News In Brief
HOW SHOULD HINDUISMbe presented to the world? That's the question posed to the National Council of Hindu Temples UK by the organizers of the giant "World Exposition" to be held in Hanover, Germany in June, 2000. "The opportunity of presenting the Hindu Dharma and its contribution to science, astronomy, nature, etc., to the expected 40 million visitors from the Western hemisphere should be used to the maximum," said Mr. Deepak G. Naik, who proposes a united Hindu effort. Judaism, Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism will also exhibit displays. Contact: 40 Stoke Row, Stoke, Coventry, CV2 4JP, England.
"JYOTHI" IS COMINGto the airwaves of South African television. Jyothiis a program "dedicated to the propagation of Hinduism," writes producer Shrimati Yashika Singh. Jyothi"aims to look at news, views and interviews with visiting scholars, events, cultural programs and celebrations of festivals of Hindus in South Africa and abroad." Contact: TNP Religion, P.O.Box 9144, Auckland Park, 2006, Johannesburg, South Africa.
THE ARYA SAMAJ IS NOW121-years old, and to mark the anniversary, a new quarterly global digest, Anand, is being launched. "The time has come to look forward to the next century. We must reevaluate, reestablish, and rekindle the Arya Jyoti. A Vedic agenda for the 21st century is what has been ordered," writes Secretary General Girish C. Khosla. To contact on-line: http://us-ers.aol.com/aryamerica/index.htm.
INDIA, THE WORLD'S SECONDmost populous nation, is seeking to occupy a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, and she is eminently qualified to do so, says External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is calling for better representation of developing nations at the U.N. Presently the only non-majority Christian nation on the Security Council is China.
NAVODHAYA SIDDHA MEDICALResearch Centre reports success in treating uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, menstrual irregularities and other gynecological disorders with the ancient siddhaherbal therapy, according to Doctor S. Jayaraman. Medications include aloe, colocynth, pomegranate leaves, and bark of mango, asoka, and jambolunum trees. The siddhamedical tradition in India is equally ancient as that of ayurveda. It is akin to Chinese medicine and the modern homeopathy in using a wide range of substances, many poisonous by themselves, to effect cures.
THE AYURVEDICand Naturopathic Medical Center of Bellevue, Washington, near Seattle, is offering courses on Ayurveda. Credit from the courses given by Dr. Virendra Sodhi will apply toward the Sri Chinmoy College of Ayurvedic Sciences opening this September in Seattle. Contact: 2115 112th Avenue NE, Building #4, Bellevue, Washington, 98004, USA.
"EUGENICS" WAS LASTheard of when Hitler tried to breed the perfect Aryan. Now the creation of designer humans is back with a vengeance to open a Pandora's box of ethical and karmic questions. The Human Genome Project races ahead mapping the entire human DNA. Genetic testing simultaneously improves. According to an article in the New Yorker, once science can accurately screen genes for everything from height and weight, potential diseases, and even intelligence and anti-social behavior, parents can order up the ideal children they want. If the embryo hasn't the right mix of DNA, "abort it" is the advice and try again. Man's well-intended intervention in the hereditary process will presumably have the same disastrous consequences as his interference in other natural process.
TOBACCO COMPANIESin America are "on the run," as the nation's fifth largest settled out of court (for US$50 million) a lawsuit aimed at recovering the cost of treating smoking-related illnesses. This is the first break in the ranks of American tobacco companies who have adamantly denied--in the face of overwhelming evidence--the dangers of their product.
DISCOVERIES HAVE OUTPACEDscientific theory by finding ever-tinier increments of the cosmic dance. Research at Fermilab in the USA suggests quarks, once believed to be the smallest entity of matter and indivisible, may consist of smaller and still more fundamental particles--thereby upsetting all current theories of particle physics. What they really seek we Hindus call shakti, the fundamental energy of the universe.
ISOLATED INDIVIDUALSlacking the love and support of family have decided to create their own "intentional families," and they are catching on in the US. These are groups of like-minded individuals, often total strangers, who band together to live and relate as an extended family. "Just like a real family, we didn't pick each other," says one charter member, whose craving for the family ties led her to form an extended family from among her Unitarian Fellowship. "If families aren't working anymore, let's make new ones." Over 500 such families are now registered with the Fellowship for Intentional Communities. Though the worldwide trend is toward nuclear families, small movements such as this suggest that the joint and extended family structure is an enduring human social pattern.
AMERICAN HINDUSare creating "new forms of community life based on small, home-based groups" of two basic kinds, notes Religion Watch: satsang groups targeting adults, and bala vihars aimed at teaching Hinduism to children. "The fact that these worship and fellowship groups are attracting Hindus shows how the religion is adapting to its American environment."
PRESIDENT DAYAL SHARMArejected a parliamentary proposal to give Christian dalits--those who converted to Christianity from India's lowest castes--the same educational and employment benefits offered to low-caste Hindus as a counter to caste discrimination. In theory, the Christian dalit converts should no longer suffer from caste discrimination in their egalitarian community, but in fact they have retained their low status even among their Christian, but higher caste, brethren. Sharma rejected the parliamentary proposal as a pre-election ploy to gain Christian votes, and because the type of ordinance proposed is intended only as a temporary measure for emergencies.
NOW THAT INDIA'S WINEindustry is exploding, there comes good news from the bad-news medical profession. Wine, research confirms, is good for your health. In a March 1996 Newsweekarticle, doctors now say it may be a hazardto your health if you don't daily sip a glass of the grape--in prudent moderation, of course. The new Dietary Guidelines for Americans says, "current evidence suggests that moderate drinking is associated with a lower risk for coronary heart disease in some individuals." And they point to France, the leading consumer of wine, and the fact that its rate of heart-attacks is one-third that of USA. The French eat more fruits, vegetables, grains and less meat than Americans do. The conclusions include all light alcohol products, but not distilled liquor.
THE CHRISTIAN'S"World Council of Churches" news service reports that Dilip Singh Judev, a member of Indian Parliament, has declared 1996 "the year of reconversion, promising to reconvert 100,000 Christians in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh back to Hinduism." While the efforts in India of Mother Teresa, other Christian missions and NGOs are often lauded as direly needed social service, even by Hindus, Dilip's outreach to aid his own former Hindu brothers was characterized by the Indian press as a "war on Christianity."
WHO ARE THE THREElargest investors in India? First is USA--no points for getting that right. But would you believe Israel is number two and Thailand number three? Thai investments focused on telecommunications, petrochemicals and hotels.
RAIMON PANIKKAR, a Roman Catholic priest born in Spain to an Indian Hindu father and a Spanish mother, now advocates dialogue and understanding between Hindus and Christians, a dialogue he says Hinduism needs because of India's "mad running toward technology and Westernization," which he says is prompting many Hindus, both young and "many not so young," to put religion in second place.
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