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Kumbh In Prayagraj Begins with A Grand Gathering: Over 12.5 Million Devotees Take Holy Snan On Makar Sankranti


Posted on 2019/1/17 10:02:24 ( 106 reads )

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PRAYAGRAJ, INDIA, January 16, 2019 (Swarajyamag): Over 12.5 million devotees took a holy dip yesterday at the Sangam, heralding the 50-day Kumbh Mela taking place in Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh. The devotees participated in the shahi snan at the confluence of the sacred rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the mythological Saraswati on Makar Sankranti reports The New Indian Express. Mela authorities have estimated that total number of pilgrims who took the holy bath at the Sangam touched the 20 million mark between 14 and 15 January, with people approaching bathing ghats even till late in the evening. Taking a holy dip at the Sangam is believed to wipe away all the sins of a person, while also emancipating him or her from the cycle of reincarnation.

The Ardh Kumbh at Prayagraj is held every six years. It is likely to be the largest congregation of humanity on the planet with 150 million people expected to participate in the mela during the 50 days. The first groups of people reaching the Kumbh were huge processions of 13 akharas or religious orders in accordance with time slots given to them. Five more shahi snans will take place on the following occasions: Paush Porrima (21 January), Mauni Amavasya (4 February), Basant Panchami (10 February), Maghi Poornima (19 February) and Mahashivratri (4 March). The year's Kumbh is much grander than previous ones, with an increase in the area of the mela as well as the budget.



Yoga and Meditation Are on the Rise in the U.S.


Posted on 2019/1/17 10:02:10 ( 145 reads )

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UNITED STATES, January 15, 2019 (Nurse): As mindfulness and complementary health techniques become more mainstream, more Americans are adding yoga and meditation to their wellness routines. Survey results published by the National Institutes of Health found the number of American adults and children practicing yoga and meditation has risen significantly over the past five years. According to an NIH news release on the survey, 9.5% adults questioned in 2012 said they did yoga, with the number jumping to 14.3% by 2017. For meditation just 4.1% of adults said they used the method in 2012, with 14.2% of adults using meditation in the 2017 survey. The survey was part of a complementary health questionnaire developed by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, part of the National Institutes of Health, and by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

The survey found women were more likely to use yoga and meditation in the past 12 months than men in 2017. For children, the survey found the number of children ages 4-7 who used yoga in the past year had a large increase of 3.7% in 2012 to 8.4% in 2017. Meditation among children also saw significant increases, with 5.4% using meditation in 2017. Girls were more likely to have done yoga in the past 12 months than boys in 2017, the news release stated. According to the American Osteopathic Association, benefits of yoga include increased flexibility, muscle strength and tone, improved energy and respiration, weight reduction and improved cardio and circulatory health. The practice also helps manage stress, relaxes the mind and sharpens concentration, according to the association's website.

More at "source".



Help Hinduism Today Cover the Kumbha Mela


Posted on 2019/1/17 10:01:57 ( 111 reads )



KAUAI, HAWAII, USA, January 17, 2019: Our chief India correspondent, Mr. Rajiv Malik along with photographer Pramil Dwivedi, will be covering the Kumbha Mela from January 24th to 29th. We request any of our HPI readers who might arrange interview time with any of the prominent or not-so-prominent saints, swamis or sadhus at the event to write the managing editor, Acharya Arumuganathaswami, at ar@hindu.org. A special focus of our report will be soliciting the advice of the saints on pressing questions from the Hindu community.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2019/1/17 10:01:44 ( 121 reads )

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During the Kali Yuga, man, being completely dependent on food to live life, cannot altogether shake off the idea that he is the body. But truly he is Brahman.
-- Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836–1886), Indian mystic



Kumbh Mela 2019: Millions of Devotees Take Holy Dip at World's Largest Religious Event in Prayagraj - All You Need to Know


Posted on 2019/1/16 11:02:24 ( 201 reads )

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PRAYAGRAJ, INDIA, January 15, 2019 (Times Now News): The much-anticipated Kumbh Mela 2019 at Prayagraj (erstwhile Allahabad) commenced on January 15 and will go on till March 4. Hindu devotees from across the world have congregated at the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna to take the holy dip. The Ardhra Kumbh Mela is held every six years, while the Maha Kumbh takes place every 12 years. This time around, the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government has left no stone unturned in ensuring that the Mela, that attracts millions of devotees from across the country and the globe, is equipped with modern facilities and security measures.

Kumbh is regarded as the world's largest religious festival, which sees the participation of sadhus and devotees of all caste and creed. The Mela was included in the list of "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO in 2017. Devotees consider it auspicious to take a dip at the holy confluence of Ganga and Yamuna at the Kumbh Mela. Around 120 million devotees and tourists are expected to visit Prayagraj during the Kumbh. The state government has ensured that massive security arrangements were in place to tackle any kind of untoward situation. The First Royal Bathing or Shahi Snan of Akharas is one the main highlights at the Kumbh. The first bathing festival of Makar Sankranti takes place on January 15 at the confluence or sangam of rivers Ganga, Yamuna, and the mystical Saraswati. A huge number of saints seers and their disciples participate in the Shahi Snan. People are allowed to take a dip at the sangam after the shahi snan is completed.

More photos here: https://www.indiatvnews.com/photos/ind ... across-the-globe-499366/2

More details at "source" above.



The Right Way to Honor Pongal


Posted on 2019/1/16 11:02:10 ( 204 reads )

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KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, January 15, 2019 (Free Malaysia Today): Hindu monk Simheswara Dasa, like many of his co-religionists, looks forward every year to the four-day Thai Pongal, the Tamil celebration of the rice harvest as a mark of gratitude to Surya, the Sun God. Hindu scriptures say that on Pongal, the day when the sun enters Capricorn, the charioted Surya begins his journey north to bring heat to the northern hemisphere after heating the south for six months. The main ritual of Pongal is the boiling of the first rice of the season in milk. Added to the rice are cane sugar, raisins, lentils and cashews and other nuts. Pongal is also the name of the dish. The word means "boiling over" or "overflow" and it signifies the gradual heating of the earth. The dish is cooked in clay pots on the first day of the festival in the open air after sunrise. It is offered to Surya and devotees partake in the feasting.

On the day before Pongal, Hindus discard old belongings and celebrate new possessions. They light a bonfire to burn the discards as they anticipate what some in India refer to as the Tamil New Year. On Pongal day itself, houses are decorated with mango leaves and pongal is served with savories and sweets. There is a ritual in which the year's harvest is symbolically offered back to God. On the third day, cattle are given items of worship as gratitude for their work in the fields. Their horns are painted and their bodies decorated with turmeric-infused water and a red dye. On the last day, families hold reunions and brothers pay tribute to their married sisters by giving gifts, clothes or money, signifying their love for one another.



Ambushing Hinduism: Attacking Hinduism from Diverse Powerful Enemies


Posted on 2019/1/16 11:01:57 ( 220 reads )

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UNITED STATES, January 16, 2019 (Save Temples): "Ambushing Hinduism" (a forthcoming book) consists of 24 articles that were written over 8-9 years addressing the issues prevalent at the time. Since they are written at different times, readers may some material repeated depending on the issue that was addressed. Some articles are written in reaction to a single incident such as cancelling the appointment of Dr. Subramanian Swamy from Harvard University, some are written to rebut the book, some are written to government officials suggesting course of action to abstain from granting favors based on either religion or caste, some are written about the deceptive practices of Christians and terrorist activities of Muslims, while others are written on the trampling of Hindus by denying their fundamental right to speech and assembly.

The first section on Secular Threat has three articles. The first chapter dealt with the dangers of secularism and how it is chipping away the fundamental rights of Hindus and secular elements are piercing the very existence of Hinduism. Secular meaning of separation of religion and government has been distorted to mean granting unlimited freedom to Christians and Muslims. In section two on Academic Irrationality, three articles were written about the ludicrous steps taken by Harvard University and Wharton College to infringe on the academic freedom, deny the freedom of speech, and embrace the terrorist activities espoused by Muslims. The Fourth article focused on the decision of Harvard University to remove the two courses he (Dr. Swamy) teaches so that he would have no contract to teach at the university. In the section on Media Madness, three articles are written about the bias, hatred and prejudice of both Indian and Western media with a sole mission to discredit Hindu leaders both spiritual and political.

A summary of the remaining articles in this lengthy book can be read at "source" above.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2019/1/16 11:01:43 ( 194 reads )

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The outer worship is approaching God properly, presenting ourselves acceptably. It is to offer our love, our adoration and then to speak out our prayer, our petition. The inner worship is to enjoy God's presence and not rush away, to stay, to sit, to meditate awhile and bask in the shakti, endeavoring to realize the Self within.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today



Hindu Rice Farmers Celebrate Pongal for Bountiful Harvest


Posted on 2019/1/15 10:17:37 ( 221 reads )

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TANJUNG KARANG, MALAYSIA, January 14, 2019 (The Star): The Pongal festival which is a thanksgiving celebration for a bountiful harvest by rice farmers is among the important celebrations of the Tamil community throughout the world. Hindu rice farmers in Malaysia await with excitement to celebrate the festival tomorrow following the harvest. V.R. Arumugam, 68, who owns a rice farm in Parit Empat in Sekinchan, said the Pongal festival is a much-awaited celebration by Hindu farmers as it is very special for them. "We celebrate Pongal in conjunction with the end of the harvest season, where the harvest is dedicated to Surya Bhagawan (the Sun God). The festival is also to signify thanksgiving for the harvest," he said.

In conjunction with the celebration, each family will gather around a claypot to look at the milk boiling over, signifying happiness and bountiful harvest for the family. "Rice from the first harvest will be cooked with milk and brown sugar and a portion of the sweet rice will be offered to Surya Bhagawan," said Arumugam who has been a rice farmer for 45 years. Pongal is celebrated in the 10th month of the Tamil calendar called Thai Matham in conjunction with the harvest month in India.

See also: https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation ... iety-says-health-officer/



Pandit Ved Gopee: "Mauritius Is the Only Country in the World to Offer Religious Subsidies"


Posted on 2019/1/15 10:17:24 ( 187 reads )

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MAURITIUS, December 14, 2018 (Inside News translated from French): Mauritius is perhaps the only country in the world where the state offers religious subsidies for the preservation of places of worship and also for the propagation of religious and spiritual values. Pandit Ved Gopee, who spoke at the 18th graduation ceremony of the "Akhil Bharatiya Vidvat Parishad" in Varanasi, India, declared on December 2nd. The president of the Sanatan Holistic Vidhya Academy who also holds the position of Vice President of the Council of Religions has been honored by the All India Council of Eminent Scholars for his contribution in promoting religious values in Mauritius.

In his speech, he emphasized the contribution of religions in nation-building. He painted our country as a mosaic of culture where fraternity between different beliefs is not a myth. "Our democracy offers space for all religions to flourish side by side and the various religious holidays are also celebrated at the national level," he said. Pandit Ved Gopee pointed out that Mauritius is considered a paradise on earth. This is thanks to the hard work of our ancestors who, about 180 years ago, came from different parts of the world. "They fed the earth with their blood and sweat," he said.



You Should Meditate Every Day


Posted on 2019/1/15 10:17:11 ( 239 reads )

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, January 9, 2019 (New York Times by Farhad Manjoo): Because I live in Northern California, where this sort of thing is required by local ordinance, I spent New Year's Day at a meditation center, surrounded by hundreds of wealthy, well-meaning, Patagonia-clad white people seeking to restore order and balance to their tech-besotted lives. In the past, I might have mocked such proceedings, but lately I've grown fond of performative sincerity in the service of digital balance. It's the people who haven't resigned themselves to meditation retreats who now make me most nervous, actually. Which brings me to my point: It's 2019. Why haven't you started meditating, already? Why hasn't everyone?

I've been a technology journalist for nearly 20 years and a tech devotee even longer. Over that time, I've been obsessed with how the digital experience scrambles how we make sense of the real world. Technology may have liberated us from the old gatekeepers, but it also created a culture of choose-your-own-fact niches, elevated conspiracy thinking to the center of public consciousness and brought the incessant nightmare of high-school-clique drama to every human endeavor. You've heard about the benefits of mindfulness before. It's the subject of countless books, podcasts, conferences, a million-dollar app war. It's extolled by C.E.O.s and entertainers and even taught in my kids' elementary school (again, it's Northern California). The fad is backed by reams of scientific research showing the benefits of mindfulness for your physical and mental health -- how even short-term stints improve your attention span and your ability to focus, your memory, and other cognitive functions.

More at "source".



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2019/1/15 10:16:57 ( 204 reads )

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A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches and thoughts, the consequences of even the least of them is far-reaching.
-- Swami Sivananda, (1887-1963) founder of the Divine Life Society



Hindus Most Educated Religious Group in the US, Says New Report


Posted on 2019/1/9 10:06:53 ( 429 reads )

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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 7, 2019 (Hindustan Times): Hindus are the most educated -- based on college degrees -- among US religious groups, followed by Unitarians Universalists, Jews, Anglicans and congregants of the Episcopal Church, according to a new study. They are ahead also of atheists and agnostics. The study by Pew used the four-year college degree as the marker, saying it is generally regarded as the key asset for economic success. Hindus accounted for the largest share of those with college degrees, with 77%. Unitarians, a religious group that says it has no creed and draws inspiration from a range of sacred scriptures -- Indian American lawmaker Ami Bera is one -- came second with 67%.

The United States doesn't keep an official count of its population based on religion, but an estimated 0.7% of America's 325 million population could be Hindus, according to a 2014 study by Pew. There are other estimates that put the number between 2 million and 3 million. While a large number of Hindus in the United States are of Indian descent, coming here from India or diasporas in Africa and the Caribbeans, there other such as Tulsi Gabbard, a member of the US House of Representatives from Hawaii. As the larger Indian American community has made a mark as the wealthiest in the United States and the most educated, so have its largest cohort, the Hindus.



A Spanish Dancer's Triumph in India


Posted on 2019/1/9 10:06:39 ( 390 reads )

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SPAIN, January 9, 2019 (El Periodico Mediterraneo, translated from Spanish): A Castellon resident settled for four years in Benicassim, Miriam Arias, has triumphed in India with her particular dance, a fusion of flamenco and kathak, one of the nine classical dances of that country. The dancer participated in the prestigious Visakha Utsav festival, which was celebrated, as every year end, on the beach in the coastal city of Visakhapatnam, in the south of India. And she showed her art to the 35,000 attendees who came to the event, from different parts of India, who enjoyed the different performances of artists of great renown.

Flamenco took special prominence in the billboard of the event, along with the usual Bollywood performances and typical rhythms there, with prestigious singers and musicians. Arias danced a duet, showing her Andalusian flamenco soul next to Hemant Devara dancing kathak, which fascinated the audience. Arias travels to India regularly for work reasons. Her passion for dancing aroused her curiosity to know the origins of flamenco (traced to the Roma or Gypsies of Europe who originated in India), which she has been practicing since she was three years old.

View short video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYM5VMpYJ60



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2019/1/9 9:33:30 ( 421 reads )

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The mind cannot know what is beyond itself; but the mind is known by what is beyond, that essence of timelessness and spacelessness which makes everything perceivable, yet itself is beyond perception.
-- Nisargadatta Maharaj (1897-1981), Hindu sage

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