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Hinduism Today's April/May/June 2016 On-Line


Posted on 2016/3/14 19:50:00 ( 7128 reads )

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KAUAI, HAWAII, March 13, 2016 (Hinduism Today): Hinduism Today's latest issue has gone one line and is available at source above, or you can download our HT app and get the full magazine on your mobile device at http://www.bit.ly/HT-APP.

We continue our series of in-depth articles on the holy sites of India with an 18-page adventure in Haridwar. Our intrepid team, Rajiv Malik and photographer Dev Raj Agarwal, ply the roads, shop the stalls, enter the Sanskrit schools and bathe in the Holy Ganges, all to give readers a personal tour of one of the most important Hindu cities in India. The photography alone tells the story of a dynamic pilgrimage center that is rich in learning institutions, shopping opportunities, riverside celebrations and more.

Speaking of photography, which is something dear to this magazine's editors, Arun Mishra's legendary skills are at work in a photos-only telling of the Nashik Kumbha Mela which took place in August of 2015. Let him show you what he saw there.

For too long we have heard tales of temples falling into disrepair, losing their income to outside agencies and suffering in other ways. So it's refreshing to hear that after a full century the Brihadeeshwarar Temple in Thanjavur, South India, celebrated the inaugural procession of a new wooden chariot. Not just any chariot, but a massive masterpiece with exquisite carving, a Behemoth that required 1,175 cubic feet of hardwood and rises over fifty feet. Over 100,000 devotees joined the celebration of its first circumambulation of the temple. Enjoy the story of a temple in renaissance.

Our publisher, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, tackles the thorny issue of religious intolerance in his Publisher's Desk editorial in this issue, offering practical ways we can create tolerance in the future by raising our children without hatred or prejudice. His solutions are lucid and simple, and, if followed, could change the strained religious relationships that now have free run across the globe.

Other opinion pieces give voice to Hindu concerns, including one young woman who decries the new trend in the US of exiling the Goddess from the popular garba dance, a misplaced exclusion meant to make the dance more acceptable to outsiders. Not acceptable, says Shivali Bhammer of New York. In a surprisingly candid opinion piece a Protestant minister details how Hinduism has enriched the world with its gifts of spirituality, exported to the West.

Language is a powerful tool, among our most powerful, in fact, so the relationship of Sanskrit and Tamil is a serious matter in South India. Our article explores the roots of this enduring issue and offers opponents in the discussion a way forward based on the shared history and mutual importance of two of humanity's richest languages. Two great scholarly minds unravel the issues for us.

Food. Who doesn't love food? But there is food, and there is Indian food. In our 16-page Insight section we explore the Secrets of Indian Gastronomy. And who is our guide? None other than Chef Manjit Gill, the go-to-guru of Indian cuisine. He takes us deep into the world of taste and health, ayurveda and spices, seasons and gunas. Food isn't just taste, it is well-being, it is energy and it is art, at least in this master's hands.

That would be magazine enough, but there is more in the April issue. Global Dharma takes us to communities in Mexico, Germany and Polland to see how Hinduism is growing there. Scott Rice, an Oregonian, shares his surprising encounter with Siva 12,000 feet up in the Himalayas. You'll find our cartoon surrounded by inspiring and witty remarks on our "Quotes and Quips" page.



Stolen Ancient Jain, Hindu Statues Worth $450,000 Seized in US


Posted on 2016/3/14 19:46:37 ( 7107 reads )

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NEW YORK, U.S., March 13, 2016 (IANS) Four days before two ancient Jain and Hindu statues estimated to be worth $450,000 were to be auctioned off, US officials swooped on the international art auction house Christie's here and seized them, according to the Homeland Security Department. The statues seized Friday by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents in "Operation Hidden Idol" were of Rishabhanata, the first Jain Thirthankar, and of Revanta, a son of God Surya, the HSI said.

They were to have been auctioned on Tuesday during Asia Week in New York, an event that draws top-tier art collectors and museum curators from around the world. Christie's said it was unaware the statue of Rishabhanata and the panel of Revanta were stolen in India and brought into the US illegally. On behalf of the Indian government, Consul General Riva Ganguly Das commended the "HSI for the exceptional work done in locating and retrieving the sculptures brought into the United States by organised crime syndicates."

The 10th century Rishabhanata sandstone statue is from Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh and is valued at about $150,000, according to the HSI. It stands about 22 inches tall and depicts the Tirthankar seated in vajrasana position (crossed leg pose) and flanked by two devotees. The sandstone panel of Revanta and his entourage is from the 8th century. It is considered "a very rare representation of the equestrian deity", and is estimated to be worth $300,000, according to the HSI.



New Route for Mount Kailash Pilgrimage


Posted on 2016/3/14 19:46:27 ( 6864 reads )

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INDIA, March 9, 2016 (Press Information Bureau): Ministry of External Affairs organizes the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra in cooperation with the State Governments of Uttarakhand, Delhi, and Sikkim along with Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). The Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam Limited (KMVN), and Sikkim Tourism Development Cooperation (STDC) make logistical arrangements including accommodation, food, and transport on the Indian side for the Yatra. Since 1981 the Yatra is organized in cooperation with the Government of China which provides logistical facilities on the Tibet side.

A new route via Nathu La Pass in Sikkim has become operational in 2015. In 2015 a total of 216 Yatris had travelled in five batches on the new route via Nathu La for this Yatra. This year 7 batches are planned of 50 Yatris each.

Government of India takes various steps to facilitate the Yatra which include a dedicated website to further simplify and expedite the registration and selection process, communication with Yatris, and a helpline based on Interactive Voice Response System which provides information in Hindi and English to the Yatris. Medical tests are also conducted for Yatris to ensure their fitness for high altitude endurance.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/3/14 19:46:06 ( 6723 reads )

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Hindu Dharma was a great reconciler. It reconciled various viewpoints, various doctrines. It knew how to look at things from various angles and viewpoints. It knew no conflict between science and religion, between rationalism and spiritualism. It was so because it was not dogmatic in reason or religion.
-- Ram Swarup (1920-1998), distinguished spokesperson of Hindu spirituality and culture in India



International Day of Yoga Part 2: Government Plans to Stage a Bigger Event This Year


Posted on 2016/3/13 19:54:27 ( 7197 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 18, 2016 (Economic Times): Having generated vast global attention for the first International Day of Yoga in 2015, the Modi government is pulling out all stops to ensure that the next edition is equally impressive. Coming up in this June, is an even longer one-hour yoga protocol, advanced yoga retreats for foreigners in scenic locations in India and a mass yoga demonstration in one of the BJP-ruled states.

A high-level committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Yoga guru Dr. H.R. Nagendra--Vice chancellor of the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (S-VYASA), has been holding rounds of meetings with top officials across ministries to plan the next yoga day with considerable fanfare. It took a range of decisions in its most recent meeting held on 8th February, 2016.



31 Institutes Provided financial Assistance to Preserve Rare %26 Precious AYUSH Books


Posted on 2016/3/13 19:54:17 ( 2575 reads )

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INDIA, March 11, 2016 (Press Information Bureau): National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) has undertaken a survey on social consumption in India on Health in its 71st round conducted during January - June 2014. As per key indicators released recently by NSSO for the 71st round, it is estimated that about 6% of the people have received treatment from Indian Systems of Medicine (including Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha), Homoeopathy and Yoga & Naturopathy.

Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) is engaged in the studies related to revival & retrieval and digitization of Ancient Ayurvedic Manuscripts & Rare Books and they are being published from time to time, so far 30 books retrieved from manuscripts have been published and are now available in the public domain. Besides this, the Council has surveyed and digitized more than 5000 Ayurvedic Manuscripts/Rare Books from Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Assam and Jammu & Kashmir (Leh) etc.



Canada's New First Lady Is a Yoga Teacher


Posted on 2016/3/13 19:54:06 ( 2789 reads )

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CANADA, March 10, 2016 (Yoga Dork): Canada's First Lady Gregoire-Trudeau is actually a yoga teacher, having done her 200 hr training in 2012, and been a practitioner for years prior. As she told feminist site Pure Vision, yoga brings her a feeling of peace and union: "I also get inspired a lot from my yoga practice. I think that it brings me to that little person inside of me that's the same as in everyone else. As yoga philosophy mentions, that person is in a continuous state of gratitude and peace...a person that's both male and female -- the perfect balance between the two."

Gregoire-Trudeau credits yoga for changing her life and is passionate about sharing it with others. As she told Montreal Families: "The meditation and physical practice of yoga (hatha) are ways to deeply connect with yourself and be in the present. It has changed my life. It takes discipline, openness and vulnerability to be able to grow as a human being, to face your flaws and to embrace your inner beauty.

"I have met some incredible people through yoga classes and workshops. Because yoga made me feel so peaceful inside, I decided to take my teacher training (200 hours) so I could share it with others. Millions of people practice worldwide and the numbers are still on the rise. There is a reason for that. Yoga is not only a practice and a passing along of great sacred teachings, but also a social movement for more human goodness, compassion and peace. The world needs more of it," says the First Lady.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/3/13 19:53:47 ( 2487 reads )

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One does not suddenly reach a point where desire goes away. Desire is life. Desire can be directed according to the personal will. Through sadhana you can gain mastery over all the forces of your mind and body.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today



PM Addresses Inaugural Ceremony of World Culture Festival


Posted on 2016/3/12 19:57:13 ( 2330 reads )

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INDIA, March 11, 2016 (Press Information Bureau): The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today addressed the inaugural ceremony of the World Culture Festival in New Delhi. The festival has been organized by the Art of Living Foundation, to commemorate 35 years of the organization's service to mankind.

Welcoming people from across the world who have gathered in Delhi for the World Culture Festival, the Prime Minister complimented Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for the great work being done by the Art of Living Foundation in over 150 countries.

Shri Narendra Modi recalled a reception organized by the Art of Living Foundation in Mongolia, and said that India had a lot to contribute to the world, but in order to be able to do so, it was first necessary to appreciate the uniqueness and the breadth of Indian culture. He said that through the Art of Living, the world has been able to appreciate India.



Art of Living Festival on Delhi Flood Plain Riles Greens, Worries Police


Posted on 2016/3/12 19:57:02 ( 2296 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 10, 2016 (Religion News): Indian environmentalists are aghast that a huge cultural festival is to be held on the flood plain of Delhi's main river, warning that the event, and the 3.5 million visitors expected, will devastate the area's biodiversity. The "World Culture Festival," organized by one of India's best-known spiritual gurus, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, starts Friday (March 11) and spreads across 1,000 acres on the banks of the Yamuna. It features a 7-acre stage for 35,000 musicians and dancers, newly built dirt tracks and 650 portable toilets.

Green groups accuse organizers of ripping up vegetation and ruining the river's fragile ecosystem by damaging its bed and disrupting water flows. They want authorities to cancel the event and avert further harm. "This land is not meant for any of those things. The biodiversity of the land has been completely destroyed," said Anand Arya, one of several environmentalists who petitioned India's top green court.

The National Green Tribunal on Wednesday ruled that the event could go ahead but fined Ravi Shankar's Art of Living Foundation 50 million rupees, or $744,000.



Will Go to Jail but Not Pay a Penny: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Rs 5 crore Fine


Posted on 2016/3/12 19:56:52 ( 2280 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 10, 2016 (Times of India): Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has decided to say "no" to an environmental fine and "yes" to jail. No, he won't pony up the US$747,000 fine imposed on him yesterday to pay for the environmental damage that has been and will be done to the venue of his World Culture Festival. Yes, he's prepared to go to jail for not paying the fine. Incidentally, Art of Living has spent upwards of $3.9 million on its extravaganza.

Today PM Narendra Modi set aside any doubts about his participation, saying he plans to attend Sri Sri's event. The Art of Living's three-day World Culture Festival is to be held on the ecologically-sensitive banks of the Yamuna river and will start tomorrow. The national Green Tribunal (NGT) yesterday fined Sri Sri's Foundation and several governmental bodies for negligence.

Ravi Shankar also tweeted that his foundation is not "satisfied" with the NGT's verdict and would appeal it. He also urged political parties not to "politicize" the event. "Not a single tree was felled. Trees were only pruned and we leveled the floodplain," he said today. "This is like a Cultural Olympics. 37,000 artistes from all over the world would come together at one single platform. This is an event to bring people closer to each other. Event of this magnitude should be welcomed," he told NDTV.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/3/12 19:56:41 ( 1663 reads )

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Desire is a very dangerous thing. Sometimes we think we have killed all selfish desire, but somewhere in our mind there lingers some remnant; and as from a spark left in the corner of the hearth may come again a big fire, so out of that small remnant may spring a huge fire of desire.
-- Swami Ramakrishnananda (1863-1911), disciple of Sri Ramakrishna



Bangladesh May Drop Islam as State Religion amid Islamist Attacks against Minorities


Posted on 2016/3/11 18:14:24 ( 2247 reads )

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BANGLADESH, March 7, 2016 (Christian Today): Amid a spate of attacks by Muslim extremists on people belonging to minority groups, Bangladesh is reportedly considering abandoning Islam as its official religion. A report by the Daily Mail said the country's Supreme Court has started hearing arguments that challenge Islam's status as the official religion of Bangladesh. The move comes amid incessant attacks by Islamic extremists on people of other faiths such as Hindus, Christians and minority Shi'ites.

Bangladesh declared itself as a separate country after it split with Pakistan in 1971. In 1998, the country declared Islam as its state region. Today, religious minority leaders are disputing this in the latest court battle. The debate also comes amid a U.S. warning that the terror group ISIS is stepping up recruitment in Bangladesh. Government authorities, however, maintain the extremist problems are "home grown."

Muslims make up some 90 percent of Bangladesh's population, while Hindus account for 8 percent and other religions--including Buddhism and Christianity--make up the rest.



Police Stop Women Trying to Enter Maharashtra's Trimbakeshwar Temple


Posted on 2016/3/11 18:14:14 ( 2090 reads )

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INDIA, March 9, 2016 (Hindustan Times): Police detained a group of 40 women planning to break a centuries-old prohibition on the entry of female devotees into the sanctum sanctorum of the Trimbakeshwar temple in Mahrashtra's Nashik district on Monday. The temple is located some 18 miles from Nashik and is a major Lord Shiva shrine, containing one of the 12 jyotirlingas.

Marching under the Bhumata brigade banner, the women set off from Pune to enter the Shiva temple on Mahashivratri despite stiff resistance from the temple's trustees and local villagers. The outfit was led by Trupti Desai, who made an attempt to breach an identical ban at the Shani Shingnapur temple in Mahrashtra's Ahamednagar district on Republic Day but was stopped by police. This is the latest in a series of similar attempts across the country that has sparked a debate on religious traditions that bar female devotees from entering the inner chambers of shrines, sometimes for reasons of pollution.

The political establishment has been dragged into the debate. "Our democratic set up allows everyone to put up their sides. When two sides disagree on certain things, the issue can be resolved by dialogue," said Maharashtra finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, during his visit to Trimbakeshwar temple.



Guyanese President Joins Hindus in Maha Shivaratri Observances


Posted on 2016/3/11 18:14:04 ( 2123 reads )

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GEORGETOWN, GUYANA, March 7, 2016 (Ministry of the Presidency): President David Granger, today, joined with the Hindu community at the Guyana Sevashram Sangha at Cove and John, East Coast Demerara for Maha Shivaratri observances. Though not a calendar holiday, Maha Shivaratri or Night of Shiva is a very significant festival for Hindus in Guyana. It is marked by fasting, prayers and other rituals that last for a duration of 24-hours.

In his address at the Ashram, the President said that this auspicious festival, which is characterized by acts of devotion and veneration of Lord Shiva, enriches the culture of the entire country. "We recognize and respect the right of Hindus to observe their religious festivals and to propagate their religion, including through education," President Granger said.

He also commended the work of the Guyana Sevashram Sangha, as it is an integral part of the Hindu community in Guyana. "The rich traditions and festivals of Hinduism have knitted the local Hindu community together and have ensured that Hinduism remains vibrant in Guyana, the President said.

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