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Britain Is No Longer a Christian Country

Posted on 2015/12/8 19:29:41 ( 979 reads )

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UNITED KINGDOM, December 7, 2015 (The Telegraph): Britain is no longer a Christian country and should stop acting as if it is, a major inquiry into the place of religion in modern society has concluded, provoking a furious backlash from ministers and the Church of England. A two-year commission, chaired by the former senior judge Baroness Butler-Sloss and involving leading religious leaders from all faiths, calls for public life in Britain to be systematically de-Christianized. It says that the decline of churchgoing and the rise of Islam and other faiths mean a "new settlement" is needed for religion in the UK, giving more official influence to non-religious voices and those of non-Christian faiths.

The report provoked a furious row as it was condemned by cabinet ministers as "seriously misguided" and the Church of England said it appeared to have been "hijacked" by humanists.

The report, by the Commission on Religion and Belief in Public Life, claims that faith schools are "socially divisive" and says that the selection of children on the basis of their beliefs should be phased out. It also accuses those who devise some RE syllabuses of "sanitizing" negative aspects of religion in lessons and suggests that the compulsory daily act of worship in school assemblies should be abolished and replaced with a "time for reflection." The report backs moves to cut the number of Church of England bishops in the Lords and give places to imams, rabbis and other non-other non-Christian clerics as well as evangelical pastors.

The report highlights figures showing the decline in people who say they are Anglicans from 40 per cent in 1983 to less than a fifth in 2013. It says: "Three striking trends in recent decades have revolutionized the landscape on which religion and belief in Britain meet and interact. "The first is the increase in the number of people with non-religious beliefs and identities. The second is the decline in Christian affiliation, belief and practice and within this decline a shift in Christian affiliation that has meant that Anglicans no longer comprise a majority of Christians. "The third is the increase in the number of people who have a religious affiliation but who are not Christian."

Much more at "source" above.

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Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2015/12/8 19:29:30 ( 738 reads )

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You can gain an intricate control of the various things that change in and about you. Lean your thoughts and feelings in the right direction, and discover how quickly your circumstances will change their direction.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today

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World's Richest, Tirupati Temple May Deposit Gold under Government Plan

Posted on 2015/12/6 19:38:49 ( 1032 reads )

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INDIA, December 5, 2015 (Hindustan Times): The richest Hindu temple in the world could soon come to the rescue of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's plan to recycle tons of idle gold and cut economy-hurting imports. The gold monetization scheme, aimed at persuading individuals, institutions and rich temples to deposit some of their gold stash with banks to recycle, has only attracted about 2 lbs. in a month out of a total estimate of over 20,000 tons in private hands.

But the Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple, popularly known as the Tirupati Temple that is believed to have been the abode of Lord Venkateswara for 5,000 years, may become the biggest contributor with more than 5.5 tons of gold. "It's a good scheme," said Yanamala Ramakrishnudu, the finance minister of Andhra Pradesh, where the temple is located. "We have already issued a directive to go for the scheme."

India is the world's second-biggest consumer of gold after China and the country's insatiable appetite meant imports of the precious metal accounted for 28% of India's trade deficit in the year ending March 2013.

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At Dwarka Temple, Priests Say "Deeply Hurt" by Caste Row

Posted on 2015/12/6 19:38:39 ( 976 reads )

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As the political turbulence set off by former Union minister Kumari Selja's remarks [which are not quoted in this article] refused to subside in Delhi, the storm created ripples of disbelief at the Dwarkadhish shrine in Bet Dwarka, an island off Okha coast in Gujarat's Devbhoomi Dwarka district. The tirth purohits, or pandas, who show pilgrims around the temple, said they felt "deeply hurt" by the controversy surrounding the temple.

Asked if he seeks to know the caste of any visitor, Pragnesh Vayda, a purohit, said yes, but only from those who wish to offer pooja or do pitra-tarpan (a ritual performed for the departed souls). "There are around 300 purohits here... We have divided caste groups among ourselves. In order to know whose yajman (host or client) a devotee is, we need to know his caste. This is our arrangement. It is not meant to humiliate anybody... To do pooja and tarpan one has to take sankalp as it ensures success of the ritual. For proper sankalp, we need to know the gotra of the devotee and this is when we ask about caste," he said.

Uday Vayda, a senior purohit and the one who had led Selja at the temple jointly with Tarunbhai Padh, said: "She is a noble person...But she seems to be misguided. As a matter of practice, we don't ask caste of high profile visitors. She was in great hurry and kept on telling us 'very quick, very quick'. When she made the donation, we could not even perform the sankalp ritual, so there's no question of asking about her caste," said the 45-year-old priest, adding that he was "deeply hurt" by the recent developments. "She was a guest of Lord Krishna and was treated with utmost respect...But, we shall not criticise her as this will give bad name to Lord Krishna," he said.

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Man Cannot Divorce Wife under Hindu Marriage Law If She Is Terminally Ill, Rules Indian Court

Posted on 2015/12/6 19:38:28 ( 1016 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 4, 2015 (Telegraph): India's supreme court has ruled that a man cannot divorce his wife if she is terminally ill, even if she consents, because he is duty-bound under Hindu law to care for her. The landmark ruling came as justices turned down the divorce application of a man whose wife, it emerged, had breast cancer, amid fears he was pressuring her to accept a financial settlement to pay for her medical treatment.

"It is evident that the wife needs sufficient amount of money for the treatment of breast cancer," the ruling said. "Hence, it cannot be ruled out that in order to save her life by getting money, she agreed for a settlement of dissolution of marriage." They refused the divorce because the man was "promising to do something which he is already duty bound," and ruled that consent could not be given with the husband in a position of such undue influence.

The judges instead ordered the man pay US$7,500 within a week for his wife's medical treatment - the approximate cost of the immediate surgery and first round of chemotherapy her breast cancer required - and to only approach family court once again for divorce when she had recovered. Justices M.Y. Eqbal and C. Nagappan quoted a passage from the epic "Mahabharata" in their judgment, stating: "Where women are honored there the gods are pleased; but where they are not honored no sacred rite yields rewards."

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Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2015/12/6 19:38:18 ( 794 reads )

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The biggest sorrow is poverty. The greatest happiness is that of meeting with a saint, which is beyond compare.
-- Tulsidas in the Ramacharitamanasa, 16th century

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India's National Digital Library Wants to Give You a Million Free E-Books

Posted on 2015/12/5 19:18:58 ( 1272 reads )

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NEW DELHI, December 3, 2015 (Hindustan Times): The National Digital Library will roll out a collection of a million digitized books and journals, according to an official. The Library will also bring over 100 institutes under its fold. "The first thing that will come in February is the National Digital Library (NDL) with one million books and journals that will be used by students across the country," R. Subrahmanyam, additional secretary for technical education in the human resource development ministry told IANS during the launch of Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) scheme on Monday.

The five-year-old National Digital Library is a collaborative effort between the U.S. and India to digitize a million books ranging from technical literature to art. According to a Medianama report, the project has 13 nodal centers that are linked together through internet connections that are as slow as 512 kbps. The NDL will ensure "uniform high standards" of e-content free of cost on a single platform.

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Bangladesh: Ten People Injured at Hindu Temple Blast, 3 Arrested

Posted on 2015/12/5 19:18:48 ( 1050 reads )

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DINJAPUR, BANGLADESH, December 5, 2015 (DNA India): Ten people have been injured at a Hindu religious gathering in northern Bangladesh as three crude bombs went off at Jatra pandal on the premises of Kantaji Temple in Kaharol upazila of Dinajpur.

According to the Daily Star, a series of blasts took place in the afternoon when the people were watching a jatra show arranged on the occasion of Rash Mela, leaving 10 people injured, police and witnesses said. Six of the injured were immediately rushed to Dinajpur Medical College and Hospital. Police arrested three people soon after the blasts for their alleged involvement with the incident.

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Happy Cows Produce More Milk

Posted on 2015/12/5 19:18:38 ( 930 reads )

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UNITED KINGDOM, March 4, 2013 (Scientist Live): A cow with a name produces more milk than one without, scientists at Newcastle University have found. Drs. Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson have shown that by giving a cow a name and treating her as an individual, farmers can increase their annual milk yield by almost 500 pints. The study, published online in the academic journal Anthrozoos, found that on farms where each cow was called by her name the overall milk yield was higher than on farms where the cattle were herded as a group.

The findings are part of a larger study examining the impact of a pleasant relationship between human and cow. Dr. Douglas used to be a nutritional adviser to dairy farmers so has seen hundreds of farmers, farms and their herds of cows. There were differences in how the farmers behaved around their cows, and how the cows behaved around humans (friendly/fearful). The study at Newcastle University was designed to see if these differences in how cows feel around humans would actually translate into genuine measurable differences in welfare, behaviour and milk production.

Many studies with other animals had found that reducing fear could improve fertility, growth rates, immune response (disease resistance) and improve the ease with which they could be handled. Researchers said, "We did not want to provoke fear in our experimental herd, instead we wanted to see if, by improving the relationship with humans (so cows liked human company), we would see improvements in welfare, behaviour and production. The welfare would obviously be good for the cow, better behaviour means they are easier to manage and milk, obviously less stressful for the milker and any benefit in production would obviously be good for the farmer."

More at "source" above.

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Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2015/12/5 19:18:26 ( 798 reads )

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Remain calm, serene, always in command of yourself. You will then find out how easy it is to get along.
-- Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952), Founder of Self-Realization Fellowship

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Vrindavan Priests Oppose Government Control of Temples

Posted on 2015/12/4 19:57:36 ( 1149 reads )

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VRINDAVAN, INDIA, December 1, 2015 (New Kerala): Temple priests in this Hindu holy town are protesting the Uttar Pradesh government's move to bring some of the main shrines of Braj Bhoomi under administrative control. Priests of Sri Bankey Bihari temple, the Brahmin Sabha, the Brajbasi Panda Mahasabha and members of several other groups have been protesting over the past few days by holding demonstrations. They accused the government of trying to infringe on their rights and eyeing the huge earnings of the temples.

The Braj Bhoomi shrines associated with Sri Krishna-Radha lore attract millions of Hindu devotees every year. The temple managements have been under a shadow for allegedly ignoring the interests of pilgrims. Informed sources said the government was likely to constitute a board for the shrines in Braj Bhoomi. The priests will continue to conduct the ritualistic puja but the management and maintenance of facilities will be the domain of the board. [HPI note: under most state laws in India, the government can take over the affairs of a temple if it can establish there is mismanagement on the part of those presently running the temple.]

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Thefts of Precious Statues on the Rise in Bihar

Posted on 2015/12/4 19:57:26 ( 1036 reads )

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BIHAR, INDIA, December 1, 2015 (Big News Network): Ancient statues of Mahavira and Buddha have become a soft target of antique smugglers in Bihar, with nearly 200 statues stolen in the state in the last five years. According to police officials, many cases of thefts were never reported due to lack of knowledge of their value in the international market.

According to police, 30 statues were stolen in 2011, 62 in 2012 and 65 in 2013. Nearly two dozen thefts took place last year and a dozen so far this year. Several precious statues of Hindu deities have been missing from temples and ashrams, a police official said. The thefts have been reported from Gaya, Bhagalpur, Kishanganj, Vaishali, Begusarai, Saran, Samastipur, Jamui, Nalanda, Rohtas, Sitamarhi and Patna districts. Except in a few cases, police have been unable to recover the stolen statues.

Most of the stolen statues were "ashtadhatu" -- an alloy of gold, silver, copper, zinc, lead, tin, iron and mercury besides rare marble, brass and other metals. An official of the Bihar archaeology department said ancient statues made of "ashtadhatu" were in great demand in the international market.

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No Caste to Answer - Analysing the UK's New Caste Legislation

Posted on 2015/12/4 19:57:15 ( 761 reads )

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UNITED KINGDOM, October 21, 2015 (editorial by Dr. Prakash Shah): The caste system is one of the most prevalent and powerful markers of Indian culture and society. It is most closely associated with Hinduism and seen as hierarchical and oppressive, particularly for those who are at the bottom of the system. This is a stereotype, founded on Christian theological polemic that saw Indian religion as false, a view that has strongly influenced subsequent debates and scholarship on caste. I contend in my new book "Against Caste in British Law" that we should not be enacting legislation on such a basis.

On the assumption that a caste system exists in the UK's Indian diaspora, parliament justified the insertion of a provision against caste discrimination in the Equality Act 2010. While that merely gave a power to the Minister to implement the provision, an amendment to the Act made in 2013 made implementation obligatory.

I began researching the caste provision in 2013, as part of the Coalition for Dialogue and the Anti-Caste Legislation Committee, which brought together a large number of Indian community organisations. It quickly became clear that community spokespersons had no real way of arguing against the provision. They were handicapped by the fact that if they resisted it they would be branded as complicit in caste discrimination - as has been alleged by parliamentarians backing the law - or practitioners of a form of apartheid.

Dr. Shaw presents his case against the legislation at "source" above.

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Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2015/12/4 19:57:05 ( 670 reads )

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Many people are afraid of silence. They have to be doing something all the time. Many people also are afraid of being alone. But actually no one ever is alone. He's always with his great divine Self. Every person has a great, divine Self within him, an absolutely perfect, shining, sublime being of light. The voice of this being is a loud silence. The voice of your soul is a loud silence. Many people have said that the voice of God is a deep, profound silence.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today

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Early Release for Prisoners who Pass Yoga test at Indian Jail

Posted on 2015/12/1 18:01:24 ( 1144 reads )

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PUNE, INDIA , December 1, 2015 (by Andrew Marszal, Telegraph News):An Indian jail is to release prisoners early if they earn top marks in yoga exams at the end of a course. The scheme involves inmates at the Yerwada Central Jail in Pune, where Mahatma Gandhi was twice imprisoned, and prisoners will be eligible for release three months early as an incentive to do well. "Yoga has been proved scientifically to improve the mental and physical condition," said Bhushankumar Upadhyay, the prison director responsible for the programme. "It improves our overall behaviour and calms down our violent tendencies." "Remission has been given by the government for good conduct. So as an incentive we are going to give remission to those who excel at yoga."

Inmates who began the new program will sit a practical and a written exam after six months. Dr Upadhyay, 51, said he hopes the scheme, in which around 1,500 prisoners will initially participate, could spread across India and even to other countries. Inmates taking the course will also be encouraged to teach yoga to their fellow prisoners at other jails around Maharashtra state. According to the Sahayog Trust, which devised the year-long course, upon completing their studies, two-thirds of inmates believed their former activities were wrong and wished to ask for forgiveness from their victims' families. Officials also claimed the number of violent incidents within the prison dropped as a result of the course.

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