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Images Of Amarnath Siva Lingam and Pilgrims

Posted on 2003/7/17 9:49:02 ( 1140 reads )


AMARNATH, INDIA, July 12, 2003: Amidst chants of "Har Har Mahadev" and "Jai Bholanath," the first batch of devotees on the annual Amarnath pilgrimage paid obeisance at the holy ice Lingam at the cave shrine here. To view excellent photos of Amarnath pilgrims and the holy Lingam, click on "source" above.

Fiji Fire Walking Tapas Attracts Devotees

Posted on 2003/7/17 9:48:02 ( 1193 reads )


FIJI ISLANDS, July 14, 2003: The first fire walking by the India Sangarma Ikya Sangam devotees took place today in the Sri Raj Maha Mariamman Temple. Chief Priest Pandit Tirthadeva Peruman, who has been doing the fire-walking puja (prayer) for the past five years, officiated. Almost a thousand people attended the celebration, but only about 45-48 people participated in the actual fire-walking ceremony, as it calls for stringent control on the lifestyles of participants. The ceremony was part of a week-long puja held to pay homage to the three Goddesses: Kali, Draupati and Karumari Amman.

Fire walking, where Hindus walk on a pit of smoldering coals, has been done by Hindus in Fiji since 1923, beginning soon after the arrival of South Indians in that country. The native Fijians also have an ancient tradition of fire walking. Scientifically, the fire-walking ceremony has baffled many because those who walk on these smoldering coals come off unharmed.

Chicago Art Institute Hosts Hindu and Buddhist Sculptures

Posted on 2003/7/17 9:47:02 ( 1053 reads )


CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, July 9, 2003: About 200 Hindu and Buddhist sculptures and paintings are on display at the Art Institute of Chicago. Entitled "Himalayas: An Aesthetic Adventure," the exhibits are on loan from many top-notch North American collections. The exhibition has been organized by noted art historian Pratapaditya Pal who says that his intention was to create a masterpiece show, based on aesthetic excellence rather than on focused themes or theory. Among the pieces on display is a 10th-century Nepali relief of the Lord Siva with his family on Mount Kailash in a crowded court of dancers. There is a fabulous gilded copper sculpture of the Buddha as an earthly sage and a savior, on loan from the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth; an eighth-century relief of Kamadeva, the god of love, surrounded by his consorts; a renowned gilded bronze from the Norton Simon Foundation, that depicts the Buddha at the instant of enlightenment, sitting on a cushion patterned with silver and copper inlay, a Kashmiri specialty; and a 12th-century painting from western Tibet in which the Buddha is dressed in a beautiful patchwork robe. The exhibition will be open until August 17, 2003.

British House of Lords Launches Hindu Youth Initiative

Posted on 2003/7/17 9:46:02 ( 1146 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, July 12, 2003: A new Hindu youth initiative, HYUK, was launched in the House of Lords on Thursday. At a reception hosted by Lord Dholakia, President of the Liberal Democrats Party, it was announced that the HYUK will help British youth to understand Hindu culture and its philosophies better and see how it fits into the modern world. The initiative is supported by Lord Bagri, Lord King, Lord Janner, Piara Singh Khabra, MP, and Ashok Kumar, MP, all of whom were present at the function, as well as community leaders, prominent businessmen, Prince Charles, Prime Minister Tony Blair and Members of the House of Lords and House of Commons.

Also released at the reception were the findings of the first-ever research project on Hindu Youth in the UK. According to the research, a vast majority of Hindu youth in the UK country are proud of their faith, but feel they lack any real understanding of the practices and beliefs. Almost 88 percent of participants said that the Hindu faith was relevant to the modern world despite being thousands of years old.

Nrityagram Dance Ensemble Thrills US Audiences

Posted on 2003/7/17 9:45:02 ( 1017 reads )


NEW YORK, NEW YORK, July 15, 2003: Five beautifully trained dancers from India's Nrityagram Dance Ensemble received a standing ovation at the Central Park Summer Stage. The ensemble is from Nrityagram, a dance village in Karnataka set up by the late Protima Bedi. The moment artistic director Surupa Sen was revealed under a solitary red light, in a Goddess Durga war pose, there was pin-drop silence. Bijoyini Satpathy, barely visible in the half-light, circled her -- a devotee making offerings. The 45-minute performance called "Sridevi," dedicated to mother Goddess Durga, had begun. "Aarabhi Pallavi", which followed, was a restaging by Sen of an old piece by Odissi genius Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra and performed by Ayona Bhaduri, Priyambada Pattanaik and Pavitra Reddy. The evening ended with "Shiv Tandav Moksh" in which Satpathy, accompanied by Reddy and Pattnaik, captured the fierce power of Lord Siva, the Lord of Dance in His cosmic form. The Nrityagram Dance Ensemble is possibly the only dance company from South Asia which has made it to the top rank of dance companies that tour the United States.

Reality TV, Christian Style

Posted on 2003/7/17 9:44:02 ( 1131 reads )


CHICAGO, U.S.A., July 11, 2003: In the last year, Christian reality shows like "Travel the Road" and "Truth Quest," a religious version of MTV's "Road Rules," have attracted viewers in Christian households and opened eyes at religious broadcasting stations. Taking a clue from secular networks who found reality programs are equally popular with watchers, but less expensive to produce than sitcoms and dramas, religious broadcasters on low budgets are using it as the genre of choice.

This year, half a million households in the United States -- an estimated 1 to 2 million viewers -- are watching "Travel the Road," a Christian program that views like a Discovery Channel special, showing two missionary brothers wending their way through jungles and third-world cities, accompanied by graphics and background music, spreading the Gospel of Christ. This report says that while in India, "Hindu militants pulled the plug as potential converts were watching a film about Jesus."

Kashmir's Temple Bells Ring Once More

Posted on 2003/7/16 9:49:02 ( 1105 reads )


JAWALA HILLS, KASHMIR, July 13, 2003: After being silent for over a decade, temple bells are ringing once again in the Kashmir valley as thousands of pilgrims, including Kashmiri Pandits, are thronging the ancient temples in the state. Over 9,000 Kashmiri Pandits visited the 460-years-old wooden temple of "Kalo Mata," popularly known as "Dolo Bhagwati," on the Deity's birth anniversary on Saturday. "I have come here after 13 years to ring the bells of this temple," said M.K. Raina, who migrated from the valley. "It is homecoming for Pandits, who have come to fulfill their emotional aspirations. Their visiting the valley is a positive sign," Financial and Revenue Commissioner Hira Lal Kadabaju said. While 70,000 Pandits visited Kheer Bhawani, 20,000 paid obeisance at Mattan Sun temples, another 10,000 visited Jawala Bagwati, he said. Nearly 5,000 devotees offered prayers at Chakrisherwar while 40,000 paid obeisance in Shankaracharya Temple and another 10,000 visited Hari Parbhat.

Oldest Surinamese Temple Again in Use

Posted on 2003/7/16 9:48:02 ( 1263 reads )


PARAMARIBO, SURINAM, July 11, 2003: The oldest temple in Surinam, a Sivalay at the Gangaram Pandayweg in the Saramacca district, was re-inaugurated July 10, 2003. The temple was built roughly 112 years ago by one of the first British-Indian contract workers, Pandit Tribhunath. After forty years of neglect the temple was renovated on the initiative of the Maa Chand Foundation of the Netherlands. According to Mahinder Lachman, chairman of Maa Chand, the Sivalay in Saramacca is an authentic temple built in the Indian style. US$6,000,000 has been spent in the renovation.

In recent years a new prayer house called the Laxmi-Narain-Mandir has been constructed next to the old Sivalay. In cooperation with this mandir a havana (fire-offering service) will be conducted for five consecutive days to inaugurate the refurbished Maha Mrityunjaya Shiv Jagyashala. The service will be led by the scholar Shri Brahm Rishi Surindre Tewarie from the Netherlands. According to Tewarie the havana will be performed for five days to honor the five syllables of the holy Siva mantra, "Namasivaya." Tewarie says that this new temple will serve as a stimulus to the Hindu community in Saramacca to get back to their roots and learn the beliefs and practices that have not been passed to the next generation in recent times. (Original story in Dutch.)

Swiss Federal Court Looks at Laws Protecting Children from Violence

Posted on 2003/7/16 9:47:02 ( 1087 reads )


BERN, SWITZERLAND, July 9, 2003: When a father tried to take his estranged wife's partner to court for hitting and kicking his children, the case was rejected, and the court pronounced that the mother's partner (that is, her new boyfriend) has the right to punish her children. On appeal, the initial ruling was overturned and it was deemed that "the mother's partner did commit a punishable act." This particular case has forced the Swiss Federal court to clarify Swiss law. The Swiss Federal Court has warned parents that corporal punishment is not an acceptable means of disciplining children. It ruled that slapping, kicking and ear tugging are punishable offenses, if they are administered repeatedly or habitually. The vague part of the legislation is that it does not define "at which point violence is unacceptable as a form of punishment delivered by adults to children." Seven years ago, a proposal was presented to the Swiss government to ban hitting of children. At that time, the government decided that violence to discipline children should not be punished. Childrens' advocates hope Switzerland will follow in the footsteps of other European countries, such as Germany, that have laws in place to protect children from all acts of violence.

Rent a Cow and Garner Her Yields

Posted on 2003/7/16 9:46:02 ( 1102 reads )


BRIENZ, SWITZERLAND, July 14, 2003: Swiss dairy farmer Paul Wyler is offering his cows for rent on the Internet, with all the cheese they produce going to the "owner." "We have already had dozens of inquiries from people who want to rent one of our cows," Wyler said. Cows cost US$276 for the summer. Wyler looks after the animals and makes cheese from their milk. Each cow produces 154-264 pounds of cheese which the renter of the cow can collect in September and either sell or use as gifts for family and friends. Wyler, who owns 15 cows, is taking photographs of his animals so people can choose them directly from the Internet. The cows graze on the Alp Tschingelfeld, 30 minutes' walk from the road, and the "owners" are obliged by contract to visit them at least once and spend four hours working in the fields. Wyler came up with the idea because he could not sell as much cheese as he produced every year. He already rents some of his cows to restaurants. Even though his website, click here, is in German, the photos are both informative and entertaining.

Heathrow Customs Officials Confiscate Cooked Foodstuffs

Posted on 2003/7/16 9:45:02 ( 1273 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, July 15, 2003: British Immigration and Customs officials have launched a campaign to preempt people from bringing in food and other edible items into Britain. They have said that European Union rules have become very stringent, particularly after SARS. Sources at the High Commission said that the customs at Heathrow airport, where all flights from India land, are quite concerned as most passengers from the country tend to bring in a lot of food. Recently, a passenger from India brought 26 kilos of biryani, a rice and vegetable dish. The passenger said it was for his family's consumption. However, the family had to go without the feast as the biryani was seized and destroyed. Cooked food, even if securely packed, would now be confiscated. The meat preparations are to be destroyed immediately because of the fear of BSE, the mad cow disease, said the officials.

Stand Up for Ayurveda

Posted on 2003/7/16 9:44:02 ( 1128 reads )

Hindustan Times

NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 5, 2003: Union Minister for Science and Technology, Murli Manohar Joshi, has appealed to the populace and in particular to allopathic physicians, not to "belittle" ayurveda. Joshi says, "It is the oldest system of medicine, and I fail to understand why they call it an alternative system of medicine. Ayurveda has been practiced by our ancestors even thousands of years ago." He further adds, "Despite having effective medicines for a variety of diseases, ayurveda is not getting its due respect in its own land, and that is not a good sign for its future." Joshi has given full support to a book recently released by Professor M.S. Valiathan, a renowned cardiac surgeon who values the traditional system of ayurveda.

Balinese Artist Honored In Tokyo

Posted on 2003/7/16 9:43:02 ( 1171 reads )

Jakarta Post

JAKARTA, INDONESIA, July 10, 2003: Ketut Budiana, Bali's most creative "post-traditional" artist, was guest of honor at Tokyo Station Gallery, where he held a retrospective exhibition from June 14-21, 2003. A low-profile artist, Budiana is little known in the Indonesian art world beyond a small circle of local and foreign initiates. Budiana's works are often described as dark canvases with a minimum use of color and contain a world of figures symbolizing the cosmic forces of Hindu tradition. He doesn't simply narrate stories of heroes and Gods. He instead borrows these figures to be the players of philosophical Hindu themes that he interprets his own ways. "Nothing is inherently good or evil," says Budiana, "but rather all entities and forces move between positive and negative states. What appears negative in one context is positive in another. The dissolution of the physical body in the grave fills us with horror. Yet, with deeper insight, this process allows dead matter to become the basis for a new life." Budiana is one of the last wanderer-cum-teacher artists. He has been called to Java and Lombok for the making of temple sculptures, and people often come to him to inquire how things should be from a classical point of view.

First Group of Pilgrims Reach Amarnath Cave

Posted on 2003/7/15 9:49:02 ( 1302 reads )


AMARNATH, JAMMU & KASHMIR, July 12, 2003: Amidst chants of "Har Har Mahadev" and "Jai Bholanath" the first devotees on the annual Amarnath pilgrimage paid obeisance at the holy ice Siva Lingam at the cave shrine. "For me there is no emotion parallel to the darshan of the ice Lingam, it gives a feeling of being one with God. That is why I come here again and again," said Sonu Bhardawj who was on his eighth pilgrimage, as pilgrims prostrated before the sacred Lingam in reverence for Lord Siva.

Much before dawn, devotees, braving sub-zero temperatures, moved out of their tents with torches in hand and took a dip in ice-cold streams. Siva devotees from across the subcontinent, men, women, children and sadhus, prayed to Lord Siva. Everyone had words of praise for security personnel manning the heights and patrolling the entire stretch to the holy cave shrine. While pilgrims from the first two jathas (batches) are having darshan, two more such jathas comprising 3,500 devotees each are on their way to the cave.

Hindus in South Africa Object to Beef Gelatin in Sweets

Posted on 2003/7/15 9:48:02 ( 2580 reads )


DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA, July 6, 2003: The South African Hindu Maha Sabha recently discovered that Beacon Sweets, a sweets manufacturer owned by Tiger Brands, uses bovine gelatin in many of its products. It has alarmed the community as cows are sacred to Hindus. Rugbeer Kallideen, secretary of the Maha Sabha says, "We received complaints from members of the Hindu community about the bovine gelatin in certain products. We were shocked to discover that 74 of the company's products contained the beef extract that gives elasticity to sweets." After several meetings, the Hindu Maha Sabha has offered a solution to Beacon Sweets. Kallideen adds, "We have called for the Shuddah symbol, a Lotus flower signifying purity, to appear on Beacon Sweets products that do not have animal gelatin and would be suitable for consumption by Hindus and vegetarians from other communities." Beacon Sweets does list bovine gelatin as an ingredient on its products but the Maha Sabha does not consider this enough as most consumers do not read the label. Pierre de Villiers, a director of Tiger Brands says, "If there is any way we can help our consumers make an informed decision, we will try, but it is a marketing decision. Research has to be done to determine whether it will add value or enhance our products." HPI adds: According to the International Vegetarian Union, " Gelatin (US spelling) or gelatine (British spelling) (used to make Jell-o and other desserts) is made from the boiled bones, skins and tendons of animals." Learn more about gelatin and vegetarian substitutes on the IVU website.

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