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Uttarkhand to Allow Kumbh Mela at Haridwar in January 2021


Posted on 2020/11/27 5:18:08 ( 151 reads )

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INDIA, November 23, 2020 (News Track): Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Sunday, said Covid or no Covid, Kumbh Mela will be held in its divine form at Haridwar in 2021. A meeting was arranged with the office-bearers of the sadhu Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad (ABAP) to discuss the preparations for the 2021 Kumbh Mela, beginning on January 14. He made the announcement after the meeting. "The extent of the Kumbh Mela will depend on the status of the Covid-19 at that time. The suggestions of the ABAP and the religious fraternity will also be taken in the decisions, which will be taken according to the prevailing situation. The efforts of the state government will be aimed at ensuring that the devotees do not face any inconvenience," Rawat told the news agency, adding the Kumbh Mela works are being reviewed periodically.

Kumbh Mela officer Deepak Rawat said that most of the Kumbh Mela work will be completed by December 15. "Work on nine new (river banks), eight bridges and roads being built for the Kumbh Mela is nearing completion. Special focus is on cleanliness. Works are also being done consistently on drinking water facilitation, parking facility and removal of encroachments," he added. The authorities expect about 3.5 to 5 million people to take the holy dip in Ganga daily during the Kumbh Mela 2021.



The Indian School Where Students Pay for Lessons With Plastic Waste


Posted on 2020/11/27 5:17:55 ( 190 reads )

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INDIA, November 25, 2020 (The Guardian): [HPI note: this story doesn't have a particular "Hindu" angle, but we found it an innovative example of environmental activism.] Every morning, students in Assam's Pamohi village go to school clutching a bag of plastic waste, in exchange for which they will get their day's lessons. Akshar School, founded by Mazin Mukhtar, 32, and his wife Parmita Sarma, 30, has turned its pupils into ecowarriors by waiving school fees and helping to stop local people burning used plastic. The school was founded to provide an education for children in the area, most of whom were working in the local stone quarries, earning about US$3 a day. Few of the hard-pushed parents were keen to send an earning member of the family to study. "When we asked the parents to send their household plastic with their children on the school bus, almost none of them complied. They preferred to burn their plastic at home. So my wife told them we would start charging fees. Fees which they could pay in cash, or in plastic waste from their homes," says Mukhtar. The alternative school fees policy quickly resulted in 100% compliance from parents who also signed a pledge to stop burning plastic.

From the original 20 students, Akshar now has seven teachers managing 110 children aged from 4 to 15, and a 100-strong waiting list. "We try to teach students to take responsibility for their surroundings and to strive to improve them," says Sarma. "As we collect at least 25 units of plastic every week from each student, we are able to muster upwards of 10,000 pieces of plastic each month. These are transformed into eco-bricks for construction. The clouds of toxic smoke from plastic burning which used to plague the school have decreased significantly." Mukhtar and Sarma have now signed with the Guwahati authorities to implement the Akshar model in five government schools and there are plans to start a sustainable landscaping course.

More at "source" above.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2020/11/27 5:17:41 ( 120 reads )

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He cannot be seen by the eye, and words cannot reveal Him. He cannot be reached by the senses, or by austerity or sacred actions. By the grace of wisdom and purity of mind, He can be seen, indivisible, in the silence of contemplation. This invisible Atman can be seen by the mind wherein the five senses are resting.
-- Atharva Veda



Canada to Return Stolen 18th-Century Annapurna Statue to India


Posted on 2020/11/23 10:26:05 ( 281 reads )

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OTTAWA, CANADA, November 21, 2020 (India Times): A Canadian university will soon return to India a unique statue of Hindu Goddess Annapurna that was stolen from a shrine in Varanasi over a century ago and found its way to the varsity's art gallery, in an attempt to "right historical wrongs" and help overcome the "damaging legacy of colonialism.". The statue is part of the University of Regina's collection at the MacKenzie Art Gallery. The statue was part of the original 1936 bequest by Norman MacKenzie, the gallery's namesake.

Artist Divya Mehra brought attention to the fact that the statue had been wrongfully taken over a century ago while going through MacKenzie's permanent collection and preparing for her exhibition, the university said in a statement on Thursday. According to a release from the Indian high commission, the university recently discovered that the Annapurna statue may have been acquired "under suspicious circumstances and did not conform to current principles of ethical acquisition." The statue will soon begin its journey home following a virtual repatriation ceremony held on November 19. University's Interim President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Thomas Chase virtually met with High Commissioner of India to Canada Ajay Bisaria to officially repatriate the statue, it said.



First Celebration of World Ayurveda Day - Building a Healthier Trinidad and Tobago


Posted on 2020/11/23 10:25:52 ( 290 reads )

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PORT-OF-SPAIN, TRINIDAD/TOBAGO, November 23, 2020 (HPI by Paras Ramoutar): Brahma Vidya Peetham International (BVPI) celebrated World Ayurveda Day on Friday 13th November at the ashram in Gasparillo here. The festivity was organized under the guidance of BVPI president Professor Dilip Dan. A group of medical professionals participated in this event, speaking on the benefits and the use of Ayurveda in the 21st century and particularly for Trinidad and Tobago. Professor Dilip Dan, (Head of Department-Clinical Surgical Sciences, UWI) spoke about the Ayurvedic system and said it was organic. It is a great medical science which provides an alternative way to treating many diseases. For preventative care, he said that we ought to go back to this ancient science of medicine which provides holistic healing going to the root of the disease.

Swami Brahma Swarupananda presented a complete history of Ayurveda. He said that in Sanskrit, Ayurveda means "The Science of Life." Ayurvedic knowledge originated in India more than 5,000 years ago and is often called the "Mother of All Healing." It stems from the ancient Vedic culture and was taught for many thousands of years in an oral tradition from accomplished masters to their disciples. Ayurveda places great emphasis on prevention and encourages the maintenance of health through close attention to balance in one's life, right thinking, diet, lifestyle and the use of herbs. Knowledge of Ayurveda enables one to understand how to create this balance of body, mind and consciousness according to one's own individual constitution and how to make lifestyle changes to bring about and maintain this balance.

Sadhvi Anandamaiyee Giri, General Secretary, BVPI said the program was organized to bring the historic significance of Ayurveda as one of the world's oldest models of natural, holistic healthcare by hosting a forum on the beneficial impact of an Ayurveda lifestyle. Amidst the Covid 19 pandemic, this timely event aims to broaden public awareness of traditional methods of improving disease resistance and overall wellness through Ayurveda. The BVPI and Maharishi Vedic University - Caribbean have been working in collaboration on projects regarding the practical use of Ayurvedic science in the entire Caribbean and Caricom. In fact, by the end of 2021, Brahma Vidya Peetham International plans to host an International Ayurveda Conference in Trinidad and Tobago.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2020/11/23 10:25:38 ( 207 reads )

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The food of the soul is silence. If we don't practice silence, we are starving ourselves.
-- Dada J.P. Vaswani, spiritual head of Sadhu Vaswani mission



Chhath Puja: Devotees Get Ganga Water Delivered to Doorstep for Performing Rituals in Patna


Posted on 2020/11/20 11:00:00 ( 208 reads )

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INDIA, November 18, 2020 (One News Page): The four-day long festival, Chhath Puja started November 18 amid COVID-19 scare. (photo above is of the normal river-side observances.) The Patna administration has taken many steps to prevent the spread of the dreadful virus. The administration is distributing Ganga water among the devotees for performing rituals and preparing prasad. Each household can receive one quart of Ganga water. Several water tanks are stationed in different locations for the devotees. This step by the district administration is being taken to avoid gathering at ghats. The Chhath festival begins today with nahai-khai.

Short video at "source" above.



History of Conversion in the South African Indian Community


Posted on 2020/11/20 10:58:07 ( 0 reads )

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SOUTH AFRICA, November 26, 2020 (News 24): The first group of Indian indentured labourers arrived in South Africa in 1860. The majority settled in Natal because they were originally requested by local farmers. Like India, Natal was a British colony. Most of them were Hindus, although not exclusively so. South Africa's Indian population currently stands at 1,286,930 (2.5% of the overall population). The Indian community can be culturally divided into four broad groups along linguistic lines: Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and Gujarati. They are divided along the following major religions: Hindu (41.3%), Muslim (24.6%) and Christian (24.4%). The interplay between Hinduism and Christianity in the predominantly Hindu Indian community, and in particular the contentious issue of conversion, has been the subject of great debate and intense research. In this two-part series, Professor Pratap Kumar, of South Africa's University of KwaZulu-Natal, looks at patterns of conversion in the 20th century and the response of leaders in the Hindu community.

Not all Hindus may be economically better off. But there seems to be a sense inherent in the Indian society that those who became Christian through conversion were not only poor but also socially inferior. And this perhaps has to do with the remnants of caste consciousness that prevails even after its formal demise as a social unit. In addition to this, Christians feel that the majority Hindu community has hijacked the linguistic identity. The result is that they keep Christians of the same linguistic background on the periphery. For example, the Andhra Maha Sabha in South Africa is an organization of the Telugu-speaking community. Yet it is solely Hindu in its orientation, notwithstanding its linguistic signification. Likewise, the Tamil Federation of South Africa is Tamil only in name, and is Hindu inherently. All of this points to cultural alienation of one group, as Gerald Pillay writes. It offers ample opportunity to the alienated party to find social identity elsewhere, which is to affirm a Christian identity. For as long as this tendency to monopolize linguistic identity by the Hindu majority persists in the Indian community in South Africa, the issue of conversion will remain a thorny one both for the Hindu and the Christian communities.

Much more of this lengthy article at "source."



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2020/11/20 10:57:51 ( 236 reads )

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Only in the depth of pure silence can we hear God's voice. Silence is like an upright empty glass that is capable of being filled with, and retaining, the water of knowledge.
-- Mata Amritanandamayi Ma, India's Kerala-based "hugging saint "



Hindus in India and Australia Celebrate Diwali Under Coronavirus Clouds


Posted on 2020/11/16 10:11:57 ( 248 reads )

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INDIA, November 15, 2020 (SBS News): Fear of the coronavirus and chronic pollution spoiled the party Saturday as hundreds of millions of Indians celebrated the biggest Hindu holiday of the year. Diwali is meant to be the festival of light, but the pandemic has clouded the future for many in the country of 1.3 billion. Some people defiantly set off traditional firecrackers in Delhi in spite of a ban imposed because of sky-high pollution levels and markets were filled with holiday shoppers. But traders said Covid-19 had scared them off spending amidst the muted revelry. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US president-elect Joe Biden and his deputy Kamala Harris, whose mother was Indian, were among world leaders to issue Diwali messages. "May everyone be prosperous and healthy," Mr Modi told his 63.5 million Twitter followers.

In Nepal, a predominantly Hindu nation, people appeared to be responding to a government appeal to celebrate the festival indoors with immediate family and avoid large gatherings or public celebrations. Australia's Indian community, which usually hosts big fairs and events, is celebrating with more subdued affairs this year as concern around the virus lingers. Dr Yadu Singh, President of the Federation of Indian Associations of New South Wales, told SBS News members of the Indian community were being especially cautious and responsible with social distancing requirements this year. "This year we do not have any fairs, we don't have big dinners, small dinners yes. We don't have 400, 500 people going to dinners, but we do have celebrations at home," he said.



Festival of the Dogs Celebrated in Nepal


Posted on 2020/11/16 10:11:44 ( 272 reads )

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KATHMANDU, NEPAL, November 14, 2020 (NBC News): Residents in Nepal's capital Saturday worshipped dogs by offering garlands and food as the country celebrated the Festival of Dogs. The dog festival falls on the second day of the five-day-long Hindu festival of Diwali, which is Nepal's second-largest festival. The day is dedicated to cherish the relationship between humans and dogs. People garlanded dogs with flowers and put vermillion on their foreheads as a mark of respect and love for the canine. Cows and crows are also worshipped during this festival, which symbolizes a spiritual connection between humans and animals.

View short video at "source."



Video of Elephant in Karnataka Drinking Water from Tanker Goes Viral


Posted on 2020/11/16 10:11:31 ( 250 reads )

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BALLARI, INDIA, November 14, 2020 (The News Minute): A video clip in which a thirsty elephant is seen stopping a water tanker en route its procession during Hampi Utsav in Karnataka's Bellary has gone viral. This incident took place during a Shobha yatra (procession) to mark the beginning of the day-long Hampi Utsav on Friday. In the clip, the giant is seen stopping a water tanker and gently signaling its driver to open the tanker lid to help quench its thirst. At first the driver looks perturbed over the elephant coming towards him. But after the explanation by the state's Forest Minister Anand Singh's son, Siddharth Singh, that the elephant was asking him to open the lid, the driver then allowed the elephant to quench its thirst. After quenching its thirst, the elephant moved ahead in a procession.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Karnataka had decided to cut short this year's Hampi Utsav to a day-long celebration instead of its three-day annual gala fest. Hampi, situated 233 miles from Bengaluru, has been described by UNESCO as an "austere, grandiose site" of more than 1,600 surviving remains of the last great Hindu kingdom in South India. The backdrop of the Utsav is Hampi and its ruins. The festival includes lighting up of the prominent monuments in Hampi, Jumboo Saavari (elephant procession), performances by some of India's most celebrated singers, dancers and performers, a kite festival, water sports, food courts, photography competition, rangoli and mehendi competition.

Watch thirsty elephant stop water tanker here: https://youtu.be/Vw09iJicTfo



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2020/11/16 10:11:18 ( 183 reads )

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Out of purity and silence come words of power.
-- Swami Chinmayananda (1916-1993), founder of Chinmaya Mission



From Singapore to Fiji, Here's How Diwali Is Celebrated in Various Countries Around the Globe


Posted on 2020/11/14 12:34:48 ( 369 reads )

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INDIA, November 12, 2020 (Times Now News): In a matter of a few days, Diwali will be celebrated. The festival of lights is the perfect time to rejoice and celebrate good over evil and going towards light from any kind of darkness engulfing us at the moment. Known for firecrackers and beautiful decorations with Rangoli and lamps, it is a festival that is widely loved by many. Not just in India, but this is celebrated with great pomp and show all across the world. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the festivities will be muted. In many states in India, firecrackers have been banned keeping in mind the public's health. However, the day can still be made special with all the beautiful details that go about in making our surroundings look festive.

In many countries, there is a significant amount of Hindu population living there for years on end. Right from Singapore to Fiji, the day is observed with a lot of enthusiasm. Popularly known as Deepavali there, the festival is celebrated by the many Hindus who live in Singapore. An area called Little India is decorated beautifully with lights all around the street. Malaysia also has a large Hindu population like its neighbor, Singapore. There, it is known as Hari Diwali and it is considered a federal public holiday in the country. The festival is celebrated there in a similar way how it is celebrated in India. In Nepal, Diwali is celebrated as Tihar. And with a large number of Hindus living in the country, Fiji also celebrates Diwali enthusiastically. It is a national holiday as well. Other countries like the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, Indonesia, and many others who have a significant number of Hindus celebrate the festival with great joy.

View colorful photos of Diwali at "source".



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2020/11/14 12:34:35 ( 339 reads )

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There is something beyond our mind which abides in silence within our mind. It is the supreme mystery beyond thought. Let one's mind and one's subtle body rest upon that and not rest on anything else.
-- Maitri Upanishad

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