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Virginia Board of Education Vote Updates and Revises History Standards
Posted on 2015/4/1 18:41:32 ( 1250 reads )

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RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, March 26, 2015 (Hindu American Foundation): The Virginia Board of Education voted to approve new history and social science standards Thursday, including one that changes the way Hinduism and the history of ancient India will be taught in public schools. The Board's vote paved the way for a new curriculum frameworks revision in the state and subsequent textbook adoption. The standards are the blueprint upon which curriculum frameworks are built. Together, they determine both the contents of public school textbooks and what the state's over one million public school students will be required to learn about history. With the standards vote completed, the curriculum framework revision is set to begin immediately.

Previously, World History Standards pertaining to Ancient India and Hinduism read:

4b. describing India, with emphasis on caste system and Aryan migrations;
4c. describing the origins, beliefs, traditions, customs, and spread of Hinduism; (no change)

Standard 4b now reads:

4b. locating India in time and place, including its origins, and early development and the debate over the Aryan migrations;

"The Department of Education staff and the Board of Education have taken a step in the right direction, putting accuracy first for Virginia students," said Murali Balaji, Ph.D., Hindu American Foundation (HAF) education director. The change in the standards reflects the culmination of a decade-long effort by Hindu Virginians, including individuals and community organizations, as well as educators and academics, for more accurate standards in learning about India and Hinduism. HAF contended that the old standards did not accurately convey information about Hinduism, nor the extent of the current academic debate regarding the origins of ancient Indians. At Thursday's Board meeting, several Board members agreed, noting that the revised standards needed to reflect current scholarship.

More at source.
See also: http://hafsite.org/blog/why-the-new-h ... res-much-more-to-be-done/

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/4/1 18:41:25 ( 1024 reads )

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The fragrance of the flower is never borne against the breeze, but the fragrance of human virtues diffuses itself everywhere.
-- Ramayana

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Christians Are Not Under Attack in India
Posted on 2015/3/31 17:58:17 ( 1318 reads )

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INDIA, March 31, 2015 (by Maria Wirth): There is probably no other country where members of other religions were as safe as in India. Hindus always gave shelter to those who were persecuted in their homelands. Jews gratefully acknowledged that India is the one country where they were never persecuted. Syrian Christians under their leader Thomas of Cana were given refuge in the 4th century. Parsis came in the 10th century to escape the Muslim invaders in Persia. And in 1959, some 100,000 Tibetan Buddhist refugees found shelter in India - only 12 years after the British had left the country, divided and poverty-stricken.

So what happened that nowadays there is a lot of talk that Christians are under attack in India? Have Hindus become intolerant? No. Hindus have not changed. All the so called attacks on churches which were hyped up recently on many TV channels turned out to have been minor crimes unconnected with "Hindu extremists". In other countries they would hardly find space in the local paper. Why were they flogged for days on TV channels? Why were Christian spokesmen given plenty of airtime to falsely blame the "Hindu right" and claim that Christians are under attack? There seems to be an agenda by the Churches and it would need to be investigated why so many TV channels obliged.

Much more at source.

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2015 HMEC Conference Set for October in Trinidad
Posted on 2015/3/31 17:58:11 ( 1099 reads )

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PORT of SPAIN, TRINIDAD, March 31, 2015 (myhmec): The 10th Annual HMEC 2015 (Hindu Mandir Executives' Conference) will be held October 2-4, 2015, Port of Spain, Trinidad. The conference will be hosted by the Caribbean Temples and organized by the temples across North America. The HMEC offers Mandir Executives, Priests, Hindu community leaders and Scholars a great opportunity to learn from one another and grow as one. It is a forum to join together as one, share, and listen to each other's stories, opinions, and experiences. Wide ranging discussions will include: building, preserving and strengthening of Mandirs in North America, engaging youth in temple operations, providing leadership, networking and building a strong community, engaging in interfaith dialog, outreach and social services. Please watch http://www.myhmec.com for further details.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/3/31 17:58:05 ( 1012 reads )

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Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.
-- Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), Bengali poet and Brahmo Samaj philosopher

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Rath Utsava Celebrated in South India with Traditional Fervor
Posted on 2015/3/30 16:06:18 ( 1256 reads )

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BHATKAL, KARNATAKA. INDIA, March 30, 2015 (Bhatkal News): HPI Note: The original article states:

"Bhatkal Hanumanth Temple's historical Rath (Chariot) was pulled on March 28 evening by a huge gathering of Hindu brethren with traditional fervor and in a peaceful manner. There were special arrangements for pooja (worship) and in the evening, the chariot was pulled by large number of devotees."

"Thousands of devotees had flocked here for seeing the rath and its pooja (worship). This event designates historical Hindu-Muslim brotherhood and as usual today also, a group of Hindu brethren under the leadership of Surendra Shahnbhag, went to Chirkin Shabandari's house at Sultan Street and took permission from Ansar Shabandari to pull the chariot."

This article, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ci ... /articleshow/45944454.cms,
recounts the origin of the custom--but gives no precise date--in this town which saw severe communal riots in 1993:

"Every April, the Channapattana Hanuman Temple in the middle of the town takes out a procession of its prized chariot, carrying the God. But it is not done without the permission of the Muslim Shahbandari family.The story goes that several years ago, the chariot broke down during an annual procession. The temple authorities and local Hindu worshippers didn't have the money to repair it and get on with the procession. That's when Shahbandari family pitched in with funds. Since then, the ritual of seeking their permission before taking out a procession began. 'Many years later, some youths found it ridiculous to seek permission from a Muslim family and protested. That year, the chariot was brought out without permission and it's said to have developed a snag again in front of the Muslim house. No one has broken the ritual since,' says Qamaruddin Mashaikh, a local. As a tradition sweets are exchanged between the temple authorities and the Shahbandari family during the ritual."

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Hindu Students Council to Host Global Dharma Conference 2015
Posted on 2015/3/30 16:06:07 ( 1224 reads )

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EDISON, NEW JERSEY, March 28, 2015 (Dharma Conference): Hindu Students Council (HSC), the largest Hindu youth organization in North America, announced today that it will host the Global Dharma Conference 2015 to commemorate its 25th Year Anniversary on September 11-13. The 2015 conference, to be held at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center, in Edison, New Jersey, aims to explore and understand the multi-faceted applications of Dharma for the Self as well as for the Society and the World - whether through the multi-faceted systems of Yoga or the invaluable teachings of Vedas and Vedanta. Hence, the conference will feature talks, workshops, performances and music that depict various expressions of Dharma.

With a theme of "Reconnect, Rejuvenate and Realize," Global Dharma Conference 2015 will build upon the success of the first conference and will feature several prominent dignitaries, speakers, celebrity guests and artists from around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.dharmaconference.com and http://www.facebook.com/dharmaconference or email us at info@dharmaconference.com.


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/3/30 16:06:00 ( 931 reads )

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Like treasure hidden in the ground, like flavor in the fruit, like gold in the rock, and oil in the seed, the Absolute is hidden in the heart.
-- Akka Mahadevi, twelfth-century Vira Saiva saint

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US Agencies May be Indirectly Funding Religious Conversion in India
Posted on 2015/3/29 17:38:49 ( 1298 reads )

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INDIA, March 30, 2015 (by Rupa Subramanya, Firstpost): An unsettled and ongoing debate in the area of foreign development assistance concerns the extensive role played by faith-based organisations (FBO). In the US context, in particular, FBOs have been heavily involved in the delivery of both domestic social and foreign development assistance activities funded by the US government. One of the principal avenues through which FBOs receive taxpayer support is the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Indeed, several major US-based FBOs, which receive USAID funds, are active in India in a big way. An obvious concern is that when explicitly religious organisations are funded by tax dollars, what happens if those organisations are tempted to use the funds for proselytising activity rather than just the intended humanitarian or charitable purpose?

Nothing prevents an FBO from quickly transitioning from a humanitarian activity such as disaster relief to evangelizing to the same group of people -- and such activity is widely reported. Second, as monies are fungible, the fact that FBOs receive government support means that they can transfer money away from humanitarian activity toward proselytising, and still come out ahead financially. This sort of activity, blending charity and Christian evangelism, has aroused the concern of the Indian government. "Can social service not be performed without resorting to conversion and will any country allow changes to its demographic character?" asked India's Home Minister Rajnath Singh recently while addressing a government commission charged with protecting the rights of minorities in India.

For more, go to source

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Simple Way to Cook Rice that Dramatically Cuts the Calories
Posted on 2015/3/29 17:38:34 ( 1359 reads )

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UNITED STATES, March 25, 2015 (Washington Post): Rice, the lifeblood of so many nations' cuisines, is perhaps the most ubiquitous food in the world. In Asia, where an estimated 90 percent of all rice is consumed, the pillowy grains are part of almost every meal. Rice is popular because it's malleable--it pairs well with a lot of different kinds of food--and it's relatively cheap. But like other starch-heavy foods, it has one central flaw: it isn't that good for you. White rice consumption, in particular, has been linked to a higher risk of diabetes. A cup of the cooked grain carries with it roughly 200 calories, most of which comes in the form of starch, which turns into sugar, and often thereafter body fat.

An undergraduate student and his professor at the University of Sri Lanka have been tinkering with a new way to cook rice that can reduce its calories by as much as 50 percent and even offer a few other added health benefits. The ingenious method, which at its core is just a simple manipulation of chemistry, involves only a couple easy steps in practice. "What we did is cook the rice as you normally do, but when the water is boiling, before adding the raw rice, we added coconut oil--about 3 percent of the weight of the rice you're going to cook," said Sudhair James, who presented his preliminary research at National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) on Monday. "After it was ready, we let it cool in the refrigerator for about 12 hours. That's it."

More at source.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/3/29 17:38:27 ( 959 reads )

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You shine, all living things emerge. You disappear, they go to rest. Recognizing our innocence, O golden-haired Sun, arise; let each day be better than the last.
-- Rig Veda (10.37.9)

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Graduate Theological Union Announces New MA and Certificate Options in Hindu Studies; Lecture by Anantanand Rambachan
Posted on 2015/3/28 17:32:38 ( 1150 reads )

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BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA, March 3, 2015 (Press Release): The Graduate Theological Union has introduced new degree options in Hindu Studies and Interreligious Studies for its Master of Arts program, and has extended the application deadline through July 1, 2015, for students seeking to enroll in these programs for the Fall 2015 semester.

The Master of Arts with an area of concentration in Hindu Studies will be offered in connection with the GTU's newly established Hindu Studies Initiative. The primary foci for the program will be the study of Hindu philosophy of religion, theology, art, and sacred texts; Hinduism and world engagement in consideration of its historical and cultural contexts; and the interrelationships of Hinduism with other Indic Dharma faiths--particularly Jainism and Indian Buddhism. In accordance with the interreligious environment of the GTU, the Hindu ethos will be studied in dialogue with other religious traditions, in order to deepen understanding and relationships amongst cultures and faiths while honoring the distinctiveness of each religion. With this new degree option, the GTU becomes one of the first masters programs in North America with a clear focus on Hindu Philosophy of Religion and Theology (which integrates art and music), as well as engaged Hinduism.

GTU will also offer a Certificate in Hindu Studies which can count toward later graduate studies.

The most important Endowed Lectureship of the GTU Berkeley is the Singh Lecture Series in Comparative Religious Thought. It is known as the "Flagship" GTU lecture. This is an annual lecture delivered by an invited eminent scholar. Renowned authors, poets, professors and public intellectuals have given this lecture, which is shared across the academy.

The 2015 GTU "Flagship" lecture will be delivered by a Hindu scholar to promote and announce the groundbreaking Hindu Studies initiative at the GTU, on April 10th, 2015 at the Doug Adams Gallery in Berkeley. Professor Anantanand Rambachan, an expert in Vedanta, and Indian Philosophy of Religion will deliver the GTU 2015 Singh lecture to celebrate the development of the world's most ancient and vibrant spiritual tradition at the nation's singular and eminent interreligious graduate university. See http://gtu.edu/events/2015-surjit-singh-lecture for details.

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Input Requested for Proposed Directory of Indian Spiritual Organisations Functioning Abroad
Posted on 2015/3/28 17:32:23 ( 1095 reads )

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MARCH 27, 2015 (DISOA):The booklet titled "The Global Vision and Mission of Swami Vivekananda, and how it inspired the Indian Spiritual Thrust World-wide" (downloadable online at http://tinyurl.com/nta7ocy) highlights the need for a DIRECTORY OF INDIAN SPIRITUAL ORGANISATIONS FUNCTIONING ABROAD, and presents the details of the Project. It also contains an appeal from the President of Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari, the Convener of the Project, who has undertaken it with the blessings and support of the leading spiritual institutions of Bharath. Given at the end of the booklet are details about the particulars required for the Directory, the guidelines for submission online at www.disoa.org , categories of participating institutions, their various particulars to be incorporated in the proposed Directory, and the future plan.

More information at source.

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3,500 People Leave the Christian Church in America Every Day
Posted on 2015/3/28 17:32:17 ( 1346 reads )

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March, 27, 2015, USA (tfwm.com): There is an ongoing silent migration away from the church of an estimated 3,500 individuals each and every day. A 2014 study indicated that over 1.2 million people will leave the church in the next year. Several factors are contributing to this trend, but the majority of individuals who are leaving the church report that they no longer feel connected. This movement away from the church has been ongoing for several decades. The number of churches that are closing their doors every year is leading to an overall decline in church attendance. In 2015, it is estimated that over 10,000 churches will close their doors.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/3/28 17:32:11 ( 1024 reads )

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The moment I have realized God sitting in the temple of every human body, the moment I stand in reverence before every human being and see God in him--that moment I am free from bondage, everything that binds vanishes, and I am free.
-- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)

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