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Hindus ask Utah school apology for reprimanding student on Hindu dreadlocks

Rajan Zed pic3

Rajan Zed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Hindus are critical of Lincoln Academy of Pleasant Grove (Utah) for reportedly reprimanding a student and removing her from class for wearing dreadlocks, which she links to her spiritual journey in Hindu beliefs.

Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that school should offer a public apology to the student and her family who had to unnecessarily go through this harassment, which appeared to be a case of religious infringement.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged Utah State Office of Education, which oversees this school, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Brad C. Smith to institute an enquiry into this incident.

Rajan Zed indicated that the harassment of eighth-grader Caycee Cunningham should be immediately stopped and her religious/spiritual rights be restored.

Zed stressed that following minority religious beliefs by students should not be “distraction” for any school.  Hinduism was oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it deserved the same respect as any other religion.

Rajan Zed explained that many Hindu ascetics sported dreadlocks as a part of religious practice, a sign of renunciation and disregarding vanity.  Lord Shiva, who along with Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu, formed the great triad of Hindu deities, was depicted as wearing matted hair. Rig-Veda, the oldest existing scripture of mankind, talked about “mighty Rudra, the god with braided hair”.

Lincoln Academy, launched in 2005 whose tagline is “inspiring children to excel”, serves students in kindergarten through ninth grade.


Death – The Final Frontier?

I recently began an article on different beliefs about the afterlife. The first sentence went something like “Every culture has its own beliefs about the afterlife.” Almost immediately I realized this was pretty much wrong. Maybe in the old days different cultures contained large groups of people adhering to specific religious doctrines. But not today.

Some might disagree, noting that there are an estimated 1.2 billion Catholics out there—a huge faith group that believes in the afterlife as taught by the Vatican. Well, yes and no. From my experience as a Catholic, people tend to have their own private views. Get to know them a little better and their opinions leak out.

For instance, one person I knew was a Greeter at their local Catholic church, and they quietly believed in the idea of universal salvation. That means that everyone gets to heaven sooner or later, not just the pious on Earth or those in purgatory. This person was an upright Catholic, respected by many, who held this secret “radical” belief (The Vatican does not endorse the idea of universal salvation, but says that hell is eternal).

Afterlife (TV series)

Afterlife (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another Catholic person I knew was enamored with Benny Hinn, a former Catholic schoolteacher who made little swipes against the Catholic Church on TV.

Let’s face it. The world is fragmented and complicated. Even in the old days it was. Some scholars might, for instance, say that the ancient Mesopotamians believed in a shadowy underworld. But did everyone? Surely there were some hard core materialists back then who would have viewed the whole afterlife idea as rubbish.

To take another example, in ancient India there was a school of thought called Charvaka, which advocated materialism. And yet some Indians and believers in Hinduism see India’s ancient spiritual traditions as a backdrop to that country’s unique status as the “guru of the world.”

Again, not all saw nor see it that way.

Instead of going through the major world religions and their beliefs about the afterlife, I thought a more hands-on approach would be more informative. But I need your help. I’m going to ask what you believe.

So here we go. These are some guidelines to get you thinking. Please don’t feel obliged to answer all of these points.

  • What happens after we die?
  • Do we go on?
  • Why?
  • In what form?
  • Is it good or bad?
  • Do we disappear into oblivion?

Your thoughts would be very much appreciated. If we get enough replies here, perhaps I’ll republish this as a new article.


Michael Clark, Ph.D.


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London’s Victoria & Albert Museum to display Lord Vishnu on silk

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Victoria and Albert Museum (V&AM) in London, which claims to be “world’s greatest museum of art and design”, will be showcasing Lord Vishnu avatars on silk in its Fabric of India exhibition from October three to January 10.

Dated around 1570, this display will include a Hindu narrative cloth in silk lampas weave, depicting avatars of Lord Vishnu. It will be “the first exhibition to fully explore the incomparably rich world of handmade textiles from India”, presenting about 200 objects made by hand, including sacred temple hangings and some expressing religious devotion and examining how fabrics were used in spiritual life. “Sacred fabrics created for temples and shrines would employ the best of available materials and highest levels of craftsmanship,” Museum release says.

Commending V&AM for plans to exhibit Lord Vishnu, Rajan Zed said that art had a long and rich tradition in Hinduism and ancient Sanskrit literature talked about religious paintings of deities on wood or cloth.

Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged major art museums of the world, including Musee du Louvre and Musee d’Orsay of Paris, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Los Angeles Getty Center, Uffizi Gallery of Florence (Italy), Tate Modern of London, Prado Museum of Madrid, National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, etc., to frequently organize Hindu art focused exhibitions, thus sharing the rich Hindu art heritage with the rest of the world.

Some fragments of Indian fabric dating back as far as the 3rd century will be on display in this exhibition curated by Rosemary Crill and Divia Patel and designed by Gitta Geschwendtner, which will form part of V&AM’s India Festival.

Martin Roth and Paul Ruddock are Director and Board of Trustees Chairman respectively of V&AM, which claims to have “unrivalled collections of contemporary and historic art and design.”

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Hindus disheartened at U-turn of Conwy Council in Wales on feeding seagulls

English: River Conwy estuary, North Wales

River Conwy estuary, North Wales (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Special to

Hindus are disheartened at the reported U-turn of Conwy County Borough Council in North Wales (United Kingdom) on the issue of fining people for feeding seagulls.

Earlier, the Conwy Council reportedly shelved the plan to fine people for feeding seagulls, and now the Council is reportedly considering instituting a law by year end banning feeding of the birds.

Rajan Zed, who earlier commended the Council for reported shelving of plan to fine people for feeding seagulls respecting the religious sentiments of some communities, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that introducing ban on feeding birds would be blatantly disregarding the sentiments of some communities.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, asked: Was the universal principle of religious freedom not applicable in the Conwy County?

Rajan Zed urged the Conwy Council to show some maturity and respect to some communities who thought feeding birds was an act of kindness and a religious duty, and not draft the proposed law punishing those who fed the birds.

Zed pointed out that feeding birds was intrinsic to Hinduism and many started their day by feeding them.

Rajan Zed further said that birds played an important role in Hinduism and several Hindu deities had birds as their vahana (mount, vehicle): peacock is the vahana of Karttikeya, owl of Lakshmi, swan of Brahma, Garuda of Vishnu, etc. Jatayu was an ally of Rama who attempted to foil the abduction of Sita. Ancient Shvetashvatara Upanishad identified Self with bird: He is the blue bird, he is the green bird.

Zed also requested other counties, cities and towns in Wales to refrain from legislating penalties for feeding birds; besides urging Swansea Council and other seaside resorts to reconsider their fines for feeding the birds.

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

Liz Roberts is Conwy County Borough Council’s Chair while Iwan Davies is County’s Chief Executive.

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Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela in Ancient and Recent Times
Kumbh Mela 2015 Nasik

The Kumbh Mela of 2015 is just around the corner. It starts from July 14 at Trimbakeshwar in the Nasik district of Maharashtra. 80 million people are expected to visit Nasik this year as per government estimates.

There will be hordes of people coming to Nasik. Such is the devotion of the masses that they arrive in overcrowded buses and trains which sometimes carry five times more people than their allotted capacity. Then there are those who come by ox-drawn carts, horse backs and camels from far off places. Some ardent devotees come by foot with their bed rolls and puja items stacked on their heads. The Kumbh Mela instills such a deep feeling of reverence and adulation that people forget about their comfort and convenience just to take a dip in the sacred waters and achieve moksha or liberation from the cycle of rebirth.

Kumbh mela is celebrated once every 3 years alternately at four different locations: Allahabad, Ujjain, Nasik and Haridwar. Due to the colossal gathering of people and its management, Kumbh Melas have become renowned as the “largest peaceful gathering for faith”.

Importance of Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela is an important aspect in the spirituality of India and its significance should be understood. The devotees believe that taking a bath sacred river liberates them from their past sins or karma and escapes the cycle of birth and defeat. Those looking forward to taking a dip in the sacred Godavari River in Nasik in 2015 must understand that by merely taking a dip in the waters does not guarantee absolution. After the shahi snaan (or bathing in the sacred river) one must amend his or her lifestyle choices and lead a path of purity to avoid any karmic reaction. To bathe in the holy river at an auspicious time and thereby achieve moksha, the pilgrims or the devotees travel from far off places enduring physical discomforts (such as harsh climate or sleeping in cramped open spaces etc.).

Although the international interest in Kumbh Mela has risen in recent years, this spectacle of faith had intrigued foreign travelers since the 7th century. Chinese traveler Hsuan Tsang is accounted as the first person to document the event during the Magha month of the Hindu calendar (January-February). He witnessed the gathering of almost half a million people on the banks of the river Ganga in Allahabad. The celebration continued for 75 days and the participants includes sages, scholars and the King as well as his ministers.

Later on the renowned saint Shankara popularized the concept of Kumbh mela amongst the masses and soon the attendance of the common people saw a huge rise. Shankara preached about the significance of associating oneself with learned people or sages during the event and this practice is still followed today when people folk around rishis and munis to hear them speak about Vedas and puranas. Other events during this event include discussions on religious doctrines, devotional singing and in particular charity and feeding holy men and women and the needy.

About the Author

Suhita – Rajnish Nair is a content writer working with Rudra Centre, a reputed firm that specializes in spiritual products such as Rudraksha beads…

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Basic Beliefs of Hinduism

English: Afghan Hindus

Afghan Hindus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Spirituality Web

Hinduism is different from other religions. With no real organized structure, Hinduism does not have an orderly approach to the sacred teachings it embodies. Unlike other religions, there are no rules to follow and it does not practice a given set of strict teachings. Hinduism does however, have belief in a Supreme God and their belief system is based upon devotion to certain core concepts. There is belief in the power of the Vedas (the ancient Hindu scripts), and also faith in karma, truth, and dharma.

Some of the fundamental beliefs of Hinduism are as follows:

Understanding of Eternal Truth

Hindus believe eternal truth to be the only reality and the essence of the entire universe. According to Hindu belief, there is only one eternal truth, but it can be expressed in many ways.

Brahman is Truth

Brahman is considered the Supreme God of all existence, and that this is reality. Brahman is everything eternal and is composed of everything that is both seen and unseen in the universe. Hindus believe that Brahman is a real entity that is formless, limitless, and eternal and is the truth of all that is.

Vedas as the Essential Authority

The Vedas are the ancient Hindu scriptures of which all of Hinduism is based. The Vedas are said to be the direct word of Brahman as received by the ancient sages and seers. Hindus believe that when everything else in the universe has been destroyed, that the Vedas will remain, an eternal reminder of all that is and all that ever will be.

Achievement of Dharma

While there is no single definition of the word dharma, it can be roughly translated as the right way of living or the principle of cosmic or individual order. Dharma can be thought of as right conduct, duty, and righteousness throughout one\’s life. A person that makes dharma a fundamental part of their life is one that consistently strives to live doing what is right and live with high moral conduct.

Souls are Immortal

Hindus believe that souls are immortal and we are constantly experiencing life, death, and rebirth. Hinduism is set on the premise that we all live many lifetimes, continuing to repeat the birth, death, rebirth cycle until we get things right.


The cycle of death and rebirth is dependent on karma. Karma literally means deed or act, and can be thought of as all the acts of an individual in a lifetime that make determinant of one\’s future. Karma is the totality of our thoughts, words, and actions and will determine how we live and are treated in both our present and future lives.

Moksha as the Goal

Moksha means liberation and is the release of the soul\’s journey of death and rebirth. When one has reached moksha, they have realized the true nature of reality and shattered the illusions that compose waking consciousness. There are several paths one can take to attain moksha including the path of duty, the path of devotion to God, and the path of knowledge.

These essential elements that comprise Hinduism are ultimately just a quick glance into the many layered belief system that Hinduism ultimately is. These basics provide a very elementary understanding of what this ancient belief system is based on. Understanding these few concepts is an excellent way to start to further explore the world\’s oldest living religion, and see what parts of its whole resonate the deepest within you.

Practiced by over 950 million people throughout the world, these core concepts serve as the foundation to many. The teachings contained in each are deeply revered and according to many, hold within them the essence of all that ever was, all that is, and all that will ever be. These are the principles of which almost a billion people arrange their lives, inherently serving to guide many on their journey towards liberation.

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About the Author

Abe Cherian is the person behind several Advertising and Marketing platforms that is helping marketers worldwide increase productivity for their online business — since 1998. Abe has been interested in Spirituality and self realization practices all through his Online Entrepreneurship, and is now focusing on growing a platform to help others walk the spiritual path as well. Please join us today and take the first step toward connecting with others interested in a spiritual life. We thank you in advance and look forward to a lifetime of inspiration.

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

Colombo-temple hindu

Colombo-temple hindu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Special to

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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