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German Tourist Tries to Storm into Puri Temple, Attacks Priest

Posted on 2017/2/28 19:31:28 ( 631 reads )


BHUBANESWAR, INDIA, February 26, 2017 (Times of India): A 35-year-old German tourist allegedly tried to barge into Puri Jagannath Temple, which is off limits to non-Hindus, and assaulted a priest for stopping his way on Sunday. As the incident created quite a flutter, the police detained the foreigner Jesus Engel Berger for interrogation on the basis of a complaint lodged by the priest Bamdeba Pujapanda.

Police said Berger, a resident of Neureichenau in Germany, tried to run inside the temple around 4.35 pm when he was stopped by Pujapanda near the Lion's gate. "When I stopped him and told him that non-Hindus cannot enter the shrine, he started arguing with me. He claimed himself to be a follower of international society for Krishna consciousness (Iskcon) and insisted me to allow him to enter the temple. Other priests also requested him to go back. But he pushed me and attacked me with a stick," Pujapanda told TOI.

Though a non-Hindu's entry into Jagannath temple is not a punishable offence in Indian Penal Code, Berger might land in trouble for assaulting Pujapanda. Police said Berger, who reached Puri three days ago, made unsuccessful attempts to enter the temple through three other gates earlier in the day. Berger, who possesses valid passport, admitted he was aware of the temple's restriction on the access of non-Hindus. "I am a staunch follower of Lord Jagannath and visited several other Hindu temples in India. Why should I not be allowed entry inside Jagannath Temple," asked Berger.

Goverment Survey Estimates 71% of Indians are Non-Vegetarians

Posted on 2017/2/28 19:31:17 ( 375 reads )


INDIA, June 14, 2016 (Huffington Post): When Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the UAE, our very own desi chef Sanjeev Kapoor cooked up an authentic Gujarati pure vegetarian meal for him. More recently, when the Prime Minister was on a visit to Mexico, President Enrique Pena Nieto personally drove him to a local restaurant for a Mexican vegetarian dinner. The world believes that India is a predominantly vegetarian country and this belief would have only been strengthened by our Prime Minister, who seems to make sure that his frequent foreign jaunts do not in any way disturb his vegetarian food regimen.

Vegetarianism, it is often assumed is the norm in India. However, a nationwide survey, conducted by the Office of Registrar General & Census Commissioner, reveals otherwise. According to the sample registration system (SRS) baseline survey 2014 released by the registrar general of India, 71 percent of Indians [of all religioins] over the age of 15 are non-vegetarian. The percentage of non-vegetarians across the country however has dropped from 75 percent in 2004.

[HPI adds: The report is in terms of "all Indians," which is misleading in that nearly all of the 20% of Indians who are not Hindus are likely to be meateaters. What's also missing from this report is how little meat Indians eat compared to Westerners. The USA tops the world in meat consumption at 120.2 lbs per person per year, followed by Australia at 115. lbs per person. By comparison, India's meat consumption is 4.4 lbs per person per year. The only country on the list that eats less meat than India is Bangladesh at 4 lbs per person.]

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ ... cass_mass_availability.29

Help Us Select the Best Songs of Saint Tayumanavar

Posted on 2017/2/28 19:31:07 ( 385 reads )


KAUAI, HAWAII, February 28, 2017 (HPI): As part of a project to create an anthology of Saivite Hindu scripture, we are requesting help in selecting the most meaningful songs of the Tamil Saint Tayumanavar. You can find the songs in Tamil at http://shaivam.org/scripture/Tamil/1189/thayumanavar-padalkal or in English at "source" above. The idea is to find songs that are inspiring and reasonably easy to understand. Send the song titles and number in English to ar@hindu.org. We're looking for the best ten or twenty of the saint's more than 1400 compositions.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2017/2/28 19:30:56 ( 364 reads )


Give yourself up to the wave, and you will be absorbed by the current; having dived into the sea, you do not return anymore.
-- Anandamayi Ma (1896-1982),

Protecting Language Diversity in India

Posted on 2017/2/27 19:50:00 ( 526 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 27, 2017 (Press Information of Bureau): India is one of unique countries in the world that has the legacy of diversity of languages. The Constitution of India has recognised 22 official languages. Multilingualism is the way of life in India as people in different parts of the country speak more than one language from their birth and learn additional languages during their life time. Though officially there are 122 languages, Peoples Linguistic Survey of India has identified 780 languages, of which 50 are extinct in past five decades. The twenty two languages that are recognised by the Constitution are: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kashmiri, Kannada, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu are included in the Eight Schedule of the constitution. Among these three languages, Sanskrit, Tamil and Kannada have been recognised as classical language with special status and recognition by Government of India. The classical languages have written and oral history of more than 1000 years. In comparison to these, English is very young as it has the history of only 300 years.

In addition to these scheduled and classical languages, The Constitution of India has included the clause to protect minority languages as a fundamental right. It states "Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part of thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same." The language policy of India provides guarantee to protect the linguistic minorities. Despite these efforts by the central government minority languages are under threat of extinction due to multiple causes. In Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the death of Boa in 2010, the last speaker of Bo language is one of those instances that have lead to extinction of Bo language with the history of 70000 years.

For more, go to source above.

Tirumala Donations Were From Common Good Fund and Not from Exchequer: Soundarajan

Posted on 2017/2/27 19:48:46 ( 425 reads )


HYDERABAD, INDIA, February 23, 2017 (Telangana Today): The Temples Protection Movement convenor Dr. M. V. Soundararajan has sought to rebut the criticism that public money was used to purchase the gold ornaments offered to Lord Venkateswara in Tirumala by the Chief Minsiter K. Chandrashekhar Rao, by pointing out that the total of US$745,000 was spent from the Common Good Fund (CGF) of the Endowments department and not from the public exchequer.

In a statement here on Thursday, Dr. Soundararajan argued that the CGF is based on a percentage of Hindu temples' income and it did not constitute any money from the taxpayer. That the expenses for making the ornaments were met from the CGF were mentioned in a GO No 23 dated 24.2.2015, he pointed out.

The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) had in the past donated crores of rupees to this CGF before bifurcation of the State and 42 per cent of the same fund is now part of the Telangana CGF fund. "If Rs 5 Crore ($745,000) is used to adorn the Lord with ornaments we should not be raising any hue and cry for the same," He argued.

Bengaluru: Special Darshan at Tirupati for Seniors and Physically Challenged

Posted on 2017/2/27 19:48:36 ( 482 reads )


BENGALURU, INDIA, February 24, 2017 (Deccan Chronicle): There is good news for senior citizens and differently-abled people who visit Tirumala for darshan of the Lord Venkateshwara. They can now have the darshan without having to wait in long queues and going through the jostling. They can just get in and have the darshan. They have to report two hours before the darshan time, with age proof (65 years and above) ID cards and relevant medical certificates. There are two time slots fixed - one at 10 am and another at 3 pm.

At the time of the darshan for these groups, all other queues are stopped, and darshan for only senior citizens and the differently-abled is allowed to ensure that there is no crowd pressure. The entire darshan will take just 30 minutes. Devotees who avail of the darshan under the scheme cannot avail of it for another 90 days.

Text of Prime Minister's Speech at Unveiling of 112 Foot Statue of "Adiyogi - The Shiva"

Posted on 2017/2/27 19:48:19 ( 419 reads )


[HPI adds: A 112-foot iconic statue of Adiyogi Lord Shiva was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Isha Foundation in Coimbatore on the occasion of Maha Sivaratri.]

INDIA, February 24, 2017 (Press Information Bureau): "My loving greetings to all. It is my honor to be here, in this august gathering. That too, on the auspicious occasion of Maha-Shivratri. There are many festivals, but this one is pre-fixed with 'Maha.' Indeed, there are many Devs, but only one Maha-Dev. There are many Mantras, but the Mantra which is identified with Lord Shiva, is called Maha-Mrityunjayi Mantra. Such is the glory of Lord Shiva.

"Maha-Shivratri symbolizes a union of divinity with a purpose, of overcoming darkness and injustice. It inspires us to be courageous and fight for good. It marks the shift of seasons, from the cold to the lively spring and brightness. Maha-Shivratri celebrations go on for the entire night. This symbolizes a spirit of vigilance- that we have to protect nature and mould our activities in sync with our ecological surroundings.

"Standing here before this 112-feet face of Adiyogi and the Yogeshwar Linga, we are experiencing a colossal presence enveloping everyone in this space. In the times to come, the place where we have gathered is going to be a source of inspiration for all, a place to immerse one's self and discover truth. It will remind us of the inclusive spirit of Lord Shiva. Today, Yoga has come a long way."

Full text available at "source" above.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2017/2/27 19:47:59 ( 314 reads )


You, Siva, are the earth, You are the sky, and You are the seven seas; You are the goal, You are the letters, and You are the meter; You are the eye, You are the pupil of the eye, You are the image that dances in the eye, the affable! Bestow Your grace so that I may approach Your sacred feet!
-- Sivavakkiyar (10th century), Tamil poet

Maha Shivaratree 2017: Crossing 300,000 Pilgrims in Grand-Bassin by This Evening

Posted on 2017/2/25 18:50:32 ( 669 reads )


MAURITIUS, February 23, 2017 (Le Mauricien): Since this morning, with the return of the pilgrims of the sacred lake for Maha Shivaratree, the count grows by the hour. Everything seems to indicate that 300,000 visitors to Ganga Talao will have arrived by this evening. For their part, the authorities are maintaining the security measures on the road to Grand Bassin for tomorrow as well as during the weekend as many Mauritians are preparing to go there to complete the celebrations of Maha Shivaratree.

With the pilgrims taking the way back, the main arteries leading to the capital have experienced traffic congestion since very early this morning. But by the end of the morning, the situation was expected to return to normal. Many devotees, having made their long annual march to the sacred lake of Grand Bassin, are already back and are preparing to participate in the great night of Shiva in the temples all over the country. The water brought back from Ganga Talao will be poured on the Shivalingam during the night from Friday to Saturday to pay tribute to "the one who had swallowed poison to save mankind."

Maha Shivaratree is an occasion for social and collective relations with the participation of Mauritians of different religious denominations. The public will have noticed this year a decrease in the number of pilgrims carrying kanwars and the devotees will have found, along their route, the spirit of fraternity and solidarity of the Mauritians. Oversized kanwars, however, caused a monstrous traffic jam at La Marie. The police will have taken several measures to ensure the smooth flow of traffic. Many improvements were noted this year in Grand Bassin. The temples were repainted while cement structures were installed to facilitate rituals on the shores of the sacred lake.

Videos available at:
Mahashivratri show in Mauritius at Grand Bassin 2017 (2:39)

Mahashivratri 2017 in Mauritius at Goodlands (9:41)

The Sacred Lake of Ganga Talao

Posted on 2017/2/25 18:50:21 ( 392 reads )


MAURITIUS, May 3, 2016 (CNN): Every year on the tiny island of Mauritius a great pilgrimage occurs. Thousands of Hindus make the rugged journey to a volcanic crater that houses the Ganga Talao, a lake raised up high above the Indian Ocean, for a touch of divinity. There are few similarities between the Ganges and Ganga Talao at first glance. One is a vast river coursing through South Asia, the other a placid lake. For Hindus however, the link that binds the two bodies of water is strong; spiritual and essential.

In 1887 a priest claimed to see the waters of Ganga Talao flowing from the Goddess Ganga in a dream -- the same Goddess who personifies the holy waters of the Ganges. Word of this revelation spread, transforming Ganga Talao. A simple lake no more, it was now the embodiment of a Hindu god, connected directly to the mighty Ganges situated nearly 4,000 miles away.

Ever since worshipers have journeyed to the sacred lake, a cultural touchstone for the island's Indian emigrants and a link to their South Asian past. Today it sits at the heart of the island's most important Hindu festival, Maha Shivaratri.

More at "source" above.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2017/2/25 18:50:00 ( 257 reads )


All fear of distress, grief, avarice, delusion and bewilderment exist only as long as one does not take refuge in the satguru. All wanderings in the ocean of births, called samsara, fraught with grief and impurity, last as long as one has no devotion to a holy Sivaguru. As the boon-giving guru gives the mantra in contentment and beatitude, try to please him with devotion, wealth, your very life.
-- Kularvnava Tantra

Maha Shivratri Fasting Rules -- Maha Shivaratri Fasting Procedure: Benefits, What to Eat?

Posted on 2017/2/25 18:50:00 ( 412 reads )


INDIA, February 24, 2017 (PressKS by Bharath): Maha Shivratri is one of the celebrated festivals in India. On this occasion, devotees pray to Lord Shiva and get His blessings. To get the blessings many of them follow fasting, which is observed in several areas in the country. The fasting procedure will be completed and they will not sleep throughout the night. It is said that if a devotee observes a fast on Maha Shivratri, with sincerity, pure devotion and love, he/she would be blessed with the divine grace of Lord Shiva.

The Upvaas or the fasting starts on Maha Shivratri and ends on the next day which is Amavasya. The major Jyotirlinga Shiva temples of India, such as in Varanasi and Somnatha, are particularly frequented on Maha Shivaratri. They serve also as sites for fairs and special events. Maha Shivratri is observed in all the parts of the country. Maha Shivratri is mostly observed to be celebrated in temples. Most of the devotees once in the day visit Lord Shiva's temples and worship the God for blessings.

People who want to fast on Mahashivaratri should take a bath early in the morning, with warm water and black sesame seeds. Sesame seeds take the impurities away from your body. Wear new clothes which are laundered and visit a Lord Shiva temple nearby. The ritual of bathing the Shiva Linga with milk and honey takes place in temples of the Deity. Some people are very strong in belief and they don't take even a single drop of water. But some people who can't stay without having some water and a little food, may eat certain traditional foods.

For a list of suggested foods associated with Shivaratri see "source" above.

How to watch Maha Shivaratri 2017 Aarti Live in Varanasi's Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple

Posted on 2017/2/23 20:15:34 ( 740 reads )


VARANASI, INDIA, February 24, 2017: The annual festival in honor of God Shiva, Maha Shivaratri, is celebrated in the dark fortnight or Krishna Paksha on the 13th day or the 14th night of Phalguna or Maagha month (February or March). This year, Maha Shivaratri 2017 will be celebrated on Friday, February 24. Maha Shivaratri, the most significant festival for millions of Lord Shiva devotees, will be celebrated with grandeur at Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi. One of the 12 Jyotirlingas, the holiest of Shiva temples, Shri Kashi Vishwanath, is visited by a large number of Shiva worshippers from India and across the globe for Shiva Darshan.

The Shiva devotees who cannot visit Kashi in person can watch Maha Shivaratri 2017 Aarti Live online as the official website provides live streaming of Darshan from Varanasi. The Aarti will begin at 3.00 am and continue till 11.00 pm. Go to: http://dic.mp.nic.in/ujjain/mahakal/common_forms/live_darshan.aspx.

Kashi Vishwanath Temple situated on the banks of holy river Ganga is one of the most famous temples in India. The sacred Jyotirlinga shrine is also known as the Golden temple dedicated to the Lord Shiva. The main Deity is known by the name Vishwanatha or Vishweshwara meaning Ruler of the universe. During the occasion of Maha Shivaratri, there is an atmosphere of fervor and joy in the city of Varanasi.

On the auspicious day of Maha Shivaratri, devotees observe fast and keep vigil all night. It marks the night when Lord Shiva performed the Tandava or the dance of creation, preservation and destruction.
On Maha Shivaratri, the Shiva devotees observe fast and offer fruits, flowers and bel leaves on Shiva Linga. They offer prayers, sing shlokas, chant mantras, with the sacred Om Namah Shivaya repeated with the pure heart. The festival marks the great spiritualism among the Shiva Bhakts who seek the greatest of god's blessings.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2017/2/23 20:15:23 ( 405 reads )


The benevolent expect no return for their dutiful giving. How can the world ever repay the rain cloud?
-- Tirukural 211

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