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How Stolen Hindu Statues Were Discovered in UK

Posted on 2020/9/20 11:00:18 ( 173 reads )


UNITED KINGDOM, September 19, 2020 (BBC): Three bronze sculptures stolen from a southern Indian temple more than 40 years ago were found in the UK and returned to Indian government officials this week. The bronze sculptures represent some of Hinduism's most revered Deities -- Lord Ram, his wife Sita and his brother Lakshman, all part of the same set of statues. They belong to a 15th Century temple built during the Vijayanagara empire, located in Anandamangalam village in Tamil Nadu state, and were stolen in 1978. Vijayanagara was once one of the most important trading centers in the world.

It's taken years of work by a group of art enthusiasts, investigations by police teams in two countries, and efforts from Indian diplomats in the UK, to help bring them back. Four years ago, a photograph of one of the sculptures was spotted on the website of the British Antique Dealers' Association by a member of India Pride Project, which works to bring stolen statues back to India. S. Vijaykumar, who co-founded the project says: "We got leads [which took us] to districts and temples with similar styles, but we could not come up with any firm matches for three years." They restarted their search, and found a crucial piece of the puzzle in the archives of the French Institute of Pondicherry in southern India. A photograph taken on 15 June 1958, showed the full set of statues in the Sri Rajagopala Swamy Temple in Anandamangalam village. Armed with evidence, the group approached the High Commission of India in the UK.

More on this discovery at "source."

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2020/9/20 11:00:05 ( 128 reads )


On the pathway of spiritual excellence, words that discourage and those that publicize faults of others are lethal poisons.
-- His Divine Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, spiritual head of Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha

Divinity Consultants Bring Spirituality to the Corporation Environment

Posted on 2020/9/19 12:33:47 ( 176 reads )


UNITED STATES, August 28, 2020 (New York Times): Divinity consultants are designing sacred rituals for corporations and their spiritually depleted employees. Blending the obscure language of the sacred with the also obscure language of management consulting, the agencies provide corporations a range of spiritually inflected services. A new corporate clergy has arisen to formalize the remote work life. They go by different names: ritual consultants, sacred designers, soul-centered advertisers. They have degrees from divinity schools. Their business is borrowing from religious tradition to bring spiritual richness to corporate America.

In simpler times, divinity schools sent their graduates out to lead congregations or conduct academic research. Now there is a more office-bound calling: the spiritual consultant. Those who have chosen this path have founded agencies -- some for-profit, some not -- with similar-sounding names: Sacred Design Lab, Ritual Design Lab, Ritualist. They blend the obscure language of the sacred with the also obscure language of management consulting to provide clients with a range of spiritually inflected services, from architecture to employee training to ritual design. Their larger goal is to soften cruel capitalism, making space for the soul, and to encourage employees to ask if what they are doing is good in a higher sense. Having watched social justice get readily absorbed into corporate culture, they want to see if more American businesses are ready for faith.

For more on this interesting concept, see "source" above.

Remedying Negationism in Indian History - An On-Line Course for Fall 2020

Posted on 2020/9/19 12:33:35 ( 146 reads )


UNITED STATES, September 18, 2020 (Indology Academy): (HPI note: Wikipedia defines "negationism" as "a distortion of the historical record.") Indology Academy is offering a one credit hour academic equivalent course titled "Rectifying Historiography: Diagnosing and Remedying Holy War Negationism in India". A brief description states: Dr. Koenraad Elst teaches a course focusing on the willful distortions in the recent and contemporary writing of Indian history, specifically pertaining to the whitewashing or denial of crimes and discriminations motivated by religion. You will get a description of the phenomenon of history denial, with some case studies; the story of how and why it started and then was promoted to state policy; how it compares technically and morally with famous cases of the denial of massacres elsewhere; and how it has come to determine India's image worldwide. The question is also pursued how these distortions and their rectification affect the coexistence between victim groups and perpetrator groups today. During the course the students-participants will get an overview of the field of Negationism Studies and its application to the intersection of Indology and History.

For any further information regarding the course, curriculum, program or administration, see "source" above or contact:
Rajiv Varma, rajiv.varma@indologyacademy.org, 1 (832) 736-5643 (Contact via Whatsapp)

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2020/9/19 12:33:22 ( 174 reads )


Just as a big banyan tree sprouts from a tiny seed, so the wide universe with names and forms sprouts forth from the heart.
-- Sri Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950), South Indian mystic

Yoga's "Father in the West" Still Defining Our Spirituality and Celebrity 100 Years Later

Posted on 2020/9/17 11:43:50 ( 194 reads )


UNITED STATES, September 16, 2020 (RNS by Tara I. Burton): One hundred years ago on Sept. 19, the Indian yogi and guru Paramahansa Yogananda arrived in Boston as the Indian delegate for the Unitarian Conference of Religious Liberals. Yogananda's arrival, along with an earlier visit by another Indian teacher, Swami Vivekananda, began yoga's rise on these shores into a major industry, as well as one of the most significant examples of syncretism -- a religious and cultural mashup -- in the history of the West. Yogananda's contribution to the growing diversity of America's religious landscape in the 20th century was to adapt yoga's poses for an American audience. But his deeper influence was to pioneer a vision of wellness in which spirituality and self-help converge.

His Self-Realization Fellowship eventually offered as many as 800 temples, ashrams and retreats in 60 countries. Its blend of traditional Hindu practice with the American self-help culture resulted in the flowering of earlier movements such as transcendentalism and New Thought. Humankind's goal was "knowing in all parts of body, mind, and soul," he wrote, "that you are now in possession of the kingdom of God; that you do not have to pray that it will come to you; that God's omnipresence is your omnipresence; and that all you need to do is improve your knowing." A century on, Yogananda's project of self-realization, this vision of a unifying spiritual force, is more powerful than ever. Indeed, as more and more Americans join the ranks of religiously unaffiliated, or spiritually remixed, it might be our new civil religion.

More at "source."

Hinduism Today's Latest History Music Video Published:

Posted on 2020/9/17 11:43:37 ( 163 reads )


KAUAI, HAWAII, September 18, 2020: "Six Key Hindu Concepts," just published at "source" above, is the thirteenth song in Hinduism Today's History of Hindu India Music Video series. It is a song for children intended to complement the fifth chapter of our popular History of Hindu India documentaries, "21st Century India." The documentaries and songs neatly supplement the study of India and the Hindu religion in American middle schools. This music video covers six key Hindu concepts that have influenced the world: religious tolerance; God's presence in everyone and everything at all times; ahimsa, nonviolence; profound reverence for the Earth; the law of karma or cause and effect; the goal of life is spiritual liberation.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2020/9/17 11:43:23 ( 199 reads )


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

Restoration of Centuries-Old Raghunath Temple in Srinagar Begins Almost 3 Decades After Terrorists Vandalized and Burnt It Down

Posted on 2020/9/14 11:50:46 ( 276 reads )


JAMMU/KASHMIR, September 12, 2020 (Opindia): A year after the effective abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A and the administrative reorganization of Jammu and Kashmir, the government has decided to restore the lost glory of the centuries-old heritage shrine -- Raghunath Temple situated near Fateh Kadal in the heart of Srinagar city, reported the Hindi daily, Jagran. The renovation work of the temple has been entrusted to the State Tourism Department. Along with the temple, the ghats of river Jhelum will also be beautified. This long-pending decision has lifted the mood of the Kashmiri Hindus in the valley who have remained devoid and oppressed for years due to adverse circumstances, created by radical Islamists, which also compelled many Hindu families to migrate from Kashmir.

The historic temple which was one of the most revered by Hindus was vandalized and burnt down by Islamic terrorists in the early 1990s -- the time when the valley witnessed mass genocide and exodus of Kashmiri Hindus at the hands of the blood-thirsty Islamic terrorists who were ready to do anything to convert Kashmir into an Islamic state. Raghunath Temple which is dedicated to Lord Ram is one of the most revered temples in the valley. The temple was constructed by Maharaja Gulab Singh who was the founder of the kingdom of Jammu & Kashmir and the work on the temple began in the year 1835. After his death, the work was completed by Maharaja Gulab Singh's son, Maharaja Ranbir Singh in 1860. The main temple's inner wall was covered with gold sheet on the three sides of the temple.

More at "source" above.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2020/9/14 11:50:33 ( 180 reads )


When culture is flooding out of the temple, our actions are productive and our minds are creative, our speech is pure, our hearts rejoice and we become good citizens. Religion makes us good citizens, because we are peaceful inside and want peace in our land. Peace comes first from the individual. It is unrealistic to expect peace from our neighbors unless we are peaceful first, unless we make ourselves peaceful through right living, right worship and right religious culture in the home.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today

Catholic Church, Including Its Missionary Work, Suffers Under the Pandemic

Posted on 2020/9/13 12:04:41 ( 229 reads )


VATICAN CITY, September 9, 2020 (Religion News Service, excerpts): According to one priest, Martin Lasarte, the COVID-19 pandemic saw a "large reduction" in the realm of missionary work, aggravating an ongoing decline in the number of vocations and priests seeking to become missionaries. But while Catholicism may be waning in many Western countries, new communities are emerging in other parts of the world, especially in the Eastern Hemisphere.

"When it seems that the light is about to fade in some places, faith emerges once again somewhere else," he said. Korea, India and Vietnam have witnessed a significant surge in the number of Catholic faithful, the missionary said.

It's in Europe that Lasarte finds "the most preoccupying areas." Once the home of missionary zeal and hot-blooded Catholics, the Old Continent has become residence to a tepid and secularized faith, with dwindling vocations and empty pews, said the missionary.

With more than 2 million cases of the coronavirus and almost 200,000 COVID-19 related deaths, Europe has been dealt a heavy blow by the pandemic -- and so has its faith. Churches, confessionals and many sacraments were banned during the months of lockdown in many European countries.

Speaking to the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich said the pandemic set the Catholic Church back a decade in terms of faithful numbers and religious culture. The archbishop of Luxembourg said that Catholics in his own country (Luxembourg) "will be reduced in number" once they find that "life is very comfortable" without having to go to church.

Like many priests coming to terms with the declining state of religion in the west, Lasarte finds comfort in the "few, but good" approach. Despite challenges from within and without, the missionary continues to have faith that even in reduced numbers "Catholics can be a significant minority." "Christianity still has a future," he said.

Stanford Student's Inspiring Story of One University's Religious Accommodation

Posted on 2020/9/13 12:04:29 ( 244 reads )


USA, September 12, 2020 (YouTube, with Rajiv Malhotra): Very informative video interview of Siddhartha, a 19-year-old student at Stanford University in California, one of the world's foremost universities. Having been raised in a strict Hindu home in India, he found the initial situation at the Stanford dorm made his normal daily spiritual practices impossible. Watch him tell in his own words how he appealed to the university's Office of Religious Life for accommodation at his dorm and for his pure vegetarian meals. The office responded by arranging a private dorm room plus meals prepared especially for him, showing the value of taking the initiative and reaching out to the right people.

Stanford provides kosher meals for orthodox Jewish students (https://rde.stanford.edu/dining/glatt-kosher-dining-program), halal meat for Muslims, and vegan and vegetarian menus (https://rde.stanford.edu/dining/eat-well-stanford#veg). According to this report, https://www.tun.com/blog/14-of-college ... -vegetarians-study-finds/, 14% of American college students are vegans or vegetarians.

Hinduism Today Launches Project to Help Hindu College Students Defend Their Faith

Posted on 2020/9/13 12:04:16 ( 195 reads )

KAUAI, HAWAII, USA, September 8, 2020 (HPI): A common experience of college-age Hindu youth in the West is to be questioned about their religious beliefs. Hinduism Today is developing a project to provide students with responses to the standard criticisms and challenges. As part of this, we're intending to explain the "issues behind the issues" for common topics, such as Freudian psychology and Marxist economic theory, which have heavily influenced Western understanding of Hinduism.

If you'd like to help, please send us the criticisms you have heard in college, along with some idea of who was making them, their possible motivations (which can range from sincere interest to outright hostility), and how you responded.

Write to:
Acharya Arumuganathaswami, managing editor, Hinduism Today, ar@hindu.org.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2020/9/13 12:04:02 ( 169 reads )


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

As Priests Contract Covid-19, Uncertainty Looms Over Opening of Jagannath Temple

Posted on 2020/9/12 7:59:40 ( 231 reads )


BHUBANESWAR, INDIA, September 11, 2020 (Hindustan Times): With 167 of the 2,000 priests of the 12th century Jagannath temple in Puri infected by Covid-19, the opening of the temple to the public now seems to be shrouded in uncertainty. On August 31, the state government had decided that none of the religious places in the state will be opened till September 30. However, any hopes of the Jagannath temple, the most famous religious shrine in Odisha, opening in October have been squashed away with several servitors or priests of the temple getting infected.

Though the infection in Puri and among the servitors of Jagannath temple was under control during the lockdown, it has been on a steady rise since mid-July after the relaxation of lockdown norms. Though the daily average of Covid-19 cases in Puri did not exceed 20, the district has been recording an average of 200 cases a day. On Friday, the district reported a case positivity rate of 20 which is almost 3 times of Odisha's daily positivity rate. However, it is the rising infection among the temple servitors that has become a cause of concern for the district administration. "The servitors live close to each other and that's one reason for the rise in infection. Many of them have comorbidity conditions like diabetes and hypertension and that is a matter of concern to us," said Puri district collector Balwant Singh.

More at "source" above.

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