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Covid-19 Safety Protocols in Place, Amarnath Yatra Begins Today With Special Prayers

Posted on 2020/7/9 13:20:54 ( 115 reads )


INDIA, July 6, 2020 (Yahoo News): Special prayers were held Sunday at Pahalgam on the occasion of Ashad-Purnima, marking the traditional commencement of the annual Amarnath yatra in South Kashmir. Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam on Saturday said keeping in view the prevailing circumstances, the pilgrimage this year would have to be undertaken in a restricted manner. In view of the yatra, the holy mace of Lord Shiva was taken to Pahalgam and Martand Surya temples in South Kashmir. The annual pilgrimage begins today with Bhoomi Poojan at Pahalgam and Chaddi Ashnan (Holy Bath) at fresh water springs of Martand Surya Temple.

A special bhoomi pujan was organized in Pahalgam under the supervision of Mahant Dipindra Giri. Although there was a significant shortage of devotees due to the coronavirus pandemic, local devotees were present at the Martand Surya Temple in Mattan during the holy Ashnan. On this occasion, Mahant Dipendra Giri said that it is very important to organize the yatra, while in the current situation the number of pilgrims or the choice of alternative route does not matter. He said that this holy pilgrimage has been going on in Kashmir for centuries which is confirmed by holy books like Brengish Reshi. While reviewing the preparations for the yatra, the chief secretary said a maximum of 500 pilgrims only would be allowed per day by road from Jammu towards the cave shrine.

Ten 21st Century Challenges for Hindus

Posted on 2020/7/9 13:20:41 ( 109 reads )


INDIA, April 30, 2016 (Francois Gautier): Every 6th person on this planet is a Hindu and Hindus still constitute the overwhelming majority in India - nearly 80% of the population. Humanity needs thus to re-discover the wonder that is Hinduism, the oldest spirituality still in practice in the world. It is also true that Hindus must rise to the challenges of this second millennium.

The first challenge is to "Break the Polytheist Image." One of the most enduring cliches about Hinduism is that Hindus adore a multitude of gods and goddesses, which makes them heathens in the eyes of Christians, thus good to be converted to the true God, often with unethical financial baits. Hinduism, whether you want to call it a religion or a spiritual system, is without doubt one of the most monotheist creeds in the world, because it always recognized that the One is Many and that He incarnates Himself or Herself in a multitude of forms - hence the million of gods & goddesses in the Hindu pantheon.

The second challenge is to dispel the image of poverty attached to India. One of the reasons Hindus are not taken too seriously abroad, is that their country, India, is always associated with poverty.

The remaining challenges--in order of difficulty--are: 3. Explain the caste system to Westerners. 4. Dispel the notion that Hindus can be fundamentalists and violent. 5. Tell Westerners about the greatness of Hindu philosophy and Literature. 6. Hindus in the West should preserve their Indian-ness. 7. Take political power and Unite. 8. Explain @NarendraModi. 9. Help India become the alternative to China. 10. Spread Happiness in the West.

In conclusion, when Hindus help shed these prejudices which have been harming their image, they can not only continue to contribute to the world's economic growth, as they have done for several decades, but also, once they participate more intensely in the political power, be recognized as a distinguished community, with a separate and honored identity.

To read this lengthy and insightful article in its entirety click "source" above.

Hinduism Today Seeks Input for Article on Covid-19 Impact on Home and Temple Life

Posted on 2020/7/9 13:20:28 ( 104 reads )

KAUAI, HAWAII, July 9, 2020 (HPI): Hinduism Today is doing a story on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our individual and collective practice of religion. We request HPI readers to send us a two paragraph report on their own experience.

How has the lockdown impacted you on a personal and and religious level? Some we know have been consumed with the consequences of the pandemic and given little thought to anything religious. But many other say they have taken the unexpected time off and solitude to deepen their religious life, at least somewhat.

If relevant, what is the situation with your local temple and/or religious organization? How have they adapted to the situation?

Please include a photograph of yourself, either a simple passport style "headshot," a screen shot of you in an on-line satsang, sitting at a computer, in your home shrine or a photo of your closed temple along with screenshot of their on-line activities.

Kindly email your input to Acharya Arumuganathaswami, Managing Editor, ar@hindu.org. Would appreciate the input in the next day or two.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2020/7/9 13:20:15 ( 88 reads )


Adversity and prosperity never cease to exist. The adornment of great men's minds is to remain unswervingly just under both.
-- Tirukkural 115

Cairo's 109-Year-Old Hindu-Style Palace Opens for Visitors

Posted on 2020/7/2 12:26:51 ( 306 reads )


CAIRO, EGYPT, July 1, 2020 (My Central Oregon): Mysteries and superstitious tales surrounding an Indian-style mansion in an upscale Cairo district have finally been put to bed as the 109-year-old palace opened to visitors for the first time on Tuesday following an $11 million restoration project. Named after the millionaire Belgian industrialist who was its original owner, the neglected Baron Empain Palace was rumored to be home to ghosts, with occasional tales of lights flashing inside. Also common were rumors of hidden tunnels and a rotating tower that offered a 360-degree view of the surrounding area and allowed the palace to be exposed to constant sunlight.

Baron Edouard Louis Joseph Empain, a famed businessman credited with the construction of the Paris metro in the late 19th century, resided in the palace he built in 1911 before developing the surrounding area from a sprawling desert into what is now known as Heliopolis, an upscale east Cairo neighborhood. The two-story mansion, designed by French architect Alexandre Marcel and made from reinforced concrete, was modeled on Hindu-style temples, with its exterior adorned by statues of Hindu and Buddhist legends and elephants. Visitors who entered the castle for the first time Tuesday were bursting with excitement as they roamed around, posing for photographs and inspecting the palace's interiors as well as its vast roof that used to host Empain's parties.

see short video: https://www.cnn.com/videos/style/2019/ ... ro-renovation-ya-orig.cnn

Confessions of an Ex-Christian: Esther Dhanraj

Posted on 2020/7/2 12:26:39 ( 292 reads )


USA, July 2, 2020 (Video interview with Rajiv Malhotra): Esther Dhanraj, born into a conservative Telugu Hindu Brahmin family, converted to Christianity when she was seventeen after her parents switched to the faith. After marriage, she went to the USA and studied Christianity formally at a reputed American University. She found all that the American pastors were keeping away from Indian Christians. Listen to her journey described to Rajiv Malhotra. She reveals what she discovered that caused her to become an ex-Christian.

Hindu Temple in Islamabad Opposed by Top Leaders

Posted on 2020/7/2 12:26:26 ( 230 reads )


PAKISTAN, July 3, 2020 (WION): A revealing video report by Palki Sharma of WION, an India-based TV news channel, on the recent ground-breaking for a Hindu temple in Islamabad. The video's description states, "The construction of a Hindu Temple in Islamabad has rattled Pakistan's extremists. From clerics to lawyers & politicians, several top leaders in Pakistan want the construction work to stop."

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2020/7/2 12:26:13 ( 171 reads )


Hindu Dharma was a great reconciler. It reconciled various viewpoints, various doctrines. It knew how to look at things from various angles and viewpoints. It knew no conflict between science and religion, between rationalism and spiritualism. It was so because it was not dogmatic in reason or religion.
-- Ram Swarup (1920-1998), distinguished spokesperson of Hindu spirituality and culture in India

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

Posted on 2020/7/1 11:27:20 ( 251 reads )


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 ( 286 reads )


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 ( 198 reads )


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 ( 240 reads )


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 ( 206 reads )


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 ( 197 reads )


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 ( 209 reads )


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.

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