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Ancient Hindu Temples Unearthed in Perfect Condition in Indonesia

Posted on 2010/2/25 8:04:01 ( 1438 reads )

Source: www.nytimes.com

YOGYAKARTA, INDONESIA, February 24, 2010: ILast August when the private Islamic University of Indonesia decided to build a library next to the mosque. In the two decades the university had occupied its 79-acre campus outside Yogyakarta, no temple had ever been found. But chances were high that they were around. By Dec. 11, a construction crew had already removed nearly seven feet of earth. But the soil proved unstable, and the crew decided to dig 20 inches deeper. A backhoe then struck something unusually hard. The crack the backhoe left on the temple wall would become the main sign of damage on what experts say could be the best-preserved ancient monument found in Java, a Hindu temple.

Researchers from the government's Archaeological Office in Yogyakarta headed to the campus the next day, excavated for 35 days and eventually unearthed two 1,100-year-old small temples. "The temples are not so big, but they have features that we haven't found in Indonesia before," Herni Pramastuti, who runs the Archaeological Office, said, pointing to the rectangle-shaped temple, the existence of two sets of linga and yoni, and the presence of two altars.

Historians believe that Hinduism spread in Java in the fifth century, followed three centuries later by Buddhism. Kingdoms hewing to both Hindu and Buddhist beliefs flourished in Java before Islam in the 15th century. But Islam itself incorporated beliefs and ceremonies from the other two religions. Just as some unearthed temples in east Java have a Hindu upper half and a Buddhist lower half, some early mosques had roofs in the shape of Hindu temples, said Timbul Haryono, a professor of archaeology at Gadjah Mada University here and an expert on Hinduism in Southeast Asia. Early mosques faced not in Mecca's direction, but west or east in the manner of Hindu temples.

"Things didn't change all of a sudden," Mr. Haryono said. "Islam was adopted through a process of acculturation." In Indonesia's arts, like the wayang shadow puppetry that dramatizes Hindu epics, or in people's private lives, traces of the earlier religions survive, he said. Food, flowers and incense still accompany many funerals for Muslims, in keeping with Hindu and Buddhist traditions. "Hinduism was Indonesia's main religion for 1,000 years," he said, "so its influence is still strong." "This is Indonesia," said Suwarsono Muhammad, an official at the Islamic University. In the long history of Indonesia, we have proven that different religions can live peacefully."

Ramayana Casts Its Ancient Spell In Singapore

Posted on 2010/2/25 8:03:01 ( 911 reads )

Source: www.nytimes.com

SINGAPORE, February 3, 2010: The Ramayana has been one of the great epic poems of Indian culture for centuries. It has also captured the imagination of many other cultures beyond its origins in India. In Southeast Asia, scenes from the Ramayana can be found in places ranging from Prambanan, a 9th-century Hindu temple compound in Yogyakarta in central Java, Indonesia, to the magnificent 12th-century Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

"Ramayana Revisited: A Tale of Love & Adventure," an exhibition that is running at the Peranakan Museum, Singapore until Aug. 22, underlines the cross-cultural power of the popular epic.

While some of the artifacts that are shown are ancient and quite rare, like a 12th-century bronze Hanuman from the late Chola period in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, or a 12th-to-13th century bas-relief from the state of Madhya Pradesh of a reclining image of Vishnu on cosmic snake, others -- especially shadow puppets and masks -- are more recent. Some have been commissioned by the museum over the past 15 years.

Hindu Ashram A First For Omaha

Posted on 2010/2/25 8:02:01 ( 1263 reads )

Source: www.omaha.com

OMAHA, NEBRASKA, February 21, 2010: An orthodox Hindu ashram opened Saturday in Omaha. Frank Morales, 46, its spiritual director, described it as the first of its kind in the area. The Center for Dharma Studies, 13917 P St., will offer classes on topics such as yoga, Hindu scripture and spirituality, Morales said.

The ashram is designed to be an educational resource. Its activities are open to all. Those of other faiths are not excluded, Morales said, and there will be no attempt to convert them.

"There is so much anxiety because of the economy, the wars taking place... the idea is basically to show people that, by applying spirituality in their life in a very practical way, they can begin to relieve much of the anxiety they are feeling," he said.

The Underestimated Power of Physical Communication

Posted on 2010/2/25 8:01:01 ( 1005 reads )

Source: www.nytimes.com

UNITED STATES, February 22, 2010: Psychologists have long studied the grunts and winks of nonverbal communication, the vocal tones and facial expressions that carry emotion. A warm tone of voice, a hostile stare -- both have the same meaning in Terre Haute or Timbuktu, and are among dozens of signals that form a universal human vocabulary. But in recent years some researchers have begun to focus on a different, often more subtle kind of wordless communication: physical contact.

Momentary touches, they say -- whether an exuberant high five, a warm hand on the shoulder, or a creepy touch to the arm -- can communicate an even wider range of emotion than gestures or expressions, and sometimes do so more quickly and accurately than words. "It is the first language we learn," said Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. It remains, he said, "our richest means of emotional expression" throughout life.

In a series of experiments led by Matthew Hertenstein, a psychologist at DePauw University in Indiana, volunteers tried to communicate a list of emotions by touching a blindfolded stranger. The participants were able to communicate eight distinct emotions, from gratitude to disgust to love, some with about 70 percent accuracy. "We used to think that touch only served to intensify communicated emotions," Dr. Hertenstein said. Now it turns out to be "a much more differentiated signaling system than we had imagined."

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2010/2/25 8:00:01 ( 975 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

Declare Nepal A Hindu State, Students Tell Government

Posted on 2010/2/24 8:04:01 ( 918 reads )

Source: www.thehimalayantimes.com

KATHMANDU, NEPAL, February 21, 2010: The Free Students' Union (FSU), Balmiki Campus, today demanded that Nepal be declared a Hindu state. Issuing a press statement, FSU demanded that ancient religions, norms and values of the Nepali society be preserved.

"We'll not be able to accept secular state," the statement said, adding that the culture of the country is not resembled through this declaration. The statement mentioned that the Hindu religion is the identity of the country and it should be protected at all cost.

The statement urged the concerned agencies to protect the national identity and to ensure the future of people living in the country. The statement further stated that the Hindu religion is the backbone of the country and demanded the concerned bodies to go for referendum to take the decision regarding the issue.

India Supreme Court Directive On Religious Structures

Posted on 2010/2/24 8:03:01 ( 945 reads )

Source: www.expressbuzz.com

NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 17, 2010: The Supreme Court has directed all the State Governments and Union Territories to come out with a clear policy with regard to the demolition or regularization or relocation of religious structures in public places, public parks, play grounds, roads, etc within six weeks.

A Bench comprising Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice K. S.
Radhakrishnan also directed the Chief Secretaries to expressly
disclose the number of unauthorized religious structures in each

Yamuna Today Is What Thames Was 150 Years Ago

Posted on 2010/2/24 8:02:01 ( 967 reads )

Source: www.dailypioneer.com

NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 17, 2010: The river Yamuna, having been declared dead with its water all poisonous from 22 drains from all over Delhi feeding 800 million gallons of sewage into it per day, can kill a healthy human being. It's the rapid industrialization that is helping the inevitable pollute to the river, pointed out Robert Oates, Director, Thames Rivers Restoration Trust (TRRT), and the industrial revolution of India is 10 times that of England when it took place.

"It is not just Government's but every citizen of Delhi's responsibility to make sure that the river's cleanliness is restored and its purity revived," he said.

In a presentation, the TRRT detailed how the whole Thames river restoration project was undertaken. The Yamuna today is what London's Thames was 150 years ago, with all its water polluted almost irrevocably. It seemed impossible to restore it to its natural state, but good governance brought life back to the river.

Protecting India's Folk Lore and Traditions

Posted on 2010/2/24 8:01:01 ( 1005 reads )

Source: www.expressbuzz.com

INDIA, February 16, 2010: In 1997 M.D. Muthukumaraswamy, along with 15 others including Komal Kothari, the then Director of Rajasthan Institute of Folklore started the National Folklore Support Centre (NFSC), when they observed that the country lacked a national level organization for folklore. "We knew everything about European folklore and arts but had no knowledge about our own diverse folklore heritage. There was no body that could address issues in the discipline at the national level. Our education system too imparted no knowledge about these folk forms." It was amidst these necessities that NFSC came to be.

Today the organization, which occupies a small office space in a weathered complex on Mahatma Gandhi Road, Nungambakkam, is like an anthropologist's treasure trove. It aims at promoting Indian folklore research, education, training, networking, and publications.

In Tamil Nadu alone, there are 534 oral epic traditions. The Ramayana and Mahabharatha are just the tip of the iceberg," exclaims Muthukumaraswamy.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2010/2/24 8:00:01 ( 1099 reads )

Source: www.hinduismtoday.com

Whether Hindu or Muslim or Christian, whoever tries to convert, it's wrong, not good.
   Dalai Lama, speaking at the Kumbha Mela

Balinese Hindus Gear Up For New Year

Posted on 2010/2/23 8:04:01 ( 1082 reads )

Source: www.thejakartapost.com

JAKARTA, INDONESIA, February 17, 2010: Thousands of people across Bali have been busy making the giant ogoh-ogoh effigies in preparation for the celebrations of the upcoming Caka Hindu New Year 1932, popularly known as Nyepi, or the Day of Silence. The event falls on March 16. Local resident Wayan Chandra said making the ogoh-ogoh helps strengthen communal relation among neighbors. "It's a collective work by all villagers," he said.

The ogoh-ogoh are giant papier-mache demons that symbolize all things bad. Every banjar, or traditional village community, must prepare at least one ogoh-ogoh for each Nyepi. On the eve of the Caka New Year, Balinese Hindus parade them along the streets and burn them together to dissipate any negative energy.

The Caka New Year is observed in total quiet and contemplation. The entire island falls into darkness on the night, as the Hindu faithful are prohibited from lighting a fire or using electricity, or even leaving home. Virtually all activities will come to a halt for 24 hours, including tourism offices and the airport, while the streets will be deserted.

International Bali-India Yoga Festival II

Posted on 2010/2/23 8:03:01 ( 968 reads )

Source: Press Release

BALI, INDONESIA, February 2010: Bali-India Foundation will be organizing the second International Bali-India Yoga Festival from 3-10 March, 2010. The theme of the festival is 'Yoga & Global Warming'. Bali, which has an ancestral relationship with India, shares a great concern about Global Warming. Bali, the Island of the Gods, where the sage Markandeya meditated and taught this divine practice of yoga to its people is a perfect place to discuss and find a solution to the problem of Global Warming and other various matters related to yoga.

The opening of this prestigious festival will simultaneously inaugurate 'The Markandeya Yoga City' at Gunung Sari, Singaraja, Bali. The Yoga city will be completed within five years on a total of 15 hectares of land surrounded by beautiful forests and mountains 1000 meters above sea level in a Balinese architectural style.

In New Zealand, Worshiping Lord Vishnu's Chakram

Posted on 2010/2/23 8:02:01 ( 1169 reads )

Source: www.indianweekender.co.nz

NEW ZEALAND, February 13, 2010: The Sri Balaji Temple Project which is the first of its kind in New Zealand held its first prayers and conducted the Sudharsana Homan on 23rd January, 2010 at the Phoenix Hall in Hamilton. Secretary Bala Bhaskar Tikkisetty welcomed the hundreds of devotees present.

The Maha Sudharsana Homan, is performed for Lord Vishnu's Chakram, the Lord's most powerful weapon against all evil. In performing the Homan the powers of the Lord and Sudharsana Chakra are invoked through vedic mantras. The Yantra, a metal piece with Vedic and holy symbols is blessed in the Homan and are normally placed at the home altar or at the entrance of houses to ward off evil.

Celebrating Holi In USA Preschools, Schools And The Office

Posted on 2010/2/23 8:01:01 ( 1166 reads )

Source: www.i-newswire.com

UNITED STATES, February 22, 2010 - Bloggermoms, a website that celebrates life and parenting at the intersection of multiple cultures, today released a package of ideas for celebrating Holi in schools, preschools and the workplace. The package contains ideas for crafts and celebrations in the classroom, hosting a Holi party for kids, precautions to keep in mind when celebrating Holi and even ideas to bring Holi into the office in a respectful yet fun way.

Holi, the festival of colors is one of India's most colorful, vibrant and fun festivals. It is a celebration of spring and of the victory of good over evil. For most people, it is all about smearing colored powders or spraying colored water on each other. Holi is also celebrated in the USA and other parts of the world with large expat populations within friends and communities.

Schools and preschools interested in multicultural education or parents interested in bringing a little bit of their culture into the classrooms often look for ideas for celebrating Holi which are culturally appropriate, yet easier to manage and clean up in a class room environment. The article on ideas for celebrating Holi in schools and preschools is available at http://www.bloggermoms.com/celebrating-holi/

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2010/2/23 8:00:01 ( 992 reads )

Source: www.hinduismtoday.com

An English professor wrote the words, Woman without her man is nothing on the blackboard and directed his students to punctuate it correctly. The men wrote: Woman, without her man, is nothing. The women wrote: Woman: without her, man is nothing.

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