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Diwali Celebrated at Neasden Temple in London


Posted on 2016/11/5 13:12:00 ( 550 reads )

Source

LONDON, UK, October 31, 2016 (India Today): Hundreds of people celebrated Diwali at the famous BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir here in the UK, with Europe's largest Hindu temple serving over 1200 vegetarian dishes to the devotees on the holy occasion of festival of lights. The temple, also known as Neasden Temple, in north London was decorated with dazzling displays of bright, intricate Indian patterns and flickering lamps.

In the evening, a special ceremony for home and business owners was held. The chopda pujan ceremony is an occasion for business owners to close their existing account books and open new ones in preparation for the year ahead. Worshipers were also captivated by the iconic Annakut, a sumptuous arrangement of over 1,200 freshly prepared vegetarian dishes offered in thanksgiving to God.

Pooja Patel, a young volunteer at the temple, said, "What makes Diwali and New Year so special is the fusion of spirituality and culture. It is a time where one has an opportunity to reflect and give, and welcoming visitors to experience the vibrancy, the deeper religious significance of these Hindu festivals is a privilege that I look forward to every year."



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/11/5 13:11:49 ( 415 reads )

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Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.
-- Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), Indian poet



How Guru Google and Fed Ex changed Diwali for Indians in the US


Posted on 2016/10/31 18:58:28 ( 998 reads )

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UNITED STATES, October 30, 2016 (Scroll.in, by Lavina Melwani): In the old days, the Indian immigrant in America was likely to experience excruciating loneliness on Diwali -- cut off from the large, extended family, and making do with a patched-together group of strangers, new acquaintances and distant relatives. Diwali celebrations were limited to a few people contributing sabzis, Indian snacks and sweets, all eaten on paper plates in someone's basement or tiny living room. Immigrants called home over a crackling, semi-audible phone line which cost a bundle, shouting "Happy Diwali!" into the void.

Americans did not know what Diwali was, and nor could they pronounce it. There were no fireworks or a public holiday - Diwali often fell on a weekday, and was just another routine day at work, no diyas, or clay lamps, to be seen anywhere. Fast forward a few decades from the lonely '60s in America, and the scene is different - the internet has revolutionised Diwali. NRIs today are able to have long, luxuriant chats with extended family over Skype, WhatsApp, Viber and Facebook in the comfort of their living rooms. They stay up to date with one another's lives on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

As for that other, crucial aspect of Diwali: shopping for Diwali outfits, sweets and gifts, all you need is a credit card and to get onto an e-commerce site to find everything from gold coins embossed with the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, to laddoos shaped like Ganeshas. But the celebration isn't just online, it's everywhere in America. A rapidly growing population of Indians in the US has meant that everything Indian is now available in the big cities of America, from tinned gulab jamuns to frozen samosas.

Much more at "source" above.

Also read Lavina's story, "Diwali 101 -- From Darkness to Light":
http://www.lassiwithlavina.com/featur ... om-darkness-to-light/html



10 Things You Need to Know About the Swastika


Posted on 2016/10/31 18:58:18 ( 962 reads )

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UNITED STATES, October 26, 2016 (BuzzFeed, by Mat Mcdermott): The swastika is a symbol as old as humanity itself, one which to this day, despite its appropriation and use by the Nazis, has a powerful positive message, with an amazing history. In Sanskrit, the word swastika is a combination of su (meaning good) and asti (meaning to exist). Popularly, this gets translated as all is well. The swastika is thus understood to be a symbol of auspiciousness and good fortune, and is regularly donned on Hindu homes, businesses, printed materials, cars, temples, and ashrams.

The swastika is one of humanity's most enduring, ancient symbols. In fact, the oldest known use of the swastika dates back to the end of the last Ice Age. A figurine carved with a recognizable swastika dating to 10,000-13,000 BCE was found in Ukraine. How these ancient people interpreted the swastika is unknown. The Indus-Saraswati civilization used the swastika extensively, with archeological evidence dating back to at least 4000 BCE showing its usage.

The swastika had a major resurgence of usage in Europe and North America in the 19th century as a good luck symbol. After the horrors committed by the Nazis, there has been a justifiable revulsion to Nazi symbolism, including the Nazi presentation of the swastika. The European Union attempted to ban all use of the swastika, regardless of the renditions. Fortunately, Hindus have risen in defense of their sacred symbol. Speaking out against the proposed EU ban a representative of the Hindu Forum of Britain said, "The swastika has been around for 5,000 years as a symbol of peace," noting that banning all use of the swastika would be akin to banning the Christian cross because the Ku Klux Klan used burning crosses to terrorize African Americans.

Much more at "source" above.



Get the Free "Spiritual Workout" App!


Posted on 2016/10/31 18:58:08 ( 659 reads )

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KAUAI, HAWAII, October 28, 2016 (Himalayan Academy): Today we are officially announcing the version 1 release of our free Spiritual Workout App. The app was inspired by Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami's publisher's desk article the Ten Minute Spiritual Workout. While today nearly everyone appreciates the need for daily exercise to stay fit and healthy, many don't realize the need to maintain a balanced spiritual life through daily practices. The Spiritual Workout is designed primarily for Hindus who would like to maintain a daily spiritual practice, but who might not have much time to give to spiritual well-being.

The app has four main areas: worship, introspection, affirmation and study. The Worship section includes mantras, chants and a Ganesha Puja (including audio files for learning). The Introspection section includes "Aum" chanting, a simple breathing exercise and a guided meditation. The Affirmation section presents several affirmations which can be repeated to positively reprogram one's subconscious mind, and the Study section makes available some of Himalayan Academy's important publications. There is a "10 Minute Sadhana" section which organizes these four areas, as well as a simple timer for use in your own custom spiritual practice.

For the free itunes version of the app see "source" above and when the android version is made available in the near future, you'll find the link on this page:
http://www.himalayanacademy.com/apps/spiritual-workout



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/10/31 18:57:47 ( 472 reads )

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Offer oblations in love, light golden lamps. Spread incense of fragrant wood and lighted camphor in all directions. Forget your worldly worries and meditate. Worshiping thus, there is nothing that you cannot attain. Worshiping thus, you shall inherit the wealth of Indra, heaven's king. Worshiping thus, you shall gain miraculous powers. Worshiping thus, you shall attain moksha.
-- Tirumantiram, verses 1005–1006



In Defence of Indian Science


Posted on 2016/10/27 19:14:44 ( 788 reads )

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INDIA, October 13, 2016 (New Indian Express by Michel Danino): Studies of India's ancient scientific accomplishments have seen two extremes: At one end of the spectrum, daydreamers fancy that the Vedas knew everything from electricity to interplanetary travel, that vimanas crisscrossed Indian skies millenniums ago, or that Aryabhata invented all mathematics. At the other end, gainsayers bristle at the thought that some science might not have emerged from the "Greek miracle:" Indian scientific advances can only be borrowed or derivative, its imperfections and errors alone being original contributions, while its rational elements ultimately stem from contact with the Greeks; Indian savants knew no experimental science, followed no proper axiomatic method, and in any case ended up in stagnation, while Europe galloped forth triumphantly and gave us the boon of "modern science."

These two scenarios are repeated decade after decade, while serious scholars -- both Indian and Western -- quietly and patiently generate solid material which, in a normal world, should suffice to dismiss dreamers and gainsayers alike to the obscurity they deserve. Indeed, ridiculing the former is easy. Exposing the latter, however, is less commonly done, as they often conceal their biases or ignorance behind academic posts and imposing jargon. A recent case in point is Meera Nanda, who has been for some years on a self-appointed mission to expose all claims to knowledge by Hindu enthusiasts, nationalists, right-wingers or Hindutva activists. I will confine myself to discussing the considerable distortions in her two case studies of Indian mathematics: the case for early Indian knowledge of the Pythagoras theorem, and India's claim to be "the birthplace of the sunya, or zero."

Meera Nanda is no doubt entitled to her opinions and prejudices, but disregarding or concealing all material that runs counter to one's choices is poor scholarship. Worse, misleading the lay public into believing that the genuine accomplishments of early and classical Indian mathematics and astronomy are no more than Hindutva-created fictions reflects a jaundiced view of the whole field.

Danino continues his rebuttal at "source" above and part II, a continuation of the article, is available at:
http://www.newindianexpress.com/opini ... n-science-1527846--1.html



One-In-Five U.S. Adults Were Raised in Religiously Mixed Homes


Posted on 2016/10/27 19:14:34 ( 652 reads )

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WASHINGTON, D.C. October 26, 2016 (Pew Forum): Although the majority of U.S. adults report that they were raised in families with a single religious faith, roughly one-in-five (21%) say they were raised by parents who came from different religious traditions, according to a new Pew Research Center study.

The study helps outline the changing religious landscape in the United States, where about one-in-ten adults (9%) say they were raised by two people, both of whom were religiously affiliated but with different religious backgrounds. An additional 12% say they were raised by one person who was religiously affiliated (with, for example, Protestantism, Catholicism, Judaism or another religion) and another person who was religiously unaffiliated (atheist, agnostic or "nothing in particular").

Religiously mixed backgrounds remain the exception in America. Roughly eight-in-ten U.S. adults (79%) say they were raised within a single religion, either by two parents who had the same faith or by a single parent. But the number of Americans raised in religiously mixed homes appears to be growing. Fully one-quarter of young adults in the Millennial generation (27%) say they were raised in a religiously mixed family. The religious backgrounds of young adults also stand out in other ways. For example, nearly one-quarter of Millennials (24%) say they were raised by at least one parent who was a religious "none" (religiously unaffiliated).

Read the full report at "source" above.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/10/27 19:14:24 ( 484 reads )

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Being upset reflects the lack of a strategy.
-- Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, publisher of Hinduism Today



Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland Almost Entirely Christian


Posted on 2016/10/25 19:27:45 ( 815 reads )

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INDIA, October 18, 2018 (Centre for Policy Studies by Dr. J.K. Bajaj): The thirty-first note on the Religion Data of Census 2011 concerns the nearly complete Christianisation of the numerous tribes with their diverse geographies, diverse faiths and diverse ways of being that inhabit Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland. All that social diversity seems to have been extinguished. The share of Hindus in all three States has declined rapidly among both the Scheduled Tribe and non-Scheduled Tribe communities.

In each of the three States, there are a very large number of diverse tribes often inhabiting geographical distinct districts or regions. All this diversity of beliefs, practices and ways of life has now been reduced to the uniformity of Christianity. Only a few followers of the Heraka faith remain among the Kabui of Manipur and the Zeliang of Nagaland as reminders and remnants of that diversity.

With the level of Christianity among the Scheduled Tribes having reached saturation levels, the direction of conversion seems to have shifted towards the non-Scheduled Tribes populations. In the last two decades, the share of Christians in the non-ST population of Mizoram has increased from 4.7 to 37.7 percent and that of Nagaland from 9.3 to 22.1 percent. In Manipur, it is the share of the ORPs rather than Christians that has recorded extraordinary increase from nearly nil to 13 percent in these two decades. The ORPs, as we have seen, are often a half-way house between Hinduism and Christianity. The share of Hindus in the non-ST population has declined everywhere, from 72.3 to 39.7 in Mizoram, from 87.7 to 69.5 percent in Manipur and from 74.5 to 59 percent in Nagaland.

More at "source" above.



Video: Freeing Hindu Temples from Government Control


Posted on 2016/10/25 19:27:35 ( 741 reads )

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INDIA, October 24, 2016 (Hindu Human Rights by J. Sai Deepak): A closer look at today's political and social arena clearly reveals how Hindu institutions and Hinduism in India are unfairly targeted by a combination of vote bank politics and unscrupulous politicians and businessmen. Particularly alarming is the destruction of Hindu institutions and the illegal mass conversions by other religions.

In a recorded talk by J. Sai Deepak he helps us understand the constitutional limits on State intervention in Hindu religious institutions, the need to free Hindu religious institutions from the stranglehold of the Government, the extent to which Courts have recognised and facilitated Statist intervention in Hindu religious institutions and the alternative to State management of Hindu religious institutions.

Detailed video at "source" above.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/10/25 19:27:24 ( 594 reads )

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God defined is God denied. To define is to limit. Yet, the deepest of my consciousness calls on Him as pure love.
-- Sadhu Vaswani, (1879-1966) founder of Sadhu Vaswani Mission



Indian Priests Perform 9-day Yagna for Tokyo's Clean Environment


Posted on 2016/10/24 20:37:27 ( 749 reads )

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TOKYO, JAPAN, October 21, 2016 (ANI): A number of Hindu priests from India and across the world began chanting Vedic hymns for a nine-day yagna being performed for the environmental and other issues prevalent in Tokyo. Over 100 priests from India have made it to Tokyo to perform the holy ritual. The ritual aims to bring down natural disasters, suicide cases and psychiatric disorders. [HPI Note: The article doesn't say who organized the event.]

Video can be viewed at "source" above.



Sydney Opera House to Be Lit up for Diwali


Posted on 2016/10/24 20:37:16 ( 562 reads )

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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, October 22, 2016 (Khaleej Times): Australia's iconic Sydney Opera House is about to turn golden for a night in celebration of Diwali, the traditional Indian festival of lights. New South Wales Premier Mike Baird will visit the Opera House next Friday night to witness its color change. Before that, Baird is expected to attend a traditional Hindu ceremony at the Museum of Contemporary Art here. From 8 p.m. to midnight the Sydney Opera House will shine golden, and the illumination will be visible along the harbor. Diwali, which celebrates the conquest of light over darkness and truth over ignorance, is celebrated by Indians all over the world. It falls on October 30.



Local Music Teacher Receives National Award


Posted on 2016/10/19 18:32:18 ( 927 reads )

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SOUTH AFRICA, October 19, 2016 (Rising Sun): Cultural doyen, spiritual leader and school teacher, Guru Sadha Munien, was honored by the South African Hindu Maha Sabha at the Durban City Hall, on Saturday. Continuing his late father's legacy of propagating the ancient form of Indian music and language to children in the Chatsworth and surrounding areas, Munien was awarded with the prestigious national award for the promotion of music, culture and language.

Speaking about the award, Munien said, "No one's life is complete without the artistic and cultural balance. Language and culture keeps the community together and it is for this reason I will continue to uphold the legacy of my late father who was an iconic cultural leader in the community." Munien's late father, Soobramoney Munien Blakes, opened the Saraswathi Padasalai School of Fine Arts in 1961, in Cator Manor. Guru Munien continues this legacy and runs the school from Dawnridge Primary School in Moorton, every Friday. 529 pupils from around the community are currently being taught the art of music at the school.

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