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Delhi's Modernized Ramlilas Prove Popular
Posted on 2014/10/4 17:44:02 ( 1018 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, October 2, 2014 (Times of India): Ramlilas in Delhi have come of age. The traditional Ramlilas, where the story evolved through several days of performances, have given way to modern shows presented by professional actors and trained choreographers. Even modern equipment is used in the shows to catch the audience's interest.

Connaught Place's Central Park has come alive with unique enactment of the Ramayana by the Indian Revival Group, a professional dance group. Open to all in the heart of CP, hundreds queued up to see the Ramlila show, which uses theatrical and dance techniques to captivate the audience. The show is unique because classical dance forms are being used in the performances.

"We want to promote our country's rich cultural heritage and we have embraced so many dance and theatrical techniques in our show, it will be a new experience for the audience," said Papiha Desai, the chief choreographer. The show spanning two hours and 15 minutes sees about 30 dancers performing in front of the live audience.

In Shriram Bhartiya Kala Kendra, organizers for the first time are using animations as part of their annual Ramlila show. "Some of the important scenes from the Ramayana which we cannot show on stage are being done through animations, for which we are using special projectors. The audience will get to see scenes like Hanuman flying to Lanka, the epic fight between Ram and Ravan, burning of Lanka, Ram crossing the bridge to Lanka and his final return to Ayodhya after defeating Ravan will come alive through projections," said director and vice-chairperson Shobha Deepak Singh.

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Bronze Statue on Display at Toledo Museum of Art Being Returned to Government of India
Posted on 2014/10/4 17:43:56 ( 980 reads )

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TOLEDO, OHIO, October 2, 2014 (Toledo Blade): A 1,000-year-old statue on display at the Toledo Museum of Art for almost a decade will be returned to the Government of India, the museum announced today. The sculpture, a bronze statue of the Hindu deity Ganesh, known as the Ganesha, has been the source of an ongoing investigation, after the U.S. Justice Department contacted museum officials regarding the statue's history and documentation.

The museum purchased the Ganesha for $245,000 in 2006 from Subhash Kapoor, a second-generation antiques dealer, who is currently facing trial in India on charges of illegal exportation, conspiracy, and forgery. Between 2001 and 2010, the museum purchased seven other pieces from Mr. Kapoor's Art of the Past gallery in New York City. Mr. Kapoor also gave 56 small terracotta statues to the museum.

While all of the items have been removed from public view, the Museum's Art Committee voted in late August to return the Ganesha, after deciding the statue closely resembles a figure listed as stolen in an Indian police report. "The evidence provided by Indian authorities was convincing. We believe the sculpture was stolen from a temple sometime before 2006," Brian Kennedy, director of TMA said. "Any item that turns out to be stolen will be returned. That's our policy."



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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/10/4 17:43:49 ( 614 reads )

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Seek the Infinite, for that alone is Joy unlimited, imperishable, unfailing, self-sustaining, unconditioned, timeless. When you have this joy, human life becomes a paradise; the light, the grace, the power, the perfections of that which is highest in your inner consciousness, appear in your everyday life.
-- Swami Omkarananda. founder of Omkarananda Ashram, Rishikesh

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The Annual Durga Statue Desecration Festival of Bangladesh
Posted on 2014/10/3 17:31:43 ( 835 reads )

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MUMBAI, INDIA, September 30, 2014 (dna India by Garga Chatterjee): In a few days, I'll go from my city home in Kolkata to my clan-abode in Patuligram village of West Bengal's Hooghly district. Ma Durga, the mother Goddess, will come alive in Patuligram as Moter Ma -- the name by which She is known there. Every year on Bijoya Dashami, Ma Durga is immersed. Her mortal children cheer expectantly 'Ashchhe bochhor abar hobe' ("It will happen again next year.") -- a call of hope and annual return.

In the People's Republic of Bangladesh, another set of annual events centred on statues of Ma Durga start somewhat earlier than the puja itself. This is the widespread desecration and destruction of Ma Durga's statues, always done by an "unidentifiable group of miscreants." The target faith community is always identifiable and predictable. Already, the pre-Puja statue-breaking campaign has picked up. 5 in Kishoreganj district, 6 in Rishipara of Gopalpur, 3 in Joari Bajar of Natore, 4 in Garua of Faridpur, 3 in Protapnagar of Sherpur and so on. Care is taken to attack late in the statue-making process and do a thorough job so that the statue cannot be repaired or replaced.

Every year, the President, Prime Minister and opposition leader will congratulate their Hindu brothers and sisters on the occasion of Durga Puja. They would utter tired phrases about Bangladesh's tradition of communal harmony and religious tolerance. A few bad unidentifiable apples -- the powers-to-be insist. The rest is fine, including those who usurped more than half of all land and property belonging to religious minorities and made them second-class citizen by introducing a State religion in the constitution.

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A Second Request: Did you Study Indian History and Hinduism in California During 6th Grade? If So, We'd Like to Hear from You.
Posted on 2014/10/3 17:31:36 ( 753 reads )



KAUAI, HAWAII, September 25, 2014 (HPI): As readers may know, the California State Board of Education's Instructional Quality Commission set in motion a 60-day review period for the revised Framework for History-Social Studies. In this revised Framework, which sets the classroom curriculum for each grade, the section on India and Hinduism has been extensively changed, in our opinion, often for the worse.

Hinduism Today is working with organizations and scholars to create a set of recommended changes to the revised Framework, and as part of that we need to demonstrate the problems created by the existing one.

We have heard anecdotal reports from Hindu students that they've been humilated in class by the nature of the sections on India, focused as they are almost entirely on caste in most books. One student went home and told his mother, "I don't want to be a Hindu any more." Another was taunted with the question, "What's your caste?"

We've appealed to parents to send us more such reports, but are not getting a big response, we believe because they don't want their school-age children to be brought into a controversy.

However, what is being taught now has been the same since the early 1990s. So you attended sixth grade in California during that time, we'd like to hear what it was like for you during the week India and Hinduism was taught.

It is very important that we collect this data immediately. Your name can be used or not as you prefer.

Send reports to Acharya Arumuganathaswami, Managing Editor, Hinduism Today Magazine: ar@hindu.org

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/10/3 17:31:30 ( 669 reads )

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Of all blessings we know of none greater than the begetting of children endowed with intelligence.
-- Tirukkural

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Durga Puja Begins Today in Bangladesh; Pandals Immediately Attacked
Posted on 2014/9/30 18:20:46 ( 1080 reads )

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DHAKA, BANGLADESH, September 30, 2014 (The Daily Star): The five-day Durga Puja, the largest religious festival of Hindus, begins today with Mahashashthi. This year Mohanabami, alongside Bijoya Dashami, the day the Deities are immersed, will be celebrated on October 3. However, Puja organizers in Dhaka have decided to immerse the Deities on October 4. Around 28,600 altars have been set up in the country, including 221 in Dhaka. Compared to last year, the numbers have increased by around 800 and nine respectively.

Bangladesh Puja Udjapon Parishad stated that miscreants attacked and vandalized at least 23 altars in 14 districts although law enforcers had claimed that adequate security measure were in place. "Five mandaps (altars) in Kishoreganj came under attack on September 18," the parishad President Kajal Devnath told The Daily Star.

Mohanagar Sarbojonin Puja Committee at a press conference yesterday demanded sufficient security measures, uninterrupted electricity and water supply, colorful decorations on government buildings, including Gono Bhaban, Bangabhaban and Nagar Bhaban; adequate measures for the smooth immersion of Deities and announcing a holiday at all educational institutions.

The central altar in the capital is at Dhakeshwari National Temple. Large ones have also been built at Jagannath Hall of Dhaka University, the Ramkrishna Mission, Ramna Kali Mondir, Tanti Bazar, Shankhari Bazar, Bangla Bazar, Banani and Dhanmondi.

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Narendra Modi Asks World Leaders to Adopt International Yoga Day
Posted on 2014/9/30 18:20:32 ( 967 reads )

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INDIA, September 27, 2014 (Indian Express): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday asked the world leaders to adopt an International Yoga Day, saying that by changing lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change. "Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day," Modi said in his maiden address to the 193-member UN General Assembly in United Nations.

Noting that Yoga is "an invaluable gift of our ancient tradition", he said: "It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature." "Yoga embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well being," he said. "By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change," he added.

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Help Sought for Directory of Indian Spiritual Organisations Functioning Abroad
Posted on 2014/9/30 18:20:26 ( 856 reads )

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INDIA, September 30, 2014 (Vivekananda Kendra): The booklet titled "The Global Vision and Mission of Swami Vivekananda, and how it inspired the Indian Spiritual Thrust World-wide" (downloadable online at http://tinyurl.com/nta7ocy) highlights the need for a Directory of Indian Spiritual Organisations Functioning Abroad, and presents the details of the Project.

It contains an appeal from the President of Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari, the Convener of the Project, who has undertaken it with the blessings and support of the leading spiritual institutions of Bharath:

"We hereby appeal and invite all concerned, world over, to be a part of this important move, for a historic Spiritual Directory, by submitting, at their earliest convenience, all the required particulars through the Form available online, at http://www.disoa.org. The contact info of our Coordinator is given in the booklet. For questions, if any, or for clarifications and further details, please feel free to contact him. We earnestly request your kind participation in this noble venture."

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/9/30 18:20:20 ( 707 reads )

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The mind alone is man's cause of bondage or release: it leads to bondage when attached to the sense objects, and to release when freed from them.
-- Krishna Yajur Veda, Maitri Upanishad

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Kullu Religious Body Decides to Continue with Animal Sacrifice Despite High Court Ban
Posted on 2014/9/29 18:51:10 ( 799 reads )

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INDIA, September 26, 2014 (Indian Express): Less than a month after the Himachal Pradesh High Court banned animal sacrifice at religious places during fairs and festivals, the caretakers of the Deities, at their rare congregation, decided to continue with the age-old tradition.

The development has created a piquant situation for law enforcing agencies, which had earlier told the caretakers' body that High Court orders would be enforced strictly to stop animal sacrifice of any sort. Its immediate effect will be in Kullu Dussehra on October 3 wherein animal sacrifice is part of the rituals.

The Dharam Sansad witnessed an overwhelming presence of representatives of the local Deities. "Just in one voice every caretaker of the 260 Deities spoke of upholding of the tradition and appealed the High Court to reconsider the order on ban as it goes against the accepted traditions and customs approved by supreme deities", said Maheshwar Singh, an erstwhile raja of Kullu, who is chief kardar (caretaker) of Lord Raghunath.

Dot Ram Thakur, president of Dev Samaj, made it clear at the Dharam Sansad that animal sacrifice is an important part of the religious beliefs in the area since ages. He said, "There cannot be changes in the tradition as it is the order of the Gods and people have to follow. No religious festival will be completed if animal sacrifice is not carried out." [The sacrificed animals are taken home and eaten by the devotees.]

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Indonesian Puppetry and a Festival of West Javanese Culture Come to Freer/Sackler
Posted on 2014/9/29 18:51:04 ( 670 reads )

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WASHINGTON D.C., September 26, 2014 (Washington Post): Epic narrative. Exquisite music. Spirited humor. And puppets. The performing-art form wayang golek has it all, says Kathy Foley, a scholar and master puppeteer who is deeply versed in this brand of theater, traditional to the Sundanese culture of West Java, Indonesia.

Wayang golek could be likened to "a combination of what we would think of as opera, Shakespeare and popular stand-up comedy," with dance (by puppets) and some "high philosophical wisdom" thrown in, says Foley, a professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz. She was speaking by phone in the lead-up to "The Miraculous Birth of Hanuman, the Monkey King," the wayang golek production in which she's scheduled to perform at the Freer Gallery of Art on Oct. 4.

The show, which dramatizes an episode from Hindu mythology, also will feature gamelan musicians from the Indonesian College of the Arts in the city of Bandung. It's all part of "Performing Indonesia: Music, Dance and Theater From West Java," a two-day festival being presented by the Smithsonian's Freer/Arthur M. Sackler galleries and the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia.

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Calling All Young Writers: Announcing HAF's 6th Annual NextGen Essay Contest
Posted on 2014/9/29 18:50:58 ( 556 reads )

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WASHINGTON D.C., September 4, 2014 (HAF): ) The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) announces its sixth annual NextGen Essay Contest, open to writers ages 14 through 27. As HAF continues its efforts to build a credible Hindu American voice, it is also working to ensure the voices of future Hindu American leaders are heard. The NextGen Essay Contest was established in 2009 to engage the youth and to continue to emphasize the importance of a Hindu American identity.

Submissions should address an issue relating to Green Living. Green Living is a hot topic these days. From eating only organic to biking to work to composting, and a growing interest in productive, yet sustainable farming, people around the globe, including researchers, are trying to find ways to live in greater harmony with the Earth. The Contest Deadline is Friday, October 10, 2014. For more details see source above.


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/9/29 18:50:52 ( 513 reads )

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I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and acceptance. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites who came to Southern India in the very year in which their holy temple was destroyed by Romans. I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the last of the grand Zoroastrian nation. I, my friends, am a Hindu.
-- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), disciple of Sri Ramakrisha

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Navratri Mandals in Mumbai Provide Wi-Fi to Feature on Social Media
Posted on 2014/9/28 17:04:04 ( 600 reads )

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MUMBAI, INDIA, September 26, 2014 (Hindustan Times): Every festive season, cultural events take the city by storm. Now, to ensure that the buzz and excitement spreads on social media as well, mandals across the city are providing Wi-Fi connections in their venues this year. This new trend can be attributed to the fact that young visitors to the mandals are fond of clicking selfies against a festive backdrop, and Wi-Fi connections allow them to promptly upload the photos on to social networking sites. This, in turn, translates into publicity for the mandals, say organizers.

While the recently concluded 10-day Ganeshotsav saw several decorative pandals equipped with high-speed Internet for the first time, even sprawling garba grounds are now offering the facility. "Mandals these days have a website, social media pages and mobile apps, but these are not enough. There is tremendous marketing opportunity in people liking and sharing photos or status updates about us on social media. That happens when visitors upload photos such as selfies on sites, or share them on messaging groups. Free Wi-Fi comes in handy then," said Ganesh Naidu, president of Naidu Club, which is celebrating the nine-day Navratri festival at Kora Kendra, Borivli (West).

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