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Hinduism Today Seeks Advice for Story on Assam

Posted on 2016/8/26 14:35:47 ( 873 reads )

KAPAA, HAWAII, August 26, 2016 (HPI): Hinduism Today is planning to have correspondent Rajiv Malik and photographer Thomas Kelly spend a week plus in Assam in October and is looking for local contacts and advice on what to cover and who to interview. We're wanting to cover all things Hindu in the Northeastern state.

If you can help, kindly email Acharya Arumuganathaswami, managing editor, at ar@hindu.org.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/8/26 14:35:37 ( 597 reads )


Suppose a thorn has pierced a man's foot. He picks up another thorn to pull out the one hurting him. After extracting the first with the help of the second, he throws both away. One should use the thorn of knowledge to pull out the thorn of ignorance, then throw away both, and realize God directly.
-- Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836-1886)

Posted on 2016/8/22 19:34:41 ( 0 reads )

Muscat Shree Ganesh Committee to Celebrate Feast from Sept 5

MUSCAT, OMAN, August 19, 2016 (Daiji World): Muscat Shree Ganesh Festival Committee is all set to organize and celebrate Shree Ganesh festival this year from September 5th to 7th at Muscat Shiva Temple. All arrangements are underway. This will be its 32nd year of celebration.

It all started 32 years ago with the initiative of Tulu Koota Muscat and the tradition is being carried on and is well maintained. The three-day festivities are filled with day-long poojas, homas, bhajans, keertans, dances, instrumental music, 108 coconut offerings, Laddu/Modaka Seve etc. Thousands of devotees will partake in the festivities. Besides the Indian ambassador to Muscat, a number of dignitaries from various business communities, social/cultural organizations will be attending the festivities. People from all parts of India, based in Muscat will attend to pay obeisance to Lord Ganesh and receive His blessings.

US Town Hopes to Make Hindu Temple Center of Revitalized Commercial District

Posted on 2016/8/22 19:34:31 ( 1604 reads )


LIBURN, GEORGIA, August 18, 2016 (Atlanta Journal Constitution): Lilburn officials hope to revitalize a commercial area surrounding a Hindu temple that has become one of Gwinnett County's top tourist destinations. The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir has drawn 1.8 million visitors since it opened in 2007 at the intersection of Lawrenceville Highway and Rockbridge Road. The Lilburn Community Improvement District hopes to capitalize on the mandir's presence by improving the area's pedestrian access, curb appeal and retail offerings. The plans underscore the economic importance of Gwinnett's growing immigrant community.

The mandir has helped change the face of Lilburn, drawing Asian Indian residents to the area. About 8 percent of Lilburn's 12,162 residents are Asian Indian, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. "We see the mandir as one of the main focal points in Gwinnett County," said Emory Morsberger, executive director of the community's improvement district. "It's a draw for high-income, well-educated people." The mandir is the largest Hindu temple in North America. Several hundred families worship there, and annual events like its Diwali - or Hindu New Year - celebration attract thousands of visitors. The mandir is open to the public and tours are available.

Uma Bharti Launches $83 Million Namami Gange Projects at Kanpur

Posted on 2016/8/22 19:34:21 ( 1138 reads )


INDIA, August 19, 2016 (Press Information Bureau): Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharti launched various projects worth US$83 Million under Namami Gange program at Ganga Barrage in Kanpur today. This includes $9 million interception and diversion plan of Sisamau drain, $59 million networking schemes and river front development scheme at Bithoor worth $15 million. Fourteen Ghats and five crematoria will be constructed at Bithoor.

Speaking on the occasion the minister said her ministry will develop market for treated water based on hybrid annuity mode through the Private-Public Partnership (PPP) Model. She said the Water Resources Ministry is in the process of signing MOUs for this with various Ministries. Sushri Bharti said "We will follow the due process for Ganga conservation. No decision will be taken in haste so that public money is not wasted".

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/8/22 19:34:10 ( 843 reads )


I am sorry to say that there is too much point to the wisecrack that life is extinct on other planets because their scientists were more advanced than ours.
-- John F. Kennedy, (1917-1963) Former US president

US Took In 53,000 Hindu Refugees Over Decade

Posted on 2016/8/21 18:58:08 ( 1164 reads )


WASHINGTON, D.C., August 19, 2016 (Tribune India): The US has accepted more than 53,000 Hindu refugees since 2005, almost all from Bhutan, the State Department has said. Between 2005 and August this year, as many as 53,662 Hindu refugees -- 53,015 from Bhutan -- have been accepted into the US. Of the remaining 647, Sri Lanka topped the list with 383, followed by Nepal (144), Myanmar (95), India (11), Pakistan (six), Vietnam (five), Bangladesh (two) and Cambodia (one).

The latest figures from the State Department suggest the maximum number of Hindu refugees -- 11,836 -- came to the country in 2009, followed by 9,190 in 2011, 8,401 in 2010, 7,380 in 2012 and 6,296 in 2008. This year, 1,234 Hindu refugees have entered America so far, of whom 1,181 are from Bhutan and 36 from Sri Lanka, suggests the data obtained from the State Department's Refugee Processing Center.

India's Oldest Man Ever Says Yoga, Celibacy Key to Long Life

Posted on 2016/8/21 18:57:58 ( 1582 reads )


KOLKATA, INDIA, August 18, 2016 (The Hindu): Looking remarkably unlined for his claimed 120 years, an Indian monk who says he is the oldest man to have ever lived puts his longevity down to no sex or spices, and daily yoga. Hindu monk Swami Sivananda was born on August 8, 1896, according to his passport. If true, his life would have spanned three centuries, but despite his apparent age he remains strong enough to perform yoga for hours at a time.

He is now applying to Guinness World Records to verify his claim. It currently lists Japan's Jiroemon Kimura, who died in June 2013 aged 116 years and 54 days, as the oldest man to have ever lived. India's passport authorities confirmed Sivananda's age from a temple register, the only record many Indians even decades younger have of their date of birth. However, it would be extremely difficult to independently verify his age.

Sivananda, from the holy city of Varanasi, grew up in extreme poverty and chose to become a monk, saying he owed his age to "yoga, discipline, and celibacy." "I lead a simple and disciplined life. I eat very simply - only boiled food without oil or spices, rice and boiled daal (lentil stew) with a couple of green chillies," he said after a two-hour yoga session in Kolkata. Fit and without any medical complications, he lives independently and even travels alone on trains.

You Are Not Your Brain: Why a Head Transplant Is Not What You think It Might Be

Posted on 2016/8/21 18:57:47 ( 1501 reads )


NEW YORK, U.S., August 18, 2016 (RNS by Charles Camosy): It has already been successful in other animals: Physicians have severed the spinal cords of one white mouse and one black mouse, switched their heads and produced living mice. Similar surgeries have been successful with dogs and monkeys. And now there is serious talk of doing a head transplant on a human being.

Valery Spiridonov has a rare genetic disease in which his motor neurons are destroyed and the muscles of his body are wasting away. He wants to be the first person to undergo a head transplant. Physicians would wait until the body of a brain-dead human being consented to a full-body donation for this purpose. They would then cool Spiridonov's brain in order to lessen neural damage, sever both spinal cords, attach Spiridonov's spinal cord to the donor spinal cord and use a drug to fuse the spinal cords. But even if the surgery were successful, it would be a mistake to describe this procedure as a brain transplant for Spiridonov. Here's why.

First, we are not our brains. The "move to the head" is a cultural product of the Western Enlightenment, focused on rationality and calculation as the primary aspect of what makes us human. Neuroscientists and philosophers of mind, for instance, have not been able to locate human consciousness and self-awareness in the brain.

Thomas Nagel and Alva Noe have demonstrated that a fully functioning, healthy brain is an inadequate explanation for fundamental aspects of human existence, including self-awareness. Nagel concludes that the materialist account of consciousness fails, and Noe claims that human consciousness must be understood as an "embodied" function of the entire human organism, holistically considered.

The question then, the article goes on to discuss, is "who" inhabits the body with the brain transplant: the person who provided the brain, or the person who provided the body?

More of this interesting article at "source" above.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/8/21 18:57:36 ( 1206 reads )


Man arrives at immortality by breaking beyond the limitations not only of his physical self, but of his mental and his ordinary psychic nature into the highest plane and supreme ether of the Truth: for there is the foundation of immortality and the native seat of the triple infinite.
-- Sri Aurobindo (1879-1950)

British Prime Minister Theresa May Pays Respects to Pramukh Swami Maharaj

Posted on 2016/8/20 19:55:23 ( 1652 reads )


LONDON, UK, August 16, 2016 (NDTV): UK Prime Minister Theresa May today expressed her condolences to the British Hindu community over the death of Swaminarayan sect's spiritual head Pramukh Swami Maharaj. "I would like to pay my condolences to British Hindus, especially the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, on the passing away of Pramukh Swami Maharaj," May said. "Pramukh Swami Maharaj inspired millions with his powerful motto: 'in the good of others lies our own'. This legacy of selfless service will continue to benefit humanity for a long time to come," she said.

"I remember fondly my visit to Neasden Mandir in March 2013, as Home Secretary, to speak at an inspiring conference for International Women's Day organized by BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha," May said in a statement. "I also had the opportunity to see the fantastic work that BAPS does across the world to improve the lives of others, and people giving up their time generously to do it."

Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the president of Bochasanvasi Akshar Purushottam Sansthan (BAPS) Swaminarayan Sanstha, an international Hindu organisation, and founder of London's famous Neasden temple died aged 95 on Saturday in Sarangpur in Gujarat. Pramukh Swami Maharaj exemplified the values of British Hindus whose contribution helps make the United Kingdom one of the world's most successful multi-cultural, multi-faith democracies."

Amarnath Yatra Ends, Least Number of Pilgrims in Decade

Posted on 2016/8/20 19:55:13 ( 987 reads )


SRINAGAR, INDIA, August 19, 2016 (The Hindu): The 48-day annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas ended on Thursday, coinciding with the festival of Raksha Bandhan, with over 220,000 pilgrims offering prayers to the naturally formed ice-Shivalingam despite the ongoing unrest. This year's figure is the lowest in the past decade.

The holy mace of Lord Shiva popularly known as Chhari Mubarak, carried by a group of sadhus and devotees led by its custodian Mahant Deepindra Giri, arrived at the holy cave in the wee hours for the day-long prayers, officials said. The group of sadhus and devotees trekked 26 miles from Pahalgam to reach the cave shrine. After traditional rituals at the sanctum sanctorum, the holy mace would start the return journey before dusk on Thursday.

While officially the yatra ended today, pujan and visarjan (immersion) ceremonies for the journey of Chhari Mubarak would be performed on the banks of Lidder river in Pahalgam on August 20. It will be followed by a traditional open kitchen, the last ritual of the pilgrimage.

Eco-Friendly Ganeshas Getting Ready

Posted on 2016/8/20 19:55:02 ( 984 reads )


TIRUPATI, INDIA, August 17, 2016 (The Hindu): The clay from the Gangetic plain has made its way from Bengal to the temple city of Tirupati where it is used for an eco-friendly initiative. The clay from Ganga is not only revered as auspicious, but also known for firm grip and smooth finish. Hence it is widely used in the making of statues of Lord Vinayaka for the chaturthi.

Ingredients like concrete, Plaster of Paris, artificial colors, chemicals or oil base that pollute water bodies are not being used. The clay from the Gangetic plains forms one-fifth of the ingredients. "This year, we have made 1,000 statues for Hyderabad and 400 each for Warangal and Vijayawada. As a small beginning, we are preparing only 125 statues to enter the Tirupati market," says Payyavula Rajasekhar, who has employed 10 workers from Kolkata to prepare the statues.

While eco champions advocate the use of clay statues, it is confined more to homes, as the mammoth statues installed at street corners are prone to breakage when only clay is used. "That is why we use hay and clay and restrict to a maximum weight of 154 lbs," says Mr. Rajasekhar, who is a practicing doctor.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/8/20 19:54:52 ( 750 reads )


The learned have prescribed penance for the murderer of a pious man, a drunkard, a thief or for one who has violated a solemn vow. But there is no pardon for the ungrateful.
-- The Panchatantra

Final Rites for Pramukh Swami Maharaj

Posted on 2016/8/18 10:18:13 ( 1443 reads )


SARANGPUR, INDIA, August 17, 2016 (press release): HPI note: Complete video coverage of the ceremony is available at "source" above. Since Saturday, 13th August, after HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj abandoned his mortal body, almost 2.1 million devotees paid tributes to HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj in four days. Thousands of dignitaries from various walks of life also arrived at Sarangpur for Swamishri's last darshan to offer their respects.

On the day of his final rites, Wednesday, 17th August, HH Mahant Swami and Shri Morari Bapu performed arti at 7:45 am. Shortly thereafter, BJP National Head Shri Amit Shah, Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley, Union Railway Minister Shri Suresh Prabhu, Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Nitin Patel and Gujarat BJP head Shri Jitubhai Vaghani arrived at Sarangpur to pay their obeisances.

Thereafter, around 11 am, HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj's palanquin was taken by sadhus all the way from the ground where his body was laid to rest for darshan to his residence where senior sadhus performed the panchamrit snan ritual. Around 3:00 pm, he was placed in a palanquin and was taken into the mandir grounds where more than 200,000 devotees had assembled for the last rites. The atmosphere in the mandir precincts was solemn and awash with profound devotion of devotees.

After 3:45 pm, Swamishri's palanquin was placed on the funeral pyre, comprising of neatly arranged logs and neem wood. Shri LK Advani and Yogacharya Baba Ramdevji offered their tributes to HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj.

Sadguru P. Ishwarcharan Swami extolled the greatness of Pramukh Swami Maharaj and said, "It was Swamishri's wish to have his final rites performed on this place in order to behold Akshar-Purushottam Maharaj in the main mandir and remain in the divine sight of Brahmaswarup Shastriji Maharaj from the Smruti Mandir."

Shri Ramdevji Maharaj offered his respects saying, "Pramukh Swami Maharaj descended on earth by God's will and he left by God's will. He shall continue to enlighten us all by his divine consciousness."

Thereafter the Janmangal Namavali was recited. HH Mahant Swami performed the ritual of smearing chandan on Pramukh Swami's forehead and ghee on his holy feet, followed by arti and mantrapushpanjali. Hundreds of thousands of people watched HH Mahant Swami circumambulate the funeral pyre while holding the bundle of burning straw, ignited from the holy flame brought from Aksharderi, Gondal. Senior sadhus followed suit. Amidst Vedic chantings, HH Mahant Swami set alight the funeral pyre. Subsequently, there was an eruption of tears and cries from all corners of the assembly.

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