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Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/6/29 20:53:22 ( 954 reads )


When the Creator dances, the worlds He created dance. To the measure that He dances in our knowledge, our thoughts, too, dance. When He in heart-endearing dances, the several elements, too, dance. Witness in rapture surpassing the dance of that One who is a glowing flame.
-- Tirumantiram, 2786

How the Andhra Pradesh Government Is Reclaiming Temple Lands

Posted on 2016/6/26 20:50:20 ( 1388 reads )


INDIA, June 24, 2016 (Swarajya): The Andhra Pradesh government has asked state officials to evict non-Hindu farmers from agricultural land belonging to Hindu temples or mutts. No such land can now be cultivated by a non-Hindu, it said. The state government had issued the official order in November last year but is now following up on it, as the kharif (monsoon) season is starting and land leases are being renewed. "No person professing a religion other than Hinduism is entitled to obtain lease either through tender-cum-public auction or otherwise," said the state government.

The Times Of India reports today (24 June) that the Andhra government began serving notices earlier this month to non-Hindu tenant farmers to immediately hand over the land belonging to temples and mutts. Dalit Christian tenants could continue cultivating if they produced a certificate from the church declaring they aren't Christians. The certificate has perhaps been made mandatory because in the state there are many Dalits who have converted to Christianity but haven't changed their names. So, this would ensure that their true number can be known. Muslim farmers have no such respite. They have been barred altogether.

Temples in Andhra are large landowners. But since they are controlled by the government, land effectively belongs to the state. Around 300,000 acres of land belongs to the temples and 30 percent of the farmers cultivating them are Dalits. The temple authorities have issued notices to all the non-Hindus to comply with the government notification. It is pertinent to note that last year in June, the Andhra government had passed an order prohibiting temple lands from being sold or given on long lease to companies and individuals.

China is Urging People To Eat Less Meat -- Which Could have a Big Climate Impact

Posted on 2016/6/26 20:50:09 ( 1181 reads )


CHINA, June 26, 2016 (by Brad Plumer, vox.com): Here in the US, the Obama administration has been reluctant to encourage people to eat less meat for health and environmental reasons. The 2015 US Dietary Guidelines, for instance, remained fairly muted on the topic after fierce lobbying by the meat industry. But in China, where livestock emissions are soaring and obesity is on the rise, officials are being far less circumspect. The Chinese Nutrition Society (CNS) is now enlisting celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger, director James Cameron, and actress Li Bingbing in a nationwide campaign urging people to cut their meat consumption in half -- in line with new dietary recommendations. The campaign, taglined "Less Meat, Less Heat, More Life," will tout the climate benefits of lower meat consumption and feature PSAs on billboards and televisions across China.

If all 1.3 billion people in China were to follow this advice -- a big "if," but just to illustrate -- global agricultural emissions would drop 12 percent. That, in turn, would cause total greenhouse gas emissions to fall roughly 1.5 percent, more than the entire annual output of France and Belgium combined. And the savings would get bigger and bigger over the next few decades. We'd get about one-twelfth of the emission cuts needed to stay below 2 C, the report calculates. Now, obviously getting people to eat less meat will take more than the Terminator on a few glitzy billboards. But it does show how outsize an impact diets can have on climate emissions, something I've written about before. It doesn't have to entail going full vegetarian -- even just whittling down portions can make a dent.

For more, go to source

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/6/26 20:49:59 ( 1086 reads )


The joy of the vengeful lasts only for a day, but the glory of the forbearing lasts until the end of time.
-- Tirukkural

Puja and Piety Exhibit at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Posted on 2016/6/25 19:41:15 ( 1207 reads )


SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA, June 23, 2016 (The Independent): For 75 years the Santa Barbara Museum of Art has pursued a mission that includes collecting, displaying, and educating the public about the arts of Asia. Puja and Piety: Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist Art from the Indian Subcontinent demonstrates the impact that an innovative curatorial concept can have on the educational component of this project. Rather than trust the traditional triad of period, location, and style in organizing this large survey (more than 150 objects), the team behind Puja and Piety has chosen instead to employ an approach that focuses on puja, the acts of worship and propitiation that are common to Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist cultures. Objects and images from many different times and places within the Indian subcontinent are displayed together to illustrate different types of devotion, from Buddhist stupa circumambulation to Hindu feast day processions to the daily worship conducted within Jain homes at private household shrines.

Puja and Piety shows at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art (1130 State St.) through August 28. Call (805) 963-4364 or visit sbma.net.

Are Gorkhas of Indian Origin?

Posted on 2016/6/25 19:41:05 ( 1190 reads )


INDIA, June 24, 2016 (Eastern Panorama, by Nanda Kirati Dewan):
Many people have a misconception about the Gorkhas in India -- that they are foreigners and have migrated from Nepal. There could not be a greater mistake than this. The Gorkhas are in fact the aborigines of India and they can trace their history back to ancient times. The Gorkha community is the product of Indo-Aryan and Mongoloid assimilation from ages past. As a linguistic group they can trace their origin back to Indo-Aryan and Tibeto-Burman beginnings. In fact the Gorkhas consist of both Indo-Aryan and Mongoloid racial groups. In the Mahabharata and Manusmriti names of Khasa are mentioned. They are in fact the Gorkhas. The Gorkhas spoke the language then known as Khaskura Khasas as a community existed in Nepal which it later changed to another ethnic name. The Lichchhavis, one of the aboriginal tribes of India originally lived in the plains of present Nepal. During the early centuries, the Gorkhas, the aboriginal tribe in India, migrated to Nepal and established themselves there. Other groups from India also migrated to Nepal which comprised high caste Hindus.

During the Muslim invasion of India in which they occupied part of North India from the eleventh century to the sixteenth century, many Indian tribes from the plains of India migrated to Nepal for the security and safety of their religion and culture. These migrants to Nepal were mainly of high castes and powerful groups, and they themselves established their kingdoms and principalities. You can safely deduce that the major part of the population of Nepal came from India who later came to be known as Gorkhas. Gorkhas have insisted that they are not migrants to India. They say that they came to India along with their land, skills and culture. When one-third of Nepal was annexed by the British after the Anglo-Nepal War in 1815, the residents of that territory became subjects of the British East India Company. In 1857, when the crown took over India from the East India Company, the Gorkhas became citizens of British India and when India became Independent in 1947, they automatically became Indian citizens.

For more, go to source.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/6/25 19:40:54 ( 1107 reads )


It is always good to endure injuries done to you, but to forget them is even better.
-- Tirukkural

Indian Soft Power at Work: International Yoga Day Captures Global Attention

Posted on 2016/6/24 18:17:48 ( 1332 reads )


INDIA, June 23, 2016 (The Diplomat): On June 21, 2016, the world welcomed the second celebration of the International Day of Yoga - constituted last year by the United Nations through a resolution that won the support of 177 member states. In his message on Yoga Day, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon declared the importance of promoting healthier lifestyles as part of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, which all member states adopted last year.

This emphasis on the ability of yoga to balance the mind and the body was echoed also in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's own address to the nation this year. Describing Yoga Day as a people's movement of sorts, he declared that it was a healthy practice for both atheists and the religious, and the most inexpensive route to health. "At zero budget, nowhere in the world is one assured of health -- but that is what Yoga gives you. Even the poorest of the poor can do this at ease and keep themselves healthy," said Modi, reminding the gathering that no other day has received this kind of encouragement and speedy acceptance the world over.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's speech at the UN on the International Day of Yoga last year more explicitly emphasized the importance of yoga as a tool for unity and India's soft power. "Yoga serves as a reminder of the potential for men and women to live in harmony with each other, as well as with nature, at a time when violent forces are threatening to destabilize society," Swaraj said. "Yoga is an important antidote to such negativity -- to move us on the path of peace."

Christians Ask: Why Is the United Nations Promoting Yoga?

Posted on 2016/6/24 18:17:38 ( 1206 reads )


UNITED STATES, June 21, 2016 (Christian Science Monitor): On Dec. 11, 2014 a wildly popular resolution was introduced to the United Nations General Assembly. A record number of countries - 177 - were willing to co-sponsor, making it so popular, it was adopted without a vote. But the resolution was not so much a political posture, as a physical one - or rather multiple postures, or asanas, as they are called in this case. The resolution established June 21 as the International Day of Yoga. That date, the longest day in the calendar year, was suggested by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who first brought the idea of the observance before the General Assembly.

Last year was the first time the date was internationally observed, and yogis came out to celebrate across the globe: yoga mats carpeted New York's Times Square as yoga enthusiasts stretched and breathed as they moved between postures; Modi led a record-breaking 35,000 in a yoga class in Delhi; hundreds laid their mats for a yoga session beneath the Eiffel Tower in Paris; and at the UN headquarters, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon donned a white track suit and participated in the practice there. This year, the United Nations kicked off their celebration Monday night by projecting images of yoga postures onto a side of the New York City headquarters, connecting the practice to living sustainably.

However, the global spread of yoga has not come without critique, particularly because of the spiritual component of the practice, which some feel interferes with their expressions of faith. In a homily at the Vatican last year, Pope Francis cautioned Catholics against believing that yoga could open them up to God, saying "only the Holy Spirit can teach us how to love and free us from our hardened hearts." In the US, some parents whose children's school created a mindfulness class expressed concern that the program was inculcating religious and spiritual beliefs they did not necessarily share.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/6/24 18:17:27 ( 1084 reads )


O Mother! Let all my speech be your prayer; let all my crafts and technology be your worship and be the mystic gestures of my hand, adorning you. May all my movements become your devotional circumambulations. May everything I eat or drink be oblations to you. Let my lying down in rest and sleep be prostrations to you. Mother! Whatever I do, may all that become a sacramental service and worship for you.
-- Adi Sankaracharya's 'Hymn to the Divine Mother'

500 Stolen Antique Statues Seized by Tamil Nadu Police

Posted on 2016/6/23 20:45:06 ( 1084 reads )


CHENNAI, INDIA, June 21, 2016 (Hue Wire): The Tamil Nadu Police have seized around 500 stolen antique statues of Hindu deities from an alleged smuggler masquerading as an art collector. Many of the statues are over a thousand years old. The statues recovered include 254 ancient stone statues, 54 panchaloha statues, 28 wooden artefacts and 151 antique art works on canvas.

Investigators claim 84-year-old Deenadhayalan who runs an art gallery in Chennai's Alwarpet area is the kingpin of the alleged smuggling racket. Police have arrested three of his agents and have secured his home that doubled as an art gallery besides two of his other godowns in Chennai.

Police also suspect that Mr. Deenadhayalan was involved in the smuggling of antiques from the US and Europe as handicrafts bought from government owned outlets at a huge price. Many temple administrators from several parts of Tamil Nadu are now checking if their missing statues have been recovered.

Afghanistan's Dwindling Sikh, Hindu Communities Flee Abuses

Posted on 2016/6/23 20:44:56 ( 1024 reads )


KABUL, AFGHANISTAN, June 24, 2016 (by Hamid Shallizi, Reuters): On a bright day in downtown Kabul, Jagtar Singh Laghmani was in his traditional herb shop when a man turned up, drew a knife and told him to convert to Islam or he would cut his throat. Only bystanders and other shopkeepers saved his life. The incident earlier this month was the latest attack on a dwindling community of Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan, a deeply conservative Muslim country struggling with growing insecurity caused by an Islamist insurgency and economic challenges. Once a thriving minority, only a handful of Sikh and Hindu families remain. Many have chosen to flee the country of their birth, blaming growing discrimination and intolerance. For centuries, Hindu and Sikh communities played a prominent role in merchant trade and money lending in Afghanistan, although today they are known more for medicinal herb shops. According to Avtar Singh, chairman of the national council of Hindus and Sikhs, the community now numbers fewer than 220 families, compared with around 220,000 members before the collapse of the Kabul government in 1992.

Although Afghanistan is almost entirely Muslim, its constitution, drawn up after U.S.-led forces drove out the Taliban government in 2001, theoretically guarantees the right of minority religions to worship freely. But as the conflict drags on, Avtar Singh said, conditions are worse than under the Taliban, which imposed strict Islamic laws, staged public executions and banned girls from schools."The good old days have long gone when we were treated as Afghans, not as outsiders," Avtar Singh said from a temple in Kabul, all the while keeping an eye on visitors by using monitors linked to security cameras. "Our lands have been taken by powerful figures in the government, especially by the warlords. We are facing threats, and this small community is getting smaller and smaller every day," he added.

"When we go to India, we are known as Afghans, but when we are here, we are seen as outsiders even if we are native Afghan," said Baljit Singh, a shopkeeper in Kabul. "We are lost between both worlds."

Is Christiainty Disappearing?

Posted on 2016/6/23 20:44:46 ( 1033 reads )


GREAT BRITAIN, May 27, 2016 (The Guardian, editorial): Is the end of western Christianity in sight? The most recent British Social Attitudes data shows that "No religion" is now by far the largest single identification in England and Wales. It is very nearly half the adult population, and more that twice the proportion who self-identify as Anglican; it is four times the Catholic population, and more than five times the total identifying with non-Christian faiths. The same pattern is seen all across Europe and increasingly in the US too, where the first chair for the study of atheism has just been endowed in Florida.

The study also shows that Christianity is extremely bad at either making converts or retaining cradle believers. The two big denominations, the Catholics and the Church of England, lose at least 10 members for every one they convert. The figure for Catholics would almost certainly be worse were it not for immigration from Eastern Europe and South East Asia. It is only the smallest and most self-consciously sectarian forms of Christianity that manage to retain believers, in part no doubt because they feel cut off from the society around them.

Over the last 50 years "religion" has come to stand for the opposite of freedom and fairness. This is partly an outcome of the sexual revolution and of the long and ultimately futile resistance to it mounted by mainstream denominations. "The religious" now appear to young people as obscurantist bigots whose main purpose is to police sexuality, especially female sexuality, in the service of incomprehensible doctrines. Institutional resistance to the rights of women and of gay people was an exceptionally stupid strategy for institutions that depends on the labor of both. But the Church of England was so much a part of the old imperial state that life in post-imperial Britain was never going to be easy.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/6/23 20:44:35 ( 704 reads )


Whatever defect I have in my sight, in my heart or mind, may God amend! May he, the Protector of the world, bless us!
-- Yajur Veda 36.2

International Day of Yoga to Be Celebrated in a Big Way in Delhi

Posted on 2016/6/22 19:55:39 ( 883 reads )


INDIA, June 18, 2016 (Press Information Bureau): The Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India and the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) are all set to organize the 2nd International Yoga Day on June 21, 2016 at Connaught Place, New Delhi and its six radials and inner circles, roads along with the three gardens Lodhi Garden, Nehru Park and Talkatora Garden.

As many as about 10,000 participants will be performing the common protocol Yoga. The program will start at 6.00 a.m. and common Protocol Yoga by all participants will start at 7:00 a.m. and go up to 7:45 a.m. The diplomats will participate in Yoga program at Nehru Park.

Outlining the details of the Yoga event, Secretary, NDMC, Smt. Chanchal Yadav informed that volunteers from organizations like Patanjali Yoga Peetha, Art of Living, Maa Shakti, Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vidyalaya, Dev Sanskriti University, Haridwar (Gayatri Pariwar), Moraji Desai National Institute of Yoga (MDNIY), Delhi Police, NDMC, CISF, CRPF, BSF, ITBP, Walking Volunteers, General Public, VVIPs and VIPs would perform the yoga on the occasion.

More at "source" above.

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