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Amarnath Yatra Ends Peacefully for 285,000 Pilgrims

Posted on 2018/9/23 6:30:37 ( 190 reads )


SRINAGAR, August 26, 2018 (Tribune India): The two-month-long Amarnath yatra concluded peacefully on Sunday with the holding of prayers at the cave shrine of Lord Shiva nestled in the South Kashmir Himalayas at an altitude of around 13,500 feet. Puja was held when the Chhari Mubarak (holy mace) depicting Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati arrived at the shrine. "We prayed for peace in the state as well as the country," said custodian of the holy mace Mahant Deependra Giri, who led a group of sadhus to the cave shrine. The Amarnath yatra, which is held along the Pahalgam and Baltal routes, concludes when the mace arrives at the cave shrine on Shravan Purnima.

According to Bhupinder Kumar, Additional Chief Executive Officer of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), 285,006 yatris paid obeisance at the cave shrine. Last year, 260,000 pilgrims had performed the yatra. This year, the annual yatra had begun on June 28 amid security concerns even as inclement weather conditions posed a bigger challenge, causing frequent suspensions in the pilgrimage. During the first two weeks, several pilgrims had to go back without undertaking the yatra despite reaching the base camps. However, weather conditions improved later and the yatra too was conducted smoothly.

Bali to Bring in New rules for Visiting Temples after Decline in Quality of Tourists

Posted on 2018/9/23 6:30:24 ( 265 reads )


BALI, INDONESIA, September 21, 2018 (The Guardian): Authorities in Bali have vowed to stop Westerners in bikinis posing in front of sacred temples as they lament a decline in the "quality of tourists" visiting the island. Bali deputy governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Sukawati, known as Cok Ace, said the authorities had been concerned by a recent rise in disrespectful behaviour by tourists visiting Bali's hundreds of sacred Hindu sites. "This is the government's attempt to maintain the Pura [temples]," said Cok Ace at a regional council meeting this week. "The temples need to be preserved since they are the spirits of Bali's cultures and customs." He said in the coming weeks they would be re-evaluating the system that allows tourists to visit temples unaccompanied.

Bali has become an increasingly popular tourist destination over the past few years, attracting over five million visitors in 2017, with many drawn to the island for its unique Hindu temples. The government crackdown was prompted by a photo of a Danish tourist sitting on Linggih Padmasana shrine at Puhur Luhur Batukaru temple, which went viral. The shrine, which is shaped like a throne on top of a pillar, is reserved for the most important Deity in Balinese Hinduism, known as the supreme God and to sit on it is seen as highly offensive to the faith. Indonesia has strict blasphemy laws and the Indonesian Hindu Religious Council said they have instructed the police to investigate the Linggih Padmasana shrine incident and find the tourist responsible.

Dilip Amin Responds to Inaccurate News Reports on His World Hindu Congress Presentation on Interfaith Marriage

Posted on 2018/9/23 6:30:11 ( 191 reads )


USA, September 23, 2018: Dilip Amin posted the YouTube video at source above entitled "Fake News on Interfaith Marriages" He writes: "ABP News has made many errors covering my poster at the World Hindu Congress, Chicago and concluded based on statements that I did not make. Now all other media are taking it as gospel and spinning the story. Even Vice President of India is questioned about my poster at the WHC2018. With all these negative publicity, the WHC withdrew my poster. I am guilty as charged, without a trial! Here I want to clarify my position. If you feel there is value to my message, please forward this video today to all your friends via e-mail, Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter. We need to speak out against the media giants when there is injustice. You will also help expose religious exclusivist ideologies of some religious institutions and governments and will help empower today's youths."

Hinduism Today's October/November/December Issue Now On-Line!

Posted on 2018/9/23 6:29:57 ( 260 reads )


KAUAI, HAWAII, September 22, 2018 (HPI): Hinduism Today's latest issue has gone to press and is now available online free of charge at "source" above. You can also download our free Hinduism Today app and get the entire magazine in a mobile-friendly format for your device at bit.ly/HT-APP.

In this issue's Publisher's Desk editorial, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami addresses how we can enhance the peace and contentment in our life. He gives a number of effective techniques for the individual and for members of the household. Especially useful are his guidelines for a reduced-stressed existence achieved by living in the eternal now, and not bringing stress and contention into the home.

Our Insight section is titled "Gurudeva's Spiritual Toolbox." In 16 pages it address 21 of life's most challenging issues, and then offers Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami's insights. If you ever asked yourself questions like "Why am I so burdened by my karma?" or "Where do I find the time for spiritual practices?" you will want to read the entire article.

Our feature story is all about health. Not medicine, but staying healthy using ayurveda. Our senior Indian correspondent and his wife take us along for their days at a topnotch ayurvedic clinic in Mumbai, where we meet Dr. Smiti Naram and her team. This is a first-person, day-by-day exploration that reveals exactly how ayurvedic healers work and how challenging changing our lifestyle can be. Challenging but effective.

At one of humanities largest annual pilgrimages, Thaipusam at Batu Caves in Malaysia. Alexandra Radu is enamored of this spiritual happening and she shares that love in her story. The voices of pilgrims are particularly moving, telling of their fasting, their prayers and sadhanas, their anticipation of the difficult kavadi sacrifice that is the hallmark of this festival.

Arvind Gopal lives in Kerala, the son of a retired Hinduism Today journalist. In the story "My Trek to Siva's Magical Abodes" he journeys throughout India to fifteen ancient temples. Again and again he is amazed, and amazes us, with the grandeur of these sacred homes to God Siva. They are massive, ornate beyond imagination, full of spiritual energy and a reminder of what is possible in building sacred spaces. Happily, Arvind is also a great photographer, so we are privy to his visual discoveries. When we realized that we could only include a couple dozen, we decided to have a giant slideshow in the online edition, so you can explore more images there.

Other stories include the amazing Bharatanatyam skills of Puruvian dancer Ananga Manjari Malatesta Gonzalez, our Hindu of the Year (Sivasri Thangam Bhattar) and a rousing call by Maria Wirth to be proud of Hindutva, our Hinduness.

This edition of Global Dharma reports on the massive youth conference held by the Swaminarayan devotees in Atlanta, Georgia, a creative group making biodegradable papers with elephant poop, a protest against Malaysia's proposal to turn Hindu temples over to a management board--and more.

As always, there are cartoons, Quotes and Quips and letters from our readers.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2018/9/23 6:29:44 ( 166 reads )


"Sweet are the sounds of the flute and the lute," say those who have not heard the prattle of their own children.
-- Tirukkural

Maharashtra Rolls Out Red Carpet for Lord Ganesha

Posted on 2018/9/21 7:13:44 ( 278 reads )


MUMBAI, INDIA, September 13, 2018 (Daiji World): Maharashtra rolled out the red carpet for the popular elephant-headed God, Lord Ganesha as the state immersed itself in the 10-day long and biggest public festival on Thursday. Around one million gigantic, big and small statues of Lord Ganesha have reached the homes of the commoner people, celebrities, industrialists and politicians, housing complexes, waadis/waadas, private and public companies, besides the huge or gigantic ones at public marquees organized by Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandals in Mumbai and all over the state.

In Mumbai, an estimated 300,000-plus big and small statues of Lord Ganesha will be installed at private and public venues, and around a million across Maharashtra, said Naresh Dahibhavkar, President of the Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS). Mumbai has nearly 11,500 big-ticket Ganeshotsav associations with budgets of several crores of rupees. Celebrations started in cities like Pune, Nagpur, Nashik, Kolhapur and coastal Konkan, where Ganeshotsav is the most important festival in the annual calendar, surpassing even Diwali.

Hindu Ceremony Sees Lord Ganesha Statues Immersed in Sea at Clacton

Posted on 2018/9/21 7:13:31 ( 278 reads )


UNITED KINGDOM, September 17, 2018 (Gazette): Hundreds of worshippers descended upon Clacton's West Beach for a special Hindu ceremony. The ceremony of Ganesha Visarjan saw final offerings made to Lord Ganesha before two statues were taken out into the sea and immersed in the water on Sunday. It brought an end to ten days of prayer and celebration. The annual event was made up of two London temples and attracted a large crowd of onlookers. Mick Skeels, Tendring Council's cabinet member for leisure and tourism, attended the event. He said: "As always I was delighted to welcome the temples to Clacton, and along with some of our Beach Patrol members I received a blessing before the statues were immersed into the sea.

Hindu Festival Draws Hundreds to Botley

Posted on 2018/9/21 7:13:17 ( 273 reads )


UNITED KINGDOM, September 18, 2018 (Oxford Mail): Hundreds of people joined in Oxford's first Ganesh Utsav festival. People of different cultures embraced the Hindu celebration in Botley on Saturday which boasted a colorful mix of traditional dress, dancing, singing and street food. The festival,which celebrated the elephant-headed God Ganesh's birthday, ended with a procession of around 100 people from the Matthew Arnold School to the River Thames to submerge a statue of Ganesh in the water, as per tradition. The whole thing was organized and paid for by husband and wife Sesh and Jyoti Parimi, who said they wanted to give something back to the community which had welcomed them so warmly following their move to Oxford two years ago. "We had around 400 people come in and out throughout the day, there were a lot of people there from all backgrounds who were interested to know more, to look to see what was going on and to join in.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2018/9/21 7:13:03 ( 261 reads )


Of all blessings we know of none greater than the begetting of children endowed with intelligence.
-- Tirukkural

Dancing Shiva at Art Gallery of South Australia Was Stolen from India

Posted on 2018/9/19 12:30:00 ( 376 reads )


AUSTRALIA, September 18, 2018, (by Michaela Boland and Penny Timms, ABC): A 600-year-old dancing Shiva owned by the Art Gallery of South Australia has been identified as stolen from India, with authorities there commencing a bid for its return. Five years after suspicions were raised over the origins of the statue, Indian police this week linked it to a temple in the southern Indian city of Nellai, where a photograph shows it in place in 1958.

It is understood the bronze, bought in 2001 with $436,000 in donated funds and weighing 100 kilograms, was reported missing in July 1982. Police opened an investigation at the time but closed the case two years later without a perpetrator having been found. The Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) was not named in the police statement but its acting director, Lisa Slade, confirmed the statue was the one identified by Indian officers. The ABC understands Indian investigators have commenced the first stage of the repatriation process, set to be brokered by the federal governments of both countries.Ms Slade said AGSA had not been contacted by Indian police but would not challenge a repatriation claim. The dancing Shiva is the first antiquity India has claimed from 24 potentially problematic pieces identified by AGSA in 2014.

For more, go to source

Why Finland Won't Let Go of the Swastika

Posted on 2018/9/19 12:25:04 ( 374 reads )


FINLAND, September 198, 2018 (The Week): The swastika, a symbol most associate with the horrors of Nazi Germany, still adorns flags and military insignia in Finland. Critics argue that the emblem should be consigned to the history books owing to its racist connotations but the Finnish government has repeatedly rejected calls to restrict its use. Finland has used the ancient symbol on monuments, awards and decorations for nearly a century, says the national broadcaster Yle. The swastika, which is also a Hindu symbol of peace, was used by many in the West as a symbol of good luck during the early 20th century and was a common architectural motif in Finland during the 1920s and 1930s. It was also favored by Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela, who featured it on his designs for military insignia, including the Cross of Liberty.

The swastika is displayed on the flag of the president of Finland and appeared on Finnish Air Force planes until 1945. "It had nothing to do with the Nazis, because we got it 1918, much before the Nazis ever existed," says retired Lt. Col. Kai Mecklin, director of the Finnish Air Force Museum. The swastika has "always been a symbol of independence and freedom" in Finland, he adds. Former air force pilot Mecklin says banning the symbol would send the wrong message. "If we now deny the use, or stop using the swastika, we could give a signal abroad that actually it was a Nazi symbol in Finland - which it never was," he argues. "We are still proud of it and still using it. "Meanwhile, the government remains opposed to even considering a ban. "At the present time, the Ministry of Defence has no plans to restrict or review the use of the swastika," a military spokesperson said.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2018/9/19 12:24:50 ( 308 reads )


Through meditation and by giving full attention to one thing at a time, we can learn to direct attention where we choose.
-- Eknath Easwaran

Nepal's Restored Manakamana Temple Sparkles in Gold

Posted on 2018/9/18 5:11:45 ( 413 reads )


KATHMANDU, NEPAL, September 15, 2018 (Kathmandu Post): Authorities have completed the reconstruction of Manakamana Temple damaged during the earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25, 2015. The four-story temple of Manakamana, the wish-fulfilling Hindu Goddess popular among Hindu pilgrims, was tilted 9 to 12 inches towards northeast by the earthquake and developed cracks on its pagoda style roofs. Reconstruction crew removed the damaged structure and started renovating the temple from a new foundation in June 2015. The renovated temple has gold-plated roof. Renovation Committee Coordinator Narendrababu Shrestha said, "We used 40lbs. of the precious metal to gold-plate the temple's roof."

The committee spent around US$785,000 to buy the gold, and around $1.13 million to reconstruct the temple, the official said. "We purchased gold for plating the temple's steeple and roof after obtain permission from the Department of Archaeology (DoA)," said Shrestha. DoA engineers guided the reconstruction of the temple, committee members said. They used limestone, surkhi, bricks and wood to reconstruct various structures. "We shall open the temple for devotees for the Dashain festival," said Shrestha. The committee estimates an additional $349,000 to construct other infrastructure in the temple.

Permanent Secretariat Proposed for Hindus Worldwide

Posted on 2018/9/18 5:11:31 ( 419 reads )


INDIA, September 12, 2018 (India Herald): Hindus worldwide should become more visible as positive change makers in their respective countries they call home, wherever they may be today, is the main consensus emerging from World Hindu Congress 2018, Dr. Abhaya Asthana, convener of the conference said at the concluding session in Sunday. The Hindu Political Conference, a subset of the World Hindu Congress 2018, has suggested the need for a permanent secretariat in the US or UK for the cause of Hindu rights around the globe. To accomplish this task, a group of eminent persons will be recruited. The political conference highlighted the importance of asserting a strong political voice especially in countries like the Caribbean, Fiji and the African countries, and developing young political leaders. A dynamic digital database of all political leaders by country is to be developed.

To create awareness about atrocities committed against Hindus around the world, Hindu youth should leverage their social media skills, speak out against biased portrayals of Hindus, educate emerging politicians on the effective use of media and identify the key roadblock to Hindu youth in embracing their Hindu identity proudly. Freeing temples from the control of the government and an operational mechanism to reach out to unreached areas as well as how Hindu activism in the US can be replicated elsewhere were the outcomes of the Hindu organizational conference.

More at "source" above.

How the World Hindu Congress was Unfairly Covered by the Indian Media

Posted on 2018/9/18 5:11:18 ( 423 reads )


INDIA, September 12, 2018 (Daily O by Makarand Paranjape): I have just returned from the World Hindu Congress (WHC), September 7-9, Chicago, to discover that the event has been poorly, even unfairly, covered. This Congress, second in the series after its inaugural in November 2014, attracted over 2,500 delegates and participants from over 60 countries. It was superbly organised by a team of over 200 volunteers under the able leadership of an organising committee. A star-studded galaxy of speakers addressed the gathering, including vice-president M. Venkaiah Naidu, who delivered an inspiring valedictory, and thespian Anupum Kher, who offered a moving inaugural keynote.

To go beyond deliberate distortions and misrepresentations, it is important to understand that the WHC is not a political caucus, but a global congregation of Hindus "to connect, share ideas, inspire one another, and impact the common good." Held once in four years, WHC's guiding vision is the quotation from the Bhagavad Gita: "Yato Dharmastato Jaya" (Where there is dharma, there is victory). Each WHC consists of seven parallel conferences, one each on economics, education, media, organisation, politics, women and youth. It was surprising and dismaying, therefore, to see the event being demonized as violent, fascist or minority-hating by motivated critics, supported by a section of the media. After attending several sessions and being both speaker and moderator in one, I can vouch that there was little negativity, aggression, or anger in the Congress. Instead, the mood was positive, optimistic and constructive.

More at "source".

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