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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/9/28 17:03:40 ( 532 reads )

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Hindu society has been the meeting point as well as the melting pot of as many spiritual visions as the human psyche is capable of springing up spontaneously. It has been a willing and welcoming platform for as many seers, sages, saints and mystics as have responded to the deeper stirrings in the human soul. It has been a repository of as many metaphysical points of view as human reason can render in human language.
-- Sita Ram Goel (1921-2003), Hindu renaissance thinker and writer, founder of Voice of India

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Ninth Hindu Mandir Executives Conference Concludes
Posted on 2014/9/27 16:53:15 ( 554 reads )

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ORLANDO, FLORIDA, September 26, 2014 (HMEC): Over 200 adult and youth delegates representing over 85 Mandirs (Temples) and Hindu organizations, from across the world, attended the ninth annual Hindu Mandir Executives' Conference (HMEC) that was held from September 19 through 21, 2014 in Orlando, Florida. The 9th HMEC was co-hosted by a record 47 Hindu temples and Hindu organizations from across the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. The theme of the conference was: "The Role of Temples in Hindu Education."

Mandir issues were at the forefront of the discussion. The Hindu community in North America has always sought effective ways to deal with the challenges of a Western / American society. The participants discussed how the temples, through community involvement, can contribute to the American society in many ways such as, coping with and reducing stressful situations through traditional practices, and by referrals to the right resources available via local city, county, and federal agencies.

A special session was dedicated to teaching Hinduism in Universities. With the increasing academic awareness of Hinduism, many universities and colleges offer courses on the subject which are often taught by non-Hindu practitioners. This session was aimed at gaining an understanding of the perspective and experiences of the professors. Swami Sadasivanatha Palaniswami of Hinduism Today presented practical proposals on the topic of "Mandirs' Educational Model."

For more information on HMEC visit www.myhmec.com.

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Navaratri Fast, a Nine Day Observance begins in Trinadad and Tobago
Posted on 2014/9/27 16:53:09 ( 697 reads )

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PORT-OF-SPAIN, TRINIDAD & TOBAGO, September 24, 2014 ( by Paras Ramoutar for HPI): Religious leaders see the urgent need to enrich society by enhancing cosmic values aimed at fighting injustice and spiritual decay that haunt mankind. Hindus believe that special oblation, penance, meditation, devotion and prayers to their goddesses will provide a new manifestation for a spiritually-charged humanity. This spiritual environment is long overdue. All mandirs and other places of worship will hold special religious services in honor of the Goddesses during the period. This observance is called Nau Raatri (Navaratri--Nine Nights) and is dedicated to the worship of Maha Shakti, according to Pundit Ramesh Tiwari, spiritual leader of the Edinburgh Hindu Temple. "Shakti means energy or power, and the universe is an expression of the Divine Energy," he added. During these nine-days and nights, the Feminine Aspect of God in the Form of Mother Durga, Mother Lakshmi and Mother Saraswati is extolled and revered.

Prior to the commencement of this observance, Hindus will have cleansed their homes and bodies from all alcoholic, meats or any forms of merriment. Nau Raatri is considered as one of the most holy periods in the Hindu calendar as it not only celebrate special obeisance to the Hindu Goddesses, but it is an opportunity to give, reverence and honor to one's earthly mother. It is a very serious period for not only Hindu women, but for all women, as these Goddesses, according to the various scriptural texts, become easily accessible to mankind. Hindus believe if one shows true affection, devotion and love to one's mother, then blessings from the Heavenly Mothers will be assured.

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RSS Spending $82,000 to 'Re-Convert' 1,000 Families to Hinduism Every Month
Posted on 2014/9/27 16:53:03 ( 789 reads )

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LUCKNOW, INDIA, September 20, 2014 (Bhaskar News): Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is spending close to US$82,000 every month to 're-convert 1,000 people to the Hindu religion. The organisation is spending close to $13,000 to $16,500 in Western UP alone as part of its Dharam Jagaran campaign.

"It takes an expense of $82 to re-convert a single family. A team of 100 workers is working round the clock and spreading awareness among the people about the pitfalls of religious conversion," said Dharam Jagaran's Western UP in-charge Rajeshwar Singh. These family members are then counselled by volunteers for re-conversion to Hinduism.

[For comparision, a 1989 Hinduism Today article, "The Big Business of Evangelizing," (http://www.hinduismtoday.com/modules/ ... ction/item.php?itemid=598) estimated from Christian reports that the cost of converting 177,000 Hindus over a period of ten years, from 1970 to 1980, was US$100 million, or almost $6,000 each.]

A volunteer from Shahjahanpur explained that once a family gets ready for re-conversion, the volunteers bear the expenses of their affidavit and other paperwork. A shudhi-yagya (purification ritual) is performed once the initial paperwork is complete. A public function is organised to ensure the re-converted family is accepted into the society.

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Warning: The 21st Century May Get a Lot More Crowded than Previously Thought.
Posted on 2014/9/27 16:52:56 ( 476 reads )

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U.S., September 18, 2014 (National Geographic): In a paper published Thursday in Science, demographers from several universities and the United Nations Population Division conclude that instead of leveling off in the second half of the 21st century, as the UN predicted less than a decade ago, the world's population will continue to grow beyond 2100.

And for the first time, through the use of a "probabilistic" statistical method, the Science paper establishes a range of uncertainty around its central estimate - 9.6 billion Earthlings in 2050, 10.9 billion by 2100. There's an 80 percent chance, the authors conclude, that the actual number of people in 2100 will be somewhere between 9.6 and 12.3 billion.

The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Vienna, Austria uses a different method to calculate probable population, however, both groups foresee India becoming the world's most populous country, with its numbers peaking around 2070 and declining to around 1.5 or 1.6 billion by 2100.

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Sanskrit Slokas at Buckingham Palace
Posted on 2014/9/27 16:52:50 ( 732 reads )

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ENGLAND, September 24, 2015 (YouTube): Charming video at source of British Schoolchildren chanting Vedic Mantras in 2010.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/9/27 16:52:43 ( 401 reads )

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The sages, being filled with universal love for all beings, did not want to keep their enlightenment to themselves. They declared to all: "O mortals, striving and struggling upon this Earth plane, weeping, wailing, buffeted by the vicissitudes of life: we have come upon a great discovery. There is something beyond these appearances, these vanishing names and forms that go to make up this universe. There is something beyond, which is the very source and support of all these objects of the phenomenal world. Why do you search in vain for happiness outside? Come, come, happiness resides within."
-- Swami Chidananda (1916-2008), president of Divine Life Society

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Government Auditors: Padmanabha Temple's Treasure Intact
Posted on 2014/9/25 17:49:36 ( 566 reads )

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, KERALA, INDIA, September 21, 2014 (Deccan Chronicle): The documentation of invaluable antiques in vaults A, C and D of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple has been completed. No major theft of temple treasures has been detected during the two-year inventorying and experts reckon the treasures to be worth more than the initial guesstimate of US$16.4 billion. There is no clue as to what is inside the mysterious B vault. When and whether it will be opened depends on the late Uthradom Tirunal's prayer against opening it pending with the Supreme Court.

The next hearing in the apex court is on November 11. Tirunal was the last custodian of the Travancore royal family. The SC-appointed expert committee, led by archaeologist M.V. Nair, has packed and stored the hoard of gems, crowns, mounds of gold and silver coins and brass platters in 50 steel boxes, now preserved in the refurbished Vault A. Three archaeologists, 10 engineers and videographers and several gemologists toiled for nearly two years at a specially-erected enclosure between vaults B and C to itemize treasures and reconcile them with records preserved at the temple.

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Kailash Yatra Breaks All past Records
Posted on 2014/9/25 17:49:30 ( 574 reads )

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INDIA, August 22, 2014 (Hindustan Times): Giving a reason for officials to smile, more than 900 pilgrims have pilgrimaged on foot to Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) this year via the India route, setting a new record of sorts. The yatra is an annual affair which passes through Uttarakhand and goes till Kailash Mansarovar in TAR under China.

The 18th batch of the yatra left from Pithoragarh for its destination on Wednesday. This is the last batch and with this batch, total number of pilgrims has reached 909, breaking all past records since 1981.

The pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar by this route is considered one of the difficult pilgrimages (you can take a Land Rover to the base from Nepal, or even fly in by helicopter--for US$3,199 each...). On the Indian side, beyond Malti, pilgrims have to trek the route on foot. The last station on the Indian side is Liphulekh pass. The yatra began on June 12 through an old route but later the administration decided to move pilgrims through an alternative route. Despite odds, the yatra went on successfully.

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Did you Study Indian History and Hinduism in California During 6th Grade? If So, We'd Like to Hear from You.
Posted on 2014/9/25 17:49:24 ( 613 reads )



KAUAI, HAWAII, September 25, 2014 (HPI): As readers may know, the California State Board of Education's Instructional Quality Commission just set in motion a 60-day review period for the revised Framework for History-Social Studies. In this revised Framework, which sets the classroom curriculum for each grade, the section on India and Hinduism has been extensively changed, in our opinion, often for the worse.

Hinduism Today is working with organizations and scholars to create a set of recommended changes to the revised Framework, and as part of that we need to demonstrate the problems created by the existing one.

We have heard anecdotal reports from Hindu students that they've been humiliated in class by the nature of the sections on India, focused as they are almost entirely on caste in most books. One student went home and told his mother, "I don't want to be a Hindu any more." Another was taunted with the question, "What's your caste?"

We've appealed to parents to send us more such reports, but are not getting a big response, we believe because they don't want their school-age children to be brought into a controversy.

However, what is being taught now has been the same since the early 1990s. So you attended sixth grade in California years ago, we'd like to hear what it was like for you during the week India and Hinduism was taught.

It is very important that we collect this data immediately. Your name can be used or not as you prefer.

Send reports to Acharya Arumuganathaswami, Managing Editor, Hinduism Today Magazine: ar@hindu.org

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/9/25 17:49:18 ( 473 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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The On-Going Battle for Custodianship of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple and its Immense Wealth
Posted on 2014/9/22 18:40:00 ( 734 reads )

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On the day the first vault was opened, the court team also tried to open a second, known as Kallara B. Today, the question of whether to open Kallara B to examine its contents is at the center of a bitter and protracted Supreme Court battle, as is the bigger question of exactly who should control the temple, and its priceless treasure. The Varmas, the former royal family of Travancore, now part of the modern state of Kerala, have staunchly opposed opening the vault, citing fears it will disturb the temple's spiritual energy, anger the Deity and bring them ill fortune. "They believe death will visit them if Kallara B would be opened," KK Venugopal, a family lawyer, told the judges during a Supreme Court hearing in August.

Yet the Travancore royals are on the defensive when it comes to the temple and its affairs. In April, Gopal Subramanium, a top lawyer appointed as amicus curiae, an independent adviser to the court accused the erstwhile royals of a "large-scale breach of moral and fiduciary duties" to Lord Padmanabha. In his exhaustive 575-page report, he argued there was no proper accounting of public donations received or monies spent at the temple, nor proper records of temple assets. Following this sharp criticism, the Supreme Court ordered the former royal family to hand over their keys to the temple and its vaults, severing their centuries-old role as the shrine's main custodians.

The court-ordered opening and inventorying of Kallara B seems inevitable -- and there is fierce speculation over what it will reveal. Meanwhile, Princess Gowri Parvathi who is the niece of the last Travancore Maharaja insists her family, now led by her older brother, will keep fighting for the restoration of its custodianship of the shrine it insists it had served faithfully for centuries. "We have no claim even to one little coin within the temple," she says. "We are saying it all belongs to the Deity and to Him only. We are not fighting to gain control of the riches - not at all. We want our good name vindicated. This is our life. It's not about possessions. We are fighting for our life."

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California Governor Vetoes Bill to Revise School Textbook Content Standards
Posted on 2014/9/22 18:34:12 ( 614 reads )

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SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, September 19, 2014 (HPI): California governor Jerry Brown vetoed Senate Bill 1057 which would have called for the revision of the "Content Standards" which guide the creation of the state's history-social science books for grades K-12. The Hindu-American community was disappointed with the veto as the bill could have improved the presentation of Hinduism and Indian history in the state's school system.

In vetoing the bill, the governor said, "This bill would require the State Board of Education to adopt history-social science content standards by July 30, 2018. I agree that providing up to date instructional guidance to educators for use in their classrooms is important. This is precisely why the State Board of Education is currently updating the history-social science framework which is on track to be adopted next spring. I am concerned that this bill may slow progress that is already underway, and does not include a role for the Instructional Quality Commission. For these reasons, I am unable to sign this bill."

For the full text of the original bill, go to:
http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/fac ... l?bill_id=201320140SB1057

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Know how Durga Puja is celebrated in East India
Posted on 2014/9/22 18:34:06 ( 649 reads )

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INDIA, September 8, 2014 (by Anindita Dev, zeenews): It's that time of the year for the Bengali Hindus and Assamese, who wake up to the Dhak (drum) beats every morning, following the ten-day long festival of Durga Puja. Durga Puja is also referred to as Durgotsava in Bengali, which marks the victory of Durga over the buffalo demon, Mahishasura. It symbolises the victory of good over evil. The celebration of Durga Puja is culturally significant and holds emotional value for the people of Bengal, Assam and adjoining areas.

Throughout the 6 days of this festival, the cities their cultural milieu. Pandals are set up in all the nooks and corner of city, wherever possible. The Deities are creatively crafted by the potters, out of clay and the life-size Deities of Durga along with her children are installed in the pandals. Community puja or Sarbojanin puja, take up the role of organizing the puja in their locality by housing Deities in pandals and make-shift temples. The five-day worship of the Goddess ends with a grand procession of immersing the Deity in the nearby river. This marks an emotional moment, as She leaves Her home to reunite with Shiva, marked by Vijayadashami. This indicates Durga's victory over the evil and in Northern part of the country, it is known as Dusherra which marks Rama's victory over the demon Ravana.

During the five-day celebration, devotees abstain from alcohol, meat, onions, and wheat. This is something similar to people observing fasts during the Navratras.The end of Navratri calls for an auspicious time for new business or considered lucky for any new work, following a number of rituals which leads to Shubho Bijoya.

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Lord Ganesha Figure Immersed in Pattaya Bay, Thailand
Posted on 2014/9/22 18:33:53 ( 588 reads )

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PATTAYA, THAILAND, September 12, 2014 (Pattaya Mail): Followers of the Hindu and Buddhist God Ganesha capped a 15-day festival with a ceremony lowering a statue of the "God of Success" into the sea at Bali Hai Pier. Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh and Pattaya Ganesha Lovers Club President Chaiwat Detnathee led the faithful at a fire sacrifice and prayer ceremony Aug. 28 as part of the Ganesha Chaturthi celebration.

The centerpiece of the event was the ritual immersion of an eight-foot-tall Ganesha figure into the sea, symbolizing a ritual see-off of the Lord in His journey towards His abode in Kailash while taking away with Him the misfortunes of His devotees.

The Aug. 15-30 festival -- the sixth year it has been held in Thailand -- is the country's largest celebration of its kind. The festival included a parade through Pattaya to display Ganesha's image so followers could pray for their own success and obstacles to be removed. Pattaya officials and club leaders then led followers in an evening candle-lighting ceremony.


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