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Mexico City's Weekly Outdoor Yoga
Posted on 2014/6/3 16:01:16 ( 631 reads )

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Mexico City, June 1, 2014, (OEM): At exactly 8:30 am, families, couples, young cyclists and children gathered at the fountain of the Glorieta Diana on Paseo de la Reforma to participate in a yoga session outdoors, sponsored by the Government of the Federal District, through the Institute of Sport (Indeporte), held every Sunday as part of the strategy for promoting physical activation since February this year. With breathing exercises and stretching attendees halted en route to join this free class, learned more of this discipline that encompasses exercise of body, mind and contributes to a better state of consciousness and peace.

In today's class government officials attended the city as Government Secretary, Hector Serrano Cortes, who said that in addition to classes, this discipline helps care for other aspects to improve our health, such as food, which in set results in a better quality of life. Guadalupe Villegas Juarez, who moved from the State of Mexico to take part in this session said the Mass Yoga Class "is well taught, especially for people who are beginners, then give instructions slowly."

With actions like this , Paseo Reforma Avenue Sunday has become one of the most successful strategies of city government in physical activation and yoga bet on the overall health of the public, in addition to promoting coexistence.


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/6/3 16:01:10 ( 466 reads )

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Like the household fire, devotees seek the glory of the Lord even from afar and enshrine it in their inner chamber for enlightenment. The glory of our Lord is full of splendor, all-illuminative and worthy to be honored in every heart.
-- Rig Veda 7.1.2

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Canada: How Diversity Has Changed the Way We Handle Our Dead
Posted on 2014/6/2 10:30:00 ( 553 reads )

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ONTARIO, CANADA, May 29, 2014 (Caledon Enterprise): When his father died more than 15 years ago, Hindu priest Pandit Roopnauth Sharma took his ashes down to Lake Ontario. Sharma looked around, made sure no one was watching and placed them in the water. “I realized there was a lot that was wrong with that,” recalls the spiritual leader of Mississauga’s Ram Mandir Hindu temple and president of the Hindu Federation. Not having a proper place to scatter the ashes - a sacred ritual for Hindus and Sikhs - was “very stressful and very painful.” That prompted the federation to work with community members, conservation authorities and government officials, resulting in the provincial guidelines of 2009 allowing ashes to be scattered on Ontario’s Crown land and water. Now, the Hindu Federation plans to ask Mississauga and Oakville to erect signs and create designated areas for the scattering of ashes along Lake Ontario. Signs would prevent curious onlookers from asking what’s going on or saying it’s not permitted. Plus, it would alleviate discomfort some Hindu families have. That’s just one of many examples of how the Greater Toronto Area’s ever-evolving demographics are redefining how we handle our dead. Hospitals now allow Buddhists to stay by the bedside of deceased loved ones, chanting prayers to help the spirit leave the body. Interfaith couples can be buried together. And cemetery operators have turned to Feng Shui masters for advice on positioning graves. Years ago this would have been unheard of. But now, a concerted effort is being made to accommodate cultural and religious needs for final disposition in a region that’s among the most ethnically diverse in the world. At Mount Pleasant Group (MPG), funeral homes have units for burning oils and ghee during Hindu services; and they set up a table during Buddhist services for relatives to leave the deceased offerings, such as vegetarian food, fruit and tea. In recent decades, there’s been a steady increase in cremation rates - today it’s about 60 per cent in Ontario. In part, this has been driven by immigration - many Buddhists choose cremation and it’s required of Hindus and Sikhs. Because Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists must witness the cremation, MPG is upgrading its four crematoriums, from small industrial-like spaces to areas that comfortably accommodate large groups. Often, the oldest son — or next of kin — begins the cremation process as tradition stipulates. Much more at source.

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Algorithm Reveals 200 Lost Paintings On Angkor Wat's Ancient Walls
Posted on 2014/6/2 10:30:00 ( 628 reads )

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AUSTRALIA, May 30, 2014 (Gizmodo): Even a building as famous and photographed as Angkor Wat has its secrets. With the help of an image enhancement algorithm, a sharp-eyed rock-art researcher has revealed that unassuming smears of pigment are actually faded drawings. It could be graffiti - or it could be the remnants of a concerted 16th century restoration program. Noel Hidalgo Tan, a rock-art researcher from Australia, was working on an excavation at Angkor Wat in 2010 when bits of the red pigment caught his eye. He took some photos with a bright flash. Then he put his photos through through decorrelation stretch analysis, which exaggerate the color contrast. The technique is commonly used to enhance rock art as well as NASA’s Opportunity Rover’s Martian landscapes. All of a sudden, monkeys, elephants, boats and buildings leapt out from the walls. Tan eventually found 200 of these paintings all over the temple. Most of the paintings appear haphazardly, most likely the handiwork of early pilgrims. But one particular stretch on the highest tier in Angkor Wat’s central tower features elaborate scenes with musical instruments and people on horseback. These scenes may be more deliberate attempts to redecorate the temple when it transitioned from a Hindu temple to a Buddhist pilgrimage site, says Tan.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/6/2 10:28:44 ( 451 reads )

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He who befriends a man whose conduct is vicious, whose vision impure, and who is notoriously crooked, is rapidly ruined.
-- Chanakya (350-275 bce), Indian politician, strategist and writer

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Looted Statues Come Home
Posted on 2014/6/1 18:26:48 ( 509 reads )

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CAMBODIA, May 29, 2014 (Phnom Penh Post): Sandstone figures packed into crates returned to Cambodia yesterday.The Kingdom welcomed the repatriated 11th-century statues with little fanfare, a remarkably placid homecoming given the lengthy legal battle with auction house Sotheby's and the enlivened conversation with a California art museum that led to their return.

"They are Duryodhana and Bhima. One from Sotheby's and another from Norton Simon. They will be transferred first to the Council of Ministers for official reception on June 3 and then transferred to the National Museum of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, for restoration and exhibition to [the] public," National Museum director Kong Vireak said. The Duryodhana and the Bhima, which depict opposing Hindu warrior figures that were locked in a mythic battle, were displayed at the Prasat Chen Temple in Siem Reap before being hacked from their pedestals and moved through the antiquities black market in the 1970s.

Over the past three years, Cambodian officials and art researchers have traced seven of the Prasat Chen's nine statues to collections in the US. Last year, the Metropolitan Museum in New York agreed to return two statues pillaged from the temple, the first time a museum collection has voluntarily returned antiquities. At the end of last year, Sotheby's settled an embittered court case, agreeing to pay for the repatriation of a third statue. The Norton Simon Museum in California pitched in a fourth statue, the Bhima, and earlier this month Christie's announced it too would give back a Prasat Chen figure, which is set to return today, according to a government spokesman.

The Denver Art Museum has been quiet about a statue that Cambodian officials claim it holds, and the Cleveland Museum of Art has questioned the provenance claim of the Cambodian Hindu monkey God statue they currently have on exhibit, stating the museum as of yet has no plans to return the figure.

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Maharashtra: Pandharpur Temple Allows Women, Men Of All Castes As Priests
Posted on 2014/6/1 18:26:42 ( 500 reads )

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MAHARASTRA, INDIA, May 23, 2014 (The Hindu, by Amruta Byatnal): TThe temple administration of this 900 year old temple has interviewed women and those from outside the Brahmin community for appointing them as priests. The Vitthal Rukmini Temple Trust (VRTT), which functions under the Maharashtra government, has made the radical move possible. "For the first time, a temple is throwing open its doors to everyone. We thought it was time now for us to set an example. No group should claim monopoly for serving as priests in the temple," Anna Dange, chairman of the trust, told The Hindu. "Thousands of people converge here every year. People love Vitthoba and Rakhumai [as lord Vitthal and his consort Rukmini are called locally]. The Gods did not discriminate between people; it's time we followed suit."

Priesthood of the temple was under the monopoly of the Barve-Utpat families of Pandharpur, which claimed ancestral rights over the institution. The two families used to auction the puja every day. The families paid the auction amount to the trust and kept the donations themselves. A Supreme Court ruling in January stripped the families of the right to appoint priests and keep the donations. The VRTT received 199 applications, 23 from women, for the position of priests. "Eventually 129 people attended the interviews, including 16 women," Sanjay Teli of the trust said. Applications were received from Dalits and Marathas. The trust will make its decision public on June 9.

Urmila Bhate (52), one of the women interviewed, stated that the opportunity to be a priest was a dream come true. "I have grown up in Pandharpur, and I thought this day would never come," she said, speaking of the chance to "serve Rakhu, mother God." Ms Bhate's family has been involved in the temple's activities. "I have watched my brothers perform the puja and I am well versed with the tradition of the temple. It is high time, that women who are equally devoted to Lord Vitthal and Rakhumai, are considered equal to male priests," she stated.

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Foreign-Born Population In The U.S. 2012: India-born Second Only to Mexico-Born
Posted on 2014/6/1 18:26:27 ( 485 reads )

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UNITED STATES, May 30, 2014 (Pew Research): A Pew Research chart of the foreign-born population of the United States as of 2012, lists India in the number two position, behind Mexico, with 1,974,305. This represents 4.8 percent of the foreign-born population. Other countries that may interest readers are:

Trinidad/Tobago: 239,015
Bangladesh: 187,641
Nepal: 77,890
Fiji: 49,063
Bhutan: 32,954

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/6/1 18:26:21 ( 439 reads )

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When the Creator dances, the worlds He created dance. To the measure that He dances in our knowledge, our thoughts, too, dance. When He in heart-endearing dances, the several elements, too, dance. Witness in rapture surpassing the dance of that One who is a glowing flame.
-- Tirumantiram, 2786

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Archeological Survey of India Team Inspects Jagannath Temple for Quake Damage
Posted on 2014/5/30 16:56:57 ( 504 reads )

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BHUBANESWAR, INDIA, May 22, 2014 (Telegraph India): An expert team of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) today inspected the 12th century Jagannath temple in Puri to find out whether the earthquake that hit the state yesterday had any impact on the temple. The team visited the temple following a magnitude 5.9 earthquake centered 274 km SE of Konarka, India.

Temple administration sources said a team of engineers, led by the deputy archaeological superintending engineer Tapan Bhattacharya, today inspected the temple. "Keeping in mind the vast structure of the temple, it is difficult to find out minor cracks suddenly and the loosening of plasters of the structures at various points. However, the temple is safe at this moment," said a senior official.

According to the ASI report, the structure is standing on the southeast direction from the garbha griha (sanctum sanctorum) of the main Jagannath temple in which direction a fault line is suspected as several structures were affected in this direction during earlier earthquakes. "It is advisable to regularly monitor and check for any sign of distress on the temple structure," the report said.

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Repainting Of Kolams At Meenakshi Temple
Posted on 2014/5/30 16:56:51 ( 543 reads )

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MADURAI, INDIA, May 25, 2014 (Times Of India): The frescoes on the roof of Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple and the kolams (rangoli) patterns on the floor are outstanding works of art. The kolams, drawn by connecting hundreds of thousands of dots, are obviously the outcome of strenuous efforts. Now, efforts are being taken to preserve and repaint the kolams.

A grand kolam connected by a hundred thousand dots is in the corridor near the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Sundareswarar. It was drawn by a group of women about 35 years ago to keep the tradition alive and also as a form of penance. Family members of the original artists are now repainting them and are expected to complete the exercise in a day or two.

Painting of kolams in the temple was started by Lalitha Sankar. She had learned its intricacies from S. V. Thambirasu, a master kolam artist. Lalitha used to draw beautiful kolams on the floor of the temple way back in 1979. Subsequently, a small group of women trained by her managed to draw one hundred thousand kolams in the temple corridors. They were repainted from time to time. Now, Lalitha's daughters-in-law have taken up the task. They first draw the design with chalk and then paint over it. They are guided by older women adept in the art.

Drawing of kolams is an integral part of Indian culture. It is believed kolams bring prosperity to homes. It is also said the wellbeing of the artist is enhanced when one bends to draw the designs early in the morning.

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A Point Of View: Is It Better To Be Religious Than Spiritual?
Posted on 2014/5/30 16:56:45 ( 525 reads )

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UNITED KINGDOM, May 24, 2014 (BBC, By Tom Shakespeare): More and more people are rejecting religion but embracing spirituality. But have they got things the wrong way around, asks Tom Shakespeare. After a relationship break up a few years ago, I signed on to a dating website. Filling in my online profile, I was interested to discover that the question on religious belief included an option that was new to me. You could tick boxes for the major religions, or for atheist, or for SBNR, which I discovered stands for "Spiritual But Not Religious". Whereas the word "religion" generally refers to organized forms of worship and a wider faith community, "spiritual" often describes people's private individual beliefs.

A few minutes on Google revealed that SBNR is more than just an acronym. One in three Americans defined themselves as spiritual but not religious. Millions of people now think of themselves as on their own personal spiritual path, but not affiliated to any specific religion. American sociologists Robert Putnam and David Campbell talk about "Nones" - people who belong to no religion but still believe in God. Others have used the term "moralistic therapeutic deism" to refer to how young people are turning towards a vague belief that God exists and the point of life is to be happy. You could also call it "pseudo-religion".

The people who tick the SBNR box are distinguishing themselves from atheism. They would probably believe in some supreme being or higher power. Perhaps they're interested in Eastern spirituality or some eclectic mixture of ideas. SBNR reflects a rejection of the dogmas of organized religion. People might say, "I am not interested in organized religion, but I do have room in my life for spirituality." They have a sense that there is something "above and beyond" the everyday.

The word "religion" is thought to derive from Latin "religare", to bind or connect. I think that sense of a connection is the key point. Religion offers a bond between individuals and it helps them form a connection to the wider universe. Without religion, the danger is that an individual thinks that he or she is the centre of the universe. Religion asks more of you than just to look after yourself. Because religion is a collective practice, it enables us to learn from others around us, and from a history of sincere and disciplined examination of the problems of life - a history which is sometimes called the Wisdom Traditions. Through reflection and discussion in the context of religion, we can achieve discernment, which means seeing reality more clearly.

More at source

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/5/30 16:56:39 ( 493 reads )

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If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India.
-- French scholar Romain Rolland

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Learning the Secrets Of Long LIfe
Posted on 2014/5/26 18:23:00 ( 676 reads )

https://news.usc.edu/62346/scholar-seeks-secrets-of-long-life/

CALIFORNIA, U.S., May 6, 2014 (University of Southern California): In the lush, verdant hills of India, Bhagavan Kani rises from his bed. He spends a few serene moments gazing at the early morning sun as it crests the horizon, sipping water infused with a local spice leaf called tulsi. Kani eats a simple breakfast of raw vegetables and fruits. Barefoot, he sweeps the leaves from a dirt path in his garden and climbs steep stone steps to take a stroll through the hilly village. Later that day, he sits outside his coconut-leaf-thatched hut, recites tribal songs and talks to plants and animals.

It's a quiet existence that normally wouldn't garner much attention. But Murali Nair, a clinical professor at the USC School of Social Work, is fascinated for one simple reason -- the man is more than 100 years old. "People are definitely living longer," Nair said. "I'm not saying that medical advances have nothing to do with it, but there are other reasons. There must be something beyond their genes, maybe something we can document."

Through interviews and visits with dozens of centenarians around the world, Nair is exploring lifestyle factors that may influence health and promote longevity. He has identified 11 attributes shared by all his study subjects, regardless of their socioeconomic background. Nair is hopeful that his findings will bring legitimacy to practices that are often overlooked and sometimes scorned by the health care establishment, such as spiritual rituals, a positive outlook on life and various traditional healing practices.

"They have a general air of optimism and positivity and try to instill that attitude in others around them," Nair said. "They engage in physical and mental activity on a daily basis, often cleaning, walking, gardening, cooking, reading, writing and memorizing passages of poetry, stories and life events. Learning never ends for them. They always hang around with people much younger than them. Even with a child, they find something to talk about."

Many of the centenarians he has met practice careful eating habits; most are vegetarians who consume fresh vegetables and fruits, spices and herbs in small but regular quantities. Physical and mental activities and practices such as bathing in cold water and watching the sunrise in the early morning are common.

Much more at source.

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Hindu Educational Foundation Recognizes Teachers
Posted on 2014/5/26 18:22:53 ( 546 reads )

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SIMI VALLEY, CALIFORNIA, May 22, 2014 (Thousand Oaks Acorn): The Hindu Educational Foundation's Los Angeles chapter presented a Teachers Appreciation Day on May 10 in Simi Valley. Teachers from the Simi Valley, Moorpark, Conejo Valley and Oak Park school districts were recognized during the event. Around 100 participants attended. Students presented a mosaic of cultural programs with elements from Indian classical dance, martial arts, folk dances and yoga. Students also offered thanks to their teachers and presented flowers and a book on yoga.

This year, the HEF LA chapter joined with the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh to honor teachers. The event began with the traditional lighting of the lamp by Dr. Amrit Ram, an assistant professor in the life sciences division at the SVYASA Yoga University. Ram presented a demonstration of yogic posture and breathing pattern for replacing anger and fatigue. He also showed how the different hand and body postures of yoga are translated into Hindu classical dancing.

The Hindu Educational Foundation, an educational project by Hindus in the USA, strives to replace various misconceptions with correct representation of India and Hindu Dharma. HEF believes that right understanding of any faith, including that of Hindu Dharma, would lead to peace and harmony as well as preservation and nurturing of religious diversity. Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA is a voluntary, nonprofit, social and cultural organization. Sangh, as the organization is known, aims to organize the Hindu community in order to preserve, practice and promote Hindu ideals and values.

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