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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/2/16 18:52:06 ( 931 reads )

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There the eye goes not, nor words, nor mind. We know not. We cannot understand how He can be explained. He is above the known, and He is above the unknown. Thus have we heard from the ancient sages who explained this truth to us.
-- Sama Veda, Kena Upanishad 1.3

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Our Core Ethos is Under Siege, It's Time to Take a Firm Stand
Posted on 2015/2/15 17:56:49 ( 1319 reads )

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INDIA, February 16, 2015 (Indian Express, by Jay Bhattacharjee): Last Monday, the Supreme Court, in one of its periodic displays of angst, wondered whether India would manage to preserve its secular character for long. The Homeric observations were made by a Bench which was hearing an application by a Christian organization that is demanding official recognition for courts set up under the Church's Canon Law. According to a press report, one of the judges reportedly said that "we have to stamp religion out of civil matters". Although the court in the past has also rejected attempts by Muslim religious "courts" to get legal imprimatur for their "fatwas" or pronouncements, the Bench in the recent case issued notice to the Union of India to obtain its views on this sensitive matter, instead of rejecting the petition outright, as was appropriate. Interestingly, the petitioner in the present case claims that Christians are entitled to follow their personal religious law, since Muslims are allowed to follow theirs, as in the case of the triple "talaq". It must be emphasized that demands like these have rarely come from the followers of Indic faiths and when they have, they have been rightly rejected on all occasions.

Because hundreds of millions of Muslims chose to stay behind in India, the Constitution foresaw a potential minefield in the future and made a provision for enactment of a uniform civil code that would be applicable to all citizens, irrespective of their religious affiliations. This is, however, where the Nehruvian approach triumphed over the genuine apprehensions of a number of others involved in the process. The Uniform Civil Code provision (Article 44) was made a part of the Directive Principles of State Policy

To add to the disarray, Article 25 (2)(b) allows reform of laws and institutions of the Indic religions only. Other faiths are excluded. Therefore, we had the comprehensive Hindu Code Bill that did away with many undesirable practices in the Indic faiths, but Islam and Christianity saw no such initiative. Worse, successive regimes in Raisina Hill let the genie out of the bottle and we now confront a horror scenario. This is the time to take the bull by its horns. The apex court and Union Government must now take a firm stand. Any more dithering will be disastrous.

For more, go to source

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An investigation into Hinduism as a Complex, Adaptive System
Posted on 2015/2/15 17:56:34 ( 1188 reads )

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INDIA, February 15, 2015 (Swarajya magazine, by Sanjeev Sanyal): Sanatan Dharma or Hinduism has long suffered from a very basic problem -- the difficulty of defining it. One can describe a particular sect, or philosophy, but it is not easy to explain the whole. Thus, it is not uncommon for people to ultimately fall back on saying that it is a "way of life". Unfortunately, such a definition is neither a meaningful description nor of analytical value. If anything, it causes a great deal of confusion by suggesting that Hindu religion is identical to Indic culture -- the two are obviously linked but not exactly the same. The purpose of this article is to investigate the systemic logic of Sanatana Dharma as a whole and the process by with it evolves. It is not concerned here with the philosophical content or daily practice of any of the constituent sects, traditions and philosophies.

Most world religions, particularly those of Abrahamic origin, are based on a clearly defined set of beliefs -- a single God, a holy book, a prophet and so on. These are articles of faith or axioms from which each of these religions is derived. This why the terms religion, belief and faith can be used interchangeably in these cases. In contrast, it is perfectly acceptable in Hinduism to be a polytheist, monotheist, monist, pantheist, agnostic, atheist, animist or any combination thereof. Thus Hinduism is a religion but not a faith, although constituent sects or philosophies can be termed faiths or beliefs. Instead, it should be thought of as an organic, evolving ecosystem of interrelated and interdependent elements that are constantly interacting with each other (and with the outside world).

Analyzing Hinduism as a complex adaptive system provides many important insights into the functional architecture of Sanatana Dharma. It shows that the key strength of Hinduism has been its ability to evolve, adapt and innovate. This ability needs to be actively enhanced and strategically deployed in order to keep Hinduism healthy. For instance, it may be time to revive the tradition of writing new smriti texts, a practice that went into decline in medieval times. Some orthodox Hindus may consider this presumptuous but, as already discussed, it would be in keeping with the inherent logic of Sanatana Dharma.

For much more, go to source


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/2/15 17:56:28 ( 998 reads )

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O Lord of power, if I were the Lord of herds of cattle, then I would have given to those intelligent worshippers plenty, as much as I could. Rig Veda 8.14.2

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The Hindus of the Caribbean: An Appreciation
Posted on 2015/2/14 17:33:53 ( 1457 reads )

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GUYANA, February 14, 2015 (Huffington Post, by Murali Balaji): On May 5, 1838, the Whitby, a British ship docked in British Guiana (now known as Guyana) with 249 human cargo after a nearly three-month voyage from the Port of Calcutta in India. Along the way, many of those on board were abused by the ship's crew, and five died.

The Whitby was the first of many chartered ships that would bring Indians -- mostly poor Hindus from rural northern India -- to work on the sugar cane plantations in the British West Indies. Over the next 80 years, more than 500,000 Indians would make the trip to the Caribbean as indentured servants, primarily to places such as Guyana and Trinidad. Their story -- shaped by the trauma of Transatlantic migration, struggles in a new environment, and eventually the triumph of forging a distinct identity -- continues to be an overlooked part of colonial history.

One of the most important aspects of the Indo-Caribbean experience was how Hindus adapted and changed practices to fit their new environment and hold onto traditions they felt as vital. As Gaiutra Bahadur notes in her book Coolie Woman, Caribbean Hindus were able to craft a religious identity distinct from what their ancestors in the Indian subcontinent practiced, especially since the practice of Hinduism in rural India was often governed by cultural norms that significantly shaped interpretation of religion.

More of this interesting history at source.

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At Chennai's Cricket Ganesha Temple, Prayers For India to Retain World Cup
Posted on 2015/2/14 17:33:47 ( 1577 reads )

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CHENNAI, INDIA, February 12, 2015 (NDTV): Cricket is a religion in India, quite literally. A cricket-lover in Chennai has built a Cricket Ganesha temple that has statues of Lord Ganesha in several cricketing avatars. Cricket-lovers flock to the temple to pray for the Indian team, as the World Cup kicks off in Australia and New Zealand.

The Sri Palayathamman Cricket Ganesha Temple is located in Chennai's Anna Nagar East area. Eleven Ganeshas welcome devotees and cricket lovers, installed right next to the principal deity, Amman. These include the Square Drive Ganesha swinging his bat, the Spinner Ganesha holding a ball, ready to bowl and the padded Wicket Keeper Ganesha. The star attraction is the 11-headed Ganesha, symbolizing the Indian cricket team.

The founder of this temple, Ramakrishnan, has also composed cricket bhajans, which he recites during his pooja. "Ganesha will bless both right-handed and left-handed players equally in the game, whether he's a batsman or a bowler. So, if devotees worship him sincerely, they will perform better," he says.



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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/2/14 17:33:40 ( 1328 reads )

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We who have come from the East here have been told day after day in a patronizing way that we ought to accept Christianity because Christian nations are the most prosperous. We look about us and see England as the most prosperous nation in the world, with her foot on the neck of 250 million Asiatics. We look back in history and see Christian Spain's wealth beginning with the invasion of Mexico. Such prosperity comes from cutting the throats of fellow men. At such a price the Hindu will not have prosperity.
-- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, at the Parliament of the World's Religions, 1893

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My New Life as an Indian Wife
Posted on 2015/2/13 16:57:58 ( 1566 reads )

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UNITED KINGDOM, February 1, 2015 (BBC): Two years ago Lauren was living in the south of England and studying pharmacy. Abhiram, originally from India, lived and worked in New Jersey. In December 2012 they made contact on a vegetarian forum online. As they chatted, they fell in love, and within days of that first online conversation decided they wanted to be together.

Just a few weeks later Lauren moved to India and they got married. They now live in Nagpur in central India together with Abhiram's family where Lauren is adjusting to life as a traditional Indian wife.

A charming short video of their story as told to the BBC can be viewed at source.

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Diocese Backs Church over Turning away Yoga Class
Posted on 2015/2/13 16:57:43 ( 1374 reads )

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UNITED KINGDOM, February 11, 2015 (Christian): St. Michael and All Angels' Church who made a decision last year that ended a yoga class's use of its hall because the activity's roots are "incompatible with the Christian faith" has received support from its diocese.

Church council members informed yoga instructor Naomi Hayama that they were no longer allowing groups linked to "alternative spiritualities" to use their facilities. Hayama held twice-weekly yoga classes for around 30 people in the church building for nine years.

A spokeswoman for the Diocese of Bristol said they support the church's stance, as decisions on leasing buildings lie with the relevant parochial church council. A statement from the church said: "The primary purpose of these buildings is the worship of God as revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. "Yoga means the union of "mind, body and spirit". By definition, therefore, yoga is a spiritual activity whose roots are not Christ centered.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/2/13 16:57:36 ( 1268 reads )

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He who befriends a man whose conduct is vicious, whose vision impure, and who is notoriously crooked, is rapidly ruined.
-- Chanakya (350-275 bce), Indian politician, strategist and writer

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Hindu Priestesses Consecrated in Bern, Switzerland
Posted on 2015/2/10 16:14:03 ( 2310 reads )

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BERN, SWITZERLAND, February, 10, 2015 (Bluewin): Four women were consecrated as priestesses to serve the Hindu community in Berne in early February. There are virtually no Hindu women priests in India or Sri Lanka, said Sasikumar Tharmalingam, priest of the Saivaneri Koodam community's temple at the House of Religions in Bern, while speaking to the press.

Sasikumar Tharmalingam immigrated to Switzerland from Sri Lanka 14 years ago and the members of his community have researched the subject and studied the scriptures. They did not find any indication that would justify the exclusion of women from the priesthood. They found, on the contrary, many indications of equality between men and women. On a recent trip to India and Sri Lanka, they met with other priests who supported them in this opinion.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/2/10 16:13:57 ( 1978 reads )

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God is with us. It is He only who gives us the strength to work. If we live with this inspiration in our heart, we will surely experience Divinity in our life. Our work will become our devotion, and means of our spiritual progress.
-- Rameshbhai Oza, inspired performer of Vaishnava kathas

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Promoting Sacred Groves
Posted on 2015/2/9 17:53:06 ( 2098 reads )

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BHOPAL, INDIA, February 7, 2015 (Daily Pioneer): Sacred Groves are patches of natural or near-natural vegetation, dedicated by local communities to their ancestral spirits or deities. Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya or The National Museum of Humankind is located here on 200 acres of land and is intended to "depict the story of humankind in time and space." It contains, for example, exhibits of tribal habitat, coastal village, himalayan village, etc. Its website, http://igrms.com/vs.html, seems neglected with significant sections not functioning.

This current project's objective is to bring the tradition of Sacred Groves into the cities. Sacred Groves are planted and protected by local communities and tribes usually through customary taboos and sanction with ancestral and ecological implications.

The Museum studied and documented the traditions and ritual for sacred groves in various communities and developed sacred groves with the help of the related communities and tribes. The installed sacred groves in Manav Sangrahalaya are: (Kava) Kerala, (Maw-Bukhar) Meghalaya, (Umanglai) Manipur, (Oran) Rajasthan, (Rajbanshi) West Bengal, (Sarna) Chhattisgarh, (Kovil Kadu) Tamil Nadu, (Devarai) Maharashtra etc.

In course of time, the industrialisation and globalisation affected biodiversity and natural resources to great extent. In a view of the adverse effects of biodiversity degradation, ecologist, environmentalists etc has made conservation of biodiversity as on issue of global significance. Earlier, there were many traditional conservation practices of indigenous communities which contributed to the conservation and protection of biodiversity -- such practices were named as sacred groves.

The program was inaugurated by Dr Ram Prasad (former Principle Chief Conservator of Forests and former VC, Barkatullah University) at lake side of IGRMS at 11.00 am. The local residents of various communities carried out various ritualistic activities at the sacred groves.

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Eight Weeks to a Better Brain
Posted on 2015/2/9 17:52:59 ( 2249 reads )

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UNITED STATES, January 21, 2011 (Harvard): Participating in an eight-week mindfulness meditation program appears to make measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy, and stress. In a study that will appear in the Jan. 30 issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, a team led by Harvard-affiliated researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) reported the results of their study, the first to document meditation-produced changes over time in the brain's gray matter.

"Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day," says study senior author Sara Lazar of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program and a Harvard Medical School instructor in psychology. "This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing."

"It is fascinating to see the brain's plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life," says Britta Hoelzel, first author of the paper and a research fellow at MGH and Giessen University in Germany. "Other studies in different patient populations have shown that meditation can make significant improvements in a variety of symptoms, and we are now investigating the underlying mechanisms in the brain that facilitate this change."

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/2/9 17:52:51 ( 1929 reads )

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As to a mountain that's enflamed, deer and birds do not resort--so, with knowers of God, sins find no shelter.
-- Krishna Yajur Veda, Maitreya Upanishads 6.18

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