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HAF is Hiring: Associate Director of Membership

Posted on 2016/10/5 19:56:04 ( 355 reads )


UNITED STATES, October 5, 2016 (HAF): Are you seeking a career opportunity in which your professional skills and experience align with your passion for advocacy, education, and community service? If so, working at HAF would be a perfect fit. Come join a dedicated, dynamic, and professional team working to advocate on behalf of Hinduism and Hindus worldwide. Applicants must be based in the U.S.

The position of Associate Director of Membership will develop and coordinate community awareness events and membership fundraising drives, and develop and distribute member communication and marketing materials in coordination with other staff. This position is new to the organization so the Associate Director will have some opportunity to build and carry forward his or her vision and function.

For details and qualifications see "source" above.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/10/5 19:55:54 ( 340 reads )


Time is more precious than money; it is the most valuable thing in the world. Time is life. Use it profitably in spiritual pursuits.
-- Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh (1887-1963), founder of Divine Life Society

The Rapid Christianization of Tribal Regions of Central India-the Story in Numbers

Posted on 2016/10/2 19:43:22 ( 698 reads )


INDIA, September 28, 2016 (India Facts by Shanmukh Aparna Saswati Sarkar Dikgaj): In this article, we shall investigate the Christianization of the tribals in Northern, Central and Eastern India, namely in the states of Odisha, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand (Christianization has been low in the tribal belt of adjoining West Bengal and Telangana). This is the belt extending from the rapidly Christianising Nepal to the rapidly Christianising South India. For the purpose of the article, we have grouped the Indic religions together. The Sikhs, the Jains, and the Buddhists have been grouped with the Hindus, since all these are extremely small in number.

In this article, we have examined the Christianisation of the tribal heartlands. We have shown the sharp fall of the Indic population of the tribal heartlands since independence, and in particular, in the last two decades. It is clear that though the Christianisation of the tribal region has been proceeding apace from the 1850s, it has accelerated greatly since 1991. In the second and concluding part of this article, we examine the causes, and history of this rapid Christianisation and attempt to provide some solutions to this phenomenon.

Detailed and lengthy article at "source" above.

Religion Scholars Release "Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the World's Religions."

Posted on 2016/10/2 19:43:12 ( 445 reads )


MONTREAL, CANADA, September 16, 2016: In addition to the article yesterday on the declaration, you can download the entire Declaration at:

http://worldsreligions2016.org/wp-con ... rlds-Religions-EN-WEB.pdf

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/10/2 19:43:01 ( 319 reads )


Find the One everywhere and in everything and there will be an end to all pain and suffering.
-- Sri Anandamayi Ma (1896-1982), Bengali mystic and saint

Religion Scholars Release "Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the World's Religions."

Posted on 2016/10/1 19:28:00 ( 519 reads )


MONTREAL, CANADA, September 16, 2016 (Anglican Journal, by Harvey Shepherd): An international, interfaith group of religious scholars has released a document they hope will begin a new chapter in global discussion of human rights. On September 15, a group of scholars from several countries, led by Professor Arvind Sharma, professor of comparative religion at the School of Religious Studies at McGill University, unveiled a "Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the World's Religions." The document, the product of 18 years of meetings and consultations, was released at the end of the 3rd Global Conference on World's Religions After September 11, a daylong event held in Montreal.

Brian D. Lepard, professor of law at the University of Nebraska and a member of the latest drafting committee for the document, said earlier drafts and its preamble had been changed to make a stronger stand against terrorism, recognize evolution in thinking about rights, recognize the contribution religions have made to rights and emphasize that rights are everyone's responsibility.

The preamble to the latest version states that "it is imperative that the world's religions be included as a positive resource for human rights." The world's religions, it continues, "teach the fundamental truth of the oneness of the human family."

The declaration is inspired by and seeks to complement the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948 by the United Nations, Sharma said. It seeks to balance what some regard as an undue emphasis on individualistic and Western values, he said, putting more emphasis on collective, as opposed to individual, rights. It also emphasizes duties as well as rights, and the responsibilities of people and organizations. Earlier drafts were presented at two predecessor conferences in Montreal in 2006 and 2011, as well as at several scholarly conferences in different countries starting in 1998.

More than 500 scholars and others attended to the conference. Speakers at this year's conference included Karen Armstrong, the bestselling British historian of religions and author of the recent "Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence;" veteran ecumenist Gregory Baum, of Montreal; U.S. speaker and author on mind-body healing Deepak Chopra; U.S. theologian Harvey Cox; Susannah Heschel, professor of Jewish studies at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire; Amir Hussain, professor of theological studies, specializing in Islam, at Marymount University in Los Angeles; Indian guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar; Manjit Singh, Sikh chaplain at McGill; and Charles Taylor, professor emeritus at McGill and a prominent philosopher and activist.

Iranian civil rights advocate and Nobel Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, who presented a draft of the declaration at the 2006 Montreal conference, sent a videotaped message.

In a message released just before the conference, Sharma, a Hindu, said recent conflict in the Middle East, terrorist attacks elsewhere, controversy in the U.S. presidential election campaign and other events served to underline the document's importance.

"We did not anticipate this summer of fatal fanaticism when we decided to hold the Third Global Conference on World's Religions after September 11 in Montreal this year," he said. "Little did we know while we were planning the conference that its purpose and goal would become even more relevant today."

The preamble also states that "the conscience of people of faith has been shaken by individuals and authorities within the world's religions who have failed to defend human rights and have committed atrocities and violations of human rights in the name of religion, including acts of terrorism."

This School Has the Coolest Detention - Yoga Meditation for Kids

Posted on 2016/10/1 19:27:49 ( 426 reads )


BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, September 23, 2016 (Morning News USA): What would a school do when one of its students misbehaves? Detention is one common action. But Robert W. Coleman Elementary School in Baltimore is doing something unique -- meditation. Detention is a common disciplinary action among schools to address students' misbehaviors. It involves a trip to the guidance counselor for a series of activities, depending on the extent and degree of misbehavior.

The school set up a room called Mindful Moment Room, in partnership with Holistic Life Foundation. The room is not the typical cold, lifeless, white-walled empty room with the bare essentials. The Mindful Moment Room has lamps, artsy decorations, and purple pillows. When kids are sent to this room, the aim is to help them practice meditation by teaching them breathing exercises, and encouraging talk therapy. Kids meditate about their behavior, talk about the things that led to the misbehavior, and discuss ways to avoid such incidents from happening in the future.

For a decade now, Holistic Life Foundation has been offering a program called Holistic Me, an after-school meditation program for pre-kindergarten to fifth graders. They partnered with Robert W. Coleman Elementary School and created a mindfulness exercise program, and yoga practice to be included in the school's system.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/10/1 19:27:39 ( 311 reads )


For seven lives in seven bodies the grateful will remember friends who relieved their anguish and affliction.
-- Saint Tiruvalluvar's Tirukkural, verse 107

Pakistan National Assembly Passes Hindu Marriage Bill

Posted on 2016/9/27 17:58:02 ( 727 reads )


PAKISTAN, September 27, 2016 (News 18): Six decades after it came into existence, Pakistan gave nod to a Hindu Marriage Bill that seeks to set up a legal framework for marriage and divorce [previous non-existent for Hindus] besides addressing issues including forced conversions. The Hindu Marriage Bill 2016 was tabled before the Pakistan National Assembly by Human Rights Minister Kamran Michael and was passed unanimously. The bill will now be forwarded to the Senate for consideration and passage.

According to The Express Tribune, the bill will institutionalize all legal rights relating to marriage. "All Hindu marriages will be registered in accordance with the provisions of this act. Such registration shall take place within 15 days of a marriage. Hindu widows will now have the right to remarry of their own free will six months after the death of her husband, according to the provisions of the bill. The bill will also help put an end to the practice of abduction of married Hindu women," it said.

California Department of Education Calls for Textbook Reviewers

Posted on 2016/9/27 17:57:52 ( 561 reads )


SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, July 2016, (CDE press release): The California Department of Education and State Board of Education (SBE) are seeking reviewers to participate in the 2017 History-Social Science Instructional Materials Adoption for grades kindergarten to 8. Reviewers will evaluate the instructional materials for alignment to the California history-social science standards and the newly revised history-social science curriculum framework, utilizing the standards maps and evaluation criteria maps that have been approved by the SBE for this adoption.

Information about this review and the online application process is available on the CDE HSS Instructional Materials Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/hs/im/. The deadline for submission of applications is October 19, 2016. For more information, contact: 916-319-0447 or kmcdonal@cde.ca.gov.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/9/27 17:57:41 ( 378 reads )


There are three kinds of devotees. The inferior devotee says, "God is out there" and thinks God is different from His creation. The mediocre devotee says, "God is antaryami, the inner guide who dwells in everyone's heart;" thus the mediocre devotee sees God within. But the superior devotee sees that God alone is everything, for He has become the twenty-four cosmic tattvas. That devotee finds that everything, above and below, is filled with God.
-- Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836-1886)

Priests Object to Online Pind Daan, the Post-Death Rituals

Posted on 2016/9/26 19:21:01 ( 562 reads )


INDIA, September 26, 2016 (by Amrita Verma, The Asian Age): Hindu priests in Allahabad and Varanasi demanded a ban on performing the pind daan, a post-death ritual believed to ensure salvation for departed souls, over the Internet. The pind daan is performed mainly during the Pitra Paksh, a 16-day lunar period during which Hindus pay ritual homage to their ancestors.

Pandit Kishore Upadhyaya, a priest from Varanasi, said that the growing trend of offering online pind daan was "unethical" and should be banned. "The ritual requires the person to be physically present and make offerings to the departed souls. It is an elaborate ritual and cannot be performed in absentia," he said.

According to him, a large number of websites now offer "online tarpan" for a price. These websites are doing big business, but the people are being duped, he said. "We understand that working people are short on time and cannot travel to religious places like Gaya, Allahabad, Varanasi or Haridwar to perform the ritual, but they can opt for the ritual in their own cities. In fact, some religious organisations even arrange for collective pind daan for those who cannot afford to travel," he said.

Another Varanasi priest, Pandit Shiv Misra, said that the idea of online pind daan was "ridiculous," and should be stopped. "This is almost like asking someone else to eat or sleep for you. How can anyone else pray for me? The websites that are offering the 'services' take money and then claim to have performed the rituals for your ancestors," he said.

The priests have decided to take up the matter in the annual Magh Mela that is held in Allahabad in January and ask the Dharam Sansad to convince the government to ban the virtual pind daan services. "We have come to know that a website that offers virtual 'pind daan' in Varanasi, is receiving 200-250 requests every day which means a large number of people are being fleeced," said Pandit Shiv Misra.

History of India Visually Over 5,000 Years

Posted on 2016/9/26 19:20:51 ( 0 reads )


INDIA, May 2016 (You Tube): This video will show the entire history of India from 29th century BCE to 2016 in the form of an ever-changing map indicating the location of the cultures and empires that existed over the centuries. Indus Valley and Vedic periods are shown as they changed decade by decade, after 413 bce, the maps change each year. The 12-minute video shows the growth and demise of dynasties, empires and kingdoms in India and Sri Lanka from 2800 BCE right through to 2016.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/9/26 19:20:40 ( 333 reads )


The sages, being filled with universal love for all beings, did not want to keep their enlightenment to themselves. They declared to all: "O mortals, striving and struggling upon this Earth plane, weeping, wailing, buffeted by the vicissitudes of life: we have come upon a great discovery. There is something beyond these appearances, these vanishing names and forms that go to make up this universe. There is something beyond, which is the very source and support of all these objects of the phenomenal world. Why do you search in vain for happiness outside? Come, come, happiness resides within."
-- Swami Chidananda (1916-2008), president of Divine Life Society

Sri Ramanuja: The Great Integrator

Posted on 2016/9/25 19:13:34 ( 488 reads )


INDIA, May 5, 2016 (The Hindu, by Dr. Prema Nandakumar): What makes Sri Ramanuja relevant today? Dr. Prema Nandakumar writes on the saint-philosopher in the context of his 1,000th birth anniversary. One thousand years have gone by. Ten centuries. In India alone, there were so many kingdoms which tried their best to put an end to the religious and cultural traditions that had flourished from time immemorial. In spite of all that, Vedic culture not only survived but also gained new spaces. The adherents of the culture have had the benefit of leadership by spiritual personalities from time to time, re-formatting the culture in a positive manner without losing any of its seminal strengths. Of such great men, Sri Ramanuja, who was born in the 11 century, takes the pride of place as he remains relevant even today.

How shall we crown Sri Ramanuja? Is he a fine-tuned philosopher or a poet? Does his sociological thinking exceed the commentator? Does he loom large as a temple-builder or as a management expert? Does his concern for helping the common man out-top his blazing spirituality? Is he greater as a student or as a teacher? A deeper and wider engagement in his life and ministry makes it very, very difficult to decide. But one thing is clear. His virtue was compassion: his means, integration. The two main reasons why Sri Ramanuja remains perfectly relevant even today.

Sister Nivedita said that the history of India is the land itself. Applied to Sri Ramanuja, we can read his life in the temples, the rituals he set up, in his philosophy and poetry, and his untiring and patient moves to bring down man-made differences and integrate the society by applying the ideal of compassion. "He (Ramanuja) felt for the downtrodden, he sympathised with them. He took up the ceremonies, the accretions that had gathered, made them pure so far as they could be, and instituted new ceremonies, new methods of worship, for the people who absolutely required them. At the same time he opened the door to the highest; spiritual worship from the Brahmin to the Pariah." That was Ramanuja's work.

Much more at "source" above.

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