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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/2/20 17:44:42 ( 961 reads )

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There are two great forces in the universe, silence and speech. Silence prepares, speech creates. The strength of noise and activity is great. But infinite is the strength of stillness and silence, in which great forces prepare for action. To be capable of silence, stillness and illuminated passivity is to be fit for immortality.
-- Sri Aurobido (1879-1950)

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Maha Shivaratri 2015: 200,000 Pilgrims at Grand-Bassin
Posted on 2015/2/17 16:29:09 ( 1472 reads )

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MAURITIUS, February 17, 2015 (Le Mauricien): There were big crowds at Grand-Bassin this weekend. Some 200,000 pilgrims visited Ganga Talao to collect holy water as part of the Maha Shivaratri rituals. Yesterday, the pilgrims from the northern part of the island were on their way back, while those of the Plains-Wilhems and south of the island converged on the holy lake.

Around 6PM yesterday, hundreds of devotees of the Rose Hill area accompanied by the Veeramundur Band caused a traffic jam in Candos, towards La Marie and Petrin. Parking areas were all occupied at Grand-Bassin, forcing the police to convert a pedestrian lane to accommodate parking for all the vehicles. The traffic slowdown was also partly caused by crowds gathering at the tent-booths that had been erected on the side of the road to provide food and refreshments to the pilgrims. The biggest kanwars also disrupted traffic at strategic points leading to the sacred lake. [A kanwar is a large religious display usually carried on the shoulders, but here in Mauritius, some devotees have built ones for the festival that roll on wheels and barely fit in a lane on the road.]

Despite appeals of the leaders of socio-cultural organizations, most kanwars were large, rather than individual affairs, and had to be transported by many devotees. Despite the scorching heat, fatigue and sore feet, pilgrims have traveled dozens of kilometers in the fervor and spirit of devotion in honor of Lord Siva.

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Thousands Celebrate Hindu Festival in Mauritius
Posted on 2015/2/17 16:29:03 ( 1034 reads )

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MAURITIUS, February 16, 2015 (Yahoo): Thousands of pilgrims converge at the Grand Bassin, considered as the most sacred Hindu site in Mauritius, to celebrate the Maha Shivaratri festival. Short video at source.

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3,400 Personnel to Guard Pashupati Area, Million Devotees for Maha Shivarathri
Posted on 2015/2/17 16:28:57 ( 961 reads )

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KATHMANDU, NEPAL, February 17, 2015 (Ekantipur): Nepal Police will deploy 3,400 personnel in the Pashupati area on Tuesday as devotees throng the holy site during the Shivaratri, one of the biggest Hindu festivals.

Police have established a post to command 12 temporary posts headed by Inspectors at North Gate, Bishworupa, Bankali Parking, four Shivalayas, Pingalastan, Ram Mandir, Uma Kunda, Kailash Hill, temple area, Tilganga and Siphal Ground. The main command will be handled by a Superintendent of Police while 512 personnel have been deputed in the area since Monday morning until Tuesday night.

Around 1 million people are expected to visit Pashupatinath for the festival on Tuesday. "We are focussing more on surveillance through Close Circuit Television cameras. There are 32 CCTV units watching the temple premises and the movement of people from Tilganga and Gaushala areas," said SSP Khadka. Bomb disposal squads and sniffer dogs will remain stand-by while reinforcements will be available.

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Hindu Temple in Washington State Vandalized with Hateful Words
Posted on 2015/2/17 16:28:51 ( 986 reads )

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BOTHELL, WASHINGTON, February 16, 2015 (AOL, KIRO TV): Someone spray painted a swastika and the words 'Get Out' on a wall of the Hindu temple in Bothwell. The temple wasn't the only building targeted. Skyview Junior High, a block away, was also tagged with a swastika and the words, 'Muslims Get Out'.

"When it happens here it tells you it's not in a certain part of America, it's in the mainstream, it's in a very intellectual place like here in Bothell, so I'm very surprised," temple member Ketan Shah said.

Now the community is showing their support, posting signs of support around the neighborhood and writing cards penned with kind words in hopes of erasing the ugly ones. The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office is investigating the vandalism at the temple.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/2/17 16:28:45 ( 890 reads )

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One who is established in a comfortable posture while concentrating on the inner Self naturally becomes immersed in the Heart's ocean of bliss.
-- Siva Sutras III, 16

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Thirty-Five Christians Reconverted to Hinduism in Kottayam District
Posted on 2015/2/16 18:52:34 ( 1210 reads )

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KOTTAYAM, KERALA, INDIA, February 16, 2015 (The Hindu): A group of 35 people on Sunday reconverted to Hinduism, as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) continues with its ghar vapsi (home coming) program despite criticism from various quarters. The VHP said they welcomed back Dalit families who had converted to Christianity a few generations back.

The rituals for welcoming these people to their original faith were held at a temple at Uzhavoor, near here, said Aneesh Balakrishnan, a spokesman for the pro-VHP Kerala Hindu Helpline. They belonged to 12 families of the Cheramar community, he said. With these reconversions, 120 people had returned to the Hindu faith in the last three months from Kottayam district alone, Mr. Balakrishnan said.

The conversion issue has been in the limelight in Kerala and was raised in Parliament in December with the Opposition attacking the government. Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had earlier said that the situation in the State did not warrant any government intervention. "There is no forced conversion or reconversion in the State. If somebody voluntarily takes a decision, what can the government do," he had said.

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The God Project: Hinduism as Open-Source Faith
Posted on 2015/2/16 18:52:27 ( 1081 reads )

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UNITED STATES, May 25, 2011 (Huffington Post by Josh Schrei): Trying to explain the core beliefs of "Hinduism" to an interested observer can be challenging to say the least. It's often stated that the word "Hinduism" itself is a total misnomer, as it basically refers to the sum total of spiritual and religious thought and practice that has taken place on the Indian subcontinent over the past 5,000 years. And let's just say it's been a busy 5,000 years.

However, the key point of differentiation between Hinduism and other faiths is not polytheism vs. monotheism. The key differentiation is that "Hinduism" is Open Source and most other faiths are Closed Source. "Open source is an approach to the design, development, and distribution of software, offering practical accessibility to a software's source code."

"Generally, closed source means only the binaries of a computer program are distributed and the license provides no access to the program's source code. The source code of such programs might be regarded as a trade secret of the company." One of the defining facts of Christian history is that access to God has been viewed -- as in most closed source systems -- as a trade secret. The ability to reinterpret the Bible, or the teachings of Christ, or the Old Testament, or to challenge the basic fundamental authority of the church has been nonexistent for most of the church's history. Those who dared to do so were quite often killed.

In Indic thought, there is no trade secret. The foundation of yoga is that the key to God, or the macrocosm, or the absolute ... lies within the individual and can be accessed through a certain set of practices. It's a beautifully simple but ultimately profound concept that has been allowed to flourish unchecked for millennia. The process of discovering and re-imagining the divine is in your hands. The God Project.

More at source.

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New English Translations of Saiva Agamas Posted On-Line
Posted on 2015/2/16 18:52:21 ( 1020 reads )

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KAUAI, HAWAII, February 15, 2015 (HPI): Hinduism Today and Kauai Aadheenam are pleased to announce the posting of key Saiva Agamas translated to English by Dr. S.P. Sabharathanam Sivacharyar of Chennai over the last several years. Available at "source" above is the entire translation of part one, Purva Pada, of the Kamika Agama, most of part two, Uttara Pada, the Vidya Pada or knowledge sections of Raurava, Pauskara, Mrgendra and Matanga Agamas and the Yoga Pada of Sarvajnanottara Agama. None of these have been translated to English previously. Each is a key scripture of Saiva Siddhanta or Tamil Saivism.

The Kamika covers a large array of topics regarding the temple, from site selection, design and construction though dedication, daily puja and yearly festivals. It also covers village and residence design, various forms of initiation and much more. This is the key Agama for Saivite temple worship.

The other Agamas are largely philosophical in topic. Typical is the revered Sarvajnanottara Agama. Its chapters are: Treatise on Yoga, Direct Blissful Experience of Absolute Oneness with Siva, Nature of the Physical Self, Nature of the Inner Self, Nature of the Self Associated with Tattvas, Nature of the Self in the Form of Mantra and Nature of the Supreme Self.

On this auspicious day of Maha Sivaratri, 2015, what more could one need?

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/2/16 18:52:06 ( 896 reads )

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There the eye goes not, nor words, nor mind. We know not. We cannot understand how He can be explained. He is above the known, and He is above the unknown. Thus have we heard from the ancient sages who explained this truth to us.
-- Sama Veda, Kena Upanishad 1.3

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Our Core Ethos is Under Siege, It's Time to Take a Firm Stand
Posted on 2015/2/15 17:56:49 ( 1259 reads )

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INDIA, February 16, 2015 (Indian Express, by Jay Bhattacharjee): Last Monday, the Supreme Court, in one of its periodic displays of angst, wondered whether India would manage to preserve its secular character for long. The Homeric observations were made by a Bench which was hearing an application by a Christian organization that is demanding official recognition for courts set up under the Church's Canon Law. According to a press report, one of the judges reportedly said that "we have to stamp religion out of civil matters". Although the court in the past has also rejected attempts by Muslim religious "courts" to get legal imprimatur for their "fatwas" or pronouncements, the Bench in the recent case issued notice to the Union of India to obtain its views on this sensitive matter, instead of rejecting the petition outright, as was appropriate. Interestingly, the petitioner in the present case claims that Christians are entitled to follow their personal religious law, since Muslims are allowed to follow theirs, as in the case of the triple "talaq". It must be emphasized that demands like these have rarely come from the followers of Indic faiths and when they have, they have been rightly rejected on all occasions.

Because hundreds of millions of Muslims chose to stay behind in India, the Constitution foresaw a potential minefield in the future and made a provision for enactment of a uniform civil code that would be applicable to all citizens, irrespective of their religious affiliations. This is, however, where the Nehruvian approach triumphed over the genuine apprehensions of a number of others involved in the process. The Uniform Civil Code provision (Article 44) was made a part of the Directive Principles of State Policy

To add to the disarray, Article 25 (2)(b) allows reform of laws and institutions of the Indic religions only. Other faiths are excluded. Therefore, we had the comprehensive Hindu Code Bill that did away with many undesirable practices in the Indic faiths, but Islam and Christianity saw no such initiative. Worse, successive regimes in Raisina Hill let the genie out of the bottle and we now confront a horror scenario. This is the time to take the bull by its horns. The apex court and Union Government must now take a firm stand. Any more dithering will be disastrous.

For more, go to source

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An investigation into Hinduism as a Complex, Adaptive System
Posted on 2015/2/15 17:56:34 ( 1139 reads )

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INDIA, February 15, 2015 (Swarajya magazine, by Sanjeev Sanyal): Sanatan Dharma or Hinduism has long suffered from a very basic problem -- the difficulty of defining it. One can describe a particular sect, or philosophy, but it is not easy to explain the whole. Thus, it is not uncommon for people to ultimately fall back on saying that it is a "way of life". Unfortunately, such a definition is neither a meaningful description nor of analytical value. If anything, it causes a great deal of confusion by suggesting that Hindu religion is identical to Indic culture -- the two are obviously linked but not exactly the same. The purpose of this article is to investigate the systemic logic of Sanatana Dharma as a whole and the process by with it evolves. It is not concerned here with the philosophical content or daily practice of any of the constituent sects, traditions and philosophies.

Most world religions, particularly those of Abrahamic origin, are based on a clearly defined set of beliefs -- a single God, a holy book, a prophet and so on. These are articles of faith or axioms from which each of these religions is derived. This why the terms religion, belief and faith can be used interchangeably in these cases. In contrast, it is perfectly acceptable in Hinduism to be a polytheist, monotheist, monist, pantheist, agnostic, atheist, animist or any combination thereof. Thus Hinduism is a religion but not a faith, although constituent sects or philosophies can be termed faiths or beliefs. Instead, it should be thought of as an organic, evolving ecosystem of interrelated and interdependent elements that are constantly interacting with each other (and with the outside world).

Analyzing Hinduism as a complex adaptive system provides many important insights into the functional architecture of Sanatana Dharma. It shows that the key strength of Hinduism has been its ability to evolve, adapt and innovate. This ability needs to be actively enhanced and strategically deployed in order to keep Hinduism healthy. For instance, it may be time to revive the tradition of writing new smriti texts, a practice that went into decline in medieval times. Some orthodox Hindus may consider this presumptuous but, as already discussed, it would be in keeping with the inherent logic of Sanatana Dharma.

For much more, go to source


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/2/15 17:56:28 ( 954 reads )

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O Lord of power, if I were the Lord of herds of cattle, then I would have given to those intelligent worshippers plenty, as much as I could. Rig Veda 8.14.2

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The Hindus of the Caribbean: An Appreciation
Posted on 2015/2/14 17:33:53 ( 1398 reads )

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GUYANA, February 14, 2015 (Huffington Post, by Murali Balaji): On May 5, 1838, the Whitby, a British ship docked in British Guiana (now known as Guyana) with 249 human cargo after a nearly three-month voyage from the Port of Calcutta in India. Along the way, many of those on board were abused by the ship's crew, and five died.

The Whitby was the first of many chartered ships that would bring Indians -- mostly poor Hindus from rural northern India -- to work on the sugar cane plantations in the British West Indies. Over the next 80 years, more than 500,000 Indians would make the trip to the Caribbean as indentured servants, primarily to places such as Guyana and Trinidad. Their story -- shaped by the trauma of Transatlantic migration, struggles in a new environment, and eventually the triumph of forging a distinct identity -- continues to be an overlooked part of colonial history.

One of the most important aspects of the Indo-Caribbean experience was how Hindus adapted and changed practices to fit their new environment and hold onto traditions they felt as vital. As Gaiutra Bahadur notes in her book Coolie Woman, Caribbean Hindus were able to craft a religious identity distinct from what their ancestors in the Indian subcontinent practiced, especially since the practice of Hinduism in rural India was often governed by cultural norms that significantly shaped interpretation of religion.

More of this interesting history at source.

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At Chennai's Cricket Ganesha Temple, Prayers For India to Retain World Cup
Posted on 2015/2/14 17:33:47 ( 1395 reads )

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CHENNAI, INDIA, February 12, 2015 (NDTV): Cricket is a religion in India, quite literally. A cricket-lover in Chennai has built a Cricket Ganesha temple that has statues of Lord Ganesha in several cricketing avatars. Cricket-lovers flock to the temple to pray for the Indian team, as the World Cup kicks off in Australia and New Zealand.

The Sri Palayathamman Cricket Ganesha Temple is located in Chennai's Anna Nagar East area. Eleven Ganeshas welcome devotees and cricket lovers, installed right next to the principal deity, Amman. These include the Square Drive Ganesha swinging his bat, the Spinner Ganesha holding a ball, ready to bowl and the padded Wicket Keeper Ganesha. The star attraction is the 11-headed Ganesha, symbolizing the Indian cricket team.

The founder of this temple, Ramakrishnan, has also composed cricket bhajans, which he recites during his pooja. "Ganesha will bless both right-handed and left-handed players equally in the game, whether he's a batsman or a bowler. So, if devotees worship him sincerely, they will perform better," he says.



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