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Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2018/10/3 12:15:29 ( 763 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 ( 827 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 ( 766 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.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2018/9/30 10:45:53 ( 607 reads )

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Alas for me, I cannot rest. This floating bubble, Earth. Its hollow form, its hollow name, its hollow death and birth. For me is nothing. How I long to get beyond the crust of name and form! Ah, open the gates; to me they open must. Open the gates of Light, O Mother to me, Thy tired son. I long, oh, long to return home! Mother, my play is done. My play is done.
-- Swami Vivekananda



Hawaii and Goa, India, Sign Agreement to Enter Into Sister-State Relationship


Posted on 2018/9/29 12:10:00 ( 696 reads )

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HONOLULU, HAWAII, September 28, 2018 (Big Island Now): Gov. David Y. Ige, signed a historic agreement with delegates from Goa, a state in India, which is Hawai'i's first sister-state relationship with a jurisdiction in India. The Director of Art and Culture, Gurudas Pilarnekar, signed on behalf of the Goa state government. The signing ceremony took place at Washington Place. The agreement will promote trade, tourism, information technology; and exchange of health and wellness, agriculture, culinary art, education and cultural programs between private sector organizations and universities of both states.

"The U.S.-India partnership is an important one, and the Hawai'i-Goa relationship will help strengthen this bond," said Gov. Ige. "We welcome people from Goa to invest in Hawai'i's economy, and share their traditional and cultural values with us." U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard met with the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, and political leaders of Goa during her visit to India in December 2014. Congresswoman Gabbard said, "I shared my vision with the Goa representatives to establish a sister-state relationship between Goa and Hawai'i. I am overjoyed that this relationship is coming to fruition for both Hawai'i and Goa are exemplary places of peace and tranquility."

Dr. Raj Kumar, President of Indian-America Friendship Council (Hawai'i chapter) and Gandhi International Institute for Peace, State Sen. Brian Taniguchi and State Rep. Ken Ito were also instrumental in passing legislation for this relationship. Dr. Kumar stated, "This historic agreement represents a mutual commitment to begin a fruitful relationship that will promote the economic, educational and cultural development of two great states. This affiliation will unite the people of Goa and Hawai'i."

"Our new sister-state relationship allows Hawai'i to advance business, academic and cultural areas, and engage with the world to increase economic opportunities for Hawai'i," said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria. Sen. Taniguchi noted that, "India is not only the world's largest democracy, but it also has one of the fastest growing economies. Educational and intellectual exchanges between our schools and institutions of higher learning can greatly benefit from this relationship." Rep. Ito added, "I look forward to Hawai'i developing more business and cultural linkages with Goa, India, for the benefit of both. India's rich heritage fits well in the fabric of Hawai'i's rich mix of cultures." "Hawai'i's sister-state relationship with Goa, India, serves to facilitate greater foreign investment between the two states and increased opportunities for mutual economic, educational, tourism and cultural exchanges," said Chamber of Commerce Hawai'i president & CEO Sherry Menor-McNamara. "We look forward to exploring the possibilities of this new collaborative agreement."



Bali to Restrict Tourist Access in Temples Following Incidents of Disrespectful Behaviour


Posted on 2018/9/29 12:09:22 ( 846 reads )

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BALI, INDONESIA, September 27, 2018 (Straits Times): The Bali administration is preparing a new regulation that will ban tourists from entering the main and most sacred parts of temples across the island after a series of incidents where boorish tourists desecrated Bali's holy sites. Balinese Hindus were shocked when a photo of a foreigner sitting on top of a shrine at the Luhur Batukaru temple in Tabanan regency went viral on Instagram and spread to other social media platforms earlier this month. The tourist was identified as 36-year-old Tony Kristian Jarvi from Finland after he went to Sanur police station following a motorcycle accident, and he confessed that it was he in the photo. The Sanur police later took him to the Penebel police station, and he was asked to perform a cleansing ritual at the temple.

In April, a European tourist posted a photo on his Instagram account of him sitting on top of a shrine in the Besakih temple. In July, two foreign tourists posted a similar photo of a temple in Nusa Lembongan. Following Mr. Jarvi's incident, the Bali administration said it was drafting a regulation to prevent a similar incident from happening, while still ensuring tourists can visit the temples. Bali Tourism Agency head Anak Agung Gede Yuniartha Putra said the local administration was discussing the regulation, saying it would ban tourists from entering the temple's sacred area but still allow them to enter the outer courtyard of the temples. Hindu temples are divided into three areas - nista mandala (outer courtyard), madya mandala (middle courtyard) and utama mandala (inner sanctum), with the last two considered to be sacred areas, as they are used when Hindus perform their prayers.



India's First Vedic Research Centre to Be Set Up at Banaras Hindu University


Posted on 2018/9/29 12:09:09 ( 712 reads )

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INDIA, September 22, 2018 (Swarajyamag): The foundation for the country's first Centre for Vedic Research was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday (18 September) at Banaras Hindu University, Times of India has reported. The Prime Minister launched this centre during his two-day visit to his home constituency on the occasion of his birthday. The centre as proposed will explore forgotten ancient Vedic texts and conduct multidisciplinary research. Envisioned to study and popularise the scientific approach and vision of the Vedic sciences and seers, the Centre will also collect Vedic manuscripts for publication.

"In the ancient period, the Indian wisdom and knowledge tradition developed many branches which may be seen in the form of voluminous literature on various subjects, like the science of rituals, agamas, dramaturgy, music, architecture, astrology, astronomy, cosmology, medicine, surgery, military strategy, yoga, mathematics, metallurgy, etc. The centre will focus on all these aspects," said Head of Veda Department Upendra Kumar Tripathi, as quoted. The centre will host a state-of-the-art research laboratory to study the effect of Vedic mantras, rituals, yoga and meditation on the human mind through neuro-psychological studies.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2018/9/29 12:08:42 ( 654 reads )

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Just as, when we touch a live wire, the electric force infuses itself into our body, when we deeply meditate on God the power of the whole universe seeks entry into our personality.
-- Swami Krishnananda, General Secretary, Divine Life Society



Amarnath Yatra Ends Peacefully for 285,000 Pilgrims


Posted on 2018/9/23 6:30:37 ( 867 reads )

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SRINAGAR, August 26, 2018 (Tribune India): The two-month-long Amarnath yatra concluded peacefully on Sunday with the holding of prayers at the cave shrine of Lord Shiva nestled in the South Kashmir Himalayas at an altitude of around 13,500 feet. Puja was held when the Chhari Mubarak (holy mace) depicting Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati arrived at the shrine. "We prayed for peace in the state as well as the country," said custodian of the holy mace Mahant Deependra Giri, who led a group of sadhus to the cave shrine. The Amarnath yatra, which is held along the Pahalgam and Baltal routes, concludes when the mace arrives at the cave shrine on Shravan Purnima.

According to Bhupinder Kumar, Additional Chief Executive Officer of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), 285,006 yatris paid obeisance at the cave shrine. Last year, 260,000 pilgrims had performed the yatra. This year, the annual yatra had begun on June 28 amid security concerns even as inclement weather conditions posed a bigger challenge, causing frequent suspensions in the pilgrimage. During the first two weeks, several pilgrims had to go back without undertaking the yatra despite reaching the base camps. However, weather conditions improved later and the yatra too was conducted smoothly.



Bali to Bring in New rules for Visiting Temples after Decline in Quality of Tourists


Posted on 2018/9/23 6:30:24 ( 995 reads )

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BALI, INDONESIA, September 21, 2018 (The Guardian): Authorities in Bali have vowed to stop Westerners in bikinis posing in front of sacred temples as they lament a decline in the "quality of tourists" visiting the island. Bali deputy governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Sukawati, known as Cok Ace, said the authorities had been concerned by a recent rise in disrespectful behaviour by tourists visiting Bali's hundreds of sacred Hindu sites. "This is the government's attempt to maintain the Pura [temples]," said Cok Ace at a regional council meeting this week. "The temples need to be preserved since they are the spirits of Bali's cultures and customs." He said in the coming weeks they would be re-evaluating the system that allows tourists to visit temples unaccompanied.

Bali has become an increasingly popular tourist destination over the past few years, attracting over five million visitors in 2017, with many drawn to the island for its unique Hindu temples. The government crackdown was prompted by a photo of a Danish tourist sitting on Linggih Padmasana shrine at Puhur Luhur Batukaru temple, which went viral. The shrine, which is shaped like a throne on top of a pillar, is reserved for the most important Deity in Balinese Hinduism, known as the supreme God and to sit on it is seen as highly offensive to the faith. Indonesia has strict blasphemy laws and the Indonesian Hindu Religious Council said they have instructed the police to investigate the Linggih Padmasana shrine incident and find the tourist responsible.



Dilip Amin Responds to Inaccurate News Reports on His World Hindu Congress Presentation on Interfaith Marriage


Posted on 2018/9/23 6:30:11 ( 903 reads )

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USA, September 23, 2018: Dilip Amin posted the YouTube video at source above entitled "Fake News on Interfaith Marriages" He writes: "ABP News has made many errors covering my poster at the World Hindu Congress, Chicago and concluded based on statements that I did not make. Now all other media are taking it as gospel and spinning the story. Even Vice President of India is questioned about my poster at the WHC2018. With all these negative publicity, the WHC withdrew my poster. I am guilty as charged, without a trial! Here I want to clarify my position. If you feel there is value to my message, please forward this video today to all your friends via e-mail, Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter. We need to speak out against the media giants when there is injustice. You will also help expose religious exclusivist ideologies of some religious institutions and governments and will help empower today's youths."



Hinduism Today's October/November/December Issue Now On-Line!


Posted on 2018/9/23 6:29:57 ( 749 reads )

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KAUAI, HAWAII, September 22, 2018 (HPI): 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 this issue's Publisher's Desk editorial, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami addresses how we can enhance the peace and contentment in our life. He gives a number of effective techniques for the individual and for members of the household. Especially useful are his guidelines for a reduced-stressed existence achieved by living in the eternal now, and not bringing stress and contention into the home.

Our Insight section is titled "Gurudeva's Spiritual Toolbox." In 16 pages it address 21 of life's most challenging issues, and then offers Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami's insights. If you ever asked yourself questions like "Why am I so burdened by my karma?" or "Where do I find the time for spiritual practices?" you will want to read the entire article.

Our feature story is all about health. Not medicine, but staying healthy using ayurveda. Our senior Indian correspondent and his wife take us along for their days at a topnotch ayurvedic clinic in Mumbai, where we meet Dr. Smiti Naram and her team. This is a first-person, day-by-day exploration that reveals exactly how ayurvedic healers work and how challenging changing our lifestyle can be. Challenging but effective.

At one of humanities largest annual pilgrimages, Thaipusam at Batu Caves in Malaysia. Alexandra Radu is enamored of this spiritual happening and she shares that love in her story. The voices of pilgrims are particularly moving, telling of their fasting, their prayers and sadhanas, their anticipation of the difficult kavadi sacrifice that is the hallmark of this festival.

Arvind Gopal lives in Kerala, the son of a retired Hinduism Today journalist. In the story "My Trek to Siva's Magical Abodes" he journeys throughout India to fifteen ancient temples. Again and again he is amazed, and amazes us, with the grandeur of these sacred homes to God Siva. They are massive, ornate beyond imagination, full of spiritual energy and a reminder of what is possible in building sacred spaces. Happily, Arvind is also a great photographer, so we are privy to his visual discoveries. When we realized that we could only include a couple dozen, we decided to have a giant slideshow in the online edition, so you can explore more images there.

Other stories include the amazing Bharatanatyam skills of Puruvian dancer Ananga Manjari Malatesta Gonzalez, our Hindu of the Year (Sivasri Thangam Bhattar) and a rousing call by Maria Wirth to be proud of Hindutva, our Hinduness.

This edition of Global Dharma reports on the massive youth conference held by the Swaminarayan devotees in Atlanta, Georgia, a creative group making biodegradable papers with elephant poop, a protest against Malaysia's proposal to turn Hindu temples over to a management board--and more.

As always, there are cartoons, Quotes and Quips and letters from our readers.





Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2018/9/23 6:29:44 ( 651 reads )

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"Sweet are the sounds of the flute and the lute," say those who have not heard the prattle of their own children.
-- Tirukkural



Maharashtra Rolls Out Red Carpet for Lord Ganesha


Posted on 2018/9/21 7:13:44 ( 635 reads )

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MUMBAI, INDIA, September 13, 2018 (Daiji World): Maharashtra rolled out the red carpet for the popular elephant-headed God, Lord Ganesha as the state immersed itself in the 10-day long and biggest public festival on Thursday. Around one million gigantic, big and small statues of Lord Ganesha have reached the homes of the commoner people, celebrities, industrialists and politicians, housing complexes, waadis/waadas, private and public companies, besides the huge or gigantic ones at public marquees organized by Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandals in Mumbai and all over the state.

In Mumbai, an estimated 300,000-plus big and small statues of Lord Ganesha will be installed at private and public venues, and around a million across Maharashtra, said Naresh Dahibhavkar, President of the Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS). Mumbai has nearly 11,500 big-ticket Ganeshotsav associations with budgets of several crores of rupees. Celebrations started in cities like Pune, Nagpur, Nashik, Kolhapur and coastal Konkan, where Ganeshotsav is the most important festival in the annual calendar, surpassing even Diwali.



Hindu Ceremony Sees Lord Ganesha Statues Immersed in Sea at Clacton


Posted on 2018/9/21 7:13:31 ( 637 reads )

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UNITED KINGDOM, September 17, 2018 (Gazette): Hundreds of worshippers descended upon Clacton's West Beach for a special Hindu ceremony. The ceremony of Ganesha Visarjan saw final offerings made to Lord Ganesha before two statues were taken out into the sea and immersed in the water on Sunday. It brought an end to ten days of prayer and celebration. The annual event was made up of two London temples and attracted a large crowd of onlookers. Mick Skeels, Tendring Council's cabinet member for leisure and tourism, attended the event. He said: "As always I was delighted to welcome the temples to Clacton, and along with some of our Beach Patrol members I received a blessing before the statues were immersed into the sea.

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