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Mauritius Devotees Build 108-foot Venkateshwara Statue

Posted on 2018/7/15 19:00:40 ( 466 reads )


MAURITIUS, July 2, 2018 (defimeida.info): The statue of the God Venkateshwara, was unveiled at 16th Mile in Forest-Side, Curepipe, by the Prime Minister. Measuring 108 feet, it is the tallest statue of this Deity in the world. The dedication ceremony took place on Sunday, July 1st. The idea of building this statue came to Acharya Brundavanam Partha Sarathi, who is the founder of Hari Hara Devasthanam at 16th Mile. 500 people came from India for its construction which lasted three years. "This statue is a first in the world. Mauritians must be proud. Thousands of people around the world go to Thirupathi, in Andhra Pradesh, India, every year for the pilgrimage of the God Venkateshwara. Now we can enjoy His blessing here in Mauritius," says Acharya Brundavanam Partha Sarathi.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/NIGqdLgWMyc

BAPS North American Youth Convention in Atlanta a Success

Posted on 2018/7/15 19:00:30 ( 386 reads )


ATLANTA, GEORGIA, July 11, 2018 (baps.org): From July 1 to July 10, 2018, the BAPS North American Youth Convention (NAYC18) in Atlanta, Georgia saw over 10,000 youth and supporting volunteers in attendance over three conventions with a focus on the theme of Moksha, ultimate liberation. Youth volunteers spent years planning the content and logistics of a convention of this magnitude. The convention was divided into three parts for different age groups: July 1 - 4: Students in grades 3 to 8; July 4 - 7: High School students; July 7 - 10: College students.

The concept of Moksha can seem irrelevant to youths given the carefree nature of being young. However, the idea will be presented in a practical and pertinent manner. Focus on the importance of a sense of purpose, sincere effort, genuine intent and actions, prayer and introspection, and respect for the world around us allowed the youth to realize that things that benefit them in their lives today are also stepping stones towards Moksha.

Skits presented everyday situations youths experience and explored realistic inner conflict of characters struggling with choices between their desires and values. Interspersed talks by BAPS Swamis provided spiritual guidance through inspiring examples and actionable steps while also providing validation of the challenges youths face. The skits highlighted the benefits and importance of achieving inner satisfaction through making decisions in line with pleasing their gurus, His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj and His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj.

Small group sessions provided an opportunity to connect with one another and share experiences and means that their peers utilize to guide their choices. In addition, Pujya Anandswarupdas Swami and Pujya Ishwarcharandas Swami shared their wisdom and inspired positive actions through examples from the lives of the BAPS guru parampara.

Much more information at "source" above.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2018/7/15 19:00:09 ( 433 reads )


Years ago, I used to walk for miles to meet my Guru. The distance appeared no longer than a few furlongs.
-- Dada J.P. Vaswani

Meditation Kept Thai Boys Trapped in a Cave Astonishingly Calm

Posted on 2018/7/15 19:00:00 ( 447 reads )


THAILAND, July 10, 2018 (bigthink.com, by Paul Ratner): The story of the Thai boys soccer team trapped in a cave for two weeks has captivated millions of people around the world. Lost since June 23, the group spent ten days without any contact with the outside world. They was finally discovered on July 2 and rescued on July 10. It turned out that Ekapol Chanthawong, the 25-year-old coach of the 12-player Wild Boars soccer team, is a former Buddhist monk. He spent a decade living as a monk and is a practitioner of meditation. It is that skill that has been credited with keeping the boys calm during this ordeal. In fact, when the British divers discovered them after ten days, the group was meditating.

Aisha Wiboonrungrueng, the mother of the 11-year-old Chanin, who was trapped in the cave, thinks the coach's background definitely helped in this situation. Watching the video of the moment the boys were found, she thought it was very noteworthy how calm they were. "Look at how calm they were sitting there waiting," she said. "No one was crying or anything. It was astonishing."

Leah Weiss, a Standford expert taught by the Dalai Lama, told CNBC that meditating played a key role in keeping the group alive. It's a kind of mental training that improves focus and compassion, according to the expert. "For Buddhists, meditation is a go-to when distressed or in danger," Weiss said. "Cognitive resources that would otherwise be hijacked by the threat can be accessed once again, meaning that problem-solving capacities increase."

In particular, she pointed out that "given that insufficient air and food was a major issue for the trapped boys, meditation is actually a very practical response to both of these concerns." Meditation creates a calming effect by slowing down the heart rate, breathing and metabolism, said Weiss. It also lowers the levels of cortisol and oxygen utilization. A meditating person would also emit less carbon dioxide.

World Sanskrit Conference Recognizes Akshar-Purushottam Darshan as a Distinct Vedanta Tradition

Posted on 2018/7/14 20:19:33 ( 647 reads )


VANCOUVER, CANADA, July 10, 2018 (Press Release): The 17th World Sanskrit Conference, the premier international forum for Sanskrit scholars, recognized Bhagwan Swaminarayan's Akshar-Purushottam Darshan as the first new independent school of Vedanta since the 16th century. The recently authored ground-breaking Sanskrit works on the Akshar-Purushottam Darshan, the Swaminarayan Bhashyam and the Swaminarayan Siddhanta-Sudha by Sadhu Bhadreshdas of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, were also launched in the conference's inaugural session on 9 July 2018 in Vancouver, Canada.

More than 600 eminent Sanskrit scholars and educators had gathered from over 40 countries for this historic event. The triennial World Sanskrit Conference, which for the last half-century has been bringing the finest minds in the world of Sanskrit together to advance understanding of Sanskrit language and literature, was held for the first time in Canada, at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. World Sanskrit Conference organizing committee member and senior Sanskrit scholar from the University of British Columbia, Professor Ashok Aklujkar said, "Bhadreshdas Swami is one of the most amazing personalities of the religious traditions of India that I have ever met. His scholarly genius is jaw-dropping, and his commentaries on the Prasthantrayi are a truly great achievement. I think all of us at the World Sanskrit Conference are fortunate to have a bhashyakar in our midst. Just as Sri Kasi Vidvat Parisad acknowledged Swaminarayan Bhagwan's Akshar-Purushottam Darshan as a distinct darshan in the Vedanta tradition, we are honored to do the same from the platform of the World Sanskrit Conference."

Mahamahopadhyaya Bhadreshdas Swami, an eminent Sanskrit scholar and ordained swami of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, completed the Swaminarayan Bhashyam, a five-volume comprehensive Sanskrit commentary on Hinduism's three Vedic canonical texts (Prasthanatrayi) - the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and Brahma Sutras - in 2007. These three texts form the foundation for the philosophical beliefs of Hindu Vedanta (commentarial) traditions. In 2017, Bhadreshdas Swami also completed the Swaminarayana-Siddhanta-Sudha, a classical Sanskrit dialectic treatise that offers an exposition, justification, and defense of the Akshar-Purushottam Darshan's theological and philosophical principles.

For the full report, click "source" above

Dada JP Vaswani Passes Away in Pune
https://www.indiatvnews.com/news/india ... emembrance-profile-452317

PUNE, INDIA, July 12, 2018 (indiatvnews.com) Spiritual leader and head of Sadhu Vaswani mission Dada JP Vaswani passed away in Pune today. He was 99. Confirming the news, the mission issued an official statement which read: "0901hrs IST July 12 2018, on sacred Guruvaar day, our Beloved Revered Dada J.P. Vaswani passes on, from the seen to the unseen. Ever-loving, ever-giving, may he continue to bless us from the beyond." Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered condolences to the nation on the spiritual leader's demise. "I join the hundreds of thousands of people whose lives were touched by Dada J.P. Vaswani in remembering him. His thoughts, teachings and social service efforts live on, highlighting the values he stood for and the work he did," the PM tweeted.

Born in Hyderabad, Sindh (Pakistan) on August 2, 1918, Vaswani was a world renowned spiritual leader known for promoting vegetarianism and animal rights. He is credited to have written over 150 self-help books. The spiritual leader spoke at numerous venues including the British House of Commons in London, the Global Forum of Spiritual Leaders in Oxford, the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, and the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders at the United Nations in New York. He was the recipient of the 1998 U Thant Peace Award, given by the United Nations. Dada Vaswani's birthday is celebrated as a Global Forgiveness Day. Last year, on his birthday Prime Minister Narendra Modi had addressed a gathering to mark the day and observe "moment of calm."

Allahabad's Name Likely to Be Changed to Prayagraj

Posted on 2018/7/14 20:19:22 ( 570 reads )


ALLAHABAD, INDIA, May 24, 2018 (New Indian Express): Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government may rename Allahabad as Prayagraj and a decision in this regard could be taken before next year's Kumbh Mela in the holy city. The city, if the decision is taken, will be named after Prayag, which is a famous holy place in Allahabad, where three main rivers flowing across the state namely Ganges, Yamuna, and Sarasvati meet. The place is known for hosting the Maha Kumbh Mela once in every 12 years.

State's deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya confirmed to ANI that for a long time the identity of Allahabad has been formed by Prayag and hence the state government has decided to change the city's name to Prayagraj. "The place (Allahabad) has always been recognized by its place Prayag since ages," Maurya said. According to some media reports, the banners for the upcoming Kumbh Mela in 2019 mention the name of the city as Prayagraj instead of Allahabad.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2018/7/14 20:19:11 ( 357 reads )


Wealth and happiness are not related to each other as cause and effect. An attempt to secure happiness by securing wealth is as futile as it is absurd.
-- Jagadguru Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal(1912-1954), 34th pontiff of the Sarada Peetham

Shankaracharya, Puri King Oppose Entry of Non-Hindus in Jagannath Temple after SC Verdict

Posted on 2018/7/10 19:50:22 ( 577 reads )


BHUBANESWAR, INDIA, July 8, 2018 (India TV News): Shankaracharya Nischalananda Saraswati and Gajapati King Dibyasingha Dev, who is considered the first servitor of Lord Jagannath, have expressed opposition to allowing entry of non-Hindus into the Puri temple. Presently only Hindus are allowed to enter the 12th-century shrine and the issue relating to allowing entry of non-Hindus is being debated in Odisha after the Supreme Court direction on Thursday that the Shri Jagannath temple management should consider allowing all visitors, irrespective of their faith to offer prayers to the deities.

Entry to all into Sri Mandir violating the age-old tradition of Sanatan religion is not acceptable to us, Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati of Govardhan Peeth, one of the four cardinal mutts, said in a release. The Shankaracharya of Govardhan Peeth is the chief of Mukti Mandap, the apex body of pandits, inside Shri Jagannath Temple. Gajapati King Dibyasingha Deb said the Dieties - Lord Jagannath, Balaram and Subhadra are taken out the temple every year during the Rath Yatra to bless devotees of different religions and hundreds of thousands of people also get to see the them during the Snan Ustav (bathing festival). The Supreme Court's proposal is like an interim order, the Gajapati King said adding the temple management committee will deliberate on the issue after the Rath Yatra and the Shri Jagannath Temple Administration will take steps accordingly.

More at "source".

Travel from Ayodhya to Rameshwaram to Colombo in Ramayana Express; Package Starts at $220

Posted on 2018/7/10 19:50:12 ( 487 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 9, 2018 (Lanka Web): Religious tourism can be a boon not only for the tourism industry but for other industries associated with it too. Keeping this in mind, the Indian Railways has decided to launch a train service that will cover all locations that are linked to the famous Hindu epic Ramayana - a journey that will start from a visit to Ayodhya, the birthplace of Hindu God Ram, and end at Colombo in Sri Lanka, where Sita was held captive by Ravan. With this initiative, the Indian Railways aim to cash in on a huge demand for religious tourism in the country.

The train, which will be called Sri Ramayana Express, would take a total 16 days to cover the Ramayana circuit that includes all the religious places. The first 800-seater train under the service would start its journey from November 14. Those who want to cover the last leg of the religious journey would have to opt for a flight from Chennai to Colombo. The journey within India, which will cover all religious destinations from Ayodhya to Rameshwaram, would cost around US$220 per person. The amount would also cover major expenses of your religious journey, including onboard train meals, night stays, changing and washroom facilities at dharamshalas. And depending upon the response, the authorities would decide whether the train would travel once or twice a year.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2018/7/10 19:50:00 ( 589 reads )


Sojourns in tirthas, which are meritorious and which constitute one of the high mysteries of the rishis, are even superior to sacrifices.
-- Mahabharata

104 out of over 1,500 Stranded Indian Kailash Mansarovar Pilgrims in Nepal Rescued

Posted on 2018/7/7 19:47:42 ( 804 reads )


KATHMANDU, NEPAL, July 3, 2018 (Times of India): Over 100 Indian pilgrims were evacuated from Simikot in Nepal on Tuesday as rescue work intensified to bring back safely more than 1,500 Indians who have been stranded in Nepal's mountainous region due to heavy rain while returning from the Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage in Tibet. "So far 104 pilgrims have been rescued from the site. Seven commercial flights have so far been operated for the rescue work," an Indian Embassy official told PTI. Four embassy staff, two each in Simikot and Tibet, have been deployed with necessary facilities so that the stranded pilgrims could contact with their home in India, the official said. Meanwhile, two Indian pilgrims -- Narayanam Leela, 56, of Kerela and Satya Laxmi of Andra Pradesh -- have died, Humla district police office said.

Earlier, the Indian embassy here said in a statement that there are about 525 Indian pilgrims stranded in Simikot in Humla district, 550 in Hilsa and other 500 on the Tibet side. The embassy is continuously monitoring the situation along Nepalganj-Simikot-Hilsa route of Kailash Mansarovar Yatra (through Nepal), the statement said, as the weather remains inclement. The embassy said it has placed its representatives in Nepalganj and Simikot, who are personally in touch with every stranded pilgrim. They are ensuring that proper food and lodging facilities are available to the pilgrims.

Amarnath Yatra Suspended from Pahalgam, Baltal Routes; Death Toll Rises to 11

Posted on 2018/7/7 19:47:32 ( 637 reads )


INDIA, July 4, 2018 (Economic Times): The Amarnath Yatra in south Kashmir Himalayas was suspended today from both Pahalgam and Baltal routes due to landslides even as the death toll during this year's yatra rose to 11, an official spokesperson said. He said, however, limited helicopter services functioned from both the routes. "On the 7th day of the ongoing Shri Amarnathji Yatra, 5,919 yatris paid obeisance at the holy cave. Till date, 60,752 yatris had darshan of the Shivling at the holy Cave," the spokesperson said. Meanwhile, the death toll during this year's yatra reached 11 today as a woman pilgrim died after getting hit by a falling rock at Brarimarg along the Baltal route, a police official said. The pilgrimage began on June 28 and is scheduled to conclude on August 26, coinciding with Raksha Bandhan.

Swaminarayan School Trustees Promise to Consider Extending Notice Period for Pupils

Posted on 2018/7/7 19:47:22 ( 634 reads )


LONDON, U.K., July 4, 2018 (Asian Voice): The Swaminarayan School in Brent has decided to extend its notice period before it closes the doors to students, after considering the concerns of parents and students. The school sent a letter to all parents on 25 June 2018, explaining the closure is related to lack of funding, recruitment of right staff and falling number of students. However, they have now decided to keep both schools fully open for another year, until July 2020, giving everyone in the Prep School and Senior School two full years to find suitable places for their children for the academic year beginning in September 2020. If circumstances permit, the trust is also planning to keep the Prep School running for a third year, if feasible, provided there are sufficient pupil numbers.

Jitu Patel, Chairman of Akshar Educational Trust told Asian Voice exclusively, "Over the past few years, student numbers have been falling - from a peak of 515 in 2012 to 377 expected in September 2018. This downward trend is expected to continue. We recognize that the location of the School is not ideal since the catchment area of the majority of its students is some distance away." The parent body strongly feels that by working together, the school can still continue, but for this to happen, the trustees and governors need to start an open dialogue with parents, which has not been happening over the years. Parents have also said that they are more than happy to consider taking over the running of the school by appointing new teams who will give due consideration to the communities and families that are being disrupted by this announcement, but ideally prefer working with the existing trustees and governors to resolve the concerns.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2018/7/7 19:47:11 ( 725 reads )


It is far easier to conquer others than to conquer oneself, because the former can be attained by recourse to outside means, while the latter can be achieved only with one's own mind.
-- Mahatma Gandhi(1869-1948)

What Would India Look like Today Had It Not Been Colonised by the British ?

Posted on 2018/7/3 19:28:42 ( 896 reads )


INDIA, June 30, 2018 (ED Times by Janhavi Sharma): Colonialism completely changed the world. British colonialism, more specifically, changed the face of 53 nations thereby tagging them as the Commonwealth nations. While British rule brought about untold change and modifications to India, it is hard to imagine an India without its embedded British characteristics. So what would India look like today, had it not been colonized by the British? Had India not been colonized by the British, the country would've still been inclusive of present-day Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Partition would not have occurred and such a grave loss of life, property and familial ties would not have taken place.

Secondly, India would perhaps still be a set of princely states with independent rulers, governing specified territories and battling it out for power. First and foremost, there is no denying the fact that the British introduced railways in India. Had it not been for their efforts, India would've developed such a strong and well-connected network of railways much later, sometime around the 20th century. 1871 marked the beginning of the largest railway network in the world. In order to govern better, the British began categorizing the Indian population. This led to greater religious and caste divide as they pitted communities against each other. This strengthened communal divide and caste.

The Indian economy was a booming one before the coming in of the British. India had diplomatic and trade relations with Europe, Central Asia, Africa etc. and had a massive network of trade, industry and artisanal activity. The British systematically broke down India's networks of trade and industry by converting it into an importer of British finished goods from an exporter of Indian textiles. The textile industry broke down and there was loss of employment. Had the British not colonized us, India would have perhaps even industrialized like Britain did in the 19th century.

More of this hypothetical scenario at "source".

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