temples studded with gold tops but no devotees to visit few years from now, because it fails to make Hindu children proud of their heritage and culture and keep them united."






British Hindus Seek Symbolic Local Ganges


Posted on 2002/8/27 9:49:02 ( 811 reads )


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BRADFORD, ENGLAND, August 26, 2002: The 6,000-strong local Hindu population is seeking permission from Bradford City Council to turn the River Aire into a "symbolic" Ganges -- India's holiest river, which is believed to wash away sin and release the soul from the body for its heavenward journey. "Many families cannot afford the journey to India,'' said Morani Gupta, chairman of the World Council of Hindus in Yorkshire. "We wanted a site where we can say farewell to our loved ones with grace and dignity.'' The local council is approaching the application to immerse ashes in the river cautiously. "I can assure people that no decision on such an issue would be made without the fullest possible consultation with the local community,'' said Anne Hawkesworth, the council's environment executive.






International Saiva Conference in October


Posted on 2002/8/27 9:48:02 ( 880 reads )


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LONDON, UK, August 19, 2002: The 5th International Saiva Conference will be held in London on October 26 and 27, 2002. The conference is being organized by The Federation of Saiva (Hindu) Temples, UK. Prospective authors are invited to submit papers on Saivism on such subjects areas as: Saints of Saivism, History of Saivism, The Holy Scriptures of Saivism, Importance of Saiva Temples and Saivism in the East and/or the West. Abstracts should be 300-400 words and provide information on the topics which are to be addressed in the final papers. They should be submitted to the Conference Program Committee by August 25, 2002. For a complete list of presentation subjects and deadlines e-mail "source" above.






Bad Economic Outlook Doesn't Dampen Ganesha Celebrations


Posted on 2002/8/27 9:47:02 ( 857 reads )


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MUMBAI, INDIA, August 26, 2002: While the money-market may be tight, it's not dampening the spirit of Ganesh Chaturthi. Ganesha Mandals are gearing up for the festival beginning September 10. "No Mandal (temporary festival temple) has opted out or scaled down its celebrations," says Jayant Salgaonkar, President of All Maharashtra Ganeshotsav Mahamandal. "No doubt the economy is bad but this is a festival which comes just once a year. The celebrations will be held as usual." "Overall, rough estimates of the last few years indicate that the total expenditure in Mumbai on the Ganapati celebrations is about US$10,200,000. In Maharashtra, it is around $40,800,000," says Dahibawkar.






Ganesha Needs Environmentally Friendly Paint


Posted on 2002/8/27 9:46:02 ( 860 reads )


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BANGALORE, INDIA, August 25, 2002: Come September 10 and most households will celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi. And even as they wait to buy Ganesha idols which have already hit the market shelves, the next step is to immerse them in water bodies in and around the city. However, according to Dr. Venkatesh, director of National Referral Centre for Lead Poisoning in India and professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at St. John's Medical College, if painted Ganesha idols are immersed in water, they will cause an increase in lead levels. This is because most paints used to decorate these idols contains high levels of lead. Water holes in which these idols are immersed get contaminated. Water from these tanks is consumed by cattle and other animals. In turn, by consuming their milk and flesh, harmful lead gets into our system. Devotees should seek out lead-free paint.






Evangelism as Military Assault


Posted on 2002/8/27 9:45:02 ( 1020 reads )


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INDIA, February 26, 2000: This article by David Kostinchuk details the plans of Christian evangelists and their assault on India. Kostinchuk begins, "The evangelism of India is done in a model similar to a military model used to invade, occupy, control or subjugate a population of a given country. Intelligence is considered essential to invading a country; language, religion, culture, etc. are some of the variables considered. Division among the given population is considered essential to gain political control once inside the country. Religion can be the key variable to accomplish this. Division of wealth, social status, ethnic diversity, etc. are also variables that influence division of the population of a given country." The article lists several groups and their plans, most funded with foreign money. The Indian Prayer and Fellowship Association has contacted over 16,000 houses. Their goal is to start cell groups, then attach a full gospel group or plant a church if needed. Partners International has the goal of training indigenous people to evangelize others. The Southern Baptists plan to have 4,700 Southern Baptists working with millions of international partners. Their goal is to have 15,000 career missionaries, 50,000 volunteers, and 1,000 Southern Baptist college grads every year. Native missionaries now do 90% of the work in starting churches. These people are more effective in converting people because they understand the language, customs, culture, etc. Many evangelist groups also establish schools, orphanages and medical centers where they carry their message, states this article.




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