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New Zealand Youth Hold Conference
Posted on 2014/5/11 17:27:26 ( 528 reads )

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NEW ZEALAND, March 13, 2014 (Indian News Link): The younger members of the Hindu community have called on their peers to realize the power inherent in them and seek self-inspiration to bring about quality changes in lifestyle and promote a better society.

Organized jointly by the Hindu Youth New Zealand and the New Zealand Hindu Students Forum, the Conference held under the theme, "Dynamic You: The Power of Youth" attracted 150 participants. Among them were university students, professionals and entrepreneurs with a passion for Hindu values.

The conference, held on March 1 at Aotea Centre in Auckland's Central Business District, was the third in an annual series. It brought together young men and women from both sides of the Tasman. It was an event that channelized the enthusiasm and exuberance of the younger members of the society, providing them a platform for exchange of ideas and information, and more importantly, find ways and means of assimilating the Hindu way of life.

Murali Magesan, who undertook various responsibilities for the annual gathering, said in his keynote address that Hindu youth can be the leading light of the multicultural, multi-religious and multilingual community of New Zealand, provided they harnessed their capabilities for the common good. "There are about 80,000 Hindus in New Zealand, accounting for about 2% of the population. As a group, we are significantly more qualified compared to the rest of the population. It is heartening that a high percentage of Hindus are highly successful professionals in this country," he said.

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South African Family's Tradition of Dance and Music
Posted on 2014/5/11 17:27:20 ( 464 reads )

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SOUTH AFRICA, January 25, 2014 (Herald Live): For the Ganeshan family from Felicity Avenue in Westering, staying true to one's roots is just as important as family. At first glance the family look like any normal family, but behind the scenes are talented dancers and a drummer, and a husband and father that supports his family no matter what.

Kalyani and Siva, who is originally from Mauritius, met some 20 years ago and have been married for the last 18. It is not surprising that Siva is fluent in Tamil, French and Creole. "We were introduced by one of my dance students," explained Kalyani who has been teaching Indian traditional folk dancing since 1986 after doing a dance course in Cape Town.

In 1991 she became the first person from the Eastern Cape to have an arangtram - a graduation course presentation, and then started teaching Indian classical and Bharata Natyam. The couple have two children. Jayshree, 16, has followed her mom's dance steps while brother Yuven, 14, is learning the Indian classical drum - mridangam. Kalyani said her son is the only person in the city learning the mridangam at the moment because no one offers classes here.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/5/11 17:27:13 ( 388 reads )

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The delicate anicham flower withers when merely smelled, but an unwelcome look is enough to wither a guest's heart.
-- Tirukkural

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Effort Helps Bhutanese Adjust to U.S.
Posted on 2014/5/10 16:45:55 ( 487 reads )

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COLUMBUS, OHIO, April 21, 2014 (Columbus Dispatch): Refugees resettled in the U.S. face cultural, language and religious barriers. They worry about the loved ones and friends they've left behind. There's often a disconnect between their idyllic views of America and the difficulties they encounter finding good-paying jobs, especially in the recent economic downturn. "It's not uncommon for them to be dealing with high levels of anxiety, stress and the lingering effects of trauma," said Kelly Yotebieng, the wellness coordinator for Community Refugee & Immigration Services, or CRIS, in Columbus.

One group that has particularly struggled is the Bhutanese. More than 60,000 of Bhutan's ethnic Nepalese have been resettled in the United States after being driven into exile by the country's monarchy. Of the 1,285 refugees who were settled in Columbus last year, 444 were from the Asian nation of Bhutan.

To help address those issues, CRIS created a refugee-wellness program six months ago. New arrivals from any country are screened for symptoms of mental distress and referred to counseling when needed. The program also offers eight-week support groups to help refugees adjust to their new lives. Next month, CRIS will start offering yoga and music sessions as alternative ways to help clients deal with stress.

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Hindu Temple Of Canton Health Fair Draws Hundreds
Posted on 2014/5/10 16:45:49 ( 512 reads )

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MICHIGAN, US, May 9, 2014 (Hometown Life): Hindu Temple of Canton leaders, inspired after their spring health fair delivered free care to hundreds of people, already have indicated they will offer a similar event next year. "We want to help people change their lifestyle for the better so they can be healthier," said Jatin Desai, a health fair organizer.

The latest numbers are in and Hindu Temple officials said more than 300 patients received free medical consultations April 30 - the second phase of the 12th annual fair - from 67 volunteer doctors from the Michigan Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, or MAPI, along with Oakwood Hospital-Wayne health care volunteers.

Patients saw primary care physicians, cardiologists, dentists, pharmacists, nutritionists and other specialists as the Hindu Temple, MAPI and Oakwood finished an effort to help people who might otherwise delay health care they often can't afford. Officials such as Don Hazaert, director of Michigan Consumers for Healthcare, a coalition of health-related organizations, have said even with changes in health care, efforts such as that of the Hindu Temple still are needed to help local communities address gaps in care.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/5/10 16:45:43 ( 423 reads )

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Other religions have all been founded by individuals, but Hinduism is not based on the teachings of any one single person. Before any prophet was born, the Sanatana Dharma was there.
-- Swami Rama Thirtha (1873-1906)

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Bhutanese Refugees Receive Citizenship in Canada
Posted on 2014/5/9 15:24:46 ( 480 reads )

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ALBERTA, CANADA, April 6, 2014 (Canadian Bhutanese Society Alberta): The first group of 18 Canadian Bhutanese Society members, who are resettled in Southern Alberta since 2009, have received Canadian citizenship. The special ceremony was held in Lethbridge Court on the 5th of April 2014. The ceremony was held in four groups by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, which was presided over by Citizenship Judge at Lethbridge Court House. Present as special guest on the occasion were Federal MP Jim Hillyer, MLA for Lethbridge East Bridget A Pastoor and Mayor Chris Spearman, City of Lethbridge.

Under third country resettlement process, Bhutanese started coming to Canada since 2008 after spending about two decades in refugee camps in Nepal. Lethbridge has the largest population Bhutanese resettled in Canada. There are about 800 Bhutanese who call the city of Lethbridge home. A second batch of 21 Bhutanese members are in the process to receive citizenship in the coming months.

As per the present policy anyone residing as permanent resident for three complete years are eligible to apply for Canadian Citizenship. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration have proposed a new policy to come into effect that the time for qualification to apply has been increased to four years. The requirement to show proof of language at the time of application has now been extended for those aged 14-64. The current Act applies to applicants for ages 18-54. The doubled processing fees are already into effect as per the new policy.

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Bali Government to Pay for Priests' Insurance
Posted on 2014/5/9 15:24:41 ( 485 reads )

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DENPASAR, BALI, May 5, 2014 (The Bali Daily): Starting this year, the provincial administration will pay for the enrollment and participation of the island's thousands of Hindu high priests and temple priests in the national health insurance (JKN) program. "Funds will be allocated from the provincial annual budget to cover the necessary premium for the high priests, temple priests, as well as ritual leaders in public temples across the island." Bali Health Agency head Ketut Suarjaya said recently.

"This policy reflects the administration's commitment to provide health services to religious leaders, who dedicate themselves to the community." "The council has informed us that there are around 1,200 high priests and temple priests on the island. In 2014, the provincial and regency administrations allocated a total of Rp 334.71 billion (US$29.05 million) to fund JKBM.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/5/9 15:24:29 ( 438 reads )

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Hinduism was organized for peaceful and harmonious coexistence, not for continued confrontation with external enemies in the shape of unbelievers. It is no accident of history that, though Hinduism knew internal feuds like any social polity, it never crossed its borders to wage wars against people simply because they worshiped different Gods.
-- Ram Swarup (1920-1998), foremost spokesperson of Hindu spirituality and culture in India

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Kedarnath Shrine Reopens for Devotees On Sunday
Posted on 2014/5/8 16:26:43 ( 418 reads )

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DEHRADUN, INDIA, May 4, 2014 (India Today): Sacred portals of the Kedarnath temple were reopened to devotees amid elaborate rituals early on Sunday morning, about a year after the Himalayan shrine was marred by flash floods that had left thousands of people dead and many others stranded. Chief priest of the shrine (Rawal) Bhima Shankar Ling presided over the rituals as its gates were opened amid chanting of Vedic hymns. About 1,252 devotees including eight foreign nationals visited the shrine on the opening day.

It is the first Char Dham yatra (to four sacred places in the Himalayas: Kedarnath, Gangotri, Badrinath and Yamnotri) after last year's calamity. The annual pilgrimage was struck by the unprecedented flash floods last year causing large-scale loss of lives and property. Over 5,000 people were dead or missing, including pilgrims from various parts of the country.

Expressing happiness over the first day turnout, Committee CEO V.D Singh said it was much more than their expectations. "The crowd was bigger than expected and there was much enthusiasm among the devotees. It is an indication that the fear psychosis gripping people outside the state in the wake of last years tragedy is subsiding gradually. "The crowd of visitors is likely to swell as the snow begins to melt," he said.

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15,000 turn Up For Gangotri, Yamnotri Re-Opening
Posted on 2014/5/8 16:26:37 ( 501 reads )

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DEHRADUN, INDIA, May 3, 2014 (Times Of India): Last year's mid-June flash floods did not deter 15,000-odd devotees from across the country from converging at Yamnotri and Gangotri shrines in Uttarkashi district to attend the sacred ceremony marking the re-opening of these shrines' portals. With this, the Char Dham yatra has commenced in Uttarakhand.

Amid chanting of Vedic mantras, the doors of Gangotri and Yamnotri were re-opened at 12:01 pm and 1:20 pm, respectively minutes after their "doli" (palanquin in which the statues are carried) reached the temples from their winter abode at Mukhba and Kharsali villages in the district. The winter abode of Goddess Ganga is located at a distance of about 9 miles from Gangotri shrine and 6 miles from Yamnotri shrine.

Residents in Mukhba and Kharsali villages consider Goddess Ganga and Goddess Yamuna as their daughters. On Thursday, with moist eyes, they accorded a ceremonial send-off to the two statuess, respectively in their doli decked with flowers. When contacted, devotees at Gangotri and Yamnotri said they had to trek for several miles on the 20 mile Badkot-Jangalchatti and the 15.5 mile Gangori-Sukhi motorable roads to reach Yamnotri and Gangotri shrines, as they are still being re-constructed.

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A Puppet Fest In Bangalore
Posted on 2014/5/8 16:26:31 ( 461 reads )

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BANGALORE, INDIA, May 5, 2014 (Bangalore Mirror): She is stunning even at age 150. With her long black hair bedecked with flowers, a crimson tilak on her face, a big nose-ring, chunky earrings, and a curvaceous figure under a bright red nine-yard sari, she looks resplendent. Queen, all of two feet, is a leather puppet, created from deer leather, crafted by a puppeteer hailing from Bellary. She, along with about 399 others, has been taken out of her 30-year residence in the basement of the Chitrakala Parishath (CKP), to be displayed at CKP's first such large exposition on leather puppets. For the first time, these wondrous creations will be reliving their old days of glory, when village folk gathered in the evenings to see the grand magnificent shadow act narration of the Ramayana or the Mahabharata.

Part of MS Nanjunda Rao's, the grand doyen of CKP's 3,000 plus collection, one of the largest in the country, Queen was bought from her puppeteer during the 1960s. Rao had travelled through villages with a research team, coaxing puppeteers to sell some puppets. Until the '60s and '70s, puppets would provide complex entertainment to villagers. Puppeteers learned the craft from their family, and belonged to the Chitavaaru, Sellekethe, Jananga, Gomberamdavaru or Katbhajananga community.

As many as 400 leather puppets, some over 100 years old, will be celebrated at a city festival that aims to reclaim their past glory. The Festival of Leather Puppets, Chitrakala Parishath, will be held May 3 - 11.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/5/8 16:26:25 ( 357 reads )

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"God is the creator, and the best way of offering prayer to him is to be creative. God is all loving, and the best way to serve him is to serve humanity."
-- Swami Dayananda Saraswati (1825-1883), Hindu reformer

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Balinese Ogoh-Ogoh Parade Amazes Belgium Public
Posted on 2014/5/5 18:42:42 ( 609 reads )

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BELGIUM, March 31, 2014 (Metrobali): Hundreds of expatriate Balinese Hindus living in the EU (and their European friends and relatives) enthusiastically welcomed the New Year Saka 1936 in suburban Brussels on Saturday, March 29, 2014. On the grounds of the Indonesian Embassy, the event was kicked off with Hindu prayer and worship including a traditional dance. Then six large ogoh-ogoh effigies were paraded through the surrounding city streets accompanied by the crowd. The parade, accompanied by a police escort and and the loud and rhythmic beat of Belgium's Gamelan Group Bleganjur Saling Asah, caused a stir of excitement among the citizens along the one kilometer route.

The celebration of Nyepi and the Saka New Year with an Ogoh-Ogoh parade was the brainchild of Ambassador Arif Havas Oegrosenothe. It was brought to fruition by the hard work of the Balinese of the local Banjar Dharma Shanti association and the broader community in Luxembourg, Germany, France and the Netherlands. This event was the fourth annual edition.

In his speech, the ambassador invited all Indonesian Hindus in Europe is to remain fond of the values taught by their culture and continue to implement them in daily life. And on this day, when life on Bali comes to a standstill, everyone should remember that at the heart of silence (Nyepi) we can explore our inner identity and maintain harmony and balance with God, our fellow human beings and the environment so that peace is realized in our lives.

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Hindu-Sikh Trainings in Maryland Provide a Template for Schools Across The Country
Posted on 2014/5/5 18:42:36 ( 533 reads )

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MARYLAND, U.S., May 1, 2014 (Huffington Post): Over the past few months, the Hindu American Foundation, Kaur Foundation and Sikh Kid To Kid worked with the Montgomery County (MD) Public Schools to implement a three-part training for teachers, involving cultural immersions at Sikh and Hindu places of worship (separate trips), followed by a reflection session designed to improve classroom approaches to teaching about the two faiths. The workshops were a product of conversations between the groups and Maria Tarasuk, the social studies supervisor for the Montgomery County Public Schools, who has long advocated for community-based approaches to teaching about diversity.

Following yesterday's reflection session, it was apparent that the school district had helped to lay the groundwork for something sustaining in the county, and replicable in other parts of the country. Tarasuk said the experience was "powerful" for teachers. "It helped them connect on an emotional level, not only with the content but with their students," she said. "Because of that, teachers are going to be much more comfortable sharing with their students. It was a wonderful partnership between the schools and all the organizations involved."

Over the past month, teachers who attended the workshops (an early April visit to area Gurdwaras, the Guru Gobind Singh Foundation and the Guru Nanak Foundation of America, followed by a visit last weekend to the Chinmaya Mission of D.C.) learned about several commonly misunderstood facts about Hinduism and Sikhism. The Hindu American trainers helped to explain key concepts of Hinduism such as dharma, karma, and moksha, and how they relate to daily practice, including how Hindus worship the Divine. We also helped to showcase the evolution and the development of Hindu history over 5,000 years. The teachers learned, for example, that the Aryan Invasion Theory - long a staple of textbooks - has been debunked (though the Aryan Migration Theory is still popular among many linguists), and that caste is not intrinsic to Hindu philosophy (caste is an Indian social practice).

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