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Spiritual Experiences Common for Astronauts

Posted on 2019/7/21 13:00:56 ( 151 reads )


SAUDI ARABIA, July 21, 2019 (Arab News, by Nidhal Guessoum, professor of physics and astronomy at the American University of Sharjah, UAE): Now that we have celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first human moon landing, the religious or spiritual experiences of astronauts in space are worth noting and reflecting upon. This is not limited to those who journeyed to the moon but rather extends to the many astronauts who have spent some time in space, particularly on the International Space Station (ISS). It also extends to various faiths: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and possibly others.

John Glenn, the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth, said he prayed every day on his spaceflights. "To look out at this kind of creation and not believe in God is to me impossible," Glenn told reporters in 1998, just after returning from his final trip to space at the age of 77. "It just strengthens my faith."

During the historic first moon landing of Apollo 11, shortly before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped out for their walk, Aldrin addressed the people on Earth: "I would like to request a few moments of silence... and to invite each person listening in, wherever and whomever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours (the extraordinary landing), and to give thanks in his or her own way." He then took out his crucifix and prayed.

In his book, "Magnificent Desolation," which was published in 2009, Aldrin wrote: "Perhaps, if I had it to do over again, I would not choose to celebrate communion. Although it was a deeply meaningful experience for me, it was a Christian sacrament, and we had come to the moon in the name of all mankind -- be they Christians, Jews, Muslims, animists, agnostics or atheists. But at the time I could think of no better way to acknowledge the enormity of the Apollo 11 experience than by giving thanks to God. It was my hope that people would keep the whole event in their minds and see, beyond minor details and technical achievement, a deeper meaning -- a challenge, and the human need to explore whatever is above us, below us, and out there."

A number of other astronauts related the spiritual experience that space induced in them. Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell spoke of experiencing "interconnected euphoria." He said: "Something happens to you out there."

On Apollo 15, Jim Irwin, who was a non-practicing Protestant, was "touched by grace." And, upon his return to Earth, he founded an evangelical movement and embarked on a search for Noah's Ark.

From his Apollo 17 trip, Gene Cernan, who had been a Catholic nominally, came back convinced that there must be a God to explain the beauty and perfection of the universe. He said: "There is too much purpose, too much logic. It was too beautiful to happen by accident. There has to be somebody bigger than you, and bigger than me, and I mean this in a spiritual sense, not a religious sense."

It is not surprising that devout astronauts would express their varied religiosity in space, particularly in those extraordinary moments. What is more remarkable is that many had a spiritual experience from the cosmic awe they enjoyed in space. Indeed, space makes us feel small yet significant, and connects us to the divine.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2019/7/21 13:00:43 ( 143 reads )


Devotion to the satguru is the one main prescription. Without this, all learning, all austerity, family status and observances are useless. They are only decorations, pleasing to the worldly eye.
-- Kularnava Tantra

Face-To-Face Nandis Buried under Earth Excavated

Posted on 2019/7/20 11:44:39 ( 327 reads )


MYSORE, INDIA, July 20, 2019 (Star of Mysore): Villagers of Arasinakere in Jayapura Hobli of Mysuru taluk have unearthed two giant statues of Nandi (bulls) in a nondescript field that was so far marooned in water. The statues are monolithic and were buried deep inside the earth. Interestingly, the name of the village Arasinakere, translated to English means King's Lake. Villagers say that the Lake was frequently visited by Jayachamaraja Wadiyar ( 1919-1974) during the end of his rule. While one Nandi statue measures 15ft in length and 12 ft in height, the other statue is smaller. The horns of the Nandis were observed by the villagers and following this, villagers started offering pujas to them. The statues were excavated yesterday using earthmovers in a four-day long operation.

Mysuru Heritage Committee member Prof. N.S. Rangaraju, who is also the Convener of Mysuru Chapter of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), said that a villager had told him about the statues and he had visited the spot about 18 months ago. But as the spot was fully filled with water then, he could not see the statues. However, he said that he has seen the photographs of the statues. As per the available photographs, it can be said that the sculptures are incomplete as sculptures around the eyes and ears are not distinct. Also, there are no carvings of rope, chain and a bell around the neck of the statues as can be generally found in other Nandi statues. Besides, the face-to-face location of the statues too is surprising. Whether there was a Shiva temple at the spot or were these statues meant for relocation to any other place can throw more light on the statues, he said.

Grateful To Gurus 2019

Posted on 2019/7/20 11:44:25 ( 239 reads )


DELAWARE, USA, July 16, 2016 (Indic Today): Veneration to the Guru, who is a teacher, leader, guide and philosopher combined, is deeply ingrained in the Indian tradition, with the earliest words of the Veda asserting emphatically that Guru is equal to God, on par with matru and pitru, mother and father, on par with Para Brahman, the ultimate truth. It is a mystical relationship, transcending time and blood ties, forged in the fire of the ultimate source, created as a way of transmitting deepest truths and the best of skills, both subtle and complex, both simple and powerful, constantly honing, transforming, perfecting the Jeeva into everything he was born to be. Preserving, and paying tribute to, one of the most precious relationships in a human being's life - that between the Guru and the shishya -- has always been important, and in challenging times more so than before.

The full moon day (purnima) in Ashada month is observed as the auspicious day of Guru Purnima. This year too, Indic Academy will mark Guru Purnima on the full moon day of Ashadha masa, by honoring Gurus - Academics, Activists, Authors and Artists who have selflessly served the cause of Dharma. However, the scale of this initiative has been taken several notches higher with a decision to honour 108 Gurus. We have chosen scholars, artists, leaders and activists who have consciously devoted decades of their lives towards preserving and promoting our culture and resisting the ever increasing attacks on our Dharmic spaces, our traditions, our Gurus and the very being of Sanathana Dharma itself.

The full list of the 108 selected is at "source" above.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2019/7/20 11:44:11 ( 253 reads )


We who have come from the East here have been told day after day in a patronizing way that we ought to accept Christianity because Christian nations are the most prosperous. We look about us and see England as the most prosperous nation in the world, with her foot on the neck of 250 million Asiatics. We look back in history and see Christian Spain's wealth beginning with the invasion of Mexico. Such prosperity comes from cutting the throats of fellow men. At such a price the Hindu will not have prosperity.
-- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, at the Parliament of the World's Religions, 1893

Amarnath Yatra Suspended from Jammu Due to Separatist-Sponsored Strike in Kashmir

Posted on 2019/7/19 12:26:14 ( 304 reads )


JAMMU, INDIA, July 13, 2019 (Hindu Jagruti): Pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Amarnath was suspended for Saturday as a precautionary measure in view of a separatists-sponsored strike in the Kashmir valley on Martyrs' Day, officials said. As many as 12 batches of pilgrims have so far left for the twin base camps of Pahalgam and Baltal in Kashmir valley from Jammu since the beginning of the pilgrimage on June 30. July 13 is observed as Martyrs' Day in Kashmir. On this day in 1931, 22 people were killed in firing by the forces of Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh. Separatists have called for a shutdown as a mark of respect to those killed in the firing.

Due to the strike, normal life was severely affected in the valley as shops and other business establishments remained closed, while public transport remained off roads, the officials said. Over 150 thousand pilgrims have paid obeisance at the cave shrine in the last 12 days of the Amarnath yatra. Over 175 thousand pilgrims have so far registered themselves for the 46-day long pilgrimage. The pilgrimage commenced on July 1 from both Baltal and Pahalgam routes. Multi-tier security arrangements were made for smooth and successful conduct of the yatra that concludes on August 15.

Devotees from Odisha's Baripada Celebrate Suna Besha in Large Numbers

Posted on 2019/7/19 12:25:57 ( 292 reads )


BARIPADA, INDIA, July 13, 2019 (New Indian Express): Devotees in large numbers thronged the Mausima temple in Baripada to witness the Suna Besha or Dwarika Besha of Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra on Friday. Dwarika Besha is unique to Rath Yatra celebrations here as the Deities are adorned with golden ornaments before they return to the main temple in Bahuda Yatra unlike in other parts of the state when Suna Besha is observed after the three return to the main temple from their nine-day sojourn.

While the Deities were brought to their chariots after the Suna Besha rituals were over, the pulling of chariots begins a day after. On Saturday, chariots of Lord Jagannath and Devi Subhadra would be pulled by devotees. As per tradition, the chariot of Devi Subhadra, Darpadalana, will be pulled only by women devotees. The practice dates back to 1975 and was started by women leaders like Chandrika Mohapatra and Kalpana Sarangi on International Women's Day. While the chariot of Lord Jagannath will be pulled to the main temple on the day, pulling of Darpadalana would stop in the evening and resume on Sunday. Similarly, chariot of Lord Balabhadra will be pulled on Sunday.

More on the festival at "source."

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2019/7/19 12:25:42 ( 299 reads )


Each today, well-lived, makes yesterday a dream of happiness and each tomorrow a vision of hope. Look, therefore, to this day, for it and it alone is life.
-- Kalidasa (5th century AD), Classical Sanskrit writer and poet

Fourth Song Released in Our History of Hindu India Music Video Series: Ten Centuries of Progress

Posted on 2019/7/16 13:46:49 ( 378 reads )


KAUAI, HAWAII, July 16, 2019 (HPI): Hinduism today has just posted to YouTube a new music video: "Ten Centuries of Progress." It is a song for children intended to supplement the second of our popular History of Hindu India documentaries, "Hindu India: 300 to 1100ce." The documentary and song, the first of three for this time period, neatly enhance the study of India and the Hindu religion in American middle schools. In this song, students quickly get an overview of the ruling kingdoms and general prosperity during this golden age of India and Hinduism.

Produced by HinduismToday
Music: Aks and Lakshmi (http://www.youtube.com/EclipseNirvana)
Lyrics: Dragan Stojkovski
Video and subtitles: Igro Burenkov (https://www.upwork.com/fl/burenkov, conger.style@gmail.com)

Hindu Temple Hombruch Holds Festival

Posted on 2019/7/16 13:44:34 ( 417 reads )


HOMBRUCH, GERMANY, July 12, 2019 (Ruhr Nachrichten, translated from German): From the outside, the temple at 24 Kieferstrasse seems a bit inconspicuous. Behind the red and white facade of this building in the commercial warehouse district is the Sivan Temple of the Hindu community. The temple is managed by the Hindu Tamil Cultural Center of Dortmund Association. Its chairman is Jegatheesvaran Shanmugam. "The parade will be the highlight of our ten-day temple festival," he says in an interview. The temple in Hombruch has existed for ten years, and the parade is being conducted for the ninth time this year.

The parade will take a little over 2 hours. It starts at 12 o'clock with a greeting from District Mayor Hans Semmler. It's expected to be back by 2:30 pm, says Jegatheesvaran Shanmugam: "Then the celebrations will continue in the temple." The community is expecting around 1,500 visitors coming to Hombruch from all over Germany. Most will arrive from other parts of Dortmund. Because in Dortmund, especially along the Rheinische Strasse, the largest Tamil community in Germany is now living. The Tamils are an ethnic group with roots in India and Sri Lanka. The second edition of the Tamil Street Festival in Dortmund is scheduled to take place in the Unionviertel on 7th September.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2019/7/16 13:44:06 ( 422 reads )


So potent is the power acquired through disciplined self-denial that those who attain it may even delay the moment of death.
-- Tirukural 269

Years in the Making, Taos Hindu Temple Housing Rare Statue Opens

Posted on 2019/7/14 13:55:33 ( 624 reads )


TAOS, NEW MEXICO, July 12, 2019 (KRQE News): Thousands of people are expected in Taos this weekend for the opening of the new Neem Karoli Baba Temple. Click "source" above to access a video on the project, which features a 1,600-pound marble statue carved in Jaipur, India. It's said to be one of the only Hanuman statues in the U.S. Installation ceremonies are still going on through the 17th.

For details, click https://nkbashram.org/guru-purnima/

Hindus in Richmond Hill Oppose 14-Storeys near Ganesha Temple at Bayview and Elgin Mills

Posted on 2019/7/14 13:55:17 ( 501 reads )


ONTARIO, CANADA, June 26, 2019 (York Region): As long as the Hindus can see the temple, they can pray. Richmond Hill resident Rathy Ponnampalam worries that the Ganesha Hindu Temple on Bayview Avenue would become invisible from afar as highrise condos have been proposed in the neighborhood. Richmond Hill council was considering raising the maximum building height from 10 storeys to 14 storeys at a vacant lot near the temple and a public meeting was scheduled a week later to receive comments, the notice reads. Two 14-storey mixed-used apartment buildings are planned for the northeast corner of the busy intersection, together with 97 townhouses of varying heights along the two major roads, according to the proposed development. The two corner towers are expected to be as tall as 153 feet, far exceeding the Ganesha Temple which is about 72 feet at the highest point.

Kidambi Raj, a senior member of the trustee board of the Hindu Temple Society of Canada, who attended the public meeting with other concerned citizens on June 19 said he was appalled at the fact that the developer came up with the new plan with no prior consultation, and urged council to turn it down. The five intricate towers on top of the white temple, known as Gopuram, act as beacons for devotees from afar, allowing them to pray or meditate in preparation for their entrance into the temple, he added. "We are not anti-development protesters," said R.K. Moorthy, past president of the society. "To put structures 14 or 15 storeys high in the middle of an idyllic environment eclipsing the elegance of our towers and the majestic appearance of our temple is not something we can accept on behalf of thousands of our devotees." Council agreed to take their concerns into account in the review of the 14-storey application. But it's unlikely the height limit will go lower than 10 storeys due to a previous OMB ruling.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2019/7/14 13:55:03 ( 504 reads )


If you desire to be pure, have firm faith, and slowly go on with your devotional practices without wasting your energy in useless scriptural discussions and arguments. Your little brain will otherwise be muddled.
-- Sri Ramakrishna (1836-1886), famed Hindu mystic

Report: India Lifted 271 Million People Out of Poverty In a Decade

Posted on 2019/7/13 13:34:58 ( 677 reads )


UNITED STATES, July 12, 2019 (Forbes): The United Nations Development Programme has released its 2019 Multidimensional Poverty Index which highlights the number of people around the world experiencing poverty at regional, national and subnational levels. The term "multidimensional poverty" goes a step further than simply focusing on a lack of finances. It encompasses other factors such as poor health or malnutrition, lack of clean water or electricity, poor quality of work and limited education access in order to provide a broader picture of poverty's true reality. The index found that across 101 countries, 1.3 billion - 23% - are multidimensionally poor with half that number aged under 18.

Despite those grim figures, some countries are successfully tackling multidimensional poverty and India is the most notable example. The report found that over 640 million people across India were in multidimensional poverty in 2005/2006 and that fell steeply to slightly more than 365.55 million by 2016/2017 - an impressive reduction of 271 million. In recent years, India has embarked on several ambitious programs aimed at improving living standards such as improving electricity access and extending sanitation coverage. According to the World Bank, 70% of the population had electricity access in 2007 and that increased to 93% by 2017. Before Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power, just under 40% of the Indian population had access to a household toilet. Today, India's Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation states that basic sanitation coverage across the country has increased to 99.45% as of July 2019.

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