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Hindus Protest Proposed Regulations on Fireworks in South Africa

Posted on 2002/10/30 8:49:02 ( 1020 reads )


DURBAN SOUTH AFRICA, October 28,2002: South Africa's National Assembly's Safety and Security Portfolio Committee agreed last week to recommend the Explosives Bill on November 5, a day after Deepavali. The bill, if passed, will prohibit the use of fireworks without a permit. The controversy erupted at a time when a massive firework display was held by Hindus on Durban's beach front as part of the Deepavali celebrations. According to the bill, failing to obtain a permit for such displays could lead to fines or jail terms of up to 25 years. Terming the bill "unacceptable," the president of South African Hindu Maha Sabha, Ashwin Trikamjee, said it would be contested in the Constitutional Court if the concerns of the community were not taken into account. The chairman of the Portfolio Committee, Mluleki George, was quoted by the Independent daily today as saying that no input from the Hindu community had been made during the compulsory public comment period. Some politicians of Indian origin said they would make representations to the Committee to amend the Bill.

Houston Hindus Celebrate Navaratri

Posted on 2002/10/30 8:48:02 ( 1132 reads )

Source: The Houston Chronicle

HOUSTON, TEXAS, October 19, 2002: The festival of Navaratri, the nine-night Hindu festival honoring three Goddesses is celebrated in grand style by South Indian Hindus now living in Texas. Born in Chennai, southern India, where Navarathri is one of the major religious celebrations, Ranjana Narasiman says, "Sometimes I feel I'm living two cultural lives, and 24 hours is not enough for that." This comment was made after Ranjana had attended four Navaratri parties and hosted 230 guests in her northwest Houston home. Navaratri began this year on October 6 and is a festive prelude leading up to Deepavali, the festival of lights. It is often celebrated with dances and in Houston over 4,000 Hindus gathered at Reliant Arena for the traditional garba dance. The article says, "In south India, Navaratri is traditionally celebrated mostly by women. Customs include giving small gifts as guests depart and offering a tray of sandalwood paste to perfume a wrist and red turmeric to place on a woman's forehead." In Houston, men have joined the festivities. Narasiman, a high school physics teacher says, "She believes that those who grow up in a home that preserves Hindu traditions often carry them on once they are grown -- and that makes it worth it for her and her friends."

Ayurveda Newsletter Available Online

Posted on 2002/10/30 8:47:02 ( 1136 reads )


USA, October 1, 2002: Produced every two weeks and available for free subscription at "source," this newsletter focuses on "Improving and popularizing Ayurveda and all the holistic systems of medicine." This October 1 edition features an article written by Dr. Vijay Shekhar Annambhotla on the concept of immunity in Ayurveda. Doctor Annambhotla categorizes immunity into three types: Sahaja or congenital and natural; Kalaja or the time of day, season and one's age; and Yuktikruta or acquired. Quoting the article, "Yuktikruta Bala represents acquired immunity in which disease can be defended against through Ayurveda. Ayurveda focuses on three plans for enhancing immunity."

New York's "Bhajan Belt"

Posted on 2002/10/30 8:46:02 ( 1145 reads )


WOODSTOCK, NEW YORK, October 18, 2002: Spray-painted on a rock face along Route 28 in the Catskill Mountains is the Hindu sign for Om. It is a subtle suggestion of the energy that vibrates throughout the region, according to this recent article. Some call it the bhajan belt, applying a word derived from Sanskrit for devotional song to the area. The mid-Hudson valley area is home (or second home) to many influential stars of the new New Age. The solitude and energy of the area has attracted many East-leaning academics, musicians and authors who call the bhajan belt home. Robert A. F. Thurman, a Buddhist author and scholar, has had a home in Woodstock for close to 30 years; Sharon Gannon and David Life, the founders of the Jivamukti Yoga Center in Manhattan, purchased a place in Woodstock a few years ago. Sting, one of the early celebrity yogis, has a place in the mid-Hudson Valley, as do a number of Hindu musicians, including the chanter Krishna Das and Baghavan Das. Shyam Dass, a Sanskrit translator, musician and practitioner of bhakti yoga divides his time between northern India and Saugerties, near Woodstock. The bhajan belt is centered around Woodstock, an island of hippie culture in rural Ulster county. Shyam Dass has a theory about why the belt wraps around this town. Along with "the quality of the land," he said, "there's a wide breadth of acceptability for all types of people trying to understand the deeper elements of existence." The Catskills are filled with institutes, ashrams and retreat centers, among them the Sivananda Yoga ranch, in Woodbourne; the Shree Muktananda Ashram in South Fallsburg; the Karma Triyana Dharma Chakra center in Woodstock; a Greek Orthodox monastery; and a number of Buddhist monasteries.

Mathematical Genius of Ancient India

Posted on 2002/10/27 8:49:02 ( 1054 reads )


KOLKATA, INDIA, October 27, 2002: Mathematics in its early stages developed mainly along two broad overlapping traditions, geometric/arithmetic and algebra. Among the Pre-Greek civilizations, it is in India that we see a strong emphasis on both these great streams of mathematics. The oldest known mathematics texts in existence are the Sulba Sutras of Baudhayana, Apastamba and Katyana, which form part of the literature of the sutra period of later Vedic age. It is estimated to have been composed around 800 bce but the mathematical knowledge recorded in these sutras is much more ancient. Seidenberg, an eminent algebraist and historian of mathematics, traced the origin of the sophisticated mathematics to the originators of the Rig Vedic rituals in the paper available at "source." In the Sulba sutras, an explicit statement of the Pythagorean Theorem and its applications in various geometric constructions is recorded. Seidenberg discovered that the Pythagorean theorem described in the sutra has depth in both the numerical and the geometrical aspect, unlike the other ancient civilizations. The priceless gift from India to the world is the none other than the decimal system. This profound anonymous Indian innovation is unsurpassed for sheer brilliance of abstract thought and utility as a practical invention.

Prime Minister Tony Blair Honors Deepavali

Posted on 2002/10/27 8:48:02 ( 961 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, October 25, 2002: British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Deepavali, celebrated by Hindus worldwide, contains a message for "all of us, whatever our faith." Stressing that "Britain's diversity of backgrounds and experiences has brought tremendous strengths and benefits to the society," the Prime Minister said festivals like Deepavali "play an important role in helping us to appreciate and celebrate this diversity."

Devotees Worship Goddess Cauvery

Posted on 2002/10/27 8:47:02 ( 1096 reads )

Source: The Hindu

TALACAUVERY, INDIA, October 18, 2002: Thousands of devotees of the Goddess Cauvery were able to witness the annual event where the Goddess emerges from a tiny pond in the form of a holy spring. Priests chanted Vedic hymns during the ceremony called "teerthodbhava" that ended with many pilgrims jumping into the tank for ablution. In preparation for the sacred event, devotees shave their heads, chant the Goddess's name, and bathe in the sangam, the confluence of the rivers Cauvery, Kanike and Sujyoti.

Religious Images Keep Orissa's Walls Clean

Posted on 2002/10/26 8:49:02 ( 979 reads )


ORISSA, INDIA, October 21, 2002: One finds images of Hindu Gods and Goddesses decorating walls of government offices in Orissa nowadays. One also finds those walls cleaner than before. The Orissa government is making use of religious sentiments to keep people, especially those who chew paan, from spitting on walls. Former Works Secretary and Chief Engineer, N. N. Das, reportedly came up with the idea about a year ago. It was first implemented at Nirman Sauda, the Public Works Department building in Bhubaneswar, some months ago. Images of Ganesha and Krishna were painted on freshly whitewashed walls. Das recalls how "the unhygienic atmosphere turned holy." People, he said, actually started worshipping the images every morning. Works department secretary, Mr. Rao, said there is no official circular, but government offices are now using religious images to keep their walls clean.

Outstanding Books Now Available Online

Posted on 2002/10/26 8:48:02 ( 1012 reads )


INDIA, October 24, 2002: Some thought provoking and articulate books by modern Hindu thinkers are now available in complete form online. Sita Ram Goel's Heroic Hindu Resistance to Muslim Invaders, Hindu Society Under Siege, Muslim Separatism, and The Story of Islamic Imperialism in India can be found there. Books by David Frawley, Koenraad Elst and Shrikant Talageri and others, as well as articles by Swami Vivekananda on the Aryan Invasion Theory, and Sir Jadunath Sircar on The Condition of Hindus under Muslim Rule in India Part I, II, and III are available. Readers can read these valuable Hindu resources on-line at "source" above.

Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam Defends BBC Show

Posted on 2002/10/26 8:47:02 ( 1340 reads )


TIRUPATI, INDIA, October 23, 2002: The controversial BBC News feature on the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), shown under its "Business Bizarre" slot, called "The Business of Faith," was shown today to the local media by the TTD's public relations department in a bid to set at rest the controversy it has caused. The July 9 telecast caused a general outcry against the 30-minute feature being that it was in violation of a rule not to allow photography or videography inside the temple beyond the "dhwajasthambham" point. The areas pointed out by the critics were the "potu" where the laddus are prepared and "parakamani" where thousands of dollars in cash and valuables given in the temple hundi are counted and sorted. The TTD today made an attempt to defend the feature and denied that it allowed the BBC to shoot inside the restricted areas. A top TTD official told the local media that the hundi collection which was shown was only a reproduction from the TTD's own CC-TV clippings. Viewers also objected to the portrayal of the temple as a "money making" operation.

Tihar Inmates Join Rest of North India and Celebrate Karva Chauth

Posted on 2002/10/26 8:46:02 ( 1124 reads )


NEW DELHI, October 25, 2002: The beauty parlor at Tihar Jail was the scene of unusual rush this week. The effort put in by the parlor staff was evident in Jail No. 6 where the women inmates looked strikingly beautiful this Karva Chauth (Husband's Day). Dressed in their best saris, new back clips and hair specially set for the occasion, they performed the rituals of the festival. "Preparations for Karva Chauth have been going on for weeks in the jail," said Superintendent Sunita Sabharwal. "Most inmates have kept a fast today. Much of the stock of puja items and make-up accessories stored in the canteen has been sold out," Sabharwal said. The jail authorities also got the inmates a cable TV connection as a Karva Chauth gift. As a concession, the fasting women were granted a leave from their work. Since the women inmates are locked up at 6:30 p.m., the moon ritual is done by the head matron, who tells them when the moon rises -- the moment at which they may break their fast. Also, for the first time, this North Indian festival where women worship their husbands will be a holiday in all-girls' schools run by the government of Delhi. Friday's holiday is for the benefit of women teachers, who make up almost the entire teaching staff in the girls' schools. Until last year, Karva Chauth used to be a restricted holiday on which most women teachers skipped work, but this year, the government decided to declare a holiday. Boys' and coeducational schools will, however, remain open.

Hindu Festivals for October/November

Posted on 2002/10/26 8:45:02 ( 1094 reads )

Source: Shrinivas Tilak

October 26, 2002: Following are the major and minor festivals of Hinduism for the next month. October 26, KARVA ( or Karwah) CHAUTH: Married Hindu women of North India observe fast and offer prayers seeking the welfare, prosperity, and a long life of their husbands and families. The fast is broken only after the moon is sighted in reflection in water and special rituals and prayers marking the day have been offered. New brides are encouraged to wear their bridal outfits and others wear outfits woven with gold. Bangles and other jewellery are worn and special mehendi patterns are applied on the hands. Special food delicacies are served and the night is spent in much fun and frolic. November 4, DEEPAVALI, Diwali or Lakshmi Puja: This day is reserved for the worship of Devi in her manifestation as Laksmi. Fortune and good luck will then not leave the house in that year. Presents are given to relatives, friends, and subordinates. All over India houses, temples, and sacred spots are ablaze with thousands of small oil and colorful decorative paper lamps. Children let off firebands and crackers to their hearts' content. Merchants who follow the Vikrama calendar close shops and worship their books today and pray to Laksmi for a prosperous new year. November 15-19, TULSIVIVAHA: The Tulsi plant (Indian Basil) is grown in a special brick enclosure (Vrindavan) and is tenderly cared for and worshipped for its sacredness. In the auspicious month of Karttika Tulsi is ceremonially married to Vishnu, which then marks the opening of the marriage season in India. November 18, VAIKUNTHA CHATURDASI: Vaikuntha, the paradise of Vishnu, is located on southern slopes of Mount Meru flowing through which is the celestial river Ganga. On this day eternal nearness to Vishnu in his paradise is facilitated to all his devotees. Note: Festival dates are calculated according to Hindu astrology and depend upon latitude and longitude. Hence dates for the same festival may differ around the world.

Balinese Hindus Hold Religious Rites for Bombing Victims

Posted on 2002/10/25 8:49:02 ( 992 reads )

Source: Agence France Presse

KUTA, INDONESIA, October 18, 2002: Hindu priests led hundreds of villagers and tourists in a solemn ceremony at the site of a massive car bomb explosion where nearly 200 were killed. Crowds carrying flowers and wreaths walked along the narrow Raya Legian Street to Bali's "Ground Zero." They were allowed inside a police cordon to say prayers and lay the flowers outside the ruins. In the afternoon ceremony, hundreds of residents from Bali's districts of Kuta, Legian and Seminyak jammed the street for the rites aimed at seeking forgiveness and pleading for a better life after the October 12 blast. Although a part of largely Muslim Indonesia, most of Bali's three million people are Hindus. Before the ceremony the priests walked towards the site, followed by local political leaders and Balinese women carrying trays of fruit, incense, flower petals and holy water. The trays were laid on a table in front of the flattened Padi's bar which was the main target of the bomb as the priests and other religious leaders intoned sacred chants. Hindu priests then toured the devastated block, sprinkling holy water on the ruins of buildings, burnt cars and other debris. "I am very satisfied with the turnout. Not only Hindus attended but also Christians and Muslims," said Made Sumer, the vice regent of the Badung Regency, which covers the district of Kuta. "I hope this will speed up the healing process after this bitter tragedy," he said.

Hindu Immigrant Struggles in Early 20th Century America

Posted on 2002/10/25 8:48:02 ( 1114 reads )


UNITED STATES, October 25, 2002: As the United States moves toward a more multicultural and multi-faith society at the beginning of the 21st century, "Hindu-Bashing in Early 20th Century U.S.A.," brings to light some unpleasant realities early Hindu immigrants faced in America. By 1920, 6,400 Asian Indians, mostly Sikhs from the Punjab, had immigrated to America. They were not particularly welcomed. Early in the 20th century, white workers in Bellingham, Washington, instigated a riot against Indian laborers, causing them to flee to Canada. The United States government sided with the Asian Exclusion League, doing virtually nothing to support the Indian workers. By 1923, the Supreme Court had upheld a law terminating Asian Indian immigration. It was not until 1965 that immigration from India resumed. Katherine Mayo's 1927 book, "Mother India," referred to India as a dying nation with a slave mentality. In between this and other negative publicity, Swami Vivekananda made a positive impact in Chicago in 1893 at the Congress of Religion. His Vedantic teachings instilled an intellectual appreciation of India. For additional information on the struggles encountered by early Hindu immigrants, readers can read the full article at "source" above.

Dayanita Singh Visits Kanyapeeth Gurukulam for Girls in Banaras

Posted on 2002/10/25 8:47:02 ( 1432 reads )

Source: Outlook India

BANARAS INDIA, October 20,2002: Dayanita Singh, renowned photographer whose ground breaking work showing middle class India has helped redefine the Western view of India, recently visited Anandamaya Ma's Kanyapeeth in Banaras. One of the 20th century's most important saints, Anandamaya Ma, who attained Mahasamadhi in 1982, set up what is probably still the only gurukulam for girls in India. During her visit Singh said,"My father had wanted one of his four daughters to study in Kanyapeeth, but my mother wondered how we, city girls, would adapt to a life so severe -- girls cooked on coal fires and did their own laundry and cleaning, secluded from the rest of the world. As I left the ashram, my cousin, who runs the Kanyapeeth, asked: 'So, who do you think has had the better life?' I was silent. I wondered if I had a daughter, would I've wanted her to spend a few years in the ashram?" Singh's work has been published in several international publications including Time and Le Monde. The photograph of the jumping girl, taken on the day of that memorable visit, has gone on to become one of Singh's most well-known images. When the work was to be exhibited at the Ikon gallery in England Singh said, "I had to think of a title, and I remembered what seemed as Ma's essence to me as a child. She used to say, 'I am as I am.' "

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