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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/7/8 17:28:14 ( 344 reads )

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To enter into the spiritual life is a rare blessedness, it is a great good: to take it seriously and engage in active spiritual Sadhana is a second blessedness and a still greater good: but to persevere in the spiritual life, to be ever progressive and ceaseless in one's spiritual life, is the greatest good, the crowning blessedness.
-- Swami Chidananda (1916-2008), President of Divine Life Society

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Puri Shankarachariya Skips Chariot Festival in Dispute
Posted on 2014/7/7 17:13:35 ( 384 reads )

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PURI, INDIA, June 29, 2014 (The Telegraph): In a break from tradition, Puri Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati did not turn up to offer prayers to the Deities on their chariots during the rath yatra today. Back channel negotiations to persuade the seer failed as he stuck to his decision of not taking part in the yatra, the first such instance, sources said.

The tussle began around 3pm yesterday when the temple administration communicated to him that he could visit the chariots with three of his followers. But two hours later, it dispatched another letter to him requesting him to come alone in keeping with a recent Orissa High Court verdict that had actually upheld the opinion of the Shankaracharya that none except those associated with the rituals of the Deities should be allowed to climb the chariots.

The seer, however, took the letter as a personal affront and declared that he won't take part in the yatra as he was being humiliated. "I will not go to participate in the car festival. The government has humiliated me. Some people have used objectionable words against me. The state government has no guts to take any action against me. If it takes any action, it would face the consequences from tomorrow," the seer told reporters here.

While Shankarcharya kept away, the scion of the Puri royal family Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb came to sweep the chariot decks with a handful of supporters. In tune with the court's order, he climbed the chariots alone to perform the customary ritual.

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Puri King Shocked at Seer's Humiliation
Posted on 2014/7/7 17:13:29 ( 402 reads )

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BHUBANESWAR, INDIA, July 1, 2014 (Asian Age): The Gajapati king of Puri, Dibyasingha Deb, on Monday expressed his deep shock and anguish over the non-participation of the Shankaracharya of Goverdhan Peeth Swami Nischalananda Saraswati in the Rath Yatra festival on Sunday as the government put restrictions on the seer's right to climb the chariots and perform puja.

"I'm pained that Jagadguru Sankaracharya could not perform his traditional rituals on the chariots. He is the religious guru of the Hindus. The letter issued by the state government putting restriction on his rights to perform puja atop the chariots is unjust. Neither the state government nor the Sri Jagannath Temple administration has got any authority to infringe upon his religious rights," the king, who is regarded as the first servitor of Lord Jagannath, said.

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Temple to Saturn Opens in New York
Posted on 2014/7/7 17:13:23 ( 533 reads )

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, July 2014 (Press Release): The Shri Navagraha Devasthanam of North America, are proud, yet humbled, to announce the opening of the very first Sri Saneeswara (Lord of Saturn) Temple to ever be erected outside of India. The new Temple is officially known as the Sri Saneeswara Temple and Community Center of New York which will serve as both a combined temple and community center to enhance spiritual and arts based educational opportunities in New York City.

The visionaries of this project, Mrs. Rupa Sridhar and the Board members of Shri Navagraha Devasthanam of NA together have embarked on establishing the Shri Navagraha Devasthanam and, furthermore, have undertaken an ambitious mission to open 9 separate Navagraha temples in 9 US cities to foster Vedic culture and spirituality in North America, each of which will emphasize a different Deity of the Navagraha. (Navagrahas refer to the nine celestial bodies in the Cosmos that are said to influence the life of people on earth. They are respectively Ravi (Sun), Chandra (Moon), Angharakha (Mars), Budha (Mercury), Guru (Jupiter), Sukra (Venus), Sani (Shri Saneeswara (Lord of Saturn)), Rahu and Ketu.

The temple was inaugurated on March 23rd, 2014, Prana pratishta and Kumbha Abhishekam were completed and simultaneous maha homam and japam were performed by vedic pundits and scholars in India for the benefit of this temple and for global harmony.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/7/7 17:13:16 ( 334 reads )

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Why does a vijnani (enlightened person) keep an attitude of love toward God? The answer is that 'I-conciousness' persists. It disappears in the state of samadhi, no doubt, but it comes back. In the case of ordinary people the 'I' never disappears. You may cut down the ashwattha tree, but the next day sprouts shoot up.
-- Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836-1886), guru of Swami Vivekananda

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Short Film Festival for Protection of Hindu Temples
Posted on 2014/7/3 16:06:51 ( 764 reads )

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NEW DELHI, June 29, 2014 (Indian Television): Texas-based Global Hindu Heritage Foundation (GHHF) has called for short films on preservation of old temples in India as part of its "Save Temples Organisation." The Board of Directors of GHHF and its brand ambassador and well-known Ghazal singer Ghazal Srinivas told a press meet in Texas earlier this week that the aim of the Save Temples International Short Film Festival is to protect, preserve and promote the great temples located all over the world.

The first Save Temple International Short and Documentary Film Festival will be conducted at Prasad Labs in Hyderabad from 22 to 24 August. The 40 short films and documentaries short-listed in this festival would be screened in film festivals to be conducted all over the world. The best film will win a prize money of US$1,650, while the second and third best film will receive $1,250 and $832 respectively. 10 other films will also be selected to receive Jury Awards.

The short films should reveal the facets of some ancient truths, the traditional heritage to the knowledge of future generations. They should not criticize other religions and life styles. They can tell the richness of ancient dharma, present the moral and dharmic values of Hindu religion and should be intended to explain the great practices of Hindu dharma to all the mankind through this short films and documentaries. The viewers of these movies should be motivated to work for the protection of temples.

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Neasden Temple Hosts 'Global Peace Meet'
Posted on 2014/7/3 16:06:36 ( 439 reads )

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LONDON, ENGLAND, July 2, 2014 (Asian Lite): BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London hosted an three-day international academic conference from June 24th to 26th on the theme of "Realising Global Peace: The Role and Impact of Hindu Teachings." The conference at the Neasden temple was aimed to elucidate the role of peace within Hinduism and how Hindu teachings can positively contribute to not just academic scholarship but to humanity at large. It was jointly organized by the All-India Philosophy Association, BAPS Swaminarayan Research Institute, and the Indo-Hellenic Society for Culture and Development, Greece.

Over 80 delegates and guests attended the conference. They included eminent scholars and students from India, England, Ireland, America, Canada, and Australia, as well as local civic leaders and Hindu and other faith representatives. The keynote address in the inaugural session was delivered by Prof. Jatashankar, esteemed professor of philosophy at Allahabad University, India and President of the All-India Philosophy Association.

Kirit Wadia, local secretary of the event, shared: "Hindu teachings have a lot to contribute to the quest for peace, especially as modern technology increases human connectivity and decreases distances between peoples and nations, making the need for peace even more pronounced for individuals and societies. We are very grateful to His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj for providing this theme and to all the delegates for contributing such rich discussions over the three days."

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/7/3 16:06:29 ( 417 reads )

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Only when we remain equipoised in praises and persecutions shall we be able to fulfill our objectives.
-- His Divine Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, spiritual head of Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha

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Hinduism Today Releases Documentary: "The History of Hindu India"
Posted on 2014/7/1 18:42:57 ( 1421 reads )

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KAUAI, HAWAII, July 1, 2014: The editorial team of Hinduism Today is pleased to announce the release of its professional documentary film, "The History of Hindu India" (Part 1), developed in collaboration with Dr. Shiva Bajpai, Professor Emeritus of History, California State University Northridge. More than a year in the making, the movie (http://bit.ly/HinduHistory) provides an authentic presentation of the history of India and Hinduism to non-Hindus for use in American 6th grade social study classes. It is equally useful for Hindu temple study groups and to introduce the Hindu religion to general audiences.

The film was received with enthusiasm at its first public showing to 350 people gathered at the "Meet the Publisher and Editor of Hinduism Today" on June 29. One young lady summed up the audience reaction, "Wow! I have to tell you, this is the first time I have ever seen my religion presented in a way that touched me so deeply. Tonight I feel proud to be a Hindu." Bhavna of the Hindu temple in Santiago Chile, who watched the Spanish-subtitled version, called it "a wonderful presentation." Tushar Agarwal of Dinodia Photo agency in Mumbai declared it "fabulous." At a pre-release showing in San Jose, California, members of the audience immediately requested a copy for local classes in Hinduism at temples and public schools.

The film was directed by Sushma Khadepaun and narrated by Roger Narayan. Both also served as producers for the movie which included filming at the 2013 Prayag Kumbha Mela and at temples in Chennai, India. Most funding for the project was granted by the Uberoi Foundation Institute for Curriculum Advancement. Subtitles are provided in five languages: French, Spanish, Balinese, Hindi and Tamil. It is available for free on YouTube in multiple resolutions at http://bit.ly/HinduHistory or http://youtu.be/dBZRTzXARWM?rel=0.

The documentary is based on the first chapter of our 2011 textbook, The History of Hindu India. The first section of the film, "Origins of Hinduism," includes much new material on the Indus Valley civilization, especially its parallels with subsequent Hindu culture of India, such as yoga, Shiva, the namaste greeting and more.

Section two, "Hindu Scriptures," introduces the Vedas, Puranas, Ramayana and Mahabharata, while section three, "Hindu Society," covers the caste system and the roles of men and women. The great achievements of early Indian empires such as those of the Guptas are described, including early advancements in medicine, mathematics and metallurgy.

Section four, "Hindu Belief, Practices and Saints" (one of the longest parts) explains the basic beliefs and practices of Hinduism as found today, including scriptures, Gods, Goddesses, saints, temples, pilgrimages and more. It presents the concept of dharma and the related practice of ahimsa as expressed in the lives of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez and Nelson Mandela. Karma is taught through an amusing animation of "What goes around, comes around." Hindu forms of worship are described as they are experienced at home and in the temple, along with spiritual practices such as japa and meditation. The section concludes with descriptions of Hindu saints, swamis and gurus, both men and women.

The final section, "Hindu Festivals," features spectacular footage of Diwali celebrations in India coupled with footage from the 2009 observance of Diwali at the White House by President Barack Obama. This is followed by video from the 2013 Kumbha Mela in Prayag, India.

The documentary concludes on this upbeat note, "Hinduism has persisted for thousands of years because the dharma, faith and culture have instilled in each Hindu a unique and strong sense of identity, family and spiritual purpose. It endures because it is a dynamic religion which gives complete freedom of practice accepts that there are many ways to worship God and provides festivals, temples, pilgrimages, gurus and scriptures to illumine the path, thereby celebrating life itself."

The movie is intended for use in middle schools, either in 6th or 7th grade, when the history of India is taught as part of ancient history. The film covers the standard US curriculum for ancient India, beginning with Indus Valley and continuing through the Gupta period, plus a religious overview, as is taught for other religions that same school year. Parents and community activists can bring "The History of Hindu India" to the attention of local schools as a means to offset the largely negative presentation of India and Hinduism which is otherwise being given. Additional resources for parents and teachers, including a complete set of lesson plans for the book, are available at: www.hinduismtoday.com/education/.

English: http://bit.ly/HinduHistory.
Subtitled versions:
French: http://bit.ly/HinduHistory-French
Spanish: http://bit.ly/HinduHistory-Spanish
Tamil: http://bit.ly/HinduHistory-Tamil
Hindi: http://bit.ly/HinduHistory-HindiSubtitles
Balinese: http://bit.ly/HinduHistory-Balinese
English: http://bit.ly/HinduHistory-English

Note to website managers: You are welcome to embed the movie in your site, but to do so you will need to use the YouTube URL and not the shorter bit.ly one above.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/7/1 18:25:37 ( 431 reads )

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Those from a religious background who believe that "There is only one life and when it's over, it's over " generally cry and have a very unhappy time over the departure of a loved one. This is very disturbing to the loved one from where they are in the inner world wondering, "Why the grief?" Because they are fine. They are happy, and they are free of a lot of karmas, a lot of worries, a lot of conflict, ready to start a new life. Those with a pure Asian religious background, who understand reincarnation, dharma, karma and the existence of God everywhere, will smile contentedly and say to themselves, "What a wonderful life the departed had!" and be joyous in the new world that the departed loved one is now experiencing.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today

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The World's Hindu Temples, Now in an App
Posted on 2014/6/30 16:18:49 ( 749 reads )

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SAN LEANDRO, CALIFORNIA, June 27, 2014 (India West): A new app just released for iOS lists more than 2,000 Hindu temples in some 50 countries. The "World's Best Hindu Temples Directory," available on iTunes, was conceived by Hari Iyer, an aviation engineer in Melbourne, Australia. A team of dedicated volunteers around the world have been working for months to compile and confirm the information, said Iyer.

"The iOS app is a priced at $1.99, which will help fund further development of the site and mapping of all the large temples in India," Iyer said in a statement. "Future plans also include an Android App which is in the making, and a massive update to the database with over 2,000 Hindu temples in Malaysia to be added soon."

Optimized for the iPhone 5, the app requires iOS 7.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The information is also available at AllHinduTemples.com, a site he said was mobile-responsive and designed to geolocate to the user's closest temples.

Visitors can register to upload photos and comments to the temple listings, or upload religious events on a calendar in wiki format. Temple managers can claim the ownership of the temple listing and update it with whatever details they choose, said Iyer.

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The Hindu Temple of Badenstedt Germany Gets a Full-Time Priest
Posted on 2014/6/30 16:18:43 ( 469 reads )

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HANOVER, BADENSTEDT, June 7, 2014 (Haz): The largest Hindu Temple In Northern Germany is in a warehouse in Badenstedt. Now the community has a full-time priest. The 40-year-old Indian has only been in Hanover since February of this year. The Tamil Hindu Cultural Society has brought him for full-time care of the Gods and the worship in the temple in Badenstedt.

The priest, Sivasri Saravana Sivachchariyar, comes from the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. On this Friday evening, he holds the ceremony, which is dedicated to the Goddess Sri Muthumariamman.

From the outside, one would never guess what is going on inside the building. For the Hindu temple is located in the commercial area of Badenstedt. To the left and right of it are warehouses and the temple seems hardly different from the neighboring buildings. Five years ago, the Hindu community has established the one-floor, white-painted hall - -it is now considered the largest Hindu temple in northern Germany. "Here, the temple does not interfere with local residents, we've located it here to avoid conflict," says our Hindu hostess, Rajiny Kumaraiah. The US$410,000 cost of the temple is being financed entirely by donations from supporters and community members.


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/6/30 16:18:36 ( 389 reads )

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Enquire: 'Who am I?' and you will find the answer. Look at a tree: from one seed arises a huge tree; from it comes numerous seeds, each one of which in its turn grows into a tree. No two fruits are alike. Yet it is one life that throbs in every particle of the tree. So, it is the same atman everywhere.
-- Sri Anandamayi Ma (1896-1982), Bengali mystic

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Hindu Devotees Gather For Firewalking Ceremony
Posted on 2014/6/29 18:34:06 ( 400 reads )

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FIJI, June 24, 2014 (Fiji Times): About 2,300 Hindu devotees gathered at the Lovu Sangam Temple on the outskirts of Lautoka early on Sunday morning for the annual firewalking ceremony.

Temple committee president Daniel Raju said preparations for the event began with the procession of a statue of the Goddess Mariamman to devotees' homes in the five days leading up to the firewalking ceremony. The Deity is revered as the Goddess of rain and is closely associated with the Goddess of time, change and destruction, Kali.

"The youngest person who walked across the hot coals was four years old and the eldest was 92-year-old Permal Poojari." Mr. Raju said the temple had been holding firewalking rituals since 1920 and 32 people participated in the firewalking ceremony this year.

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Thousands Attended Yoga Classes In Times Square To Celebrate Summer Solstice This Weekend
Posted on 2014/6/29 18:34:00 ( 494 reads )

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, June 23, 2014 (Medical Daily): Thousands of sun-worshipping yogis lined their mats up in the middle of Times Square to celebrate the summer solstice on Saturday. More than 11,000 people followed the Athleta sponsored events "Solstice in Times Square: Athleta Mind Over Madness Yoga" as they gradually moved from pose to pose in their bare feet.

The summer solstice occurs when the sun aligns directly over the Tropic of Cancer, which is the moment the earth's tilt toward the sun is at a maximum, on June 21. This is the only day of the year that the sun is at its highest point in the sky, making it the longest day of the calendar year, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.

Solstice means "standing on the sun" and marks the midsummer point when the earth returns back into the dark half of the year. The sun is an important aspect of yoga. In fact, one of the most familiar stances is Surya Namaskar, which means "sun salutation" and represents a symbolic movement of the human reliance on the sun. For thousands of years Hindus, who are one of the original creators of yoga, have revered the sun they call Surya because they believe it is the creator of all life. The sun salutation pose stems from the word namas, which means to bow or adore the sun and is used as a reminder of our place in the world.

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