India Puts 6.5 Million Books Online, for Free
THE NATIONAL DIGITAL LIBRARY of India added 6.5 million books to their web library during June, 2017, in an initiative from the Ministry of Human Resource Development and Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. All these books are free to download or read online. Including textbooks, audio and video content, this one portal offers over 8.6 million items in all—a massive collection of learning resources that gives students a powerful advantage at no cost.
The publications and media sources appear endless, though the site is not yet perfect—clicking on certain articles may bring up an empty profile page. Also, some material is sourced from other libraries or agencies, so you must request permission.
The search feature is fast and accurate, based on keywords from the title of the publication and the author or any profile keyword. The experience is similar to a Google search but yields more clearly defined results. Results from YouTube show up for video content just as if you searched using Google.
This database is a treasure trove for students who need to research a particular subject, author or field of study. Kudos to India for empowering students everywhere!
Worshiping for 100+ Years
AFTER EIGHT YEARS OF RENOVATION, the Sri Sundararaja Perumal Temple of Klang, Malaysia, ceremoniously reopened its doors in April of 2017 to 100,000 devotees.
The largest Vaishnavite temple in Malaysia, it is often referred to as the “Thirupati of Southeast Asia” after its famous namesake in Andhra Pradesh, India.
Built in 1890, it is one of the oldest Vaishnavite temples in Southeast Asia. In 2008 it became the first temple in Malaysia to receive the ISO 9001 certification for efficient administration.
The extensive restoration of this iconic 127-year-old structure cost approximately US$2.3 million. Devotees are enthusiastically looking forward to another 100-plus years of worship!
Uniting India and Canada
CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER Justin Trudeau, alongside Sri Mahant Swami Maharaj, head of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, performed arati at the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Toronto last July, 2017, at what is considered Canada’s most prominant Hindu place of worship. Trudeau joined the celebratory event marking the 10th anniversary of the mandir. The ceremony was attended by more than 7,500 devotees.
“The relationship between our two countries is truly a special one. It’s a relationship our government and our ministers both deeply value and actively cultivate,” Trudeau said during his speech. The PM went on to say he wanted to “recognize the importance of the bond between Canada and India. The more than one million Canadians of Indian origin have made countless contributions to our national fabric.”
Canada’s PM participated in the abhishekam ceremony in the main temple and also the arati, officiated over by the spiritual head of BAPS. At one point, Trudeau turned to the guru and said, “Please keep Canada in your prayers.”
He also pointed out the temple’s dashabdi, 10th anniversary, coincides with Canada’s 150th year of merger, by which the British colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were united into one Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867.
International Yoga Day
THE 2017 celebration of International Yoga Day may have surpassed any prior level of communal and governmental participation around the globe.
Since its inception in 2015, June 21 is celebrated as International Yoga Day in countries all over the world. The idea was proposed in 2014 by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. At the United Nations General Assembly, he said, “Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action, restraint and fulfilment, harmony between man and nature, a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help in well being. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.”
For the twelve days leading up to this year’s Yoga Day, the Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy (CCRYN) launched a bevy of life-size mascots to help spread yoga and wellness awareness to children. The mascots, and the flash mobs they starred in, connected with families by providing entertainment and interactivity. They appeared at malls, public places, events and recreational tourist areas in Delhi, Lucknow and Haryana. Watch a delightful YouTube video of one spontaneous yoga mob at bit.ly/YogFlashMob.
Baba Ramdev, popular hatha yogi and co-owner of mega-business Patanjali Ayurved, set a Guiness World Record in Ahmedabad for having the greatest number of people performing yoga at one time. Each of the 54,522 yogis was electronically monitored as they entered the space, far exceeding the 2015 count of 35,984 yogis that PM Modi guided in the performing asanas on the 2015 inaugural day.
Ramdev’s 2017 mega event was held simultaneously at five grounds, including those belonging to Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation, the Gujarat University and the Ahmedabad Education Society. The grounds had 100 entry points, 100 giant LED screens and 10,000 volunteers from Patanjali Yogpeeth Gurukul.
THE 2016 AUSTRALIAN CENSUS, released in July, 2017, revealed that the Hindu population in the country increased by 533% in the last 25 years, while Buddhists rose by 200% and Muslims increased by 160%. At the same time, the numbers of people declaring themselves Christian declined from 88% of the population in 1966 to 52% in 2016. About 29.6% of respondents said they had no religion, an increase from 22% in 2011, and a large jump from one percent in 1966.
IN JULY, 2017, A FEDERAL JUDGE rejected a motion to dismiss a lawsuit claiming California treats Hinduism unfavorably compared to other religions in its public education standards and framework. The suit was filed in February by California Parents for the Equalization of Educational Materials, a group that promotes the accurate portrayal of Hinduism in schools, and three Hindu parents suing on behalf of their children. “I’m pleased that the Establishment Clause claim has survived, because it’s actually kind of the heart of what we’re fighting over,” plaintiffs’ attorney Glenn Katon said in an interview. “The main thing we’re fighting over is the depiction of Hinduism in the California education standards and framework, which we claim is disparaging toward Hindus.”
HINDUISM TODAY was founded on January 5, 1979, by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927–2001). It is a nonprofit educational activity of Himalayan Academy, with the following purposes: 1. To foster Hindu solidarity as a unity in diversity among all sects and lineages; 2. To inform and inspire Hindus worldwide and people interested in Hinduism; 3. To dispel myths, illusions and misinformation about Hinduism; 4. To protect, preserve and promote the sacred Vedas and the Hindu religion; 5. To nurture and monitor the ongoing spiritual Hindu renaissance; 6. To publish resources for Hindu leaders and educators who promote Sanatana Dharma. Join this seva by sending letters, clippings, photographs, reports on events and by encouraging others.
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Correspondents: Rajiv Malik, Delhi; Choodamani Shivaram, Bengaluru; Lavina Melwani, New York; Sally Acharya, Nepal; Paras Ramoutar, Trinidad. Copy Editor: Chamundi Sabanathan. HPI Staff: Chandra Sankara. Consultants: Dr. S. P. Sabharathnam Sivachariyar, Sheela Venkatakrishnan. Photo Contributors: Thomas L. Kelly, Dinodia Picture Agency, Dev Raj Agarwal. Digital Team: Andre Garzia, Dharmalingam Siddhan. Distribution: USA: Ingram Periodicals, New Leaf, EBSCO Subscription Services, Ubiquity. Europe: SWETS Subscription Service. Malaysia: Kovind Enterprises. Singapore: Sanathana Dharma Publications India: Central News Agency Limited, Delhi. Mauritius: CODIP. Trinidad: Pandit Narendra & Ashwinee Ragoonanan. Printer: Quad/Graphics, Waseca, Minnesota.