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Thousands Expected at Annual Hindu Festival


Posted on 2018/10/13 12:33:01 ( 251 reads )

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EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND, October 13, 2018 (Edinburgh News): For more than two decades thousands of people have gathered to enjoy the medley of Indian and Scottish culture in the free event organized by the Scottish India Arts Forum (SIAF). The charity, which has been actively promoting Indian arts and culture in Scotland since 1994, returns on Sunday, October 21 with a dramatic re-enactment of the legendary Hindu God Rama's tussle between good and evil at its heart. The celebrations will also include flaming 25-foot effigies of demons built by volunteer prisoners from Saughton Prison, set alight as part of the fireworks display. Revelers will be treated to a taste of India with food stalls and a showcase of performances of more than 100 amateur and professional artists.

Dusherra, one of the largest festivals in India commemorates a 10-day war between the Gods and demons thousands of years ago. It is celebrated with gusto by communities across the country with music, dance, food and a symbolic burning of effigies. President of SIAF Rajnish Singh said: "We at SIAF are extremely proud of Dusherra celebration over the years in a format where it is open to all with free entry despite all the challenges. "We are very grateful for the continued support from our funders for this year as well. It is one of the most popular Indian events in the city and we highly appreciate the support of local Indian and Scottish community who participate in the celebration in big numbers."



The Temple that Changed an Indian Cricket Team's Fortune


Posted on 2018/10/13 12:32:47 ( 257 reads )

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HYDERABAD, INDIA, October 13, 2018 (The Hans India): In any sphere of life, it's common for people to seek divine intervention when the chips are down, and sport is no different. However, a temple inside an international cricket stadium premises? That's the sight one is greeted with on entering the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal, which is hosting on the ongoing second Test between India and England.

On normal days, it might escape the attention but on a match day -- like the ongoing one -- it is a vibrant sight. Asked about the story behind the temple, its priest Hanumanth Sharma claimed, "This temple was built (in 2011) because neither the Indian team nor the now defunct IPL franchise Deccan Chargers were winning their matches at this ground. "It was proving to be an inauspicious ground for the home teams. Then it was found out that there was Vaastu Dosham (problem in architecture as per ancient Hindu architectural system)," he said. "Lord Ganesha is the God of Vaastu Shastra. You can check the records and after 2011, the Indian team never lost here," Hanumanth said.



Americans Express Increasingly "Warm Feelings" Toward Religious Groups


Posted on 2018/10/13 12:32:34 ( 224 reads )

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WASHINGTON, D.C., February 15, 2017 (Pew Forum): On the heels of a contentious election year in which partisan politics increasingly divided Americans, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that when it comes to religion, Americans generally express more positive feelings toward various religious groups today than they did just a few years ago. Asked to rate a variety of groups on a "feeling thermometer" ranging from 0 to 100, U.S. adults give nearly all groups warmer ratings than they did in a June 2014 Pew Research Center survey. Evangelical Christians, rated relatively warmly at 61 degrees, are the only group for which the mean rating did not change since the question was last asked in 2014. Americans' feelings toward Mormons and Hindus have shifted from relatively neutral places on the thermometer to somewhat warmer ratings of 54 and 58, respectively.

The increase in mean ratings is broad based. Warmer feelings are expressed by people in all the major religious groups analyzed, as well as by both Democrats and Republicans, men and women, and younger and older adults. However, the mean ratings given to particular religious groups still vary widely depending on who is being asked. For example, young adults - those ages 18 to 29 - express warmer feelings toward Muslims than older Americans do. Moreover, young adults rate all of the groups in the study within a relatively tight range, from 54 degrees for Mormons to 66 for Buddhists. Across the board, Americans express warmer feelings toward religious groups when they are personally familiar with someone in the group, consistent with findings from the June 2014 survey. Fewer than half of Americans say they personally know a Mormon (43%) or a Muslim (45%). Smaller shares say they know someone who is Buddhist (23%) or Hindu (22%).




Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2018/10/13 12:32:20 ( 233 reads )

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Like a tortoise withdrawing five limbs into its shell, those who restrain the five senses in one life will find safe shelter for seven.
-- Tirukkural 126



Singers from over 40 Plus Countries on Oct 2 Sang the Favourite Bhajan of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi -- Vaishnav Jan to Tene Kahiye.


Posted on 2018/10/12 13:05:04 ( 261 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, October 2, 2018 (YouTube): On Gandhi Jayanti Day in New Delhi during the closing ceremony of the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Conference, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a medley version of the famous bhajan by artists from over 40 countries. According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), all Indian Missions abroad identified a local artists/group to record the bhajan in the run-up to Gandhi Jayanti. "The result is an eclectic, colorful and rich rendition of the hymn infused with the local flavor of the region. From Armenia to Angola, Sri Lanka to Serbia, Iraq to Iceland, prominent local singers/groups have showcased their talent to this favourite hymn of the Mahatma," said an official statement from the MEA.

The famous Gujarati hymn was penned by the 15th-century poet Narsimha Mehta and was one of the favorite bhajans of Mahatma Gandhi who included it into the roster of prayers routinely sung before his meetings. The English translation of the Gujarati Bhajan is as follows: "Call those people Vaishnavas who feel the pain of others, help those who are in misery, but never let self-conceit enter their mind. They respect the entire world, do not disparage anyone, keep their words, actions and thoughts pure, the mother of such a soul is blessed. They see all equally, renounce craving, respect other women as their own mother, Their tongue never utters false words, their hands never touch the wealth of others. They do not succumb to worldly attachments, they are firmly detached from the mundane, they are enticed by the name of God (Rama), all places of pilgrimage are embodied in them. They have forsaken greed and deceit, they stay afar from lust and anger, Narsi [the 15th century poet who wrote the song] says: I'd be grateful to meet such a soul, whose virtue liberates their entire lineage.

View inspirational video at "source" above.



Exhibition on Vietnam Hindu Cham Brahman Community Opens


Posted on 2018/10/12 13:04:51 ( 306 reads )

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VIETNAM, October 9, 2018, (Vietnam Tourism): An exhibition featuring the 2018 Kate Festival, the most important annual celebration of the ethnic Cham Brahman community, opened in the central province of Ninh Thuan on October 8. On the occasion, Mukha Linga and Po Long Girai statues, along with Nandin, Patil, and Banal sacred bulls, costumes, and musical instruments were introduced to the public, contributing to maintaining, preserving, and upholding values of national cultural heritage.

Le Xuan Loi, Director of the Research Centre for Cham Culture in Ninh Thuan, said the display aims to popularise the unique culture of the Cham ethnic group in Ninh Thuan amongst domestic and foreign visitors. On the occasion of Kate festival 2018, antique collectors from across the nation and abroad donated 14 valuable objects of different materials and dates to the centre, which offer visitors an insight into the iron casting, pottery making, and fabric weaving of the Cham people.



Trinidad Hindus Observe Nau Raatri with Great Enthusiasm


Posted on 2018/10/12 13:04:38 ( 326 reads )

Paras Ramoutar, special to HPI

PORT-OF-SPAIN, TRINIDAD/TOBAGO, October 12, 2018 (Paras Ramoutar): Even though they came here 173 years ago from several parts of India, they still adhere to the basic tenets of Hinduism. One of which is the annual observance of Nau Raatri which has taken this oil-rich nation with earthquake enthusiasm. Out of a population of 400,000 East Indians, of which 25 per cent are Hindus, Trinidad and Tobago has seen an unprecedented number of special Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati pujas across the land. There are several yagnas in the names of Mother Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati being held by individuals and community-oriented ones. Several of the East Indian frequencies broadcast special messages highlighting the virtues and blessings by paying homage to the Divine Mother. Devoted Hindus have been keeping vigil at homes and in mandirs glorifying the Divine Mother for Her unstinted love for humanity. They have been maintaining complete fasting from meat, alcohol and other worldly pleasures.

Nau Raatri is being observed with the same enthusiasm as the just completed Lord Ganesh Utsav which has become another major observance for Hindus. Whilst devotees pray for their personal wealth, health and total well-being, they are also seeking spiritual guidance in matters of global significance like weather change, earthquakes, floods, storms and other issues of international relevance.Mother Durga, Mother Lakshmi and Mother Saraswati are given equal reverence in the daily incantations. The 400 or so Hindu mandirs are holding nightly services as well. Pundit Ramesh Tiwari, spiritual leader of the Edinburgh Hindu Temple, said that the Hindu community has taken, "a new and novel approach in the observance of Hindu festivals and observances".



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2018/10/12 13:04:24 ( 261 reads )

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Youth is not a time of life--it is a state of mind. It is not a matter of ripe cheeks, red lips and supple knees. It is a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions. It is freshness of the deep springs of life. Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old only by deserting their ideals. Years wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.
-- Swami Bua, famed yogi who lived approximately 120 years



Subramanian Swamy Moves High Court for Liberation of Tirumala Temple from Government Control


Posted on 2018/10/6 3:27:30 ( 539 reads )

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HYDERABAD, INDIA, October 4, 2018 (New Indian Express): Rajya Sabha member and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy and a law student filed a PIL in the High Court here on Wednesday seeking the liberation of Sri Venkateswara Swamy temple at Tirumala, Sri Padmavati temple at Tiruchaanur near Tirupati and 11 other temples in Andhra Pradesh from the State government's control. He also sought audit of the accounts and properties, including jewelry, of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) for the past three financial years.

The petitioners challenged the constitutional validity of Sections 15, 29, 96, 97, 97-A, 97-B, 106, 108, 109, 110 and 115 of the Andhra Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments Act, 1987 by which the administration and control of Hindu religious institutions were taken over by the State government or by any authority functioning under it. The TTD board was constituted by the government and all members, including the chairman, are appointed by it. Interference in the temple administration violates Article 31-A (1)(b) of the Constitution, they noted. Continuous administration of the TTD by the government for more than 80 years resulted in corrupt practices, they alleged, and urged the court to direct the State government to have an external audit.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2018/10/5 12:43:00 ( 582 reads )

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"The downfall of a religous sect begins from the day that the worship of the rich enters into it."
-- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)



India, a Country of Vegetarians Because of Religion and Necessity


Posted on 2018/10/3 12:15:56 ( 712 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, September 30, 2018 (La Conexion USA, translated from Spanish): In India there are "vegetarians" and "non-vegetarians," a categorization of eating habits that illustrates the conditions in a country in which, for a certain segment of upper class Hindu society, not eating meat is an obligation, while for the most humble members of society, the "green" diet is a matter of financial necessity. In New Delhi, the waiting lines at the entrance of some of the most popular vegetarian restaurants are common, while in the "mixed" establishments the vegetarian menu stands out, noting with flashy notices the meat dishes to avoid.

With the celebration of World Vegetarian Day tomorrow ( October 1st), the data is clear, highlighting India as the global Mecca of followers of "nonviolent food," as the popular yoga guru Baba Ramdev pointed out to EFE. According to the latest survey on eating habits in the country, carried out during the period 2015-2016 by the Indian Ministry of Health, 30% of women and 22% of men in India declare themselves to be purely vegetarian. However, when you dig deeper into the statistics, those numbers skyrocket to the green side, showing that around 90% of the population consumes vegetables daily, while only 6% eat meat daily and that only 36% of the female population and 43% of men eat meat at least once a week.



Yoga Now Tolerated in Newly Open Saudi Arabia


Posted on 2018/10/3 12:15:43 ( 769 reads )

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SAUDI ARABIA, September 30, 2018 (World Tribune): Yoga studios are springing up in Saudi Arabia amid Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's call for an "open, moderate Islam." Until recently, yoga was not officially permitted in Saudi Arabia as it was perceived to be a Hindu spiritual practice. Just a year ago, yoga practitioners in the kingdom could have been hit with criminal charges. Nouf Marwaai, head of the Arab Yoga Foundation, is leading the effort dispel the notion that yoga is incompatible with Islam. The foundation has trained hundreds of yoga instructors in the kingdom.

Crown Prince Mohammed appears to be upending the puritanical vision long associated with a fundamentalist strain of Wahhabi Islam. The kingdom in recent months has hosted officials linked to the Vatican and the prince also met a group of Roman Catholic and Jewish leaders in New York earlier this year, in a rare interfaith gesture.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2018/10/3 12:15:29 ( 641 reads )

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Wealth's Goddess dwells in the hospitable home of those who host guests with a smiling face.
-- Tirukkural



Indian Court Rules Hindu Temple Can't Ban Females of Menstruating Age


Posted on 2018/9/30 10:46:20 ( 717 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, September 28, 2018 (LA Times): Capping a month of historic judgments that have expanded civil liberties for hundreds of millions of citizens, the Indian Supreme Court on Friday overturned a Hindu temple's ban on females of menstruating age, declaring that the centuries-old rule violated women's rights. The renowned Sabarimala temple in the southern state of Kerala is open to all faiths but bars women and girls ages 10 to 50 on the grounds that the Deity, Lord Ayyappa, is considered celibate. The ban had been upheld in a lower court before reaching India's highest court, where a majority of a five-judge panel found it was discriminatory.

"Patriarchy in religion cannot be permitted to trump over faith and the freedom to practice and profess one's religion," said Chief Justice Dipak Misra. "Rules based on biological characteristics can never pass the muster of constitutionality." Friday's decision came two years after a lower court in Mumbai lifted bans on women from entering the inner sanctum of a Hindu temple in Maharashtra state and the Haji Ali Muslim shrine on the Arabian Sea. Menstruation is seen by many Indian religious conservatives -- not just majority Hindus, but also Muslims and Christians -- as impure, with many religious rituals excluding women who are on their periods. The dissenting opinion came from Justice Indu Malhotra, the only woman on the bench, who argued that rationality has no place in matters of religion.



Justice Indu Malhotra, the Only Woman on the Bench Dissented on Women's Entry to Sabarimala Temple, Here's Why


Posted on 2018/9/30 10:46:06 ( 647 reads )

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INDIA, September 28, 2018 (NewsX Bureau): The majority of the bench supported the entry of the women into the Kerala temple by striking down Rule 3(b) of the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965. While the country supported the lifting of the ban, the only woman in the bench, Indu Malhotra, offered a dissenting opinion.

While reading out her dissenting judgment, Indu Malhotra said that the religious practices cannot be solely tested on the basis of Article of the Constitution. She said that what constitutes the essential religious practices, is up to the religious community to decide and not the Supreme Court. Reading out her judgment, Indu Malhotra said that the notions of rationality must be kept away from religion. She added that there was a need of balance between religious beliefs, principles of non-discrimination and laid by the Constitution.

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