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Delaware Temple Welcomes Massive Statue of Hindu God

Posted on 2020/1/25 10:01:22 ( 92 reads )


HOCKESSIN, DELAWARE, January 19, 2020 (Washington Post): A Delaware temple is now home to a statue of a Hindu God said to be the tallest in the country. Hundreds of people celebrated the arrival of the 25-foot, 20-ton granite statue of the Hindu God Hanuman Saturday morning at a temple in Hockessin, The News Journal reported. A welcome ceremony was held after a truck delivered the 60,000-pound statue. "Across India, Lord Hanuman is often enshrined and worshiped in the form of a towering statue and we are proud to bring that tradition to Delaware," Patibanda Sarma, president of the Hindu Temple Association, told the newspaper. Organizers of the effort to bring the statue to Delaware said it will be the tallest statue of a Hindu God carved out of a single piece of stone in the U.S. Sculptors in India spent about a year carving it.

"To India I Come as a Pilgrim:" Martin Luther King Jr.'s Remarkable Trip to Honor His Hero

Posted on 2020/1/25 10:01:09 ( 51 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 20, 2020 (Washington Post): After six full days of travel, Martin Luther King Jr. had finally arrived. He was met with wreaths of flowers and driven to a luxury hotel near the India Gate. He undoubtedly had jet lag, but before he could sleep it off, a news conference was set up in the lobby. "To other countries I may go as a tourist, but to India I come as a pilgrim," he told the two dozen reporters gathered there on Feb. 10, 1959. They peppered him with questions. Was it true interracial marriage was illegal in the American South [yes, at the time it was]? Could nonviolent protest work in colonized Africa? Was he a vegetarian?

The Montgomery bus boycott three years earlier had been closely watched in Indian newspapers, particularly since King, as the young leader of the boycott, espoused the teachings of Indian leader Mohandas K. Gandhi. Now, he would be spending a month in India to learn more and pay homage to his hero. King first learned about Gandhi as a seminary student in 1949, just a year after Gandhi had been assassinated. He soon wrote about Gandhi in his schoolwork as a person who "greatly reveal[s] the working of the Spirit of God." Six years later, after the arrest of Rosa Parks, King led the 381-day boycott that would make him famous. Of the nonviolent direct action technique, he said, "Christ showed us the way, and Gandhi in India showed it could work."

King had always hoped to visit India, but the civil rights movement kept him too busy for years. Finally, in 1959, a trip was organized and co-sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee and the Gandhi National Memorial Fund. His wife, Coretta Scott King, and biographer Lawrence D. Reddick joined him on the trip. Everywhere they went, they were treated as honored guests, King later remembered. They had to turn down hundreds of invitations but still had a jam-packed schedule throughout their stays in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. One of their first stops was to the samadhi site, or cremation site, of Gandhi's remains. King and his party laid a wreath of flowers; according to one observer, King was "deeply moved" and knelt to pray for a long time.

He met with India's prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and vice president, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who had been close associates of Gandhi during India's struggle for independence. Later, in her memoir, Coretta King said her husband compared it to "meeting George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison in a single day." King met with many of Gandhi's friends and family, who gave him their blessing to continue spreading Gandhian teachings. He visited Buddhist and Hindu temples and with leaders of movements to redistribute land and eradicate the caste system. He also gave lectures at several universities. While in Mumbai, King was also invited to stay at Gandhi's private residence. He wrote in the guestbook, "To have the opportunity of sleeping in the house where Gandhiji slept is an experience that I will never forget."

King gave a final news conference and radio address on March 9, the night before their departure, telling listeners he was leaving India "more convinced than ever before that the method of nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human dignity." Four days later, he returned to the pulpit for a Palm Sunday service. He preached to his congregants about Gandhi's life and martyrdom, comparing him to Jesus and Abraham Lincoln. He told them -- six years before the march from Selma to Montgomery -- about the Salt March in 1930, when Gandhi led millions on a 218-mile nonviolent protest of an unjust law. Hundreds were beaten by British authorities and more than 60,000 arrested, but, "the British Empire knew, then, that this little man had mobilized the people of India to the point that they could never defeat them," King said.

Jesus once said he had other sheep who "were not of this fold," King reminded the congregants, before concluding, "It is one of the strange ironies of the modern world that the greatest Christian of the 20th century was not a member of the Christian church."

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2020/1/25 10:00:57 ( 51 reads )


Life is meant for God-realization. If you die without attaining God-realization, your life is in vain. Even having one hundred gurus will not help, unless the disciple has a great desire for liberation and tries to get rid of all that stands in the way.
-- Swami Chidananda (1916-2008), President of Divine Life Society

Four Million Mark Makar Sankranti with a Holy Dip in Gangasagar

Posted on 2020/1/16 12:43:03 ( 326 reads )


KOLKATA, INDIA, January 16, 2020 (Indian Express): More than 4 million pilgrims from all across the country and abroad took the holy dip in Gangasagar on the occasion of Makar Sankranti on Wednesday. Makar Sankranti marks the end of the month with the winter solstice and the start of longer days. A district official of South 24 Parganas said, "This year, we were expecting 4 million pilgrims during Makar Sankranti. However, the number crossed the 4 million mark. Everything took place in a very peaceful manner." Since the Kumbh Mela is not scheduled this year, the district administration had a presumption that there would be a large inflow of pilgrims at Gangasagar mela this year. That is why there was unprecedented security arrangements that included more than 5,000 police personnel, 250 drones, over 1,000 CCTV cameras, 100,000 QR code-based wrist bands and a mega control room in the centre of the island coordinating the entire network.

Located about 93 miles from Kolkata in the South 24 Parganas district, Sagar Island hosts Gangasagar mela every year during Makar Sankranti. This year, the mela started from January 7 and will continue till January 17. The most auspicious period for the holy dip or shahi snan started at 12.24 am on Wednesday. Thousands of people also took holy dips at Babughat, Doi ghat, Baje Kadamtala Ghat, Saradamani Ghat, Ratanbabur Ghat, Bagbazar Ghat and Kumartuli Ghat, all on the banks of the Hooghly river in Kolkata, officials said. The picture was similar on the other bank of the river in Howrah where many took dips at Telkal Ghat, Shibpur Ghat and Ramkrishnapur Ghat, they said.

Makar Sankranti 2020: Its Significance, Peculiarities and Region-Wise Celebrations

Posted on 2020/1/16 12:42:50 ( 315 reads )


INDIA, January 15, 2020 (Money Control, by J. Biswas): Makar Sankranti, essentially a harvest festival, is celebrated across India under different names. The ancient Hindu festival is both religious and seasonal in nature, as it marks the beginning of the northward journey of the Sun. Makar Sankranti directly translates to the beginning of the Sun's journey towards the North, ending the winter gloom and the consequent dry spell that sees little harvest. The Sun's journey northward ushers longer days and conducive weather conditions that ensure a good crop. Given that India was primarily an agricultural economy, it should not come as a surprise that the entire country celebrates this day.

Several aspects of the festival make it stand out from other Indian festivals, with some of the observances being specific to certain regions. However, what makes Makar Sankranti most unique is that unlike most Indian festivals, this follows a solar calendar and not the lunar calendar. Sankranti is usually observed on January 14, although sometimes it falls on January 15. The day is marked by the exchange of sweets, bathing in Ganga, and kite flying. Ritualistic dips in the holy water, accompanied by offering prayers to Surya --the Sun God -- is practiced across the country as it is believed to absolve one of his/ her sins. North Indian Hindus and Sikhs celebrate Makar Sankranti as Maghi and indulge in merrymaking, ritualistic bathing, and lighting of lamps. In West Bengal, the day is observed as Poush Shongkranti and preparing sweetmeats using jaggery, rice flour, and coconut is a must. In Gujarat, on the other hand, kite flying continues to be the primary attraction, while in Tamil Nadu the celebrations go on for four days.

More at "source".

What's Cooking In The World's Largest Kitchen On Makar Sankranti Day? A Sneak Peek Into The Jagannath Temple Kitchen

Posted on 2020/1/16 12:30:22 ( 341 reads )


INDIA, January 15, 2020 (Outlook India): The Jagannath temple in Puri is one of the chardhams--the four most revered pilgrim spots--of Hindus. Every day, at all hours, the majestic 12th century temple by the Bay of Bengal in Odisha is a bustling sea of humanity--devotees offering prayers, fulfilling vows, sitting in silent communion or waiting patiently in queues snaking around the 400,000 sq ft temple courtyard--for a darshan of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra, the reigning Deities. For die-hard devotees, however, there is a special area of the temple that draws the eye: the temple kitchen. Considered to be the largest kitchen in the world, a variety of at least 56 meals, or "bhoga" in Odia, are cooked in the kitchen every day for the Deities, over a wood-fire and in earthen pots. The sacred "mahaprashad" then feeds a staggering 100,000 people a day.

On January 15, as the harvest festival of Makar Sankranti, celebrating the end of winter solstice, unfolds, the entire temple is devoted to preparing a special kind of bhoga, known as the "Makara Chaula," or Makara rice. Prepared from harvested rice, Makara Chaula is comprised of banana, jaggery, sesame, milk, ghee, coconut, freshly-made butter, fruits and dry fruits. A delight for its sweet taste, the dish is high in nutritive value. For instance, jaggery is loaded with properties that help in digestion. Rich with anti-oxidants and minerals, such as zinc and selenium, jaggery prevents early aging. Sesame forms blood cells and helps in burning excess fat in our body. Herbs, such as cardamom and black pepper, are potent antioxidants, bringing the sweet dish to life. Coconut adds a distinct flavor to the delicacy. It's also heart-friendly and controls blood sugar levels in our body.

More at "source".

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2020/1/16 12:30:09 ( 390 reads )


Find the One everywhere and in everything and there will be an end to all pain and suffering.
-- Sri Anandamayi Ma (1896-1982), Bengali mystic and saint

Hindu Center Burns Down in Australian Bush Fires

Posted on 2020/1/15 10:29:11 ( 451 reads )


SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, January 10, 2020 (Hindu Council Australia): Sydney has a large Hindu population and there are about 30 Hindu temples, spiritual centers and senior citizen service centers to cater for their religious, spiritual and social needs. Sri Om community in Sydney had purchased land and installed their Deities with regular worship by the community. Recent bush fires in Australia have burned down about 2,000 homes and millions of hectares of bush land. A small Hindu temple is one of these buildings that has been completely burned down. The small town of Clarence where this temple is situated has been mostly destroyed.

On Saturday, 21st December 2019, the Sri Om community were provided the tragic news that one of their activity centers, 184 Kerma Crescent, Clarence (near Lithgow), the main premise had been completely destroyed in the Mt. Gospers monster fire that has currently burned through over 500,000 Hectares of land. Fortunately, none of the members or the public were in the vicinity of the fires during the course of the tragic events. The premise has actively been used by Sri Om Foundation and its sister organization, Sri Om Adi Sakthi Ashram, over the last 3 years. Future plans for the center had been also discussed with various community groups, local, state and federal government to better equip the premise with facilities for our people. This news is obviously a big set back to the organization, however, we believe we can rebuild with the help from our community.

For information on how to help see "source" above.

Tamil Community Celebrates Pongal Today

Posted on 2020/1/15 10:28:59 ( 0 reads )


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, January 15, 2015 (Daily Express): The Tamil community is looking forward to ushering in a new dawn as it celebrates the Pongal harvest festival today (Wednesday). Pongal falls in the 10th month of the Tamil calendar called Thai and is a major celebration, especially for the farming community. Thai piranthal vazhi pirakkum is a popular Tamil adage which simply means that the advent of the month of Thai brings new opportunities. On this day, the Tamil community will prepare the Pongal (sweet rice) and offer thanksgiving prayers to Surya Bhagavan (the Sun God), the earth and the cow.

According to the Malaysia Hindu Sangam president, Datuk R.S. Mohan Shan, the festival starts on Jan 14 with Bhogi, a ceremonial bonfire ritual during which the people discard old and derelict household items and clean the house to usher in a transformation and the beginning of a new cycle. "On Pongal day, better known as Thai Pongal, rice is cooked with milk and brown sugar in a new pot at sunrise or an auspicious time, until the milk boils over, and special prayers are performed for the Sun God," he said. Mohan explained that people let out cheers of Pongalo Pongal when the rice boils and overflows from the pot, signifying abundance and prosperity. "The day after Thai Pongal is Mattu Pongal which is dedicated to cows. On this day, cows are cleaned, decorated and garlanded," said Mohan. On the third day of the Pongal celebration, known as Kanni Pongal, young ladies pray for a good life and a great husband.

What is Wrong with Calling India a Hindu Country?

Posted on 2020/1/15 10:28:46 ( 497 reads )


INDIA, December 28, 2017 (IntelliBriefs, by Maria Wirth): Though I have lived in India for a long time, there are still issues here that I find hard to understand. For example, why do so many educated Indians become agitated when India is referred to as a Hindu country? The majority of Indians are Hindus. India is special because of its ancient Hindu tradition. Westerners are drawn to India because of Hinduism. Why then is there this resistance by many Indians to acknowledge the Hindu roots of their country? Why do some people even give the impression that an India which valued those roots would be dangerous? Don't they know better?

This attitude is strange for two reasons. First, those educated Indians seem to have a problem only with "Hindu" India, but not with "Muslim" or "Christian" countries. Germany, for example, is a secular country, and only 59 percent of the population are registered with the two big Christian churches (Protestant and Catholic). Nevertheless, the country is bracketed under "Christian countries" and no one objects. The second reason why I can't understand the resistance to associate India with Hinduism is that Hinduism is in a different category from the Abrahamic religions. Its history, compared to Christianity and Islam, was undoubtedly the least violent as it spread in ancient times by convincing arguments and not by force. It is not a belief system that demands blind acceptance of dogmas and the suspension of one's intelligence. On the contrary, Hinduism encourages using one's intelligence to the hilt. It is an enquiry into truth based on a refined character and intellect.

More of this insightful article at "source".

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2020/1/15 10:28:33 ( 410 reads )


Many people are afraid of silence. They have to be doing something all the time. Many people also are afraid of being alone. But actually no one ever is alone. He's always with his great divine Self. Every person has a great, divine Self within him, an absolutely perfect, shining, sublime being of light. The voice of this being is a loud silence. The voice of your soul is a loud silence. Many people have said that the voice of God is a deep, profound silence.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today

Watch Rajiv Malhotra's Latest Video: Decolonizing Delhi University

Posted on 2020/1/1 12:48:25 ( 1016 reads )

DELHI, INDIA, December 31, 2019: Summary by Rajiv Malhotra for his recent video: "Most discussions on decolonization focus on the West. This talk explains how the colonial mindset and resulting loss of character has permeated many organs and layers of our nation, Bharat. So the decolonization responsibility is ours. The job at hand is very demanding, and each individual must shape up personally before being able to make a difference collectively."

Click "source" above to view this recommended talk.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2020/1/1 12:48:12 ( 983 reads )


For seven lives in seven bodies the grateful will remember friends who relieved their anguish and affliction.
-- Saint Tiruvalluvar's Tirukkural, verse 107

New South Africa BAPS Temple Seeking Community Support

Posted on 2019/12/30 11:26:51 ( 934 reads )


JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA, December 30, 2019 (Randburg Sun): North Riding residents were informed how the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) temple will be built and addressed their concerns at a public meeting held on 28 November. Architect Anil Parshotom, who has been involved in building religious structures and community centers for over 30 years, said that the project will be built in the same successful manner as those built in other communities. He said, "With the migration of Hindu communities from historically segregated areas to areas in the north, there is a dire need for facilities like this.

"When we looked at the placement of the structure, we tried to place it as far away as possible from the edges of the residential neighborhood. The Hindu religion is not a loud and noisy religion, they believe in meditation and yoga, and prayers and chanting is a sombre and respectful occasion." Parshotom said that the state-of-the-art temple's design will be centered on functional spaces to become a true religious sanctuary, integrating into the northern suburbs, but to become a true community center. Parshotom acknowledged that in a meeting with the head of the BAPS organization, that better consultation with the surrounding community could have taken place, and for that, he apologized. "There was a lot of excitement to get the project started, and in that temporary structures were erected, which did not allow for better management of sound, and for that, we apologize," he concluded.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2019/12/30 11:26:38 ( 1221 reads )


Life is a pilgrimage. The wise man does not rest by the roadside inns. He marches direct to the illimitable domain of eternal bliss, his ultimate destination.
-- Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh (1887-1963), founder of Divine Life Society

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