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Hindus ask Australian museums re-examine procurement process of Hindu collections

Colombo-temple hindu

Colombo-temple hindu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Hindus are asking all the museums and art galleries of Australia to exhaustively re-examine the procurement process and the provenance of their Hindu art collections, and if proved stolen, return to Hindu temples these originally belonged.

Rajan Zed, who is based in Nevada (USA), welcomed Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s gesture of returning back to India on September five about 900-years-old bronze Shiva Nataraja and granulite Ardhanarishvara statues stolen from temples in India, which were worth millions of dollars.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that when acquiring new Hindu artifacts in the future, Australian art institutions should make sure that these were not looted from Hindu religious centers and should follow strict due diligence procedures and have transparent provenance. Pillaging of Hindu temples and archeological sites for mercantile greed was not okay, Zed argued.

Rajan Zed pointed out that Australian art institutions should adhere to the principles of the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import and Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. The panels conducting the examinations of existing collections should include internal and external art specialists. He or other Hindu scholars would gladly assist if needed, Zed added.

Zed further said that devotees had been worshipping these images of Hindu deities for centuries and, if confirmed as stolen, the world should respect their feelings by making arrangements to respectfully return to the religious institutions these plundered antiquities rightfully belonged to before being stolen.

Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.


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Zed urges Vatican Synod for sympathetic look at marriage laws

RELIGION PLAYS AN IMPORTANT PART IN THE LIVES ...

The largest group of Churchgoers are Roman Catholic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Hindu religious figure Rajan Zed is urging the upcoming October Synod of Bishops at Vatican to exhaustively re-look into the Church marriage laws to make these more relevant to the contemporary society.

The Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will to take place in the Vatican from October 5-19 on the theme “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization”.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, requested the Synod to deeply, sympathetically and honestly look into the predicament of remarried and divorced Roman Catholics and complexities of the law governing marriage annulments with a forgiving and merciful attitude.

Quoting a study titled “Modeling the decline of religion” by Richard Wiener (University of Arizona, USA), Haley Yaple (Northwestern University, USA), and Daniel Abrams (Northwestern University), which pointed out that “societies in which the perceived utility of not adhering is greater than the utility of adhering, religion will be driven toward extinction”; Rajan Zed suggested to organizations and leaders of various world religions and denominations to make religion more vibrant, attractive and engaging if they wanted to keep the people in God’s fold.

Zed noted that people with “no religion” were increasing and we (religious leaders and organizations) were responsible for their alienation. We as religious leaders should live exemplary lives to add credibility to our preaching. Accept the people who and as they are, Zed added.


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Only 22% Americans know a Hindu

English: Bhagavad Gita, a 19th century manuscr...

Bhagavad Gita, a 19th century manuscript. North India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Only 22 percent Americans know someone who is Hindu, according to a Pew Research Center survey published on July 17.

This number is lowest than any other religion/denomination surveyed.  Catholics rank highest with 87 percent, followed by evangelical Christians, Jews, Atheists, Mormonscial , Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus.

Americans express warmest and more positive feelings towards Jews (average rating 63); followed by Catholics, evangelical Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, etc., the survey adds.

Reacting to this survey findings, Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, urged American Hindus to make outreach efforts towards non-Hindu communities, do charity, invite others to visit Hindu temples/ashrams, offer help to neighbors, be good role models, act for the benefit of all, volunteer, try to stay pure and exhibit warmth and love towards fellow Americans.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that ancient Hindu scripture Bhagavad-Gita (Song of the Lord) urged us to act selflessly without any thought of personal profit.

Rajan Zed suggested to each American Hindu to take a vow of undertaking at least one charitable project during this year for less fortunate members of the community. Quoting scriptures, Zed stressed that charity was a duty, which should be undertaken with sympathy and modesty.

Headquartered in Washington DC, “Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world”. Alan Murray is President.

Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.


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Hindus say minority rights ignored in Kenya’s new polygamy law

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Hindus have stressed that feelings and rights of minorities were not kept in mind when Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta signed Kenya’s marriage bill into law on April 29, which legalized polygamy.

Rajan Zed, who is based in Nevada, said that polygamy was not practiced in contemporary Hindu society. Marriage was taken very seriously as it was considered a sacred rite and highest duty in Hinduism.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, points out: In Hinduism, vivah (marriage) is the most important samskar (sacrament). Married couple is looked as a complete module for worship and participation in cultural/social acts. With the marriage samskar, one thoroughly enters into grihasth-ashram (householder phase), where one can attend to the goals of dharm (duty).

Zed believes that Kenyatta should have met the leaders of Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Baha’i and other minority religions/denominations in Kenya and taken into account their viewpoint before signing the marriage bill into law.

Zed reminded Kenyatta of his “core value” to “treat everyone fairly”. Moreover, Kenya’s constitution and other laws/policies protected religious freedom and Kenya needed to protect its minorities in order to attract foreign investments.

Ethnic diversity of Kenya, described as “the cradle of humanity” which showed earliest evidence of human’s ancestors, had produced a vibrant culture. With its abundant wildlife and scenic beauty, if Kenya wants to continue attracting tourists and increase its numbers, it has to take care of its minorities and project a picture of harmonious coexistence to the world, Rajan Zed noted.


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Where did meditation originate?

Saint Padre Pio stated: "Through the stud...

Saint Padre Pio stated: “Through the study of books one seeks God; by meditation one finds him”. The Rosary: A Path Into Prayer by Liz Kelly 2004 ISBN 082942024X pages 79 and 86 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Christopher Lloyd Clarke

Like many researchers, I believe that meditation has been a part of human life since the very beginning of human existence. Since man first became self aware, that is to say, when he first became conscious of himself as a being that can think, that can act out of conscience, that can remember the past and visualize the future, since he became aware of his own mental faculties, he has been driven by a innate urge to better understand his place in the universe and the essential nature of his own mind.

When we try to imagine the origins of meditation, most of us tend to picture it being practiced by followers of the earliest religions, such as Buddhism or Hinduism. As human civilization gradually developed, mans search for meaning blossomed into a variety of spiritual practices throughout the East, many of which included meditation. The earliest recorded evidence of meditation in written form is found in Hindu scriptures that date back approximately 5,000 years, and plenty of evidence is found in other religious texts, including those of Christianity, Judaism, and Taoism. These are the first texts to describe meditation as a formal practice with defined methodologies and objectives.

However, it is extremely likely that meditation played a part in the life of many human beings from a much earlier stage in the spiritual and sociological development of our species. The history of meditation probably goes back to a time well before we were capable of producing documentation to describe it as a systemized form of practice, and as a result, archaeological evidence of meditation is unlikely to provide us with the complete story. For example, scriptural records of meditation in countries such as India, Japan and China is plentiful, but very little recorded evidence of meditation in Australian Aboriginal culture exists, even though it is generally accepted that the Aboriginal inhabitants of Australia were practicing a form of meditation many tens of thousands of years ago, and they were certainly no exception at the time. Tribal rituals and ceremonies that involved trance-like states were common to a variety of ancient indigenous tribes around the world, and still are in some places.

It is almost certain that meditation has been practiced “informally” by man since the earliest of times. If one broadens one’s definition of meditation to take into account any form of silent awareness, any gaze of wonder, any form of focused introspection, then it is not hard to imagine early man slipping into states that we would happily define as “meditation” by our current standards. Since man first became self aware, he has had cause to look within, to become conscious of his own mind, and to rest peacefully in the space between his thoughts.

About the Author:

Dr. Christopher Lloyd Clarke – Meditation really is one of the most powerful ways to experience inner peace and to improve your quality of life. For more information about guided meditation and to learn how to meditate for free, please visit www.The-Guided-Meditation-Site.com.

Article Source: Where did meditation originate?


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Hindus feel abandoned over no Diwali holiday in New York City schools

Diwali - The Festival of Lights Often referred...

Diwali – The Festival of Lights Often referred to as the Festival of Lights, Diwali is celebrated by Indian communities throughout the world to celebrate the new year. Hindus, Jains and Sikhs all get involved in this festive time of year which signifies the triumph of good over evil. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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The Hindu community is heartbroken over New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio not declaring Diwali as a school holiday despite all out efforts by them.

Rajan Zed, based in Nevada (USA), said it was unfair to Hindu pupils and their families as they would have to attend school on their most popular festival while schools in the district would be closed on festivals of some other communities.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, argued that this unfairness did not send a good signal to the impressionable minds of schoolchildren who would be the leaders of tomorrow. Zed urged Mayor de Blasio to reconsider his decision and include Diwali, which fell on October 23 this year, on the holiday calendar of public schools.

Believing it is important for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali day together at home with their children, Zed says Hindus do not want their children to be deprived of any privileges at the school because of absences on this day. Closing schools on Diwali would ensure that and it would be “a step in the right direction.”

Zed also noted that awareness about other religions created by holidays like Diwali would make the New York City pupils well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow. It would make the District look good also besides bringing cohesion and unity in the community. Zed urged all school districts across USA to declare Diwali as school holiday.

According to Zed, Diwali, the festival of lights, aims at dispelling the darkness and lighting up the lives and symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Hindus worship goddess of good fortune and beauty Lakshmi, god of wisdom and auspiciousness Ganesh, and mountain Goverdhan on this day. Also on this day, coronation of Lord Ram was held, Lord Hanuman was born, Lord Vishnu returned kingdom to monkey king Bali of Kiskindha, Lord Vishnu and goddess Lakshmi married, Lord Krishan killed demon Narakasur, and ancient king Vikramaditya was crowned. On this day of forgiveness, festivities, and friendliness; families and friends get together for worship followed by a sumptuous and elaborate feast. It is also considered a harvest festival. Besides Hindus, Sikhs and Jains and some Buddhists also celebrate Diwali.

Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.

The New York City Department of Education is the largest system of public schools in USA, serving about 1.1 million students in over 1,700 schools with $24 billion annual budget. Carmen Farina is Chancellor of the Department of Education.


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Hindus perturbed over damage to ancient Malaysia Hindu temple

Built in 6th century A.D, Candi Bukit Batu Pah...

Built in 6th century A.D, Candi Bukit Batu Pahat is the most well-known ancient Hindu temple found in Bujang Valley, Kedah, Malaysia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it was shocking, saddening and tragic to learn about the damage caused to rich archaeological remains of Lembah Bujang in Kedah state. These Hindu temple ruins, besides being dear to Hindus, were highly important heritage for Malaysians and the world, Zed added.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohammad Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak to launch a thorough investigation into this damage and allocate additional funding to conserve the area.

Rajan Zed asked United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to declare Lembah Bujang a World Heritage Site and help fund its preservation efforts. It needed to be urgently protected and some serious efforts and strong political will were needed in this direction by Malaysia Government.

Commercial developer reportedly tore down these ancient Hindu temple remains in Bujang Valley. Efforts should be made to reconstruct the damaged prehistoric structure and developer should provide most of the funding, Zed stressed.

Rajan Zed argued that such callous treatment to ancient monuments should not be acceptable in Malaysia and the world. This should serve as a wake-up call for Malaysia and the world to take care of heritage sites and Malaysia should declare all Lembah Bujang archaeological sites as national heritage sites.

Zed wondered why it took so long for this damage to come to light. Chalking out some proactive policies for preservation of these valuable monuments might help in the future. According to reports, there were many temple ruins in Bujang Valley which were still undocumented and damage caused to some during the recent development might had thus gone unnoticed.

Malaysians should be proud of their legacy in Lembah Bujang and should preserve for future generations what their ancestors left for them. There were reportedly over 90 such archaeological sites in Lembah Bujang. Any further irresponsible and needless damage to the sites must be prevented with a swift action, Rajan Zed stated.

Reports suggest that Lembah Bujang, spread in about 224 square kilometers, is the richest archaeological site in Malaysia, consisting ruins over 2,000 years old. Excavation here has revealed a clay brick monument dating to 110 CE, making it the oldest piece in Southeast Asia.

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