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Singapore's Financial Management Board for Hindu Temples to Tighten Measures to Keep Track of Gold Inventory

Posted on 2021/3/2 9:55:14 ( 116 reads )


SINGAPORE, March 1, 2021 (Daily Excelsior): Singapore's Hindu Endowments Board (HEB) is taking steps to improve the tracking of all movements of gold items within the four Hindu temples that it manages, the culture minister said on Monday, weeks after a former Indian temple chief priest was charged with misappropriating and pawning gold jewellery. The HEB will also carry out more audits each year, including unannounced ones, Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, said when asked a question by parliamentarian Murali Pillai if the HEB had done a review of the case at Sri Mariamman Temple and if steps were being taken to prevent a repeat.

Kandasamy Senapathi, the former chief priest of the 149-year-old Sri Mariamman Temple, was charged on February 16 with allegedly misappropriating 172 pieces of jewellery from the temple over four years from 2016-2020. He later pawned them for over US$1.5 million, wiring $105,247 overseas during the period. Tong said that the HEB conducts routine audits at all four temples, including Sri Mariamman Temple to ensure that all ceremonial jewellery is properly accounted for. The other three temples overseen by the board are Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, Sri Sivan Temple, and Sri Vairavimada Kaliamman Temple.

Hinduism Today Seeks Information on Children's Fort Building Custom in Maharashatra as Part of Diwali Celebration

Posted on 2021/3/2 9:55:01 ( 124 reads )

KAUAI, HAWAII, March 1, 2021 (HPI): One of Hinduism Today's young reporters is preparing a story on the Maharashtrian tradition for children of making a model fort (killa or quila) during Diwali. The tradition is generally said to be in honor of the great Maharashtrian king, Shivaji, who himself built model forts to develop military strategies. The children's forts can take weeks to build and be quite complex.

Do any of our readers know how and when this tradition started? Or why it is specifically connected with Diwali? If you can help, kindly email our managing editor, Acharya Arumuganathaswami, at ar@hindu.org.

We're also seeking photos of well-made forts not only in India but in other countries where Maharashtrians have settled. Our story, for example, is on fort building in California.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2021/3/2 9:54:47 ( 109 reads )


It is always good to endure injuries done to you, but to forget them is even better.
-- Tirukkural

Maha Kumbh Mela to Span 30 Days This Year Due to Covid-19

Posted on 2021/2/22 9:43:51 ( 244 reads )


HARIDWAR, INDIA, February 18, 2021 (Republic World): The Maha Kumbh Mela that is organized once every twelve years at this site, and goes on for over 100 days, will be hosted for 30 days this year. The Uttarakhand government has taken this decision considering the ongoing situation of the Corona virus pandemic, where cases are still piling up across India and the world even as vaccinations have begun. Uttarakhand Chief Secretary Om Prakash on Thursday said that a notice will be issued by March-end declaring the date from April 1 - April 30. Haridwar, where the mega-Hindu gathering will take place, has been decorated with mythology-themed colorful wall graffiti, to make visitors and devotees aware of its significance, under the campaign that is named "Paint My City."

In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, the district administration has sought 70,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine for the security personnel who will be deployed in the region. Cameras have been mounted around the Ganga ghat, in order to maintain vigil on the crowd that is likely to be massive, said Haridwar District Magistrate, C. Ravishankar. The devotees and pilgrims visiting the mega-fair have to carry passes that will be issued by the government. Referring to the Covid-19 test reports, Ravishankar said "Pilgrims will need passes for Kumbh and the passes will be issued only after submission of a negative RT-PCR test report, medical certificate, and identification proof. Those without passes will be denied entry." This time, Kumbh Mela is being held after 11 years due to certain auspicious dates.

Trinidad to Hold Phagwah(Holi) Conference in Mid-March

Posted on 2021/2/22 9:43:39 ( 219 reads )


PORT-OF-SPAIN, TRINIDAD/TOBAGO, February 18, 2021 (HPI by Paras Ramoutar): The National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC) will host its first international virtual Phagwa conference in Trinidad on the weekend of March 13 and 14. The NCIC is the epicenter of all the major Hindu religious, cultural, spiritual and social activities, since its formation in 1964 here. Sixty-five international scholars and researchers from India, Fiji, Mauritius, South Africa, Suriname, Guyana, the US, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago will present their findings in 13 panels during the conference to be held at the NCIC Nagar headquarters at Chaguanas, according to Surujdeo Mangaroo, public relations officer. Mangaroo said this is the first time that such an event is being hosted in any part of the world.

Mangaroo said the conference aims to bring together scholars and researchers to engage in global dialogue on the Phagwa festival and to create a wider awareness of the festival. Phagwa or Holi as it is called in urban India, has been an integral part of the lives of the diaspora of Indians all over the world where they have settled. Apart from national celebrations in India, it is celebrated annually in most areas of the Indian diaspora in North America, Europe, New Zealand, Fiji, Mauritius, South Africa, and the Caribbean. In Guyana, it is observed as a public holiday. Phagwa is a Hindu festival observed in March, celebrating the end of winter and the onset of spring in India in the month of Phagun in the Hindu calendar.

The conference will take place via Zoom from 8 am on both days. It is free and open to anyone to attend by signing in at "source" above.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2021/2/22 9:43:25 ( 208 reads )


If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.
-- Chinese proverb

Chardham Yatra 2021: Badrinath Temple to Reopen For Devotees On May 18, Raj Darbar Fixes Date and Time

Posted on 2021/2/17 10:20:00 ( 331 reads )


DEHRADUN/NEW DELHI, February 16, 2021 (India.com): The sacred portals of Shree Badrinath temple or Badrinarayan shrine is set to be reopened for devotees on May 18, 2021. The Badrinath Dham is one of the four dhams (abodes) of the Char Dham (4 dhams). Char Dham is a set of four Hindu pilgrimage sites- Badrinath, Dwaraka, Puri and Rameswaram. Another small circuit in Uttarakhand of four pilgrimage sites-Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath is referred to as Chota Char Dham.

The gates of the famous Himalayan temple located in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district are closed every year with the onset of winter during which it remains snowbound. As for the time of opening, the Badrinath temple will be reopened for devotees at 4:15 am on May 18, said a Chardham Devasthanam Board official. The auspicious hour and date for the reopening of the Himalayan temple was decided at a ceremony held on the occasion of Basant Panchami on Tuesday at the Raj Darbar, a palace in Narendra Nagar which is the residence of the erstwhile Tehri royals.

Ex-Chief Priest of Sri Mariamman Temple Charged With Pocketing Gold Jewellery, Pawning Them for Over $1.7 Million

Posted on 2021/2/17 10:14:39 ( 305 reads )


SINGAPORE, February 16, 2021 (Today Online): Indian national Kandasamy Senapathi, the former chief priest of the 149-year-old Sri Mariamman Temple, was charged on Tuesday (Feb 16) after being accused of pocketing 172 pieces of jewelry from 2016 to 2020. The 37-year-old faces five counts each of criminal breach of trust as a servant and of transferring some of the cash out of Singapore to India. The gold ornaments, frequently used for prayers and kept by Kandasamy in the temple's inner sanctum, had gone missing. Kandasamy allegedly pawned all of them for about US$1.730 million. He also purportedly remitted about $106,000 in cash from his POSB bank account to accounts in India over the four years.

In response to TODAY's queries, a spokesperson for the Hindu Endowments Board said that Kandasamy was fired as soon as the temple discovered the jewelry had gone missing. Responding to Kandsamy's lawyer Mohan Das Naidu's, argument that Kandasamy has since returned all the jewelry to the temple, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Janice See said that was not the issue at hand. "It is the fact that the jewelry was pawned by the accused and the value obtained was a significant sum." The pawned amount and the money remitted out of Singapore have not been recovered. Responding, Mr Mohan said that the remitted cash was part of the proceeds from pawning the jewelry. The temple did not suffer any loss and Kandasamy handed over the interest payable to the pawnshops."

HPI Note: None of the articles on this incident explain clearly how the priest was profitting from pawning the jewelry which he would ultimate return to the temple.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2021/2/17 10:14:26 ( 227 reads )


I adopted the theory of reincarnation when I was 26. Religion offered nothing to the point. When I discovered reincarnation ... time was no longer limited. I was no longer a slave to the hands of the clock. ... Genius is experience. Some think to seem that it is a gift or talent, but it is the fruit of long experience in many lives.
-- American auto industrialist Henry Ford

Malaysia's Hindu Temples Receive Government Grants to Tide Them Over

Posted on 2021/2/16 11:10:32 ( 267 reads )


MALAYSIA, February 16, 2021 (The Star): The Federal Government has allocated about US$1.042 million to help 1,934 Hindu temples nationwide that have seen a drop in their income due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Malaysia Hindu Sangam (MHS) president Datuk R.S. Mohan Shan said the allocation was approved through the Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (Mitra) following pleas from temples that faced challenges in managing their operations. "The allocation will only be given to temples that are registered with the Registrar of Societies. Each temple is allocated between $447 and $645, depending on size and location. Mitra has channelled the money to 310 temples nationwide, while the rest will receive the allocation through us," said Mohan. He added that MHS started channelling the allocations to the temples this month and hoped the task would be completed by the end of March.

Mohan added that the allocation was meant to help temples pay their utility bills and buy prayer items. "We have come across temples that were unable to pay their electricity bills for at least seven months due to loss of income as they could not perform wedding ceremonies and had to limit the number of devotees, " he said. Mohan added that the temples were receiving less funds from the public because of the pandemic. It would take between $745 and $7,448 for a temple to cover its basic operations, including bills for utilities, essentials and allowances for priests and workers.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2021/2/16 11:10:18 ( 339 reads )


Whatever defect I have in my sight, in my heart or mind, may God amend! May he, the Protector of the world, bless us!
-- Yajur Veda 36.2

Was This Statue in the Denver Art Museum's Collection Originally Stolen From Nepal?

Posted on 2021/2/6 10:10:51 ( 465 reads )


DENVER, COLORADO February 5, 2021 (5280): A piece in the Denver Art Museum's Asian collection is causing controversy amongst art historians and concerned citizens of Nepal. The object in question is a 30-and-three-quarter-inch-tall tablet depicting Shiva, a revered Hindu Deity, and his wife Parvati, along with their children and other attendants. Nepalese Hindus refer to images of the embracing couple as Uma-Mahesvara; the museum curator calls it "Uma-Maheshvaramurti." According to the museum's website, Dr. and Mrs. Edwin F. Ullman gifted the piece to the museum in 1980. The tablet was part of Ullman's parents' collection--according to the museum, the couple purchased it from Sundaram Works of Art and Handicrafts, a shop in New Delhi, India, in 1968. Kristy Bassuener, director of communications and public affairs for the museum, told 5280 that the museum does not have any further facts to share about the piece prior to that date.

Research conducted by other parties may fill in that gap. "Stolen Images of Nepal"--a book by Lain Singh Bangdel, a leading historian of Nepalese art--compiles photos taken of artwork, especially statues of Deities, found in Nepal's Valley of Kathmandu in the early 1950s. Each of the items pictured in the book subsequently disappeared from Nepal. On page 77 of the book is a photo of the Uma-Mahesvara in Gahiti, a neighborhood in the historical city of Patan in Nepal. According to Bangdel, the limestone piece--apparently identical to what the museum is holding--was made in the 10th century and stolen from Gahiti in the mid-1960s.

More at "source".

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2021/2/6 10:10:38 ( 342 reads )


Correcting oneself is correcting the whole world. The sun is simply bright. It does not correct anyone. Because it shines, the whole world is full of light. Transforming yourself is a means of giving light to the whole world.
-- Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950)

Christian Missionaries Allot $175 million for Conversions

Posted on 2021/1/31 10:50:00 ( 812 reads )


INDIA, January 25, 2021 (Mission Kaali): The "International Mission Board" (IMB) wants to bring Jesus to every tribe, nation, people and language. The excuse they give is "God has given His vision to the Church." IMB wants to carry out this "Great Commission" to make disciples of all nations. The annual budget allotted for converting people in the Unreached Groups by IMB is US$175 million (mistakenly reported in some places as $175 billion).

There are 3,535 missionary families working for IMB to carry out the conversions. IMB, having its headquarters in Virginia is involved in religious conversions under the garb of social activities by sending Christian preachers to India and other countries or by contacting any locals and localities for their purpose. They had plans to send a batch of twelve seminary graduates to India to convert people but due to Covid-19 the program got cancelled.

Whatever visa these people hold in India, they are in violation of the terms and conditions of the visa. If they hold a missionary visa, visa holders cannot use it for proselytizing and can only join a missionary organization approved by the government of India. In order to be approved by the government of India to operate within the country, an organization must receive a certificate indicating it is compliant with the Foreign Contributions Regulatory Act. If they hold a tourist visa, they can only use it for non-business purposes, such as tourism or visiting family and friends. A complaint has been filed by the Mission Kaali team.

Archeological Society of India Finds Ancient Structure Near Lingaraj Temple in Odisha

Posted on 2021/1/31 10:43:38 ( 514 reads )


INDIA, January 31, 2021 (Indian Express): Workers and officials of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) engaged in a preservation and excavation exercise near Shree Lingaraj Temple, the most prominent temple of Bhubaneswar, have stumbled upon an ancient stone structure -- possibly a platform on which one among the oldest shrines in Odisha once stood. The structure could be older than the 11th century Shree Lingaraj Temple, ASI's top official in Odisha Arun Malik told The Sunday Express. He said the structure was found while the ASI was carrying out scientific cleaning of a piece of land near the Suka and Sari temple complex, close to the Shree Lingaraj Temple.

The discovery of the structure has created a buzz of excitement in the state, with Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who hails from Odisha, writing to Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel on Saturday to seek his intervention in the preservation of heritage. Pradhan also sought a visit by a team of experts from Delhi to study the structure. On the importance of the structure, Malik said the Suka and Sari temple complex may have been built in the Panchayatana model, in which four smaller temples surround the main temple. "Since three of the temples have been discovered now, we will look for the fourth temple," he said. "It will be a challenge because of all the demolitions that have been carried out in the area."

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