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The Aryan Imbroglio
Posted on 2015/6/20 1:42:52 ( 1008 reads )

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INDIA, June 15, 2015 (Mydigitalfc by Michel Danino): Surprisingly, whether Vedic literature, the earliest in India, begins before, during or after the Indus-Sarasvati civilisation remains an unsettled question after almost a century of Harappan archaeology. The answer hinges on whether one accepts or rejects the mainstream view that Aryan-speaking tribes swept into the Indian subcontinent around 1500 BC, some four centuries after the decline of the Harappan cities, and settled in northwest India to compose the Vedic hymns. In that perspective, the Indus-Sarasvati civilisation would be pre-Vedic and would therefore have little to do with subsequent developments in the Ganges plains, where, in the first millennium BC, a new civilisation emerges that will soon give rise to the kingdoms and empires we are familiar with, and ultimately to 'classical' India.

Mainstream or not, the Aryan theory has seen many avatars, from a brutal and massive conquering invasion swamping the indigenous people to a largely peaceful immigration limited to a few waves of 'trickling-in' Aryans. This tactical retreat -- a dilution, rather -- has been necessitated by the failure of archaeology, anthropology and genetics to support the old scenario, and their occasional success in opposing it. It would have completely faded away but for linguistics, which still insists on the origins of the Sanskritic branch of the Indo-European family of languages being located outside India -- but where and when, there seems to be no agreement in sight.

We cannot go deeper here into the complex question of the origins of Vedic culture, except to point out that the characterization ('demonization' would be more appropriate) of critics of the Aryan scenario as 'hindu chauvinists' or 'hindutva communalists' is deeply dishonest, although widespread in India as in the West. In reality, strong opposition to the Aryan paradigm was first voiced not by Indians but by European scholars such as British archaeologist and philologist Isaac Taylor (1890) or French archaeologist Salomon Reinah (1892). Several noted Indian scholars did follow suit -- PT Srinivasa Iyengar (1914), BN Datta (1936), AD Pusalker (1950), PV Kane (1953) -- as well as prominent public figures: Swami Vivekananda (1897), Sri Aurobindo (1914) or BR Ambedkar (1946), none of whom can invite the above invectives.

In recent decades, British anthropologist Edmund Leach, US bioanthropologist Kenneth AR Kennedy, US archaeologist Jim Shaffer, French archaeologist Jean-Paul Demoule, Italian linguist Angela Marcantonio, Estonian biologist Toomas Kivisild, all of them accomplished academics, have vigorously argued against the Aryan paradigm. Expectedly, our 'demonizers' have studiously ignored them, exerting themselves instead to create an impression in the public mind that hindu fanatics alone oppose the Aryan invasion/migration theory.

HPI adds: This is an excerpt from a recent SindHI-Indian Knowledge-Series article titled Ask the Past. The full article is available at source above.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/6/20 1:42:47 ( 809 reads )

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I know you are busy. At least, your mind has made you think so. Even so, can you not find some time to invite God, your Supreme Guest, to bless you--you and your life--with His all-illumining and all-fulfilling presence?
-- Sri Chinmoy, renowned spiritual leader, author, poet, artist, musician and athlete

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One Million Nepalese Slip Below Poverty Line Due to Earthquakes
Posted on 2015/6/18 4:21:26 ( 1074 reads )

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KATHMANDU, NEPAL, June 15, 6, 2015 (by Shirish B Pradhan, Outlook India News): Nearly one million people have slipped below poverty line in Nepal due to two powerful earthquakes that left about 9,000 people dead and a trail of destruction across the country. "The earthquakes have pushed 982,000 more people back into poverty due to the loss of assets and income generating opportunities," according to a report by Nepal's National Planning Commission. The draft report on Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA), which will be given final shape soon, has put the needs estimate of the country at USD 6.66 billion or nearly one third of the country's Gross Domestic Product.

The draft PDNA, prepared by the NPC working with some 250 Nepali and international experts, divides the damage assessment into 21 sectors. It has calculated the damage extent in housing and human settlements, the sector suffering the most damage, at US$3.2 billion. Damage to education and tourism is estimated at $274 million and $176 million respectively. NPC handed over the PDNA draft report to Prime Minister Sushil Koirala on Friday. Vice Chairman of NPC Govind Raj Pokharel claimed that the report will be finalised by June 18 and will include inputs from broader consultations to be organised in Kathmandu on Saturday, as well as donors' comments thereafter. The report will be tabled before the donor community at an international donors conference here on June 25 to collect resources for the post \quake rebuilding and reconstruction.

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Hinduism in America: The Looming Crisis and How to Avert It
Posted on 2015/6/18 4:21:21 ( 1247 reads )

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UNITED STATES, June 15, 2015 (by Dharma Civilisation Foundation, by Vamsee Juluri):The American Hindu community has to make some vital decisions soon on what it holds important, if not sacred, for its children and grandchildren. There is at the moment a fundamental challenge to the existential validity of Hinduism that many Hindus have not fully comprehended. Surrounded as we are by the trappings of our own seeming success as a community in America, proud of our culture and temples, we don't quite grasp that we have left ourselves incredibly vulnerable to a problem that can easily erase whatever we cherish in two generations.

There are some academicians who understand and sympathize with the everyday Hindu practitioners' views, but they do not have the support they need from the community as of now to help change the old and flawed mindsets among many of their colleagues. Despite its many achievements, the Hindu American community has been dismally poor in engaging academia. We have many successful academicians from our community no doubt, but most of them are not in positions to change the current discourse about Hinduism or about India. A professor of engineering, medicine, or management who happens to be Hindu will not be called on CNN or CSpan to counter those "experts" who insist that Hinduism is responsible for rapes and violence in India. Neither can our temple priests step up to this role. Contrast this situation with that of other major religious communities in the US: usually an expert on a religion steps up to offer positive, or at least sympathetic views of that religion, when it is under fire for real or perceived ills. We are perhaps the only major community that does not have that simple privilege.

For more of this important essay, go to source

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/6/18 4:21:16 ( 761 reads )

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Truth is not only Eternal but also unlimited and infinite. Sanatana Dharma is very simple and natural because it is based on the Laws of Nature.
-- Swami Rama Tirtha (1873-1906), one of the first sannyasins to bring Hinduism to America

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Thousands Celebrate Rebirth of Indiana Hindu Temple
Posted on 2015/6/15 3:58:08 ( 1204 reads )

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INDIANA, U.S., June 7, 2015 (Indy Star): [HPI note: Hindu temples newly established or expanded in the US seem to be in the news these days. In this HPI we report on three.]

Nearly 5,000 people went to the Hindu Temple of Central Indiana on Sunday for the final day of an inauguration event for the temple's $10 million expansion. When talking about the progression of the temple over the past decade, Vasanthi Vasudevan is amazed to see the modest building at 3350 N. German Church Road on Indianapolis Far Eastside blossom into an iconic structure that pays homage to various holy shrines across India. She is proud because more than 10,000 Hindu families in Central Indiana now have a temple that truly communicates the Vedic Sanskrit phrase, "Truth is one, the wise call it by many names."

Vasudevan was not alone, as her enthusiasm was shared by the nearly 5,000 people who went to the temple Sunday for the final day of "Maha Kumbhabhishekam," a five-day inauguration event for the temple's $10 million expansion. The Hindu Temple of Central Indiana originally opened in 2006, providing a place of worship for devotees throughout the Midwest. Indiana now has other temples, including ones in Avon, Merrillville, Lafayette and Fort Wayne.

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126 Gods Adorn New 65-Foot Hindu Temple in Flint Township
Posted on 2015/6/15 3:56:43 ( 1226 reads )

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FLINT, MICHIGAN, June 11, 2015 (M Live): There are Gods here. Exactly 126 of them. Cast permanently in concrete in a new, 65-foot temple and facing four directions. Completion of the new temple at Paschima Kasi Sri Viswanatha Temple in Flint Township happened in January. The construction of the temple, which sits outside the main worship area, completes the years-long vision for the property, said Hanuman Marur, president of the temple. Construction of the temple took more than a year.

The temple will be used for special worship occasions and ceremonies. The main worship area will continue to be in the original temple building. The new building is made of concrete and white limestone block. The roughly half-million dollar structure was funded by contributions from dozens of donors. The Paschima Kasi Sri Viswanatha Temple is the only Hindu Temple in Genesee County and one of more than a dozen in Michigan, with several in the metro Detroit region.

Photos at source.

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Minneapolis-St. Paul Hindu Temple Grows on Faith, Family
Posted on 2015/6/15 3:56:38 ( 1109 reads )

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MINNESOTA, U.S., June 3, 2015 (MPR News): Recent celebrations mark Minnesota Hindu Milan Mandir's first year in its permanent home. The mandir, or temple, is a branch of India's religious, philanthropic, charitable organization Bharat Sevashram Sangha. Satya Balroop downplays her role in building the Minnesota temple. But it wouldn't exist without her, Minnesota Public Radio News reported. In 1998, Balroop and her husband were living in New York City. As devout Hindus, they consulted their guru about moving to Minnesota, where they had relatives. "He said, 'Yes, absolutely. Minnesota is God's land. Go there,'" Balroop recalled. "And that's when he added an extra line: 'You must start a temple there,'" she recalled, laughing.

Within months, she and her family were living in Eagan and holding religious services on the first floor of their home. The next step was to transform the detached garage into a temporary temple, a place to worship until they could afford something larger. These days, the accommodations are much improved. Balroop, her family and friends pooled their savings - $165,000 - to purchase a former Lutheran church in Farmington that sat empty for years. On average, 40 families now attend weekly services.

For a slideshow and audio file click on source.

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Hindu Studies Comes to the Graduate Theological Union Berkeley
Posted on 2015/6/15 3:56:33 ( 1047 reads )

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UNITED STATES, June 15, 2015 (gtu.edu): The Graduate Theological Union is pleased to announce that the comprehensive study of the Hindu faith, one of the world's largest religious cultures, is now available at the GTU. In January, the GTU welcomed renowned professor Dr. Rita Sherma as Director of Hindu Studies, as part of the launch of its highly anticipated Hindu Studies Initiative. The GTU now offers a Master of Arts degree with a concentration in Hindu Studies as well as a Certificate in Hindu Studies. These new Hindu Studies programs can be pursued independently or in combination with any degree program at the GTU. The application deadline for all MA programs has been extended to July 1, 2015.

The GTU Hindu Studies program will focus on Hindu philosophy of religion, theology, art, and sacred texts. With this new degree option, the GTU becomes one of the first master's degree programs in North America with a clear focus on Hindu Philosophy of Religion and Theology (which integrates art and music), as well as Hinduism engaged in global issues. Dean Arthur Holder joins Professor Rambachan in celebrating this new direction for the GTU: "Many people have worked hard to bring Hindu Studies to the GTU. We can be grateful that the study of the world's third largest religious tradition is now a part of this wonderful ecumenical and inter-religious community at the GTU."

For more, go to source

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/6/15 3:56:27 ( 952 reads )

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Peace has three dimensions. Peace within ourselves, peace among nations and peace with nature.
-- Dada J.P. Vaswani, head of the Sadhu Vaswani Mission

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Legal Fight Against Yoga in California Schools Over
Posted on 2015/6/13 2:19:03 ( 1276 reads )

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ENCINITAS, CALIFORNIA, June 12, 2015 (Los Angeles Times): The legal battle to block the teaching of yoga in Encinitas public schools in northern San Diego County is finished, the lawyer who led the unsuccessful fight said Thursday. Dean Broyles, attorney for the Escondido-based National Center for Law and Policy, said that while his clients do not plan to appeal, the effort to "educate parents" about the religious intent of yoga will continue. "[We] fully expect to be engaged in future efforts to stop the deceptive religious indoctrination of our children by the state," Broyles said.

In April, a three-judge panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal upheld a decision by the San Diego County Superior Court that, while yoga has religious overtones, the program run by the Encinitas program is "devoid of any religious, mystical or spiritual trappings." Tim Baird, superintendent of the K-6 district, says the program is part of an effort to teach students the benefits of exercise and healthful eating. "We are not teaching religion, we are not instructing anyone in religious dogma," Baird said. "Yoga is very mainstream."

Under a three-year grant from a foundation which promotes Ashtanga yoga, yoga exercises are taught in twice-weekly, 30-minute classes. The parents of two students had sued, alleging that the yoga program promotes Hinduism while the district discourages any display of Christianity. The school district hired the yoga instructors and controlled the curriculum, the appeals court said. Parents can have their children opted out of the yoga instruction.

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Global Dharma Conference, September, 2015: Update
Posted on 2015/6/13 2:18:58 ( 1157 reads )

www.dharmaconference.com

UNITED STATES, June 12, 2015 (Press Release): The Hindu Students Council is pleased to announce that Pujya Swami Paramatmananda Sarawastiji as well as Pujya Swami Tattwamayanandaji accepted our invitation to address the Global Dharma Conference. Our volunteers have been working earnestly on major aspects of the Global Dharma Conference. We continue to expand our team of youth volunteers from around the country and have been engaging with various community members and leaders from New York/ New Jersey, to Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco Bay Area, South Florida, Dallas and many other places to galvanize support for the conference. The Dharma Conference Committee is dedicated to providing the best spiritual experience for all its attendees. The Conference will take place from September 11-13, 2015 at the New Jersey Convention Center, Edison, New Jersey.

For updates on the Conference progress click source above.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/6/13 2:18:50 ( 1044 reads )

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Whenever you have the chance, laugh as much as you can. By this all the rigid knots in your body will be loosened. But to laugh superficially is not enough; your whole being must be united in laughter, both inwardly and outwardly. Do you know how this is to be expressed? You literally shake with merriment from head to foot; so that it is impossible to tell which part of your body is most affected. I want you to laugh with your whole countenance, with your whole heart and with all the breath of your life.
-- Anandamayi Ma from Anandamayi--Her Life and Wisdom by Richard Lannoy

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Srouta Saiva Leader Sadguru Sivananda Murthy Passes Away
Posted on 2015/6/12 3:00:52 ( 1218 reads )

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INDIA, June 10, 2015 (Business Standard): Renowned spiritual leader Sadguru Kandukuru Sivananda Murthy died today at his Warangal residence after being indisposed for over a month. He was 87. The end came in the wee hours around 1.55 am at his home Gurudham in Warangal, where he was shifted to recently from his ashram in Bheemunipatnam in Visakhapatnam district.

Murthy has a wide following among the Telugu diaspora. He had set up several cultural trusts and also established the Andhra Music Academy. Also, he had built two ashrams at Visakhapatnam and Warangal respectively, where his mortal remains have been kept for his followers to pay their last tributes. Born on December 21, 1928 at Rajahmundry in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, the veteran guru was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Andhra University in recognition of his services.

For our feature story on the Srouta Saiva community, see Hinduism Today, October, 2013 issue:
http://www.hinduismtoday.com/modules/ ... tegory.php?categoryid=414
(note: the first four stories of the issue are all on the Srouta Saivas)

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Council Accused of Disrespect after Trying to Move Diwali Forward
Posted on 2015/6/12 3:00:47 ( 1129 reads )

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AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND, June 11, 2015 (New Zealand Herald): Investigations have begun after Auckland Council upset the Hindu community by trying to hold the Auckland Diwali celebrations a month before the actual religious festival. Diwali, the Hindu festival celebrating victory of light over darkness, falls on November 11 this year. Traditionally, devotees observe Navratri, or nine nights of prayer and puja (rituals), to deities Durga, Saraswati and Lakshmi, before Diwali. This year Navratri falls in mid October. However, the council-controlled Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed) had planned to hold Diwali celebrations in the city in mid-October.

Veer Khar, president of the Manukau Indian Association, said that made "a mockery" of the religious festival and showed "grave disrespect" to devotees in Auckland. "As you can't have Easter Monday before Good Friday, you should not even think of having Diwali before Navratri," said Mr. Khar in an email to the event organizers. Ateed external relations general manager Steve Armitage said the agency worked with event partner Asia New Zealand Foundation to determine the timing of the festival. Yesterday, the foundation's culture director, Jennifer King, confirmed alternative dates were now being looked at.

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