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Himachal Temple Offerings Dip by 40 Percent after Demonetization


Posted on 2016/11/25 18:04:28 ( 462 reads )

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SHIMLA, INDIA, November 25, 2016 (Indus Business Journal): The cash crunch owing to demonetization of high-value currency has severely hit the offerings in all major Hindu temples of Himachal Pradesh. Officials in temples said the cash offerings had fallen up to 40 percent and the footfall of devotees had also declined by almost half since the demonetization of November 8. Interestingly, the online offerings have also been impacted massively, they said.

"The daily cash offerings at the Chintpurni temple has fallen by up to 40 percent and the average number of devotees visiting the temple has halved on weekends," temple official Subhash Chand told IANS. He said the temple, the richest in the state, had stopped accepting the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes (US$7.50 - $15.00).

"Before the high-value currency notes were demonetized, daily cash offerings was around US$20,500 in 10 days. The offering has been reduced to $14,600 in the past 16 days," Brajeshwari Devi temple official Pawan Badyal said. "The number of devotees coming to the temple has fallen by 40 percent," he added. He said on an average the temple used to get $585 to $730 as online donations every month. "This month, no online offering came."



Call for Contributions for Hindu Section of new Encyclopedia of Indian Religions


Posted on 2016/11/25 18:04:18 ( 469 reads )

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TEXAS, USA, November 3, 2016 (press release): Professor Pankaj Jain of the University of North Texas, has issued the following announcement: "We want to invite you to join an exciting project under the leadership of Professor Arvind Sharma, the "Encyclopedia of Indian Religion" (http://www.springer.com/series/15157). For Hinduism section, we are aiming for covering 300 topics overall (750,000 words approximately) of the below, varying lengths from 1,000 to 10,000 words. See https://unt.academia.edu/PankajJain for the list of entries for this project. Since the planned publication date is summer 2018, we are aiming for all submissions to be received by December 2017." Contact: pankajaindia@gmail.com

From the publisher's website on the project, "Encyclopedia of Indian Religions," Series Editor, Prof. Arvind Sharma, McGill University:

"The Encyclopedia of Indian Religions" offers a complete overview of Hinduism and all other religions found in India and the Diaspora, such as Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism and so on. It is strongly characterized by two special features, each pertaining to the fact that Hinduism is closely associated with India but has now become global in its reach. In relation to Hinduism in India, it views Hinduism not in isolation but in dynamic interaction, first with other religions of Indian origin and then with religions which did not originate in India but have been a lasting feature of its religious landscape, namely, Islam and Christianity and, to a lesser extent, Zoroastrianism and Judaism. Secondly, the encyclopedia seriously takes into account the phenomenon of Hinduism in the Diaspora. The Indian Diaspora is now beginning to make its presence felt, both in India and abroad. A strong sense of Hindu identity is emerging among diasporic Hindus. This has lead to an increasing amount of research on Hindu traditions and Indian identity, and the relation of Hinduism with other world religions. The Encyclopedia of Indian Religions will fill the need for information and clarification of modern day Hinduism and Hindu history and traditions to Hindus in the Diaspora. Three main aspects of diasporic Hinduism have been kept in mind while preparing this reference work: firstly the active language of diasporic Hindus is English. Secondly diasporic Hindus need a rational rather than a devotional or traditional exposition of the religion, and thirdly they need information and arguments to address the stereotypes which characterize the presentation of Hinduism in the academia and the media, especially in the West.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/11/25 18:04:07 ( 267 reads )

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The unchangeable can only be realized in silence. Once realised, it will deeply affect the changeable, itself remaining unaffected. This attitude of silent observation is the very foundation of yoga. You see the picture, but you are not the picture.
-- Nisargadatta Maharaj (1897-1981), Hindu sage



Emotional Return to N.L. For Tamils Rescued 30 Years Ago


Posted on 2016/11/19 17:29:06 ( 978 reads )

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NEWFOUNDLAND, CANADA, August 11, 2016 (CBC): There were hugs and tears Thursday in Admiral's Beach as a group of former Tamil refugees, who were found adrift in St. Mary's Bay 30 years ago, returned to the area to be reunited with their rescuers. The drama -- then and now -- is being made into a film by documentary maker Cyrus Sundar Singh, who accompanied former refugees and their families to Newfoundland.

The return journey started in Holyrood, where the group saw the lifeboats that brought them to the province on Aug. 11, 1986, a sight that was overwhelming for some. Four of the Sri Lankans visiting Thursday were among 155 Tamils found adrift near St. Shott's by a local skipper, Gus Dalton. The "boat people" had sought freedom from Lanka's civil war on a cargo ship that dumped them about 186 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, and by the time Dalton's crew discovered them three days later, they were dehydrated and starving. It was Dalton they most wanted to see Thursday, and they and assorted family and friends crammed into his Admiral's Beach home to pay homage. Dalton's and other fishing boats in the area dumped their catches in the ocean to make room for the refugees and bring them to shore.

Dalton, who's getting on in years and has difficulty talking, was happy to see the Sri Lankans. "I'm glad they come," he said. Most of the Sri Lankans settled in Montreal and Toronto. The group that returned to St. Mary's Bay on Thursday said one of the four children rescued, who was six months old at the time, is now a doctor. Another is an engineer.



Vedanta Society of Northern California Celebrates Temple Re-Dedication


Posted on 2016/11/19 17:28:56 ( 471 reads )

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SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, November 18, 2016 (Press Release by Swami Tattwamayananda): The original temple of the Vedanta Society of Northern California, which was dedicated by its builder, Swami Trigunatita, in January, 1906, as being "The first Hindu Temple in the Whole Western World", was rededicated on October 29, 2016, the Holy Kali Puja day, after a two year period of strengthening and reconstruction. Formal worship was offered to Sri Ramakrishna, to the Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi, to Mother Kali in an image copied from a Belur Math image, and to Swami Vivekananda.

Swami Girishananda, the manager of Belur Math and a trustee of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, was the chief guest, and Swami Devapriyananda did the puja assisted by Swami Aparananda as the Tantra-Dharaka. On the next day, Sunday, October 30, from 1 PM until approximately 6 PM, in the New Temple auditorium, a public celebration was held, starting with a 45 minute audio-visual PowerPoint presentation on the history and significance of the Old Temple, with many photographs of Swamis and events associated with its century-long history.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/11/19 17:28:45 ( 349 reads )

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It is my ambition to conquer the world by Hindu thought.
-- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)



The Indian Subcontinent Partition Documentation Project


Posted on 2016/11/18 19:06:12 ( 486 reads )

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, November 18, 2016 (ISPaD, Sachi G. Dastidar): Several Bengali-Americans in New York, individuals whose families were victims of Partition in the Indian Subcontinent - especially in Bengal - formed a partition documentation project called ISPaD or Indian Subcontinent Partition Documentation Project to save the history and experiences of lost and displaced individuals and families, their villages, their life, and that of survivors and protectors.

ISPaD's purposes include: a. Collection of personal stories of victims of partition of Indian Subcontinent, and that of survivors and protectors; b. Collection of historical records related to Indian Subcontinent partition; c. Study and documentation of partition-related demographic and social changes; d. To publish, disseminate, share stories and documents for readers in New York and beyond; e. To create bridges among partition victims and non-victims in the Subcontinent and in other countries including the U.S.; f. Organize meetings, seminars, scholarly research; g. Collaborate with established academic studies of displacement and genocide; h. To provide funds for partition documentation projects.



Hindu Temples Along Jalan Timah Vandalized


Posted on 2016/11/18 19:03:36 ( 468 reads )

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GEORGE TOWN, MALAYSIA, November 15, 2016 (The Sun Daily): Several statues of Hindu deities at a Hindu temple in Jalan Timah here were found vandalized on Monday evening. Sri Raja Madurai Veeram Temple chairman Michael Anthony said he found the desecration about 6pm when he went to pray at the 180-year-old temple. "I was shocked to see a statue of Ganesh and Madurai damaged with the debris scattered all over the temple floor," he said, adding that volunteers helped clean up the premises which were in a mess with broken pieces everywhere.

Komtar assemblyman Teh Lai Heng, who visited the site, said this was first such incident in his constituency. and hoped police will nab those responsible. He said he will personally contribute US$455 toward the repair works. Northeast district police chief ACP Mior Faridalatrash Wahid said investigations will be carried out under the Penal Code for injuring or defiling a place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class.



Local Organization Highlighting a Trend in Hindu American Community Service


Posted on 2016/11/18 19:03:15 ( 433 reads )

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USA, November 17, 2016 (by Murali Balaji, HAF): Hindu American Community Services Inc. (HACSI) is a relatively new organization, having started seven years ago as an independent offshoot of the Sri Siva Vishnu Temple in Lanham, Maryland. However, in that time, HACSI has become a force in fighting hunger and homelessness, while providing education and employment opportunities for low-income groups, including the Bhutanese Hindu refugee population. HACSI co-founder Ram Nagula notes that the group's effectiveness and growth in such a short time is due to its volunteers, since it is a solely volunteer-run organization. While HACSI started as a way of helping the homeless and providing resettlement services for the roughly 1750 or so Bhutanese Hindu refugees living in the Baltimore-DC region, Nagula notes that its scope has expanded. He credits the organization's growth to its ability to mobilize volunteers.

Such coordination has been critical in engaging American born Hindus in the DC area, especially those who are not regular attendees at temples. Instead, the practice of selfless service, or seva, has helped HACSI draw from a large volunteer pool. Nagula said this has become critical for Hindu Americans to become integrated into their larger communities, and for Hindu organizations to become more viable as first points of call and assistance. "This is a positive phenomenon among Hindu Americans who are enthused about providing seva," he said. "It is much more so among the young and second generation Hindu Americans.

HACSI has been recognized by the local interfaith community for its work in helping others. The Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan DC awarded them with their prestigious Bridgebuilder Award in 2013.




Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/11/18 19:03:04 ( 285 reads )

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Hinduism is an orthodox religion, conservative in its ways and yet pliant and understanding. It is simultaneously the most demanding spiritual path and the most forgiving.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today



Hindu Americans Deeply Concerned About Post-Election Violence and Bias Crime Spike


Posted on 2016/11/16 19:00:00 ( 610 reads )

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WASHINGTON DC, November 16, 2016 (HAF):Leaders of the Hindu American Foundation are deeply concerned about recent incidents of bias-motivated violence and harassment, as well as violence at protests, following the Presidential election. Over the past several days, the Southern Poverty Law Center noted a "big uptick in incidents of vandalism, threats, intimidation spurred by the rhetoric surrounding the recent election." Nazi symbols have been spray-painted in dorms, on walls, and the ground in attempts to intimidate non-whites. There have been numerous incidents of verbal abuse of non-whites across the country, as well as incidents of Muslim women having their hijab pulled, while being verbally harassed. Here at HAF, US-born friends of a Board member were recently told, "Go back to your country." And a member of HAF's National Leadership Council was spat at and chased down a street by a person making obscene gestures.

"While feelings surrounding the election may understandably be running high, incidents of hate and violence are unacceptable in a pluralistic, democratic nation operating under the rule of law," said Suhag Shukla, Esq., the Foundation's Executive Director. If you or someone you know has been harassed, assaulted or threatened with harm, HAF urges that you not stay silent, and report such acts and threats of violence to law enforcement immediately. We also ask that that you help us in tracking incidents of identity-based or bias-motivated intimidation, threats, harassment, and violence being experienced in our communities by filling out this form. To this end, please share this form widely with your networks. Also, if you or someone you know believe like you have been or are being discriminated against on religious grounds, HAF's Know Your Rights provides information about fundamental rights in simple, straightforward terms.



Indian Students in the US at Record High


Posted on 2016/11/16 18:59:42 ( 349 reads )

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UNITED KINGDOM, November 15, 2016 (BBC): The number of Indian students studying in the US soared by 25% to a record high, figures from 2015-2016 show. The 2016 Open Doors data says Indian students contribute more than $5.5bn to the American economy. It comes against the backdrop of a steep decline in Indian students opting for the UK, with one estimate citing a 50% drop in four years. Analysts say tougher visa rules in the UK and the stabilization of the rupee against the dollar explain the trend.

A total of 165,918 Indians are now studying in the US, up from 132,888 in 2014-15, the report says. It is released by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in collaboration with the US State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The report says India accounted for the largest growth in students in the US for the second year in a row, primarily at the "graduate and optional practical training" levels.



Hindu Students Association Launches Shruti Podcast Series


Posted on 2016/11/16 18:59:21 ( 459 reads )

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UNITED STATES, November 16, 2016 (HSA Press Release): Hindu Students Association is proud to announce the release of the first episode of its new podcast series, Shruti. Shruti aims to bring to light the history of Hinduism and important issues affecting Hindus here in the United States and around the world. Shruti, which means "that which is heard," is named after the set of authoritative scriptures of Hindu philosophy. "It seemed appropriate to use the term Shruti," explained Hari Venkatachalam, Vice-President for the Hindu Students Association. "Most of Hinduism's sacred literature wasn't written down until centuries after they were first composed. The knowledge that was contained in these holy books was passed down from teacher to student through recitation and memorization. Our sacred words were first heard, not written. We're hoping that we can share the Hindu experience in the same way, recreating how Hinduism has been passed from generation to generation for millennia."

The first episode in the series "Arrival in the West: Finding a Place in the New Land" is hosted by the national officers of Hindu Students Association. It focuses on the movement of Hinduism to the Americas, and the unique challenges early Hindu immigrants faced as they sought to practice their religion in a foreign land. To listen to the podcast, visit www.hindustudentsassociation.org/podcast. You can subscribe to the Shruti podcast series through Apple iTunes and Google Play, at the links listed below.

Google Play Link: https://play.google.com/music/m/Izfzvn ... oryq6sttnmh3mowi?t=Shruti
Apple iTunes Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/shruti/id1168861683



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/11/16 18:59:11 ( 268 reads )

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Who there be who, like our Lord, knows the great and the small, the difficult and the facile? Only they who, like a tortoise, withdraw the five senses under their shell. They hear and see the here and the beyond, and have all impurities dispelled.
-- Tirumantiram, verse 133



Demonetization of High Rupee Notes Hits Tirumala Temple Pilgrims Hard


Posted on 2016/11/14 19:25:40 ( 653 reads )

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TIRUPATI, INDIA, November 11, 2016 (Sakshi Post): Devotees visiting the Lord Venkateswara temple in Tirumala were hit hard on Wednesday as taxi drivers and owners of hotels and shops refused to accept Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 (US$7.50-15.00) denomination currency notes after the government's sudden move to demonetize them.

The pilgrims, who flock from all over the country to the temple town, had a tough time buying food and other essential items of daily use. Some were facing difficulties even in buying milk for their children. "After reaching at the railway station on Wednesday morning, we learnt that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes are no longer valid. Since we were travelling, we are carrying only high denomination currency notes," said G. Rammohan, a devotee from Visakhapatnam.

The TTD accepted Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes for darshan tickets. Arrangements were also made to enable devotees swipe their credit and debit cards for accommodation and other services provided by the TTD. With banks and ATMs closed for the day, the pilgrims and visitors had no option but to borrow or buy on credit, or to rough it out. Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), which runs the affairs of the hill shrine - the richest in the country - intervened to provide some succor to the pilgrims. It arranged for free food, snacks and milk for all pilgrims.

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