ALLAHABAD, INDIA, December 3, 2013 (Indian Express): A red sandalwood rosary, which is said to have been given to Sant Kabir in the 15th century by his guru, has gone missing from the sanctum of Kabir Ashram in the Chetganj area of Varanasi. A monk and two of his accomplices, said to be hailing from Thailand and regular visitors to the ashram, are allegedly involved in the theft. They are said to have replaced the original rosary with the commonly found Rudraksha rosary before they left the ashram. The theft occurred Saturday but came to light Sunday morning.
The monk requested five minutes meditation in the sanctum. When the door was opened, the two others accompanying him began distributing money to some of the priests and a manager present there. Nobody suspected anything till Sunday morning. When the sanctum was opened, the rosary was found to have been replaced by a Rudraksha rosary," said Mahant Vivekdas.
LEIDEN, THE NETHERLANDS, December 4, 2013 (brill.com): The five-volume Brill's Encyclopedia of Hinduism -with first volume published in 2009 and to be completed in 2013 with Vol. 5- is a thematic encyclopedia, presenting the latest research on all the main aspects of the Hindu traditions in original essays written by the world's foremost scholars on Hinduism. The Encyclopedia explicitly adopts an interdisciplinary and pluralistic approach. The Encyclopedia aims at a balanced and even-handed view of Hinduism, recognizing the tensions inherent in the academic examination of Hinduism. It emphasizes that Hinduism is a conglomerate of regional religious traditions and at the same time a global world religion. Hinduism is also both an ancient historical tradition and a living tradition flourishing in the contemporary world. It is an oral tradition, yet one with a huge number of sacred texts at its basis. Hinduism is both a religious identity and an object of academic scholarship.
Illustrated with maps and photographs, Brill's Encyclopedia presents the learned philosophical and theological traditions of Hinduism as well as its many folk traditions. Covering the spread of Hinduism over the last two hundred years to all the continents as well as the interaction of Hinduism with other religions, it also portrays the various responses of Hindu traditions to a number of contemporary issues of great relevance today, such as feminism, human rights, egalitarianism, bioethics, and so on.
In thinking 'This is I' and 'That is mine' one binds himself with himself, as does a bird with a snare.
-- Krishna Yajur Veda, Maitreya Upanishad 3.2
MALAYSIA, 03 Dec 2013,(by Lim Guan Eng, Malaysia Chronicle): Malaysians are shocked that an ancient Hindu temple (Candi) belonging to the Sri Vijaya era, about 1200 years, was demolished by a developer to make way for a housing project in Sungei Batu area of Kedah. This was one of the temples rebuilt in the 1970s using materials from the pre-historic era.. Even the nearby Indian residents of the Sungei Batu estate were oblivious to this destruction.
The matter was brought to public attention when one Nadarajah, a researcher on Bujang Valley history, discovered the disappearance of this Candi a few days back. Last Saturday, Prof. P. Ramasamy, Deputy Chief Minister ll of the Penang State government, who had earlier researched on the Chola presence in Bujang Valley, confirmed the destruction of the temple. A nearby Museum official revealed that the destruction of the temple could have been avoided had the land office in Merbok monitored and notified the presence of this historical structure to the developer. However, this was not done and what more the developer was given the approval to proceed with the clearance of the site.
Bujang Valley is a world famous historical site. In this sprawling area of hundreds of acres, remains of Malaysia's ancient history of Buddhism and Hinduism are evident. Some historians and archaeologists are of the opinion that the Bujang Valley represents the beginning of early Malay civilization. The Ministry of Tourism and Culture and in particular the Department of Heritage is urged to take immediate steps to list Bujang Valley as a UNESCO Heritage.Though the Kedah State Government has issued a stop worker on the developer, stop work order is not enough; measures must be taken to see whether the agency officials and the developer have broken any laws and to be prosecuted.
Lim Guan Eng is the DAP sec-gen & Penang Chief Minister
BANGALORE, November 16, 2013 (New Indian Express): It may be of considerable interest in these days of national awakening to consider in brief the theory of nationalism propounded by Swami Vivekananda, one of the greatest of India's national leaders in modern times. Under the state of affairs obtaining at present in our country, we are accustomed to equate a national leader with a leader of a political party or with one who has distinguished himself by lighting the government and by courting jail and sufferings of various kinds. Swami Vivekananda was not, however, the leader of any political party, nor had he led any political agitation. Yet in the evolution of Indian nationalism Swami Vivekananda occupies a very important place. In all the big cities that the Swami Visited after his return from the West, crowds, unprecedented in the histories of these cities, gathered to listen to the Swami's addresses.
At the present day we are accustomed to mammoth meetings held in open air in connection with the visits of well-known political leaders; but in those days such things were unknown. That the Swami could for the first time evoke an enthusiasm of such a magnitude without the help of any all-India organization or planned propaganda, shows positively that there was in the personality and message of the Swami something that had a startling appeal to the conscience of India. There was no doubt a strong religious strain in this appeal, but there was something more in it. Very large sections of people who were attracted to the meetings that the Swami addressed were not perhaps much interested in the philosophical doctrines expounded by him, but they felt that he stood for something of much wider interest than abstract philosophies.
If we would enquire into what this wider interest was, we would be led to the spirit of nationalism that the Swami represented. Before the Swami's time many an Indian had gone to the West; but all of them had gone there to learn, to admire everything that was of the West, and to come back and tell their countrymen that they were a worthless lot and that their only hope lay in following the footsteps of the West. Our educated men, who had been educated into this state of mind, watched with wonder the fortunes of this strange young monk in the West, and were surprised to see how he contradicted all their preconceived notions by his example. For he went to the West not to learn but to teach, and his teachings were listened to with respect by large numbers of cultured men belonging to that very race which dominated India politically and whose cultural domination, too, educated India was gradually learning to accept.
In the very centers of Western civilization they found him declaring quite fearlessly, and with the conviction of a prophet, how India had plenty to teach the West, and how India alone, of all nations in the World, could do this particular work. It was in fact this bold stand that the Swami took, the courage with which he declared a truth which no one till his time was bold enough to declare, that created a stir wherever he went, and reused the sleeping Indian nation to a state of self-consciousness once more. And it is on the basis of this - his re-assertion of India's cultural self-respect - that the claim of Swami Vivekananda to be one of the greatest national leaders of modern India rests.
Extracts from Vedanta Kesari, an English monthly of the Ramakrishna Order, published from Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai.
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