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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/2/8 16:52:10 ( 1864 reads )

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If you believe in telekinesis - raise my hand!

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Hindu Devotees, People of Other Faiths, Celebrate Thaipusam in Singapore
Posted on 2015/2/7 12:51:34 ( 1916 reads )

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SINGAPORE, February 4, 2015 (Channel News Asia): The Hindu festival of Thaipusam in Singapore was not only observed by Hindus, but also people from other religions. Devotees started to gather at the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple at Serangoon Road from Monday night, with some of them bearing kavadis, while others carried milk pots. The devotees took part in the procession to the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple at Tank Road, about 4.5 kilometres away, by foot. This is a form of penance or thanksgiving to Lord Murugan.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Teo Chee Hean graced the event on Tuesday morning. He said festivals like Thaipusam reflect the mutual respect and understanding that the different races and religions have in Singapore.

"Thaipusam is deeply meaningful for the devotees and is a part of our multi-racial, multi-religious landscape in Singapore," said Mr Teo. "I was told the first spike kavadi carrier was actually Chinese. It shows the mutual respect, mutual understanding that we have among all our races and religions in Singapore."

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Welcoming Guests, Tengger Style
Posted on 2015/2/7 12:51:28 ( 1636 reads )

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EAST JAVA, INDONESIA, February 4, 2015 (Jakarta Post): Mount Bromo in East Java is inseparable from the Tengger people who live in Malang, Pasuruan, Probolinggo and Lumajang -- and in over a dozen villages in the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. The Tengger, who have lived in the area for centuries, are descended from Majapahit royalty. Many adhere to a distinct form of Hinduism, although there are also Muslim and Christians.

Most make their living as farmers. Unsurprisingly, their rituals are focused on nature. The Tengger lead modest lives, receiving outsiders warmly while preserving their group's identity. This was evident when some Tengger recently welcomed members of the Blazer Indonesia Club automotive community to the vast sand plain around Mount Bromo.

The Tengger are happy to welcome guests formally, provided their intentions are good and that they agree to adhere to local customs. "They can [be welcomed] in a village or even in the sand, like now," Karyadi said. Karyadi said the welcome ritual was meant to beseech the consent of the Supreme Power of the universe to the attainment of the visitors' goals.

More of this interesting history at source.

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Plurality in Hinduism Shouldn't be Used to Deny its Integrity
Posted on 2015/2/7 12:51:21 ( 1826 reads )

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INDIA, February, 4, 2015 (Swarajya): Vamsee Krishna Juluri, Professor of Media Studies and Asian Studies at the University of San Francisco, discusses his new book, "Rearming Hinduism", and takes to task academics and media commentators for their concerted campaign against Hindus and Hinduism. Prof. Juluri's earlier work has focused on media and media influences, especially in the Indian context. His two books, "Becoming a Global Audience and Television" and "Bollywood Nation" establish his reputation and standing as a media scholar. His commentaries and op-ed articles have appeared regularly in the Huffington Post, Times of India, Open, and other newspapers and magazines, and his latest foray is into India and Hinduism studies, and his book "Rearming Hinduism" (Westland Press), already published as an e-book, will be out in print in early February 2015 (visit www.rearminghinduism.com for more information).

In this book -- a passionate, inspired, and even lyrical account of the nature of Hindu beliefs, practices, and faith -- Prof. Juluri focuses his ire and his disapprobation on Western academics and media for a calculated campaign of calumny against Hinduism and Hindus. He does not spare the Indian Left/liberal elite for their participation in this demonization and marginalization campaign, and argues that only with a celebration of the timeless values enshrined in Hinduism can the world discover afresh the essence of life and love.

For more, go to source

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/2/7 12:51:15 ( 1479 reads )

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No fault befalls a king who, in guarding and caring for his subjects, punishes wrongdoers, for that is his duty.
-- Tirukkural

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Last Bathing Day of Magh Mela Witnesses Five Million Devotees
Posted on 2015/2/6 18:33:08 ( 1516 reads )

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ALLAHABAD, INDIA February 4, 2015 (Times of India): More than five million devotees including seers and kalpwasis (pilgrims to this festival), took the last holy bath in Ganga on the occasion of Maghi Purnima on Tuesday, marking the end of the month-long Magh Mela. The day also marked the end of Hindu month of Magh and the month-long kalpwas (kalpa or ritual is one of 6 disciplines traditionally associated with the study of the Vedas). The majority of kalpwasis, performing the rituals and seeking salvation on the banks of Ganga for the past month, left the Mela area after taking the holy bath.

SP, Mela, Neeraj Pandey told TOI, "No untoward incident was reported, and the last bath passed off peacefully. Heavy rush was witnessed at all the 11 ghats since Monday night and more than 4.3 million devotees had taken holy bath till 4pm."

Since the number of devotees kept on increasing on the occasion of Maghi Purnima, the police officials didn't let anyone stay on the ghats for a long time. However, this did not dampen the enthusiasm of the pilgrims, who arrived from across the state including from neighboring districts like Pratapgarh Bhadohi, Mirzapur and Kaushambi.

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Seychelles Hindu Devotees show their Mettle at Thaipoosam Kavadi Festival
Posted on 2015/2/6 18:33:02 ( 1593 reads )

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VICTORIA, SEYCHELLES, February 4, 2015 (Seychelles News Agency): Hindus from all over the world celebrate the annual Thaipoosam Kavadi Festival, and the island archipelago of the Seychelles, located in the western Indian Ocean, is no different. Devotees of the Hindu Deity Lord Muruga flocked into the streets of the nation's tiny capital, Victoria, on the main island of Mahe on Tuesday to partake in the colorful event to the fascination of onlookers. The Seychelles, with its population of 90,000, has a small minority (around four percent) of permanent Indian inhabitants. The Indian community is among some of the earliest settlers of the Seychelles islands, mostly from southern Tamil Nadu and some from the north-western province of Gujarat.

The Hindu Kovil Sangam, the local religious organisation for most Hindus in the country, invited the public to participate in the procession, which ended off at the Navasakthi Vinayagar temple dedicated to Lord Muruga, the warrior Deity followed primarily by Hindus of Tamil origin. The festival is observed in countries where there is a significant presence of Tamil people, including India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mauritius, South Africa, Singapore, Guadalupe, Reunion, Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar.

On the morning of the festival, male devotees shaved their heads and proceeded along the narrow streets of Victoria lined with onlookers while carrying various types of kavadi. The simplest type of kavadi is a pot of milk, but they commonly entail elaborate and colorful frames pulled or balanced by means of skewers or hooks pierced into the flesh. When the procession finally arrives at the temple, the devotees offered pots of milk to anoint Lord Muruga and to pray for His blessings.

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Super Bowl Winning Quarterback Tom Brady Keeps a Ganesha Statue in His Locker
Posted on 2015/2/6 18:32:56 ( 2062 reads )

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GLENDALE, ARIZONA, February 2, 2015 (USA Today): [Tom Brady is the quarterback of the New England Patriots American football team which had just won the Superbowl.]

When Tom Brady reached his locker, about an hour after victory and a series of interviews, he was done talking to the news media.

But his locker spoke for him. Prominently displayed was was a four-inch bronze elephant-headed statue -- Ganesha, the Hindu God. Or as Brady quietly told a visitor, "The Remover of Obstacles."

Two team officials shielded him from the news media with the same intensity that the New England Patriots offensive line protected him from the Seattle Seahawks. "Tom's done," one shouted as the MVP-winning quarterback arrived. But the locker spoke. Ganesha, remover of obstacles, almost beckoned to the curious.

Ganesha illustrates the spiritual side of his psyche developed with trainer and adviser Alex Guerrero. But the spiritual is coupled by mental commitment, evidence by more items in his locker. Lying next to Ganesha were five note cards and handwritten notes that included: "Bend knees more on drop." And, perhaps most important, "Be on toes."


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/2/6 18:32:50 ( 957 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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Releasing Hindu Temples From The Clutches of Indian Government
Posted on 2015/2/5 16:20:00 ( 1250 reads )

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INDIA, February 3, 2015 (By Rajiv Malik, for HPI and Hinduism Today magazine): a large number of NGO's representatives, social activists and intellectuals participated in a one-day conference on the subject- "Towards a Rational Government Policy for NGO's," organized by Indic Studies Network, Centre For The Study of Developing Societies [CSDS] at Delhi's prestigious India International Centre on Saturday, January 31st, 2015.

There was a near consensus that all the NGO's in India must complete the requisite formalities as laid down for them by law and that they must work transparently and put all the details of their accounts on their websites for public perusal and scrutiny. Government on its side must have a clear cut and rational policy so that those working within the framework of law can function in a smooth manner. There is a need to clearly define what constitutes "anti-national" so that there is no harassment of select NGO's due to lack of clarity on this account.

Though there was a heated discussion on whether or not NGO's should accept donations from international agencies, in view of their having to serve the interest of these agencies, in many cases, no clear consensus could be arrived on this as there were many who were in favor of foreign aid as getting aid from the government in India was pretty cumbersome and time consuming. There was also a feeling that if the foreign donations were spent on good projects and were helpful to various communities, they should be welcomed.

Expressing her views, Madhu Purnima Kishwar, Professor, CSDS and founder of Manushi magazine and Manushi Forum For Women's Rights and Democratic Reforms, strongly opposed the dependence of Indian NGO's on foreign money, said, " Right from the very inception of Manushi in 1978 we decided not to be tied to the apron strings of international donors and even to our government for that matter. It was very tough and some said a very foolhardy decision as we started Manushi with a mere 800 rupees of our own contribution. Even this sum was a princely sum keeping in view that my own monthly salary in those days was around 600 rupees. We also took an unusual decision to not accept any commercial advertisements and depend just on the subscriptions and support of our readers."

According to Madhu, "Since Manushi was set up to bring social and political reforms in India I felt that the resources to do our work should be raised from within India and from resources generated from Indians. To go with a begging bowl to the international donors for fixing up the ills of our society was against my pride as an Indian. For Manushi, I received some generous offers from Ford Foundation but decided not to accept them. My own view was that our activism was rootless if it did not get financial and moral support from those in the society for the welfare of whom we intended to work. This will also make us accountable for the very people on whose behalf we act. While we decided not to accept aid from foreign agencies, we accepted and were lucky to get a stream of highly qualified and dedicated volunteers to work for us from all over the world. They came at their own cost and even did not expect a modest honorarium from us. However I do not expect other NGO's and every one to choose this rather tough and uphill path which I chose for Manushi. However I am open to receive a modest sum from the non resident Indians."

Madhu maintained, "Unfortunately the Forign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA-http://mha1.nic.in/fcra.htm) has been used for long as a vicious instrument for arm twisting of NGO's and both of NDA and UPA have been acting against some select NGO's in a ham-handed manner.

Prof Vaidyanathan of Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, reeled off some very interesting figures on the number of NGO's in India and pointed out that the number of NGO's per capita was higher than the number of police personnel." For every 535 Indians there was an NGO but there was a police man only for 940 Indians", he said and went on to say, "only ten percent of the total around 22 lakh NGO's filed income tax returns." Prof Vaidyanathan said that India was not expected to learn the importance of donation from the west as giving was an essential part of our culture."

John Dayal, former senior journalist and representative of All-India Christian Association in his remarks said that though he may not agree with the philosophy of RSS but he saluted them for being the biggest NGO of the world.

Rajiv Malhotra of Infinity Foundation said, "In the USA there is a large number of NGO's and other institutions which study what is happening in India and keep an eye on the various socio-political and religious developments. Many of them are misrepresenting the data and the facts they collect from various sources, pursuing their own vested interests and agenda. I would suggest that the Indian NGO's must also set up their branches in USA to understand how they are monitoring India and set right some of the misgivings and falsehood that is spread against India."

Expressing his views Dr. J.K. Bajaj said, "Hindu Temples are also one of the biggest chain of NGO's in the world and they truly function thus, meeting the socio-cultural and religious aspirations of the Indian masses. It is gross injustice to give the control of thousands of Hindu temples to the government officials and bureaucrats who do not utilize the full potential of the kind of socio-religious work that could be done by the temples for the welfare of the community. Hindu temples should be freed from the clutches of government and allowed to function independently as NGO's."

Bajaj concluded by stating, "We need no lecturing from the west and their animal right activists on how to humanely treat the animals. Anyone who has seen how Hindus treat and worship the cows can understand how reverentially we not only treat just the animals but the whole universe and connect to it."

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Malaysian Hindus Mark Thaipusam
Posted on 2015/2/5 16:20:00 ( 1011 reads )

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MALAYSIA, February 3, 2015 (Bangkok Post): More than a million Hindus thronged temples throughout Malaysia on Tuesday to celebrate Thaipusam, a colorful annual religious festival. Celebrations in the capital Kuala Lumpur centered, as they have for 125 years, on the spectacular Batu caves complex on the city's outskirts, which many Hindus walked up to ten hours to reach in an annual pilgrimage.

Bearing gifts for the Deity Murugan, countless yellow-robed devotees carried milk pots or coconuts -- the latter of which are smashed as offerings. Others took part in the 9-mile procession of a silver chariot from a temple in the city centre to the caves -- an important religious site for Tamil Hindus -- capped by the final 272-step climb to a temple in the limestone outcropping.

Celebrated also in India, Singapore and other areas with significant Hindu Tamil communities, the festival is marked with particular relish in multi-cultural Malaysia. Many show their fervor by bearing the elaborately decorated frames called Kavadi that can weigh as much as 220 lbs. and are typically affixed to a person's body using sharp metal spikes dug into their flesh in a form of penance. About 1.6 million people were expected to visit the Batu caves on Tuesday, which also draws tens of thousands of tourists.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/2/5 16:18:48 ( 988 reads )

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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

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Dance Card: The Passing of the Master of Kathak, Chitresh Das, Left His Mourning Followers Prepared to Carry On
Posted on 2015/2/1 18:32:51 ( 1620 reads )

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BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA, January 31, 2015 (Times Herald): The unexpected death of 70-year-old Kathak master Chitresh Das on January 4 is a calamity for the world of dance, but it's a disaster for which he prepared his disciples well. A performer of earthy exuberance and exquisite control, he was the driving force in spreading knowledge and appreciation of Kathak, the North Indian classical dance form. Teaching at first from the Ali Akbar College of Music and since 1979 at his own expansive Chhandam School of Kathak, he often put his performing career on the back burner to concentrate on inculcating Kathak's movements, rhythms and epic tales to new generations, artists he assiduously prepared to take his place.

"As a guru, he talked about his death on a regular basis," says Rachna Nivas, a principal dancer in the Chitresh Das Dance Company (CDDC) and director of Das' Chhandam School. "It became quite normalized. Four days before he passed he asked 'What will you do tomorrow if I die today?', which wasn't unusual. What he was doing was constantly reminding us that this is not about receiving this energy from him. It's about invoking and generating that energy ourselves. He was preparing me for this day."

While the school and dance company are still reeling from Das' death, there was never any question about canceling performances. The CDDC presents "Shiva" at Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley on March 28-29, continuing the strong ties that Das forged with Cal Performances over the years.

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Newcastle Hindu Healer Babaji Davender Ghai Reignites Funeral Pyre Plans
Posted on 2015/2/1 18:32:45 ( 1675 reads )

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UNITED KINGDOM, February 1, 2015 (Chronicle Live): A Hindu healer who fought to legalize open-air cremations is ready to make them commonplace -- five years after winning a landmark court battle. Babaji Davender Ghai spent years battling the system and almost went bankrupt fighting to make funeral pyres legal.

Mr. Ghai, president of the Newcastle-based Anglo Asian Friendship Society, said: "We, as a society, are offering people the chance to stick to their beliefs and have an open-air cremation; a funeral pyre. "We will do this as a charity, for free. They only need to find the land." "It is a service that Hindus, Sikhs and others deserve to have if they so wish, he said."

Judges said they can be carried out as long as the cremation is conducted in an enclosed building away from the public's gaze and abides by environmental regulations. But shortly after the ruling the vision of Mr. Ghai, now 76, hit a set-back as the trials and tribulations of an arduous battle caused him ill health, resulting in a minor stroke. Speaking from his home in Gosforth, he said: "After we won the fight I got too ill to carry on my work. Now, I have been healed back to full health and am pressing on with what all our hard work earned us the right to do.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/2/1 18:32:35 ( 1606 reads )

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As you pray to God for devotion, so also pray that you may not find fault with anyone.
-- Sri Ramakrishna (1836-1886)

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