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Hindu Temples of New Jersey in Pluralism Project

Posted on 2002/8/24 9:46:02 ( 921 reads )


BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, August 19, 2002: In the past thirty years, the religious landscape of the U.S. has changed radically. Islamic centers and mosques, Hindu and Buddhist temples and meditation centers are found in virtually every major American city. How Americans of all faiths begin to engage with one another in shaping a positive pluralism is one of the most important questions American society faces in the years ahead, according to The Pluralism Project. Developed by Diana L. Eck at Harvard University to study and document the growing religious diversity of the United States, The Pluralism Project has new research by Michael Linderman on the Hindu Temples of New Jersey available on their website. This extensive list includes twenty temples and The Garden State Crematory with it's chapel for Hindu ceremonies. Profiles of individual centers include detailed histories of each institution, with a focus on history of organization and funding bodies; target population and language groups served; current management and personnel; relationships with local communities and with other temples; and the centers' religious art, architecture, and ritual installations. An additional new link has dozens of photos available in a slide show format.

Hindu Saints Meet in Gujarat

Posted on 2002/8/24 9:45:02 ( 1077 reads )

Source: Times News Network

MAHUDI, GUJARAT, August 20, 2002: It was pure vitriol that flowed out of this pilgrim village on Tuesday as religious leaders from across Gujarat representing various sects gave vent to their disenchantment with the Bharatiya Janata Party and Vishwa Hindu Parishad. According to this report, they said the BJP-VHP combine used them for 20 years to solicit votes, but gave nothing in return -- not even respect. "It was for Ram Mandir that we helped BJP. We sent them to the throne of Delhi. But after they came to power, the controversy grew from two to 72 acres. Today, we are not able to put our foot in that holy land," said Chhote Morari Bapu. "People have voted for the BJP seeing faces of the saints and not that of the party. But the party in power is fooling the saints. They now say Ram Mandir is not on their agenda," said Dhansukhnath Mahant of Ramdevpir temple, Ahmedabad. The flash-point apparently came sometime back when the 'sant-mahants' went to meet Narendra Modi. "He talked with great arrogance. He insulted us and asked us what we wanted to take away from him," recollected Chhote Morari Bapu, a famed preacher. Adding insult to the injury, the BJP government took away the administration of Koteshwar in Kutch, Harshad near Porbandar and temples in Gir forest from the 'mahants,' they alleged. Insult by Modi, his refusal to continue the tribal-category benefits to the families of Goswamis (priests) and murders of temple priests over property completed the disenchantment. "We went to people in Mehsana district and asked them to vote for BJP. We used to say it's not just another political party. But today we realize that the VHP has neglected us," said Sant Narayandas of Mehsana. Mahant Baldevgiri of Valinath, who chaired the gathering and heads the Bharwads and Rabari communities, extended full support to the resolutions and views aired at the meet. The organizers said a convention of Hindu religious leaders from all over the country is being convened in Gujarat before Deepavali.

Belarus Police Arrest Hindu Demonstrators

Posted on 2002/8/24 9:44:02 ( 1079 reads )

Source: Associated Press

MOSCOW, RUSSIA, August 17, 2002: Police in the Belarusian capital of Minsk on Saturday arrested about a dozen members of a Hindu group who were protesting alleged religious persecution, Russian news agencies reported. The reports said between 10 and 13 members of the Shiva Society were arrested. Belarus authorities could not be reached for comment. In mid-July, 17 Hindus were arrested in a protest against a bill passed by the lower house of parliament prohibiting religious groups with less than 20 years' presence in Belarus from publishing literature or establishing missions and banning organized prayer by denominations with less than 20 Belarusian citizens as members. The Russian Orthodox Church, which supports the legislation, complains in Belarus and in Russia that other religions are poaching converts among people who historically would have been Orthodox adherents.

Chinese Children Excel in Indian Classical Dance

Posted on 2002/8/24 9:43:02 ( 1046 reads )

Source: Hindustan Times

BEIJING, CHINA, August 19, 2002: A group of Chinese girls are excelling in the niceties of Indian classical dance in Beijing. "I can't believe this. I am highly impressed. The Chinese children are performing much better than some of their Indian peers," said renowned Indian dancer, Mallika Sarabhai after she saw a live performance of Bharatnatyam and Kathak by a group of young Chinese girls at the Oriental Song and Dance Assemble (OSDA) in Beijing earlier this year. The performance of these girls, trained by Su Bao Hua, a leading Chinese choreographer who specializes in Indian classical dance forms, has won laurels from many personalities like former first lady, Usha Narayanan, during her visit here two years back. Su, who teaches Chinese and Indian dances at the OSDA, said, "she was thrilled by the genuine interest among Chinese parents to teach their children Indian classical dance forms." Su thanks the Indian government for offering scholarships to OSDA students and hopes that more Chinese students would go to India to master the rich dance forms of the country. Su learned Bharatnatyam under Leela Samson and later Jayalakshmi. She was invited to study for three months in 1992 at the most famous dance school in India -- Kalakshetra, founded by the late Rukmini Devi Arundale in Chennai.

Sri Swami Satchidananda Attains Maha Samadhi at Age 87

Posted on 2002/8/20 9:49:02 ( 1694 reads )


YOGAVILLE, VIRGINIA, August 19, 2002: One of the world's most beloved spiritual masters passed away on Monday, August 19, 2002, at 5:45 am, Indian time, in Chennai (Madras), South India. Swami Satchidananda died of cardiovascular complications. He had just attended the Global Peace Conference in South India as its keynote speaker. Invited to come to the US in1966 by artist Peter Max and filmmaker Conrad Rooks, Swami Satchidananda was quickly embraced by young Americans looking for lasting peace during the turbulent 1960's. In 1969, he opened the Woodstock Festival with the words: "The whole world is watching you. The entire world is going to know what the American youth can do for humanity. America is helping everybody in the material field, but the time has come for America to help the whole world with spirituality also." The peaceful atmosphere that prevailed throughout the event was often attributed to his blessings and message. Sri Swami Satchidananda was ordained as a monk in 1949 by his master, His Holiness Sri Swami Sivananda Maharaj, founder of the Divine Life Society, Rishikesh, India. From the beginning of his spiritual service, Swami Satchidananda was a leader in the interfaith movement. His motto, "Truth is One, Paths are Many," was an integral part of his teachings. For more than forty years, he sponsored interfaith worship services and conferences. He advocated respecting and honoring all faiths, and was invited to share his message of peace with such world leaders and dignitaries as former U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter, George Bush, Bill Clinton, His Holiness Pope Paul VI, His Holiness Pope John Paul II, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and former Secretary-General of the United Nations U Thant. Swami Satchidananda was the founder and spiritual guide for the worldwide Integral Yoga Institutes. Integral Yoga, as taught by Swami Satchidananda, combines various methods of Yoga, including Hatha Yoga, selfless service, meditation, prayer, and a 5,000-year-old philosophy that helps one find the peace and joy within. Integral Yoga is the foundation for Dr. Dean Ornish's landmark work in reversing heart disease and Dr. Michael Lerner's noted Commonweal Cancer Help program. In 1979, Swami Satchidananda was inspired to create a permanent place where all people could come to realize their essential oneness. He established Satchidananda Ashram-Yogaville near Charlottesville, Virginia. The community is founded on his teachings, which include the principles of nonviolence and universal harmony. The focal point of Yogaville is the Light Of Truth Universal Shrine (LOTUS), which was dedicated in 1986. This unique interfaith shrine honors the Spirit that unites all the world religions, while celebrating their diversity. People from all faiths and backgrounds, from all over the world, come there to meditate and pray. Swami Satchidananda served on the advisory boards of the Temple of Understanding, the Interfaith Center of New York, the Center for International Dialogue, and numerous other world peace and interfaith organizations. Over the years, he received many honors for his public service, including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award and the Anti-Defamation League Humanitarian Award. In October 1994, on the occasion of the 125th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, he was awarded the highest citation of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. He was named an Honorary Patron, joining the list of luminaries to receive this award such as Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, Mother Teresa, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In 1994 he was named "Hindu of the Year" by Hinduism Today magazine. In 1996, he was presented with the Juliet Hollister Interfaith Award at the United Nations. In April 2002, he was honored with the prestigious U Thant Peace Award. Previous recipients include Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Nelson Mandela. He is the author of many books, including Integral Yoga Hatha, To Know Your Self, The Living Gita, and The Golden Present and is the subject of two biographies, Apostle of Peace and Portrait of a Modern Sage. For further information and photographs for publication, e-mail "source" above.

Swami Satchidananda Attains Maha Samadhi

Posted on 2002/8/19 9:49:02 ( 1201 reads )

Source: Hindu Press International

INDIA, August 19, 2002: Swami Satchidananda, founder of the Integral Yoga Institute headquartered in Yogaville, Virginia, USA, is reported to have attained Maha Samadhi yesterday in India at age 87 as the result of an aortic bleed. Swamiji was honored by Hinduism Today in 1994 with the Hindu Renaissance Award as "Hindu of the Year." The citation stated, "For 40 years, Swami Satchidananda has been one of Hinduism's most respected international ambassadors, meeting and sharing the Advaitic vision of interfaith harmony with world statesmen and leaders of other faiths. In recognition of a lifetime of service to dharma, yoga, harmony among men and spreading the teachings of Atma Jnana, Self Knowledge, Hinduism Today has chosen him as 1994 Hindu of the Year." Further reports will follow.

Resurrecting the Saraswati River

Posted on 2002/8/19 9:48:02 ( 887 reads )


AHMEDABAD, INDIA, August18, 2002: The government of India, with the assistance of hydrologists, geologists, archaeologists and space scientists, is trying to bring back the Saraswati River, which dried up in Vedic times. The dry bed of the "mythological" river was spotted in satellite photos, five miles wide, coursing from the Himalayas to the Arabian Sea. Some water still flows along this course, but underground. The government's attempt is to tap this water in wells and reservoirs, so that Hindus may once again be blessed by the Saraswati's sacred waters.

Hinduism on Indian TV

Posted on 2002/8/19 9:47:02 ( 965 reads )


MUMBAI, INDIA, August 18, 2002: Televangelists are an increasing tribe of secret icons in modern India, states this informative -- though overly sarcastic -- article. "All over the Indian diaspora and in the lush ashrams and spiritual camps across the country," it goes on, "assorted gurus, gurumaas and preachers play the spin-offs of their praxis."

US University Sued Over Koran Class

Posted on 2002/8/19 9:46:02 ( 931 reads )


NORTH CAROLINA, USA, August 7, 2002: A US university that included a book on the Koran in a class for new students is being sued by a Christian organization and a group of students. The case began when the University of North Carolina chose professor Michael Sells's book, "Approaching the Qur'an" for one of its courses. Students were required to read the book -- a translation into English of passages from Islam's holy book -- as part of a first-year course. But the Christian American Family Association Center for Law & Policy filed a lawsuit on behalf of three students and two former students in late July. It claimed that the university's requirement to read the book violated their First Amendment rights (forbidding the government from promoting or endorsing a religion). It added that the book does not present a full picture of Islam as it does not contain passages cited by Islamic militants as justification for acts of terror. The case remains in the courts.

Hinduism's Influence in Japan

Posted on 2002/8/19 9:45:02 ( 1006 reads )

Source: Press Reports

JAPAN, August 14, 2002: Hinduism went from India to Japan along with the Buddhist missionaries. Numerous deities were introduced into Japan and many of these are still very popular. For example, Indra is popular in Japan as Taishaku (literally the great King Sakra); Ganesha is worshipped as Sho-ten (literally, Holy God) in many Buddhist temples, and is believed to confer happiness upon his devotees. A sea-serpent, worshipped by sailors is called Ryujin, a Chinese equivalent of the Indian Naga or Snake God. Shinto has also adopted Indian gods: Varuna is worshipped as Sui-ten (Water God), and Saraswati, the Goddess of Learning, has become Benten (literally, Goddess of Speech). Siva is well known to the Japanese as Daikoku (literally, God of Darkness), which is a Chinese and Japanese equivalent of the Indian Mahakala, another name of Siva. According to author Donald A. Mackenzie: "The Indian form of myth of the Churning of the Milky Ocean reached Japan. "The Japanese Shinto myth of creation is similar, with the churning of primeval waters until they curdle and form land. There is evidence of Indian influence in Japanese dance, art, literature and games. Even the cultivation of cotton in Japan is traced to an Indian who drifted to the shores of Aichi Prefecture in 799. It has also been found that some of the scriptures of the Japanese priests preserved in the Horyuji Temple of Japan are written in Bengali characters of the eleventh century.

UK Charity Commission Probes Hindu Groups

Posted on 2002/8/19 9:44:02 ( 898 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, August 17, 2002: Britain's Charity Commission has launched a preliminary investigation into allegations that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, UK and Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) here are linked to terrorist activities. A spokesman of the Charity Commission said that the Commission had contacted the trustees of the VHP, UK and HSS to provide more details of their operations. Several London-based Muslim organizations had recently demanded banning the VHP and HSS, the UK counterpart of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and probe into their accounts, alleging that they were responsible for recent attacks on Muslims in Gujarat. Last week Lord Adam Patel resigned as the patron of Sewa International, a charity linked to HSS, alleging that Sewa International was a front for military activity, "which incites racial hatred, is both outrageous and offending." C B Patel, patron of Sewa International, welcomed the probe saying "if anybody can prove that it (Sewa International) is being used for terrorists' activities, I am prepared to resign straightaway." Denying the allegations of Lord Adam Patel, Shantibhai Mistry, Sewa International chairman, said on Saturday "I am somewhat surprised and dismayed at Lord Adams doubts and concerns about the work of Sewa International UK."

Lottery Winner Wants To Be A Priest

Posted on 2002/8/19 9:43:02 ( 973 reads )


KARNATAKA, INDIA, August 18, 2002: Lingappa, 45, a push-cart bhelpuri food vendor, lost most of his customers when new road construction changes were made in Bangalore three years ago. Bhelpuri is a popular dish made of puffed rice, chickpeas, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, etc. Times were hard and his only consolation was buying lottery tickets -- which soon became an obsession. "I used to spend US$1.00 a day on lottery tickets," he says. On July 25, he closed shop early and bought five tickets from the Playwin outlet near his home. The next morning, he discovered he had won the US$567,000 jackpot. But Lingappa didn't go crazy with joy; he didn't even tell the lottery vendor that he had won. He knew that the news would attract unwanted attention. It was only when someone wrongly claimed to have won the jackpot that Lingappa came forward with his ticket. Suggestions on what he should do with the money are pouring in, but he is clear: first he will build a temple in honor of his deity, Shani (Saturn). Lingappa, who has not cut his hair for years (because of a vow he took before Shani), will become the priest. Only after the temple is constructed will he build a house. "I'll deposit some of the money in my children's name," he says. "I also wish to help my relatives." What will happen to the bhelpuri business? " I don't want to give it up. After all, it fed me for 20 years," he says.

September 11 in History

Posted on 2002/8/19 9:42:02 ( 1021 reads )

Source: Hindu Press International

KAUAI, HAWAII, August 19, 2002: As we approach the first anniversary of the September 11 attack upon America, other events of importance on this date are coming to light. The one closest to home was Hurricane Iniki, which devastated our small island of Kauai on this day in 1993. It broke the US Navy's wind meter, which last registered a wind gust of 250 miles per hour. Remarkably, just 100 years before Iniki, in 1893, Swami Vivekananda spoke on the opening day, September 11, of the Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago, Illinois, uttering his famous line, "Brothers and sisters of America," which brought the audience to a standing ovation. In 1948, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah, founder and first governor-general of Pakistan, died on September 11. And in the course of researching the day, we find that on September 11, 1773, Benjamin Franklin wrote "There never was a good war or bad peace."

Houston Seminar Set for September

Posted on 2002/8/19 9:41:02 ( 1028 reads )


HOUSTON, TEXAS, August 19, 2002: Educators in the greater Houston area are invited to attend "Learning about Hindu Culture and Values," a free World Hindu Council (VHP)-Houston sponsored seminar. It will be held on Saturday, September 21, 2002, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The location is a large, well-equipped meeting room, Days Inn-Rosenburg, 26010 Southwest Freeway, Rosenburg, TX 77471 -- just outside of Houston on Highway 59 South. Snacks, lunch, and educational materials will be provided. Speakers include Dr. Mohan V. Chari, experienced lecturer on Hindu traditions to numerous non-Hindu audiences and recipient of the Anthony Chee Award for Excellence in Teaching at Houston Community College, Fall 2001. This is the third seminar for teachers sponsored by the WHC-Houston. The flyer, including registration form, can be printed from "source" above. For more information, e-mail Kulkarni@pobox.com.

Confidence in Nepal's Monarchy Returns

Posted on 2002/8/19 9:40:02 ( 1071 reads )


KATHMANDU, NEPAL, August 10, 2002: With the naming ceremony to commemorate the birth of another heir to the throne, spirits were high at the Narayanhity Royal Palace on Friday, August 9. Born to Crown Prince Paras and Crown Princess Himani, the new Prince Hridayendra will be second in line to the throne. Last year on June 1, 2001, Nepal's confidence in the royal monarchy was shaken when 10 members of the royal family were gunned down by Crown Prince Dipendra. Succession to the throne passed to Prince Dipendra's uncle, present King Gyanendra. One year later King Gyanendra is perceived as a "keen monarch who is genuinely interested in the people's welfare." Countrymen were leery about King Gyanendra's son, Prince Paras. Apparently, the young prince was known to have problems with alcohol and reckless driving. However, in the last year Prince Paras has proven himself to the people by embracing environmental and other causes, and by attending to ceremonial duties. With the birth of Prince Para's son, Nepalis have new confidence and acceptance of the new royal family.

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