The practice of yoga is not for ourselves alone, but for the Divine; its aim is to work out the will of the Divine in the world, to effect a spiritual transformation and to bring down a divine nature into the life of humanity. It is not personal ananda, but the bringing down of the divine ananda, the Satya Yuga, upon the Earth.
– Sri Aurobindo, (1872-1950), Indian philosopher and reformer
HANOI, VIETNAM, October 19, 2014 (Vietnam Plus):
The Indian Embassy and the Indian Business Chamber in Vietnam co-organized the Diwali festival in Hanoi on October 18 in a bid to provide the local audience with an insight into the land, people and culture of India.
The event offered an opportunity for Indian people to show their respect for the Goddess Lakshmi – a symbol of happiness, prosperity, beauty and faith in the victory of the fight between good and evil.
During the festival, Hanoians were enthralled by both traditional and modern dances, culinary arts, and interesting experiments about India and its people as well as unique cultural characteristics such as yoga and traditional handicrafts. Especially, India’s custom of lighting candles attracted many people.
Diwali, one of the largest festivals in India , has become a regular activity of the Indian community in Vietnam. This year’s event was expected to attract more than 1,000 visitors.
GUYANA, October 18, 2014 (Guyana Chronicle, by Cecil Ramkirath):
Deepavali (or Diwali), the Festival of Lights, is one of the most enchanting and beautiful festivals that adorn the Hindu calendar. It commemorates the beginning of the Hindu New Year and there is an unmistakable element of fun, laughter, excitement, reunion, and heartfelt felicity associated with the celebration. And why not enjoy and have some fun when the harvest season has ended and the financial books are closed.
Amidst the jubilation and display, we must not lose sight of the strong spiritual current that runs deep in the proper observance of Diwali. Diwali signifies the light that dispels the darkness of ignorance. This is the light of spiritual knowledge that comes from the long and arduous journey towards self-realisation. We have to keep the light of knowledge and virtue burning brightly within and bring it forth to the world in good actions and deeds, working vigorously and selflessly to eradicate poverty, violence, exploitation, injustice, hatred and cruelty, fiercely resisting all forms of discrimination, forging friendship and goodwill, and in humble and little ways, bring warmth and joy in the lives we touch.
More of this inspiring essay at “source.”
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)