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Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2018/3/20 20:25:22 ( 969 reads )

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Mind is consciousness which has put on limitations. You are originally unlimited and perfect. Later you take on limitations and become the mind.
-- Ramana Maharshi, (1879-1950), South Indian mystic



Hinduism Today April/May/June 2018 Issue Now Available On-Line!


Posted on 2018/3/19 18:29:43 ( 1051 reads )

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KAUAI, HAWAII, March 29, 2018: Hinduism Today's latest issue has gone to press and is now available online free of charge at "source" above. You can also download our free Hinduism Today app and get the entire magazine in a mobile-friendly format for your device at bit.ly/HT-APP.

In his Publisher's Desk editorial, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami takes on the new global ailment, persistent stress. He explains how we can manage stress, then gives us several tools to use along with offering a new perspective on stress and what it has to teach us.

In our lavishly illustrated 16-page Insight section Pieter Veltevrede takes us on a deep dive into the mystic world of chakras, exploring how humans progress through the seven chakras over a lifetime as taught by his guru, Harish Johari. Along the way we learn of the governing deities of each chakra and the attitudes (both positive and not so positive) that arise in each stage. Pieter's truly beautiful art gives us vivid conceptual understandings of these vast inner centers of consciousness and what they mean to us. By knowing this inner map of consciousness that is the chakra system of the human body we are able to better navigate our own inner space and outer lives.

Our two feature stories take us into the heart of the Australian and then the Indian sandalwood trade. We explore the bounteous economic opportunities and wide-ranging products of the sandalwood market, then reveal the current challenges for those striving to thrive in the sandalwood industry. Learn about this sacred wood's history and let us introduce you to the world's largest sandalwood plantation, which was planted in Northwestern Australia starting just 20 years back and is now beginning to see its first harvests. Then we are off to India where we interview the world's greatest expert, Dr. Anantha Padmanabha, for an inside look at India's sandalwood industry, and how correctly managed small-scale sandalwood plantations could assure India's market dominance in the future.

Excerpts from Sanjeev Sanyal's "The Land of Seven Rivers" trace the thread of Bharat's national identity back through the annals of time. In this historical exploration of India he examines the ancient Harappan civilization, discovering that early Indian culture permeates India today. Sanjeev challenges common misconceptions about the development of India as a nation and a civilizational entity, offering a fresh perspective of Bharat's timeless identity.

On page 64 we get a firsthand look of Maa Durga being welcomed to the island nation of Mauritius with great opulence and adoration. This 108-foot-tall Goddess stands near the previously erected Mangal Mahadev Siva statue next to the divine lake Ganga Talao. Maa Durga smiles lovingly at devotees travelling to the sacred lake and with Her right hand in abhaya mudra bestows fearlessness to all. The massive inaugural festival was a proud moment for this Hindu-majority nation.

In our scripture article we dive into the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad and witness sage Yajnavalkya expounding timeless wisdom to his wife, Maitreyi, whom he is about to leave in order to live in the forests to obtain the realization of Self.

What do sports and spirituality have in common? It turns out quite a lot. Sri Chinmoy's life was a grand testament to the interconnectedness of exercise and the striving of spiritual life. We fondly look upon Chinmoy's "Peace Run" and receive testimony from participants as to how transformational and uplifting activities like ultra distance running can be, both for the runners and the selfless team of supporters surrounding them. Sri Chinmoy's quotes point to the fact that our physical bodies are the vehicle for our innermost Self and thus need to be taken care of properly in order to reach the finish line of Truth in the marathon of Self realization.

In this version of Global Dharma, we get a look at Suriname's grand Divali celebration, complete with a massive cast iron dipa. We find out how people in India are using #reclaimtemples to make real changes in previously abandoned temples. Then comes a tour of Egypt's "Hindu Palace," a rich man's home modeled after Cambodia's Angkor Wat. In Germany a cow determines the future site of a temple. Did you know that a modern-day princess just converted formally to Hinduism? Read how the Sudhi Wadani ceremony of Indonesia's princess fulfilled her dream of entering the path of dharma.

There's more: letters, cartoons, Quotes & Quips and one young man's journey into the depths of Hinduism.



This Website Takes You Closer to Gita


Posted on 2018/3/19 18:28:00 ( 910 reads )

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INDIA, March 1, 2018 (The Hindu): It is never too late to start learning Srimad Bhagavad Gita. Members of the team that built the website https://gitachanting.wixsite.com/gita believe in this as they add their attempt to numerous prior ones by so many others in bringing Bhagavan Sri Krishna's Kurukshetra upadesa closer to a seeker. What perhaps differentiates this free-online-access, user-friendly effort is the combination of features, in short, RSTU -- Repeat audio at a line-level instead of verse-level, Search Text at a letter-level in 10 scripts, Sandhi resolution between audio and text, create playlists Unique to your requirements. In its web version, indexed search-friendly text is available in Devanagari and eight other national scripts -- Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Gujarati, Bengali, Oriya, Gurmukhi -- in addition to two English transliteration schemes.

"This is by no means the first effort to enable online learning of recitation of the Gita," clarifies Megh Kalyanasundaram, a management professional on a research hiatus and architect of the website. "This is an attempt to complement existing ecosystem of free tools, with RSTU features, for greater ease-of-learning, higher learning effectiveness and deeper, more granular engagement with the text as such," he adds. "It is best learnt directly from a qualified Guru; when that is not possible or even for self-practice, some learners may at times approach websites," adds Megh.



Why My Grandfather Has Been Writing the Same Phrase in Tamil over and over for the Past 31 Years


Posted on 2018/3/19 18:27:49 ( 774 reads )

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INDIA, March 13, 2018 (Scroll, by Rohan Venkataramakrishnan): My grandfather, my thatha, has always been a man of habit. At age 89, he still goes out for a walk every morning. He still counts the exact amount of money in his pocketbook before stepping out and accounts for every anna spent when he returns home. And, for as long as I have known him, he spends a portion of the day in front of a diary writing out the same thing, over and over again. Since 1987, not long after he retired, thatha has been filling up one page a day with the words "Sri Rama Jayam," meaning "Jai Sri Ram" in Tamil--every single day, the same words repeated until they cover the entire page. If he happened to miss a day or more - like the week he spends on the pilgrimage to the shrine at Sabaramalai every year - he makes it up when he is back home. As far as thatha can tell, and knowing my grandfather, this is not something he would say lightly, he has not missed a day in 31 years.

The internet tells you many things about Rama Koti or Likhita Japam, the practice of meditating by writing the name of the divine. You will find blogs that speak of the physical and mental health benefits of writing Sri Rama Jayam. If someone were to do something with his books after he is gone, thatha says, he would like them donated to a temple. But he reiterates that he did not think of how to dispose of them, and that is not why he wrote Ramajayam all these years. It is not even about Ram. Thatha insists he cannot call himself a Ram bhakt, and is happy to worship at all temples. "Somehow I have done this. It stuck in my head, and I started doing it and I have done it all this time. I can't explain it. It gives me peace of mind, and that is what matters."

More of this account at "source" above.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2018/3/19 18:27:39 ( 1078 reads )

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It is easy to tame the rogue elephant. It is easy to tie the mouth of a bear. It is easy to mount the back of a lion. It is easy to charm poisonous snakes. It is easy to conquer the celestial and the noncelestial realms. It is easy to trek the worlds invisible. It is easy to command the angelic heavens. It is easy to retain youth eternally. It is easy to enter the body of others. It is easy to walk on water and sit in burning fire. It is easy to attain all of the siddhis (yogic powers). But to remain still is very, very difficult indeed.
-- Tayumanavar (1706-1744), Tamil saint, mystic and poet



Indonesia Celebrates Nyepi - A View from Malang, Java


Posted on 2018/3/18 19:54:12 ( 818 reads )

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INDONESIA, March 14, 2018 (Le Petit Journal, translated from French): On March 17, Indonesia will celebrate Nyepi, the day of silence. The day is a holiday throughout the country. This Hindu festival is celebrated in Bali especially, but also in Lombok and in several villages located between Malang and the Bromo volcano. This day of silence marks the beginning of a new year. The Hindu religion in Indonesia follows the Hindu saka calendar, it differs from the Gregorian calendar by about 50 years, so we enter the year 1940. This celebration is the occasion of many ceremonies that take place over several days.

In the Malang region, the villages of Jatirejoso and Karanpandan celebrate this holiday. In these villages half of the population is still today of the Hindu faith. Visiting these villages, the day before Nyepi, it is a party atmosphere that we find. We see everywhere Ogoh-Ogoh, these monsters made of paper and carried on bamboo towers, that aim to scare the evil spirits hoping to make them leave the village. Each district creates an Ogoh-Ogoh, hoping that theirs will be ugliest. They represent evil spirits but also malicious people. It is the children who carry these paper monsters through the village, accompanied by the sounds of drums and villagers. The Ogoh-Ogoh are then deposited in a meadow where they will be burned at night. The next day, Nyepi is the day of silence that aims to make the evil spirits believe that there is no one in the village so that they will leave the place in order to start a new year.



The Ashes of Albert Allemele Scattered in the Ganges


Posted on 2018/3/18 19:54:01 ( 597 reads )

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BASSE-POINTE, MARTINIQUE, March 13, 2018 (France-Antilles, translated from French): Albert Allemele was one of the great vatialou (master of the sacred) of Martinique. The grandson of indentured workers from South India, Albert Allemele was a great connoisseur of Hindu ceremonies. Nearly a year after his death and according to his last wish, his ashes were scattered in the sacred waters of the Ganges, India. Around the funerary urn, a prayer ceremony was held in the presence of a Swami, children and relatives. Three of his children, accompanied by cousins and friends, recently traveled to India, to the city of Varanasi, to disperse his ashes in the Ganges. "According to Hinduism, whoever dies in Varanasi and whose ashes are thrown into the Ganges, is assured of being delivered from the cycle of reincarnations and thus reach Paradise," says his daughter.

"His life was India," says Celine, one of Albert Allemele's daughters." In 1994, my father went there. That trip had touched him a lot." His role at festivals was to recite in Tamil the sacred texts, sing, dance and play tapou karin [rhythm on a Tamil frame drum]. When he passed away on March 13, 2017, at the age of 89, the Indian community of Martinique paid tribute to him by organizing a Hindu vigil at the community center in Basse-Pointe.



Do Prison Inmates Have a Right to Vegetarian Meals?


Posted on 2018/3/18 19:53:51 ( 612 reads )

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UNITED STATES, April 2001 (Vegetarian Journal): There are many issues surrounding the availability of vegetarian food in prison, and there is much variety in the way different prison systems have addressed these issues. While some prisoners are given limited rights to receive certain diets, including those prisoners with medical conditions and those of certain religious denominations, there are many factors that play a role in a prison's decision of whether to provide vegetarian food. Prisons are constantly struggling to provide nutritious meals to thousands of prisoners at the lowest cost possible. To keep costs low, uniform meals are essential. This is the main excuse that prisons use for denying requests for vegetarian or vegan meals. One potential roadblock to getting vegetarian food in prison is the prison dietitian. While most prison dietitians are likely to be knowledgeable about vegetarian and vegan diets, some may go so far as to say that a vegetarian diet is unhealthy and could cause nutritional problems in a prison setting.

Broad definitions of religion are analogous to the argument that ethical veganism should either be recognized as a religion, or alternatively, protected as a class in the same way that religion is. As the Court set out in Welsh, 398 US at 340, "[I]f an individual deeply and sincerely holds beliefs that are purely ethical or moral in source and content but that nevertheless impose upon him a duty of conscience to refrain from participating in any war at any time, those beliefs certainly occupy in the life of that individual a place parallel to that filled by God in traditionally religious persons." By analogy, an inmate who sincerely holds a strong ethical or moral belief in refraining from consuming meat, or any animal by-products, could be said to hold beliefs occupying a place parallel to that filled by God in religious persons, and, therefore, the inmate should be entitled to an alternative to meat and animal by-products.

Much more at "source" above.




Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2018/3/18 19:53:29 ( 565 reads )

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I know you are busy. At least, your mind has made you think so. Even so, can you not find some time to invite God, your Supreme Guest, to bless you--you and your life--with His all-illumining and all-fulfilling presence?
-- Sri Chinmoy, renowned spiritual leader, author, poet, artist, musician and athlete



Indian Consulates to Propagate Indian Culture


Posted on 2018/3/12 14:30:18 ( 1058 reads )

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WASHINGTON DC, March 11, 2018 (The Hindu): In a new initiative by the Narendra Modi government, a band of Indian officials posted to three missions in the U.S. now promote Indian culture as part of diplomacy. Designated as a Yoga and Indian Culture Acharya, the three officials in Washington DC, New York and Chicago are experts in Sanskrit, yoga and Hindu scriptures. They were selected by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations through a special recruitment process and have diplomatic passports and offices in Indian missions. Their appointment is initially for two years, extendable by two more. And all three have the mandate to travel around the country and organise events that promote Indian culture.

These Acharyas feel that yoga is being commercialized and, in the process, its spiritual dimension gets lost. They say the Indian government, through this initiative, seeks to to teach yoga in its entirety. "Yoga is about using all that you have -- body is only part of it -- for union with the God. Asanas, the exercise part of it spread fast... but yogvidya is about the person's physical, spiritual, intellectual, social, psychological, and economic progress... We have to spread these values. That is our sacred mission," says Ms. Prerna Arya, who serves as the Indian consulate in Chicago.

More at "source".



At Vadapalani Temple, Priests Get Trained in Nuances of Agamas


Posted on 2018/3/12 14:30:03 ( 961 reads )

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CHENNAI, INDIA, March 12, 2018 (The Hindu): Kapali Vaidhyanatha Gurukkal, an Agama expert and an archaka at the Sri Kapaleeswarar Temple is conducting a course for 50 priests archakas attached to other Saivaite temples. Based on a curriculum approved by the Department, he fits in astrology, Agamas, tales from the puranas, slokas used in various rituals, and rules pertaining to repair and renovation of temples. "We fixed a curriculum for five years where every year, the subjects would change. Last year we taught them about how a temple should be constructed, beginning with the bhumi puja." This year, the focus is on installation of murthis and performing kumbabhishekam, explained an official source in the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2018/3/12 14:29:52 ( 717 reads )

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



Right to Live Includes Right to Die: Supreme Court


Posted on 2018/3/11 18:17:33 ( 735 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 10, 2018 (Times of India): In a milestone verdict expanding the right to life to incorporate the right to die with dignity, the Supreme Court on Friday legalized passive euthanasia and approved a living will to provide terminally ill patients or those in persistent and incurable vegetative state a dignified exit by refusing medical treatment or life support. The verdict, the latest in a string of boosts for individual freedoms by the apex court, was delivered by a constitution bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A. K. Sikri, A. M. Khanwilkar, D. Y. Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan. It empowers a person of sound mind and health to make a living will specifying that in the event of him/her slipping into a terminal medical condition in future, his/her life should not be prolonged through life support system. The person concerned can also authorise, through the will, any relative or friend to decide in consultation with medical experts when to pull the plug.

Given Indian sensitivities about life and death, testing the legality of the idea posed a complex medical, philosophical, constitutional and religious jigsaw for the bench. Displaying a rare unanimity of thought to weave a common constitutional principle, CJI Misra led his colleagues on the bench to harmonise the inevitable yet opposite facets -- life and death -- and say in unison that "right to die with dignity is an intrinsic facet of right to life guaranteed under Article 21". However, to prevent possible misuse by greedy relatives eyeing the patient's property, the SC provided for stringent guidelines for preparing and giving effect to a living will and administration of passive euthanasia by involving multiple medical boards comprising several experts and even judicial officers.

More at "source" above.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2018/3/11 18:17:22 ( 726 reads )

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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



Bali Considering Internet Shutdown During "Day of Silence"


Posted on 2018/3/10 20:05:50 ( 708 reads )

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BALI, INDONESIA, March 9, 2018 (Indonesia Expat): The Parisada Hindu Dharma Indonesia (PHDI), the country's leading authority on Hinduism, is appealing to authorities to require telecommunications providers to suspend home broadband and 4G internet services from 6am on March 17, which is the Balinese Hindu New Year and "Day of Silence," known as Nyepi. The group is is calling on the country's Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (Kominfo) to implement the shutdown. Some of Bali's highest ranking officials have already thrown their support behind the anti-internet appeal including the island's governor and top police inspector.

The idea behind the proposed internet ban is to reportedly discourage too much selfie taking among tourists and residents who don't adhere to the holiday, said PHDI Chairman, Gusti Ngurah Sudiana. "Therefore we have asked that the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology stop internet service in the Bali area only during Nyepi." Similar calls were made last year, but internet and 4G services remained switched on. The island's major telecom providers have said they will comply with any decree issued by the government to suspend services but no official order has yet been issued.

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