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Fiji Must Be Run by Christian Fijians, Says Senator Bulanauca


Posted on 2002/12/14 8:46:02 ( 1056 reads )


Source: The Daily Post





SUVA, FIJI, December 13, 2002: Fiji must be run by Fijian leadership, says senator Mitieli Bulanauca, speaking in the Senate yesterday. Senator Bulanauca asserts, "Fiji must be led by Fijians forever because without that, Fiji will not be in peace, there will be turmoils even worse than the previous ones. The Fijian people will be a forgotten race and with only 400,000 under the sun, we can be wiped out and forgotten instantly," he said. Mr. Bulanauca said under Fijian leadership, they could run this country democratically, and policies could be made to benefit all races as it is currently being carried out. Mr. Bulanauca added that the Constitution must also recognize "Lord Jehovah" as the God of this nation and Christianity be the official religion. "We want to live in peace and prosperity -- therein (in Lord Jehovah) lies peace, harmony and prosperity of this country," he said. The Senator claims that did not mean a stop to Hinduism, Muslim, and other religions, "because they have the freedom to choose their God and are free to worship it at their places of worship. All are welcomed to practice their own faith here in Fiji without interference, but people must remember that Fiji must be run by Fijian leadership and under Christian Principles as the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) Party is currently doing and championing."






Legally Dealing with Ashes in America


Posted on 2002/12/10 8:49:02 ( 924 reads )


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UNITED STATES, December 9, 2002: As more and more people in the United States prefer cremation over burial for themselves and their loved ones, it is found that no one law governs disposition of remains nationwide. With permission from the owner, many states allow for scattering ashes in any manner you wish on private property. However, the general guideline is to check with local county or city ordinances before disposing of remains, including the use of rivers, lakes and along sea coasts, which are popular locations for disposition. Within the federally-owned national forests blanket approval has been granted for scattering ashes at any time. A similar rule is being developed for California state parks. Besides funeral homes, there are organizations that deal with cremations, such as the Neptune Society in California. They are aware of local ordinances and will help individuals navigate local regulations in order to lawfully dispose of cremated remains. Lastly, if you need to mail a loved one's remains across the country, following certain restrictions, the United States Postal Service does allow cremated remains to be sent through the mail. See "source" above for more information.






Buddhist Monks Throng Puspagiri Festival in Orissa


Posted on 2002/12/10 8:48:02 ( 996 reads )


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DHAULI, INDIA, December 10, 2002: Nearly 100 Buddhist monks and pilgrims from Myanmar, Japan, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Cambodia were in Dhauli to plant a peepal tree symbolizing peace. Dhauli is the site of the 3rd century BCE Kalinga War, one of the bloodiest wars in ancient Indian history, and following which Emperor Ashoka converted to Buddhism. "We have come here to grow a plant called a Bodhi Tree. This plant symbolizes the peace between your people and our people and between your country and our country," said a Burmese visitor. The Buddhist group, which started its journey from the Rajarani Temple in Bhubaneswar, are here to participate in the three-day Puspagiri Festival jointly organized by the state tourism department and Nirvan Pilgrim Society. Orissa has had a long association with Buddhism dating back to the 6th century BCE when Buddha was preaching his new religion. Buddhism flourished in the state for several centuries until its decline in the 12th century AD. "The Buddhists are most welcome to our state and...with the Buddhist monks coming to the state, we hope the Buddhist tourism should get a kick start," said A. U. Singhdeo, Orissa's Minister of Tourism. The Myanmar Buddhists intend to erect a stupa at a cost of US$425,000 at the base of Dhauli hills. It will be similar to the Shanti Stupa erected by the Japanese on the hilltop 30 years ago. It is hoped the Puspagiri Mela will now be an annual affair and will draw thousands of Buddhist tourists from around the world.






How Christian Missionaries in India Use Social Service as a Conversion Technique


Posted on 2002/12/10 8:47:02 ( 1019 reads )


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UNITED STATES, December 10, 2002: Following is a verbatim report from a Christian news organization on missionary work in India: "A ministry in India is finding that its social and educational ministries are bearing much fruit when combined with a spiritual emphasis. This particular ministry, begun 30 years ago, cares for 95 children of leprous parents in a children's home. Living apart from the parents prevents the children from contracting the same dread disease and also gives them an education, that otherwise would pass them by. Most of the children come from non-Christian families. Along with the children's home, the ministry also operates two elementary schools. The biggest one teaches 1,800 day-students from mostly Sikh and Hindu homes and employs 70 teachers. A third school is scheduled to open in March 2003. The ministry also runs a daily dispensary with a retired public health person. A Christian doctor is joining the team and plans to begin operating a mobile health clinic in February. Amid this social and educational ministry the mission group has been able to plant 45 churches with a total constituency of over 4,800 believers. 'This year we started church fellowships in two new places with full time workers, and our churches are growing rapidly,' the director said."






Grand Yaagam Planned for Spring of 2003 in Kerala


Posted on 2002/12/9 8:49:02 ( 1009 reads )


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MULAMKUNNATHKAVU, INDIA, October 29, 2002: After 19 years, a yaagam is being organized at Mulamkunnathkavu, Trissur district, for April 2003. Performed by Rig Veda expert Vaidikan Thekkat Neelakandan Namboothiri, training for the yaagam began in October of 2002. The purpose of the ceremony is to cleanse the environment by burning ghee, seeds and healing herbs. Readers may contact "source" above for additional information.






Hindu Family Honored for Upholding Family Values


Posted on 2002/12/9 8:48:02 ( 1273 reads )


Source: New Jersey Media Group





BERGEN COUNTY, NEW JERSEY, November 28, 2002: This heart-warming article describes a Hindu family living life following Hindu values and ideals. Kokila and Kishor Vyas were honored by the New Jersey Parents Foundation last July as Parents of the Year. Kokila recalls a message delivered by a Hindu priest at a festival in 1986 who said, "An over-emphasis on accumulating wealth comes at the risk of losing one's children." Soon after, Kokila quit her job and stayed home to tend to her newborn son, Shaunak. As part of the family sacrifice, Kishor sometimes had to work longer hours to meet expenses, however, the couple persevered and attribute their success to their Hindu faith. Through living frugally, Kokila has always been there for both their children, Shaunak now 16, and his 14-year old sister, Jigisha. Her presence has enabled the teenagers to participate in drama, sports, dance, school plays and more. Kishor's aging parents now live in their home, too. Kishor says, "Keeping any religion helps make a good family life. Prayer and values help children in any society." The Vyas start each day with prayers in the family shrine room and they attend many religious and cultural programs offered by the Arya Samaj Hindu congregation. Shaunak and Jigisha have emulated their parents by giving back to the community through volunteer work with organizations such as the March of Dimes and Oakland Animal Refuge. Kokila says, "Shaunak and Jigisha follow how we are talking to each other, not fighting in 23 years of marriage." After the children are grown, Kishor and Kokila plan to reach out to the community by teaching children's religious classes. On a final note the couple adds, "We don't expect anything material from our children. Spiritual achievement should be the goal of life. When they keep good grades and they love us, that's our gift."






Hindu Sangam to Build a Museum Commemorating Arrival of South Indians to Fiji


Posted on 2002/12/9 8:47:02 ( 999 reads )


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NADI, FIJI, October 27, 2002: The spring of 2003 will mark the 100th Anniversary of the first arrival of South Indians to Fiji from Chennai. To commemorate the occasion, the India Sanmarga Ikya Sangam has set aside a half-acre parcel of land where they plan to build a museum. Founded in 1926, the Sangam runs 26 primary and high schools as well as many Hindu temples in Fiji. Funding for the museum will be sponsored by the National Sangam parent body in conjunction with other branches and Sangam organizations overseas. Those knowledgeable about the India diaspora who might help with the museum are welcome to contact "source" above.






150-Year-Old Kali Temple Insured Against Terrorism


Posted on 2002/12/9 8:46:02 ( 1112 reads )


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KOLKATA, INDIA, Thursday, December 5, 2002: Devotees visiting the 150-year-old Dakshineswar Kali Temple near Kolkata (Calcutta) may soon be insured against terrorist attacks. Though properties of temples are often insured against theft, this is the first temple to cover devotees as well under an anti-terrorist insurance umbrella. The temple, draws five thousand devotees daily and at its annual festival, Kalpataru Utsav, beginning December 15, that number soars to 1.5 million. The temple could be paying an annual premium of US$1.25 million in this first of its kind policy. Insurance companies say the concept exists, it is known as public liability insurance. However, figuring out how many devotees will be covered under the insurance at a time and for how much is proving tricky. The whole idea is yet to sink in among regular devotees. The temple has 20 guards of its own, with two of them armed while four men staff a police camp on the premises on a regular basis. On special occasions, like the forthcoming festival, the state does increase deployment of police.






Naga Sadhus to Guard India's Temples


Posted on 2002/12/9 8:45:02 ( 1120 reads )


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LUCKNOW, INDIA, December 6, 2002: Over 50 akharas (monastic orders) and ashrams in Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal will soon prepare themselves for a new role when hundreds of thousands of Naga Sadhus associated with them would take up the security of temples and religious shrines in the country. "The Naga sadhus, numbering over 500,000 in the country, will not sit idle if temples continue to be targeted by non-believers," said Mahamandaleshwar of Juna Akhara. "The Naga sect, founded by Shankaracharya to protect the sadhus and saints in the event of attacks, had virtually drifted away from their defined role after the supremacy of Sanatana Dharma was established in the country," said a member of Sriram Hastakhchar Abhiyan Samiti. When the threat to temples and other religious shrines abated, the Naga sadhus assumed different roles.






Hindu Gods Create Sanctity in Washington Museum


Posted on 2002/12/9 8:44:02 ( 965 reads )


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WASHINGTON D.C., U.S.A., December 6, 2002: An exhibition at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery here, "The Sensuous and the Sacred: Chola Bronzes From South India," doesn't waste much time. Its opening salute to this glorious art of the Chola period consists of three spectacular bronzes of God Siva as Nataraja, Lord of Dance. In each, Siva balances on his right leg while crooking his left up and across his body, communicating the sense of imminent motion -- be it a spin across the heavens or a tremor of devotion -- that animates all great Indian sculpture. The dancing Sivas, lent by museums in Dallas and Amsterdam and an unnamed private collector, lead off a succession of works, many of which are well known and widely reproduced, but are rarely, if ever, seen in one another's company. In a collaboration between the Sackler and the American Federation of Arts, this exhibition has been organized by Vidya Dehejia, a professor of art history at Columbia University and formerly the chief curator and deputy director of the Sackler. It is the first in the United States to concentrate solely on the bronze temple sculptures created during the nearly four-century reign of the devout, munificent and innovative Chola emperors. It would not be an overstatement to say that these sculptures are among the most beautiful ever made, in any material. There are 56 here, and they easily overcome the first requirement of any Sackler show, distracting viewers from the depressing reality of a museum that is mostly underground, nearly devoid of natural light and plagued by a confusing layout. The sculptures' transporting combination of formal perfection, religious gravity and life-affirming alertness can make the setting all but disappear.






Europe's Largest Hindu Temple Consecrated in Germany


Posted on 2002/12/8 8:49:02 ( 1190 reads )


Source: News Report





HAMM, GERMANY, October 2, 2002: The Ruhr Valley in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, is well known for its coal mining and steel tempering. And from now on it will also be associated with Europe's largest Hindu Temple. Dedicated to Sri Kamakshi Ambal, the temple was officially opened in Hamm-Uentrop, an industrial zone just outside the city, in ceremonies from June 30 to July 7, 2002. All consecration rituals were carried out by 14 priests who came especially for this occasion from India, Sri Lanka, Australia and the United States. Sri Lankan Priest Siva Paskaran's years of hard work and unflagging dedication to realize this dream have paid off, much to the delight of the 600 Hindus of Hamm and Germany's overall Hindu community of about 45,000. Seventeen years ago, Paskaran arrived in Germany as a refugee from war-torn Sri Lanka. He was on his way from Berlin to Paris, but when the train pulled into Hamm, hunger compelled him to disembark. For him, this was a sign from above that he should stay there and build a temple. The priest sought out a German architect by randomly pointing to a name in the yellow pages, Heinz-Rainer Eichhorst. This architect had never designed temples and had never been to India but was thrilled by the challenge of the project. He packed his bags and accompanied the priest for three weeks on travels through southern India to view large temple complexes. "You only get the chance to do a project like this once in a lifetime," he says. After plans were approved by the local authorities, the temple cornerstone was laid in March 2000. Ten Indian temple-building craftsmen are still at work decorating the 700 square meters of facade with sculptures and ornamentation. Now more than 15,000 people who come from all over Europe each year for the festival honoring Sri Kamakshi Ambal have a magnificent place of worship.






Interfaith Awareness Week Declared by Wisconsin Governor


Posted on 2002/12/8 8:48:02 ( 981 reads )


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MADISON, U.S.A., December 8, 2002: The Governor of Wisconsin has declared the week of December 9 as "Interfaith Awareness Week," with the main purpose of the celebration to develop awareness and establish mutual understanding and respect among religions. The American Hindu Association, along with six other faith groups, is participating. The inaugurating events will be on Tuesday, December 10 from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. in the Rotunda of the State Capital. Wisconsin's Governor, the County Executive, and the Mayor of Madison will send their proclamation on the inauguration day. Exhibits from all faiths, including the Hindu Association, will be on display. Kripa Baskaran will perform a dance on behalf of the American Hindu Association. Readers may contact "source" above for additional information.






Scientific Confirmation of Ancient Hindu Civilization


Posted on 2002/12/8 8:47:02 ( 1014 reads )


Source: News Report





BANGALORE, INDIA, December 2, 2002: The discovery of long-forgotten underwater settlements off the coast of Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, by American marine archaeologists has pushed the antiquity of civilization in South India back by a few millennia and showed a link with Vedic civilization. This finding was voiced here on Monday by the noted American scholar in the Vedas and Hinduism, Dr. David Frawley. He was speaking along with Navarathna Rajaram, engineer and historian, who deciphered the Harappan seals. Dr. Frawley said fishermen along the Mahabalipuram coast had been mentioning the existence of temples and other structures beneath the Bay of Bengal and they had now been corroborated by underwater videography. He stressed the southern links of the civilization of ancient India, and said that the Vedic civilization was older than those of Mesopotamia and other regions held to be the most ancient by Western scholars by at least 4,000 years. Dr. Frawley argued that the Vedic civilization had maritime connections like most other civilizations. Rejecting the Aryan-Dravidian divide theory still adhered to by a section of historians, he quoted from the Rig Veda to point out that its most prominent sage, Vasistha, was the younger brother of Agasthya, the most prominent sage of South India. The Aryans and the Dravidians were the same people, Frawley asserts. The linguistic diversity of India was not surprising as it was a country of continental proportions. In a joint statement, the two scholars said that though the people of India were living at a time of exciting discoveries, they were concerned that there appeared to be some political pressure to deny students the benefit of those findings. An example was the discovery of the Vedic river, Saraswathi, which was one of the major triumphs of 20th century archaeology. It was an exciting story of satellite photography and archaeology working together to shed light on the Vedic tradition. "Our children should take pride in such discoveries. Yet we are told that vested interests in some States are directing teachers and textbook writers not to mention the Saraswati river.'' It was a throwback to the 16th century when Galileo was told by the Church not to teach the solar system. Such anti-intellectual attitudes should have no place in education, they said.






Business Leaders to Incorporate Spirituality at World Economic Forum


Posted on 2002/12/8 8:46:02 ( 1173 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 30, 2002: A unique concept has been masterminded by Klaus Schwab, president of the World Economic Forum, which will manifest at Davos, Switzerland, January 24, 2003. Business leaders of the WEF have collaborated with forty spiritual leaders, representing a variety of world religions, to bring spirituality to the forum which, up until 9-11 has been focused on economics and technology. Schwab calls the new agenda a trust agenda and says, "A war will lead to enormous tension in the Western and Islamic world, and we need platforms where the two worlds can meet. We have decided to integrate various spiritual dimensions at Davos 2003." Hindus will be represented by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living Foundation.






Ecumenical Thanksgiving Gathering Held at Texas Hindu Temple


Posted on 2002/12/8 8:45:02 ( 880 reads )


Source: Austin American Stateman





AUSTIN, U.S.A., November 28, 2002: This year's 18th Ecumenical Thanksgiving Gathering sponsored by the Austin Area Inter-religious Ministries was held at the Barsana Dham Hindu temple. Attended by over 1,000 leaders from the Catholic, Episcopal, Protestant denominations, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam and Hindu faiths, the gathering demonstrated America's religious freedom. Respecting Hindu tradition, everybody attending the ceremony took off their shoes before entering the temple. Rev. Greg McDonnell, president of the Ministries boards said, "This is as close a look as you're going to get at heaven on Earth." This comment was made after the reverend surveyed the multiracial audience wearing the attire of their religious tradition.




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