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Anantanand Rambhachan Responds to "Indra's Net" Accusations
Posted on 2015/5/2 12:53:55 ( 1073 reads )

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USA, May 2, 2015 (Swaraja): In his recently published book, Indra's Net, author Rajiv Malhotra describes Professor Anantanand Rambachan as the foremost and most influential exponent of what Malhotra describes as the Neo-Hinduism thesis. This thesis, according to Malhotra, argues that Hinduism was fabricated during the British rule and that Swami Vivekananda plagiarized Western and Christian ideas. He accuses Professor Rambachan of working to fragment the Hindu tradition. In the essay at "source" above, Professor Rambachan contends that Rajiv Malhotra distorts and misrepresents his work. He identifies and responds to some of Malhotra's principal allegations.

Dr. Anantanand Rambachan is Professor of Religion at Saint Olaf College, Minnesota, USA. His books include, "Accomplishing the Accomplished: The Vedas as a Source of Valid Knowledge in akara," "The Limits of Scripture: Vivekananda's Reinterpretation of the Authority of the Vedas," "The Advaita Worldview: God, World and Humanity" and "A Hindu Theology of Liberation: Not-Two is Not One."

From the opening of Rambachan's essay:

In Indra's Net, I am described as the "foremost exponent of the neo-Hinduism theory today," with an influence that goes beyond the scholarly academy. Readers of this book will note quickly that Mr. Malhotra's concern with my work goes beyond the usual matters of scholarship. There is an undisguised attempt to question my commitment to the Hindu tradition and it's flourishing. Hindus are wrongly described as assuming that I am a "sympathetic voice," "representing their views and aspirations."

I am described condescendingly as one who was brought to the University of Leeds by my dissertation advisor, Professor Ursula King, and "groomed" to be one of the "main proponents and expositors," of the "neo-Hinduism" thesis. The author characterizes me as the person who the Vatican regards as "its Hindu expert." Such characterizations reveal ignorance of my personal history and have no place in any work that seeks to be regarded as serious scholarship. In addition, with the insinuation of passivity and manipulation, it is a demeaning denial of my agency and self-determination. It relies on unsubstantiated conspiracy theories and not fact.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/5/2 12:53:49 ( 990 reads )

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Actions are the louder expression of thought. The quality of thought is ordered by the nature of our inner belief and faith.
-- Swami Chinmayananda (1916-1993), founder of Chinmaya Mission

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Father and Son Capture Ravaged Nepal Hometown in 13 Pictures
Posted on 2015/5/1 18:22:39 ( 1232 reads )

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KATHMANDU, NEPAL, April 29, 2015 (National Geographic, by Thomas C. Kelly): In the introduction to this National Geographic photo feature, Kelly--whose work has appeared for years in Hinduism Today--writes, "I believe that with compassion and reciprocity, a photographer who is willing to stay and be part of a place and its community can capture the depth of an authentic relationship. Saturday's earthquake hit home for me, literally shaking our house and family on Saturday. As an American photojournalist based in Nepal for 30 years, I've documented development projects, politics and traditional heritage. But shooting the quake's aftermath is the first assignment I've done with my son Liam, 19, who was born in Nepal. We both speak Nepali and consider Kathmandu home."

Photos at source.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/5/1 18:22:27 ( 990 reads )

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The test of a man is how much he can bear and how much he can share and how soon he confesses a mistake and makes amends for it.
-- Dada J.P. Vaswani

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Big Temple Chariot Festival Held After 100 Years
Posted on 2015/4/30 20:01:49 ( 1172 reads )

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INDIA, April 30, 2015 (The Hindu): Thousands of devotees participated in the inaugural run of the new chariot chiseled for the famous Sri Brihadeeswarar temple (Big Temple) here on Wednesday. This is the first time in a hundred years that the chariot festival of the Big Temple, constructed by Chola King Rajaraja I over 1,000 years ago, is being held.

Special poojas commenced early in the morning after which the processional deities were brought to the newly constructed chariot base on the West Main Street. Amid Vedic chanting, the people pulled the decorated chariot, which stood the height of around 50 feet. The well-crafted chariot, all of 40 tons and sporting 360 wooden icons depicting various important religious events on all its facets, rolled on with a majestic gait.

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Ancient Temples and Mosques under ASI
Posted on 2015/4/30 20:01:43 ( 1009 reads )

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INDIA, April 29, 2015 (Press Information Bureau): There are 1,076 temples and 250 mosques of national importance under the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) in the Country. There are 242 temples and 36 mosques from Karnataka under the ASI while 132 temples and 62 mosques from Uttar Pradesh fall under the same category. Madhya Pradesh has 96 temples and 20 mosques within the purview of ASI..

The year of construction in respect of temples and mosques under ASI varies from 4th to 19th Century for temples and 12th to 19th Century for mosques. The ancient temples and mosques declared of national importance are in fairly good state of preservation and maintenance. These are periodically conserved, scientifically preserved and maintained as per established principles of conservation as and when needed, subject to availability of resources.

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Was the Ramayana Actually set in and Around Today's Afghanistan?
Posted on 2015/4/30 20:01:37 ( 1139 reads )

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INDIA, April 30, 2015 (Scroll.in by Dhiman Dasgupta): An examination of a book by physicist Rajesh Kochhar [claims to] debunk the notion that the events of the epic took place in modern-day India. The primary objective of this essay is to point to the geographical location of the Ramayana. It is not the writer who has arrived at the answer, nor an Indologist like Max Mueller or even a historian or archaeologist. The person in question is Rajesh Kochhar, a physicist with an inclination for history, who has broken through the traditional techniques of history in his work The Vedic People - Their History and Geography.

There are 49 cosmic hymns in the Rig and the Yajur Vedas whose meanings have not been explained. But one particular hymn from Vedanga Jyotish informs us that the longest day of the year, or summer solstice, comprised 18 periods of daylight and 12 of night. Day and night are of equal length on the Equator; in the higher latitudes, summer days are longer than nights. The latitude at which the proportion of daylight and darkness is 3:2 is 34 degrees North. It is worth noting that the cities to be found around this latitude today are Herat and Kabul in Afghanistan. In other words, the place and time of the composition of the Vedanga Jyotish is the same as that of Vedic Afghanistan and Iran.

Much more of the lengthy and interesting discussion at source.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/4/30 20:01:31 ( 991 reads )

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All this universe is in the glory of God, of Siva, the God of love. The heads and faces of men are His own, and He is in the hearts of all.
-- Krishna Yajur Veda, Svetasvatara Upanishad 3.11

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500-Year-Old Kathmandu Temple Turned to Rubble
Posted on 2015/4/29 19:50:32 ( 1125 reads )

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KATHMANDU, NEPAL, April 29, 2015 (IBNLive): The devastating earthquake that struck the Nepalese capital has turned the 500-year-old Kasthamandap temple to rubble, killing several under the debris of the historic structure from which the city derives its name. Incidentally, on the fateful day, a private company had organized a blood donation camp and most of the donors including the nurses are dead. To add to the misery, people thought that since the temple has survived earthquakes before, it can manage even this time. So people from outside rushed inside," said Ajay Shakya, 21, a volunteer and student who stays near the temple. Fortunately, the camp was about to end when the earthquake struck, which reduced the casualties.

The structure was a crucial part of the Nepalese heritage in the city. It is also believed that Kathmandu city got its name from the temple and it was constructed from a single tree with beautiful sculpting done on them. The Gorakhnath temple also had four Ganesh temples. "The statues were recovered and have been kept safely," added Shakya.

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In Nepal Quake Aftermath, Volunteers Mobilize To Guard Their Heritage
Posted on 2015/4/29 19:50:26 ( 872 reads )

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KATHMANDU, NEPAL, April 30,2015 (Huffington Post): Bells that once chimed for Nepali royals and centuries-old wooden figurines are among the mounds of treasure dotted around a city slowly trying to recover from the largest earthquake to hit Nepal in 80 years. With fears of looting and further destruction rife, scores of Nepali volunteers have come forward in recent days, emotionally motivated to guard what is left of their collective heritage. The April 25 earthquake destroyed four of the Kathmandu Valley's seven UNESCO World Heritage sites. Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, the monuments span from the 12th to the 18th centuries and embody the city's unique historical ability to blend religions, according to UNESCO.

Over 100 volunteers, almost all men, are currently guarding partially destroyed historic sites across the Kathmandu Valley, said Nebin Shrestha, 47, their de facto organizer.The enormous Durbar Square complex is largely open to the public, and teems with both Nepali and foreign search and rescue teams combing the scree for survivors. Gorgeous pieces of past splendor are omnipresent: an arm of a Hindu God here, a wooden Ganesh there. They could no doubt fetch large sums on the well-documented antiquities black market. The volunteers work entirely for free. According to the director general of the government-run archaeology department, Bhesh Narayan Dahal, the risk of looting is minimal. Instead, his team is focused on cataloging efforts so they can begin rebuilding. "Some parts are gone forever, but in five, six years' time, most will be restored." Volunteers balked at this estimate, saying it would take at least a decade, if it happens at all, and would be dependent on funding. UNESCO has said it is sending a team to assess the damage, but described some of it as "irreversible."

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Striking a Precise Balance: Kerala Hindu Immigrants open Temple in Southwest Houston
Posted on 2015/4/29 19:50:19 ( 890 reads )

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HOUSTON, TEXAS, April 24, 2015 (Houston Chronicle): Construction of Houston's Sri Guruvayurappan Temple was anything but a standard Houston real estate deal. Planetary trajectories were factors in the design; a precise consideration of the elements - earth, air, fire, water, sky - was crucial in construction. And as workers and temple officials, many attired in traditional Indian dhotis, scurried to ready the city's newest Hindu temple for its formal opening, great attention was given to assuring that everything about Sunday's ceremony would be "auspicious."

Flanked by two evangelical Christian churches in the 11000 block of Ormandy Street on the city's southwest side, the temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna, is modeled after the ancient Temple of Guruvayur in the southwestern Indian state of Kerala. The Houston temple, a project of the city's Kerala Hindu Society, is built of modern materials. Concrete replaces traditional wood, and the interior walls are covered in plasterboard. But the traditions and beliefs, said society trustee Biju Pillai, are ancient. "The rituals are unique, and the architecture is unique," Pillai said. "This is a holy place."

Officials at Hindus of Greater Houston, an organization representing a faith community of about 120,000, said the new temple is the region's 23rd. With about 300 member families, the temple is medium-sized. Sri Meenakshi Devasthanam in Pearland, arguably the largest Houston-area temple, claims more than 2,000 families as devotees.

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Adding a Bit of Choice to Arranged Marriage
Posted on 2015/4/29 19:50:13 ( 864 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 26, 2015 (New York Times): While Indian parents still take the lead in arranging marriages, many are turning to websites to widen the pool, and are allowing their children veto power. Just an estimated 5% of marriages in India today are so-called love marriages--those completely conceived without family involvement. The rest have traditionally been arranged or fixed by the couples families. The rising education levels, urbanization and the growth of matrimonal websites like shaadi.com mean that young people are increasingly active in choosing their spouses leading to a new category: semi-arranged marriages.

Short video at source.


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/4/29 19:50:06 ( 849 reads )

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When culture is flooding out of the temple, our actions are productive and our minds are creative, our speech is pure, our hearts rejoice and we become good citizens. Religion makes us good citizens, because we are peaceful inside and want peace in our land. Peace comes first from the individual. It is unrealistic to expect peace from our neighbors unless we are peaceful first, unless we make ourselves peaceful through right living, right worship and right religious culture in the home.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today

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George Washington University About to Ban Religious Symbol from Campus
Posted on 2015/4/28 19:47:51 ( 884 reads )

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 16, 2015 (Indian Panorama): George Washington University is gearing up to permanently ban from campus an important religious symbol, one which is sacred to many Hindus and Buddhists in India and elsewhere, because it looks like something else which may upset the sensibilities of some students. The University has seemingly taken the position that posting anything which could be mistaken for a Nazi swastika - even if it is of a different color and orientation, and/or might be seen as "rotating" in the opposite direction - cannot be displayed on campus, even by students who are Hindus or Buddhists.

This effective banning of a sacred religious symbol, simply because it may look like something else, seems to be unprecedented. What could be more discriminatory than prohibiting Hindus and Buddhists from displaying their sacred Sanskrit svastika while permitting Christian, Jewish, and others to display their symbols, perhaps on a T-shirt?

It's like banning the 6-pointed Jewish Star of David because some people might mistake it for the pentagram symbol and human sacrifice, or expelling a student for using the word "niggardly" because other students may mistake it for a racist word and get upset, says George Washington University public interest law professor John Banzhaf. Banzhaf, in a legal memo to key campus officials, has suggested that the University and its President may already be liable for defamation and other civil torts.

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Indonesia: Medan Mayor Grants Diwali Holiday for Hindus
Posted on 2015/4/28 19:47:44 ( 726 reads )

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MEDAN, INDONESIA, April 22, 2015 (MedanBisnis): The mayor of Medan, Dzulmi Eldin, has granted a "facultative holiday" for Hindus in the city of Medan to celebrate Diwali. This was done so that Hindus can be more calm and solemn during the ritual of celebrating the festival of the victory of good against falsehood. This optional holiday will be implemented starting this year. Eldin explained that he had instructed the Secretary of Medan, Ir Syaiful Bahri, to send circulars to institutions, companies and schools to inform them that they will implement the optional holiday at Diwali time.

"I realize, as the Mayor of Medan, that we cannot move forward successfully without the help and support of all elements of society. So let's take the opportunity today for mutual respect and nurturing. Hopefully the brotherhood among us will grow even more closely in the future," he added. The chairman of the Indian Society of Medan, A.S. Kobalen, voiced his appreciation and thanked the mayor profusely. The desire for receiving time off during Diwali has been a longing of the entire Indian community in North Sumatra, particularly in the city of Medan, which has been waiting for this for one hundred years.

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