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Don't Touch Me on My Religion...or Identity
Posted on 2015/1/15 15:58:33 ( 1208 reads )

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SOUTH AFRICA, December 14, 2014 (Times Live by S. Makhanya): Rarely do we in South Africa have a year in which someone does not touch someone else on their religion, race, culture or ethnic heritage. We have reported on recurring disputes such as the spat over fireworks during Diwali every year.

In 2002, Hindu vets Vis Pillay, Ramona Rambally, Sanil Singh and Vis Govender - who lost an eye during a fireworks display - called for a ban on "big bang" fireworks. Their call followed the tabling of an Explosives Bill, with Hindu leaders Ram Maharaj and Ashwin Trikamjee blasting policy-makers for not consulting the Hindu community before declaring that people wanting to use fireworks would have to apply for permits. In 2007, the bill was still being debated, and by 2013 nobody was sure whether a national ban on the use of fireworks at private homes was in place.

Conflicts over religious issues have not been restricted to adults. Children have often found themselves at the centre of religious and cultural battles, mostly at schools. In November 2012, we reported on a row over a Johannesburg private primary school exam set on the same day as Diwali. The matter was reported to the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities by a mother whose son attended the school.

Commission CEO Pheagane Moreroa said at the time that the matter would be cited in a report that would form part of the recommendations for a Public Holidays Act, which would propose seven more religious holy days converted to public holidays. The act remains in the works at the Home Affairs Department.

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USA Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard Visits Rev. Dada J.P. Vaswani
Posted on 2015/1/15 15:58:27 ( 1209 reads )

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PUNE, INDIA, January 13, 2015 (Sadhu Vaswani Mission): On her first visit to India, Tulsi Gabbard met Rev. Dada J.P. Vaswani on Christmas Day, December 25, 2014. This was her first-time visit to India, upon the invitation of the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. She made a halt in Pune. During this time, she attended a session at the spiritual camp arranged by the Sadhu Vaswani Mission.

Tulsi Gabbard in her address said, "I am coming to you today all the way from Hawaii in the spirit of Aloha: deep respect and open heart." She said that her motivation and inspiration has been the Bhagavad Gita, which teaches us to live for others. She first met Rev. Dada J.P. Vaswani in New Jersey earlier this year at the inauguration of the Gandhi Statue in New Jersey by Rev. Dada at the Sadhu Vaswani Meditation Garden, on May 31, 2014.

Tulsi Gabbard is the first Hindu Member of the United States Congress. She is also the first Congresswoman to take an oath on Bhagavad Gita.

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Swiss Festival Honors Cows
Posted on 2015/1/15 15:58:19 ( 656 reads )

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SWITZERLAND, September 22, 2012 (Swiss Haywards): The traditional Alpabfahrt festival in Schupfheim, Switzerland celebrates bringing the cows down from the high alps to their wintering grounds. The festival occurs all across Switzerland this time of year. The farmers and rural community are very proud of this tradition. They are also very proud of their cows. The most productive cows in the charming video (at the bottom of the page, or directly at http://vimeo.com/49976720) are the ones with the largest cowbells and prettiest decorations.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/1/15 15:58:11 ( 667 reads )

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According as one acts, so does he become. One becomes virtuous by virtuous action, bad by bad action.
-- Yajur Veda, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.4.5

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Shankaracharya of Srinigeri Announces Appointment of Successor
Posted on 2015/1/11 18:31:50 ( 1617 reads )

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INDIA, January 6, 2015 (Sringeri Press Release): Jagadguru Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha the Mahaswamiji, the 36th Jagadguru Shankaracharya of the unbroken lineage of Dakshinamnaya Sri Sharada Peetham Sringeri, has announced His decision to nominate Brahmachari Sri Kuppa Venkateshwara Prasada Sharma as His successor-designate.

In a public function organized in Sringeri on January 4, 2015, the Jagadguru expressed that with the divine will of Goddess Sharada, He would initiate Brahmachari Venkateshwara Prasad Sharma into Sannyasa on Jan 23, 2015, to continue the Guru Parampara of the 1200 year old unbroken lineage that stretches directly back to Sri Adi Shankaracharya.

Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji, the presiding Acharya of the Peetham and the thirty-sixth in the Guru Parampara, is a scholar nonpareil. Since becoming the Peethadhipati in 1989, the Jagadguru has propagated and spread the tenets of Sanatana Dharma and the Vedanta philosophy. The Jagadguru has consecrated many new temples and renovated dilapidated ones. He has undertaken several Vijaya Yatras across the country.

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Maharashtra Chief Minister Asks Police Personnel to Practice Yoga
Posted on 2015/1/11 18:31:44 ( 1373 reads )

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MUMBAI, INDIA, January 8, 2015 (Deccan Chronicle): Acknowledging the stress and pressure faced by policemen during duty hours, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday asked the officials to make yoga a part of their lives as it brings positive energy to the body and mind.

"I think yoga is essential for every individual. I am confident that after the workshop, the participants will feel nice and find a change in themselves," Fadnavis said after inaugurating a one-day yoga workshop for Mumbai Police at Prena Hall in south Mumbai. Fadnavis said everybody knows the importance of yoga, but they hardly practice it. "I think the police department should regularly do yoga," he said.

As many as 60 personnel from different police stations across the city are participating in the course in an effort to reduce stress endured by them.

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Recommended Video: Teaching Hinduism in a British Classroom
Posted on 2015/1/11 18:31:38 ( 1438 reads )

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UNITED KINGDOM, January 10, 2015 (YouTube): When teaching principles of spirituality the challenge is how to avoid the subject seeming abstract and divorced from the peoples own life experience. Beth Stockly, an religious education consultant for Brent, has devised a new scheme of work which aims to make the teaching of religion more relevant to peoples lives. She has worked with Hindu experts to develop more open units on Hinduism. This short YouTube video follows the Year 9 lesson on Hindu Pluralism. This interesting approach emphasizes different ways in which Hindus approach God.


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/1/11 18:31:32 ( 1310 reads )

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Remember, your own soul knows the reasons why you were born in this life. It knows what you need to accomplish in this birth. As a soul, you know what obstacles and challenges you need to face and overcome to grow stronger and conquer past karmic patterns through fulfilling your chosen dharma.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today

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Seeking a Bhajan/Kirtan Group Performance for Filming in Surat, Pune or Mumbai
Posted on 2015/1/10 19:10:00 ( 1436 reads )

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INDIA, January 10, 2015: Hinduism Today is producing the next parts of its series on The History of Hindu India and very much needs to find a quality bhajan/kirtan group to film for the documentary. The first part of the documentary, source above, has passed 210,000 hits on YouTube.

The need is quite specific, and tied to our film team's schedule in India right now. Any of these dates will work, but we only need to film one group:

In Surat on January 11th or 12th

OR

In Pune on January 13th

OR

In Mumbai on January 14th or 15th.



If you have a group and want to be part of this, call the documentary's Production Manager, Ankur Singh directly at 09769490286.

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Kerala Sabarimala Temple Has a Post Box That Delivers Letters to God
Posted on 2015/1/10 15:37:17 ( 1454 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 1, 2015 (India Today): A temple in Kerala on the foothills of the holy city of Sabarimala has a post office that works only during the special Sankaranti season. But what makes this post office stand apart is that it receives letters to God. People write their wish and prayers, hoping that God is reading them. Most of the mail is wedding invitations and shop openings.

This post office is offering a unusual service which is attracting a lot of attention. A post office dedicated to Lord Ayappa. Located near the famed Hindu temple at the Sabarimala hills, the post office comes alive when the peak pilgrimage season of the Ayyappa shrine begins on the first day of the Malayalam month in November, and the period ends towards the middle of January.

Situated in the mountain ranges of the Western Ghats at 3,000 feet above sea level, the Sabarimala temple is 2.5 miles uphill from Pamba in Pathanamthitta district, around 62 miles from Thiruvananthapuram. The temple is accessible only on foot from Pamba. During the last pilgrimage season, more than 4.5 million devotees visited the shrine. This season the authorities expect a 10 percent increase.

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Kendriya Vidyalayas Schools to Teach Sanskrit in Classes XI, XII
Posted on 2015/1/10 15:37:10 ( 1242 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 9, 2014 (IBN) After replacing German with Sanskrit as third language from Classes VI to VIII, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) has decided to revive a policy of teaching Sanskrit in Classes XI and XII. The decision of reviving Sanskrit as an elective in Classes XI and XII was taken at the 99th meeting of the Board of Governors of KVS held on October 27.

"The Board approved the proposal to offer teaching of Sanskrit language in Class XI from session 2015-16 in all KVs having senior secondary classes. Sanskrit (core) will be offered as one of the options in lieu of an elective subject. For this teachers may be appointed initially on contract basis," the communication said.

WIKIPEDIA NOTES: Kendriya Vidyalaya is a system of central government schools in India that have been instituted under the aegis of Ministry of Human Resource Development. It comprises over 1,000 schools in India and three abroad. The system came into being in 1963 under the name "central schools" and has been affiliated with CBSE since then. Later, the name was changed to Kendriya Vidyalaya. Its objective is to educate children of the Indian Defence Services personnel who are often posted to remote locations. With the army starting its own Army Public Schools, the service was extended (but not restricted) to all central government employees. The uniform curriculum followed by these schools all over India was intended to ensure that the children of government employees do not face education disadvantages when their parents are transferred by providing a common syllabus and system of education. It still operates after 50 years.


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/1/10 15:37:04 ( 1198 reads )

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Sugar is sweet at all times, even in the dark. So remains devotion for the devout, in times of comfort or discomfort, praises or insults, darkness or enlightenment.
-- His Divine Holiness Pramukhswami Maharaj, spiritual head of Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha

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A Little India in Myanmar, With Hindi Classes and an RSS Branch
Posted on 2015/1/8 15:53:06 ( 1720 reads )

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MYANMAR, November 13, 2014 (Indian Express): In between Myanmar's two erstwhile capitals Yangon and Mandalay lies Zayawaddy Grant, a cluster of villages and a small township. At first glance it is no different from any other small town in this country, that not too long ago was closed to the rest of the world. Look closer and the difference is apparent. Tucked between traditional wooden Burmese huts raised on stilts are two-story concrete homes that could belong to any Indian small town. Wearing traditional Burmese shirts tucked into lungis and savoring samosas and jalebis at tea stalls are many Indian faces.

Numbering over 70,000 in Zayawaddy town and surrounding villages, they are the descendants of farmers brought by the British from India -- mostly from Bihar, but also Uttar Pradesh -- to cultivate land in these parts. In the years that the military junta ruled Myanmar with an iron thumb, they largely escaped the authorities' attention and have now become Myanmarese citizens.

The Little India has a Hindu Kalyan Sahyog Samiti to take care of religious affairs, Hindi is taught to children at a sprawling Gandhi Hall and in nearly a hundred schools, a temple with statues of Shiva, Lakshmi and Radha-Krishna draws many faithful, and there is an RSS branch to "liaise" with the authorities.

More of this interesting history at 'source'.

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Celebrating 100 Years of a Vedantic Cause
Posted on 2015/1/8 15:53:00 ( 1601 reads )

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CHENNAI, INDIA, December 31, 2014 (The Hindu): Ramakrishna Math celebrated a century of the publication of The Vedanta Kesari, the monthly of the Ramakrishna Order. This century-old magazine, launched in the city, has kept its date with subscribers every month without a break.

The Vedanta Kesari, the cultural and spiritual monthly of the Ramakrishna Order, gets despatched exactly on the 24th of each month. Now in its 101st year of publication, it is priced at US$0.16 per 40-page issue.

In its long journey, it has had 16 editors who have overseen 1,179 issues running to 54,853 pages, with 15,246 articles written by 2,351 authors. All the articles are in English, with select ones translated and published in other languages.

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India Tackles Worryingly High Level of Suicides Among Young People
Posted on 2015/1/8 15:52:53 ( 1403 reads )

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INDIA, December 12, 2014 (CNN): According to a recent World Health Organization report, India has the highest suicide rate in the world for the 15-to-29 age group. It stands at 35.5 per 100,000 people for 2012, the last year for which numbers are available. Across all age groups, nearly 260,000 people in India killed themselves that year.

Bobby Zachariah, who runs a suicide prevention group, says he blames a breakdown in India's traditional family structure. "There were big families, there was a lot of support available," he says. "Nowadays, there is one child in the family," Zachariah says. "And the kind of parenting styles that were applied to them when they were kids doesn't apply to their children any more."

The Indian government took a step toward reducing some of the stigma around suicide this week, making it no longer a crime to attempt it. Officials were acting on a recommendation of a law commission report that said the desire to commit suicide should be seen as a condition needing treatment, not punishment. But in a rapidly developing India, pressures remain high to get good grades and high-paying jobs.


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