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Concord's Shiva Murugan Temple Breaks Ground in Elaborate Ceremony


Posted on 2019/2/16 9:55:49 ( 130 reads )

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CONCORD, CALIFORNIA, February 15, 2019 (The Pioneer, by Tamara Steiner):In a day-long celebration replete with religious rituals, Concord's Shiva Murugan Temple (www.shivamurugantemple.org) broke ground January 26 for a new Shaivite Hindu temple at Concord Boulevard and Second Street. An estimated 2,000 people attended the Vastu Puja as the temple priest, the local architect and the general contractor placed six bricks comprising the foundation stone in the ground at the northeast corder of the future 7,000 sq.ft. building. The temple's Sthapati, a UNESCO recognized expert on Hindu temple archaeology, describes the location of the stone as the place where the "sole of the foot" would be and the main sanctum as where the "embryo" or the life, would be. The builders will not disturb the stone during construction.
"It is there for posterity," explained Meena Annamalai, director of temple construction.
The temple front faces Second Street. A second, smaller building will house an auditorium, kitchen and dining rooms.
"One of the many things that I love about Concord is its cultural diversity," said Concord Mayor Carlyn Obringer, who was joined at the groundbreaking by Vice Mayor Tim McGalliam. "I am glad to have this faith community in Concord and look forward to the building dedication."
The temple design team worked with the Concord Design Review Board for two years before gaining final city approval. The Sthapati's first designs focused only on the beauty of the main temple, leaving the side facing Concord Boulevard plain and unadorned. But the Design Review Board wanted the temple to look beautiful from the Concord Boulevard side as well.
"Our Sthapati could not comprehend why we would want to beautify the side view," Annamalai said. The local architect, Shard Lal, tried in vain to explain the city's requirement to him. Finally, Dr. Dakshinamoorthy Sthapati visited the site in person.
"After we led him over to the sidewalk on Concord Boulevard, he understood that it is a main street and came up with this exquisitely beautiful two-story design," Annamali said.
The Shiva Murugan Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and His Son, Lord Murugan, who, according to Hindu belief, were known for destroying the sins of ego and arrogance. Followers (of Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, founder of Hinduism Today magazine and HPI) established the temple in 1957 in San Francisco and, according to temple historians, it was likely the first Hindu temple in North America (outside Vedanta Society shrines). By 1988, the small building in San Francisco could not accommodate a growing Hindu community and they moved the temple to the Concord corner. They chose the site in part because it had always been a place of worship.
The architect, contractor and engineers are all local companies. Sculptors from India will do the specialized work. The construction will take about two years.
"We take pride and joy in the fact that beautiful Concord has been inclusive and welcoming of our temple," Annamali said. "It warms our hearts and gives us a special kind of joy."



Schools Run by Spiritual Gurus to Give Yoga Certificates


Posted on 2019/2/16 9:55:36 ( 121 reads )

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INDIA, February 14, 2019 (Hindustan Times): The government is counting on the brand equity of some of India's best-known spiritual and yoga gurus to take the ancient physical and spiritual discipline to the world -- albeit by bringing the world to India first. The ministries of human resource development and AYUSH (ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homeopathy) have finalized a plan under which the country's best-known and biggest yoga schools will offer specialized courses for foreigners, starting as early as this year. "The Yoga Certification Board (YCB) has identified 10 yoga institutions. These will undergo a process of being recognised by the board. Once recognised as leading yoga institutions, they will start offering specialized courses specially created for foreigners," a government official said on condition of anonymity.

The YCB was set up by the government last year to certify individual yoga teachers and also yoga schools. It is headed by Dr. Rajesh Kotecha, secretary, AYUSH, representatives from several ministries, and also the heads of three yoga schools or centres, HR Nagendra of the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (S-VYASA), Chinmay Panda of Dev Sanskriti Viswavidyala, and Jaideep Arya of Patanjali Yogpeeth. Four courses will be on offer: a 200-hour yoga protocol instructor course which will take around one month; the second level or yoga wellness instructor course which will be a 400-hour or 3-4 month course; the third level yoga teacher course, which will be of 800 hours' duration and take 6-9 months ; and the fourth level yoga master course that will take 1,600-2,000 hours. "There is a great demand for yoga teachers across the globe. However, often what is taught in the name of yoga is merely some kind of physical exercise which has no connection to the discipline. The aim is to guide the foreign student who looks towards this branch of knowledge. Those who take these courses can also go on to teach yoga in their countries," the official said.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2019/2/16 9:55:22 ( 100 reads )

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The arrogance of being knowledgeable is more dangerous than having no knowledge at all.
-- Sri Rameshabhai Oza, katha performer and our Hindu of the Year 2006



Bengal Police Attack Hindu Temple in the Name of Implementing Loudspeaker Ban


Posted on 2019/2/15 10:40:21 ( 188 reads )


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KOLKATA, INDIA, February 14, 2019 (My Nation): Bengal's New Town has turned into a war zone after the police allegedly vandalized a temple situated in a village called Patharghata. According to the locals, the police initially objected to playing loudspeaker at a religious function but things escalated quickly and they started destroying the temple. Following this incident, the villagers also started attacking the cops. According to reports, the police objected to playing loudspeaker at night, especially when several examinations are around the corner. However, even after they switched off the speakers, police still came and started vandalizing the temple and ask the revelers to pack up.

Meanwhile, villagers have come out in protest against such a barbaric act. They have blocked the roads and started burning tires. They also barricaded the entry points of the village and shut down shops and even destroyed police vehicles. The police have also claimed that the villagers attacked them and injured an officer. After noticing that the situation is getting out of the hand, DC zone one Rabindranath Banerjee and ACP Animesh Ray reached the spot. They ordered a probe into the matter and promised that the culprits will be punished. New Town is a fast-growing planned satellite city of North 24 Parganas district of Kolkata city, along the border with Bangladesh.



Three Diamond-Studded Golden Crowns Stolen from Tirupati Temple


Posted on 2019/2/14 11:42:39 ( 211 reads )

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TIRUPATI, ANDHRA PRADESH, INDIA, February 3, 2019 (India Today): Three diamond-studded golden crowns on Saturday evening went missing from the ancient Sri Govindaraja Swamy temple in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. The temple priest noticed the theft at 5.45 pm on Saturday when the temple was reopened for rituals and the devotees. The stolen ornaments, which weigh around 1.3 kg and are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, belonged to the processional Deities presiding at the ancient temple which is part of 18 sub-temples and was built in 12th century by saint Sri Ramanujacharya.

See also: https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/ ... lease-image-suspect-96226



A Temple Cut to Half Because It Hurt Aurangzeb's Ego


Posted on 2019/2/14 11:42:26 ( 262 reads )

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VRINDAVAN, INDIA, February 9, 2019 (Sunday Guardian by Prafull Goradia): Over the centuries, tens of thousands of temples were desecrated across India, the carnage not stopping even after 15 August 1947, especially in Kashmir and in parts of eastern and southern India. However, the desecration of Gobind Dev temple in Vrindavan is unique; it was neither complete nor was it converted into a mosque. The structure was cut into half--horizontally. And why? Because whenever Aurangzeb happened to be in Delhi or Agra, at night he would see a mashaal, or torch, lighting up the sky. How can any light shine higher than mine? It must be put out once and for all, felt the emperor. By 1669 he lost his patience, sent his men and had the Gobind Dev temple cut in half, four storeys reduced to two. On the truncated roof he had a mehrab erected so that he could pray there on his visit.

Probably, no other desecrated temple had been the subject of so much repair and refurbishment by British rulers. Of supreme importance was the fact of the temple being "restituted" to Hindu devotees. It was the greatest act of shuddhi, or purification, although performed before Swami Dayanand Saraswati reintroduced Vedic procedures. For this act of restitution, F.S. Growse, the magistrate of Mathura district in the 1870s, deserves a place in the hall of Hinduism. The Gobind Dev temple is indeed massive; its plinth is 105 feet by 117 feet. It is estimated that the original height was about 110 feet, without which it would not have been possible to see the mashaal or torch either from Agra or from Delhi. The temple was built in 1590 AD by Maharaja Mansingh of Jaipur.

More of this history at "source".



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2019/2/14 11:42:12 ( 199 reads )

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There is no greater Truth than the Guru, no greater penance than the Guru, no knowledge greater than the Guru--therefore to that Guru I ever pay my homage.
-- Guru Gita 77



Naga Cultural Team at Kumbha Mela Seen as a "Window of Opportunity for Evangelism"


Posted on 2019/2/9 12:30:00 ( 578 reads )

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NAGALAND, NORTHEAST INDIA, January 17, 2019 (Nagaland Post, editorial): The world's largest religious festival, the Kumbh Mela, has began in Prayagraj. It has been celebrated over the centuries for the Hindus pilgrimage but we Nagas were never attracted by this event until very recently. Our local newspapers have reported that about 373 people from Nagaland, probably of the Naga Christian majority, are participating in 2019 Kumbh Mela festival in Allahabad between January 22 and 24. It was informed that these selected Naga delegates will showcase the Naga cultural heritage in Kumbh Mela during festivals under the initiative of Sanskar Bharati Nagaland (SBN) , and financially sponsored by the Ministry of Culture. The central and UP government has even constructed a simulated Naga "Morung" (a training house for youth) in the venue to represent Naga culture at Kumbh Mela.

This news has ignited many questions among the leaders of the church and also in the minds of the people in Nagaland. What does Kumbh Mela has to do with the Christian Nagas? I wish that the state leadership should also have shown their Christian stance clear by saying "No" to this kind of invitation. But apart from this fear factor or Naga Christian defensive attitude, is there any other way that we can convert this crisis into opportunity for the Lord?

I believe that Naga "Christians" representing in Kumbh Mela as a cultural troupe has opened a door of opportunity for evangelism, if the participants are "intentional "in this aspect. Had the troupe not purposefully been selected to be a Hindu or Heraka (an indigenous movement, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haipou_Jadonang) team from Nagaland, I am sure more than 90 percent of the 373 team members will be Christians. The core of Christian faith is mission and evangelism, to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, especially to the unbelievers. I pray that at least 100 out of 373 members do this "intentional evangelism," exploring opportunity to share the gospel, along with the exhibition of the Naga culture in Kumbh Mela.

Some may ask what Kumbh Mela has to do with evangelism? It is a cultural troupe, not a gospel team. Yes, Nagas are going to showcase their cultural heritage at the Kumbh Mela Morung. But can an official church gospel team get permission to enter Kumbh Mela for preaching and to do evangelism? It will be foolish to do so. However, a big Naga team, majority are practicing Christians, was already invited by the organizer and financially sponsored by them, and are on the way to the venue. This would be like entering communist China with bibles during the time of rescue operation, or lay missionaries entering Kathmandu, Nepal for rescued operation work caused by the great earthquake in 2015. Indeed, in every believer's life, gospel and culture go together.

more at: http://www.nagalandpost.com/kumbh-mel ... or-evangelism/188791.html



Australian Catholic School Bars Hindu Girl for Nose Piercing


Posted on 2019/2/9 12:26:55 ( 471 reads )

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AUSTRALIA, February 8, 2019 (News 18): A Hindu girl studying in Perth's Aranmore Catholic College has been barred from coming to school until she removes her nose-piercing. 15-year-old Sanya Singhal is a Class 10 student and has been studying in Aranmore since Class 3, local news website West Australian reports. According to Singhal's mother, the nose-piercing has religious symbolism. For many in India, especially Hindus, a nose-pin traditionally marks a girl's transition into womanhood.

When Singhal tried to rejoin school this year, she was told to take the nose-pin off or go home. Despite producing a letter from her mother explaining the significance of the piercing, she was told to remove the item. The 15-year-old and her mother have decided to stand their ground, accusing the school of religious discrimination. According to Singhal's mother, the school allowed Muslim girls to wear the headscarves and Christian women to wear a crucifix but only had an issue with her daughter's nose pin which is part of her and her family's religious identity.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2019/2/9 12:26:42 ( 425 reads )

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When we encounter wickedness in others, let us be compassionate, for truly there is no intrinsic evil.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001)



Sabarimala Temple Board Reverses Opposition to Entry of Women


Posted on 2019/2/7 10:17:06 ( 506 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 6, 2019 (Saudi Gazette): A board that oversees an ancient Hindu hill temple in southern India said on Wednesday it now favored allowing women of menstruating age to enter the temple, reversing its previous support for a centuries-old ban. The Sabarimala temple has been the site of tension since India's Supreme Court ruled in late September to end a ban on women and girls aged from 10-50 from entering. The Travancore Devaswom Board, which administers the temple, had refused to abide by the court ruling and thousands of devotees have blocked attempts by women to visit the site.

On Wednesday, the board said it would now abide by the court ruling. "After the Supreme Court judgment, we discussed a lot. We realize that we should respect the judgment of the court," lawyer Rakesh Dwivedi told Reuters after a board hearing on the matter. The temple in Kerala state pays homage to the celibate Deity Ayyappan and draws millions of worshippers each year. It is one of only a few in India, which had barred entry to girls and women between the ages of 10 and 50.



Hindu Temple in Sindh Reportedly Attacked, Holy Scriptures Desecrated


Posted on 2019/2/7 10:16:53 ( 466 reads )

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PAKISTAN, February 4, 2019 (Pakistan Today): A Hindu temple in Kunbh, Sindh was attacked by vandals, according to reports. According to images doing rounds on the social media, the temple in Sindh was attacked with holy scriptures and statues housed within it desecrated. "Strongly condemn the attack on temple in Kunbh, Khairpur (Sindh). Reportedly, some miscreants set holy books on fire. Such incidents will harm exemplary interfaith harmony of Sindh. Govt. need to take action against the miscreants," tweeted a user with images of the damage caused to the temple.

There was no official confirmation about the incident at the time of filing of this report. According to a report by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released last year, banned outfits continue to target minorities in Pakistan. "In 2017, religious minorities in Pakistan, including Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Ahmedis...continued to face attacks and discrimination from extremist groups and society at large," the report states, adding that as many as 231 people were killed and 691 injured in such incidents in Pakistan in 2017. The report states that the government of Pakistan "failed to protect these groups adequately, and it perpetrated systematic, ongoing, egregious religious freedom violations." Last year, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said that the nation has failed to make progress on a myriad of issues, ranging from forced disappearances to women's rights and protection of religious minorities.



The Meditation Unicorn: Calm Raises $88 Million at $1 billion Valuation


Posted on 2019/2/7 10:16:39 ( 464 reads )

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SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, February 6, 2019 (Venture Beat): Meditation and mental health-focused startup Calm has raised $88 million in a series B round of funding led by TPG Growth, with participation from Insight Venture Partners, Ashton Kutcher's Sound Ventures, and Creative Artists Agency (CAA). This takes Calm's total funding past the $115 million mark and elevates the San Francisco-based company to the prestigious "unicorn" club -- it now has a valuation of exactly $1 billion. Founded in 2012 by Michael Acton Smith, Calm is one of a number of "mindfulness" startups to attract the attentions of VCs in recent times. In the past year alone, we've seen Shine raise $5 million for its motivational messaging app, while Simple Habit secured $10 million for its "bite-size" audio meditation plans and BioBeats nabbed $3 million to combat stress with meditation and breathing exercises. Other notable players in the space include Headspace, which has also attracted vast chunks of venture capital funding.

Not only has Calm been profitable for several years already, it can now lay legitimate claim to being the first mental health-focused unicorn, which is quite a remarkable feat when you consider it has a team of just 50. But its growth is perhaps a sign of the times -- the meditation industry is reportedly worth more than $1 billion in the U.S. alone, while the broader "wellness" sector is estimated at several trillion dollars, according to the Global Wellness Institute. "We started as a meditation app, but have grown far beyond that," added Acton Smith. "Our vision is to build one of the most valuable and meaningful brands of the 21st century. Health and wellness is a $4 trillion industry, and we believe there is a big opportunity to build the leading company in this fast-growing and important space."



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2019/2/7 10:16:26 ( 435 reads )

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When we think about someone, we'e sending a thought form to that person, and that thought form is affecting them. If it is a positive, uplifting thought, it affects them in a positive, uplifting way. If it is a critical thought, it affects them in a negative way.
-- Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, publisher of Hinduism Today



Kumbh Mela 2019: Millions of Hindu Pilgrims Take Holy Dip at Prayagraj on Mauni Amavasya


Posted on 2019/2/6 9:40:26 ( 709 reads )

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PRAYAGRAJ, INDIA, February 4, 2019 (Swarajyamag): Braving the cold and fog, over 18 million pilgrims took a holy dip in the Sangam, the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati, in the early hours of Monday (4 February) on the occasion of Mauni Amavasya in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, as reported by The Tribune. According to the report, hundreds of thousands started arriving at the Kumbhnagar from Sunday (3 February) to take a dip on the occasion of Mauni Amavasya. Many religious leaders and spiritual gurus along with their disciples also participated in the third Shahi Snan (Royal bath) of Kumbh.

As per the report, the Kumbh Mela administration had made elaborate arrangements for the occasion and prepared a time table for the holy dip. As per the time table, Panchayati Akhada Mahanirvani was the first to go to the rivers and take a dip at 6.15 am. The Panchayati Akhada was followed by the vairagis in sequence of Shri Panchayati Niranjani Akhada, Shri Panch Dashnam Akhada, Akhil Bharatiya Shri Panch Nirvana Akhada, Shri Panchayats Digambar Ani Akhada and Shri Panch Nirmohi Ani Akhada followed by Shri Panchayati Akhada Naya Udaseen and others, officer Vijay Kiran Anand was quoted in the report as saying.

More Photos: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/ ... gious-gathering-pictures/

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