NEW - Vedic/Hindu Calendar for 2013

NEW - Vedic/Hindu Calendar for 2013
Shri Ramapir Mandir/Temple in Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Navaratri from PHP and How its Celebrated All Over the World

By Gopinath Kumar Rajput (Executive Director)
Monday, October 11, 2010

USA : Navaratri, a festival dedicating nine nights of ardent devotion to the Goddess, is being celebrated since the new moon of October 5.

Millions of Hindu women consider Navaratri the year’s central festival, the one they most deeply connect to. These nine days dedicated to Shakti, the Goddess, provide an opportunity to seek blessings and commune with their own divinity. It is a time for sacred gatherings, austerities, selfless acts and intimate prayers. But Navaratri is not just for the ladies; everyone turns out for the joyous worship, festivities, plays, feasting and dance–all venerating God as the loving Mother Spirit that gives life to everything.

What do Hindus do for Navaratri?
Navaratri starts on the new moon of September/October. On the first day, it is customary to plant seeds in a clay pot which will sprout over the next nine days. In some communities, women prepare a specially decorated kalasha, a vessel symbolizing the fertile womb, representing the Goddess. Especially in cities in Tamil Nadu, families create elaborate shelf dis- plays, called kolu, of handmade clay dolls. Adding new dolls each year and handing the collection down to the next generation results in some grand displays.

How is Navaratri observed in homes?
Each night, the Goddess “holds court,” and special food offerings are presented as prayers eulogizing Her powers are chanted. Guests are invited to showcase their artistic skills, and all enjoy sweets and other treats. Women dress up and visit female friends and relatives, taking a tray of offerings which includes the betel leaf and nut that bear the gravity of a formal contract of friendship and loyalty. Other items on the tray–beauty aaccessories, fresh turmeric root and coconut–symbolize goodwill and fertility. They fast, pray morning and evening, and give food and cooking pots to the poor. Some families formally honor a prepubescent girl each day, giving her new clothes, treating her to a sumptuous lunch, and pampering her, affirming her femininity and affinity with the Goddess.

Read more about Navaratri in the Hindu Festivals for the Media project here. Help your community understand your Hindu celebrations by downloading a free pdf and taking it to your local newspaper. Navaratri is sure to catch the attention of your western friends and colleagues: no other religion celebrates the Feminine Divinity like Hinduism does.

Indian Supreme Court’s Definition of a Hindu

Source: HPI
Monday, October 11, 2010 

KAUAI, HI : Yesterday’s article on HPI entitled “Being a Hindu in Indian Law” stated that “Nearly 15 years ago the Supreme Court had found it tough to define Hinduism.” That is not accurate. That particular decision embraced the definition by B.G Tilak, a concise and widely accepted formula:

“Acceptance of the Vedas with reverence; recognition of the fact that the means or ways to salvation are diverse; and the realization of the truth that the number of Gods to be worshipped is large, that indeed is the distinguishing feature of Hindu religion. (B.G.Tilak’s Gitarahasayal).”

Get Rid of Illegal Shrines, Orders the Supreme Court, India

Monday, October 11, 2010

NEW DELHI, INDIA : Taking exception to states’ tergiversation on the removal of illegal religious structures, the Supreme Court threatened to summon the respective chief secretaries if they failed to comply with directions to remove or relocate places of worship built on public land. A bench gave two weeks to the states to file their response, the third instance the SC is giving time to states to comply with its directions.

According to affidavits filed by various states, Tamil Nadu has the highest number of unauthorized places of worship at 77,450, followed by Rajasthan at 58,253, Madhya Pradesh at 51,624, and Uttar Pradesh at 45, 000. Delhi has the least at 52.

On September 27, 2009, the SC had ordered there should be no unauthorized religious structures on roads, pavements or other public places, as they were inconvenience to people. In its order, the apex court had put the responsibility on chief secretaries’ to ensure no further construction took place. The court said the states should deal with existing structures on individual basis after hearing the parties concerned. From the affidavits, it transpired none of the States have taken effective methods to abide by the Supreme Court order.

Bengaluru To Host World Samskrit Book Fair, India

Monday, October 11, 2010

BENGALURU, INDIA : More than 10,000 Sanskrit Scholars from across the world and over 150 publishers from 14 countries will participate in the World Samskrit Book Fair to be held at Bangalore Karnataka from January 7 to 10, 2011. Samskruta Bharati, an RSS affiliated organisation for Samskrit speaking-learning activities will be organizing this mega event.

Sanskrit Promotion Foundation spokesperson Srinivas announced that the fair, to be organized jointly by various Sanskrit organizations and the Karnataka government, will be the first of its kind. More than 500 new publications would be released, he said. He stated that conferences and workshops would also be held to provide a platform for discussion on translations, new vocabulary and the role of Sanskrit, management and leadership principles in its literature.

Dozens Of Stolen Artifacts Recovered In Bali, Indonesia

Monday, October 11, 2010

JAKARTA, INDONESIA : Police have seized 144 stolen sacred Hindu artifacts from three storage facilities in Bali after arresting the suspected thief, a 50-year-old Italian national, last week.

On Tuesday, police raided a warehouse on Jalan Mertanadi in Seminyak, where they recovered 20 artifacts depicting various deities such as the God Vishnu and sacred animals like Garuda the bird-god. The day before, police confiscated 24 pratimas, or religious effigies, in a raid on an art shop on Jalan Teuku Umar in Denpasar.

“These artifacts that we have confiscated are connected to the string of pratima thefts at various Hindu temples across Bali,” Adj. Comr. Soma Adnyana, chief of Bali Police’s criminal unit, said on Tuesday.

Police believed that the suspect, Roberto Gamboa, was a collector of stolen artifacts. Last week, they arrested the Italian and confiscated 110 pratimas at a villa belonging to him. Police also discovered 35,000 ancient Balinese coins, several Sanskrit scriptures and golden statuettes. Police later arrested Gamboa’s alleged accomplices

Milk Miracle in the Caribbean

Monday, October 11, 2010

TRINIDAD : Reports streaming in indicate that Ganesh Murtis from all quarters of Trinidad were accepting milk. Mandirs, as well as Hindus from their homes have reported live on Radio Jaagriti that Ganesh Murtis have been “drinking milk” when offered on this final day of the Ganesh Utsav.

The “miracle”, as it was called by believers, was first noted at midday on Tuesday at the Om Shanti Mandir, Cunjal Road, Princes Town, where devotees have been observing the holy period of Ganesh Utsav. Other mandirs began observing the “phenomenon” yesterday.

A steady stream of devotees stood in line yesterday to make offerings to the elephant-headed God, remover of obstacles in the Hindu faith.

Chief executive officer of Radio Jaagriti Devant Maharaj said yesterday the Hindu milk miracle was a phenomenon considered by Hindus as a miracle. “It first occurred on September 21, 1995, all over the globe, and again, on August 20-21 in 2006, in almost exactly the same fashion,” he said.

He said the first report locally came in from the local Om Shanti mandir and since then, mandir groups from all over the world have been reporting similar experiences of the murtis drinking milk. “At Radio Jaagriti, devotees began standing in line to offer milk, fruits and flowers to a Ganesh murti kept at the radio station,” he said. He said Hindus had seen the hand of divinity in the miracle. “God is among us,” he said.

Renunciate Female Priests Run Krishna Temple in Jammu, India

Monday, October 11, 2010

JAMMU, INDIA : A temple devoted to Lord Krishna here is looked after by a group of female priests, who offer daily prayers and perform rituals. The priestesses say they want to spread the message of women empowerment through religion in the society. They maintain that women and men are equal, as both are children of God.

“Lord Krishna has said in the holy scripture Gita that there is no difference between a man and a woman, whether they are from different castes or class. No matter how a person is, they all have equal rights,” said tapasvi Sadha Bai, a priestess.

The temple is 200 years old and it was built by Ananda Bai, who devoted her life to the service of the temple. The priestesses, who are known as ‘Bai Ji’ (Sister), live very simply and wear pink attire. They also shave their heads and do not wear any ornament except for holy beads.