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Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/4/18 19:30:40 ( 2844 reads )

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Upon dying, a man is greeted on the other side by Lord Yama, who immediately begins helping him determine his next step in the inner worlds. Lord Yama says, "Your karmic record is not clear to me. Is there something exceptional you have done that I should know about?" The man responded, "I was walking down the street with my wife. Several thugs drove up on mopeds and insulted her. I walked over to the leader, reached up, ripped the earring out of his ear, grabbed him by the throat and told him, 'That's no way to speak to a lady!' " "Impressive, " Yama said. "When did this happen?" The man replied, "Oh, a couple of minutes ago."



Christians and Hindus Portrayed Negatively in Pakistan's School Textbooks


Posted on 2016/4/17 20:33:23 ( 3576 reads )

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PAKISTAN, April 15, 2016 (Christian Daily): Textbooks in Pakistan that are used to teach about 41 million children negatively portray religious minorities such as Christians and Hindus, referring to them as "nefarious, violent, and tyrannical by nature." "Pakistan's public school textbooks contain deeply troubling content that portrays non-Muslim citizens as outsiders, unpatriotic, and inferior; are filled with errors; and present widely-disputed historical 'facts' as settled history," said Robert George, chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

A study done by the USCIRF discovered that the public school system still observes fundamental intolerance of religious minorities. Moreover, it was found that the textbooks do not indicate the rights of religious minorities and how these minorities positively contributed to Pakistan's development.

The textbooks teach Pakistani children that Christians learned tolerance and kind-heartedness from Muslims and that Hindus have their own conspiracies toward the Muslims. This is alarming because Christian and Hindu children will be exposed to these very pro-Muslim messages. The coexistence between Muslims and non-Muslims is not being promoted with what the offensive textbooks are teaching. "These textbooks sadly reflect the alarming state today of religious freedom in Pakistan. A country's education system, including its textbooks, should promote religious tolerance, not close the door to cooperation and coexistence," George said.



Why We Are Teaching Our Children Hate? By Saadia Haq


Posted on 2016/4/17 20:33:13 ( 3508 reads )

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PAKISTAN, April 17, 2016 (Pakistan Christian Post by Saadia Haq): If like me you were born and raised in Pakistan, probably you have attended a local school where we as children learnt at an early age the "conspiracy of the non-believers against Muslims." You may say whatever in its defense, but our reality is troubling. Just think of a 7, or 8, or for that matter an 11-year-old kid being taught glorifying accounts of how conquerors like Muhammad bin Qasim and Mahmood Ghaznavi occupied the subcontinent to free the Muslims under threat from enslavement.

Most sociology books refer to Christians as "violent crusaders" and Hindus as "gangsters" and we are in no doubt that here in Pakistan, our textbooks preach falsehoods, hatred and bigotry. The construction of most non-Muslims is evil and bad. Just think for a moment that you are back in a public school where children of different faith are learning Pakistani history in particular "Ideology of Pakistan". And your teacher reading the passage out loudly, "Who am I? I am a Muslim. I am a Pakistani. I love my country and I love my people."

Within the country, the debate to revamp educational curricula is going on for more than two decades with slow progress. Last year, for the first time in our history, school books for middle and high school students made amendments to their curriculum by describing the positive role religious minorities including Christians, Hindus and Sikhs have had in nation building since 1947. Despite being a small change, it is hailed as a victory by most local human rights defenders and minority campaigners. The new history textbook contains a separate section of chapter VIII titled as "Population, Society and Culture of Pakistan."




Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/4/17 20:33:03 ( 3076 reads )

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To the growing soul, to the spirit within us, may not difficulties, obstacles, attacks be a means of growth, added strength, enlarged experience, training for spiritual victory? The arrangement of things may be that, and not a mere question of the pounds, shillings and pence of a distribution of rewards and retributory misfortunes!
-- Sri Aurobindo Ghose (1872-1950), Indian philosopher speaking on karma and disasters



Supreme Court Says Women Cannot be Prevented from Entering Sabarimala Temple


Posted on 2016/4/16 19:27:58 ( 3822 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, Deccan Chronicle): The Supreme Court on Wednesday reiterated that denial of entry of women between the age of 10 and 50 in Sabarimala Ayyappa temple in Kerala based on custom, faith or tradition cannot defeat the constitutional principles of equality. A three-judge bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra, V. Gopala Gowda and Kurian Joseph was hearing a batch of petitions and applications filed by Indian young Lawyers Association and others challenging the ban on entry of women.

Senior counsel Indira Jaising, appearing for women who are in the menstruation cycle argued that such a ban violated their right to practice religion which includes right of entry and worshiping the Lord. Questioning the contention that women are not allowed as Lord Ayyappa is a Naisthik brahmachari (celibate) and presence of women will affect the Lord's penance, she said how women can be made victims if celibacy is to be disturbed.

Justice Misra told the counsel, "They (temple) have developed a custom and tradition being followed to maintain purity of the temple. But the question is whether physiological phenomenon can be a guiding factor to deny entry a class of women within the class of females." Justice Kurian Joseph pointed out to the counsel that the temple is an institution and what they say is the status of the deity as Brahmachari has to be protected.

More at "source".



The Weaves Worth Saving


Posted on 2016/4/16 19:27:47 ( 3751 reads )

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INDIA, April 15, 2016 (Verve Magazine): India is known around the world for the beauty and diversity of its handicrafts and textiles. Designer, craft revivalist and textile conservationist Madhu Jain had been championing this cause for over two decades now. Some indigenous textiles and techniques that she thinks you should take note of are: Nakshi kantha embroidery: "Bangladesh's iconic centuries-old double running stitch (on layers of fabric) is quite different from the kantha embroidery of West Bengal." Jain collaborated with BRAC in Bangladesh, one of the largest NGOs in the world, to revive this exquisite art form.

Muslin: Especially Bangladeshi muslin has today become a staple of the Indian fashion industry. "Muslin (a cotton textile of plain weave) was handwoven in India in the state of Bengal, particularly in what is now known as Bangladesh. Traditionally, it was made from incredibly delicate hand-spun yarn, and required finesse and expertise to weave."

Srikalahasti kalamkari: Srikalahasti kalamkari uses a pen (kalam) to draw and colour motifs freehand. "This kalamkari style is entirely handworked, as opposed to the Machilipatnam kalamkari, which is block-printed using vegetable dyes."

Photos at "source" for this interesting article.



Trinidad Hindus Observe Nau Raatri, Ram Nowni


Posted on 2016/4/16 19:27:37 ( 3757 reads )



PORT-OF-SPAIN, TRINIDAD, April 14, 2016 (HPI by Paras Ramoutar): For several weeks now, Hindus in Trinidad have joined their counterparts in the Indian diaspora worldwide in the observance of Nau Raatri and Ram Nowi. Observances have been taking place at hundreds of mandirs, other public places and in homes. Devout Hindus have been abstaining from all forms of merriment, alcoholic drinks and meats as they pay serious obeisances to Mother Durga, Mother Lakshmi and Mother Saraswati, and this nine-day affair will culminate on Saturday with the observance of Ram Nowni.

Spiritual Leader of the Edinburgh Hindu Temple, Pundit Ramesh Tiwari, in his nightly homily, has continued to underscore that devotion to the Feminine Aspect of the Supreme Being is the way to go. "Just as your earthly mother responds to your pains, your cries and your problems, likewise Mother Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati would respond if your approach them with benevolence, faith and devotion. Nothing remains impossible to achieve or to realize if your devotion in executed with faith," he said.

Some 24 percent of the population of 1.3 million people are Hindus. Hinduism was brought here between the period 1945 and 1917 when just about 150,000 East Indians were brought here from India, principally Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to work on the restoration of a declining agricultural sector following the freedom of slaves.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/4/16 19:27:26 ( 3750 reads )

Source

The atman in you is that which indwells all things." "Tell me, Yajnavalkya, about this atman that indwells all things." "It is that which transcends hunger and thirst, sorrow and delusion, old age and death."
-- Brihadaranyaka Upanishad III, 5A



Trimbakeshwar Temple Revokes Ban on Men's Entry in Sanctum


Posted on 2016/4/15 18:24:40 ( 3210 reads )

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NASHIK, INDIA, April 12, 2016 (Deccan Chronicle): The Trimbakeshwar Temple authorities have gone back on their April 3 resolution wherein they decided to ban entry of men, too, into the core worship area at the famous Lord Shiva shrine here. A meeting of the Trimbakeshwar Devasthan Trust held here on Sunday cancelled its earlier resolution restricting entry of males into the sanctum sanctorum. The Trust revoked its decision of April 3 owing to pressure from locals, Nagare, who presided over the meeting of the trustees said. The meeting did not decide anything on the centuries-old ban on women's entry into the core area, he said.

However, the temple trustees were unanimous about seeking further guidance from the Bombay High Court in the matter even after its recent ruling that it is the fundamental right of women to go into places of worship. The court had also directed the Maharashtra government to take pro-active steps for ensuring compliance with the law for the prevention of discrimination against women vis-a vis entry to places of worship. Women, can, however have 'darshan' from outside the core area.

The ancient temple, located 30 kms from Nashik, is a major Lord Shiva shrine of the country, which has one of the 12 jyotirlingas, drawing devotees from far and wide. According to Ghule, a member of the Trimbakeshwar Temple Trust, the ban on entry of women into the garbhagriha (inner sanctum) is an age-old tradition and not something enforced in recent times. The ban goes back to the Peshwa period. Some priests in the temple town said most of the women devotees might not want to defy the tradition.They claimed that there are certain rays that concentrate in the core area which could probably be harmful to the health of women.



HAF Launches New Campaign to Oppose California Curriculum Edits


Posted on 2016/4/15 18:24:30 ( 3136 reads )

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SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, April 12, 2016 (India West): Strengthening its fight against proposed edits to the California school curriculum, which seek to remove some references to India and Hinduism and replace them with the terms "South Asia" and "ancient Indian religion," respectively, the Hindu American Foundation launched a campaign on social media April 6 to keep Hindu and Indian history included and accurate within the framework of the textbooks.

Called #DontEraseIndia, the campaign will continue until May 11-12, which is when the State Board of Education hearing is scheduled that will make a decision on whether or not to incorporate the suggested edits, which HAF says reinforce cultural stereotypes and historical inaccuracies. According to HAF, there are 33 places in the sixth and seventh grade curriculum where any reference to India or Hinduism will either be removed or replaced.

On March 24, over 100 Hindu Americans staged a silent protest outside the Department of Education building in Sacramento, Calif., to voice their concerns regarding the California Department of Education Instructional Quality Commission's plans to accept edits made by a group of South Asian studies faculty members to California state textbooks from Grade 6-10. Samir Kalra, HAF director and senior fellow for Human Rights, had earlier told India-West that the majority of the edits that the faculty group were trying to suggest were "negative in nature in relation to Hinduism and India" and that they were trying to "erase a lot of the identity and contribution of Hinduism and ancient Indian civilization."



The Aryan-Dravidian Divide Is a Political Myth


Posted on 2016/4/15 18:24:19 ( 3257 reads )

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INDIA, April 12, 2016 (Swarajya Magazine by David Frawley): Traveling throughout India, including much time in the south, I have been trying to make sense of the proposed Aryan-Dravidian divide, and the call for a pure Dravidian culture that one hears in Tamil Nadu. The first thing one notices is that the most pure Sanskrit names are found in Tamil Nadu, extending to Dravidian political leaders like Jayalalitha and Karunanidhi. Yet this is just the beginning of numerous connections between the culture of south and the north.

If you are looking for the region of India where ancient Vedic teachings are best preserved, you will find it in Dravidian Kerala, where ancient Vedic rituals and fire sacrifices are regularly performed with precision and devotion. In the south one finds the largest Hindu temple complexes, dwarfing anything in the north. Yet the temples are of the same great deities as Shiva, Vishnu, Devi and Ganesha as in the north. Southern temples reverberate with the same Sanskrit chants as in the north, with some chants in Tamil as the north has some in Hindi.

Behind this Aryan-Dravidian divide idea is the historical debate whether the so-called Aryans invaded or migrated into India from the north and pushed the Dravidians to the south - as Western historians have proposed (supposed to have happened around 1500 BC). This theory is under severe scrutiny today and has no real evidence on the ground to prove it, including no Aryan race type ever discovered archaeologically - but even if it has some validity it is an event, more than three thousand years old. It is hard to see its relevance as defining Dravidian versus Aryan culture today.

Much more at "source".




Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/4/15 18:24:09 ( 3068 reads )

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Like the household fire, devotees seek the glory of the Lord even from afar and enshrine it in their inner chamber for enlightenment. The glory of our Lord is full of splendor, all-illuminative and worthy to be honored in every heart.
-- Rig Veda 7.1.2



Indian Diaspora in Guadeloupe


Posted on 2016/4/11 20:28:06 ( 5178 reads )

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GUADELOUPE, April 9, 2016 (News Gram): Guadeloupe is situated in the Northern Caribbean and French is spoken on the island. In the mid 1860's around 45,000 people were brought to here by the French government from south India to work in the sugar plantations.

When the British government adopted a policy against hiring people from other territories, the French government immediately stopped bringing people from India. Due to this, Indians had to face a lot of hardship and around 9,000 people left the island. But hundreds of them had to stay back either to start a new life or because their bond documents were burnt by their officials. Indians who became businessmen and landowners chose to stay back.

The French government estimated that 55,000 Indians were present in Guadeloupe. In Guadeloupe most of the Indians were Tamils and the Island is one of the largest Tamil populations in the Caribbean. There are several associations formed by Indo-Guadeloupe to promote Indian culture. Among these associations the largest association consists of 300 members and 2,000 associates. This association is named L'Association Culturelle Guadeloupeenne des Amis de L'Inde. With Indian citizens holding higher positions in all fields and politics in Guadeloupe, people were longing to rediscover and re-cover their Indian history, heritage and culture.

More of this history at "source".



Trinidad Hindus Observe Shivganga Maha Yatra, Trinidad


Posted on 2016/4/11 20:27:56 ( 4025 reads )



TRINDAD, April 11, 2016 (by Dr. Prithiviraj Bahadursingh, yatra coordinator): In February 2015, the first Shivganga Maha Yatra was held where Yyatris walked from Gangadhara (Marianne river, Blanchisseuse, Trinidad, considered as Mother Ganga in Trinidad) to the Patiram trace Shiva temple, covering 126 km over five days, carrying Ganga jala, observing maunam (silence) and doing the mental japa of "Om Namah Shivaya." The Yatra was a truly uplifting and purifying experience; it commenced with puja to Shri Trininadeshwar (local form of Lord Shiva) at Gangadhara and culminated on the morning of Shivratri with the offering of Abhishekam to Lord Shiva and Shiva puja at the Patirama Shiva mandir.

In March 2016, the second Shivganga Maha Yatra was held where Yatris walked from Gangadhara in Blanchisseuse to Manzanilla beach on the eastern coast of Trinidad. They covered 66 km over three days and the Yatra culminated with Rameshwar puja on the morning of Shivratri, Monday 7th march, 2016. The Yatra was organised by the Chinmaya Mission of Trinidad and Tobago, under the leadership of H.H Swami Prakashananda. The yatra is now an annual event and open to everyone.
For more information, email Dr. Prithiviraj Bahadursingh at "source" above.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/4/11 20:27:45 ( 3886 reads )

Source

Try to treat with equal love all the people with whom you have relations. Thus the abyss between 'myself' and 'yourself' will be filled in, which is the goal of all religious worship.
-- Anandamayi Ma (1896-1982), God-intoxicated yogini and mystic Bengali saint

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