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Global Hindu Footprint - Spread Beyond India
<img src='http://epaper.jagran.com/1622007/ald/15cnt13.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

Pashupati Nath temple in Kathmandu is hub of activities on eve of Mahashivratri. A sadhu dressed up as Sri Hanuman, an avatar of Bhagvan Shiv.

Pak: Indian pilgrims to participate in Shivratri prayers

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Over 170 Indian pilgrims converged at the ancient Katas Raj temple in Pakistan's Punjab province to participate in prayers on the occasion of Shivratri on Friday.

This is the third year that Shivratri pooja is being held with the participation of Hindu pilgrims from India. Since 2005, the Pakistan government began largescale renovation of the Shiva temple complex where Pandavas were believed to have spent a part of their exile.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Huge crowd of people to have darshan in Pashupati Nath temple on eve of Mahashivratri:

<img src='http://www.kantipuronline.com/shivaratri/L6.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

<img src='http://www.kantipuronline.com/shivaratri/s5.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
Large number of people offered Tarpan in river Periyar near Kochi, the day after Mahashivratri, as is the local custom here.

<img src='http://epaper.jagran.com/1822007/GKP/17cnt12.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Hinduism in Africa

My guru guided me to establish a temple and monastery in Ghana to propagate Hinduism

I am a disciple of Swami Krishnananda Saraswati, who propagated Hinduism in Africa and also set up the Human Service Trust in Mauritius. I was born in the traditional African religion. Both my parents were priests. Initially, I became a Christian, but I was searching for the truth. I went through some books on yoga and discovered that Hinduism is a very good religion. It is open minded. It teaches you about God. It also teaches you about the science of the soul. Later on, I decided to go to India. I went to Rishikesh and stayed at Swami Sivananda's ashram, the Divine Life Society. There I found that Hinduism is a straightforward religion that revealed the truth. Later on, I came back to Ghana and tried to practice Hinduism as a normal person. At that time my age was 35

When I came back from India, I organized a group of people. Now, these were not ordinary people. I had university lecturers and lawyers. They were the core of the group that I formed. I exposed them to what I had learned from India. Some of the Indian families also came to my lectures. When Swami Krishnananda came from India, most of the Indians went to meet him. They told him that I had been to India and was practicing Hinduism. Then they introduced me to him. He told me that what I was doing was perfect, and that I should carry on with it. You see, not many swamis used to come to West Africa. And the ones who did come would stay for a week or two and go back. But it was Swami Krishnanand Saraswati who stayed there all the time. He gave me a lot of encouragement. I told him that I wanted to be a swami. When next he came, he told me that now he was going to fulfill my wish. He initiated me in sannyas. The president of the country attended my initiation in 1975. Then my monastic life started.

My guru told me, "You are the first African swami" and said, "To be a monk, you must get a place for a monastery." At the time, there was no one propagating Hinduism in Ghana. There was no temple or place where the people of Indian origin could go and pray. So my master told them, "What are you doing? You have such a good culture. You must practice it." Since 1975 to the present time we have made a lot of progress, with the blessings of God. I have set up five temples in Ghana and one temple in the neighboring country of Togo. We have no problem with the government. But there are a few individuals who feel threatened. They are scared of the popularity and spreading of Hinduism, and they would like to destroy it.

The future of Hindus in Ghana is very bright. We have to do a lot of work there. My guru told me to help orphans, disabled people and those who are suffering. He told me to do things so that people are attracted to Hinduism. I have been fighting to make Hinduism grow in my area.

My guru kept in touch with me almost till he breathed his last. When he was last in Ghana, he told me, "Swami Ghanananda, I am going. Now everything is in your hands. Try to do everything that I have told you." He gave advice to all the members. He told me, "Be in this monastery, available to the people here, so that if they need any advice, they can come to you. So, now you do not have to bother about anything, as you have everything with you. Try to meditate." And this is what I am trying to do since he left the world in 1992.

Hindu youth feel very happy after worshiping in the temple. But most of the youth, even Hindu youth in Ghana, act like they are Christians. As they are away from India, they are also away from the Indian values. For instance, most of them eat meat and fish. They like the discotheques. My job is to remind people why they have come to this Earth. We are not here to act like the clowns of a circus. We do not have many drug addicts, but we have people who have other negative tendencies. The challenge in Ghana is to continue with our Hindu practices and stay on the right path.

My message to the youth is that Hinduism should be taken as something which is a way of life and is not just going to the temple and performing certain rituals. By following Hinduism they should be able to lead a very good life, so that when they reincarnate, they get a good birth to continue their spiritual education. For now, they must do all the good that they can. If they do so, their future will be bright. I tell the youth that they must respect the elders and try to learn from them by sitting at their feet. You cannot learn anything if you do not pay due respect to your elders. The youth has to behave humbly and study the scriptures and live the life by the scriptures. Our Hindu youth should set an example for the rest of humanity by being on the correct path.

So far, I have not initiated any monks in West Africa. You see, Hinduism is a new thing there, and I do not want to make somebody a monk who later on abandons monkhood. It would bring a bad name to me and to Hinduism. I do tell people what is expected of them to become a monk. But there are many people who are just looking for a place to stay. They express their desire to me, but I say, "Sorry", to them. Consequently, I am facing a problem. I want more people to come and join me. I am getting older. I am sixty-five. If I pass away tomorrow, there should be somebody to take over. But at the moment there is nobody to carry forward this work. I pay a lot of attention to the youth, educating them in Hinduism. God's ways are mysterious. Maybe tomorrow someone who deserves to be a monk will show up.

Living as a Hindu in West Africa is not easy. You are threatened. What is needed is positive coverage from the African media. The media must write that Hinduism is something good. They have to tell people that Swami is a messenger of Hinduism like the other swamis of this ancient tradition. If something like this happens, then many of the people will want to join Hinduism. However, the present treatment by the media is not so fair.

Swami Ghanananda, 65, may be contacted at Hindu Monastery of Africa, P. O. Box 13693, Accra, Ghana. The above material is excerpted from his interview with Hinduism Today correspondent Rajiv Malik in Malaysia in February, 2003, following the Malaysia Hindu Sangam's Hindu Renaissance Rally.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->29. On Dec 2 SVB flew to Delhi and the same night to an undisclosed location for one day's rest. On the 5th, he flew from Frankfurt to Accra,the capital of Ghana on the Gulf of Guinea. Idriss had undertaken an 18 hour bus journey from Burkina Faso just to come and greet SVB at Accra airport. Sonia drove all the way from Benin also for the same purpose. First he visited the local Hindu temple and was delighted to see that more than one-third of the participants in the worship and song were Ghanaian Africans. Next day he moved to stay at the Hindu Monastery founded and directed by Swami Ghanananda. SVB had met Swami Ghanananda's guru Swami Krishnananda in Mauritius in 1969. Swami Krishnananda initiated Swami Ghanananda into the life of a Swami. An African Swami is rare; SVB knows none other. Swami Ghanananda was born in a family tradition of priests of the indigenous religions of Africa. He is learned in the philosophical traditions of India, and he is most humble; loving; ever-giving. He has written five books, and counts among his followers people of very high calibre in Ghana, yet his humility is astounding. Furthermore, he has real joy; he is, like our Swami Hariharanandaji, a laughing Swami. The chanting in the temple by sixty of Swami Ghanananda's disciples was incredible. Put together all the vigour of African dance rhythm and all the devotion of the bhakti tradition&endash;well,you have never heard such enchanting sound. The detailed news of these encounters will be found on www.bindu.org in a week or two.

30. On 8th December Sonia drove SVB from Accra to Lome, the capital of the Republic of Togo on the Gulf of Guinea. The party stayed at the home of a local businessman named Tony, A Lebanese, absolutely devoted to the teachings of Swami Ghanananda. Again sixty Togolaise people at the temple singing with the same power that had been witnessed in Accra the day before.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->BENIN:  Bringing African and Indian Spirituality together

By Swami Veda Bharati

An extract from the article (my comments in blue in the brackets):
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Mahounon explained that the first place the Catholic missionaries landed in the whole of West-Africa was here, in Ouidah. When they first arrived, the missionaries and the priests at that time got along very well. The local priests even helped the Catholic priests build their first church, and they would take part in each other’s ceremonies. But in time the Catholics started to sabotage and relations deteriorated.  <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo--> [hmm doesn't this bear an uncanny similarity to what was done by syrian xtians in kerala] Nowadays some people go to church in the morning and secretly come to Mahou’s temple in the evening, but whenever they have problems, they come to Mahou’s temple. Even some Catholic priests secretly keep coming. The Christian missionaries cannot succeed in converting the people here, because, Mahounon said, everybody here knew that Mahou is the supreme God.

RSS bid to make US-born Indians ‘confident’
2/21/2007 3:24:26 PM Hindustan Times

KANPUR : The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) has embarked on a mission to convert non-resident Indians from ‘American Born Confused Desi’ (ABCD) into ‘American Born Confident Desi’.

Full-time functionaries of the RSS have undertaken the responsibility to imbibe Indian culture and values among NRIs with the help of its 740 international ‘shakhas’ (branches) spanning in more than 40 countries the world over.

Out of the 740 international shakhas, 120 are being convened on daily basis like any other RSS shakha operating in India. All international shakhas are being regulated and controlled by a special cell of the RSS aptly named the ‘foreign affairs cell’.

Hong Kong is the international headquarters of the party’s foreign affairs cell and a full-time functionary of the organisation is regulating it. The international affairs of the RSS, specially the monitoring of shakhas all over Asia, Europe and America, are being controlled from Hong Kong.

Talking to Hindustan Times, head of the cell Ravi Kumar, who was in the city, informed that RSS had undertaken the responsibility to connect the Indian diaspora abroad with the Indian mainstream.

“At present, almost all NRIs are completely cut off from the Indian culture and are not even aware of festivals like Makarsankranti,” said Kumar. On the importance of international RSS shakhas, Kumar stated that an NRI, especially a youth, was a confused person.

No matter how much he tried to identify himself with the culture of the country he lived in, an NRI would always remain an Indian, he added. This confusion led to the ‘American Born Confused Desi’ tag for an NRI. Now RSS is trying to change it into ‘American Born Confident Desi’, Kumar pointed out. On the acceptance of RSS shakha by the respective foreign governments, Kumar stated that impressed by the working of the RSS foreign governments had extended all support.

Impressed by the teachings and moral values the shakhas preach, the Australian government even offered financial assistance to the RSS, Kumar stated. “But, when we refused to take any financial assistance the Australian government issued free travel passes to RSS functionaries who often travel from one city to another for regulating the shakas,” informed Kumar. The British government too offered financial assistance to RSS shakhas, Kumar added.

Impressed by the contribution made by Indians to the Australian society, their government had also asked RSS to name any day of the year that could be dedicated to Indians, especially some Indian festival.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->SOURCE: JUAN WILSON juanwilson@earthlink.net

Kauai’s Hindu Monastery

30 August 2004 - 9:30am

Survival of Hinduism in Caribbean Islands - 21 min. talk by Sri. Mahendar Persad, Pandit at North Texas Hindu Mandir Dallas USA.
X-posting from k.ram's post in another thread: http://www.india-forum.com/forums/index....topic=1853

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><span style='color:red'>How Indian are Romanies?</span>
From Ian Hancock's book

“Oh Indra, determine who are Aryan and who are Dasa, and separate them!”

While a nine centuries’ removal from India has diluted the Indian biological connection to the extent that for some Romani groups it may hardly be representative today, Sareen (1976:42) concluded that overall, we still remain closer, genetically, to Asians than to the Europeans around us; European genetic material, for some groups at least, is still located at the shallow end of the gene pool:

The European Gypsies, who migrated from Northern India about 800-1,000 years ago, have been well studied serologically, mostly by ABO, MNS and Rh systems. The results indicate that their blood groups agree well with the warrior classes of northern India . . . and differ significantly from those of the local European population . . . the individuality of the blood its other serum protein factors, such as haptoglobins, transferins, the group-specific component (Gc) and the Gm system. Hp1 gene has been known to be the least common in Asia, with a gene-frequency of only 0.2 to 0.3; it could thus help in studies on Roma. Haptoglobin groups have been studied in Swedish Gypsies in comparison with those in Swedes and North Indians, and these also point to their North Indian origin.

Siváková (1983:98), another geneticist who has compared Indian, Romani and European serological material, found the same results:

As can be seen, the lowest genetic distance value was found between the recent Indian population and the Slovak Gypsies. In other words, these two populations are in the closest relationship, suggesting a relatively low degree of genetic assimilation of Gypsies with their surrounding populations.

Mastana & Papiha (1992:50) have demonstrated that this is more evident in eastern European Romani populations than among those in western Europe, where the incidence of mixing with non-Romanies has been higher:

The evidence of the present study favours that Gypsy populations of eastern Europe still have greater genetic affinity with Indian nomadic groups and the genetic differentiation may primarily be due to isolation, high rate of migration of subgroups towards Europe and genetic drift, whilst the Western Gypsies are more homogeneous to their local population which might have resulted from a high degree of genetic admixture.

Nevertheless, culture, language and identity are not inherited genetically but socially, and apart from the genetic and linguistic evidence, a core of direct, unbroken transmission from India in these other areas may also be readily identified. While there are many Romani customs and beliefs for which no origin has been determined (such as symbolically cutting the invisible lupunza or fetters which tie an infant’s feet together to allow it to learn to walk, with the words por, por, por "feather, feather, feather"), parallels in India may yet be found as research continues.

Some would seem to be incontrovertibly Indian, however. These are found among Romanies throughout the world in all areas of the culture; some groups in Hungary, Slovakia and Transylvania maintain the Indian bhairava musical scale, for example, as well as a type of mouth music known in India as bol and called bega in Romani (and szaj bögö in Hungarian), which consists of nonsense syllables imitating the rhythm of the tabla drum. The tribunal where internal disputes are settled, called the kris(i) in Romani, while a Greek word, is identifiable with the Indian panchayat or nasab, and has the same form and function, or even likelier with the earlier administrative and judicial Rajput body of men called the panchak la, from which the panchayat developed. The pilivani wrestling matches with oiled bodies, called pehlivan in India and Iran, and the stick dancing (called rovljako khelipe or botolo in Romani) are both still found amongst Romanies in Hungary; snake-charming (called farmeko sapano) is a profession among Romanies in Serbia; the burning of one’s possessions after death (called phabaripen) and even, among some populations at least into the twentieth century, the ritual suicide of the widow, which has striking parallels with s ti in India. Marriages (biava) which are arranged by the couple’s families (the betrothals are called thomnimata), and which take place between children, and which involve dowry (darro), are Romani as well as Indian. Fonseca (1996:110-11) has commented upon the Romani habit found in India of “shaking the head from side to side to signify ‘yes’”.

Hübschmannová (1972) provides valuable insights into the parallels between traditional Indian social structure and the divisions within Rromanipen. She has also found (1978:277-8) what she believes to be retentions of Indian personal names among Romanies in the Czech Republic. Some of these, which existed among the adivasi subcaste are Bado, Duzhda, Gadjor, Goral, Kandji, Karela, Mizhikar and Mirga, and are all found in Europe today. Rishi (1976) lists several more that he has also recognised.

Some Romani groups in Europe today appear to maintain elements of Shaktism or goddess-worship; the Rajputs worshipped the warrior-goddess Parvati, another name for the female deity Sati-Sara, who is Saint Sarah, the Romani Goddess of Fate. That she forms part of the yearly pilgrimage to La Camargue at Stes. Maries de la Mer in the south of France is of particular significance; here she is carried into the sea just as she is carried into the waters of the Ganges each December in India. Both Sati-Sara and St Sarah wear a crown, both are also called Kali, and both have shining faces painted black. Sati-Sara is a consort of the god Shiva, and is known by many other names, Bhadrakali, Uma , Durga and Syama among them. Various Romani populations in Europe and America also maintain nacijange semnura or group symbols, such as the sun (representing the Serbian Romanies) and the moon (representing the Lovara), which may be found drawn or carved onto the stago or ‘standard’ at a wedding, and on the semno or rupuni rovli (‘silver baton’), i.e. the clan leader’s staff, and which are appealed to at the consecration of the mulengi sinija or ‘table of the dead’ at a Vlax Romani pomana (plural pomeni) or wake. Here, the invocation is “Khama, Chona thaj Devla, ašun man!” which means “Sun, Moon and God, hear me”. The significance is in the fact that the Sun and the Moon were the two symbols worn emblematically on the armour and tunics of the Rajput warriors to identify them in battle from all others.

Elements of an Indian legacy have been preserved in Romani riddles. Reference to the Vedic god of the wind and the air, Vayu (also called Marut), is retained in a number of these: Kana hulavel peske bal o Vajo, legenisavol e char (“When Vayu combs his hair, the grass sways”), Amaro Vajo hurjal tela savorrenge podji, aj konik našti t’astarel les (“Our Vayu flies under everyone’s petticoats, and no one can catch him”), O pharo vurdon e Vajosko tsirdajlo ekhe šele grastendar kaj phurden ande’l rrutunja (“Vayu’s heavy waggon is pulled by a hundred horses blowing through their nostrils”)­the answer to each is e balval “the wind”. In Indian theology the task of Vayu’s son M ruti (also called Hanuman) is to tear open the clouds and let the rain fall, and in Romani the expression marutisjol o Del means “the sky [lit. “God”] is growing overcast”. The reference to a hundred horses may also be of Vedic origin; there are several references in the scriptures to the a vamedha yajña or “horse sacrifice”, whereby in ancient India the king would release one hundred horses to roam freely through his kingdom. Stopping them or blocking their path was forbidden.

The female spirits or fates, called the vursitorja, hover in its presence three days after a child is born to determine its destiny and to influence the choice of name the parents will decide upon. They may be compared with the Indian m trk or “little mother” spirits who also possess a baby’s destiny at the time of its birth. The red thread (the loli dori) tied around a newborn’s ankle or wrist and worn for two or three years afterwards to guard against the jakhalo or ‘evil eye’ reflects the protective properties of that colour, which is also worn or painted on the body in India.

Shiva’s trident, called trishula in Sanskrit, changed its role from Hindu symbol to Christian symbol and has become the Romani word for “cross” (trušul). This probably happened when the migration first reached Armenia; in the Lomavren language terusul means both “church” and “priest”, another indication that the ancestors of the Rom and the Lom may still have been together at that time. Similarly, rašaj “(Christian) holy man” represents a shift of meaning from Sanskrit rseya “of a (Hindu) holy man”. The Romani word for “Easter”, Patradji, as well as the word kirvo “godfather” are almost certainly from Armenian, as is the word xanamik, “co-parent-in-law”, further indication that it was in Armenian-speaking lands that our ancestors first encountered Christianity. Although Hinduism as a cohesive faith has not survived, our people today practicing a great number of religions adopted because of a historical need to survive, nevertheless many Hindu-based beliefs continue to be maintained in day-to-day cultural behaviour. These similarities have been discussed in a number of works by Indian authors, among them Rishi, Joshi, Bhattacharya, Lal, Shashi and Singhal, and these can be usefully read for more parallels between Romani and Indian societies.

‘Religion’ is usually thought of in terms of a physical place of worship, a set of written scriptures and a clergy, and for that reason it has been repeatedly stated that we have no religion of our own since we have none of these. One story maintains that we did have a church once long ago, but it was made of cheese and we got hungry and ate it. A truer definition of religion is that it is the belief in a higher spiritual power, and the maintenance of a daily way of life dedicated to serving and pleasing that power. From this perspective, not only do we have a religion, but living it is so much a part of our lives that we don’t even think of it as such; it isn’t only saved for the weekends. We believe in one god, o Devel or o Del, and the devil, o Beng, and we believe that there is a constant struggle between them for dominance over our lives. To live properly is to abide by a set of behaviours collectively called Rromanipen or Rromanija, and this entails maintaining spiritual balance. This Ayurvedic concept, called karma in India (and in Romani kintala, or in some dialects kintari or kintujmos) is fundamental to the Romani worldview. This dualistic perspective groups the universe into pairs, God and the Devil, Romanies and non-Romanies, adults and children, clean and polluted­even the stages of life are two in number: adulthood (and able to produce children) and, taken together, childhood and old age (when one is not able to produce children).

Time spent in the non-Romani world (the jado) drains spiritual energy or dji. Sampson (1926:257) gives the various meanings of this word as “[s]eat of the emotions, heart, soul; temper, disposition, mood; courage, spirit”, comparing it to Sanskrit jiva, Hindi ji, “life, soul, spirit, mind” and Armenian (h)ogi, “soul”. One’s spiritual batteries can only be recharged by spending time in an all-Romani environment­in the normal course of events, in family homes. It is in the area of spiritual and physical wellbeing (baxt) that the Indian origin of our Romani people is most clearly seen.

In the preparation of food, and in one’s personal hygiene and deportment, it is absolutely essential that a separation between the two conditions of ‘pure’ and ‘polluted’ be maintained. A pure state is achieved by maintaining the spiritual balance in one’s life and avoiding shame (ladjav or ladj); that is, being declared unclean or, in extreme cases, being shunned by the community. Avoiding shame involves, among other things, demonstrating patjiv or ‘respect’ to the elders. Maintaining balance or harmony pleases the spirits of the ancestors (the mulé), and they are there to guard one and help one to do it, but if they are displeased, they will mete out punishment, or a ‘warning signal’ (prikaza), by way of retribution. Depending upon the nature of the transgression, this may be mild, e.g. stubbing one’s toe, or so severe as to involve sickness and even death. The consequences of prikaza underlie the universal Romani belief that nothing is an accident­that nothing happens simply by chance.

The penalty for extreme pollution is being banished, or made an outcast, and an out-caste, from the community, for which different Romani words are durjardo, gonime or strazhime. ‘Banishment’ is variously durjaripe, gonimos or strazha, which may or may not imply a state of pollution, being imposed also for other reasons, e.g. disregard for territorial claims. Being in a state of pollution is being magerdo, marime, pokhelime or makherdo (literally ‘smeared’, i.e. with menstrual blood). These words can be contrasted with melalo which also means ‘dirty’, but only from physical dirt. Daravipe (‘fearfulness’, from dar ‘fear’) is a particular charge of marital infidelity that, if proven, also demands a penalty, perhaps even the disfigurement of the offending party.

Prikaza brings bad luck (bibaxt) and illness (nasvalipe), and it can be attracted even by socializing with people who are not vuzhe (< vuzho ‘clean’). Non-Romani people are not seen as vu e, which is why Romanies avoid contact which is too intimate. But this is not an inherited condition of non-Romanies, it is because these cultural practices are not maintained. A non-Romani woman who marries into a Romani family is expected to adopt them, and in doing so becomes in that context vuzhi. Without a doubt, it is particularly the factor of ritual cleanliness and ritual defilement that has helped maintain Romani separateness­and as a result Romani identity­for so long.


[p.70>] There is in the brâhmanas a constant association of the notions of noose (pâza) and drúh. Vedic man prayed to be delivered from Varuna's noose, or from "wrongness" and the noose, or from the noose of wrongness. Cf. "With the words 'I have been delivered from Varuna's noose' he is delivered from the Varuna-noose", " 'With the words 'May I be delivered from wrongness, from Varuna's noose, he delivers him from wrongness, from the Varuna-noose", "That snare of wrongness of thine, O king Varuna, that, consisting of the metre Gâyatrî, has entered the earth and has the brahman for its support, that of thine I hereby avert, by sacrifice, svâhâ to it!" The phrase "snares of wrongness" occurs once in the Rigveda: "The furious man, O Maruts, who is fain to kill us, even when we do not expect it' O Vasus' may he put on himself the snares of wrongness". cf. also in the Atharvaveda: "Thus I deliver thee from the afterbirth, Nirrti, the curse that come from thy kin, from wrongness, from Varuna's noose" and "the fetters of wrongness that does not release." [<p.70] [p.71>] Varuna's krûra ['cruel' - SV] character is most clearly shown by the fact that he is identical with Death. The Gopatha Brahmana even uses the term Varuna Mrtyu. In the funeral hymns of the Rigveda it is said that the deceased will see king Varuna and Yama in the next world and in one of the Vasistha hymns, which testify to a close intimacy with Varuna, the poet prays the gods that he may not have to go into the "clay house". In spite of Geldner's different interpretation these words probably refer to the grave. [note #256>] Geldner Kommentar, p.115: "die irdene Gruft für die Gebeine, das Beinhaus"; Übersetzung: "die Urne, in der die Gebeine beigesetzt wurden." [<#256]  [<p.71]

F.B.J. Kuiper, I.11 "Varuna as a Demoniacal Figure and as the God of Death" (pp.67-74), Varuna and Vidûshaka (North Holland Publishing Company, Amsterdam 1979)
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Valuable and a lot of materials have also come to light in the excavations at Penjikent, Varaksha and Adzhina Tepe of the Western Central Asia by the Russian and Central Asian Archeologists. Indian dialects Parya, Kavol, Jugi, Chistoni and Sagutarosh-hisori have been discovered in Central Asia by Russian athnographer, I.M. Oranski and others.
Central Asia: The Indian Links
B.B. Kumar<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<span style='color:red'>Muslim anger over Prime Minister's Hindu meeting </span>
Thursday, 24th May 2007. 3:55pm
By: Sam Forrest.

IT STARTED out as a gesture to the multi-faith character of New Zealand, but the Prime Minister’s visit to a Hindu meeting has sparked protests from Muslim groups.

Helen Clark attended the meeting in Auckland last week that was organised by the Hindu Council of New Zealand. However, the fact that it had links with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, and that anti-Muslim views were expressed, has outraged the country’s Muslim population.

Now Muslim leaders are asking how the Prime Minister could have agreed to open the event, which had as its theme ‘the contribution of Hindus to the life of New Zealand.’

One of the complainants was <b>Sapna Samant</b>, a film maker, who said that while she had no problem with Hindus, the tone of the conference suggested that Indians who were not Hindus were not Indians at all.

Religious Intelligence reports that Hindus make up 79 per cent of the population of India, with Muslims coming next at 12.5 per cent. But in New Zealand it is claimed that Hindus make up the second largest religious group, and has grown by 65 per cent in the last five years.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said: <b>"She expresses no preference or endorsements of any faith, but always brings a message of the need for understanding, tolerance, and inclusion."</b>

Adding that she attends religious events such as this frequently, it was pointed out that Ashraf Choudhary, a Muslim MP, was at the conference with the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile the Hindu Council of New Zealand defended the conference and denied that they were anti-Muslim. Their leader, Vinod Kumar said that while they were ‘morally’ linked to the VHP, there was no physical link.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Tobago to get its first Hindu Mandir
By KARL E CUPID Tobago Bureau Thursday, April 19 2007

The first ever Hindu Mandir or Temple is to be established in Tobago with funding from the National Commission for Self Help Limited (NCSH). The NCSH, which is administered under the aegis of the Ministry of Community

Development/Culture/Gender Affairs, has pledged a grant of $250,000 for the project which is being undertaken by the Tobago Hindu Society (THS), a member organisation of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha of Trinidad and Tobago.

The NCSH’s financial commitment to the project was formally “endorsed” during a ceremony on location at the proposed site at Carnbee, on the western outskirts of Scarborough, yesterday.

Addressing the ceremony, NCSH chairman Krishna Ramkumar pointed out that the Commission has done a lot of work throughout Trinidad and Tobago, and indeed in Tobago itself. “We will continue to make this commitment to people in Trinidad and Tobago who are dispossessed or people who are in need; communities that are in need, you can feel free to come and apply to the NCSH where we will respond favourably depending on the availability of funds”, Ramkumar assured. He said construction of the Hindu Temple in Tobago was just another self-help project being undertaken in the country by the Commission.

The NCSH chairman stressed, “We don’t discriminate where projects are concerned; we do it across the length and breadth of Trinidad and Tobago. All religions benefit from the Self Help Commission and the Tobago Hindu Society is just another beneficiary of the Commission!” he asserted. The occasion had been promoted as a sod-turning ceremony but NCSH chairman Krishna Ramkumar explained that it was actually a “commitment” ceremony in which the Commission’s pledge of funding to the THS would be formalised. He said officials of the Commission would return for the official sod-turning ceremony when the THS had put everything in place.

Newsday understands that certain requirements/ap-provals with respect to the proposed site for the Temple are yet to be finalised. Ramkumar explained, “We are here this morning to commit a quarter of a million dollars which we gave to the Hindu Society of Tobago.

As you know, it is for the construction of a building, but apparently all the Ts and the Is have not been crossed (and dotted) as yet, so the money would be given as soon as everything is in place.

But the money has already been committed, however there are a couple little things to be ironed out!” the NCSH chairman told Newsday.

Dr. Jack Wheeler: Will Indonesia Save Islam?
© October 27, 2006, ToThePointNews.com


There are 245 million folks in Indonesia.  88% of them, or 215 million, are Moslem, comprising the largest Moslem population on earth.  Just 8% of Indonesians are Christian, 2% are Hindu, and only 1% are Buddhist.

Yet the most famous landmark of Indonesia - the archaeological wonder of Borobudur - is Buddhist.  In fact, it is the world's largest Buddhist monument.  Indonesia's most famous tourist destination and most famous culture is the island of Bali.  The people of Bali are not Moslem.  They are Hindu.

Indonesia used to be Buddhist and Hindu, and is a long ways from Arabia.  How did this place become Moslem?

People have been living in Indonesia since before they were people.  "Java Man," so-called because his 500,000 year-old bones were first discovered on Java, belonged to humanity's evolutionary precursor, Homo erectus.

By around 200 BC, Hindu kingdoms had emerged on Indonesia's two largest islands, Java and Sumatra.  They co-existed with Buddhist kingdoms such as the Srivijaya thalassocracy (sea-based trading empire) that rose around 200 AD, and the Sailendra kingdom in central Java that built Borobudur between 778-824 AD.

They were all subsumed by the Majapahit empire, a Hindu kingdom that ruled over Java, Bali, Sumatra, Borneo, and much of the Malay Peninsula from 1300 to 1500.  Then came the Moslems.

Islam in Indonesia begins with an eccentric Javanese adventurer named Parameswara, who lived from 1344 to 1424.  He claimed he was a Hindu prince and a descendant of Alexander the Great.  In 1402, he was able to establish a small trading town on the Malay Peninsula right across from Sumatra, calling it Malacca.  Then he sailed off to China to make a deal with the Ming Emperor, Yongle.

Every trading ship from India and Arabia on its way to China had to sail through the narrow straits between Sumatra and Malaya - the alternative was a huge detour around Sumatra.  Yongle was happy to support Parameswara in securing protection and control of the passage, which to this day is called the Strait of Malacca.

Now in his 60s, Parameswara became rich and powerful - but he proved no match for the charms of a young lady from Pasai.  About a hundred years before, Moslem traders from Gujarat on the west coast of India had built a trading post on the northwest tip of Sumatra that had grown into a small Sultanate called Pasai.

In 1414, Parameswara met a girl whom the chronicles describe as "young," "beautiful," and a "princess."  The 70 year-old man was a goner and begged for her hand.  She was a Moslem, she said, so the only way for her to accept would be for him to convert to Islam.

He did, they were married, he renamed himself Raja Iskander Shah ("Iskander" is the Arabic name for Alexander), declared his kingdom to be the Sultanate of Malacca, and demanded all his subjects become Moslem.  Then he decided to go on Jihad against the now idolatrous Hindus of the Majapahit Empire.

The Majapahits finally succumbed to Parameswara's successors, and by 1500 the Majapahit aristocracy, artisans, and followers fled to Bali establishing a Hindu redoubt that has resisted Islam right up to now.

In the wake of the Hindu retreat came a flood of Moslem missionaries demanding the Hindus and Buddhists of Java and Sumatra convert.  This resulted in ambitious warlords-to-be constructing Islamic kingdoms such as the Sultanate of Mataram in central Java, which under its Sultan Agung (r. 1613-1645) controlled almost the entire island.

By the time the traders of the Dutch East India Company arrived in the mid-1600s, attracted by the spice trade in the archipelago, most of what was to become Indonesia had been Moslemized.

Far from being Christian Crusaders, the Dutch were only interested in creating a commercial empire in the "East Indies," monopolizing the spice trade, and keeping competitors like the Portuguese and British out.  They made minimal attempts at converting the Javanese or Sumatrans to Christianity.

With Islam forced upon them and the Dutch offering no enthusiastic alternative, the Indonesians coped by adopting a variant of Islam known as Sufism.  They deeply resented the imposition of a foreign faith, and for over a century referred to Islam not by name but only as "the Arab religion."  Sufism was their way out.

Sufis (sue-feez) - the People of the Platform (named after disciples of Mohammed who met on the platform -- suffe in Arabic -- of the first Moslem mosque at Medina) - were Moslems who rejected Jihad and Islam as a Religion of the Sword.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Bali Hindu Girl Praying

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Interesting hanuman chants from baraka

good videos. Next in list it shows:

Bali Lost Hindu Temple

from another thread, posted by Honsol:
<!--QuoteBegin-Honsol+Jun 24 2007, 12:46 AM-->QUOTE(Honsol @ Jun 24 2007, 12:46 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Indian influence in gipsy houses


[quote=Bodhi,Jun 24 2007, 11:14 AM]

you can find a small video shot here

Honsol,Jun 24 2007, 06:26 PM Wrote:[quote=Bodhi,Jun 24 2007, 11:14 AM]

you can find a small video shot here



Interesting structures. Provoked my curiosity. Please provide some background information on the video/photos, if you can. For example I take it the neighborhood is in Romania(?); is the whole neighborhood Gypsy settlement; any information on why they might have built the houses in that particular fashion, and what might the specific architecture symbolize, etc. Thanks.

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