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

Special to Earthpages.org

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 Earthpages.org

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.

Karma

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.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/metaphysics-articles/basic-beliefs-of-hinduism-7222849.html

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. http://spiritualityweb.com/


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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 Earthpages.org

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

Image via Tumblr

 Special to Earthpages.org

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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Worldwide Hindus concerned at Diwali labeled as “blasphemy” in Cook Islands

Diwali, Trafalgar Square

Diwali, Trafalgar Square (Photo credit: Paul Carvill)

Special to Earthpages.org

Hindus worldwide are concerned at celebration of their annual festival Diwali being reportedly condemned as “blasphemy” in Cook Islands by a religious leader.

This religious leader reportedly labeled Diwali, most popular of Hindu festivals, a “paganistic or heathenistic practice” and talked about “its hidden spirit of sorcery and witchcraft” and urged to “put a stop to this paganistic nonsense”.

Diwali, which fell on November three, was reportedly celebrated on Rarotonga, most populous island of the Cook Islands, on November nine where organizers extended an open public invitation and where hundreds of people turned up to celebrate; which included music, dancing, food, cultural display and speeches.

Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged Frederick Goodwin, Henry Puna and Teina Bishop; Queen’s Representative, Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister respectively of Cook Islands; to thoroughly investigate the issue and ensure the Hindu community that its religious rights were protected. Article 64(1) (d) of the Cook Islands’ constitution granted: “Freedom of thought, conscience, and religion”.

Rajan Zed further said that existence of different faiths showed God’s generosity and bountifulness. Different religions were simply different human responses to the one ultimate Reality. Despite our seriously different traditions, we all should learn from each other and live harmoniously together in mutual trust, loyalty and peace as we were headed in the same direction, Zed stated.

Image by mjcolman via Tumblr

An inclusive and broader understanding of religion was needed as true relationship with God could exist in each of the great faith traditions. Religion was much more than one’s own particular tradition/experience, Zed noted.

New Zealand’s High Commissioner to the Cook Islands Joanna Kempkers and Principal of Tereora College (the National College of the Cook Islands) Bali Haque also addressed this Diwali gathering and various Hindu community leaders, including Avinesh Naiker and Anand Raj Naidu, participated; reports suggest.

According to Rajan 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.

Cook Islands in South Pacific Ocean, first settled in the 6th century and formed of 15 widely-dispersed volcanic islands and coral atolls, is a self-governing state in free association with New Zealand whose economy centers on tourism.

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