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Meditation Blooms as People Seek a Way to Slow Down
Posted on 2015/2/21 18:00:51 ( 1244 reads )

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LOS ANGELES, USA, February 18, 2015 (The LA Times): One hundred fifty people sat in the big meeting room, hands on laps, eyes closed, feet flat on the floor."Bring your attention to this moment," Janice Marturano instructed. "Be open to sensations of warmth or coolness, sensations of fullness from breakfast, or perhaps hunger." Minutes later, the meditation ended with the traditional strikes of little hand cymbals. Buddhists? Old hippies? New Agers? No, the room was full of hospital executives and managers in lab coats and scrubs, jeans and sports coats at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. And the teacher was Marturano, once a top executive at General Mills.

The founder of the Institute for Mindful Leadership, Marturano is a sign that meditation has snaked its way into every sector of our lives. Meditation, primarily a 2,500-year-old form called mindfulness meditation that emphasizes paying attention to the present moment, has gone viral.

Meditation has moved from its Asian, monastic roots to become a practice requiring no particular dogma on a path not necessarily toward nirvana but toward a more mindful everyday life. Some serious advocates worry it's becoming another feel-good commodity. The practice of mindfulness meditation has become more widespread at a time when the fastest-growing group demographic is made up of people who say they are unaffiliated with a particular denomination, said Varun Soni, the dean of religious life at USC, which has launched a university-wide effort toward mindfulness.

For more, go to source

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/2/21 18:00:45 ( 1042 reads )

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Attach yourself to Him who is free from all attachments. Bind yourself to that bond so all other bonds may be broken.
-- Tirukkural 350

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Trinidad Hindus Observe Shivratri amid Carnival Celebration
Posted on 2015/2/20 17:45:02 ( 1171 reads )

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PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD, February 20, 2015 (By Paras Ramoutar for HPI): Away from fetes, dancing and merrymaking as Trinidad and Tobago, the oil-rich Caribbean republic observes its annual carnival, devout Hindus visited temples and other public places to observe the annual Shivratri on Carnival Tuesday, February 17.

Thousands of Hindu women dressed in saris and men in kurtas spent the night in over 400 temples across the land. For the past three weeks, Hindus maintained strict adherence and did not eat meat or indulged in alcoholic drinks in preparation for Shivratri. Scores of temples hosted special Lord Shiva Yagnas, all of which were carried live on several radio stations. Ramesh Tiwari, spiritual leader of the Edinburgh Hindu temple in Chaguanas town said, "The observance of Shivratri gives mankind another chance to reconnect with Lord Shiva. The world continues to travel down the pathway of spiritual, oral and ethical decline."

The observance of Shivratri was brought by the indentured Indian laborers who came from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar between 1845 and 1917. Shivratri is one of several sacred Hindu observances which were brought here by their forefathers. Out of a population of 1.3 million people, some 25 percent people are devout Hindus.

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Maha Shivratri Fasting Rules Procedure: What to Eat?
Posted on 2015/2/20 17:44:54 ( 1107 reads )

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INDIA, February 16, 2015 (All India Roundup by J. Divya): On the auspicious occasion of Shivratri, or Mahashivratri, Hindu devotees around the world observe Shivratri Vrat or Upvaas or fast. Maha Shivaratri is the wonderful opportunity for the followers of Lord Shiva, to praise the God and seek his blessings. The fasting involves refraining from eating any food and not sleeping throughout the night. Sivaratri literally means 'the night of Lord Shiva' and unlike other festivals associated with Hinduism there is no fun and merrymaking on the day. But the night provides an opportunity to cleanse the ignorance, realize that you are Brahman and open the door to bliss.

The Mahashivratri fasting begins on the morning of Shivratri and ends next day morning or the Amavasya morning. Since it is a long Upvaas or Vrat, many people consume a special meal known as phalar. Devotees wake up before sunrise and take bath and wear clean clothes. Most people then visit a nearby Shiva Temple. In most places, Shivratri is largely observed in temples.

No meal is eaten after sunset on Shivratri day. But many people don't know what to eat on this day. Some recipes which you can eat during the fasting are cashew nut barfi, green gram fry, potato pumpkin pancakes and aloo tikki. Though many go on a diet of fruits and milk, some do not consume even a drop of water all through the day and night of Shivratri Festival.

For more suggestions see 'source'.

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Sewa International Launches 2015 Yuva for Sewa Summer Internship for India
Posted on 2015/2/20 17:44:48 ( 1084 reads )

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HOUSTON, TEXAS, February 12, 2015 (Sewa International): Sewa International has launched its annual Yuva for Sewa (YFS), 8 to 10-week volunteer summer internship opportunity for college students to travel to India to contribute their time to serve humanity. Since its inception in 2006, 52 YFS youth interns have volunteered their time for healthcare, education, environment, women's empowerment, rural development, and microfinance. Interns work with community NGOs to serve and engage in an empowering self-transformative experience to make an impact in their chosen field.

To know more about the Yuva for Sewa program, log on to http://www.sewausa.org/yuva-sewa-appeal. Interested candidates apply online at http://www.sewausa.org/yuva-sewa-2015. Admissions are on a rolling basis. The final deadline is April 15, 2015. Locations of internships will be in Bengaluru, India.

Sewa International (www.sewausa.org) is a Hindu-faith based, worldwide nonprofit that promotes selfless service to communities around the world regardless of race, color, nationality, religion, or gender. To volunteer, contact info@sewausa.org.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/2/20 17:44:42 ( 994 reads )

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There are two great forces in the universe, silence and speech. Silence prepares, speech creates. The strength of noise and activity is great. But infinite is the strength of stillness and silence, in which great forces prepare for action. To be capable of silence, stillness and illuminated passivity is to be fit for immortality.
-- Sri Aurobido (1879-1950)

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Maha Shivaratri 2015: 200,000 Pilgrims at Grand-Bassin
Posted on 2015/2/17 16:29:09 ( 1533 reads )

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MAURITIUS, February 17, 2015 (Le Mauricien): There were big crowds at Grand-Bassin this weekend. Some 200,000 pilgrims visited Ganga Talao to collect holy water as part of the Maha Shivaratri rituals. Yesterday, the pilgrims from the northern part of the island were on their way back, while those of the Plains-Wilhems and south of the island converged on the holy lake.

Around 6PM yesterday, hundreds of devotees of the Rose Hill area accompanied by the Veeramundur Band caused a traffic jam in Candos, towards La Marie and Petrin. Parking areas were all occupied at Grand-Bassin, forcing the police to convert a pedestrian lane to accommodate parking for all the vehicles. The traffic slowdown was also partly caused by crowds gathering at the tent-booths that had been erected on the side of the road to provide food and refreshments to the pilgrims. The biggest kanwars also disrupted traffic at strategic points leading to the sacred lake. [A kanwar is a large religious display usually carried on the shoulders, but here in Mauritius, some devotees have built ones for the festival that roll on wheels and barely fit in a lane on the road.]

Despite appeals of the leaders of socio-cultural organizations, most kanwars were large, rather than individual affairs, and had to be transported by many devotees. Despite the scorching heat, fatigue and sore feet, pilgrims have traveled dozens of kilometers in the fervor and spirit of devotion in honor of Lord Siva.

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Thousands Celebrate Hindu Festival in Mauritius
Posted on 2015/2/17 16:29:03 ( 1100 reads )

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MAURITIUS, February 16, 2015 (Yahoo): Thousands of pilgrims converge at the Grand Bassin, considered as the most sacred Hindu site in Mauritius, to celebrate the Maha Shivaratri festival. Short video at source.

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3,400 Personnel to Guard Pashupati Area, Million Devotees for Maha Shivarathri
Posted on 2015/2/17 16:28:57 ( 1000 reads )

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KATHMANDU, NEPAL, February 17, 2015 (Ekantipur): Nepal Police will deploy 3,400 personnel in the Pashupati area on Tuesday as devotees throng the holy site during the Shivaratri, one of the biggest Hindu festivals.

Police have established a post to command 12 temporary posts headed by Inspectors at North Gate, Bishworupa, Bankali Parking, four Shivalayas, Pingalastan, Ram Mandir, Uma Kunda, Kailash Hill, temple area, Tilganga and Siphal Ground. The main command will be handled by a Superintendent of Police while 512 personnel have been deputed in the area since Monday morning until Tuesday night.

Around 1 million people are expected to visit Pashupatinath for the festival on Tuesday. "We are focussing more on surveillance through Close Circuit Television cameras. There are 32 CCTV units watching the temple premises and the movement of people from Tilganga and Gaushala areas," said SSP Khadka. Bomb disposal squads and sniffer dogs will remain stand-by while reinforcements will be available.

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Hindu Temple in Washington State Vandalized with Hateful Words
Posted on 2015/2/17 16:28:51 ( 1035 reads )

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BOTHELL, WASHINGTON, February 16, 2015 (AOL, KIRO TV): Someone spray painted a swastika and the words 'Get Out' on a wall of the Hindu temple in Bothwell. The temple wasn't the only building targeted. Skyview Junior High, a block away, was also tagged with a swastika and the words, 'Muslims Get Out'.

"When it happens here it tells you it's not in a certain part of America, it's in the mainstream, it's in a very intellectual place like here in Bothell, so I'm very surprised," temple member Ketan Shah said.

Now the community is showing their support, posting signs of support around the neighborhood and writing cards penned with kind words in hopes of erasing the ugly ones. The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office is investigating the vandalism at the temple.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/2/17 16:28:45 ( 921 reads )

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One who is established in a comfortable posture while concentrating on the inner Self naturally becomes immersed in the Heart's ocean of bliss.
-- Siva Sutras III, 16

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Thirty-Five Christians Reconverted to Hinduism in Kottayam District
Posted on 2015/2/16 18:52:34 ( 1244 reads )

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KOTTAYAM, KERALA, INDIA, February 16, 2015 (The Hindu): A group of 35 people on Sunday reconverted to Hinduism, as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) continues with its ghar vapsi (home coming) program despite criticism from various quarters. The VHP said they welcomed back Dalit families who had converted to Christianity a few generations back.

The rituals for welcoming these people to their original faith were held at a temple at Uzhavoor, near here, said Aneesh Balakrishnan, a spokesman for the pro-VHP Kerala Hindu Helpline. They belonged to 12 families of the Cheramar community, he said. With these reconversions, 120 people had returned to the Hindu faith in the last three months from Kottayam district alone, Mr. Balakrishnan said.

The conversion issue has been in the limelight in Kerala and was raised in Parliament in December with the Opposition attacking the government. Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had earlier said that the situation in the State did not warrant any government intervention. "There is no forced conversion or reconversion in the State. If somebody voluntarily takes a decision, what can the government do," he had said.

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The God Project: Hinduism as Open-Source Faith
Posted on 2015/2/16 18:52:27 ( 1108 reads )

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UNITED STATES, May 25, 2011 (Huffington Post by Josh Schrei): Trying to explain the core beliefs of "Hinduism" to an interested observer can be challenging to say the least. It's often stated that the word "Hinduism" itself is a total misnomer, as it basically refers to the sum total of spiritual and religious thought and practice that has taken place on the Indian subcontinent over the past 5,000 years. And let's just say it's been a busy 5,000 years.

However, the key point of differentiation between Hinduism and other faiths is not polytheism vs. monotheism. The key differentiation is that "Hinduism" is Open Source and most other faiths are Closed Source. "Open source is an approach to the design, development, and distribution of software, offering practical accessibility to a software's source code."

"Generally, closed source means only the binaries of a computer program are distributed and the license provides no access to the program's source code. The source code of such programs might be regarded as a trade secret of the company." One of the defining facts of Christian history is that access to God has been viewed -- as in most closed source systems -- as a trade secret. The ability to reinterpret the Bible, or the teachings of Christ, or the Old Testament, or to challenge the basic fundamental authority of the church has been nonexistent for most of the church's history. Those who dared to do so were quite often killed.

In Indic thought, there is no trade secret. The foundation of yoga is that the key to God, or the macrocosm, or the absolute ... lies within the individual and can be accessed through a certain set of practices. It's a beautifully simple but ultimately profound concept that has been allowed to flourish unchecked for millennia. The process of discovering and re-imagining the divine is in your hands. The God Project.

More at source.

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New English Translations of Saiva Agamas Posted On-Line
Posted on 2015/2/16 18:52:21 ( 1059 reads )

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KAUAI, HAWAII, February 15, 2015 (HPI): Hinduism Today and Kauai Aadheenam are pleased to announce the posting of key Saiva Agamas translated to English by Dr. S.P. Sabharathanam Sivacharyar of Chennai over the last several years. Available at "source" above is the entire translation of part one, Purva Pada, of the Kamika Agama, most of part two, Uttara Pada, the Vidya Pada or knowledge sections of Raurava, Pauskara, Mrgendra and Matanga Agamas and the Yoga Pada of Sarvajnanottara Agama. None of these have been translated to English previously. Each is a key scripture of Saiva Siddhanta or Tamil Saivism.

The Kamika covers a large array of topics regarding the temple, from site selection, design and construction though dedication, daily puja and yearly festivals. It also covers village and residence design, various forms of initiation and much more. This is the key Agama for Saivite temple worship.

The other Agamas are largely philosophical in topic. Typical is the revered Sarvajnanottara Agama. Its chapters are: Treatise on Yoga, Direct Blissful Experience of Absolute Oneness with Siva, Nature of the Physical Self, Nature of the Inner Self, Nature of the Self Associated with Tattvas, Nature of the Self in the Form of Mantra and Nature of the Supreme Self.

On this auspicious day of Maha Sivaratri, 2015, what more could one need?

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/2/16 18:52:06 ( 914 reads )

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There the eye goes not, nor words, nor mind. We know not. We cannot understand how He can be explained. He is above the known, and He is above the unknown. Thus have we heard from the ancient sages who explained this truth to us.
-- Sama Veda, Kena Upanishad 1.3

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