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Hindus shocked at Sydney Anglican Church lumping yoga with “worshipping false gods”

Holy Trinity Anglican Church Erskineville via Wikipedia

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Hindus worldwide are upset over a Sydney Anglican Church in Australia reportedly associating yoga with “worshipping false gods”; and are seeking apology from the Anglican Communion.

A news item pasted under “Media Watch Around The World” on the “Sydney Anglicans” (official website of Anglican Diocese of Sydney) said: Anglican Church in Erskineville doesn’t want yoga classes, over fears of ‘worshipping false gods’.

Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that it was highly inappropriate and bizarre to unnecessarily and unreasonably tarnish an ancient, multi-beneficial and rich practice of yoga for which United Nations proclaimed June 21 as International Day of Yoga to raise awareness worldwide of its many benefits.

Zed indicated that it was dismaying for the Hindus to note that instead of disciplining the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Erskineville over such a baseless allegation against yoga, Anglican Diocese of Sydney chose to paste such newsitem on its website.

Rajan Zed invited Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies to study a treatise on yoga and attend few yoga classes to have firsthand experience of yoga. Davies would then realize that yoga did not create “spiritual confusion” (as blamed in the news item) but instead opened up and brought more clarity to the mind, Zed added.

Involved church officials should show some maturity as such wild allegations against the highly respected practice of yoga and attempts to ban it would leave many in 21st century multicultural Australia seriously disappointed, embarrassed and unhappy; many of whom might like to explore various valuable benefits yoga offered; Zed noted and urged Anglican Communion’s spiritual head Justin Welby and Archbishop of Melbourne & Primate of Australia Philip Leslie Freier to intervene.

Rajan Zed further said that Vatican Library carried many yoga related books, including “How to know God. The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali”.  Prominent US Roman Catholic universities/colleges—University of Notre Dame, Georgetown University, College of the Holy Cross, Boston College, Villanova University, Santa Clara University, Providence College, College of Saint Benedict, Gonzaga University, Loyola Marymount University (which offers Master of Arts in Yoga Studies program), Marquette University, University of Dayton, Creighton University, John Carroll University, Loyola University Maryland, Xavier University, Fordham University, etc., offered various classes and programs of yoga regularly; and so did Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Catholic University of Leuven) in Belgium, one of the oldest and most renowned universities in Europe founded in 1425.

Yoga, referred as “a living fossil”, was a mental and physical discipline, for everybody to share and benefit from, whose traces went back to around 2,000 BCE to Indus Valley civilization, Zed stated.

Rajan Zed stressed that yoga, although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, was a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all. According to Patanjali who codified it in Yoga Sutra, yoga was a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical.

According to US National Institutes of Health, yoga may help one to feel more relaxed, be more flexible, improve posture, breathe deeply, and get rid of stress. According to a “2016 Yoga in America Study”, about 37 million Americans (which included many celebrities) now practice yoga; and yoga is strongly correlated with having a positive self image.  Yoga was the repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche, Zed added.

Roger Bray is the Senior Minister at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Erskineville, where both Church and Church Hall are currently being used for yoga. Cost of the church is from $38/hour, while cost of church hall is from $35/hour. “Room for Many” is one the programs of the church. Anglican Church came to Australia in 1788.


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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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Monash University, Australia seeking participants for study on extraordinary experiences

Monash University in Australia is conducting research into extraordinary experiences. More information can be found at the survey website and at the online notice.


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Hindus & Jews urge Queensland to treat various religions equally

Queensland Bottle Tree by Mike Locke

Queensland Bottle Tree by Mike Locke

Special to Earthpages.org

Hindus and Jews have asked Queensland state of Australia to treat all major religions evenly.

According to its Education Act, “Instruction…may be given in State primary and special schools during school hours in selected Bible lessons.”

Rajan Zed, acclaimed Hindu statesman; and Rabbi Jonathan B. Freirich, prominent Jewish leader in Nevada and California in USA; in a joint statement, said that instead of just Bible lessons, Queensland schools should come up with a comparative religion class teaching basics of all major world religions and local indigenous beliefs, including the viewpoint of non-believers.

Zed and Freirich argued that opening-up the children to major world religions, local indigenous beliefs and non-believers’ viewpoint would make them well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow.

Australia, a culturally diverse society, has no official state religion and people are free to practice any religion they choose. Australians are also free not to have a religion. Religious freedom is safeguarded by section 116 of the Australian Constitution. Besides various Christian denominations, Australia has now a considerable population of Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, indigenous beliefs practitioners, etc.., including about 19 percent having “no religion”.

Second largest state of Australia and full of dazzling landscapes and 300 days of sunshine a year, Queensland is the fastest growing state.


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Australia’s Gold Coast says “no” to Gandhi street

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Australia’s sixth largest city Gold Coast has said no to the request of naming a street after peace icon Mahatma Gandhi.

Replying to a plea of Gandhi Monument Council headquartered in USA, Ron Clarke, Gold Coast mayor, said, “…Council’s Street Naming department will not be able to support the request.  Following Council’s Street Naming Guidelines Section S.1.4., Council will name streets of which have a historical or cultural significance of Australia and/or of those who have resided as a local resident for a considerable time.”

Right Reverend Gene Savoy Jr. and Rajan Zed, Council coordinators, in a communiqué to the City of Gold Coast, had urged to name one of the major streets of Gold Coast after Mahatma Gandhi, preferably to be called Mahatma Gandhi Marg (“marg” means path). While Savoy is Head Bishop of International Community of Christ, Zed is the president of Universal Society of Hinduism.

The Gandhi Monument Council is formed of Christian (various denominations), Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Baha’i, Native American, etc., clergy.  According to Zed and Savoy, the purpose of this Council is to commemorate Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence, his commitment to world peace, and his work for the upliftment of the downtrodden.

Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) was one of the few men in history to fight simultaneously on moral, religious, political, social, economic, and cultural fronts. His life and thought had an enormous impact on the world, and he continues to be widely revered as one of the greatest moral, political, and peace leaders of the twentieth century.

Gold Coast; known for surf, partying, sun, active nightlife and meter maids; is Australia’s answer to Las Vegas.