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Though only 1% Hindu, 25% Italians believe in reincarnation & 20% in karma

Illustration of reincarnation – via Wikipedia

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In a predominantly Christian nation Italy, though only one per cent declared to be Hindu, but a quarter believed in reincarnation and nearly a fifth believed in karma, according to a survey/poll conducted by research firm SWG and published in various media.

Rajan Zed said that this showed that Hinduism concepts developed in ancient Hindu scriptures were gaining universal acceptance beyond the one billion Hindus.

Hinduism had given lot to the world, including the liberation powerhouse yoga, which was highly popular world over for the multiple-benefits it offered, Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out.

Karma, the law of consequence of action or causality of action, first appears in ancient Rig-Veda and later in Brahmanas and Upanisads, and repeated often in Bhagavad-Gita. Reincarnation doctrine finds mention in Brhadaranyaka Upanisad and Chandogya Upanisad. Karma, incorporated with reincarnation, forms a kind of theory of cosmic justice and provides a motivation to improve one’s behavior.

Founded in Trieste in 1981, SWG does market surveys, opinion and institutional polls, sector studies, etc.; analyzing trends and dynamics of the market, politics and society.

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Hindus concerned at Hindu temple vandalism in Ontario

Radha (right) - Krishna (left), surrounded by ...

Radha (right) – Krishna (left), surrounded by gopis, in Mayapur Chandradoya Mandir, 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Hindus are highly concerned after reports of vandalism of Shri Ram Dham Hindu Temple in Kitchener in Ontario (Canada).

There were reports of smashing of windows of Shri Ram Dham Hindu Temple on November 15 night by vandals with large rocks.

Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it was shocking for the hard-working, harmonious and peaceful Hindu community of Canada and worldwide; who had made lot of contributions to Canada and the world; to receive such signals of hatred and anger.

Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged administration for swift action; and Ontario Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to contact the Kitchener area Hindu community to reassure them.

Shri Ram Dham Hindu Temple, whose tagline is “Wisdom Love Service”, opens and conducts two aartis daily, has services on Sundays-Tuesdays-Thursdays and organizes festivals-kirtan-discourses-special services year round. It contains the murtis of Hindu deities of Sita Ram, Radha Krishna, Shiv Parvati, Durgaa Maa, Ganesh and Hanuman. It offers classes in yoga, Sanskrit, Bharatnatyam and vegetarian cooking; Hindu culture course and yoga camp for kids; and consultation on spiritual-religious issues and rituals. Chaitanya Jyoti and Haripriya Parivrajika are Head Preacher and Preacher respectively.


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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.


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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.

Thanks,

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)

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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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