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Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/12/27 20:19:08 ( 351 reads )

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There is nothing higher than dharma. Verily, that which is dharma is truth.
-- Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.14



Dr. B.B. Lal Honored by Indian Council of Historical Research


Posted on 2016/12/25 11:36:53 ( 645 reads )

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INDIA, December 24, 2016 (Swarajya): Professor Braj Basi Lal, the renowned archaeologist and author of the book "Rama, His Historicity, Mandir and Setu," has been awarded the first Gurukul Fellowship by the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), reported Anubhuti Vishnoi for the Economic Times. The ICHR's two-year fellowship has been introduced with the aim of promoting the traditional "Guru-Sishya parampara," or teacher-disciple tradition.

Prof. Lal's 2008 book had created an uproar of sorts, where he had made the argument for the presence of a temple-like structure beneath the now-demolished Babri Masjid. In his book, he had written: "Attached to the piers of the Babri Masjid, there were twelve stone pillars, which carried not only typical Hindu motifs and mouldings, but also figures of Hindu deities. It was self-evident that these pillars were not an integral part of the Masjid, but were foreign to it."

Besides his work on the Ramayana sites, Prof. Lal has worked on the archaeology of the Indus Valley civilisation and Mahabharata sites, including Hastinapura. The discoveries of many Painted Grey Ware sites in the Gangetic plain can also be attributed to him and his teams. He is also widely published in national and international scientific journals. He has been Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India, and also received the Padma Bhushan in 2000.



New Passport Rules: Hindu Sadhus Can Apply Giving Their Guru's Name


Posted on 2016/12/25 11:36:43 ( 642 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 23, 2016 (India Today): Revising its passport application rules, the Ministry of External Affairs today allowed sadhus and sanyasis (Hindu saints and hermits) to apply for the travel document by giving their spiritual Guru's name instead of their biological parents.

"Sadhus/ Sanyasis can apply for a passport with the name of their spiritual Guru mentioned in the passport application in lieu of their biological parent(s) name(s) subject to their providing of at least one public document such as Election Photo Identity Card (EPIC) issued by the Election Commission of India, PAN card, Adhar Card, etc wherein the name of the Guru has been recorded against the column(s) for parent(s) name(s)," a ministry statement released today.



Hinduism Today Magazine Planning Coverage of Sikkim


Posted on 2016/12/25 11:36:33 ( 764 reads )



KAUAI, HAWAII, December 25, 2016: Hinduism Today magazine is seeking advice and contacts for our teams coming trip to Sikkim to report on Hinduism in that mountainous state. Our India correspondent, Mr. Rajiv Malik of Delhi, and photographer Thomas Kelly of Kathmandu will likely be there in mid February. Please email ar@hindu.org with your suggestions of places to visit and people to meet.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/12/25 11:36:22 ( 399 reads )

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Hindus profoundly know that God is the same Supreme Being in whom peoples of all faiths find solace, peace and liberation. Nonetheless, we realize that all religions are not the same, and the doctrines of one often conflict with those of another. Even this should never be cause for religious tension or intolerance.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927 - 2001)



Rohingya Muslim Refugees in Jammu Cause for Concern


Posted on 2016/12/23 19:39:51 ( 632 reads )

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JAMMU, INDIA, (Sputnik News): Hundreds of persecuted Rohingya Muslims migrants from Myanmar have found a new home in the Jammu region of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. But the largely Hindu population of Jammu sees this as a ploy by the Muslim dominated state government to create instability in the region. People of Jammu fear continued migration of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar may reduce them to a minority in their own homeland. Chief patron of the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party and former lawmaker, Bhim Singh told Sputnik in an exclusive interview termed the migration "a big conspiracy and the state government is responsible for this. More than 23,000 Rohingya Muslims have taken shelter in Jammu. Everybody in Jammu, be it Hindu or Muslim, is worried. A state level delegation recently met Federal Home Minister Rajnath Singh and expressed their concerns about the Rohingyas but didn't get any concrete assurance." In fact, security agencies also see Rohingya Muslims as a security threat as Jammu region is close to the Pakistan border. Rohingyas, thought to be originally from Bengal and who now mainly live in Myanmar's Rakhine province are fleeing their homeland due to persecution. About three to four million have fled to Bangladesh, India, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Thailand.



Prominent Antiquities Dealer Accused of Selling Stolen Artifacts


Posted on 2016/12/23 19:39:41 ( 430 reads )

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, December 21, 2016 (New York Times): One of New York's most prominent antiquities dealers was arrested Wednesday on charges that she obtained millions of dollars in stolen artifacts from international smugglers and sold them illegally -- often through major auction houses -- by creating fraudulent documents to camouflage their history.

In a complaint filed in Manhattan Criminal Court, prosecutors with the district attorney's office say that the dealer, Nancy Wiener, and several co-conspirators have trafficked in illegal antiquities since at least 1999. Prosecutors say the charges arose from months of interviews with confidential informants, an examination of thousands of emails and other seized documents, and years of investigations into international smuggling networks. The authorities raided Ms. Wiener's gallery in March.

Ms. Wiener and her mother, Doris, who died in 2011, are legendary among New York's elite dealers. They are credited with helping kick off the market in Indian and Southeast Asian art. The complaint against Ms. Wiener provides a rare look at how looters, smugglers, art dealers and others may conspire to plunder relics from Indian shrines or Cambodian jungle temples, ferry them into the United States, give them fake pedigrees, and burnish them for sale as lawful imports.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/12/23 19:39:30 ( 415 reads )

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There is no physical world for me. All I see, I see it as the glorious manifestation of the Almighty.
-- Swami Sivananda (1887–1963), founder of the Divine Life Society



Madras High Court Threatens to Scrap Tamil Nadu Government Control of Hindu Temples


Posted on 2016/12/22 20:04:48 ( 541 reads )

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CHENNAI, INDIA, December 21, 2016 (Times of India): The Madras high court on Wednesday threatened to abolish the Hindu religious and charitable endowments (HR&CE) department of the Tamil Nadu government and even abrogate the HR&CE Act. The court summoned the HR&CE department commissioner to remain personally present before the first bench on Thursday.

The department wields administrative control over moveable and immoveable assets of temples, valued at a couple of lakh crores of rupees (US$15 billion) and several thousand temples -- small, medium and big - directly come under it. At least on paper, these temples own about 478 thousand acres of land, 22,500 buildings, besides more than 30,000 vacant sites. Antique statues, temple jewellery and other valuables defy valuation. It controls more than 36,000 temples.

It all started with a PIL filed by a devotee bringing the issue of irreparable damage being caused to ancient heritage temples in the state, in the name of renovation by the HR&CE department. Shocked by the photographs and other proofs showing reckless construction activities right inside some of the oldest and best known temples in the state, the first bench formed a panel, headed by senior advocate P.S. Raman, to inspect the temples and file reports to court.



Where Buddhism's Eightfold Path Can Be Followed With a Six-Figure Salary


Posted on 2016/12/22 20:04:38 ( 485 reads )

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PATHUM THANI, THAILAND, December 20, 2016 (New York Times): HPI Note: This article worth reading for the shear scale and showmanship of the temple's gatherings as shown in the article's opening photograph.

It is a temple for a changing Thailand: clean, unadorned, high-tech and unashamed of praying for wealth. "Sit here and get rich," read small medallions embedded in the floor under each white plastic chair in a vast, open-sided meditation center. In his sermons, the temple's charismatic 72-year-old leader, Phra Dhammachayo, often exhorts his adherents, "Be rich, be rich, be rich!"

With its endorsement of worldly comforts and its no-nonsense approach to ritual, the temple, known as Wat Dhammakaya and the largest in Thailand, has attracted the allegiance of growing numbers of followers in a movement whose popularity has unsettled the government and the Buddhist hierarchy. The authorities have long tried to clip its wings, and for the past month the police have been threatening to arrest Phra Dhammachayo despite a warning by the temple that it would mobilize a human shield of chanting monks to protect him.

The charge against him is embezzlement, the latest of many accusations that stretch decades, while the top body of Buddhism has accused him of heresy. Last week, it stripped him of his title, though that does not seem to have threatened his status on the grounds of Wat Dhammakaya. The temple is the spiritual embodiment of the social and economic dislocations that have shaken Thailand. The economic boom of the 1980s created a well-to-do middle class for whom money-making rivaled Buddhist tradition as a core value. They needed something that brought the two together.

Much more at "source" above.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/12/22 20:04:18 ( 299 reads )

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Bhakti is nothing but the devotion we show to the divinity that resides within us. Once we regard the divinity within us with devotional fervor, we are bound to develop the same affection towards everything outside, for the same divine truth runs through all things.
-- M.S. Subbulakshmi (1916-2004), renowned Carnatic singer



Cambodian Scholar Becomes Country's First Sanskritist


Posted on 2016/12/19 19:42:14 ( 678 reads )

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CAMBODIA, December 20, 2016 (by Hanna Hawkins, Cambodia Daily): Chhom Kunthea became Cambodia's first Sanskritist on Friday after receiving a doctorate for her research on the impact the ancient Indian language- on the Khmer language. It is widely accepted that the country's primary language could not have developed effectively without interacting with Sanskrit, which is believed to have arrived on Cambodia's shores with Indian merchants sometime around year one on the Gregorian calendar. The language was used for written records during the Khmer Empire for more than 1,000 years, researchers believe.

Lois de Menil, the former chair of the Center for Khmer Studies, which provided financial support for Ms. Kunthea's studies, said knowledge of Sanskrit was crucial to learning more about Cambodia's distant past. "A major portion of Cambodia's ancient history, as recorded on stone inscriptions and in documents, is in Sanskrit because of the enormous influence of Indian culture on Khmer civilization in past centuries," she said in an email. At the time Ms. Kunthea began her studies, Sanskrit was not taught at any Cambodian universities, she noted, meaning: "No Cambodian students could therefore access this central component of Cambodia's historical heritage."



First time, Church says: Dalit Christians Face Untouchability


Posted on 2016/12/19 19:42:04 ( 431 reads )

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INDIA, December 20, 2016 (by Liz Mathews, India Express News): For the first time in its history, the Indian Catholic Church has officially accepted that Dalit Christians face untouchability and discrimination, and that "their participation in the level of leadership... at the higher levels is almost nil." These admissions are contained in a policy document prepared and released Monday by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), the apex decision-making body of the community, which seeks to abolish all forms of exclusion of the socially backward section and empower them. The 44-page document, titled "Policy of Dalit Empowerment in the Catholic Church in India," asks the 171 dioceses to submit long and short-term plans within a year to end all kinds of discrimination against Dalit Christians. "If there are dual practices based on caste discrimination, such practices should be stopped forthwith. In case of failure to do so, stringent measures should be taken by the Church authority concerned," says the document.

Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos, president, CBCI, told The Indian Express: "It's a revolutionary step. We are admitting that it's a grave social sin, an issue and a problem. It's a sin, if you are going by the Christian spirit. This is a step to end the practice of discrimination within the church. It's a message as well as an introspection."



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/12/19 19:41:54 ( 362 reads )

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Awareness is ever there. It need not be realized. Open the shutter of the mind, and it will be flooded with light.
-- Nisargadatta Maharaj (1897–1981), Hindu sage



Hinduism Today's January/February/March 2017 Now On-Line


Posted on 2016/12/18 19:50:43 ( 493 reads )

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KAUAI, HAWAII, December 18, 2016: Hinduism Today's January/February/March 2017 issue has gone to press and is now available online free of charge at source above. You can also download our free Hinduism Today app and get the full magazine on your mobile device at bit.ly/HT-APP.

Our feature story by Rajiv Malik this issue takes you to the holy city of Mathura, where you can walk in history's footsteps, visit the temples you have heard about and witness spectacular Holi celebrations, with their wild colors and festive observances. This is a deeper look into the region than you may have ever seen, thanks to Arun Mishra's amazing photography.

Our 16-page Insight section is a kid-friendly spiritual catechism, taken from Himalayan Academy's latest book: "The Path to Siva, A Catechism for Youth." This fully illustrated catechism presents basic questions about the Saivite Hindu path, and answers them in language meant for 12 to 15-year olds. It is a great resource for parents seeking to pass tradition on to the next generation.

We cover the environment from the Hindu perspective in Mat McDermott's assessment of the impact of the meat industry on Earth's climate. You will be informed and surprised at the discoveries he shares.

Our publisher, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, talks about what makes us happy. Not just the ephemeral happiness of a sale at the mall, but a deeper bliss that lasts a lifetime and endures through life's challenging moments. Enjoy his practical wisdom and tools for keeping consciousness in the higher chakras.

Culture is big in this issue. Two sisters share their love of dance, the tribe that tattoos its entire body with the name of Lord Rama is visited, a teenage girl writes about her guru's visit to London, and journalist Choodie Shivaram interviews families whose sons and daughters have renounced the world, to ascertain reactions to this age-old life choice that is seldom seen in the West but is happens in the East.

Our Hindu of the Year is honored, too. It is Morari Bapu, one of India's greatest practioners of Ram Katha. He has conducted not just a few, but over 750 song and storytelling events to uplift devotees around the globe. As if that were impressive, consider that these events last all day and into the night, for nine days each! Hinduism needs ten thousand more like Pujya Morari Bapu.

There's still more inside the magazine, including our fun Quotes & Quips with cartoon, an excerpt from recently translated Agama verses, the California textbook issue updated, and one woman's editorial on how we can all be better ambassadors for our faith. Check it out!

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