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Swami Satchidananda Attains Maha Samadhi

Posted on 2002/8/19 9:49:02 ( 1275 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 ( 970 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 ( 1020 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 ( 1011 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 ( 1085 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 ( 992 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 ( 1048 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 ( 1100 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 ( 1134 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 ( 1157 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.

Bindis Becoming Popular in Russia

Posted on 2002/8/18 9:49:02 ( 1063 reads )


MOSCOW, RUSSIA, August 6, 2002: "Bindi iz Indii" ("Bindis from India") are the new craze among young Russian girls. Bindis are being used as an element of body art along with pierced noses, tattoos and mehndi-dyed hands. Many girls display fancy bindis on their bellies, a thing unimaginable in Communist Russia where tight jeans, mini-skirts, hotpants and tank tops were virtually a taboo, not to mention in India where the belly isn't considered a bindi-placing place. Ready-to-use self-sticking bindis can be bought in many kiosks selling Indian souvenirs and incense sticks as well as high-profile beauty parlors. In a recent program on fashion, popular radio station Ekho Moskvy (Moscow Echo) described the history of bindis and their usage as an element of body art. The program gave instructions on how to prolong the life of factory-made self-sticking bindis as well as how to make them at home and decorate them with cheap artificial stones and beads.

Language Gene Is Traced to Emergence of Humans

Posted on 2002/8/18 9:48:02 ( 1059 reads )


NEW YORK, NEW YORK, August 15, 2002: The study of the genomes of people and chimpanzees has yielded a deep insight into the origin of language, one of the most distinctive human attributes and a critical step in human evolution. The analysis indicates that language, on the evolutionary time scale, is a very recent development, having evolved only in the last 100,000 years or so. The finding supports a novel theory advanced by Dr. Richard Klein, an archaeologist at Stanford University, who argues that the emergence of behaviorally modern humans about 50,000 years ago was set off by a major genetic change, most probably the acquisition of language. The new study, by Dr. Svante Paabo and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, is based on last year's discovery of the first human gene involved specifically in language. The gene came to light through studies of a large London family, well known to linguists, 14 of whose 29 members are incapable of articulate speech but are otherwise mostly normal. Known as FOXP2, the gene is known to switch on other genes during the development of the brain, but its presumed role in setting up the neural circuitry of language is not understood. In a report being published online today by the journal Nature, Dr. Paabo says the FOXP2 gene has remained largely unaltered during the evolution of mammals, but suddenly changed in humans after the hominid line had split off from the chimpanzee line of descent.

American Families Needed To Host Foreign Vegetarian Students

Posted on 2002/8/18 9:47:02 ( 1072 reads )


USA, August 2002: Every year hundreds of vegetarian international high school students want to live with American families and attend American high schools for an academic year. To make this happen, AFS Intercultural Programs (formerly the American Field Service), a 55-year old, nonprofit organization, has to find families willing to host them for a school year. The benefits to both hosted student and host family are enormous. Hosting is something most families can do to improve international understanding and tolerance without even leaving home. What is required is a place for the student to stay, enjoy meals, and receive the care and guidance the family would provide for their own children. For more information on becoming or recommending a vegetarian host family, click "source" above.

Tamil Nadu Temple Endowment Plan Expanded

Posted on 2002/8/18 9:46:02 ( 498 reads )


CHENNAI, INDIA, August 15, 2002: The annadhanam scheme, launched by Tamil Nadu government in March last year in 63 select temples in the state is being extended to 63 more temples from Thursday in view of its tremendous success. Philanthrophists who wish to contribute towards this scheme could create endowments for US$306 for temples of their choice. At least 120 people would be fed on a particular day in a year out of the interest earned from such endowments, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said, while unfurling the national flag at the ramparts of Fort. St. George today on the occasion of Independence day celebrations here. Jayalalithaa said, as announced by her government earlier, the teaching of moral education would be extended to the new 63 temples. Interested students could participate in such moral education classes every Sundays for an hour.

Drought Hits Finances of Gaya Priests

Posted on 2002/8/17 9:49:02 ( 1039 reads )


GAYA, INDIA, August 11, 2002: The drought situation prevailing in several parts of the country, particularly Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, has made the "Gayawal pandas," the traditional priests of the temples here, jittery. Drought is likely to affect the inflow of pilgrims during the pitripaksha, the fortnight-long festival of souls scheduled to begin in the third week of September. More than a quarter-million Hindu pilgrims from different parts of the country and abroad visit Gaya during the pitripaksha to perform the rituals for their ancestors. More than 250 families of the Gayawal pandas, living in the religious center of the town, make out their livelihood from the offerings made by the visiting pilgrims during the fortnight-long rituals. The priests, till a few decades back known for their riches and interest in diverse activities ranging from Indian classical music to wrestling, are already passing through a bad phase on account of the declining religiosity and economic downslide of their main patrons, the landed aristocracy which has fast lost clout in the market economy. The drought has added to the problems of the Gayawal pandas.

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