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Colorado Yogis Chafe at State Regulation of Teacher Training
Posted on 2015/3/3 7:30:46 ( 592 reads )

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DENVER, COLORADO, March 1, 2015 (New York Times): A debate has roiled Colorado's growing yoga world, pitting studio owners like Annie Prasad Freedom against a government agency that says programs that train yoga teachers must be certified, just like schools that prepare barbers, cosmetologists and truck drivers. "I get pretty fired up about this new thing with the government," said Ms. Freedom, 45, sitting outside her studio, Samadhi Center for Yoga and Meditation. "How can you have people who know nothing about yoga regulating yoga schools?"

Studio owners say the rules -- which involve paying hundreds of dollars in fees and submitting curriculums for approval -- will cut into their into tiny profits and limit their yogic creativity. But officials of the state agency, the Division of Private Occupational Schools, say they are trying to protect aspiring teachers from fraudulent and unsafe programs. And they point to the case of Bikram Choudhury, a well-known yoga teacher accused of sexually assaulting students, as evidence that schools need government supervision.

The fight here is just the latest in a continuing debate over whether yoga instructor training programs should fall under the supervision of state agencies that certify occupational schools. The number of teacher training schools has exploded in recent years, jumping nearly 20 percent in 2014 alone, according to the Yoga Alliance, a nonprofit industry group. (The group counted 3,492 schools worldwide at the end of 2014.)

More at source.

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Hinduism Today Seeks Contacts in Myanmar (Burma) for Feature Story
Posted on 2015/3/3 7:30:40 ( 581 reads )

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KAUAI, HAWAII, March 2, 2015 (Hinduism Today): Hinduism Today's feature story team of journalist Rajiv Malik and photographer Thomas Kelly are planning to be in Myanmar (Burma) from March 30 to April 12 to report on the nearly million-strong Hindu community there (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinduism_in_Southeast_Asia#Burma).

They will be visiting Yangoon, Mandalay and Mawlamyine. We are seeking contacts in the local Hindu community to introduce them to the temples and important Hindu people of the area. The trip is being arranged on short notice. If you can help, contact Acharya Arumuganathaswami, Managing Editor, Hinduism Today, ar@hindu.org.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/3/3 7:30:34 ( 533 reads )

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Out of purity and silence come words of power.
-- Swami Chinmayananda (1916-1993), founder of Chinmaya Mission

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Holi brings Unity in Fiji
Posted on 2015/2/28 17:29:03 ( 970 reads )

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FIJI, February 28, 2015 (by Shayal Devi, Fiji Times): As thousands of Hindus in Fiji prepare to celebrate Holi on March 6, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad has called on devotees to work towards fostering unity among in communities. President Jay Dayal said Holi was one of the most joyful Hindu celebrations.

"Though there are many customs and traditions associated with Holi, the essence remains the same and can be expressed in three common themes," Mr Dayal said."This includes reconnecting with nature in gratitude for the blooming of spring and bountiful harvests, celebrating the victory of good over evil and sharing of love and fostering unity amongst the people." This light-hearted festival gives relationships a fresh start and creates bonds of friendships with adversaries as we remember the inherent divinity within each and every one of us."

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Globalizing Black History Month: Recalling the Professor and the Punjabi Lion
Posted on 2015/2/28 17:28:57 ( 986 reads )

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USA, February 24, 2015 (By Murali Balaji, Huffington Post): A long forgotten part of the global exchange is during the periods between the World Wars, when African American activists and intellectuals had frequent interactions with counterparts in other parts of the world. In this spirit, it should be noted that long before Mahatma Gandhi's activism inspired the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and civil rights leaders, another transatlantic relationship would play a significant role in shaping African-American thought: the close friendship between W.E.B. Du Bois and Indian freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai, known by many as the Lion of Punjab. In 1916, Rai, the founder of the India Home Rule League of America, visited the United States to meet with African Americans and the small Indian community across the country, including representatives of the newly formed Ghadar Party. Du Bois and Rai struck a friendship based on the mutual ideals of American civil rights and Indian sovereignty.

Rai played a significant role in changing Du Bois from a liberal intellectual focused on simple integration to a more globalized radical intent on pushing for global emancipation. Du Bois dedicated his novel Dark Princess, an allegorical story about a Hindu princess named Kautilya marrying an African-American man named Matthew Towns. However, before Rai had a chance to read the final manuscript, he was beaten by British police during a protest in Lahore (now in Pakistan) in 1928. Two weeks later, he died. Rai's death would shake Du Bois and play a significant role in his growing dissatisfaction with the NAACP and his increased immersion with the Popular Front movement of the 1930s, led by the likes of Paul Robeson. As a result, Du Bois became a more forceful advocate of global change, and his works like Black Reconstruction and Color and Democracy would reflect a philosophical transformation that began nearly two decades earlier with the help of the Lion of Punjab.

Perhaps the relationship between the men can inspire a new generation of activists and spur dialogue on meaningful social change at a time when lasting, nuanced coalitions are hard to find.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/2/28 17:28:42 ( 811 reads )

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Love gives and gives and gives and seeks no return. Therefore, love has nothing to lose--and consequently, nothing to fear.
-- Dada J.P. Vaswani, spiritual head of Sadhu Vaswani Mission

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Hindraf seeks Urgent Meeting with Chief Minister on Demolition of 100 Temples in Malaysia
Posted on 2015/2/27 18:12:14 ( 1081 reads )

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KUALA LUMPUR MALAYSIA , February 24, 2015 (Freemalaysia Today): Hindraf Makkal Sakthi is seeking an urgent meeting with Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali on a reported 100 Hindu temples in the state which have purportedly been earmarked for demolition.The NGO maintains all these temples in Selangor were legally built. The meeting follows a public admission by Selangor Exco V. Ganapathi Rao that some 100 Hindu temples, older than the recently demolished 60-year-old Sri Kottai Munisvarar Nageswary Temple, would be demolished by the state government. He did not state the reasons for the pending demolitions.

"Rao's statement reminds us of the era of MIC and BN where they kept giving lame excuses for their inefficiency in tackling matters of public interest and concern," said Hindraf vice-president Tamil Selvam. "He's the lone Indian representative in the Exco and clearly outnumbered by the others." His helplessness, pointed out Tamil Selvam, stems from the fact he has not been given the mandate to handle the issue. "The temples, he added, originated from plantations which were subsequently acquired by the government or sold to private developers. "Just because the plantations where the temples sit have been acquired by the government and developers, it does not mean that they can go on a demolition spree."

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Why, to Many Critics, Mother Teresa is Still no Saint
Posted on 2015/2/27 18:12:08 ( 1103 reads )

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INDIA, February 26, 2015 (by Adam Taylor, Washington Post): Mother Teresa, the Roman Catholic missionary who became an international icon for her charitable work, has been dropped into modern India's religious debate after the head of the Hindu nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) criticized the intentions behind her work. "It's good to work for a cause with selfless intentions. But Mother Teresa's work had ulterior motive, which was to convert the person who was being served to Christianity," RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said at the opening of an orphanage in Rajasthan state on Monday, the Times of India reports. "In the name of service, religious conversions were made. This was followed by other institutes, too." Bhagwat's comments caused a storm among opposition politicians, angered by the implication that a woman who won a Nobel Peace Prize for her work in India would have had ulterior motives.

This controversy about Mother Teresa, who died in 1997, is far from her first. Her saintly reputation was gained for aiding Calcutta's poorest of the poor, yet it was undercut by persistent allegations of misuse of funds, poor medical treatments and religious evangelicalism in the institutions she founded. Many who support Mother Teresa dispute these accounts, of course, but they exist and are frequently debated. In fact, when compared to the criticism that already exists about Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity, Bhagwat's words look relatively meek: Multiple accounts say that Mother Teresa's nuns would baptize the dying and she had a reputation for proselytizing.

A good video accompanies this article.

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New Jersey Schools to Close for Diwali
Posted on 2015/2/27 18:12:02 ( 1042 reads )

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GLEN ROCK, NEW JERSEY , February 24, 2015 (by Chris Harris, NorthJersey.com): Schools in the borough will be closed on Nov. 11, since the Board of Education voted to add Diwali, a Hindu holy day, to the district's calendar. District officials claim Glen Rock, which has a burgeoning Indian community, is the first district in Bergen County to formally recognize Diwali with an instruction-free day.

Rona McNabola, the board's president, said she hopes Monday's vote "sends a message to other communities" with growing Indian populations to at least consider recognizing Diwali with a day off. The school board's move Monday night followed a formal request from a group of parents late last year that schools be closed on Diwali to make it easier for Hindu families to observe the holiday. Sanjiv Ohri, the school board's vice president, said that Glen Rock's "Indian community is very happy that the school has recognized the change and addressed the need of a growing community."


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/2/27 18:11:55 ( 947 reads )

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Parents must teach children to appreciate those who are different, those who believe differently; teach them the openness that they need to live in a pluralistic world where others have their unique ways, their life and culture; teach them the value of human diversity and the narrow-mindedness of a provincial outlook; give them the tools to live in a world of differences without feeling threatened, without forcing their ways or their will on others; teach them that it never helps to hurt another of our brothers or sisters.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today

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Indians Knew Small Pox Inoculation Before Jenner invented Vaccine
Posted on 2015/2/23 15:54:11 ( 1435 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 23, 2015 (NDTV): Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan today claimed that modern medicine originated in India and that Indians had practiced inoculation against smallpox even before the vaccine for the disease was invented by Edward Jenner. Dr Vardhan, who is himself an ENT surgeon, said that most of what is taken to be modern medicine had come back to India through the "American route" after being first translated into Arabic and Persian in 9th century ce and, from that, into the European languages in the 17th century.

"When I studied the history of Ayurveda or what you can call Hindu medicine... I found that in the ninth century, the Caliph of Baghdad got all our knowledge of Ayurveda translated into the Arabic and Persian languages."The same knowledge was again translated into the European languages in the 17th century and all that great knowledge has come back to us and it's explained to us as modern medicine that has come through the route of the Americas."But the origin of all this knowledge, if you go into the depth of this, was basically in India," Dr Vardhan said at an international conference on the Vedas in New Delhi.

"All of us know that Edward Jenner was the man who invented the vaccination for smallpox, but our Vedas will tell that the Hindus and Mohammedans of this country had done smallpox inoculations hundreds of years before the vaccine was invented. So, it's not about boasting, but the facts will all remain facts," he said

The minister further said that even before the Hippocratic oath begun to be administered to medical professionals, Sushruta and Ashwini, the surgeons of ancient India, told people to practise the same."Sushruta and all great surgeons taught to the whole world plastic surgery of nose. I have read in my own literature that surgical instruments were so precise, they split the hair into two," the minister said.

For further reading: http://www.infinityfoundation.com/man ... _dy/t_dy_Q14_frameset.htm

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Mummified Monk Found Inside Ancient Buddha Statue
Posted on 2015/2/23 15:52:07 ( 1333 reads )

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NETHERLANDS, February 23, 2015 (Discovery): Researchers at the Drents Museum in the Netherlands made a shocking discovery when they imaged an ancient Chinese statue and found a nearly 1,000-year-old mummy inside. Sitting in the lotus position, the mummy fits within the statue perfectly.

"On the outside, it looks like a large statue of Buddha," the museum said in a release. "Scan research has shown that on the inside, it is the mummy of a Buddhist monk who lived around the year 1100." The human skeleton is believed to belong to Buddhist master Liu Quan, a member of the Chinese Meditation School. The museum speculates Liu Quan may have "self-mummified" in order to become a "living Buddha."

Practiced mainly in Japan, self-mummification was a grueling process that required a monk to follow a strict 1,000-day diet of nuts and seeds in order to strip the body of fat. A diet of bark and roots would follow for another 1,000 days. At the end of this period, the monk began drinking a poisonous tea made from the sap of the Japanese varnish tree. The tea caused a rapid loss of bodily fluids, possibly making the body too poisonous to be eaten by bacteria and insects.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/2/23 15:52:00 ( 1246 reads )

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The syllable gu means shadows. The syllable ru, he who disperses them. Because of the power to disperse darkness, the guru is thus named.
-- Advayataraka Upanishad

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Australian Town Council Investigates Hindu Temple Operating Out of Home
Posted on 2015/2/22 18:07:18 ( 1296 reads )

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, February 17, 2015 (Herald Sun): An investigation has been launched into whether a Craigieburn house is being used as a Hindu temple. But the home's owner denied the claims when approached by Hume Leader, despite running a Facebook page promoting prayer sessions and taking donations.

Craigieburn Mata Mandir is listed on Facebook as a Hindu temple in Hanson Rd. operating from 8am-8pm. It has almost 500 likes and posts photos, reviews and event details. A post on November 23 said a new temple was being constructed at the address with a "grand opening" advertised for January 17. There have also been posts encouraging donations with bank account details listed.

After being contacted by Hume Leader, all these posts were removed. City sustainability director Kelvin Walsh said Hume Council was investigating. According to the council, having a place of worship at a residential property could be within the owner's rights. While residential zones are primarily for housing, they can, in some instances, allow for educational, religious, recreational, community and other uses.

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Tulsi Gabbard to Marry in April in Vedic ceremony
Posted on 2015/2/22 18:07:12 ( 1450 reads )

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WASHINGTON, USA, February 20, 2015 (Indian Express): Tulsi Gabbard, the first ever Hindu lawmaker in the US Congress, will marry cinematographer Abraham Williams in April in a Vedic ceremony, a media report has said. The marriage will take place in Hawaii. The second term Democratic Congresswoman from Hawaii, Gabbard, 33, announced her engagement about a month ago. She disclosed the identity of her fiancee in an interview to the local Honolulu Star Advertiser published this week. Gabbard said she would keep her last name after the marriage, which she wants to keep as a low key affair.

Williams is a freelance cinematographer who has made some short films and worked on commercial and political advertising campaigns, the daily reported. The daily said this time she is planning a Vedic wedding ceremony in keeping with the couple's Hindu faith. "For us it's about having a shared sense of spiritual values and what we hold important. We try to live our lives in service to others and God in a way that has a positive impact on others around us. It was something I learned from a young age," Gabbard said.

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