One million Hindus attended a Ashwamedha Yajna held by the
Gayatri Parivar in Patna, India. The five-day event included
hundreds of thousands of women dressed in yellow walking in
procession from the Ganges to the ceremonial grounds. They were
led by 1,008 virgins carrying Ganges water in pots. The Vedic
yajna, which was performed in ancient times by Lord Rama and the
Pandavas, is to promote the prosperity of the nation.
The Canadian Council of Hindus is holding an "International
Conference on Saivite Philosophy and Shiva Worship" July 1 to 3
in Toronto and 9 to 10 in Montreal. Papers on Saivite
philosophy and worship are invited, as well as recommendations
for workshops and speakers. Delegates are expected from dozens
of countries. Contact: CCH, PO Box 22092, 45 Overlea Blvd,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4H 1N9.
University of Pennsylvania is conducting an unusual conference
bringing together representatives of Buddhism, Christianity,
Hinduism (Dr. Karan Singh), Islam and Judaism with top
television executives and professors from communications schools
to "set practical guidelines for innovative and socially
responsible conduct of international religious groups, the
television and cable industries and educational establishments,
and to explore the dynamic global telecommunications
transformation." Contact Kirby F. Smith, Office of University
Relations, South 1B, 3624 Market Street/2615, Philadelphia, PA,
Hindu businessman Easan Katir filed this short report from
England: "I needed to have a document notarized today, so I went
downtown to a Notaries Public office in the City of London. The
notary pulled out a little black Bible for me to swear on. I
told him I am a Hindu. Without batting an eye, he pulled out an
identical-looking little black Bhagavad Gita, and I swore the
notarial oath with my hand on that. The notary said, 'There are
many ways to bind one's conscience, and we try to serve all
equally. That will be pounds18.00, please.'"
Used syringes, possibly contaminated with AIDS-tainted blood,
are being resold in Pune, India, for the celebration of Holi.
Children use them to spray colored water on others as part of
the festivities. Hundreds of thousands of syringes retrieved
from local hospitals have been sold. Pune has 15,000
HIV-positive cases, and contracting the virus from blood left in
the syringes is a solemn possibility. In other AIDS-related
developments, doctors in Punjab have identified truck drivers as
the principal carriers of HIV virus in the state. They pick up
the disease from prostitutes in Bombay and New Delhi. In
Amritsar HIV positive blood was found at three large blood
banks. "Huge amounts of blood were utilized from these banks to
treat victims of terrorist violence during the past few years,"
stated The Pioneer newspaper-the impact is unknown.
RSS workers in Tamil Nadu on a temple protection patrol
apprehended the leader of a gang of thieves who have been
involved in 500 cases of idol theft and three murders. Despite
the formation of a special police unit to hunt them, the gang
had eluded authorities for years.
US cigarette manufactures continue to look overseas-especially
to India-for new markets as the US Congress considers a "sin"
tax of up to $1.25/pack to cut the number of smokers and help
pay the medical cost of the 400,000 Americans who die yearly
from smoking-related diseases. Says an analyst at the Wall
Street firm of Kidder, Peabody, "As poor countries get richer,
they smoke more American cigarettes. That doesn't change until
they get rich enough to worry about their health. And that's a
long time off."
Western firms are finding Asia a convenient market not only for
cigarettes, but also for toxic waste. Australia, Canada,
Germany, Britain and the USA collectively shipped 5.4 million
tons of toxic waste between 1990 and 1993 to Asia, including
Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and India. Simple
mislabeling of the material is usually enough to circumvent
these countries' laws against such imports.
Kumaraswami Dikshitar has founded the Spiritual and Veda Agama
Academy in New York state "to promote the worship and philosophy
of the Saiva, Pancharathra and Vaikhanasa Agamas, especially the
temple worship." He is publishing a bi-monthly newsletter called
Veda Agama Sudha. Address: 450 Albany Shaker Road,
Loundonville, New York, 12211, USA.
The reformist National Aryan Youth Council in New Delhi has
begun a campaign against the "sex and violence culture" of
Western TV now being delivered by satellite to millions of
Indian homes. The campaign started after three members of a
family in Calcutta were murdered by teenage schoolchildren who
had watched an American television program that showed a similar
incident. The group is led by Swami Agnivesh. "If the small
city-state of Singapore can ban satellite and cable TV, why
can't India stop this onslaught?" he asked.
Want to surf the information superhighway for resources on
vegetarianism? Internet, Usenet, Compuserve, Prodigy, Delhi and
other on-line electronic services have conference forums and
resource files from recipes to ethics. The Vegetarian Resource
Group has a list of these services. Write them at PO Box 1463,
Baltimore, Maryland, 21203, USA, or contact on the internet at
Swedish courts have sided with a Hindu family to allow them to
spread the ashes of their dead in a local river. Boras city
officials opposed the practice on the grounds it fouled the
environment. But the court, after considerable study of local
maps, ruled the ashes could be scattered in the Viskan River,
which empties into the North Sea.
Three-hundred astrologers met in New Delhi in December for the
National Conference on Futurology and Astrology sponsored by
Bharat Nirman. They recommended a minimum code of moral conduct
and technical ability be established for those practicing
astrology. They also advocate the promotion of studies to
support the scientific basis of astrology, and for universities
to have permanent astrology departments. Contact: M.C.
Bhandari, 4, Synagogue St., 2nd Floor, (Facing Brabourne Road)
Calcutta 700 001, India.
Ayurvedic medicine is being promoted in Holland by the
SRYA-School for Research in Yoga and Ayurveda. The school was
founded in 1993 by Acharya Sri Chandrasekhar and Anil Kumar
Mehta. Contact: SRYA, Tulp 13, 2671 ZC Naaldwijk, The
The Tibetan Aid Project is ambitiously assisting tens of
thousands of displaced Tibetans in keeping Tibetan heritage
alive despite the occupation of their country by China. They
have shipped 20,000 texts and 75,000 reproductions of art to
Tibetan monasteries and nunneries throughout Asia. Among their
dozens of innovative support programs are: "Sponsor ten cave
retreatants for a year; tea for 100 monks for a month; whitewash
a stupa; support five lamas for three years; sea ship sacred
texts." Contact Tibetan Nyingma Relief Foundation, 2910 San
Pablo Ave., Berkeley, California, 94702, USA.
New Vrindaban leader Kirtanananda Swami Bhaktipada has declined
a government plea bargain and will stand trial again in August
for mail fraud and racketeering. A 1991 conviction on these
charges was thrown out by a federal appeals court on the basis
of irrelevant testimony being introduced which may have swayed
the jury. Bhaktipada's co-defendant, Terry Sheldon, has
accepted a plea bargain in which he will be convicted of
conspiracy in the 1986 murder of a dissident devotee and be
sentenced to five years in prison. The New Vrindaban community
was excommunicated by the American ISKCON organization in 1987.
Worldwide Guide to Unusual Events, to be published in 1995, is
seeking writers to provide information on cultural, religious or
musical events in India. The book will be "a valuable tool for
travelers seeking exciting annual events around the world."
Contact: Thomas Clynes, 2820 East Grand Boulevard, Detroit,
Michigan, 48211,USA. Phone (313) 871-1328