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India's Slowing Economy Hits Hindu Festival Celebrations

Posted on 2019/10/11 12:26:13 ( 227 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, October 10, 2019 (CNA video report): A major religious festival in India has seen a tightening of purse strings this year. Durga Puja, a Hindu festival marking the victory of the Goddess Durga over a demon king, is observed in many parts of India. And while celebrations are often grand, budgets this year have been low on the back of a slowing economy. Lavish tents holding intricately designed statues of the Goddess are set up with a budget for each running close to US$1 million. Costs have never been a factor, with millions of devotees visiting the pandals, companies have always had reason to extend sponsorship in exchange for branding and product displays. But, it's different this year. With the economy at its slowest in six years companies have tightened their purse strings.

View this short TV report at "source" above.

Badrinath Shrine to be Closed to Public from November 17

Posted on 2019/10/11 12:26:00 ( 224 reads )


UTTARAKHAND, INDIA, November 17, 2019 (Times of India): Badrinath Temple, the much-revered Hindu shrine in the state of Uttarakhand will be shut for tourists from November 17th for the year. The shrine opens for pilgrims every year for around six months before winter's advance in the region. For the current year, the season will soon draw to a close, and the head priest of the shrine confirmed the same. In a statement made by Chief Priest Ishwari Prashad Nambudiri, "Portals of the temple will be closed on November 17 for the winter season."

While the temple will stay shut till next summer, devotees can visit different temples where the presiding Deities rest for the winters. The Deity murthis rest across various locations for all the winter months, ceremoniously worshipped, till they are moved back to Badrinath for the summer. Badrinath Temple is one of the important stops in the pilgrimage circuit in Uttarakhand, commonly known as Char Dhams, as per Hindu beliefs. The other three are Gangotri, Kedarnath and Yamunotri.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2019/10/11 12:25:46 ( 246 reads )


Spirituality is neither the privilege of the poor nor the luxury of the rich. It is the choice of the wise man.
-- Swami Chinmayananda (1916-1993), founder of Chinmaya Mission

This Temple Kitchen Never Sleeps

Posted on 2019/10/10 10:54:21 ( 293 reads )


VIJAYAWADA, INDIA, October 4, 2019 (The Hindu): Even before the Kanaka Durga temple is thrown open to devotees for darshan at 3 a.m. during the Dasara festival, activity at the temple kitchen begins. Volunteers, cooks and their helpers get down to work at 2 a.m. as the food has to be ready by 8.30 a.m. The task is enormous: about 3,500 - 3,750 lbs kg of vegetables are cut for curries, chutney and sambar and about 8,800 lbs of rice is cooked to meet the demand for anna prasadam. Sri Durga Malleswara Swamyvarla Devasthanam provided free meal to 239,000 devotees during the festival last year. This year, it is expected that 350,000 pilgrims will avail the facility. More than 67,000 people have visited the annadanam satram located downhill of Indrakeeladri in the last four days.

The devasthanam used to serve free meals to just 60 devotees a day in the beginning and now the number has gone up to 3,000-4,000 during normal days. The rush surges to 5,000 on Sundays and Fridays. And, during festivities, it peaks to about 25,000 per day. Many devotees believe they should have anna prasadam at the temple after darshan. The devasthanam is following the dictum that offering food without expecting anything in return in letter and spirit, says AEO B. Venkat Reddy, who is in-charge of the annadanam.

Netflix Greenlights Animated Series about Hindu Deities in Preschool from Pixar Veteran

Posted on 2019/10/10 10:54:09 ( 313 reads )


UNITED STATES, October 9, 2019 (Polygon): Ghee Happy, a playful reimagining of Hindu Deities, is officially slated as Netflix's latest animated series. The project comes from Pixar veteran Sanjay Patel, who worked on the studio's big staples, like Ratatouille and the Incredibles films. Patel's short, Sanjay's Super Team, was nominated for Best Animated Short Film at the 88th Academy Awards. Like Sanjay's Super Team, Ghee Happy focuses on Hindu Deities, but instead of a little human boy discovering them as superheroes, Ghee Happy turns the Gods and Goddesses into children themselves. Taking place at a "Deity daycare," the series will revolve around the little Deities discovering their powers.

"For the past 25 years I've been working in kids and family entertainment without having kids of my own. Having finally become a parent, I'm so excited and lucky to be able to create a preschool series that introduces the great pantheon of Hindu Deities, not just into a beautiful and colorful series that is truly entertaining and original to my kiddos, but to families around the world," said Patel in a press release. Ghee Happy will join titles such as Rajiv Chilaka's Mighty Little Bheem and Dino Girl Gauko from Akira Shigino.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2019/10/10 10:53:56 ( 269 reads )


It is fitting to describe the Self as awareness dissolving into itself, as when you come out of it, there is no experience to remember, only a new perspective, a total perspective from which you then view the mind.
-- Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, publisher of Hinduism Today

Trinidad Hindus Observe Nau Raatri with Complete Devotion

Posted on 2019/10/8 11:23:40 ( 464 reads )


PORT-OF-SPAIN, TRINIDAD/TOBAGO, October 7, 2019 (HPI by Paras Ramoutar): Hindus in Trinidad and Tobago observed Nau Raatri with great enthusiasm and devotion which lasted for nine days as mandirs, homes and other public places of worship were packed signalling again that Hinduism is strong and vibrant. The nine days of worship ended on Sunday night (Oct. 6) amidst the chanting of bhajans and offerings to Mothers Durga, Lakshmi and Sarsawati. In Hinduism, devotees revere the female embodiment of God seeking their blessings for health, wealth, wisdom, peace and to ward off any problems and issues that will confront them in their lives. There are over 400 Hindu mandirs scattered across the land.

Hindus were well poised and spiritually charged to observe Nau Raatri, as they had just observed Pitri Paksh and Ganesh Chaturthi. The radio stations carried live broadcasts of the pujas celebrated in the nation. Hindus fasted and kept vigils both in homes and in the mandirs maintaining self-abstinence from meat or alcoholic beverages. One of the highlights of Nau Raatri was the holding of Kanya Pujas, honoring nine young girls, showering them with gold, clothing, and gifts. Nau Raatri is considered a solemn and moving religious event. What is noteworthy of this year's observance is the participation of young people.

This twin-state nation has a population of 25 percent Hindus out of population of 1.4 million people.

Pundit Gijander Kumar, spiritual leader of the Lakshmi Narayan Temple, formerly from UP, India, spoke glowingly of the deep spiritual and religious significance of Nau Raatri. "The observance of Nau Raatri brings us closer to motherhood both on this earthly and spiritual abode. But, we must not wait on the twice yearly observance of Nau Raatri to observe and pay homage to our mothers. By, observing and paying due respects to Mothers Durga, Lakshmi and Sarsawati, we can be well-poised on the pathway to deep spirituality and away from this world of spiritual decay,"

Durga Puja Ends on Bijoya Dashami Today

Posted on 2019/10/8 11:23:28 ( 348 reads )


DHAKA, BANGLADESH, October 8, 2019 (Dhaka Tribune): The biggest religious festival of the Hindus will come to an end on Tuesday with the immersion of the statues of the Goddess Durga in rivers and water bodies across the country on Bijoya Dashami. The last day of Navratri also celebrated as Bijoya Dashami is celebrated on the 10th day of the month of Ashwin, which according to the Gregorian calendar falls either in the month of September or October. The annual five-day "Sharodiya Durgotsab" began with the incarnation (Bodhon) of Goddess Durga on the day of Maha Sashthi on Friday. Maha Saptami puja was performed on Saturday, Maha Ashtami on Sunday, Maha Navami on Monday.

Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad (BPUP) General Secretary Nirmal Kumar Chattarjee in a press conference earlier had said 31,398 permanent and temporary puja mandaps were set up across the country this year. The number of puja mandaps increased by 483 this year. Hindu devotees across the country will sing and dance to kirton before removing the statues of Durga and other Gods and Goddesses from the altar of all mandops (makeshift pavilions) for immersion. Thousands of devotees will be joining the colorful processions, as the statues will be carried to nearby water bodies.

See photos of Durga festivals across India here:
https://www.businessinsider.in/culture ... /articleshow/71480225.cms

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2019/10/8 11:23:15 ( 372 reads )


The suffering that ignorant men inflict upon themselves can hardly be contrived by their enemies.
-- Tirukural, 843

Immersion of Statues in Ganga and Her Tributaries to Attract a $700 Fine

Posted on 2019/10/4 12:31:51 ( 540 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, October 3, 2019 (Deccan Chronicle): In an attempt to curb immersion of statues in the Ganga or its tributaries during festivals, the Indian Central Government in Delhi has issued a 15-point directive, which includes imposing a fine of US$700 (Rs. 50,000) and the cordoning off ghats, among other requirements reported News18. "No statue immersion into river Ganga and its tributaries and on their banks," says the directive issued by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) to chief secretaries in 11 Ganga basin states, the Indian Express reported. Uttarakhand, UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Rajasthan are among the states the directive was sent to.

The directive which has been issued under Section 5 of The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, also states: "Adequate arrangements should be made for designated statue-immersion sites within the municipal area or bank of river Ganga and its tributaries by constructing temporary confined ponds with removable synthetic liners at the bottom. All concerned state government, authority, board or corporation should ensure that there is no use of synthetic material/non-biodegradable material, Plaster of Paris (POP), baked clay, resin fibers or thermocol for making of statues. Besides, the use of toxic and non-biodegradable chemical dyes or synthetic paints for painting of statues should be strictly prohibited."

The chief secretaries of all the states will have to submit a report on the action-taken within seven days from the end of each festival. "If any person violates the above directions, then $700 as environment compensation should be levied, collected and deposited with State Pollution Control Boards," the directive states.

The immersion of statues during festivals such as Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga Puja and Chhath Puja has led to a rise in pollutants.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2019/10/4 12:31:37 ( 591 reads )


Where seekest thou? That freedom, friend, this world nor that can give. In books and temples, vain thy search. Thine only is the hand that holds the rope that drags thee on. Then cease lament. Let go thy hold, sannyasin bold! Say "Om Tat Sat, Om!"
-- Swami Vivekananda (1863–1902), Song of the Sannyasin

In Vietnam, Men Parade but Women Rule at a Festival Called Kate

Posted on 2019/10/2 12:39:05 ( 575 reads )


PHAN RANG, VIETNAM, September 30, 2019 (Reuters): Thousands of Vietnam's ethnic Cham people met under rainy late September skies for their annual "Kate" festival that, according to the multi-faith community's calendar, marks the end of one harvest season and the beginning of another. The Cham are descendents of a powerful ancient kingdom that once spanned large parts of central and southern Vietnam a millennium ago. They are a traditionally matriarchal society, which worships a female Goddess and expects the youngest daughter to inherit family assets. A rich history of trading and movement across Asia have made the Cham a uniquely multi-faith group, divided into predominantly Hindu and Muslim branches, all of whom come together to celebrate "Kate".

At the Po Klong Garai temple in the southern town of Phan Rang - a Vietnamese rendering of Panduranga, the Cham Kingdom's ancient capital - dozens of men in bright red and white traditional costume paraded with a sacred garment. The holy dress, which is kept in the nearby commune of Phuoc Ha, is brought to the crumbling, clay-brick 13th Century temple, within which lies a statue of the Hindu God Shiva. Behind a small door, the deity is dressed in the sacred Cham garments by religious leaders, who perform traditional rites and blessings.

Tripura High Court Bans Animal Sacrifice In Temples

Posted on 2019/10/2 12:38:52 ( 544 reads )


INDIA, September 27, 2019 (Live Law): The Tripura High Court has, in an important judgment delivered on Friday, banned animal/birds sacrifice in the temples of the state observing that the animals also have a fundamental right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. No person including the State shall be allowed to sacrifice of any animal/bird within the precincts of any one of the temples within the State of Tripura, declared the bench comprising of the Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Arindam Lodh. It said that the sacrifice of an animal in a temple, not being an essential part of religion, is also violative of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Referring to various Articles of Constitution, the bench observed that it calls upon every citizen of India to exhibit compassion for all living creatures and develop a temper of humanism towards all wildlife, and that the framers of the Constitution had desired to inter alia, develop a spirit of compassion and humanism, abjure violence and also exhibit the same towards all living beings.

More of this lengthy judgement can be read at "source".

HPI note: None of this judgment applies to any religion other than Hinduism, and it does not apply to the slaughter of animals for food.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2019/10/2 12:38:39 ( 585 reads )


Do not look upon yoga as something beyond you or as calling for any extraordinary efforts. You can remain in your station of life, carry on your work and at the same time embark on the yogic path. Do japa, prayer, kirtan, meditation and asanas regularly.
-- Swami Sivanada (1887-1963), founder of Divine Life Society

Sabarimala Verdict: Deconstructing the Dissenting Judgment, One Year Later

Posted on 2019/10/1 11:18:59 ( 582 reads )


SABARIMALA, INDIA, September 27, 2019 (Bar and Bench): The lack of concrete jurisprudence regulating the relationship between religion and the law has created an intractable lacuna in the social and legal ethos of India. Although the Supreme Court, through various opinions has helped curb this uncertainty, the ambiguity with respect to the interference of the courts with religion may not be easy to circumvent. One year since the Supreme Court's verdict in the Sabarimala matter, we take a look at various aspects surrounding the issue of balancing religious rights with other rights.

The Essential Religious Practice (ERP) Test, used to determine inviolable aspects of a religion, favors an interventionist attitude by courts. This is because the test enables judges to become prophets and determine what falls within the contours of a religion and what does not. This, in fact, is a discretionary test which leads to inconsistent outcomes in as much as it seeks to rationalize religion and purge it of superstitions. Against the backdrop of the sole dissenting opinion in the Sabarimala case, we seek to suggest that the social and cultural practices of a community with a clearly "identifiable set of beliefs, customs and usages, and code of conduct which are being practiced since time immemorial, and are founded in a common faith", cannot be compromised or interfered with on the mere basis of their essentiality, which in turn is a judge-centric approach.

Much more of this technical legal article at "source" above.

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