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Sewa Day 2016: International Day of Volunteering Celebrated Across USA

Posted on 2016/10/18 19:51:36 ( 338 reads )


HOUSTON, TEXAS, October 17, 2016 (Press Release Sewa International): Sewa Day, a day of pure voluntary selfless service, was celebrated by the Hindu-American community for the 6th successive year with community service projects at 32 locations across the US. Hundreds of volunteers across different age-groups and backgrounds including youth and children from Sewa International and partner organizations came together between September 11 and October 16 and worked on a variety of activities to make a difference in their communities.

Sewa Day is supported worldwide by three guiding principles: 1. Serve humanity to relieve hardship, 2. Bring a little joy to others, and 3. Help to sustain the environment. This year saw participation from new states and cities, a 60% increase in the number of nationwide events, and increased diversity of projects from feeding the homeless and tree planting to free immigration service sessions, and even a FIRST Robotics-connected STEM camp.

A photo album of Sewa Day 2016 activities in the USA is available here: https://goo.gl/photos/jnVcKSjtnXETCuUY7

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/10/18 19:51:26 ( 228 reads )


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

Ayudha Puja: The Worship of Weapons

Posted on 2016/10/13 19:46:27 ( 672 reads )


INDIA, October 10, 2016 (Swarajya): Ayudha puja or shastra puja is the worship of weapons that takes place on the ninth day of the Navaratri festival. Weapons are retrieved for use with the blessings of the Goddess on the tenth day, Vijayadasami. Ayudha puja is a pan-Indian phenomenon, although it is traditionally confined to those closely connected with, and responsible for, the use of weapons such as royal families and schools of martial arts such as kalaripayattu. Today, worship of weapons is primarily carried out by policemen, security personnel and the army. Most Indian army units have long standing traditions of ayudha puja.

Unlike Abrahamic traditions, Hinduism sees divinity in all of creation and God as both immanent and transcendent. Such an attitude infuses divinity into all activities of life. Work itself is worship, and this philosophy of karma yoga is yet another context in which to place the veneration of weapons. Although it means "weapons", ayudha is also a generic term that means "instrument or implement." On the ninth day of Navaratri, everyone cleans, decorates and worships the implement that enables them to make a living, seeing a manifestation of the divine in that. This applies to musicians and musical instruments, farmers and the plough, students and their books, as well as factories and machinery. And of course, it applies to soldiers and their weapons.

Much more of this lengthy and interesting article at "source" above.

Religion Data of Census 2011: Meghalaya

Posted on 2016/10/13 19:46:16 ( 450 reads )


INDIA, October 13, 2016 (Center for Policy Studies by Dr. JK Bajaj): The thirtieth note posted on the Religion Data of Census 2011 concerns the religious demography of the different Scheduled Tribe communities of Meghalaya. Meghalaya has now become a Christian tribal State. More than 86 percent of the total population of the State is from the Scheduled Tribes (STs) and among the STs more than 84 percent are now Christian. The process of conversion of the Scheduled Tribes of Meghalaya that began in the early decades of the twentieth century and picked up pace after Independence is not yet complete. Therefore, the share of Christians in the ST population has been rising from decade to decade. In the last two decades, their share has risen from 75.3 to 84.4 percent, marking an accretion of 9 percentage points.

The rise of Christianity in Meghalaya, at least during the recent decades, has been mainly at the cost of the followers of the so-called Other Religions and Persuasions (ORPs). Because of this, the richly diverse religious practices of the people--like Songsarek of the Garo or Niamtre of the Khasi--which had survived for uncounted centuries under the benignly protective umbrella of Hinduism, are now about to disappear. This is a great cultural, religious and civilizational tragedy that is unfolding before our eyes in the present times that are supposedly be much more tolerant and supportive of diversity both in nature and in society.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/10/13 19:46:05 ( 301 reads )


Experience has taught me that silence is part of the spiritual discipline of a votary of truth. Proneness to exaggerate, to suppress or modify the truth, wittingly or unwittingly, is a natural weakness of man and silence is necessary in order to surmount it.
-- Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), Indian spiritual leader

Abu Dhabi's First Hindu Temple to Be Built in a Year

Posted on 2016/10/12 19:47:03 ( 531 reads )


ABU DHABI, October 12, 2016 (Khaleej Times): The first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi will come up on 20,000 square metres of land at Al Wathba. "We took delivery of the land on Monday. The temple will be built within one year," said BR Shetty, the businessman who heads the temple coordination committee, on Monday night. "Al Wathba is just 30 minutes from Abu Dhabi City. It will be close to the highway on Abu Dhabi-Al Ain road," Shetty, chief executive officer of NMC Healthcare and UAE Exchange, told Khaleej Times.

Inside the temple, the murthis will be of "Deities Krishna, Maheshwara, Ayyappa and more." "The temple will have a good vrindavan (garden) and a waterfront," Shetty added. It was during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit in August last year that the UAE Government announced its decision to allocate land for Abu Dhabi's first ever Hindu temple. At present, there are two Hindu temples and one Sikh gurudwara in Dubai.

Badrinath Temple to Close for Winter November 16

Posted on 2016/10/12 19:46:53 ( 364 reads )


DEHRADUN, INDIA, October 12, 2016 (Daily Pioneer): Based on astrological calculations the date for closure of the kapat (portals) of Badrinath temple to the public for the winters was declared to be November 16 on Wednesday.

This year, the portals of the temple to Lord Ganesh will be closed after Ganesha worship and Mahabhishek on November 12 after which on November 13, the portals of Adi Kedareshwar will be closed ceremoniously. After various other religious rituals including the ceremonious worship of Goddess Lakshmi in her temple and Kadhai Bhog on November 15 after which the portals of the Badrinath temple will be closed to human devotees at the designated time of 3:45 PM on November 16.

According to long held belief, Lord Vishnu in the form of Badrinath is worshipped by humans for a duration of six months in the summer and monsoon seasons, the gods led by the celestial sage Narad conduct the worship of Lord Badirnath in the shrine during the six-month winter period when a blanket of snow covers parts of both the Badrinath temple township and the surrounding Himalayan peaks.

You'll Be Surprised at Which Religions Have the Most Members with $100K+ Incomes

Posted on 2016/10/12 19:46:41 ( 384 reads )


U.S., October 12, 2016 (Time): A new analysis from the Pew Research Center focuses on how much money various religious groups earn, and clearly, members of certain religions are much more likely than others to be wealthy. But don't assume that converting to a new religion is going to somehow boost your income. The real takeaway from the data is probably a message you've heard many times over: Higher education is the path to higher earnings.

According to data collected in a huge 2014 Pew study, 44% of American Jews live in a household with total income of $100,000 or more. That's the highest rate in the nation, followed by Hindus (36%) and Episcopalians (35%). These three groups also had high representations in the $50,000 to $99,000 income bracket. Altogether, roughly 70% of members of the Jewish, Hindu, and Episcopalian faith have household incomes of $50,000 or above.

In a way it should come as little surprise that Jews and Hindus tend to have the highest earners. After all, they also tend to be exceptionally well educated. A previous Pew study revealed that 58% of American Jews are college graduates, and 28% have post-grad degrees--compared to rates of 29% and 10%, respectively, for all U.S. adults. Hindus have even higher rates of higher education, with 85% holding college degrees and 57% with some post-graduate education, according to a 2012 study.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/10/12 19:46:30 ( 304 reads )


Education is the manifestation of a perfection present in every person.
-- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), disciple of Sri Ramakrishna

Calcutta HC Lifts Puja Curbs, Slams Bengal Bid to Appease Minorities

Posted on 2016/10/11 19:30:49 ( 377 reads )


CALCUTTA, INDIA, October 9, 2016 (Indian Express): The Calcutta High Court has held the time limits set by the West Bengal government for Durga statue immersion next week, on account of the Muslim observance of Moharram, as "arbitrary" and said the order was a "clear endeavor" by the state to "appease the minority section of the public." While noting that "we live in difficult times" and it would be "dangerous to mix politics with religion," the order of October 6 by a single-member bench of Justice Dipankar Dutta said no decision should be taken that could pit "one community against another," and that "intolerance would rise in the event of such arbitrary decision" of the government.

Bijoy Dashami, the day of the Durga statue immersion, falls on October 11 this year. The tazia procession for Muharram is to take place the next day. Directing the police and civil administration to work together to identify routes for the immersion processions and for the tazia to be taken out by the Muslim community, taking care to "ensure that the routes do not overlap", Justice Dutta said that "no effort" had been made to "satisfy" the Bench that "processions (tazia) on the eve of Moharram are an inseparable part of the mourning" associated with Moharram.

The order further said that Bijoy Dashami is a ritual for "puritan Hindus," that can't be "postponed to a day" beyond Bijoy Dashami, or "preponed at the whims" of the state government. Justice Dutta felt that apart from the fact that the restrictions on statue immersion were "unprecedented" in Bengal's history, there is "no decision in black and white taken either by the civil administration or by the police administration indicating any reason for imposing the impugned restriction."

London to Begin Diwali Celebrations from This Week

Posted on 2016/10/11 19:30:39 ( 334 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, October 10, 2016 (ndtv): London's Pakistani-origin mayor Sadiq Khan will launch the annual Diwali celebrations at the Trafalgar Square on Sunday, featuring a mix of music, dance and live performances to mark the festival with people of "all backgrounds." "London is open to all people and all communities - we don't just tolerate each other's differences, we embrace them. Nowhere is this more apparent than in London's joyous celebration of Diwali in Trafalgar Square," said Khan.

"Here, London's Hindu, Jain and Sikh communities come together to celebrate and to share the festivities with Londoners and visitors of all backgrounds. Diwali's central message of peace and mutual respect is one that we can all learn from. To all those celebrating this month, I wish you a very happy and enjoyable Diwali," he said.

"This year we celebrate 15th year of Diwali in Trafalgar Square, London. This wonderful festival is filled with lights, lamps, music, sweets and gifts, but the Diwali story is more than the story of a single day of festive celebrations. It is a story of dedication to the pursuance and protection of the truth, justice, cooperation and respect," said Sanjay Gadhvi, Diwali in London Committee Chairperson 2016.

Do You Have a Great Photo of Morari Bapu?

Posted on 2016/10/11 19:30:29 ( 298 reads )

KAUAI, HAWAII, October 11, 2016 (HPI): Hinduism Today is running an article of Ram Harikatha exponent Morari Bapu and looking for a great photo of popular preacher. Surprisingly there are not many good photos of him in concert, or any other setting including the standard passport style "head shot." If you have any hi-resolution photographs (1.5 megabytes in size of more) you want to share, please send to: letters@hindu.org. This is a bit urgent...

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/10/11 19:30:18 ( 255 reads )


You can gain an intricate control of the various things that change in and about you. Lean your thoughts and feelings in the right direction, and discover how quickly your circumstances will change their direction.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today

U.S. Postal Service Stamp for Festival of Diwali

Posted on 2016/10/10 20:03:07 ( 487 reads )


NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, October 5, 2016 (USPS): The U.S. Postal Service commemorated the joyous Hindu festival of Diwali by dedicating the Diwali Forever stamp today. The first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony took place at the Consulate General of India in New York City. The public is asked to share the news using the hashtag #DiwaliStamp.

"The Postal Service is honored to issue this Forever stamp that celebrates the Festival of Diwali," said U.S. Postal Service Vice President of Mail Entry and Payment Technology Pritha Mehra. "We hope these stamps will light up millions of cards and letters as they make their journey through the mailstream."

The stamp design is a photograph featuring a traditional diya oil lamp beautifully lit, sitting on a sparkling gold background. Diya lamps are usually made from clay with cotton wicks dipped in clarified butter known as "ghee" or in vegetable oils. Also known as Deepavali, Diwali celebrates the triumph of good over evil. Spanning five days each autumn, Diwali is considered by some to be the start of the new year. Diwali is a shortened version of the Sanskrit word Deepavali, which roughly translates as "a necklace of lights." During Diwali, the flickering oil-wick diyas sprinkle the homes of observers around the world.

Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at local Post Offices, at The Postal Store website at usps.com/shop or by calling 800-782-6724.

All ASI Protected Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites Declared Polythene Free Zones

Posted on 2016/10/10 20:02:57 ( 344 reads )


INDIA, October 6, 2016 (Press Release): All ASI Protected Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites have been declared Polythene Free Zones. Advisory has been issued to all State Governments/UTs to support ASI in keeping monuments Polythene Free up to 300 meters from the protected boundaries of the monuments. This information was given by Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (I/C) for Culture and Tourism while briefing the media persons on the various initiatives of Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Tourism during Swachhata Pakhwada 16th - 30th September, 2016.

He informed that Ministry of Culture has sanctioned US$52.5 million to provide facilities like Protected Boundaries, Toilets and Disabled Friendly Access in all ASI Protected Monuments. The Minister said that ASI has ranked top 25 Adarsh Monuments on the basis of cleanliness parameters such as amenities like toilets, green lawns, Polythene Free Zone, signage for awareness, disabilities access, drinking water and provision for garbage bins etc. "Rani ki Vav (Gujarat)" a World Heritage Site has been declared as the cleanest iconic place in the country.

The Minister said that since the general public and the tourists are the largest stakeholders in keeping the monuments clean, the Ministry of Tourism has decided to facilitate the general public to communicate their complaints about any unclean area/garbage piles in and around tourist destinations. This useful mobile App enables a citizen to take photograph of garbage at the monument and upload the same along with his/her remarks. The application then sends an SMS to the ASI Nodal Officer concerned with the monument upon receipt of which the Nodal Officer gets the garbage cleared/removed. The Nodal Officer thereafter sends confirmation about the redressal of the complaint through an SMS to the complainant. This Mobile App is available on Google Search Engine as Swachh Paryatan.

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