Do everything with full attention. Nothing should be done without reverence, for everything is really done unto God. You should not worship God carelessly. It is not that God will punish you, but that you will destroy your own fine sense of values. Don’t trample on greatness in any form. One should have reverence for whatever one does, even if it is just an extraneous thing.
– Swami Ashokananda (1893-1969), monk of the Ramakrishna Order and accomplished teacher of Vedanta in the West
SWEDEN, September 18, 2014 (Sourze):
I was just passing by the Kings Garden on August 30 and saw a wonderfully ornate scene surrounding the garden pool. It was my longtime friends “young Swedish Dharmis and Ashavaner ([Zoroastrians]” in Stockholm, who had organized a festival to demonstrate how Hindu, Jain, Sikh and Zoroastrian religions operate in the world.
“Dharma” is a concept in several Indian thought systems, with varying significance. It is about the religious, ritual, secular and economic duties under the Vedas, which is famous age-old Indian scriptures.
The Royal Garden was bustling with people in colorful costumes on this sunny day and the program was impressive. A “Sanatana Dharmish” (a Hindu fire ceremony, known as the Ganga Arti) for “World Peace and Non-violence” and for a more equitable society was done on the steps of the long garden pool which had been consecrated with a few drops of Himalayan water from the Ganges in India! Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, and Zoroastrian chants for world peace were made and ten women blew the conch shells before and after the ceremony.
INDIA, September 18, 2014 (The Hindu):
Seventy-five-year-old N. Govindarajan of Sripuranthan was almost in tears seeing the panchaloha statue of Lord Nataraja after more than a decade. It was stolen from Sri Brahadeeswarar Temple at Sripuranthan in the district before 2006. A group of villagers from Sripuranthan also waited patiently for hours to get a glimpse of the statue when it was brought to the Jayamkondam Judicial Magistrate Court on Wednesday.
The 1,000-year-old statue, which was recently handed over to India by Australia, was brought from Chennai and produced before Magistrate S. Muthumurugan. Weighing about 330 lbs. and standing about five feet in height, the statue was neatly packed in a wooden box and brought in a police truck with tight security.
Measurements were taken in the presence of the Magistrate by the personnel of the Statue Wing CID of State police investigating the statues-theft cases at the Sripuranthan and Suthamalli temples. The Statue Wing police filed a petition seeking the court’s permission to keep it in safe custody at the government “Idol Centre” in Kumbakonam.
Is there a deeper tragedy than that of a man immersed in the pursuit of the not-self who has no time to realize the Divine Self within?
– Sadhu Vaswani, (1879-1966), founder the Sadhu Vaswani Mission
PORTLAND, OREGON, October 8, 2014 (LA Times):
Since Som Subedi joined Lutheran Community Services in 2010, the 33-year-old has attended to Portland’s Bhutanese immigrants. He meets them at the airport, giving them a $100 bill, telling them: “Here, this is to get you started. But remember, money doesn’t grow on trees.” He helps them find shelter and introduces them to other Bhutanese to alleviate the shock of a new homeland.
Subedi and other members of the Hindu minority in Bhutan were banished by the king of their Himalayan mountain kingdom in an ethnic cleansing that began a quarter-century ago. Since then, tens of thousands of Bhutanese have moved to refugee camps across neighboring Nepal. Subedi spent two decades there, before the U.S. agreed in 2008 to accept 60,000 Bhutanese immigrants, and several other nations agreed to accept a like number.
Six years after his arrival, Subedi has fashioned a life here. But his own success is not enough; Subedi visits other Bhutanese to help them make it too. He serves as a one-man switchboard, counseling his countrymen enduring isolation and financial hardship
WASHINGTON, U.S., October 7, 2014 (Military.com):
Georgetown has hired its first Hindu chaplain, Pratima Dharm, who recently retired as the first Hindu chaplain in the U.S. Army. Dharm, who began her role at Georgetown Oct. 1 in the university’s Office of Campus Ministry, has served on Army bases and hospitals around the world, including a year-long deployment in Iraq.
While serving as a captain in the Army, she was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for organizing and leading numerous humanitarian aid missions for Kurdish Iraqis. “War can dehumanize you and I was watching the dehumanization of my soldiers, so I was fighting to give them a sense of family,” says Dharm, who began her stint with the Army in 2006. “Army ministry has touched me so deeply and it has made me a better chaplain and a better human being.”
A native of Mumbai, she came to the United States in March 2001. Dharm is trained in the Vaishnav Hindu tradition in India and is endorsed by Chinmaya Mission West, Palo Alto, California. At Georgetown, Dharm says she will lead the weekly Hindu pujas or prayer services, now attended by about 100 students, look at programs that could better Hindu education on campus and work closely with other religious groups on campus.
If there are errors in other religions, that is none of our business. God, to whom the world belongs, takes care of that.
– Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836-1886)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND, October 4, 2014 (Edinburgh Evening News):
Bagpipes and fiddles will merge with tribal belly dancers and a Bollywood band to celebrate the Capital’s 20th Dussehra Festival tomorrow. Around 5000 people are expected to gather for the annual Hindu festival on Calton Hill, which celebrates good conquering evil. Symbolic 25 ft effigies of the demons Ravana, his brother Kumbhakarna and son Meghnad will be set alight on top of the hill to commemorate the victory, which took place thousands of years ago.
The burning is the climax of a day full of activities celebrating Dussehra, along with a fireworks display which takes place against the spectacular backdrop of the Edinburgh cityscape. It is one of the largest free independent festivals in Scotland – something its organisers are proud they are able to provide to the residents of Edinburgh and further afield.
This year it features a fantastic cultural programme integrating Scottish and Indian music and dance.
TIRUMALA, ANDRA PRADESH, INDIA, October 5, 2014 (Deccan Chronicle):
With the holiday pilgrim crowd continuing to throng the Tirumala hill shrine on Saturday, a stampede-like situation developed in the queue lines giving tense moments to officials of the TTD. They rushed to the Vaikuntam Q complex to get the situation under control. With absolutely no respite from the heavy influx of devotees due to a string of holidays, the serpentine queues became the order of the day even to get into the Vaikuntam Q complex, at the Kalyanakatta, Annadanam complex, laddu counters and at the reception counters.
However, the alert staff and the vigilance sleuths who realised that the situation was getting worse, tried to stop the devotees and helped them by shifting them to the TTD-run Aswini hospital for first aid with the help of ambulances.
Meanwhile, TTD JEO Mr K.S. Sreenivasa Raju, who rushed to the spot on learning about the developments in the queue lines, decided to immediately cancel the Divya darshan for devotees trekking up the hills through the pedestrian routes owing to the heavy and unprecedented rush atop the hill shrine already. Mr Sreenivasa Raju also added that from now on the Divya darshan would be cancelled during the weekends if the pilgrim influx is heavy. The JEO asked the officials concerned, besides the vigilance staff and policemen to ensure the situation in the queue lines is closely monitored to prevent any untoward incidents.
Wanting to reform the world without discovering one’s true self is like trying to cover the world with wool to avoid the pain of walking on stones and thorns. It is much simpler to wear shoes.
– Sri Ramana Maharishi (1879-1950), South Indian mystic