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Tirupati Temple's Non-Hindu Employees--Additional Report

Posted on 2018/1/13 18:06:43 ( 803 reads )


INDIA, January 11, 2018 (First Post): The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), an autonomous government body which looks after the famous hill shrine of Lord Venkateshwara in Tirumala, has issued a notice to its 44 non-Hindu employees and asked the state government to redeploy them in other departments, according to several media reports. The notice seeks an explanation from the employees as to how they came into the Tirumala temple board's service as the rules bar non-Hindus from working there.

The issue came to light after a local TV channel conducted a sting operation, wherein a TTD employee was seen using her official car to go to church on Sundays. In addition to their redeployment, the Tirumala temple board has also decided to make it mandatory for the employees to sport the Thiru Namam (a traditional tilak or vermilion pattern streaked across one's forehead; it is usually a mark of belief in Hinduism). However, this is not the first time a controversy concerning religion erupted in Andhra Pradesh temples. In fact, according to the The Times of India, it was in the wake of allegations that evangelist activities were being conducted in temple towns, the government of previously united Andhra Pradesh had brought in the an ordinance banning propagation of other religions in certain places of worship, including Tirumala. In Andhra Pradesh, in all 20 temples are notified in the list of places where propagating and practicing other religions have been banned. Ten out of these are controlled by the TTD, according to the report.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2018/1/13 18:06:31 ( 643 reads )


Make me silent, O God, that I may eloquently converse with Thee.
-- Paramahamsa Yogananda (1893-1952), founder of Self Realization Fellowship

Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam Issues Notice to Transfer Non-Hindu Employees

Posted on 2018/1/11 20:09:09 ( 721 reads )


INDIA, January 7, 2018 (India Today): The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) which manages the famous hill shrine of Lord Venkateshwara in Tirumala of Andhra Pradesh has issued notices to 44 non-Hindu employees asking them to submit their explanation [of how they as non-Hindus got hired] before removing them. Till the year 1989, there was no restriction on recruitment process in TTD, but between 1989 to 2007, the recruitment of persons professing Hindu religion was applied only to non-teaching category. However, after the amended rule of 2007, non-Hindus can't be employed in either teaching or non-teaching categories of TTD.

The rationale behind this amendment is that Tirumala Tirupati does not allow anyone from alien faith inside the temple without making a signed declaration that they believe in the deity Lord Balaji. Recently, the TTD vigilance and enforcement head Ake Ravi Krishna submitted a report which found that 44 non-Hindu men and women were working in different wings of the temple. Now TTD is planning to deploy them to other Andhra Pradesh government departments in the equivalent cadres and scales.

Lawsuit Accuses Kendriya Vidyalaya of Propagating Hinduism by Forcing Recital of Hindu Prayers

Posted on 2018/1/11 20:08:59 ( 706 reads )


INDIA, January, 20, 2018 (Outlook India): The Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Centre over a plea that questions the compulsory recital of Hindi and Sanskrit prayers with folded hands and closed eyes in state-run Kendriya Vidyalaya schools. The Public Interest Litigation filed by an advocate alleges that school prayers in the Kendriya Vidyalaya schools propagate Hinduism, which should not be allowed as they are run by the government bound by the Constitution, which is secular. "All the students irrespective of their faith and belief, have to compulsorily attend the morning assembly and recite the prayer," the petitioner said.

The apex court has now sent a notice to the Central govt, seeking to know if the 1,094 schools that are run by the Central Government promote a particular religion and violate the constitution. The constitution of India, it may be noted, allows the citizens to follow religion of one's choice or remain an atheist. Article 28 of the Constitution says "No religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out of State funds." "It is a very important constitutional issue," The Hindustan Times quoted a bench headed by Justice RF Nariman as saying.

HPI Note: It should be pointed out that Christian schools and Muslim madrasas can receive Indian government funding but are free to propogate their respective religions. See, for example, http://www.indiaspend.com/making-sens ... -1000-cr-in-7-years-94183.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2018/1/11 20:08:20 ( 698 reads )


Before you start some work, always ask yourself three questions: Why am I doing it? What might the results be? Can I be successful? Only when you think deeply and find satisfactory answers to these questions, then proceed.
-- Chanakya (350-275 bce), Indian politician, strategist and writer

Hinduism Today Seeks Input and Assistance for Coverage of Tiruvannamalai Ashrams and Girivalam

Posted on 2018/1/7 18:12:33 ( 940 reads )

KAUAI, HAWAII, January 7, 2018 (Hinduism Today): Hinduism Today is planning a feature story on the ashrams and monthly Girivalam around the sacred Arunachalam hill made famous by Ramana Maharishi. Correspondent Rajiv Malik and our photographer will be visiting the most famous ashrams, including Sri Ramana Ashram, Seshadri Swamigal Ashram, Yogi RamSurathkumar Asram, Esanya Madam, and Sri Thiruchy Maha Swamigal's branch of Kailash Ashram, which will be assisting with our coverage. There are at least two dozen more, and we'd like reader's recommendations and contact information for those they feel represent the area's true spirit of religious sadhana as exemplified by Ramana Maharishi. As well, if anyone reading HPI is actually participating in the girivalam for January 31st, which is also Thai Pusam, kindly get in touch with us. There is not much time left for us to prepare for Rajiv's visit. Contact Acharya Arumuganathaswami, Managing Editor, ar@hindu.org.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2018/1/7 18:12:22 ( 847 reads )


I loved my motherland dearly before I went to America and England. After my return, every particle of dust of this land seems sacred to me.
-- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)

Magh Mela Festival Commences

Posted on 2018/1/5 19:20:21 ( 899 reads )


ALLAHABAD, INDIA, January 3, 2017 (Religion News Service): The Magh Mela is an annual gathering of Hindu pilgrims in Allahabad, India, on the banks of the Triveni Sangam -- the confluence of three rivers considered holy by Hindus: the Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims make the journey over the 45-day period of Magh Mela, which translates from Hindi to mean "festival of the 11th month." Several colorful photos at "source" above.

A Neuroscientist Explores the "Sanskrit Effect"

Posted on 2018/1/5 19:20:11 ( 1043 reads )


UNITED STATES, January 2, 2017 (Scientific American by James Hartzell): I spent many years studying and translating Sanskrit, and became fascinated by its apparent impact on mind and memory. In India's ancient learning methods textual memorization is standard: traditional scholars, or pandits, master many different types of Sanskrit poetry and prose texts; and the tradition holds that exactly memorizing and reciting the ancient words and phrases, known as mantras, enhances both memory and thinking.I had also noticed that the more Sanskrit I studied and translated, the better my verbal memory seemed to become. Fellow students and teachers often remarked on my ability to exactly repeat lecturers' own sentences when asking them questions in class. Other translators of Sanskrit told me of similar cognitive shifts. So I was curious: was there actually a language-specific "Sanskrit effect" as claimed by the tradition?

When I entered the cognitive neuroscience doctoral program at the University of Trento (Italy) in 2011, I had the opportunity to start investigating this question. India's Vedic Sanskrit pandits train for years to orally memorize and exactly recite 3,000-year old oral texts ranging from 40,000 to over 100,000 words. We wanted to find out how such intense verbal memory training affects the physical structure of their brains. Through the India-Trento Partnership for Advanced Research (ITPAR), we recruited professional Vedic pandits from several government-sponsored schools in the Delhi region; then we used structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at India's National Brain Research Center to scan the brains of pandits and controls matched for age, gender, handedness, eye-dominance and multilingualism. What we discovered from the structural MRI scanning was remarkable. Numerous regions in the brains of the pandits were dramatically larger than those of controls, with over 10 percent more grey matter across both cerebral hemispheres, and substantial increases in cortical thickness.

Most interestingly for verbal memory was that the pandits' right hippocampus--a region of the brain that plays a vital role in both short and long-term memory--had more gray matter than controls across nearly 75 percent of this subcortical structure. Our brains have two hippocampi, one on the left and one on the right, and without them we cannot record any new information. Many memory functions are shared by the two hippocampi. The right is, however, more specialized for patterns, whether sound, spatial or visual, so the large gray matter increases we found in the pandits' right hippocampus made sense: accurate recitation requires highly precise sound pattern encoding and reproduction. The pandits also showed substantially thickening of right temporal cortex regions that are associated with speech prosody and voice identity.

Read more at "source" above.

HPI Note: Similar research has been done on London taxi cab drivers who are required to memorize the city's complex maze of streets, a task which takes three years for central London, roughly a circle 12 miles in diameter. Enlargement in the posterior hippocampus was observed in these drivers. See: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/677048.stm

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2018/1/5 19:20:00 ( 826 reads )


A person's growth begins with dissatisfaction. Not content with the world, he seeks satisfaction by prayers to God; this purifies his mind and he longs to know God more than to satisfy his carnal desires. Then God's grace begins to manifest. God will take the form of a guru and appear to the devotee, to teach him Truth so that his mind gains strength and is able to turn inward. With meditation the mind is purified yet further, and eventually remains still without the least ripple. That stillness is the Self. The guru is both exterior and interior: from the exterior he gives a push to the mind to turn inward and from the interior he pulls the mind towards the Self. That is grace. See? There is no difference between God, guru and Self.
-- Ramana Maharishi (1879-1950), South Indian mystic

Hindu Gods of Japan

Posted on 2017/12/30 19:44:53 ( 1136 reads )


JAPAN, December 19, 2017 (YouTube, by Benoy Behi): More than 80% of Japanese Gods are originally from India. Buddhists in Japan have been praying to Hindu Gods as well for many centuries. What seems to be hidden in plain site are the Hindu Gods being worshipped under aliases. Deities such as Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesha & Kubera have melted into Japanese culture with different names and characteristics. One exception seems to be Ganesha, who is called Kangiten, who continues to hold His power of removing obstacles. Short video at "source".

Carrying Capacity of U.S. Agricultural Land: Ten Diet Scenarios

Posted on 2017/12/30 19:44:43 ( 933 reads )


UNITED STATES, December 29, 2017 (Elementa Science): Strategies for environmental sustainability and global food security must account for dietary change. Using a biophysical simulation model we calculated human carrying capacity under ten diet scenarios. The scenarios included two reference diets based on actual consumption and eight "Healthy Diet" scenarios that complied with nutritional recommendations but varied in the level of meat content. We considered the U.S. agricultural land base and accounted for losses, processing conversions, livestock feed needs, suitability of land for crops or grazing, and land productivity. Carrying capacity varied from 402 to 807 million persons; 1.3 to 2.6 times the 2010 U.S. population. Carrying capacity was generally higher for scenarios with less meat and highest for the lacto-vegetarian diet. However, the carrying capacity of the vegan diet was lower than two of the healthy omnivore diet scenarios.

Dietary change has been proposed as part of a strategy to ensure future food security for a growing world population while addressing environmental challenges associated with agricultural production. The findings of this study support the idea that dietary change towards plant-based diets has significant potential to reduce the agricultural land requirements of U.S. consumers and increase the carrying capacity of U.S. agricultural resources. Future work is needed to determine the best way to share this productive bounty with the rest of the world, but potential for dietary change to influence land requirements and carrying capacity is clear. Diet composition matters. Indeed, we demonstrate that under a range of land use conditions, diets with low to modest amounts of meat outperform a vegan diet, and vegetarian diets including dairy products performed best overall.

Much more of this study at "source" above.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2017/12/30 19:44:32 ( 849 reads )


G-o-d, d-o-g. both the same. Top and bottom. See God in everything. You must do that!
-- Satguru Yogaswami (1872-1964), Sri Lanka's revered contemporary mystic

Andhra Pradesh Government Bans January 1 "New Years" Decorations at Temples

Posted on 2017/12/29 10:45:17 ( 894 reads )


VIJAYAWADA, INDIA, December 23, 2017 (Deccan Chronicle): : The Andhra Pradesh endowment department put out a circular banning New Year darshan end decorations across temples in the state from 2018. It said that only Ugadi should be celebrated as the New Year and that the temples should replace the English calendar. Ugadi, this year falling on March 18, is the first day of the lunisolar calendar month of Chaitra and observed as New Years day in Maharaashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana states. Priests and endowment officers used to conduct special programs on January 1 across temples in the state.

The first of its kind circular from Hindu Dharma Prachara Trust of endowments department secretary Dr. Chilakapati Vijaya Raghava Charyulu said the Christian era (Gregorian calendar) was being followed even after independence from the English 70 years ago. As New Year celebrations were not Hindu Vedic culture and English culture still prevailed in Hindu temples where devotees were wished with New Year greetings and lakhs were spent on decorations in temples, the custom had to be stopped.

Despite Conversion Ban, Christianity Spreads in Nepal

Posted on 2017/12/29 10:45:06 ( 891 reads )


RICHET, NEPAL, December 23, 2017 (eNCA): More than two years after an earthquake flattened the Nepali village of Richet, most residents are still living in makeshift shelters. Only the church has been rebuilt -- paid for by Christian missionaries whose influence in the mainly Hindu country is growing. Despite strict laws that ban religious conversion, Christianity has spread rapidly over the last two decades in Nepal, where many see it as an escape from the deeply entrenched caste system. The Himalayan nation was ruled by a Hindu monarchy for over two centuries until the overthrow of the monarchy in 2008 and also has a strong Buddhist tradition, particularly in the mountainous north. But the remote Lapa Valley where Richet is located is now predominantly Christian.

Prashant Tamang, a community leader in the nearby village of Borang that has clung to its Buddhist heritage, said the selective distribution of aid had created tensions between communities. "Dispute arises sometimes when Christians pressure poor people to adopt their religion by helping them in the time of need," he told AFP. But a new criminal code that will come into force in August 2018 increases the potential jail sentence from three to five years and states that foreigners sentenced for the crime will be deported after serving their time. According to the 2011 government census, Christians make up less than 1.5 percent of Nepal's population of 29 million.

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