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Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/4/29 20:38:00 ( 2538 reads )


The average man of the world goes about his daily life not knowing that subconsciously he is seeking the Absolute Truth, the Beloved in the jiva. The mind-body equipment of man contains this Beloved, yet he seeks for it everywhere else but within. The musk deer attracted by its own scent searches for it in the woods. Little does it know that in its body is the source of this fragrance. Saint Kabir (1440-1518)

South Arica's Arya Samaj Celebrates its 90th Anniversary

Posted on 2016/4/27 20:09:11 ( 3875 reads )


SOUTH AFRICA, April 27, 2016 (Arya Samaj, SA): The Arya Samaj SA, celebrated ninety years of its founding recently at the Durban Exhibition Centre, with dignitaries from government and international visitors attending. The chief guest, Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, emphasized the key role that civil society has to play in strengthening any democracy. "Organisations like the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha serve as the moral conscience of the nation and keeps everybody honest," he said. Mr Sihle Zikalala, provincial leader of the ANC in KZN, acknowledged the role the Arya Samaj had played in the liberation struggle in this country, but said new challenges such as building social cohesion loom large. "Your organization can play a role in contributing to this cohesion," he added.

Swami Aryavesh, spiritual head of the Arya Samaj movement worldwide which is based in India, said that Arya Samaj is not just a religious organization. It is one which concerns itself primarily with social justice and nobody should be content with pursuing his own welfare only. "We should seek our welfare by promoting the welfare of others," he stressed. A new grouping, Arya Samaj Africa was launched, following a workshop where a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by delegates from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Mauritius and Malawi. Organisations from these countries will collaborate, share expertise and resources to tackle common challenges in their respective countries.

Temples' plea on tuskers shot down

Posted on 2016/4/27 20:09:01 ( 3393 reads )


KERALA, INDIA, April 27, 2016 (The Hindu): With an eye on public safety and prevention of cruelty to elephants, the Social Forestry Division has disallowed the use of the animals for non-ritualistic practices in the district. An application by the Mukkolakkal Sree Mahaganapathy Temple in Mannanthala to parade 12 elephants at its annual festival in May was turned down a few days ago.The decision was taken after a team conducted a spot inspection, during which it was found that the arrangements were inadequate for parading elephants for ceremonies such as Gaja Puja and Aanayoottu. However, the temple was allowed to conduct a procession featuring an elephant on the concluding day of the festival. A notice issued by the Social Forestry Division stated that the decision was made in adherence to a ruling by the Supreme Court on April 18 last year, which had directed temple committees to ensure that the Kerala Captive Elephants (Management and Maintenance) Rules, 2012, were strictly complied with.

S. Sugathan, president of the temple trust, said, "We have been following this custom for nearly 30 years. The unexpected decision has forced us to make alternative arrangements. We will not defy the directions of the Forest Department," he said. The temple would discontinue such ceremonies from next year and also refrain from using firecrackers, he added. P.K. Jayakumar Sharma, Deputy Conservator of Forests (Social Forestry), said the restrictions were not meant to hinder temple rituals. A stringent stance had to be taken against the use of elephants for such programs in view of the recent killings of mahouts by elephants. The rising temperature is one of the factors that prompted the decision. The local police have been asked to ensure that temple authorities adhere to the directive.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/4/27 20:08:50 ( 3371 reads )


You shine, all living things emerge. You disappear, they go to rest. Recognizing our innocence, O golden-haired Sun, arise; let each day be better than the last.
-- Rig Veda (X, 37, 9)

Fast Changing Religious Demography of Kerala

Posted on 2016/4/26 19:57:15 ( 4130 reads )

KERALA, INDIA, APRIL 27, 2016 (by J. K Bajaj, CPS, India): Like Assam, West Bengal, Purnia and Santhal Pargana region of Bihar and Jharkhand, parts of Western Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Mewat of Haryana and Rajasthan, and many of the States in the northeast--has seen a drastic change in its religious demography in the Census period, beginning from 1901. The share of Indian Religionists in Kerala, who are almost all Hindus, has declined from nearly 69 percent in 1901 to 55 percent in 2011, marking a loss of 14 percentage points in 11 decades. Unlike in the other regions mentioned above, in Kerala, both Christians and Muslims have considerable presence and both have gained in their share in this period. Of the loss of 14 percentage points suffered by the Indian Religionists, 9.6 percentage points have accrued to the Muslims and 4.3 to the Christians. Christians had in fact gained 7 percentage points between 1901 and 1961; after that they have lost about 3 percentage points, with the rapid rise in the share of Muslims in the recent decades.

This large rise in share of Muslims has taken place even though they are not behind others in literacy, urbanisation or even prosperity. Kerala, thus, proves that imbalance in growth of different communities does not disappear with rising literacy and lowering growth rates, as is fondly believed by many. During 2001-11, Muslims in Kerala have grown by 12.8 percent, while Hindus have grown by 2.2 and Christians by 1.4 percent. Such is the yawning and persistent gap between the Muslims and others. Christians and Muslims are concentrated in South and North Kerala, respectively. The share of Muslims has grown in both parts and Indian Religionists have lost in both. However, the decline of the latter has been more pronounced in North Kerala, where their share has fallen from 69.1 percent in 1901 to 50.7 percent in 2011. Of this loss of more than 18 percentage points, 14 have been lost after 1951. Since 1951, Muslims have gained by 12 percentage points, and Christians by more than 2 percentage points.

Caste Hierarchy and Discrimination in the Vedas

Posted on 2016/4/26 19:57:05 ( 4044 reads )


INDIA, April 21, 2016 (Swarajya Magazine by Swami Venkataraman): The Hindu sacred texts clearly relate varnas to the guna i.e., behavior and character, rather than the birth. The argument against the notion that a hierarchical caste system is "divinely inspired" and "intrinsic" to Hinduism is powerful and profound. The 90th Sukta of the 10th mandala in the Rig Veda, talks about the entire universe as the body of God (Purusha), and of all creation as emerging from only Him; proving the hierarchy based theory wrong.

Underlying the discourse on caste (an inaccurate and misleading term that conflates the distinct concepts of the four varnas and the numerous jatis), is an assertion that the caste system, along with its in-built hierarchy and discrimination, is intrinsic to the practice of Hinduism. While sloganeering often revolves around opposing Manuwad or burning the Manusmriti, the more formal criticism leveled by academics and activists, and thus reflected in the media is rooted from the idea that the caste system is divinely inspired.

Many hone on making one verse in the "Purusha Sukta" of the Rig Veda, one of the most chanted hymns of the entire Vedic corpus; as an evidence that the Vedas are themselves conceived of a hierarchical and a discriminatory caste system. But does the Purusha Sukta really do so? This is not mere academic curiosity. The solution to any problem relies on a correct diagnosis and even as they acknowledge the social history of caste-based discrimination in India, it is important for Hindus, and non-Hindus, to know whether the Sukta really does sanction a birth-based hierarchy.

Much more at "source" where the author argues Purusha Sukta does not sanction birth-based hierarchy.

The Academic Assault on Hinduism

Posted on 2016/4/26 19:56:55 ( 4101 reads )


CALIFORNIA, USA, April 27, 2016 (by Aseem Shukla, Religion News Service): An open letter to the California Department of Education, signed by a group of academics, many of whom are sympathetic to the Indian left, is threatening to downgrade, and in many cases remove, the terms India and Hinduism from schoolbooks.Two years ago, Hindu and Indian-American groups began working with the department's Instructional Quality Commission to ensure a culturally competent and accurate curriculum framework to be passed on to teachers and textbook publishers of sixth and seventh grade world history. In collaboration with leading historians and religious studies professors, the Hindu American Foundation and other advocacy groups submitted several recommendations that would give Hinduism accurate and equitable in comparison to other religious traditions. Many of the Hindu American Foundation's suggestions were incorporated, but the process was interrupted with the zero-hour arrival of said open letter by academics collectivized under the rubric of South Asia Faculty Group.

Many of these scholars offering alterations focusing on Hinduism, ironically include specialists in Islamic studies, such as Asad Q. Ahmad, Shahzad Bashir and Chris Chekuri, as well as prominent Indian Americans of the Indian left, such as Kamala Viswesaran, amongst others. The demands in their letter were breathtaking: Replace mentions of ancient India with the nebulous "South Asia"; replace "Hinduism" with "ancient religion(s) of India"; remove several favorable references to Hinduism; and unequivocally locate the horrendous practice of caste-based discrimination as an integral part of the practice of Hinduism. Reducing ancient India to the anodyne "South Asia" may be geographically accurate, but scholars know that there was never an entity called "Ancient South Asia." Ruins of the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations exist in Libya, Israel, Jordan and Turkey, among many other countries, but the names of the civilizations have not been replaced.

Why would the professors delete the word "Hinduism," which a billion people in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and elsewhere call their own -- and 3 million Americans embrace -- and replace it with a host of terms that have no use in common parlance? Why try so hard to erase India (the Hindu American Foundation launched #donteraseindia to counter precisely that)? And why would the faculty group preserve "Hinduism" only to link it to caste? The politics behind these changes are complex, but what is clear is that such deletions and substitutions bear no relevance to actual practitioners of Hinduism. And while academics today are eager to engage in contentious socio-political causes, they must not use the privilege of their position to impose campus politics on a middle school curriculum. Because what matters is that erasing Hinduism from texts does not erase bullying that Hindu and Indian-American children face stemming from ignorance arising from such deletions.

For more, go to source

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/4/26 19:56:44 ( 3504 reads )


He is the Supreme Brahman, the Self of all, the chief foundation of this world, subtler than the subtle, eternal. That thou art; thou art That.
-- Atharva Veda, Kaivalya Upanishad

In the Wake of the Earthquake: "Normal" in Nepal Spells Trouble

Posted on 2016/4/25 19:53:42 ( 4154 reads )


KATHMANDU, NEPAL, April 21, 2016 (Global Research by Barbara Nimri Aziz): Nepal has fallen into a troubling, dysfunctional state of normality which has little to do with last year's earthquake that destroyed villages, leveled temples and schools, killing almost 9,000 people in and around Kathmandu Valley. The county's capital, a city of four million, needs to awaken from its comatose state, a condition that may seem an outcome of the earthquake, but in fact is a result of deep-seated endemic problems:- bad leadership, misplaced and mismanaged development policies and funds, factionalism, and an over-dependence on India.

Yes, Nepal generates news: For the spiritually minded, Patan's ancient Hindu temples are being restored and yoga retreats can be booked online. Image-makers provide appropriate graphics for those who continue to deny Nepal's reality--that is, a nation absent basic services for its people and where government responsibility is hard to find.

Winter has moved on so those cold nights without fuel have passed. But (unrelated to the earthquake) millions of Nepalis face ongoing hardships and bleak prospects about the democratic benefits promised them - first by the introduction of multi-parties, then by the ceasefire with Maoist rebels, then by the king's ouster and declaration of Nepal as a republic, and finally, last summer, with the passage of a new constitution.

More of this analysis at "source".

Chariot Parade Marks Mini Thaipusam

Posted on 2016/4/25 19:53:32 ( 3703 reads )


PENANG, MALAYSIA, April 22, 2016 (The Star): The annual Chitraparuvam Festival, also known as mini Thaipusam, started at the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Queen Street, Penang, with a chariot procession.More than 600 devotees joined in the prayers at the temple at about 6.30pm on Wednesday before the statue of Lord Muruga was placed on the elaborately decorated wooden chariot at 7.15pm.

The chariot made its journey past Chulia Street, Datuk Keramat Road and Kebun Bunga Road. Its destination is the Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Hilltop Temple in Kebun Bunga Road. Hindu Mahajana Sangam chairman M. Neelamegam said the chariot would leave the hilltop temple for its return journey at 6.30pm today. It is expected to reach the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Queen Street at 7am tomorrow.

Hundreds of devotees made offerings of fruits, flowers and coconuts. They also smashed coconuts before the chariot pulled by two bulls left the temple at 7.45pm. Devotees also carried paal kudam (milk pots) and kavadis.

Junior Pontiff Appointed for Madurai Aadheenam

Posted on 2016/4/25 19:53:22 ( 3736 reads )


MADURAi, INDIA, April 22, 2016 (Times of India): V. Thirunavukarasu of Pillaiarpatti in Sivaganga district was appointed junior pontiff of the 1,500-year old Madurai Aadheenam by 292nd pontiff Srila Sri Arunagirinatha Gurugnanasambanda Desika Paramacharya Swamigal on Wednesday.

Announcing Thirunavukarasu's appointment, Arunagirinatha said, "After performing the necessary rituals he was appointed as my successor and will hereafter be called as Srila Sri Kumarasundara Gurugnanasambanda Desika Paramacharya Swamigal."

He said that Thirunavukarasu is the sixth son of S. P. Vaidyanathan and Indhra of Pillayarpatti. He completed his undergraduation in Tamil at the college of Dharmapura Aadheenam Mutt and postgraduation in Alagappa University, Karaikudi. He was trained in Sanskrit at Pillaiarpatti Karpaga Vinayagar Vedagama College and also learnt yoga teaching.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/4/25 19:53:11 ( 3666 reads )


Anger is nothing but an attachment for an object, when expressed towards an obstacle between ourselves and the object of our attachment.
-- Swami Chinmayananda (1916-1993), founder of Chinmaya Mission

Ujjain Kumbhs Mela Begins with Royal Bath

Posted on 2016/4/24 19:28:19 ( 3097 reads )


UJJAIN, INDIA, April 22, 2016 (NewsX Bureau): Madhya Pradesh's holy city Ujjain has geared up for the biggest religious convergence of Hindus - Simhastha-Kumbh Mela which began on April 22nd. Over 50 million devotees are expected to visit the holy city. The Simhastha - one of the biggest Hindus faithful gatherings commenced with shahi snaan (royal bath) in Shipra at dawn on Friday. Juna Akhara is the first to venture into the river for the shahi snaan followed by seers of other Akharas.

Simhastha mela is being held here after a gap of every 12 years at Ujjain, which is also the abode of Lord Mahakaleshwar, one of the 12 Jyotirlings in the country. At present, 25,000 security personnel have been deployed from central forces during the royal bath in Shipra River.

Kumbh Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith in which Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred river. According to medieval Hindu mythology, Lord Vishnu dropped drops of Amrita at four places, while transporting it in a kumbh. These four places are identified as the present-day sites of the Simhastha-Kumbh Mela. The festival is one of the largest peaceful gatherings in the world, and considered as the world's largest congregation of religious pilgrims.

Women Activists Finally Enter Trimbakeshwar Temple

Posted on 2016/4/24 19:28:08 ( 3015 reads )


MUMBAI, INDIA, April 22, 2016 (Daily Pioneer): After two failed attempts, women activists owing allegiance to Pune-based Swarajya Sanghatana finally entered the sanctum sanctorum of Trimbakeshwar temple in Nashik district of north Maharashtra, amidst tight security. A day after several activists were manhandled by villagers when they tried to gain entry inside Garbha Griha of Swarajya Sanghatana president Vanita Gutte and six other women activists formally entered the core worship area at 6.05 am. Of them, three women activists performed puja to the presiding deity.

Keeping in view Wednesday's untoward incident which saw local women and villagers manhandle and physically prevent women activists from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, the temple management and police had made elaborate security arrangements to ensure smooth entry of the Swarajya Sanghatana activists inside the core worship area.

The Trimbakeshwar temple has now become the third famous temple where women have been allowed to enter sanctum sanctorum to offer prayers. Earlier, women activists had entered core worship areas of Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmednagar district and Mahalakshmi temple at Kolhapur in western Maharashtra.

Temple Cars Wade Through Sea of People

Posted on 2016/4/24 19:27:58 ( 2974 reads )


MADURAI, INDIA, April 21, 2016 (The Hindu): Exquisitely decorated temple cars of Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple here waded through a sea of people along the Masi Streets on the penultimate day of the annual Chithirai festival on Wednesday. The Deities - Lord Sundareswarar with Piriyavidai and Goddess Meenakshi - ascended the respective cars before sunrise and devotees started to pull the marvellous showcases of native art and craft by 6 a.m.

In the past, it took a long time, sometimes a week, for people to pull the cars from their base on East Masi Street and back. This is said to be one of the reasons for King Thirumalai Nayak to telescope the Saivite and Vaishnavite festivals into one Chithiral festival for the historic city. The remodeled cars, with hydraulic brakes, now take only a few hours to ambulate the Masi Streets. A seasoned temple employee guided the devotees in pulling the car through shouts of "Hara Hara Sankara, Meenakshi Sundara."

People occupied every bit of space available on the streets, footpath and in buildings on the flanks. Service organisations and devotees offered drinking water, buttermilk and juices for those who walked along with the cars. Police personnel posted all along the route ensured that the cars reached their destination without any hiccup and there was no instance of crime.

Good photos at "source" of the event.

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