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Hinduism Today's July/August/September Issue Released On-Line


Posted on 2020/7/1 11:27:20 ( 119 reads )

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KAUAI, HAWAII, July 1, 2020: Hinduism Today's July/August/September, 2020 issue, has gone to press and is now available at "source" above. You can also download our free Hinduism Today app and get the entire magazine in a mobile-friendly format for your phone.

Health is on the mind of nearly everyone these days. There is even a new greeting in the COVID-19 era, "Namastay healthy and safe." We didn't plan it this way, but the article in this issue on the healing science of ayurveda takes on special meaning.

Our publisher, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, explores another sensitive topic, discussing whether parents of the future will cease sharing their religion with kids. No kidding, it's a real conversation out there, with young parents asking, "Do we have the right to expect children to follow our faith? Shouldn't we let them find their own path?"

Music is a potent force in the world, and India excels in this soft power with both sophisticated Carnatic music devotional songs and energetic Bollywood lyrics loved around the globe. Join us for the Chennai Music Festival showcasing India's traditions.

Come with our writer Anuradha Goyal as she visits the newly built and instantly popular Sivapoomi Palace in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. It is a granite tribute to the masterful and sacred Tamil-language works of Saint Manikkavasagar.

Ah, India! How to describe her? We teamed up an aerial photographer and one of India's greatest travel bloggers to give it a try. The author's love of Bharat Mata is revealed in a poem to India and her unique gifts, to which we added stunning photography from high above.

Our charming feature story by Choodie Shivaram highlights the priest training school located on the campus of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living Ashram in Karnataka state. Boys ten to eighteen are being schooled in the sacred temple arts as they prepare to serve God and Gods in Hindu temples now spread throughout the world.

"The Magical Realm of Our Sleep" deals with one of the most rapidly evolving sciences in medicine. Panshula Ganeshan brings in a wide range of voices from ayurveda, Harvard medical experts, epigeneticists and satgurus, giving a rich and rare picture of the nature and purpose (and, yes, the mysteries) of sleep.

There is more, of course, with something for everyone.



New York Times Article on American Racism with Comparisons to India's Social Structure


Posted on 2020/7/1 11:24:36 ( 112 reads )

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, July 1, 2020 (NY Times): This very long article by Isabel Wilkerson is titled "America's Enduring Caste System: Our founding ideals promise liberty and equality for all. Our reality is an enduring racial hierarchy that has persisted for centuries." It is a stark look at the history of slavery and racism in America with comparisons to India's caste system.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2020/7/1 11:19:29 ( 96 reads )

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Everything changes, everything passes; things appearing, things disappearing. But when all is over--being and extinction both transcended--still, the basic emptiness and silence abide, and that is blissful peace.
-- Mystical song from a Hindu story



Covid Fears Cancel Chidambaram Festival Cancelled for First Time Ever


Posted on 2020/6/30 11:31:24 ( 165 reads )

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INDIA, June 18, 2020 (The Hindu): The annual Ani Thirumanjanam car festival at Sri Sabanayagar temple, popularly known as Sri Natarajar temple, in Chidambaram scheduled on June 27 has been cancelled this year owing to COVID-19 outbreak. Official sources said that a decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the District Collector V. Anbuselvan with Pothu Dikshithars, the hereditary custodians-cum-archakas of the temple. This is one of the two important annual 10-day festivals when Lord Nataraja is taken around the car streets in the temple-town, the other being Arudra Darshan.

"We have decided not to organize the annual car festival in view of the possibility of spreading COVID-19 infection. Though the festival has been cancelled, the Pothu Dikshithars will perform the rituals in-house while maintaining physical distancing," an official said. For the first time, the local residents, VIPs, leaders of political parties and government officials will not be allowed into the temple. Security has been tightened on all the temple gopurams and Dikshithars will be allowed entry only through the east gopuram, the official added.



International Yoga Day Live: Yoga Is India's Great Gift to World, Says PM


Posted on 2020/6/30 11:31:11 ( 136 reads )

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INDIA, June 21, 2020 (Hindustan Times): People across the world celebrated International Yoga Day on June 21 from the confines of their homes as restrictions continue due to the coronavirus outbreak. In India, the celebrations kicked off with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address to the nation where he emphasized on the importance of yoga in our lives and urged people to practice Pranayam, breathing exercises, to improve their respiratory system amid Covid-19 pandemic. "It is a day of universal brotherhood," said PM Modi in his address on the sixth International Yoga Day.

Following PM Modi's address, a team from Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga demonstrated a 45-minute Common Yoga Protocol (CYP) which was live broadcast on the television as gatherings were cancelled to abide by the Covid-19 guidelines on social distancing. To encourage people to celebrate the occasion at home, with their family members, "Yoga at Home and Yoga with Family" theme was set for this year's Yoga Day. Following International Yoga Day's inception in the United Nations General Assembly in 2014, the day is celebrated every year since June 2015.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2020/6/30 11:30:58 ( 134 reads )

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Do not say that you do not have time for God. The busiest of men will have the most leisure, and the laziest will always be short of time, for the former utilizes time and the latter only wastes it. If you really want God, you will find time for Him.
-- Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati (1912-1954), 34th pontiff of the Sarada Peetham



UK Temples Expand Engagement During Lockdown


Posted on 2020/6/29 12:17:40 ( 149 reads )

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UNITED KINGDOM, June 27, 2020 (Leicester Mercury): Volunteers at a Hindu temple in Leicester are seeing "more engagement than ever" despite the fact it is still closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir remains closed despite an easing in the lockdown rules which allows places of worship to open for individual prayer. Ahead of the national lockdown, all 15 Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan (BAPS) temples around the UK, including Leicester's Gipsy Lane temple, made the decision to close early due to the risk of the virus. It was felt the absence of the temple atmosphere would have a "huge impact on the community" particularly the elderly worshippers. In response, worship, educational facilities and social elements of the temple have all been made accessible digitally. In addition, an army of volunteers of all ages has been part of a community-wide response to the impact of Covid-19.

The BAPS organization arranged virtual prayer times that families and individuals can engage with online from home. Every evening at 7pm, an aarti takes place to Hindu Deities, followed by important messages around how to remain safe -- as well as lessons from Hindu scriptures. A system was put in place that allowed anyone struggling to connect digitally with the temple to call a helpline and a volunteer could assist them -- all with social distancing measures in place.

Young volunteers have been a major part of the temple's response to Covid-19, as an identified "low-risk" group by the government during the early stages of the lockdown. Volunteers from the temple made hundreds of deliveries to key workers, schools, families and individuals in need throughout the lockdown. As well as supporting elderly members of the congregation, they reached out to over 600 homes in the streets around the temple to offer support with shopping or medicines.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2020/6/29 12:17:27 ( 141 reads )

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Everyone makes mistakes. It is natural and simply shows we do not understand something. Perceptive self-correction enables young ones to quickly learn from their mistakes, refine their still-developing behavior accordingly and thereby make rapid progress on the spiritual path.
-- Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, publisher of Hinduism today



Scaled-Down Jagannath Temple Festival Proceeds


Posted on 2020/6/25 13:18:52 ( 196 reads )

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INDIA, June 23, 2020 (Vice): The annual seven-day Rath Yatra festival typically sees millions of devotees gathering at the Jagannath temple in Puri, in the eastern state of Odisha, to worship statues representing Lord Jagannath and his family. Traditionally the statues are then transported via hand-drawn chariots to other temples across the state.

Last week the Chief Justice of India announced a ban on this year's festival, citing the possible spread of COVID-19 and noting that "Lord Jagannath won't forgive us if we allow it." Then, on Monday, the day before the festival was set to commence, the court reversed its order and allowed the event to go ahead with the caveat that devotees were banned from attending. But even that turned out to be wishful thinking. Video footage from Tuesday showed the temple premises being sanitized before the event began, followed shortly thereafter by crowds chanting and dancing to the sound of traditional instruments. In one video, hoards of people pressed together can be seen mounting the chariot.

Multiple parties were involved in ensuring the festival went ahead in spite of the global pandemic--many of them citing freedom of religion as their primary cause for concern. Janardhan Pattajoshi Mohapatra, the chief priest of the Jagannath temple, pointed out that the festival had been cancelled only 32 times in 425 years, and that the last time it could not be held was when Mohammed Taqi Khan, the Naib Nazim (deputy governor) of Odisha, attacked the Jagannath temple in the 1730s. His petition further claimed that the festival had gone forward even when India was faced with the deadly 1918-19 Spanish flu outbreak.

Much more of the festivals' history at "source"above.



Hindu Temple Submerged 200 Years Ago Uncovered


Posted on 2020/6/25 13:18:39 ( 312 reads )

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INDIA, June 24, 2020 (Daily Mail): An ancient Hindu temple that was submerged in a catastrophic flood 200 years ago has re-emerged, as lower water levels reveal its sunken spire for the first time in decades. The 500-year-old monument to an avatar of the God Vishnu once stood proudly on the banks of the Mahanadi river in Odisha, eastern India, and provided a place of worship for seven nearby villages. But after torrential floods in the 1800s, the river changed course, forcing villagers to abandon the temple and their homes as they disappeared beneath the swirling rapids.

This week, however, the temple re-emerged from the river as the Mahanadi's water level dropped low enough to reveal the spire once again. Anil Dhir said his team of archeologists had successfully documented many temples of the Mahanadi river valley, but all efforts to locate this 60-foot one had proved futile. "The temple was in the midst of seven villages, collectively called Satapatana," he said. "Sometime from 1830 to 1850, after catastrophic flooding, the river started to change its course and engulf the villages. The villages were abandoned and shifted, but the temple was left intact, with the statue being removed and kept in a makeshift place." A new temple was built and the statue installed there sometime in 1855. That temple exists today. Mr. Dhir emphasizes that there are no plans to excavate the temple presently. "It will be left alone," he said. "The river is a dangerous stretch at this place, with swift currents. Also, statue thieves may try to get some old pieces from it."

More at "source".



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2020/6/25 13:18:26 ( 182 reads )

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Hinduism has made marvelous discoveries in things of religion, of the spirit, of the soul. We have no eye for these great and fine discoveries. We are dazzled by the material progress that Western science has made. Ancient India has survived because Hinduism was not developed along material but spiritual lines.
-- Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)



Lockdown and the Festival Where Hindu Gods Go Into Isolation


Posted on 2020/6/24 7:33:01 ( 227 reads )

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INDIA, June 18, 2020 (Atlas Obscura): The permanent residents of the Shri Jagannath Temple, in the Indian coastal town of Puri in Odisha, usually have busy schedules. Every year, three murthis, representing the holy siblings Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra see and bless millions of Hindu pilgrims. But every June, the murthis go on sick leave, a fortnight of isolation and purification before emerging again for the Rath Yatra festival, in which three 45-foot-tall chariots, one for each Deity, process through the town, with an audience of hundreds of thousands ("Jagannath" is the source of the word "juggernaut"). This year, as India reels from the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, most of the devotees are absent. The temple complex is quiet. Inside, however, a few priests and temple attendants are trying to ensure that the divine itinerary--illness, isolation, reemergence--is followed.

The Rath Yatra at the Shri Jagannath Temple is one of the more spectacular annual Hindu festivals, preceded by a quieter set of rituals. This year, of course, with the nature of the festival changed from public to more private, the services have changed in a way few are able to see. This period, when the inner sanctum of the temple is shut, is called anasara, derived from Sanskrit word Anavasara meaning "no interval of leisure." Worship of Lord Jagannath, Lord of the universe, is thought to have its roots in tribal practices dating back to the second century, but the origins of this ritual are unknown. For the communities that nurse the Deities back to health, the process is an act of cosmic hierarchy. Kirti Prakash Das Mahapatra explains that 18 days before the Rath Yatra, on a full moon, the trio of murthis appear in public for a holy ritual bath. After this, they are said to fall ill, and are brought to the anasara ghar, or isolation room. There, the Daitapatis are entrusted with healing the Gods--in complete secrecy.

For more on the behind the scenes rituals of the festival see "source" above.




Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2020/6/24 7:32:48 ( 200 reads )

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That which we call the Hindu religion is really the Eternal religion because it embraces all others.
-- Sri Aurobindo (1879-1950), philosopher and mystic



Reopening of Malaysian Temples Will Be Gradual


Posted on 2020/6/22 10:57:10 ( 236 reads )

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KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, June 16, 2020 (New Strait Times): Religious associations and temple managements say there is no rush in reopening places of worship as they wish to avoid any potential Covid-19 clusters. For Malaysian Hindu Sangam (MHS) president Datuk R.K. Mohan Shan, the demand to reopen was dependent on the devotees who had not been able to fulfill their religious obligations. "Although the National Security Council (NSC) has given the go-ahead to reopen the temples, we are worried that the decision, if made in haste, may not serve the purpose. "We don't want to have a temple cluster because of the rush," he told the New Straits Times.

Mohan said many of the temple management and committees registered with MHS had voiced similar concerns. "Temple managements are ready to follow and comply with the standard operating procedures (SOP) like houses of worship can only take in one-third of their usual capacity and attendees must download the MySejahtera application. "And the temple must also make sure that SOP is adhered by the worshippers, such as social distancing and taking temperature before joining the congregation. "But we still need to wait for the SOP that the National Unity Ministry is currently drafting."



China Cracks Down on Indian Spirituality, Calls It "Full of Brainwashing"


Posted on 2020/6/22 10:56:57 ( 453 reads )

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CHINA, June 17, 2020 (Bitter Winter by M. Introvigne): This is how the CCP propaganda mouthpiece Global Times introduced an article on Indian "cults" operating in China published on June 15: "If you see a man wearing a maroon waistcloth and bead necklace sitting next to a yoga mat in a secluded meditation room in China, chances are he may not be a graced spiritual leader. China has become a hotspot for Indian-born disgraced gurus and cult organizations scamming people by selling them so-called spiritual lessons." The same day, the Global Times published two other articles against Indian so-called "cults," one reminding readers of Chinese laws against xie jiao, and the others featuring comments by "experts" of China Anti-xie-jiao Association. (See https://bitterwinter.org/the-list-of-t ... of-religious-persecution/ for an explanation of xie jiao laws against "heterodox teachings," which actually date back to the 19th century in China). The three simultaneously published articles by the Global Times refer to parallel articles in Chinese-language media.

The main concern of CCP anti-cultists seems now to be the Oneness University and O&O Academy, operated by the Oneness Movement, headquartered in Varadaiahpalem, Andhra Pradesh, India, and not to be confused with the unrelated Oneness Center based in New York. The Oneness Movement was founded in 1984 by Vijay Kumar, known as Sri Bhagavan, and his wife Srimati Padmavati, known as Sri Amma. The spirituality of the Oneness Movement is introduced as non-sectarian and ecumenical. Scholars regard it as a combination of traditional Hindu and New Age elements. The Oneness Movement is now the most visible Indian spiritual movement in China. Reportedly, more than 10,000 went to India for Oneness spiritual training. This and similar courses based on Indian spirituality are described as "full of brainwashing." Li Anping, former deputy general-secretary of the China Anti-Xie-Jiao Association, has now reminded the media that "China's policy of respecting freedom of religious belief apply [only] to the five mainstream religions the Chinese government officially recognizes, which are Christianity, Catholicism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Islam, but are not applicable to spiritual institutions spreading illegally from abroad."

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