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BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi: Hindu Temple Not to Use Steel, Iron


Posted on 2020/2/14 10:40:43 ( 267 reads )

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ABU DHABI, February 13, 2020 (Gulf News): The first Hindu temple coming up in Abu Dhabi will not use steel or ferrous materials, it was revealed during the first fly ash concrete pouring for its raft foundation on Thursday. A large contingent of expatriates from the Indian diaspora gathered at the site of the BAPS Hindu Mandir to witness the major construction milestone. Describing the ceremony as UAE's largest single pouring of fly ash concrete in 3,000 cubic meters [about 8,000 tons], Ashok Kotecha, spokesperson of the temple committee, told Gulf News: "Usually, [building] foundations have a mix of concrete and steel. However, as per traditional temple architecture in India, no steel or iron reinforcements will be used. Fly ash will be used to reinforce the concrete in the foundation. Throughout the [whole structure of the] temple, the architecture is like several pieces of jigsaw put together without any steel or ferrous materials."

Over 3,000 craftsmen are working tirelessly in India, carving icons and statues with 5000 tons of Italian Carrara Marble and the exteriors will be made of 12,250 tons of pink sandstone. Pavan Kapoor, the Indian ambassador to UAE and Vipul, the Indian Consul General in Dubai, were present along with several prominent members of the Indian business community and members of the Community Development Authority (CDA), Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Dr. Omar Al Muthanna, chief executive officer, CDA, Dubai, the religious observer from the government, said: "Religion is a key factor to feel at home. The UAE is not a passing home. We want you to feel completely at home and this is our commitment to you." The ceremony was conducted by Brahmavihari Das, a senior-most saint of the BAPS Swaminarayan Temple group.




Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2020/2/14 10:40:30 ( 196 reads )

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About many things in Hinduism I had once been inclined to believe that there was much of dream in it, much that was delusion and maya. But now day after day I realized in the mind, I realized in the heart, I realized in the body the truths of the Hindu religion. They became living experiences to me, and things were opened to me which no material science could explain.
-- Sri Aurobindo (1879-1950)



Bathing the Gods in Bottled Water: An Account of Climate Change and Faith


Posted on 2020/2/12 11:21:47 ( 300 reads )

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UNITED STATES, February 4, 2020 (The Revealer, by Tulasi Srinivas): What if you woke up one morning and the pristine, sacred river where you bathed your Gods had turned into an oily, noxious-smelling sewer? What if the sacred water started to melt the stone statues of the Gods? What if it was undrinkable? What would you do? For the past several years I have been exploring the relationship between the practice of Hinduism and the sacred landscape of India. In the United States, belief in biblical inerrancy is related to decreased support for environmental protection policies and correlates with a denial of anthropogenic climate change. But at the same time, religious mobilizations are engaging in a variety of social movements supporting climate justice. From Pope Francis' laudato si to the 2015 "Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change," religious leaders and institutions are increasingly calling for action to curb pollution and reduce our carbon footprint.

Moreover, Hinduism is a religion rooted in natural topography. Gods are found in rocks, hillocks, woodlands and trees, rivers and rills. In religious texts and myths, water bodies in particular have an explicit ability to transform space, to extend or truncate time, and, most significantly, to manifest God's paradoxical nature as simultaneously transcendent and immanent, independent and dependent, formless and formed. In practice, bodies of water are sacred places, held in special regard in processions and festivals not only because they sustain life, but because they are thought to be the seat of the Gods.

Much more of this insightful article at "source" above.



The Hidden Biases That Drive Anti-Vegan Hatred


Posted on 2020/2/12 11:21:34 ( 299 reads )

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UNITED KINGDOM, February 3, 2020 (BBC Future, by Zaria Gorvett): As the popularity of vegan life continues to gather pace, a tide of vitriol has risen. To eat meat, or not to eat meat: the question has become a battleground, with passionate carnivores and vegan activists deploying some deliciously headline-grabbing tactics. Though it's natural for people to disagree, the passionate rage -- and even mild irritation -- that veganism stirs up seems to defy rational sense. Research has shown that only drug addicts face the same degree of stigma -- and the least popular vegans of all are those who cite animal cruelty as their reason. Given that most of us would probably like to see less suffering in the world, why is there such resentment towards those who do something about it?

Some psychologists take the view -- that far from being driven by factors within our conscious awareness, the widespread resentment we have for vegans is down to deep-seated psychological biases. Hank Rothgerber, a social psychologist at Bellarmine University, Kentucky, thinks it all comes down to answering the question: how do we continue to eat meat? "So basically we live in an era today, at least in the Western world, where there's more and more evidence, more and more arguments, and more and more books about how eating meat is bad," says Rothgerber. "But still, our behavior hasn't changed significantly." He points out that 2018 looks set to be the year with the highest per capita meat consumption in the history of the United States. "So what I'm looking at is, how do people rationalize that, and still feel like they're a good person?"

Much more of this interesting article at "source".



Future Story on the Issue of Fair Skin


Posted on 2020/2/12 11:21:21 ( 267 reads )




KAUAI, HAWAII, February 12, 2020 (HPI): Hinduism Today is seeking testimonials about the tendency in Indian communities to give preference to fair skin, and to attempt cosmetological lightening of natural dark skin. Our main writer will be Anushree Kumar, who is a neuroscientist and writer based in France. It was her HuffPost story that inspired this article. You can read her tale here: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/dark-sk ... _5dd6e51fe4b02648edb21d6e

If you have a story about dark skin/light skin, please write it up and send to our editor at sadasivanatha@hindu.org. You can, if you like, submit it anonymously, though openly makes it more compelling.




Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2020/2/12 11:21:09 ( 240 reads )

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Stop all your attachments to false values. In an ever-changing world there is nothing worthwhile for us to desire or weep for. Joys and sorrows are bound to come in human life; they are just two sides of the same coin.
-- Swami Chinmayananda (1916-1992), founder of the Chinmaya Mission



President Jokowi Creates Indonesia's First Hindu State University


Posted on 2020/2/11 12:00:55 ( 420 reads )

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JAKARTA, INDONESIA, February 3, 2020 (Jakarta Post): President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has issued a presidential regulation (Perpres) turning the Hindu Dharma State Institute (IHDN) in Denpasar, Bali, into the country's first Hindu state university. The regulation stated that the new university, named I Gusti Bagus Sugriwa State Hindu University (UHN), would "administer Hindu higher education programs" as well as other types of higher education programs "to support Hindu higher education programs." Through the regulation, which was enacted last week, all current IHDN students are converted to UHN students, and all the institute's assets and employees are transferred to the newly formed university.

"The change in status has been declared through a Perpres and is just awaiting the handover from the central government. I am very happy and thankful," IHDN rector I Gusti Ngurah Sudiana said in a statement on the institute's official website on Friday. The institute itself started out as a state academy for Hindu religion teachers in 1993, before being converted into the Hindu Religion State College in 1999, and then into the IHDN in 2004. Sudiana said the regulation marked a historic moment for the Hindu faithful in Indonesia. "Clearly this shows that President Jokowi has given special attention to Hindu educational institutions in Bali in order to improve the quality of our human capital," he said. "Because of that, we should use this moment to move toward excellent human capital in Bali in the future."



Singapore's Thaipusam Event Sees High Turnout Despite Coronavirus Concerns


Posted on 2020/2/11 12:00:42 ( 355 reads )

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SINGAPORE, February 9, 2020 (Straits Times): Stepped-up precautionary measures in the light of the coronavirus outbreak did little to dampen the fervor of thousands of Hindu devotees, who turned out to seek blessings and fulfil their vows at this year's Thaipusam festival. The religious procession went on as usual, drawing some 11,500 devotees -- the highest participation rate since 2013, in part helped by Thaipusam falling on a weekend. It began at 11:30pm on Friday and ended yesterday at 11:30pm. The annual procession was one of the first large-scale events to go ahead after Singapore raised its alert level from code yellow to code orange on Friday in response to the outbreak of the virus which originated in Wuhan, China.

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, who was guest of honor at this year's celebration, joined devotees at Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Serangoon Road in the morning yesterday before proceeding to the end point, the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple in Tank Road. Commenting on whether to continue with large-scale events, he spoke of the need to exercise judgment. "We have to make an assessment for each of the activities, whether it is indoor, whether it is outdoor," he said. "It is not so much how many people are involved, but how are the people involved in those activities." Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran told reporters separately that while organizers had to put in place additional measures, devotees took them in their stride.



Ramayana Art Goes on Sale


Posted on 2020/2/11 12:00:30 ( 372 reads )

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BURLINGAME, CALIFORNIA, February 11, 2020 (HPI): When artist Ashley Moore found her way to Hinduism through studying Valmiki's Ramayana, she was compelled to express her devotion in the best way she knew how -- painting. It was critical that her interpretation of the epic carried all the spiritual and emotional weight that the narrative demanded. After three years of research and painting, thirty-four works inspired by the epic were completed and she joyously shared them with her local Hindu community. Since then, she has attempted to find interested art lovers or a gallery willing to display them. She is appealing to the global Hindu family and hopes you will take the time to view her work and share it with others. Above is a sample of the art.




Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2020/2/11 12:00:17 ( 305 reads )

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To enter into the spiritual life is a rare blessedness, it is a great good: to take it seriously and engage in active spiritual Sadhana is a second blessedness and a still greater good: but to persevere in the spiritual life, to be ever progressive and ceaseless in one's spiritual life, is the greatest good, the crowning blessedness.
-- Swami Chidananda (1916-2008), President of Divine Life Society



1,000-Year-Old Big Temple's Reconsecration in February


Posted on 2020/2/3 6:13:07 ( 657 reads )

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THANJAVUR, TAMIL NADU, INDIA, January 17, 2020 (Deccan Chronicle): If one goes by the inscriptions available, the reconsecration to be held this February 5 for the Tnanjavur's "Big Temple," it will be the sixth such grand event in its history. As per an inscription, the first Kumbabishekam to the temple was held in 1010 CE and was done by King Raja Raja Chola himself, who built the temple. He did it on 25th year of his coming to power, says the inscription. According to Kudavayil Balasubramanian, temple researcher and epigraphist, Kumbabishekam was performed to the temple during the Maratta period by Rajah Serfoji II (1729 A.D) and by his great grandson Sivajindra Chatrapathi (1843 A.D).

The present Kalasam is said to have been made during Rajah Serfoji-I period and placed on top. "Not only the Kalasam but also the entire Vimana was gold-plated during Raja Raja Cholan period, according to another inscription," said Balasubramanian. Then after 177 years, Kumbabishekam was performed to the temple on April 3, 1980, by the then district collector Gangappa. Next Kumbabishekam was done in 1997 and now consecration is scheduled on February 5, 2020. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which maintains this world heritage monument, has completed chemical cleaning and maintenance works for the great event. Balalayam was performed in December 2019 and pujas are performed to Balalayam images of the Deities in the temple. Application of ashta bandhana marunthu to all the Deities has been completed and Kalasam on top of Vimana has been removed for renovation and gold plating.



Hindu Temple Plans Large Murugan Statue Rural North Carolina


Posted on 2020/2/3 6:12:55 ( 1033 reads )

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NORTH CAROLINA, U.S., January 30, 2020 (News Observer): A Triangle-based Hindu group plans to build a temple in a rural area of the "Triangle" region (noted for its three top research universities) of North Carolina. The temple will help preserve Hinduism's ancient culture and language, while embracing a modern American ideal: It will be huge. The temple will feature the world's largest statue of Lord Murugan, the principal Deity of Tamil Hindu followers. The likeness of Murugan, the warrior God who fights evil in Tamil Hindu tradition, would soar above the pines on a 130-acre tract of land in Moncure, in eastern Chatham County. The statue itself would be 155 feet tall, mounted on a 35-foot base, with the structure topping out at 190 feet, according to plans. To get an idea of the statue's scale, compare it to the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, which is 151 feet 1 inch tall from the top of the base to the torch, according to the National Park Service.

The new giant statue would be part of a Carolina Murugan Temple complex that would include the temple itself and buildings that would house a library, museum and other functions. Temple organizers also plan to include a soccer field, wedding venue, community garden and a hiking field on the property, which borders the Deep River. Radha Ravi Varma of Cary, chief secretary of the Carolina Murugan Temple, said the temple would serve Hindu people in the Triangle area and beyond who are of Tamil Heritage. But it will be open to the public as well. There are Hindu temples in Cary and Morrisville and others across the state. Their membership has grown with the influx of people from India, where Hinduism is a major religion. The American Immigration Council estimates that in 2015, North Carolina had more than 60,000 residents who came originally from India.

More at "source".



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2020/2/3 6:12:42 ( 559 reads )

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You can gain an intricate control of the various things that change in and about you. Lean your thoughts and feelings in the right direction, and discover how quickly your circumstances will change their direction.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today



In Japan, A Debate about Swastikas Takes on New Urgency


Posted on 2020/1/28 11:46:01 ( 775 reads )

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JAPAN, January 2019, (The Outline by Samuel Argyle): Around the world, symbols hold disparate meanings based on cultural relevance. For Westerners, the swastika induces feelings of disgust and remorse; the tacit acknowledgement that we must not let evil consume us again. It may be impossible for those aware of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust to ever be able to overcome the symbol's horrific significance. In Japan, however, as well as other countries with large Jain, Hindu, or Buddhist populations, the symbol still appears on maps and buildings, in its original unflipped form, as a way of designating a variety of positive meanings including good luck, prosperity, and eternity. But in 2016, the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan posed a fairly radical idea: replacing the swastika -- or manji, as it's called in Japanese -- with a three-story pagoda, to indicate Buddhist temple locations on non-Japanese and foreign-language maps.

This caused quite a bit of controversy: According to The Japan Times, a Change.org petition was implemented to prevent the modification. Others took to Twitter to air their dismay about the symbol's removal. The proposed shift would coincide with the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, so as not to offend the onslaught of Western visitors and tourists unaware of its non-Eurocentric and pre-WWII meaning. However, the swastika would continue to appear on Japanese-language maps as well as Buddhist structures, so tourists would still spot the symbol in public spaces. It is unclear what progress has been made to remove the swastika from non-Japanese language maps. But the issue still raises questions about the difficulty of cultural translation. T.K. Nakagaki, a Buddhist priest and interfaith leader in New York, would rather the Japanese government take the time to educate foreigners than dispel the symbol entirely.

Much more on the issue at "source" above.



Shamshabad Ramanuja Statue Progressing


Posted on 2020/1/28 11:38:00 ( 756 reads )

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HYDERABAD, INDIA, August 9, 2017 (YouTube): HPI Note: The video is from 2017 and gives a good overview of the project. The statue itself is in place, but with the surrounding construction in various stages of completion. For current information go to: https://statueofequality.org/latest-news/.

Sri Ramanujacharya's statue near Hyderabad in Telangana is the second biggest statue in the world. Tridandi Srimannarayana Ramanuja China Jeeyar, who heads the Sri Tridandi Strimannarayana Ramanuja Mutt, called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi and invited him to unveil the 216-ft. metallic statue of philosopher-saint Ramanujacharya that was being put up to commemorate the 1,000th birth anniversary of the saint next year. Called the Statue of Equality, it would be taller than the Statue of Liberty in New York by 65 ft.

See the stunning youtube video at "source".


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