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Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2010/3/5 8:00:01 ( 1017 reads )

Source: www.hinduismtoday.com

"I think it would be a good idea."
    Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) when asked what he thought of Western civilization



Over 3 Million Women Gather For Attukal Pongala


Posted on 2010/3/4 8:04:01 ( 975 reads )

Source: sify.com

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, INDIA, February 28, 2010: More than three million women devotees lit earthen kilns to cook rice and jaggery as offering for the presiding deity of Attukal Bhagavathi temple here Sunday on the occasion of Pongala festival.

The ritual started after the chief priest lit a hearth with fire brought from the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. The devotees carrying bricks, firewood, rice, jaggery and coconut then lit up their stoves with the sacred fire to cook the offering for the Attukal Bhagavathi deity, believed to be an incarnation of Kannaki, the central character of the Tamil epic "Silappathikaaram".

The offering is made on the penultimate day of the 10-day-long Attukal Pongala festival, which is often referred to as the equivalent of the Sabarimala pilgrimage for women.

The Guinness Book of Records listed the festival as the world's largest annual gathering of women in 1997, when 1.5 million devotees converged here Feb 23.



The Young Vegetarian Vanguard


Posted on 2010/3/4 8:03:01 ( 927 reads )

Source: www2.macleans.ca

VANCOUVER, February 22, 2010: Two years ago in Vancouver, Carolye Kuchta's six-year-old daughter Celia declared that she would no longer eat meat; her son had once made the same adamant pronouncement. Kuchta, a meat-eater, would never force her kids to eat meat but admits she had misgivings about some imagined potential health risks of a meatless diet, and that switching to accommodate her kids' food preferences was "pretty inconvenient at first."

"Of course, as parents, we think it's just a fad--like when Maxwell wanted to sleep on the floor in a tent forever, and that lasted a week." Maxwell's vegetarianism lasted six months. Celia was a different story. "She announced at the table one day that she was vegetarian, and that was it, there's been no going back." Celia turns nine in March. "She feels it's her mission in life to help the planet and protect nature."

To help make meal preparation easier, Kuchta has educated her daughter on the difference between a protein and a carbohydrate. "I can say to her, 'Maxwell and I are going to eat this. I would like you to look in the fridge or the cupboard and find a protein for yourself.'



The New Vegetarians' New Chef


Posted on 2010/3/4 8:02:01 ( 1073 reads )

Source: www.philly.com

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, February 18, 2010: After viewing some disturbing PETA videos, Kelsey O'Callaghan found herself thinking, really thinking, about where meat comes from. While not completely vegan, O'Callaghan has fully embraced vegetarianism.

Miffed that "there isn't even a vegetarian chef on the tv's Food Network," O'Callaghan figured she'd get a jump on her career, and The Veggie Chef (www.theveggiechef.net) was born.

"I sort of made my own show," said the eighth-grader at Calvary Christian Academy. What started as a blog and Web site for healthy veggie eaters and cooks became a cooking "show" on YouTube, recipe demos starring, produced and edited by O'Callaghan, a two-day process she does in her room at home.

"I just didn't feel comfortable eating food that was killed for meat," said the Veggie Chef, whose stance and subsequent spots online earned her PETA's "Compassionate Kid Award."

For more of this article, please click on the link above.



Inaugural Hindu American Seva Charities Summit


Posted on 2010/3/4 8:01:01 ( 1019 reads )

Source: spreadsheets.google.com

LANHAM, MARYLAND, March 1, 2010: The Inaugural Hindu American Seva Charities Summit will take place from March 27-28, 2010 in Lanham, Maryland. Saturday's agenda will begin with a reception and dinner beginning at 6:00 p.m. Invitees include Congressmen and prominent Indian American public officials. Sunday's program will take place at the Sri Siva Vishnu Temple in Lanham and will include keynote speakers and group discussions.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2010/3/4 8:00:01 ( 1016 reads )

Source: www.hinduismtoday.com

I see God walking in every human form. When I meet different people, I say to myself, "God in the form of the saint, God in the form of the sinner, God in the form of the righteous, God in the form of the unrighteous."
    Sri Ramakrishna (1836-1886), guru of Swami Vivekananda



Kashmir Exiles' Dream of Returning Comes Closer


Posted on 2010/3/3 8:03:01 ( 891 reads )

Source: www.independent.co.uk

KASHMIR, INDIA, February 22, 2010: The 400,000 Hindus driven out by Muslim extremists 20 years ago hope talks beginning this week will bring them a step closer to going home.

There are positive signs, for in recent months several long-closed Hindu temples have been restored and reopened, with the help of the Muslim community, and a key Hindu festival was celebrated in Srinagar for the first time 20 years. A Pandit organization in the city hopes to reopen 60 more temples in the valley this year. Muslim leaders admit more needs to be done, both in providing homes and jobs and in building sufficient trust to persuade Hindus to return. Occasions at which the community comes together include the religious festivals it has traditionally marked. On a recent afternoon in the Lajpat Nagar neighborhood of Delhi, scores of Kashmiri Hindus gathered to celebrate perhaps the most important, Shivatri, or the "Night of Shiva".

In January 19, 1990, the Hindus of Kashmir, better known as the Kashmiri Pandits, were forced to flee the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountains in which their families had lived for centuries. In just three months, more than 400,000 Hindus were scattered across India and beyond. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, were killed. Two decades later, fewer than 3,000 Hindus remain and the government of India says it is determined to help those who want to return to the homes they were forced to leave. But the Pandits say the government does little but talk. Even now, many are still enduring lives of quiet misery in inadequate refugee camps.



Sindhi Conversions In Ulhasnagar Raise A Storm


Posted on 2010/3/3 8:02:01 ( 1072 reads )

Source: www.dnaindia.com

MUMBAI, INDIA, February 24, 2010: The close-knit Sindhi community in Ulhasnagar, north-east of Mumbai, is undergoing a social upheaval of sorts. Over the last two years, a sizable number in the township -- primarily created for Sindhis who came in as refugees from Pakistan's Sindh province after partition -- have drifted away from Hinduism and embraced Christianity.

The "conversions" have sent shockwaves among the community elders, specially since Indian Sindhis, weighed down by the scars of partition, are known to be staunch followers of Hinduism. Most of those who are shifting their faith allegiance to Christianity are in their 40s and, in fact, had been devout followers of Hinduism.

Global recession is to blame, say Hindu leaders in the community. Ulhasnagar is largely a business township, full of small scale industries and traders. Balram said, "The Christian missionaries helped the small businessmen rebuild their businesses. Since then, there has been a wave of conversion."

[HPI note: As we have reported previouly, a common conversion tactic is to offer financial support under the guise of newly-formed religious friendships. The money comes from missionary funds allocated to this unethical practice.]



Why You Need To Chew Your Food and Eat Slowly


Posted on 2010/3/3 8:01:01 ( 870 reads )

Source: www.nytimes.com

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, February 22, 2010: For ages, mothers have admonished children at the dinner table to slow down and chew their food. Apparently, they're onto something. Researchers have found evidence that when people wolf their food, they end up consuming more calories than they would at a slower pace. One reason is the effect of quicker ingestion on hormones. In, a study last month, scientists found that when a group of subjects were given an identical serving of ice cream on different occasions, they released more hormones that made them feel full when they ate the portion in 30 minutes instead of 5.

Ultimately, that leads to eating less, as another study published in The Journal of the American Dietetic Association suggested in 2008. In that study, subjects reported greater satiety and consumed roughly 10 percent fewer calories when they ate at a slow pace compared with times when they gobbled down their food. In another study of 3,000 people in The British Medical Journal, those who reported eating quickly and eating until full had triple the risk of being overweight compared with others.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2010/3/3 8:00:01 ( 1088 reads )

Source: www.hinduismtoday.com

What you have is His gift to you, and what you do with what you have is your gift to Him.
   Swami Chinmayananda (1916-1993)



Ganga Sagar Sinking Into the Sea


Posted on 2010/3/3 0:08:31 ( 2005 reads )

Source: http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?263999

SAGAR ISLAND, BENGAL, INDIA, February 19, 2010: The Ganga Sagar Mela, the two-day religious fair which falls in mid-January every year, attracts hundreds of thousands. A vast beach stretching across the silver, sandy southeastern tip of the Sagar island is taken over by a sea of humanity--not just pilgrims and sadhus from across the country but also a jostling crowd of national and international tourists, journalists, photographers, police and politicians. As you watch this sea of bodies, it really is very difficult to imagine it becoming a part of the vast open sea stretching out beyond.

"God will never allow this island to go down under water," thunders Sadhu Baba, standing waist-deep in water in his loincloth, body covered in ash, hands stretching up towards the sky. "The day that happens, the world will be destroyed," he proclaims apocalyptically. If you are standing near him on Sagar Island, looking at the scene unfolding all around, you just might want to believe him.

But Sushil Bhunyan, who lives in a village called Rashpur on Sagar Island took us on a tour of the devastation wreaked by the ocean. With tears in his eyes, he points towards a place in the open sea, and says, "My original hut used to be there." A wide stretch of ground along the sea is dotted with remnants of an entire forest of trees, uprooted by the encroaching waves.

Professor Sugata Hazra, director, School of Oceanographic Studies, Jadavpur University, who's been studying the phenomenon of sinking islands in the deltas off the Bay of Bengal, confirms that Sagar Island is eroding at an alarming rate: "Sagar Island is in danger. Many of its embankments are already under water. It's going down so fast that by 2020 to 2030, it will render hundreds and thousands of its people homeless." The Kapil Muni temple has had to be moved inland three times in the last three decades (the first time was in 1977) because of the encroaching sea. Says temple priest Mahabir Das, who comes from Ayodhya to perform puja during the Mela, "Scientists will have their explanations."

Back in the villages, nightly meetings are on to discuss sea levels and the surges in sea water. Most villagers cannot understand why the sea has got "even more angry", as they put it, in the last two years. In the entire village, only one man, a schoolteacher named Ajit Kumar Das, has heard about global warming. "Bishha ushhnota? (Global warming?)" he asks rhetorically, when you ask him about the rising sea. "They held a conference in Europe. Am I right? Did they come up with a solution? Do they know what the problem is? Tell them to come see the Ganga Sagar Mela next time."



Ancient Traditions Alive, For Now, at the Kadavallur Sri Rama Temple


Posted on 2010/3/3 0:08:07 ( 2005 reads )

Source: http://beta.thehindu.com/arts/article108634.ece

KERALA, INDIA, February 24, 2010: Kadavallur is a small village in Thrissur district of Kerala, where an age old Sri Rama temple shines as a perfect example of all traditions of Kerala. The existence of this temple the 10th-11th century is attested by a Vattezhuthu record inscribed on a stone on the base of the enclosure. Like all temples of Kerala the main tower is of the sloping roof variety with two enclosures and an impressive entrance tower.

The main deity made of stone inside the sanctum is a four-armed Vishnu who is worshipped as Sri Rama as in many other Kerala temples. Encircling the main shrine is a tiled enclosure with an entrance having two wings, one on the South is important as it is called Koothambalam, the one on the other side is where spectators sit. At the rear-end of the Koothambalam is placed a huge pot-drum (Kuda-mizha) on a wooden pedestal. It resembles many such drums portrayed in all the famous murals of the region, figured in the scenes of Dancing Siva, the player being Nandikesvara, who learned dance from Siva.

The temple was also the repository of a rare tradition of Vedic learning. Vedic experts belonging to two schools called Yogams (Thirunavay yogam and Thrissur yogam) meet for ten days annually in the temple, and examine each other by challenging them to recite from any part of the entire Veda which they chose. It is not mere reciting the hymns from memory but splitting the words of the texts in order, without mistake for nearly one hour. After one party finishes the other party challenges them by giving another part. It is a remarkable test called "Anyonyam." A challenge to the command over the whole Vedas and precision with which they learnt them, it is nearly a 4,000-year old tradition that has survived only here in the whole of India.

Unfortunately this unique system now faces extinction. It has not attracted the attention of UNESCO which has taken measures to preserve Buddhist oral chanting. Out of the two surviving schools one has been closed down and the other at Thrissur is managing to survive. However, the Temple remains serene as the worship starts very early morning at 4 a.m. where men, women, and children throng to the temple after early bath in local temple tank to witness the morning puja. In the morning ritual called "Sri Bali" the decorated temple elephant leads the procession to the music of the Panchavadya.



Ganga Sagar Mela Sinking Into the Sea


Posted on 2010/3/3 0:07:38 ( 2083 reads )

Source: http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?263999

SAGAR ISLAND, BENGAL, INDIA, February 19, 2010: The Ganga Sagar Mela, the two-day religious fair which falls in mid-January every year, attracts hundreds of thousands. A vast beach stretching across the silver, sandy southeastern tip of the Sagar island is taken over by a sea of humanity--not just pilgrims and sadhus from across the country but also a jostling crowd of national and international tourists, journalists, photographers, police and politicians. As you watch this sea of bodies, it really is very difficult to imagine it becoming a part of the vast open sea stretching out beyond.

"God will never allow this island to go down under water," thunders Sadhu Baba, standing waist-deep in water in his loincloth, body covered in ash, hands stretching up towards the sky. "The day that happens, the world will be destroyed," he proclaims apocalyptically. If you are standing near him on Sagar Island, looking at the scene unfolding all around, you just might want to believe him.

But Sushil Bhunyan, who lives in a village called Rashpur on Sagar Island took us on a tour of the devastation wreaked by the ocean. With tears in his eyes, he points towards a place in the open sea, and says, "My original hut used to be there." A wide stretch of ground along the sea is dotted with remnants of an entire forest of trees, uprooted by the encroaching waves.

Professor Sugata Hazra, director, School of Oceanographic Studies, Jadavpur University, who's been studying the phenomenon of sinking islands in the deltas off the Bay of Bengal, confirms that Sagar Island is eroding at an alarming rate: "Sagar Island is in danger. Many of its embankments are already under water. It's going down so fast that by 2020 to 2030, it will render hundreds and thousands of its people homeless." The Kapil Muni temple has had to be moved inland three times in the last three decades (the first time was in 1977) because of the encroaching sea. Says temple priest Mahabir Das, who comes from Ayodhya to perform puja during the Mela, "Scientists will have their explanations."

Back in the villages, nightly meetings are on to discuss sea levels and the surges in sea water. Most villagers cannot understand why the sea has got "even more angry", as they put it, in the last two years. In the entire village, only one man, a schoolteacher named Ajit Kumar Das, has heard about global warming. "Bishha ushhnota? (Global warming?)" he asks rhetorically, when you ask him about the rising sea. "They held a conference in Europe. Am I right? Did they come up with a solution? Do they know what the problem is? Tell them to come see the Ganga Sagar Mela next time."



Ancient Traditions Alive, For Now, at the Kadavallur Sri Rama Temple


Posted on 2010/3/3 0:07:09 ( 1729 reads )

Source: http://beta.thehindu.com/arts/article108634.ece

KERALA, INDIA, February 24, 2010: Kadavallur is a small village in Thrissur district of Kerala, where an age old Sri Rama temple shines as a perfect example of all traditions of Kerala. The existence of this temple the 10th-11th century is attested by a Vattezhuthu record inscribed on a stone on the base of the enclosure. Like all temples of Kerala the main tower is of the sloping roof variety with two enclosures and an impressive entrance tower.

The main deity made of stone inside the sanctum is a four-armed Vishnu who is worshipped as Sri Rama as in many other Kerala temples. Encircling the main shrine is a tiled enclosure with an entrance having two wings, one on the South is important as it is called Koothambalam, the one on the other side is where spectators sit. At the rear-end of the Koothambalam is placed a huge pot-drum (Kuda-mizha) on a wooden pedestal. It resembles many such drums portrayed in all the famous murals of the region, figured in the scenes of Dancing Siva, the player being Nandikesvara, who learned dance from Siva.

The temple was also the repository of a rare tradition of Vedic learning. Vedic experts belonging to two schools called Yogams (Thirunavay yogam and Thrissur yogam) meet for ten days annually in the temple, and examine each other by challenging them to recite from any part of the entire Veda which they chose. It is not mere reciting the hymns from memory but splitting the words of the texts in order, without mistake for nearly one hour. After one party finishes the other party challenges them by giving another part. It is a remarkable test called "Anyonyam." A challenge to the command over the whole Vedas and precision with which they learnt them, it is nearly a 4,000-year old tradition that has survived only here in the whole of India.

Unfortunately this unique system now faces extinction. It has not attracted the attention of UNESCO which has taken measures to preserve Buddhist oral chanting. Out of the two surviving schools one has been closed down and the other at Thrissur is managing to survive. However, the Temple remains serene as the worship starts very early morning at 4 a.m. where men, women, and children throng to the temple after early bath in local temple tank to witness the morning puja. In the morning ritual called "Sri Bali" the decorated temple elephant leads the procession to the music of the Panchavadya.



A New Hindu Temple For Switzerland


Posted on 2010/3/3 0:06:40 ( 1825 reads )

Source: http://www.zo-online.ch

DURNTEN, SWITZERLAND, February 24, 2010: The opening ceremony of the new premises of the Sri Vishnu Thurkkai Amman Temple took place on January 27th. The temple, formerly located in Adliswil, was moved 40 kilometers to a building located in pasture land at Edikerstrasse 24 in Durnten. More than 100 devotees attended the morning opening ceremony.

Water from the creek nearby was used by the priests to bless the shrines and the devotees. A neighboring farm brought a cow to participate in the ritual. See the link above for a slide show of the event.

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