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Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/7/16 20:27:34 ( 771 reads )


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

Kashmir: Amarnath Yatra Suspended after Hizbul Mujahideen Commander's Death

Posted on 2016/7/10 20:34:24 ( 1883 reads )


KASHMIR, INDIA, July 9, 2016 (Indian Express): Thousands of Amarnath pilgrims were stranded at Jammu and various other places on Saturday after the state government suspended their movement to Kashmir Valley apprehending trouble as a fall out of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. Amidst tight security every morning, pilgrims in a convoy leave Jammu for Pahalgam and Baltal for their onward journey to Amarnath shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas. Apart from this, a large number of pilgrims travel directly to Baltal and Pahalgam.

While there had been no convoys leaving for Kashmir Valley from Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in the morning, the vehicles carrying pilgrims directly to Valley have been asked to stop at safe places along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway. Similarly pilgrims returning to base camps at Baltal and Pahalgam after having darshan of the ice-lingam too are being stopped at those places in view of the apprehensions of violence over Burhan's killing.

A decision over resumption in movement of pilgrims between Jammu and Valley will be taken after assessment of the situation on ground tomorrow, sources added. Over 100,000 pilgrims so far have performed darshan of the ice-lingam at the cave shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas ever since the beginning of yatra on July 2.

Amarnath Yatra Stays Suspended as Kashmir Remains Tense

Posted on 2016/7/10 20:34:13 ( 1413 reads )


JAMMU, INDIA, July 10, 2016 (Hindustan Times): The Amarnath Yatra remained suspended for the second day on Sunday due to security measures in the valley following the death of top Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on Friday.

"No yatri will be allowed to move from Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in Jammu to the Kashmir Valley on Sunday due to the prevailing law and order situation there," a senior police officer said in Jammu. "Although the passage of yatris from Jammu to the valley was disallowed due to security reasons, those who had already reached the yatra base camps of Baltal and Nunwan (Pahalgam), continued the yatra on Saturday," the officer added.

Meanwhile, authorities on Sunday suspended mobile internet services in the entire Jammu region to check the spread of rumors following heightened tensions in the Kashmir Valley, after Hizbul's poster boy and 21-year old separatist leader Burhan Wani was killed in a gunfight with the security forces in Anantnag. "There is complete peace in the entire Jammu region. Mobile internet services have been suspended as a precautionary measure," the police officer said.

Statues Falling off Temple Gopurams Cause Panic

Posted on 2016/7/10 20:34:03 ( 1397 reads )


ANDHRA PRADESH, INDIA, July 7, 2016 (The Hindu): While the free fall of statues from various towers in the Srikalahastheeswara temple over the last few months, though brushed aside as sporadic instances, continues unabated, a similar incident witnessed in the Pallikondeswara Swamy temple in Surutupalle village of Nagalapuram mandal triggered further panic. The latest incident was attributed to heavy rains and lightning that struck the tower last night.

The year 2010 is unforgettable in the history of Srikalahasti, as the Raja Gopuram built on the banks of Swarnamukhi river by the Vijayanagara emperor Sri Krishna Devaraya crashed, triggering alarm among the devout across the world. Even three days back, a huge portion of a statue crashed from the Bikshala Gopuram in Srikalahasti.

According to temple accounts, devotees from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, who form a huge percentage of visitors here, stopped visiting the temple for the next two months, either assuming that the temple itself had crashed or treating it as bad omen. Even as the incident started fading from people's memory and the tower is being re-built now, there is palpable apprehension over the frequent fall of statues from other gopurams.

Meat is Horrible

Posted on 2016/7/10 20:33:53 ( 1415 reads )


USA, July 10, 2016 (by Rachel Premack, Washington Post): It may be delicious, but the evidence is accumulating that meat, particularly red meat, is just a disaster for the environment -- and not so great for human beings, too. By 2050, scientists forecast that emissions from agriculture alone will account for how much carbon dioxide the world can use to avoid catastrophic global warming. It already accounts for one-third of emissions today--and half of that comes from livestock. That's a driving reason why members of a United Nations panel last month urged its environmental assembly to consider recommending a tax on meat producers and sellers. By raising the cost of buying meat, it would ultimately aim to reduce production and the demand for it.

Maarten Hajer, professor at the Netherlands Utrecht University, led the environment and food report that recommended the meat tax. "All of the harmful effects on the environment and on health needs to be priced into food products," said Hajer, who is a member of U.N.'s International Resource Panel, which comprises 34 top scientists and 30 governments. "I think it is extremely urgent." But, he added, "Food is very political. In countries where meat is a cultural mainstay and income inequality already breeds a lack of food access, it could be a difficult argument. But, governments must soon move to limit major carbon producers, Hajer said. Food companies will naturally be part of that.

The idea of a meat tax has developed over the past 25 years as a "completely obvious" measure to economists and environmentalists, Hajer said, as knowledge of the environmental toll of meat emerged. Agriculture consumes 80 percent of water in the United States. For a kilogram of red meat, you need considerably more water than for plant products. Governments are starting to take notice. China, which consumes half of the world's pork and more than a quarter of its overall meat, announced new dietary guidelines last week that advises the average citizen to reduce their meat consumption by one-half.

Denmark went a little further in May. The Danish government is considering a recommendation from its ethics council that all red meats should be taxed. Red meat accounts for 10 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, and the council argued that Danes were "ethically obliged" to reduce their consumption. Countries such as the Czech Republic and Poland have dramatically reduced their agricultural carbon output, as much as a half. But countries that are expanding their meat-lovers' impulses are doing so at much larger jumps. Brazil's carbon output from food production has increased by 47 percent from 2000 to 2012--that's an increase of 150 million tons of carbon dioxide. In China, a 35-percent jump from 1994 to 2005 means 220 million more tons of carbon dioxide.

Much of that is meat production, which contributes an estimated 14.5 percent to annual greenhouse gas emissions. That's more than emissions from every car, train, ship and airplane combined. Of that, 65 percent is enteric fermentation [google it] and manure, according to a 2014 Chatham House analysis. Feed constitutes one-fifth of that, followed by land-use change, energy use and post-farm activities. Along with a tax, a meat cutback could be achieved by making plant-based diets more appealing and less expensive. People in the West often think that vegetarianism is a diet for wealthier folks, Wellesley said. The United States could slash its health-care spending the most by phasing out meat for vegetables.

For much more, go to source

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/7/10 20:33:42 ( 1325 reads )


If you have not seen your own Self, if you have not pierced the knots of your Heart and washed away the filth of your mind, then what does it matter if you are a human being?
-- Kabir

Seers Object to Godavari in Krishna

Posted on 2016/7/8 20:09:10 ( 1611 reads )


VIJAYAWADA, INDIA, July 7, 2016 (Deccan Chronicle): Seers from across the state have suggested that pilgrims avoid the Pavitra Sangamam -- where the Godavari water from the Pattiseema project meets the Krishna -- and areas downstream of the river from that point during Krishna Pushkaralu festival. They raised the issue after the government's decision to release Godavari waters into the Polvaram right canal, through the Pattiseema project, which will ultimately merge with the Krishna. The waters will be released to the Krishna delta for 80 days at the rate of 8.5 cusecs per day.

Though the government says that the Godavari flood water would be diverted to support the west Krishna delta, the same water will end up at the Pavitra sangamam at Ibrahimpatnam, and from there it will reach the Prakasham barrage. Given this, the seers and pundits have urged the government to arrange pushkar ghats in areas like Vedadri and Amaravati, as they are geographically it would be upstream of the Pavitra Sangamam, where the water will be only that of Krishna and not mixed with Godavari waters.

Muhurtha pundit Guntupalli Sairam stated that waters from the "artificial Pavitra Sangamam" can't be considered holy. Devotees who want to have holy bath during the Pushkaralu at Vijayawada will not get desired results as the sangama snana is against "the wishes of Pitru Devathas." He also suggested that devotees opt for the banks of the Krishna in Telangana, Karnataka and Maharashtra for holy Pushkarlu baths.

Over 71,000 Perform Amarnath Yatra in 5 days

Posted on 2016/7/8 20:09:00 ( 1475 reads )


JAMMU KASHMIR, INDIA July 8, 2016 (Sahara Samay News): Over 71,000 pilgrims have performed the Amarnath Yatra so far as another batch of 1,612 pilgrims left Jammu on Thursday. An official of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) that manages the affairs of the annual pilgrimage said, "A total of 1,612 pilgrims comprising 1,266 males and 346 females left Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas on Thursday in 35 buses and 22 light motor vehicles in a convoy escorted by security forces for the Valley."

An ice stalagmite structure inside the cave situated at 3,888 feet above the sea level wanes and waxes with the phases of the moon. Devotees believe the ice stalagmite structure is a Siva Lingam symbolizing mythical powers of Lord Shiva. Pilgrims use the north Kashmir Baltal and the south Kashmir Nunwan (Pahalgam) base camps to reach the cave Shrine. Due to heightened militant activities in the Valley this year, extra security measures have been taken to provide protection to the pilgrims. A three-tier security cover manned by the Army, Indo Tibetan Border Police Force, Central Reserve Police Force and state police are in place to secure the Jammu-Srinagar national highway which is the only surface link used by the pilgrims. The 48-day long Yatra will conclude on August 17 coinciding with Shravan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan festivals.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/7/8 20:08:49 ( 1027 reads )


One party says thought is caused by matter, and the other says matter is caused by thought. Both statements are wrong; matter and thought are coexistent. There is a third something of which both matter and thought are products.
-- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)

14,500 Acres of Temple Land Encroached in Telangana

Posted on 2016/7/7 17:58:43 ( 1376 reads )


HYDERABAD, INDIA, July 5, 2016 (Deccan Chronicle): Land belonging to temples has become a soft target for encroachers, with a preliminary inquiry by endowments department showing that over 14,500 acres had been encroached upon. The inquiry revealed that large scale encroachments took place in the last 15 years due to the sharp rise in land prices. Lack of coordination between endowments, revenue and stamps and registration departments made the encroachers' job easy.

Neither the revenue nor the endowments department has proper land records of temple land. Taking advantage of this, encroachers bribed officials to encroach land and got them registered to their names. It was found that Nalgonda, with 3,225 acres of temple land encroached, topped the list in the state. Hyderabad follows with 2,000 acres and Ranga Reddy district stood third with 1,800 acres encroached.

"The state governments in undivided AP totally neglected temple lands. There is no clarity on how much land temples own in the state. This gives scope for encroachers to grab these lands easily. Even the existing records are erroneous. Unless these records are rectified immediately, it is not possible to check encroachments," said Mr A. Indrakaran Reddy, minister for endowments.


Amma Canteen: Where an Indian Meal Costs Only Seven Cents

Posted on 2016/7/7 17:58:33 ( 1297 reads )


TAMIL NADU, INDIA, July 7, 2016 (BBC News): The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's "Amma Canteens," which serve cheap meals to hundreds of thousands of people daily, have become immensely popular with the poor and the middle classes. The menu today includes rice cooked with lentils and spices and curd rice. The former is selling for seven cents a plate while the latter costs just around 5 cents, a fraction of what the dishes would cost in any other restaurant. The portions are big and most describe the food as delicious. Diners buy coupons which are then exchanged for plates of rice.

AIADMK party spokesperson CR Saraswathi says Ms Jayalalithaa started the canteens to provide good, cheap food to the people. Today, there are more than 300 such eateries in the state, at least half of them in Chennai alone. They serve simple breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the week. "The food is prepared hygienically, it's very well made and it's tasty," says CR Saraswathi, "Our chief minister started these canteens one year back to provide good, cheap food to the people. It has also generated employment for thousands of women. The canteens are run by women who cook, clean and serve." The canteens have helped poor and lower middle-class families massively slash their food bills and freed the womenfolk from the daily drudgery of cooking and cleaning. And their gratitude has often translated into votes for Amma.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/7/7 17:58:23 ( 1140 reads )


They have "Dial-a-Prayer" for atheists now. You call it up, it rings and rings, but nobody answers.

Opposition to Widening of Tiruvannamali Circumambulation Path Gathers Pace

Posted on 2016/7/6 19:57:25 ( 1241 reads )


TIRUVANNAMALAI, TAMIL NADU, INDIA July 2, 2016 (by A.D Balasubramaniyan, The Hindu): Activists in Tiruvannamalai opposing the move to widen the girivalam (circumambulation) path, have decided to come together to protest against the work. Work has begun for the digging of a ditch for a 12-km long drainage line along the proposed foot path. Many activists, environmentalists, pilgrims and sadhus who are against the widening project have started to organise themselves in order to articulate the protest. They plan to form a human chain around Sonagiri forest. Omgaranandha, a Puducherry-based pontiff, expressed his views against cutting of trees openly. Several sadhus, though they don't want to be named for now, feel bad about the project and deem it as unnecessary. On social media, there are a number of discussions that are against the project. More than 5,000 persons signed an online petition initiated against cutting of trees along the girivalam path in Tiruvannamalai.

The petition was initiated by Vellore based Yoga teacher V. Naveen Kumar on Tuesday onchange.org, an online petitioning website. In his petition he said, the proposed widening of the girivalam road will lead to an irreplaceable loss of ancient trees, forest lands, sacred groves, and cause considerable damage to sacred tanks and temples. The farmers whose lands will be acquired for the project will also be severely affected. The project, which in some places involves re-routing of the road, will cause irreparable damage to the Sonagiri sacred grove, the only intact sacred grove on mount Arunachala. Speaking to The Hindu he said that, "This is a pilgrimage centre and why should there be so much damage?"

Life Is Hard for Hindu Tweens--Texas Schoolbooks Make It Worse

Posted on 2016/7/6 19:57:15 ( 1529 reads )


HOUSTON, TEXAS, July 5, 2016 (Houston Chronicle, by Kavita Pallod): For me, as for most tweens, middle school was a time of all-encompassing awkwardness. I didn't know what to do with my oddly proportioned limbs, how to dress while my mom was still shopping for me, what was acceptable to pack for lunch or even how to greet my friends in the morning. I certainly didn't need the help of my teachers or social studies textbooks to feel out of place. But, as so many things are at that age, it was out of my hands.

As a Hindu American growing up in Alief, I was faced with Texas textbooks that made my faith look strange and primitive, even to me. We were taught about a discriminatory caste system that deemed people untouchable, the practice of sati (where widows threw themselves on their husbands' funeral pyres), the lower status of women in ancient and modern India.

All but absent from the textbook were the things I did know about my faith: karma, dharma; the four yogas (the paths to spiritual liberation). And, of course, the teachers had no knowledge of Hinduism outside of the textbooks in front of them, nor a very well-developed sense of cultural sensitivity. My tenth-grade teacher was not trying to be cruel when he had me stand up in front of the class, then asked me what my caste was.

In addition to this, always hovering over me was the specter of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, an essentialized character from The Simpsons, who believed odd things and scammed people at his convenience store. Between Apu and the textbooks, misconceptions and prejudice in my classmates was inevitable, as were the isolation and shame that dogged me.

I kept my head down. I passed quizzes and tests by answering questions about caste and rituals in ways I knew to be incorrect. I tolerated classmates who insisted I was going to hell for worshiping idols. I tried, to work up the nerve to speak up about the misrepresentations in my textbook, but I was stymied by shyness and embarrassment.

Unfortunately, the Hindu American Foundation's 2016 Bullying Report shows that I am far from alone in my experience: Half of the students who responded to the survey said that they felt awkward or socially isolated because of their religious identity. Well over half said that their classes focused on caste and included claims about Hinduism that they knew to be inaccurate, in debate, or long debunked. Caste, when presented as a hierarchical and rigid system at the core of the faith, implies that people who follow the faith are inherently oppressive, judgmental, and exclusivist. Dharma is the set of basic principles that most Hindus use as a moral cornerstone to navigate daily decisions. To have it tainted in this way is hugely damaging.

Many Hindus growing up in the United States have little or no attachment to caste, much less any engagement with the caste-based discrimination that is excruciatingly highlighted in textbooks. But it would take a remarkable amount of wherewithal (an amount that cannot be expected from a sixth-, eighth- or even tenth-grader) to dismiss their textbooks and teachers. Worse still, one in eight Hindu students said their teachers have made sarcastic remarks about their faith. It's hard enough to get through a lesson with a teacher who is trying to be sensitive, let alone one who isn't.

Bullying is of course ubiquitous in this age group. Teens can and do make fun of just about anything. But there is something particularly insidious about being attacked for your core beliefs, as opposed to, say, a sweater that can be ditched or a haircut that will grow out.

These days, I work as a therapist in a setting where I see middle and high school students during the school day and help teens navigate a spectrum of challenges: depression resulting from issues at home, anxiety from school and academic pressure, angst about who they are. Across the board, they feel isolated, judged, awkward and alone.

Teenage years are tough. Tough enough that students shouldn't ever feel like their educational institution is attacking them, however subtly -- or unsubtly. For Hindu American students exposed to current social studies textbooks and the problematic understanding of Hinduism that they foster, the challenge is magnified. The textbooks' mistakes aren't the only thing that makes life hard on Hindu students. But those mistakes are something that Texas can -- and must -- remedy.

Kavita Pallod is a doctoral candidate at Rutgers University, studying clinical psychology. She holds psychology and education degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. She is active in the Hindu community of Houston and serves on the steering committee for the Hindu Heritage Youth Camp. She is also the 2011 winner of the Hindus of Greater Houston's Youth Leader award. Kavita's work at Hindu American Foundation is focused on K-12 curricular issues.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/7/6 19:57:04 ( 1122 reads )


When individuals change for the better, then society will change, and when society changes, then the country will change.
-- Pramukh Swami Maharaj, BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha

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