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British Minister Bans Yoga from Church

Posted on 2002/12/17 8:44:02 ( 1043 reads )


HENHAM, ENGLAND, November 31, 2002: An English vicar has banned yoga from his church because he fears the exercise classes could lead participants on a path to "Eastern mysticism." The Rev. Richard Farr, of St. Mary's in Henham, on the Essex-Hertfordshire border, said he had enforced the ban after Tom Newstead, the yoga instructor, had confirmed that the ultimate aim of yoga was to enable participants to "ascend to a higher spiritual plane." "We are here to tell people about Jesus and his exclusive claims. It seems completely inappropriate that we should give someone a platform who is advocating different spirituality's," Farr said. Newstead, whose classes included several members of the congregation, was said to be surprised by the ban. Yoga, a Hindu system of exercise and meditation, has supporters in the medical profession who say it can relieve stress as well as help with spinal and muscular ailments.

New Delhi Toy Shop Owners Admonished for Using Wild Animals in Live Shows

Posted on 2002/12/17 8:43:02 ( 1075 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 11, 2002: Toy shop owners in Khan market sometimes engage tribal people to entertain Delhi's rich kids on their birthdays with dancing bears, elephant rides, monkey shows or snake charmers. When activist-politician Maneka Gandhi got word of a recent engagement at the Kuwaiti Embassy, she reported the toy shop owner to the police. Ms. Gandhi says, "Under the Wildlife Act, possession of wildlife is an offense and carries a prosecution of five years imprisonment and a fine of US$1,038." Upon investigation, the police could find no evidence that the toy shop owner had done anything illegal. However, alerted by the complaint, several toy shops in the Khan market who used to arrange for these shows on request from families have stopped doing so.

Hindu Students Announce "Solidarity in Diversity" Conference

Posted on 2002/12/17 8:42:02 ( 1016 reads )


ATLANTA, U.S.A., December 17, 2002: The Emory Hindu Students Council is holding a conference entitled, "Solidarity in Diversity: A journey through diverse religious practices in Hinduism." Scheduled for January 17-20, 2003, the conference will host speakers including Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Dr. Arvind Sharma and Dr. Vasudha Narayanan. Discussion workshops, an Indian classical music concert, banquet and cultural show are included in the program. People of all faiths are encouraged to attend. For more information readers may log onto "source" above.

Pejawar Seer Speaks Out for Anti-conversion Act

Posted on 2002/12/16 8:49:02 ( 1018 reads )


DHARWAD, INDIA, December 16, 2002: Pejawar Aadheenam Mahasannidhanam, H.H. Vishwesha Teertha, has supported the anti-conversion act passed by Tamil Nadu and urged all state governments to follow suit. Speaking to reporters at Dharwad recently, His Holiness called upon all the political parties in the country to include as one of their goals the support of the anti-conversion act. He clarified that he was not opposed to those volunteering to convert to other religions, but only opposed conversion by force and coercive means. Swami advocated the need to form district level committees comprising the representatives of various religions and the government to monitor the activities of some religious organizations which are allegedly indulging in converting people by force or enticement.

Communists Succeed in Removing Sanskrit Education in Nepal

Posted on 2002/12/16 8:48:02 ( 1140 reads )


KATMANDU, NEPAL, December 10, 2002: Nepal has ordered it's schools to drop compulsory Sanskrit lessons, but denies it has caved in to demands by Maoist rebels who say the language is foreign to the Himalayan Kingdom. The abolition of Sanskrit lessons is key amongst a list of educational reforms demanded by the rebels who have called on students to boycott classes across Nepal indefinitely from Monday. The Himalayan Times quoted Education Minister Devi Ojha as saying the decision was not made to comply with the rebels.

British Find Better Nutrition Helps Curb Violent Behavior

Posted on 2002/12/16 8:47:02 ( 1096 reads )


BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, ENGLAND, December 15, 2002: A study by researchers at the Buckinghamshire Aylesbury Young Offenders Institution found that adding nutrients to the inmates' diet reduced antisocial behavior in the unit. The British Home Office backed the study conducted on behalf of Natural Justice, which involved 231 18- to 21-year-old men in the maximum-security jail. Half of the offenders received daily nutritional supplements, while the rest received placebos. Both groups included a comparable mix of anxious, depressed and aggressive individuals. Their antisocial behaviors, ranging from violent assaults to swearing at the guards, were recorded before and during the experiment. Published in the July issue of The British Journal of Psychiatry, the results show that the inmates on supplements committed 25 percent fewer offenses than those taking placebos. The major implication, researchers said, is that boosting a diet can be a cheap and effective way of preventing offenses. Dr. Gesch's team reported inmates receiving supplements committed 35 percent fewer offenses than before starting the trial, compared with a seven per cent reduction in those taking placebos. However the improvement in behavior wasn't necessarily long lasting. Shortly after the experiment ended, the prison staff reported that violence against them rose by 40 percent.

Reggae Group UB40 Play For Peace in Sri Lanka

Posted on 2002/12/16 8:46:02 ( 1098 reads )


COLOMBO, SRI LANKA, December 13, 2002: British reggae group, UB40, say the world should learn from Sri Lanka's peace process. The group is in Colombo and recently gave a concert for peace in Sri Lanka. The organizers say the idea is to reintegrate Sri Lanka into the rest of the world after two decades of civil war and show that the island is now safe to visit. Minister of Commerce Ravi Karunanayake says this is the biggest band to visit Sri Lanka for more than a decade. The concert is being simultaneously broadcast on screens in provincial towns in the conflict areas, including Jaffna. The minister says he hopes UB40 will fall in love with Sri Lanka and write a peace song for the island. Some might ask why Sri Lankans in the north and east need a foreign reggae band when many still do not have enough to eat or proper shelter. But after decades of bombardment, curfew and fear, the organizers would argue they're ready for some entertainment, too.

Research Reveals Not So Positive Attitudes Regarding Evangelicals

Posted on 2002/12/16 8:45:02 ( 967 reads )


CALIFORNIA, USA, December 13, 2002: A Christian marketing research company says non-Christians in the United States view evangelical Christians "somewhat more kindly than prostitutes, but with less affection than lesbians and lawyers." According to George Barna, president of Barna Research Group, many non-Christians expressed negative impressions of evangelicals because they don't know who or what an evangelical is. The BRG, which analyzes cultural trends in Christianity, asked non-Christian respondents to rank and compare their impressions of evangelicals against eleven categories of people. Military officers ranked top with a 56% favorable impression, next ministers, then born-again Christians, Democrats, Republicans, real-estate agents, movie and TV performers, lawyers, lesbians, evangelicals (at 22% favorable) and prostitutes (at 5% favorable).

Ancient Recipe Gives India's Taj Mahal a Face-Lift

Posted on 2002/12/15 8:49:02 ( 1017 reads )


AGRA, INDIA, December 8, 2002: The world famous 17-century Taj Mahal received a face-lift. Exposure to industrial pollution had left the marble Mogul tomb stained with black and yellow impurities. Wanting to restore the monument to its original splendor, archaeologists discovered that a mud-pack was used in the 16-century to restore Indian buildings. Using the formula as described in the 16-century Mogul journal, Ain-I-Akbary, the archaeologists combined soil, cereal, milk and lime to recreate the ancient recipe, the same ingredients once used by Indian women to beautify their skin. In any case, the results were astonishing. The Taj Mahal marble is now gleaming white. The mixture has been used to clean the interior, the gateway, and the four surrounding minarets. News of the mud-pack formula has been far-reaching. Scientists from Rome have traveled to Agra to observe the process and they have returned home to treat marble statues in Rome and Florence. The mud, brushed on in layers until it is an inch deep, draws out the polluting sulfates and carbonates. After 24 hours, the mud is washed off with warm water.

New York Fashion Scene Embraces Yoga

Posted on 2002/12/15 8:48:02 ( 1051 reads )


NEW YORK CITY, U.S.A., December 12, 2002: In this droll look at New York's famous fashion scene, Kate Betts' "view" takes a fresh look at Hinduism's ancient practice of Yoga. "The last thing I thought I would be buying at the Marc Jacobs boutique in SoHo (Manhattan) was a sticky yoga mat. Yoga was for sincere, mantra-chanting people who liked to do tree poses in public. Not something that ever seemed likely to preoccupy the glittering, self-besotted members of the fashion tribe. We follow trends, not gurus. Our masters are Miuccia Prada (clothes) and Manolo Blahnik (shoes). We worship at the altar of consumerism, and can see the universe in a bead on a Fendi baguette (a US$500 lady's purse). We do not by nature believe there is a clear line between divinity and a divine pair of shoes. It's hard to fathom why fashion, which has thrived for centuries on humanity's most nakedly materialistic tendencies, would now be embracing a spiritual tradition that aspires to move people beyond the illusion of appearances. But yoga is not just fashionable, with some 18 million practitioners in the United States; it has come to permeate every nook of the fashion world itself. Christy Turlington was on a recent cover of Vogue demonstrating the bow pose in a Calvin Klein evening dress. At runway shows, you hear musical Indian names like Iyengar, Kripalu and Sivananda peppering conversations. Every stylist, makeup artist and fashion publicist worth her weight in Nuala sweats is bowing to some newfound guru at corner gymnasiums and SoHo lofts. Then I heard about Eddie Stern, a leading teacher of Ashtanga, and whose New York studio is the V.I.P. room of yoga. Ashtanga is known as boot camp yoga. Devotees break down in tears in the middle of the more difficult postures. The word is, an Ashtanga workout can change your life if you survive it. As karma would have it, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the 86-year-old brahmin-born guru of Ashtanga yoga, was making his twice-a-year visit to New York to conduct a workshop. Ashtanga enthusiasts were pouring into Manhattan from all over the country to practice with this amazingly elastic grandfather they called Guruji." To conclude this long and humorous article, go to "source" above.

British Pastor's Six Steps for Converting Hindus to Christianity

Posted on 2002/12/15 8:47:02 ( 1100 reads )


UNITED KINGDOM: In this article, Juge Ram, a Christian convert from Hinduism and Pastor of Emmanuel Church in Birmingham, England, answers questions on Hinduism and explains how to reach Hindus with the Bible. After giving a detailed background of Hindu beliefs and culture, he suggests a few methods which Christians can use to reach out to Hindus. Firstly, Hindus arriving from India generally feel isolated or have difficulties knowing how things operate. Christians can use these opportunities to offer them assistance, establish friendships and win their trust. Christians can befriend and help the Hindu wife who is often at home all day alone with the children and may need friendship and assistance adjusting to a new culture. Christians should help them as much as possible and try to get into their homes. It may be a long and slow process, but it is one of the most successful ways of bringing Hindus to Christianity. Secondly, the local churches need to demonstrate a concern for the Hindus in their communities. If there is a large Asian community and many members cannot speak English, they need to hear the religious teachings in their own language. This can be done by having Christian literature in appropriate languages. The church may consider including books in Asian languages in Christian bookshops or bookstalls at local events. From time to time churches can have a bilingual service or an Asian evening. In addition, a bilingual sermon or a recording of the Bible in their own language can be a powerful tool for communicating with non-English speaking Hindus. Thirdly, Christians must be aware of cultural differences when approaching Hindus or risk offending them. For example, a woman who wants to be a witness to her Asian friends should not wear miniskirts or other revealing clothing. Men should approach men only. Fourthly, Christians should not attack Hinduism or risk alienating the Hindus. Rather, it is suggested that Christians ask questions about their religion and let Hindus see the "folly" of it themselves. Fifthly, Hindus are very polite and may give the impression that they are listening and interested. Christians must not be fooled by this and think that because they agree with them they are genuinely interested. Many Hindus will say they believe in Christ and they may even speak of repentance, but they will continue to worship Hindu Gods. Therefore, Christians must make it clear to Hindus that they need to make a clean break from Hinduism. Lastly, Christians should use the Bible when witnessing. They can read the Bible with Hindus and point out how relevant it is to their lives. Christians must treat the Bible with respect and never put it on the floor. Hindus can be given copies of the New Testament in their own language if they cannot read English. Christians should explain biblical terms through a simple biblical framework and use biblical or other illustrations to assist them in conveying their message. The pastor concludes by saying that Hindus are lost, spiritually blind and are without hope in this world and in the next. He says that only Christ can release them and exhorts Christians to share the gospel with them with great humility and great confidence. The number of practicing Christians in England drops at a rate of 1,000 per day.

Women Priests Honor Their Teacher in Pune

Posted on 2002/12/14 8:49:02 ( 1056 reads )


PUNE, INDIA, December 9, 2002: Seventy-five-year-old Malatibai Joshi is no ordinary teacher. She belongs to the first and the most elite batch of women purohitas (priestesses) in the city. Trained by none other than the late Shankarrao Thatte, who opened the doors of priesthood to women in 1975, Malatibai on Sunday presided over a unique gathering of over 125 women priests, the last such get-together organized by her before she prepares for retirement. All the purohitas who assembled at the Nrusimha temple in Sadashiv Peth on Sunday, to pay respect to their "Bai," as she is fondly called, were her students. In fact, she has an enviable record of training 700 women in the 35 to 70 age group, and a handful of men as well, during the past two decades. Chants of Purushasukta, Shivamahimna, Rudra, Saptashati Paath and Shri Sukta filled the air under the ever-watchful eye of Malatibai. "This is our last get-together, although we will continue to study under Bai for some more time. She won't be taking new students and assignments due to her advanced age," said professor Arya Bhide, one of her students. "Bai used to organize a get-together every year in December, where we used to recite all the stotras taught by her," she added.

Founder of Hindu School in South Africa Honored

Posted on 2002/12/14 8:48:02 ( 970 reads )


PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA, December 9, 2002: For Ramesh Chhagan, founder of the only Hindu school in South Africa at the mainly Indian township of Laudium here, three decades of community work has reaped a special award. "It left me with a warm feeling, as it was totally unexpected," said Chhagan. Involved in education for 19 years before shifting full time to psychology, Chhagan was instrumental as chairman of Laudium Educators Organization in getting parents involved to ensure that the education of children did not suffer while teachers became militant in their opposition to education authorities and the government in the apartheid era. But his greatest role in the community was still to come when he spearheaded the development of the only Hindu school in South Africa as well as a number of projects in his 20 years as chairman of the Pretoria Hindu Organization, a position he still holds today. From small classes in temporary accommodation, the Pretoria Hindu School now runs grades 8 to 11 and will turn out its first students of grade 12, the final year of South African schooling, in 2003. "With the standard of education dropping rapidly in government schools, I was approached by a number of people who were concerned that if we did not do something, the next generation of children would lose out," said Chhagan. "We managed to raise US$343,000 from the community for the school, which provides education with a Hindu ethos. Three Indian languages used by Hindus here -- Tamil, Hindi and Gujarati -- are offered as subjects, as is the basic philosophy of Hinduism." Phase II, to start in 2003, will add a primary school to the existing high school.

India Wants Protection for Traditional Knowledge

Posted on 2002/12/14 8:47:02 ( 1205 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 6, 2002: "Mega diverse" countries in the developing world, including India, have just finished meeting in Peru where they decided to push for patent requirements which specifically protect the holders of traditional knowledge. These countries, rich in natural resources, are still debating some of the common issues, positions, experiences and possible strategies against multinational company raiders with officials from South America, Africa and Asia. The Mexican Initiative, which bore fruit in the first ministerial meeting in Cancun earlier this year, is expected to see India take over the presidency in 2003. The classical definition of mega diversity looks not just at the number of species in a country but at how many are endemic to that nation. The original countries on the list include India, China, Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Madagascar, Zaire, Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia. Other countries which joined them in Peru include South Africa and Kenya. The aim is to share information, help each other and develop a sort of negotiating bloc in environmental negotiations which can protect mega diversity and the traditional knowledge bases which provide the building blocks for technological innovations in medicine, agriculture, industry, biotechnology, even biological warfare. Some countries don't know what to protect or how to arrive at a price negotiation mechanism to ensure a fair price is paid. These are also countries struggling with development issues, unable to document their biodiversity or compile a traditional knowledge base.

Fiji Must Be Run by Christian Fijians, Says Senator Bulanauca

Posted on 2002/12/14 8:46:02 ( 1139 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."

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