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Puja and Sanskrit Workshops in UK

Posted on 2002/7/28 9:43:02 ( 1097 reads )


UNITED KINGDOM, July 28, 2002: Dr. Shastry will conduct a workshop on the Hindu way of daily worship. This workshop will help one to do daily pujas, worship ceremonies, on one's own. It is being held at the Hindu Mandir, 2, Lady Margaret Road, Southall, Middlesex, UK, August 17 to 18, 2002 from 4:00 to 7:00 pm. For more information, e-mail "source" above. A conversational Sanskrit workshop is scheduled for August 23 to 26, 2002, at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 4, Castletown Road, West Kensington, London, W14 9HQ, UK. For more information, e-mail info@bhavan.net.

India's Outgoing President Pleads for Tolerance

Posted on 2002/7/27 9:49:02 ( 1071 reads )


NEW DELHI, July 24, 2002: In his farewell address to the nation as President, K. R. Narayanan made an appeal to Hindus to rekindle the tradition of tolerance. "It is up to our social and political leaders to present the people with the idiom of unity based on religious tolerance and communal and social amity that are intertwined with the teachings of Vivekananada, Gandhi and Nehru," he said. "My parting appeal to you, dear citizens of this proud and tolerant Republic of India, is to guard our tradition of tolerance, for that is the soul of our culture and civilization, the spirit of our constitution and the secret of the successful working of our democracy," he said. The outgoing President also spoke about his successor, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, in glowing terms, describing him as a distinguished scientist, scholar and humanist.

Nun in Jail on Charges of Illegal Conversion

Posted on 2002/7/27 9:48:02 ( 1158 reads )


RAIPUR, INDIA, July 21, 2002: Christian bodies in Ambikapur, district headquarters of Sarguja, observed a general strike in missionary schools protesting against the conviction and jailing of a nun on charges of illegal conversion. The Shiv Sena and the BJP called the strike -- organized to express solidarity with nun Vrishi Ekka -- a provocative step. They also organized counter-demonstrations. The nun is now in jail, serving a six-month term. Police had to step in to restore order in the town, arresting nearly a dozen protesters and keeping a close watch on the situation which remains tense. The action against Ekka and L. Birje, a local priest now dead, was registered in 1994 when 94 people from 19 Hindu families converted to Christianity. They were charged under Section 5 of the Madhya Pradesh State Dharm Swatantra Adhiniyam, 1968. In 1996, the nun along with the priest were convicted by a lower court and sentenced to six months imprisonment and imposed to pay a fine of US$10.20. Ekka filed an appeal and was out on bail. Last week the Ambikapur court upheld the lower court order, and she was remanded to custody.

Indian TV Features Newest Reality Show: Arranged Marriages

Posted on 2002/7/27 9:47:02 ( 1133 reads )


MUMBAI, INDIA, July 20, 2002: Indian television is launching a reality show which will arrange marriages for potential brides. "Kahin naa Kahin koi hai" takes viewers through the entire journey as the bride meets prospective grooms and their families, gets to know them and selects a spouse. Beginning July 29, the show will be hosted by veteran film actress Madhuri Dixit. "It is a show about real people and their dreams," she said. The program will have no pre-written dialogue. The potential bride's family will be asked to give a wish-list which will be matched with a huge data bank of prospective grooms, built up over two years. Though the actual wedding will not take place on television, the couple will exchange rings and garlands in the studio. Sony has already filmed 11 brides choosing their grooms. It is prepared to film more if the programs prove popular. "We will wait to see public reaction," said Sony Entertainment Television's chief executive Kunal Dasgupta. "Indians are basically very shy," says Indu Mirani the associate editor of film magazine, Box Office. "They do not appreciate intrusion in their personal lives." While the debate continues, it is ultimately the viewers who will decide whether or not the marriage show succeeds.

Better Health Outcomes for Patients with Doctors Who Support Religious Beliefs and Practices

Posted on 2002/7/27 9:46:02 ( 1132 reads )

Source: Religion News Service

DURHAM, USA, July 24 2002: The Journal of the American Medical Association published a major article illustrating the potent effect health professionals can have by addressing a patient's spiritual needs. The study provides evidence that people with strong religious beliefs and practices cope better with illness, are able to decrease chronic pain intensity, speed recovery from depression and enjoy better health outcomes. The study demonstrates the effect of a patient's spiritual beliefs on his health and the need for health professionals to identify their patient's spiritual needs. A more controversial activity is praying with patients. This case study suggests that when patients feel overwhelmed by anxiety and depression because of their health situation, their religious beliefs and practices provide them with an indirect form of control that helps interrupt these feelings. Physicians should respect and support the beliefs that help their patients cope, ensure that their spiritual needs are met when they are hospitalized, and be aware that religion is likely to influence their medical decisions. For physicians who are interested in helping their patients cope spiritually with serious medical illness, this study points to the potential far-reaching, positive consequences of relationships between mental health, strong faith, devout prayer and religious socialization. The study illustrates how health professionals can support patients who pray and practice other religious activities that are associated with better coping, less depression, more social support and better health outcomes.

The "Hugging Saint" Makes First Stop in Rural America

Posted on 2002/7/27 9:45:02 ( 1098 reads )


MOUNT PLEASANT, IOWA, USA, July 7, 2002: Mata Amritanandamayi opened her arms to Iowa, deep in America's heartland, and continued to receive amazingly positive press reports such as this one in the Desmoines Register. In the gym at Iowa Wesleyan College, more than 1,000 men, women and children waited hours for their turn to receive a comforting, two-armed embrace from the "the hugging saint," also known as Ammachi or "Mother of Immortal Bliss." Amma has said she realized as a young mystic in India that a simple hug was an expression of love so many yearned for but rarely received. Hundreds of people sat on their heels on the floor, listening to Indian music piped through several speakers. Everyone's focus, however, was on Amma, sitting on a chair at the front of the room, surrounded by volunteers. Supplicants who were physically able made their way up the long line on their knees. When they reached Amma, she greeted them each with a warm smile. Some sobbed openly as they were held. Others just closed their eyes and smiled. After receiving a hug, each person was showered with rose petals and given a chocolate kiss. And that was it. Bill and Joan Brady, both 55, traveled from St. Louis with their grandson Joseph Brady, 5, to get a hug from Amma. Although they know Amma is likely to be viewed as an exotic oddity by many Iowans, the Bradys said her message is very universal. "It's no different than what we try to teach our grandson," Joan Brady said. "That's to be a loving person and share that with everyone." "She's not encouraging people in any religious path," a volunteer said. "She's really encouraging them to go deeper into their own path."

Pilgrims Make Amarnath Trek Despite Terrorist Threats

Posted on 2002/7/27 9:44:02 ( 1139 reads )


JAMMU, INDIA, July 19, 2002: Amidst reports that splinter groups of Pakistan-based militant outfits were planning to sabotage the Amarnath yatra, the first batch of Amarnath-bound pilgrims left under tight security for Nunwan near Pahalgam, base camp to the holy cave shrine. The batch, comprising 2,681 pilgrims will offer prayers inside the holy cave at a height of 3,952 meters in south Kashmir on July 22. Security agencies brought up the rear, head and even the middle portion of the 131-vehicle convoy. Hours before the yatra was officially flagged off, security forces arrested three militants of the Hizb-e-Islami and the Jaish-e-Mohammad. Speaking about the unprecedented arrangements, IGP Jammu zone, P.L. Gupta, said security was tighter than previous years because of reports that splinter militant groups would target the yatra.

UK Teacher Honored With Hindu Name

Posted on 2002/7/27 9:43:02 ( 1005 reads )


LEICESTER, UK, July 22, 2002: A newly retired Leicester head teacher has been honored with a new name by the renowned Hindu singer and preacher, Rameshbhai Oza, after helping to stage a massive religious festival in the city. Former Rushey Mead School head Steve White now answers to the name "Shiv" in honor of the Hindu deity Shiva. Mr. White was given the title at yesterday's closing ceremony of the 10-day Atma Shanti Katha -- or Hindu recital, a combination of preaching, devotional singing and scriptural recitation -- which attracted an estimated 80,000 people to the school grounds last week. Rameshbhai Oza presented the new name to Mr. White in front of 10,000 people. Mr. White said he was still deciding whether to use Shiv as his first name or as part of his title. He said, "It is a great honor to have this honor bestowed on me." "Out of the blue I had a phone call on Sunday morning from the organizers asking me to be there. When I got there the holy man called me over and announced his thanks for my support and said my new name was Shiv. It's a fantastic retirement present."

Khajuraho-Style Icons Set for Export Seized in India

Posted on 2002/7/27 9:42:02 ( 1089 reads )


JODHPUR, INDIA, July 25, 2002: Over 150 idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses resembling the erotic Khajuraho murals and meant for export to United Kingdom have been seized by customs department in Jodhpur, official sources said on Thursday. The statues, included 95 of Lord Ganesha, were seized from a railway container depot, they said. The sources said the statues, each five to six inches tall, were made with a "Khajuraho touch" to attract foreign buyers. Investigations had revealed that a Delhi-based firm had concealed the statues, worth US$10,200, with other handicraft items for shipping abroad, the sources said. Customs officials said trade in statues in such poses had probably been going on for a long time as there was a demand for them in UK and other European countries.

Disciples Worldwide Remember Gurus on Purnima

Posted on 2002/7/26 9:49:02 ( 1229 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 25, 2002: All over India, and throughout the world, satsangs, devotional gatherings, marked Guru Purnima celebrations on Wednesday, the full-moon day in July. Disciples offered prayers to their gurus, with many observing fasts as well. The Sant Sri Asaram Ashram reported a gathering of 50,000 devotees in Delhi alone. Members of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living Foundation offered guru puja in 140 countries.

Interfaith Alliance Calls for Reports on Religion and Politics in US

Posted on 2002/7/26 9:48:02 ( 998 reads )


WASHINGTON, D.C., July 23, 2002: The Interfaith Alliance Foundation here has started a program entitled, "Use of Religion in Campaigns Monitoring Network." They want to "identify and catalog the uses and abuses of religion in this year's national, state and local races" for political office. They ask for anyone encountering what they consider "exploitation of religion" to file a report through their website at "source" above.

Faith, Valor, Joy at Amarnath

Posted on 2002/7/26 9:47:02 ( 1120 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 25, 2002: One hundred thousand people, one destination. This year fourteen thousand people have already had darshan, sight of the Deity, at Amarnath, a small cave shrine of Lord Siva high up in the Himalayas. Amarnath yatras, pilgrimages, have been called off due to harsh weather and terrorists ambush. But nothing deters the yatri, pilgrim. Vimla Verma is blessed. "I went the first time for a pilgrimage, and fell in love with scenic Kashmir. So I went back, for God and for sightseeing," reminisces the 70-year-old. "Curiosity" and a sense of adventure made neurosurgeon Dr. Pranab Mishra agree to accompany an aunt. "It was stunning, so scenic. I regret, I did not enjoy it more." said Mishra. In the five days there were two blasts, in Pahalgam and Sheshnag. But that is not the first thing that comes to mind. What does is the "amazing sight of old people, old women in saris and slippers walking up resolutely." said thirty-year-old journalist Aradhna Sharma. Looking at them you would think they couldn't even walk a few steps. But they keep climbing." "I had a strange experience. I had had a foot infection for some time. When I got back to the base camp and soaked my weary feet in hot water, I saw it was completely gone." Faith, valor, joy. They all converge at Amarnath.

India's Minorities Have Special Rights Over Their Institutions

Posted on 2002/7/26 9:46:02 ( 1056 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 25, 2002: Taking a view very different from that of the Centre (that is, India's central or federal government) on Minority Educational Institutions (MEIs), Attorney General Soli Sorabjee on Thursday told the Supreme Court that minority's right to establish and administer educational institutions under the Constitution was absolute. "The fundamental right of administration of a minority educational institution under Article 30, on its terms and language, is absolute," Sorabjee submitted before an 11-Judge constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice B N Kirpal hearing arguments on several aspects of the MEIs. Solicitor General Harish Salve, appearing for the Centre, had contended last week that in the constitutional framework of schemes no right was absolute and hence the right to establish and administer and educational institutions by the minority community could not be an absolute right. When the Bench asked how a right could be absolute, Sorabjee promptly clarified although no right could be absolute, the right of the minority communities to manage their own schools should not be tinkered by an outside agency. These minority schools receive government funds for teacher's salaries and other expenses, may manage their own affairs and may teach their religion. Hindu schools similarly funded may not teach religion and may be run by a government-appointed administrator.

Amarnath Pilgrimage Temporarily Suspended Due to Weather

Posted on 2002/7/22 9:49:02 ( 1091 reads )


KASHMIR, INDIA, July 22, 2002: The Amarnath Yatra was temporarily suspended on Sunday following heavy rains on the Baltal-Cave and the Pahalgam-Amarnath route, official sources said. Authorities later allowed pilgrims to resume their journey on the Pahalgam-Amarnath route. The Yatra remained suspended on the Baltal-Cave route, the shortest route to the cave shrine located at an altitude of 3,880 meters in the Himalayas. 3,838 pilgrims who left Jammu on Sunday arrived safely in Pahalgam, sources said. Meanwhile, the first group of Yatris who left Jammu on July 19 were likely to reach the shrine on Monday morning to worship Lord Shiva.

Bangalore Named One of World's Top Intelligent Communities

Posted on 2002/7/22 9:48:02 ( 1137 reads )

Source: Times of India

BANGALORE, INDIA, July 21, 2002: Bangalore has been named one of the top seven intelligent communities in the world for 2002 by Intelligent Community Forum (ICF), a project of the World Teleport Association. An ICF report says Bangalore is one of the world's top centers of technology development and "since the mid-1990's, there has been a creation of fast-growing and affluent community of software professionals." "Bangalore's success is due to the effective economic development marketing of a government agency, software technology parks of India to the grassroots efforts of Indian software engineers and entrepreneurs in the US, who have opened eyes to the potential in their native country and to a local commitment to education and training that has made Bangalore the home of nearly 20 percent of Indian's total institutions of higher education," the report says. Bangalore has more than 100 research universities and technical colleges and employs about 80,000 people in the high-tech industry. ICF notes hundreds of international companies, including IBM, Microsoft, and American Express, have set up software development centers or contracted with local firms in order to take advantage of Bangalore's highly-trained, English-speaking computer graduates. The other six intelligent communities named by ICF are: Calgary in Canada, Florida High Tech Corridor Council and LaGrange in the US, Seoul in South Korea, Singapore, and Sunderland in the UK.

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